Researchers at Washington University, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says, have invented an air monitor that just needs five minutes to assess whether covid virus particles are detected in a sample. In other news, increased antibiotic exposure is linked to severe covid outcomes, British scientists have found.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Washington University Researchers Develop Air Monitor That Detects COVID-19 Virus

A team of researchers at Washington University has developed an air monitor that can alert users to the presence of SARS-CoV-2 — the virus responsible for COVID-19 — in just five minutes. In an article published in Nature Communications on Monday, the researchers showed the monitor’s ability to detect as few as tens of viral particles in a cubic meter. They hope to commercialize the air monitor so it can be placed in public spaces like hospitals and schools, helping prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Vargo, 7/10)

New Insights Into Long COVID Point To Damage To The Vagus Nerve

Reports from 2022 show that more than 65 million people that were infected with Covid-19 developed long-lasting symptoms, a condition that is now defined as Long COVID. Given how difficult it can be to identify and diagnose, the incidence rates among those exposed to multiple viral infections may be much higher. Long COVID symptoms, such as fatigue, difficulty breathing, and brain fog, can significantly interfere with one’s quality of life. Emerging studies now suggest that many of these symptoms may be a consequence of damage to the vagus nerve. As the body’s primary communication superhighway, the vagus nerve extends into every major organ in the body, including the heart, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. (Haseltine, 7/7)

House Panel To Mark Up Pandemic-Preparedness Bill Next Week

A House subcommittee will next week mark up a package of public health bills, including pandemic-preparedness legislation, according to five lobbyists. The House Energy & Commerce Committee hasn’t yet announced the markup, and the lobbyists didn’t know the exact date. But time is running out for reauthorizing a law that created several of the federal government’s biodefense and pandemic-preparedness programs. (Wilkerson, 7/7)

In other news about respiratory infections —

FDA Clears Rapid Diagnostic Test For Respiratory Ailments 

Australian diagnostics company Lumos Diagnostics announced this week that it has received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) marketing clearance for a rapid diagnostic test that helps clinicians determine when antibiotics are needed for respiratory infections. The FDA clearance means that FebriDX, a disposable point-of-care immunoassay designed to aid diagnosis of acute bacterial respiratory infections, can now be marketed in the United States for use by healthcare providers in urgent care and emergency care settings. Company officials say the test, which differentiates bacterial- from viral-associated host immune response and is intended to be used in conjunction with clinical signs and symptoms, could help improve antibiotic prescribing for acute respiratory infections. (Dall, 7/7)

This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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