What We’re Reading: Risk of COVID-19 Blood Clots; Ending Fetal Tissue Research Restrictions; Michigan Faces Crush of COVID-19 Cases

April 16, 2021
AJMC Staff

Study quantifies risk of blood clots in patients with COVID-19; Biden administration aims to reverse restrictions on fetal tissue research; Michigan hospitals struggle to care for COVID-19 cases.

Study Outlines COVID-19 Blood Clot Risk

Amid a continued pause of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, a new study suggests risks of experiencing dangerous blood clots in the brain are much higher among individuals who contract COVID-19 than in those who receive vaccines developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna, CBS News reports. The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found the risk of experiencing a blood clot in the brain was 95 times greater among those who contract COVID-19 compared with the general population. Researchers hope the findings will boost confidence in all the major vaccines currently available in the Western world.

Plans to Reverse Ban on Fetal Tissue Research

The Biden administration is preparing to announce it will change Trump-era restrictions on federal funding on research that uses fetal tissue, The Washington Post reports. The reversal allows for a potential resumption of studies into COVID-19 treatments, HIV and other diseases. First disclosed by HHS secretary Xavier Becerra to lawmakers, he did not provide details of the policy shift. Under the rules imposed by former President Trump, the NIH was prohibited from providing money for fetal tissue research by government-employed scientists. Fetal tissue has been used in research since the 1950s, when Swedish scientists developed a polio vaccine using fetal cells.

Michigan Struggles to Meet COVID-19 Wave

At Michigan’s largest hospital system in suburban Detroit, staff and faculty are facing a wave of COVID-19 cases, forcing some to provide outdoor evaluations as patients show up for care, according to the Associated Press. The health system, Beaumont Health, has 8 hospitals in southeastern Michigan and is currently treating more than 800 patients with COVID-19—an increase from about 500 2 weeks ago. Statewide, the number of patients with confirmed COVID-19 was near 4000, with 4 hospitals reporting they were at 100% capacity this week. The surge comes as the state continues to report the nation’s highest 7-day case rate at 551 per 100,000.