San Francisco Chronicle
Disturbing new revelations that permanent immunity to the coronavirus may not be possible have jeopardized vaccine development and reinforced a decision by scientists at UCSF and affiliated laboratories to focus exclusively on treatments.
Several recent studies conducted around the world indicate that the human body does not retain the antibodies that build up during infections, meaning there may be no lasting immunity to COVID-19 after people recover.
Strong antibodies are also crucial in the development of vaccines. So molecular biologists fear the only way left to control the disease may be to treat the symptoms after people are infected to prevent the most debilitating effects, including inflammation, blood clots and death.
“I just don’t see a vaccine coming anytime soon,” said Nevan Krogan, a molecular biologist and director of UCSF’s Quantitative Biosciences Institute, which works in partnership with 100 research laboratories. “People do have antibodies, but the antibodies are waning quickly.” And if antibodies diminish, “then there is a good chance the immunity from a vaccine would wane too.”
The latest bad news came from scientists at King’s College of London, whose study of 90 COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom found antibody levels peaked three weeks after the onset of symptoms and then dramatically declined.
Potent antibodies were found in 60% of the patients, according to the study, but only 17% retained the same potency three months later. In some cases, the antibodies disappeared completely, said the study which was published as a preprint Saturday, meaning it has not yet been peer-reviewed.
The report is the latest in a growing chain of evidence that immunity to COVID-19 is short-lived….
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to announce Friday that all public and private schools in California counties on the state’s monitoring list for rising coronavirus infections would be required to close for in-class instruction and meet strict criteria in order to reopen.
Under the expected guidance, children in kindergarten through 2d grade who are being taught in classrooms would be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks. That’s according to several participants in discussions with administration officials and others familiar with the guidance. However, students in grades 3 to 12, along with staff, would be required to wear them. Those who refuse could be sent home to be taught exclusively via distance learning.
Students would be encouraged to stay as far apart as possible, but would not be required to maintain the 6-foot distance expected of staff.
The guidance would represent a marked shift from leaving decisions over closing and reopening schools largely in the hands of local school district officials in consultation with county departments of health. The California Department of Public Health would now play a stronger role in setting the criteria for reopening school facilities….
Inside Higher Ed
The Trump administration is refusing to process new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program despite a Supreme Court ruling that required reinstatement of the program, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.Legal experts say the Supreme Court's ruling compels the administration to begin accepting new applications for the DACA program, which provides protections from deportation for certain young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. But immigration lawyers says U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is rejecting new applications or confirming receipt of the applications and not acting on them. USCIS did not respond to the paper’s request for comment.