What We’re Reading: Oxford Trial Paused; Brain Disorders in COVID-19 Patients; Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children

University of Oxford pauses AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine study in children; psychiatric, neurological illness rates high in patients who’ve had COVID-19; new CDC reports shows possible link between multisystem inflammatory syndrome and asymptomatic COVID-19.

AZ COVID-19 Vaccine Trial in Children Paused in UK

The University of Oxford has paused the most recent arm of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine trial among children and teenagers, reports The Wall Street Journal. Blood-clotting issues that appeared in adults who received the vaccine are again to blame. Although AstraZeneca has refuted the claim, the European Medicines Agency has concluded there is a link between the vaccine and “very rare” clotting events. A next move for the trial is contingent on a pending report from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. AstraZeneca is still planning to seek FDA approval for the vaccine later this month.

Psychiatric, Neurological Illness Appearing More Often in COVID-19 Patients

A recent study published in The Lancet Psychiatry details the high rates of psychiatric and neurological illnesses that clinicians are beginning to see in up to one-third of patients who are 6 months out from their COVID-19 diagnosis. Close to 13% of these diagnoses—among them, mood disorders, stroke, and dementia—are occurring for the first time and at rates twice those seen among people with the flu or other respiratory conditions. Overall, the researchers found that COVID-19 could result in a 44% higher risk of neurological and mental health diagnoses vs the flu.

Many Children, Teenagers With MIS Had Asymptomatic COVID-19

Up to 75% of children and teenagers who had asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 required subsequent hospitalization 2 to 5 weeks later for multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS, according to CDC investigators writing in JAMA Pediatrics. The data also show that among these pediatric patients, at least 4 organ systems were affected in more than 90% and intensive care unit treatment was necessary for 58%. Other MIS symptoms included low blood pressure, cardiogenic shock, and cardiac dysfunction, with more asymptomatic pediatric patients experiencing heart issues vs symptomatic patients.