Following COVID numbers as vaccinations roll out

Published 5:33 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

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From staff reports

COVID numbers increased again this week with 304 more cases added to the Grand Total. The new total is 7,345 cases since March 2020. Last week it was 7,041.

The number of active cases increased by 75 this week bring the current number to 1,269 active cases. The number of those who have recovered from the virus has also increased. There are 229 more persons classified as recovered from the virus bring the number to 5,981.

Twenty-six persons are hospitalized, one more than last week. There are three persons on ventilators, which is one less than the previous week.

The cold weather also affected a scheduled Vaccination Clinic.

Public Health, according to a press release, must reschedule the February 17, 2021, COVID vaccination clinic to February 21 due to the winter weather event. Those people scheduled for the second shot are still within their time period. Report to the Orange County Expo, 11475 Fm 1442 Orange TX 77630, at the same time you were scheduled for. This clinic is rescheduled due to the changing weather conditions.

Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States.

There are currently no licensed mRNA vaccines in the United States. However, researchers have been studying them for decades, according to the Center for Disease Control website.

Early stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been carried out for influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Challenges encountered in these early trials included the instability of free RNA in the body, unintended inflammatory outcomes, and modest immune responses. Recent technological advancements in RNA biology and chemistry, as well as delivery systems, have mitigated these challenges and improved their stability, safety, and effectiveness.

Beyond vaccines, numerous preclinical and clinical studies have used mRNA to encode cancer antigens to stimulate immune responses targeted at clearing or reducing malignant tumors.

mRNA vaccines have several benefits compared to other types of vaccines including use of a non-infectious element, shorter manufacturing times, and potential for targeting of multiple diseases. mRNA vaccines can be developed in a laboratory using a DNA template and readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods. In addition, DNA and RNA vaccines typically can be moved most rapidly into the clinic for initial testing. In the future, mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to target multiple diseases.

mRNA vaccines have been studied before for flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine.

Future mRNA vaccine technology may allow for one vaccine to provide protection for multiple diseases, thus decreasing the number of shots needed for protection against common vaccine-preventable diseases.

Beyond vaccines, cancer research has used mRNA to trigger the immune system to target specific cancer cells.