Coronavirus updates for July 7: Here’s what to know in South Carolina this week

Matt Rourke/AP
·3 min read

We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus and vaccines in South Carolina. Check back each week for updates.

Over 11,800 COVID-19 cases in S.C. last week

At least 1.5 million coronavirus cases have been reported in South Carolina, and at least 18,043 people have died of the virus since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Wednesday, July 6, reported 11,844 COVID-19 cases and five coronavirus-related deaths for the week ending July 2. The counts include probable and confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths.

Data shows COVID-19 cases are up nearly 8% compared to this time last week and hospitalizations jumped nearly 16%. As of July 5, 367 people in the state were hospitalized with coronavirus, including 47 patients being treated in intensive care and nine patients on ventilators, the latest available data shows.

The omicron variant accounted for 100% of coronavirus strains identified in South Carolina during the week of June 18, according to the latest available state data. The DHEC’s Public Health Laboratory conducts sequencing on randomly chosen samples as part of nationwide efforts to identify new strains of the virus, the agency’s website reads.

About 52% percent of South Carolinians eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 60% have received at least one dose, state health data shows.

A COVID booster to target omicron, subvariants? What to know

Public health officials are recommending modifications to COVID booster shots to better protect the public against the omicron variant — and its many subvariants, McClactchy News reported.

Advisers on the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee made the recommendation June 28, saying the vaccines should be updated ahead of the fall and winter seasons.

Protection offered by the original coronavirus vaccines declines over time, the panel said, and is “less robust” against COVID-19 variants.

“Since omicron came on the scene … we have seen the BA.1 variant, which was initially what omicron was circulating as,” is “no longer circulating. … It has been eclipsed by other omicron variants,” Dr. Peter Marks, a top FDA official in charge of vaccine regulation, said at a panel discussion.

Read the full story here.

Llama blood may protect against COVID, study suggests

A llama’s blood may provide protection against COVID-19, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Cell Reports, suggests that protection may also extend to coronavirus variants, including omicron, and other related viruses, McClatchy News reported, citing a news release.

That’s because llama’s blood contains “super immunity” particles, also known as nanobodies, that could be effective in treating COVID-19 in humans, according to the team of researchers at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital. The tiny antibodies produced by the animal’s immune system have “neutralizing properties” that can better attach to parts of a virus such as COVID-19.

“Specifically, it allows them to penetrate more of the recesses, nooks, and crannies of the virus surface, and thus bind to multiple regions to prevent the virus from escaping and mutating,” study co-author Dr. Ian Wilson said in a statement.

For the study, a llama named Wally was given a series of shots containing SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19 in humans). Researchers repeated the process and found that Wally developed super-immunity to the virus because of the nanobodies his body made in response to it.

Read more about the study here.

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