Today’s Infectious Disease News (3/13/23)

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Congress Passes Bill to Declassify Intelligence on COVID-19 Origins

The US House of Representatives voted 419-0 in favor of a bill to declassify intelligence on the origins of COVID-19. If President Biden signs the bill, the law would mandate the disclosure of “any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin of the Coronavirus Disease” within 90 days. This information includes details on research activities and protocols and whether any researchers became sick. The true origins of COVID-19 may never be known for certain. While the Department of Energy concluded with low confidence that the pandemic likely started due to a laboratory leak, most government agencies investigating the issue concluded that the virus likely evolved through a natural process.

Full Story: Reuters, Associated Press

Air Pollution Increases Risk of Long COVID in Younger Adults

Research shows that air pollution raises people’s risk of suffering severe complications and death from COVID-19. A new study found that air pollution also increases your chances of developing long COVID. At least 7.5% of Americans have had long COVID, a disease characterized by persistent symptoms two or more months after the initial infection. According to the study, the most common symptoms include changes in taste/smell, difficulty breathing and fatigue. Regular exposure to particulate matter pollution increased the odds of younger adults experiencing long COVID by 28%. A separate study showed that nearly every person in the world breathes in unhealthy levels of pollution.

Full Story: The Lancet