What We’re Reading: COVID-19 Testing Among LGBTQ+ Populations; Deaths in the Unvaccinated; EUA for COVID-19 Drug

SAP Partners | <b>Rutgers School of Public Health</b>

Study highlights variability in COVID-19 testing among LGBTQ+ populations; most COVID-19 deaths are among unvaccinated individuals; FDA grants emergency use authorization (EUA) for Roche drug.

Variability in COVID-19 Testing

A new study published in Public Health Reports revealed differential patterns of testing and positivity for COVID-19, particularly among gay men. Researchers conducted an internet-based survey among 1090 individuals residing in the United States between May and July 2020. All participants were 18 years or older. According to authors, findings confirm the need to create COVID-19 public health messaging and programming that attend to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) populations.

COVID-19 Deaths Most Common in Unvaccinated

Almost all COVID-19 deaths recorded in the United States are among those who are not vaccinated, according to the Associated Press. The latest analysis illustrates the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines and shows that deaths per day, which are below 300, could potentially reach zero if all eligible individuals receive a vaccine. In addition, “breakthrough” infections among those fully vaccinated are rare—accounting for less than 1200 of over 853,000 hospitalizations, or about 0.1%. The analysis used available government data from May of 2021.

Roche Arthritis Drug Receives EUA for COVID-19

The United States has approved Roche’s arthritis drug tocilizumab (Actemra) for use to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients, Reuters reports. The emergency use authorization (EUA) issued by the FDA permits use of the drug in hospitalized adults and pediatrics with COVID-19. However, the drug has been administered to these patients for months already on a compassionate-use basis. Studies have also shown that it helped reduce risk of death and speed recovery. Specifically, the EUA is based on results of 4 studies evaluating the treatment in more than 5500 hospitalized patients.