What We're Reading: UK Variant Not Linked With Severe Disease; COVID-19 Hospitalization in Children; Therapy Setbacks in Huntington Disease

A new study finds no link between the UK COVID-19 variant and more severe disease; study finds more than 1 in 10 US children with COVID-19 hospitalized; therapy setbacks in Huntington disease.

UK COVID-19 Variant Not Linked With More Severe Disease

After prior research indicated that the COVID-19 variant B117, first identified in the United Kingdom, may lead to more severe disease, a new study published this week in The Lancet finds no difference in risks of severe disease, death, or other clinical outcomes in hospitalized patients with this strain or other variants. According to Reuters, a separate study published in The Lancet Public Health also finds that currently approved vaccines are likely effective against B117, the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States, with no increase in reinfection rate observed compared with non-UK variants.

More Than 1 in 10 US Children With COVID-19 Were Hospitalized

According to a research letter published late last week in JAMA Network Open, 11.7% of 20,714 examined US children with COVID-19 were hospitalized, of whom 31.1% had severe disease, characterized by requiring intensive care, mechanical ventilation, or comparable treatment. Reported by CIDRAP, the likelihood of severe COVID-19 was found to be greater if the patient had a chronic condition, was between the ages of 2 to 5 or 6 to 11 years vs a teenager, or was male. Notably, 5 US hospitals have started pediatric long-haul clinics to help care for children with lingering COVID-19 symptoms.

Two Therapeutic Setbacks for Huntington Disease

STAT reports that experimental therapies under investigation to treat Huntington disease, tominersen by Roche and 2 therapies developed by Wave, were shelved in back-to-back announcements recently. Roche said it was halting the trial of tominersen, the only treatment to target the roots of neurodegeneration in Huntington disease to reach phase 3 trials, based on the recommendation of independent data experts monitoring the trial, although it is not clear what aspects of the data led to the decision. Currently, there are no approved treatments to slow the progression of Huntington disease.