Rise in adolescent Covid hospitalizations is reflection of latest variants, Gottlieb says

Dr. Scott Gottlieb pointed out the highly transferable Covid-19 variants as a possible cause on Friday an increase in adolescents’ hospitalizations with the virus in March and April.

“It’s worrying the trends in hospitalization” among teenagers, said Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration during the Trump administration. “I think it’s a reflection of the new, more contagious varieties.”

“We see that these variants are more contagious in all age groups, so they affect more adults, but also more children as a result, especially B. 117,” Gottlieb told CNBC “The news with Shepard Smith.”

The B. 117 variant is currently the most widespread strain in the United States with 20,915 reported cases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the first three months of the year, CDC researchers found that almost a third of adolescents hospitalized with Covid had to be admitted to an intensive care unit. In the meantime, 5% required invasive mechanical ventilation. Of course, CDC data shows that no teenagers died from Covid in the US in the first quarter of 2021.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky urged parents on Friday to vaccinate their teenagers against Covid, citing more teenagers hospitalized with Covid.

Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the board of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, health technology company Aetion Inc., and biotechnology company Illumina.

Abbott CEO says it has a workforce of ‘virus hunters’ on new Covid variants

An Abbott Labs employee receives the BinaxNOW Covid-19 antigen rapid test at her workplace.

Abbott Labs

Abbott Labs A team of “virus hunters” are working with health officials around the world to monitor Covid-19 variants as some mutant strains show the ability to evade detection, CEO Robert Ford said during an interview published Tuesday at It was broadcast as part of the CNBC Healthy Returns event.

“They’re always on the lookout for new viruses, and in this case we’ve put a team together to monitor all possible mutations,” he said of the coalition pandemic defense. “It can’t be just a US thing, you have to work with all the countries, all the universities, all the different collection points, then I think this is the way to go.”

The Food and Drug Administration alerted clinical staff in January that new variants can lead to false negative Covid-19 test results. The agency identified three tests, none of which were performed by Abbott, and which may be less accurate because the part of the SARS-CoV-2 gene sequence that the tests were looking for was mutated in some variants.

Ford also made it clear that with the rate at which Covid-19 is mutating, there is no time to be wasted. Scientists need to “chase these mutations,” he said.

In the meantime, scientists are developing a new generation of tests that will look for parts of the virus that are less likely to mutate and give false negative results.

Antigen tests, such as those used in Abbott’s popular Binaxnow Covid-19 tests, target proteins in the virus that are less likely to mutate over time.

New York is operating 1,000 genome exams every week to search for Covid variants

Scientists work in a laboratory testing COVID-19 samples at the New York City Health Department during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New York on April 23, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

New York State runs about 1,000 genome tests every week to look for new, contagious variants of Covid, said state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, at a news conference on Friday.

“The new varieties are terrifying: the British variety, the Brazilian variety, now the South African variety,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo at the briefing. “The British variety is here.”

Zucker said the state has done about 6,000 genome tests so far and only found the strain that came from the UK. New York officials have so far identified 25 of these cases, including two new cases in Westchester County and one new case in Kings County. Said Cuomo. According to Zucker, there were no deaths in these cases.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters on Friday that there was “some evidence” of the mutated tribe could also be more deadly than the originalwhich has its origin in Wuhan, China.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously said there was no evidence that any of the new variants were more deadly or causing more serious illness.

When asked about the potential for higher mortality associated with the British tribe, Zucker said he was in contact with the British science advisor and the evidence is still preliminary.

“The fact that it’s more communicable means there will be more cases. If there are more cases, there will be more hospitalizations, and obviously if there are more hospitalizations there is an obvious risk of more deaths,” Zucker said.

At the meeting, Cuomo said he hoped President Joe Bidens The new administration will boost vaccine production and allow increased vaccine distribution. New York gave more than 975,000 people at least one dose of the vaccine on Thursday, according to the state Vaccine tracker.

“The British tribe is spreading. We still only have a vaccination rate of 60% to 70% of our hospital workers. This is a problem,” said Cuomo.