Pandemic News Links / Current News Updates

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China rapidly expands use of experimental coronavirus vaccines

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China rapidly expands use of experimental coronavirus vaccines ... cines.html

Remdesivir has ‘little or no effect’ in reducing coronavirus deaths, WHO says ... eaths.html
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Remdesivir Not Working So Far, Active Immunity vs. Passive Immunity

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Remdesivir Not Working So Far, Active Immunity vs. Passive Immunity

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COVID-19 and Current Therapeutic options

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COVID-19 and Current Therapeutic options

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Re: Pandemic News Links / Current News Updates

Post by trader32176 »

Objective measures reveal a higher prevalence of smell loss in COVID-19 patients

10/16/20 ... ients.aspx

Smell loss is a frequently reported symptom of COVID-19 but reports of prevalence vary from study-to-study and range from 5% to 98%. With such a wide range of estimates, it is difficult to prioritize its importance for testing and treatment.

Investigators, led by the Monell Chemical Senses Center, determined in part why the reports vary so much. They reviewed existing research to determine whether the studies that used direct measures versus self-report of smell loss could explain the range of estimates. They found that with direct measures, about 77% of COVID-19 patients had smell loss versus only 44% with self-report.

Direct measures of smell ability involve having patients smell and report on actual odorants, whereas self-report methods include obtaining data through patient questionnaires, interviews, or electronic health records. Direct measures are objective whereas self-report are subjective measures of a person's experience.

" Objective measures are a more sensitive method to identify smell loss related to COVID-19."

- Mackenzie E. Hannum, PhD, first author, postdoctoral fellow at Monell

On the other hand, subjective measures, "while expedient during the early stages of the pandemic, underestimate the true prevalence of smell loss," said Vicente A. Ramirez, a doctoral student at the University of California, Merced and Monell summer intern. Drs. Hannum and Ramirez are both investigators in the lab of senior author Danielle R. Reed, PhD, Associate Director at Monell.

Their research suggests subjective methodologies underestimate the true prevalence of loss of smell and that smell loss may be an effective screening method for early COVID-19 detection. The team published their findings in Chemical Senses, which is available as an open-access paper.

In addition, the team created a web resource that tracks the publication of COVID-19 and smell loss reports, which is updated weekly. (Please be patient when accessing the portal, the page takes a moment to load.) As of mid-October 2020, the online portal contains 118 studies of smell loss with close to 44,000, and this number grows daily.

The disparity between the reported prevalence of loss of smell in objective and subjective methods calls for further examination of the consequences of self-report. "Measuring people for smell loss may become as routine as measuring body temperature for fever" said Reed.

Coauthor Paule Joseph, PhD, a clinician at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) adds, "measurement of smell should be a part of all COVID-19 clinical exams and is a valuable screening tool."

Researchers do not yet have a clear picture of the trajectory of COVID-19-induced smell loss; the team found varied reports among the studies they analyzed. Several studies reported significant improvements quickly after the onset of symptoms. However, other studies said that many patients still had not returned to a normal sense of smell more than two weeks after the beginning of smell loss.

Monell Chemical Senses Center
Journal reference:

Hannum, M.E., et al. (2020) Objective sensory testing methods reveal a higher prevalence of olfactory loss in COVID-19–positive patients compared to subjective methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Chemical Senses.
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Re: Pandemic News Links / Current News Updates

Post by trader32176 »

COVID-19 has increased the urgency of advanced care planning, WVU study shows

10/19/20 ... shows.aspx

No one likes to think about their own mortality. But COVID-19 has shoved life's dark questions to the forefront: "What if I'm hooked to a ventilator and can't speak?" "If my heart stops beating, do I want to be resuscitated?" "Where do I want to die?"

West Virginia University researchers saw a sharp uptick in inquiries regarding end-of-life care in the first half of 2020, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Danielle Funk, program manager of the West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care and lead author of the study, said calls to the Center spiked threefold in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. This indicates a new sense of urgency in advance care planning - such as completing directives and medical orders (i.e. Do-Not-Resuscitate forms) - in West Virginia.

" We average between 70 and 120 calls a month. But in March (2020), we had over 300 calls. COVID made a lot of people recognize that you never what's going to happen and you need to be prepared for your medical decisions."

- Danielle Funk, Program Manager, West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care

The Center, housed in the WVU Health Sciences Center, was established in 2002 to provide resources to West Virginians seeking guidance on their preferences for care at the end of life.

For the study, Funk examined the first six months in 2020 of inquiries to the Center compared to the previous five years. Many of the callers this year specifically asked about COVID-19 and its impact on advance directives and medical orders, as well as how to respect patients' wishes via medical power of attorney or health care surrogate during social distancing.

The Center also distributed more advance directives - legal documents that outline how a patient wants medical decisions made for them if unresponsive - during the first half of 2020.

The Center's e-Directive Registry, which houses patients' advance directives and medical orders and makes them available to treating health care providers, also experienced COVID-19-related changes. Most remarkably, the Registry saw an increase in DNR cards by 77 percent between 2019 and 2020.

"Essentially, a DNR card says if your heart stops beating, no one's going to perform CPR on you," Funk said.

The Registry also accepted more Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment forms. A POST form is more wide-ranging and less black-and-white than a DNR card, Funk said. POST forms are also intended to relay the patient's wishes but leave wiggle room for various scenarios.

"There are different levels," Funk said. "For instance, if your heart stops beating, do you want full medical interventions? Or just certain, limited interventions? Or do you just want to be kept comfortable?"

The Center's e-Directive Registry has been lauded nationally and is viewed as one of the top two - along with Oregon - for its comprehensiveness, Funk said. Healthcare providers are able to access the Registry 24/7 through the West Virginia Health Information Network for their patients' advanced care documents.

"This has been very beneficial in situations where patients could not speak for themselves and could not provide documentation of their advance directives or medical orders," Funk said. "Many states have registries that only accept one type of form. We accept everything, even brain bank donations and human gift registry forms. All the documents are there and you don't have to worry about losing them."

Despite the enhanced awareness of end-of-life care during COVID-19, Funk believes anytime is a good time to start planning, for the sake of oneself and loved ones. And everything is available through the Center.

"I have the same call to action now than before COVID," Funk said. "I encourage everyone to begin advance care planning. There's no downside to it. It's just making your wishes known. I've had people call me and say, 'I'm doing this because my loved one didn't do it before me. And they had this horrific death.' When people spend the majority of their lives trying to please everyone else, you should be able to choose what happens to you when you're sick or when you die."


West Virginia University

Journal reference:

Funk, D.C., et al. (2020) How COVID-19 Changed Advance Care Planning: Insights From the West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.
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Re: Pandemic News Links / Current News Updates

Post by trader32176 »

Student adherence to control measures could significantly reduce COVID-19 risk

10/19/20 ... -risk.aspx

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have conducted a modeling study showing that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) could readily spread among students in the university setting if non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are not properly adhered to.

SARS-CoV-2 is the agent responsible for the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic that continues to pose a significant threat to public health and the economy globally.

However, according to the modeling estimates, adherence to isolation measures and the implementation of effective testing and contact tracing would curb transmission of the virus in the university setting. This adherence would also reduce the risk of asymptomatic individuals unknowingly transmitting the virus to family and community members once they return home at the end of the term.

" These results show the possible impact of SARS-CoV-2 transmission intervention measures that may be enacted within a university population during the forthcoming academic year," said Edward Hill and colleagues.

A pre-print version of the paper is available in the server medRxiv*, while the article undergoes peer review.

Efforts to curb transmission so far

Since the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 were identified in Wuhan, China, late last year, the unprecedented spread of the virus has led many countries to implement control measures in efforts to curb transmission.

In the UK, the introduction of lockdown on March 23rd, 2020, saw the closures of workplaces, restaurants, pubs, entertainment centers, and educational establishments such as schools and universities.

Once the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths began to fall, many sectors of society started to re-open, including the education sector, with control measures put in place to reduce the risk of transmission.

Contact patterns among students could increase spread

Around 40% of school leavers go on to university in the UK, with each university accommodating thousands of students every academic year.

The typical contact patterns among students could mean the virus is easily spread within their social group, thereby increasing the risk of transmission to staff members and people in the local community.

Furthermore, since students are of an age where the asymptomatic infection is more likely, they could unwittingly transmit the virus to family members once they return home at the end of the term.

" Bringing together these student communities during the COVID-19 pandemic may require strong interventions to control transmission," said Hill and team.

Previous modeling studies of SARS-CoV-2 transmission within the university setting have suggested that outbreaks are almost inevitable.

However, many of these analyses have adopted compartmental modeling approaches, which do not readily capture individual behaviors and contact tracing interventions.

What did the researchers do?

Now, Hill and the team have used an individual-level network-based model they developed to capture the interactions within a UK campus-based student population. They assessed transmission in the household, study, and social settings over a single academic term and investigated the impact of adhering to isolation, test and trace measures, single-room isolation, and supplementary mass testing.

The team reports that in the absence of interventions, the model estimated that around 16% of the student population could become infected with SARS-CoV-2 over the course of the autumn term.

However, with full adherence to isolation guidance and engagement in testing and contact tracing, the model estimated a significantly lower cumulative infection rate of just 1.4%.

The team says adherence to these measures could both reduce infection throughout the academic term and limit the prevalence of the virus at the beginning of the winter break when students return home.

"The importance of monitoring the situation in halls of residence"

The model also predicted that a higher proportion of the on-campus population would become infected irrespective of adherence to isolation than the off-campus population.

The researchers say that household sizes within on-campus halls of residence are typically larger than the off-campus households. A higher level of mixing and an associated increased risk of infection is therefore expected.

"This outcome reinforces the importance of monitoring the situation in halls of residence, in agreement with prior studies," said Hill and colleagues.

Mass testing on a regular basis was most effective

The use of room isolation and a single instance of mass testing offered marginal benefits. However, mass testing on a regular weekly or fortnightly basis could reduce the term-long caseload or end-of-term prevalence by more than half, say the researchers.

"Our findings demonstrate the efficacy of isolation and tracing measures in controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 if they are broadly adhered to," writes Hill and colleagues.

"This model suggests that encouraging student adherence with test-trace-and-isolate rules (as well as good social-distancing, mask-use, and hygiene practices) is likely to lead to the greatest reduction in cases both during and at the end of term," concludes the team.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Journal reference:

Hill E, et al. Modelling SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a UK university setting. medRxiv, 2020. doi:, ... 20208454v2
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Re: Pandemic News Links / Current News Updates

Post by trader32176 »

New project to use plasma jets to decontaminate vital medical equipment exposed to Covid-19 virus

10/19/20 ... virus.aspx

A NEW project developed by Lancaster University's Health Innovation Campus and Material Science Institute will see pioneering technology used to decontaminate vital medical equipment exposed to the Covid-19 virus, via a partnership with University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT).

Hospitals are seen as high-risk areas for transmission of the virus, with recent evidence suggesting SARS-CoV-2 could remain on surfaces for up to nine days - and potentially for weeks on items which include cavities and recesses, such as personal protective equipment (PPE). Often items are cleaned with disinfectants but this is time consuming and inappropriate, and potentially damaging for some equipment.

The new project will explore how cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) jets can be used to clean apparatus via electrically excited gases which can be used safely in air. Equipment could include diaphragms of stethoscopes and pulse-oximeters, which are sensitive to harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. It is believed the plasma cleaning process will be able to reduce the amount of cleaning time required, eliminate risk of chemical exposure and decrease the potential for antimicrobial resistance - a serious global threat.

" The current Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted multi-layered issues within hospital and public environments relating to the transmission of viruses. Primary transmission routes include infectious droplets through the air and person-to-person contact, but contact with contaminated surfaces potentially provides another route. The quantity of virus on a surface, its stability, its resistance against biocidal agents and the minimal infective dose are key to transmission.

Disinfection of common touch surfaces - doors, handles, railings, furnishings - or objects that contact many people like stethoscopes, medical equipment and PPE would reduce possible secondary routes of infection. The World Health Organisation recommends stringent environmental cleaning and disinfection guidelines. However, adherence is challenging - especially with pandemic situations and asymptomatic carriers.

We aim to demonstrate that CAP plasma jets can be used to decontaminate surfaces which have been soiled by viruses, including real-world materials like PPE, and develop a scalability and deployment plan for scale-up of this technology for rapid deployment into clinical environments."

- Professor Rob Short, Director, Material Science Institute

The project has now received start-up funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration Account 2020-2021, which supports early-stage projects that have the capacity to put scientific research outputs into commercial usage.

The Health Innovation Campus has been integral to the project by bringing in the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) as partners to ensure it is an appropriate solution and meets clinical rigour and standards. It will also help deliver the solution to other Trusts and clinical settings.

Dr Sherry Kothari, director of the Health Innovation Campus, added: "The HIC's mission is to support projects like this, where academic scientific expertise can be used to help solve real-world issues around health.

"The HIC is also here to ensure that once these solutions have been developed, they can be scaled up and delivered in settings around the country - and the world - to ensure that everyone can benefit from them.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has seen scientists from across the globe looking at how they can use their knowledge and expertise to help kill the virus - and we know from our NHS partners that this particular issue is one which is causing the sector serious concern.

"We're delighted to be supporting this project and hope it can have a real impact in halting the spread of Covid-19 in our communities."


Lancaster University
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A rare Covid complication is showing up in adults weeks after they have the virus

Post by curncman »

A rare Covid complication is showing up in adults weeks after they have the virus ... 47508.html

It was a rash that tipped Dr. Alisa Femia off.

Femia, director of inpatient dermatology at NYU Langone Health in New York City, was looking at a patient's chart, which included several photos of the 45-year-old man who had, in recent weeks, cared for his wife while she was sick with Covid-19. The man had dusky-red circular patches on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet. His eyes were pink, and his lips were extremely chapped.

His body was erupting with the kind of extreme inflammation noted almost exclusively in children at the time.

"Before I even saw the patient," Femia recalled, "I said: 'This hasn't been reported yet. This must be MIS-A.'"

MIS-A stands for "multi-system inflammatory syndrome in adults." When the condition was identified in children this spring, it was named MIS-C, with the C standing for "children."

Kids were developing dangerous inflammation around the heart and other organs, often weeks after their initial infections with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted physicians to MIS-C in May. As of Oct. 1, the CDC had reported 1,027 confirmed cases of MIS-C, with more cases under investigation. Twenty children have died.

In some cases, the children developed rashes like the one Femia noted in her adult patient.

Femia and colleagues published details of the case in The Lancet in July to alert other physicians to be on the lookout for similar patients.

"The skin's right there in front of your eyes," Femia said. "You can't not see it."

But many doctors may not, in fact, be recognizing the condition in adults. Just a few dozen cases of MIS-A have been reported. And not all patients have obvious rashes.

Dr. Sapna Bamrah Morris, clinical lead for the Health Care Systems and Worker Safety Task Force, part of the CDC's Covid-19 response, detailed 27 cases in a report the agency published last week.

MIS-A's "true prevalence is unknown," Morris said. "We have to get physicians realizing that. It may be rare, but we don't know. It might be more common than we think."

Negative tests
Part of the problem is that the virus has been circulating among humans for less than a year. Doctors worldwide are still learning about how SARS-CoV-2 acts in patients.

Typically, severely ill Covid-19 patients tend to arrive at the hospital because they're having trouble breathing. That hasn't been the case with MIS-A.

Many MIS-A patients report fevers, chest pain or other heart problems, diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues — but not shortness of breath. And diagnostic tests for Covid-19 tend to be negative.

Instead, patients will test positive for Covid-19 antibodies, meaning they were infected two to six weeks previously, even if they never had symptoms.

"Just because someone doesn't present with respiratory symptoms as their primary manifestation does not mean that what they're experiencing isn't as a result of Covid-19," Morris said.

The illness can be life-threatening. Patients usually have some kind of severe dysfunction of at least one organ, such as the heart or the liver.

Ten patients in the CDC report needed to be hospitalized in intensive care units. Some needed to be put on ventilators. Two have died.

What's more, the CDC report showed that members of racial and ethnic minority groups appear to be disproportionately affected. Nearly all patients with MIS-A were African American or Hispanic. But far too few cases have been reported to fully understand the underlying mechanisms at play.

While some kind of genetic link may be possible, Covid-19 has been shown to "disproportionately affect underrepresented minorities, probably due to socioeconomic factors," Femia said. Underlying health conditions that raise the risk for Covid-19 complications, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes, also tend to be more prevalent among members of racial and ethnic minority groups.
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Coronavirus likely to become as ‘endemic’ as the flu and a vaccine might not be able to stop it, top UK scientist says

Post by curncman »

Coronavirus likely to become as ‘endemic’ as the flu and a vaccine might not be able to stop it, top UK scientist says ... tist-says/

Health staff are dressing with protecting fits and face maks. The assortment of swab samples by medical employees in the drive-in testing middle of San Filippo Neri hospital in Roma, Italy on October 19, 2020.

NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images

LONDON — Covid-19 is likely to become as “endemic” as the annual flu virus, in accordance to the U.Ok.’s chief scientific advisor.

“We can’t be certain, but I think it’s unlikely we will end up with a truly sterilizing vaccine, (that is) something that completely stops infection, and it’s likely this disease will circulate and be endemic, that’s my best assessment,” Patrick Vallance instructed the National Security Strategy Committee in London on Monday.

“Clearly as management becomes better, as you get vaccination which would decrease the chance of infection and the severity of disease … this then starts to look more like annual flu than anything else and that may be the direction we end up going,” he stated.

He cautioned that a vaccine towards the new coronavirus — and there are a handful in Phase three scientific trials, in accordance to the World Health Organization — is not likely to eradicate the virus anyway.

“The notion of eliminating Covid from anywhere is not right, because it will come back,” he stated, noting there had solely been one human illness “truly eradicated” thanks to a extremely efficient vaccine and that was smallpox.

Biotech firms and tutorial our bodies round the world have joined forces to strive to create a vaccine towards the coronavirus at breakneck velocity given its ferocity. On Monday, the grim milestone of 40 million confirmed coronavirus circumstances worldwide was reached, and the virus has brought on 1.1 million deaths, in accordance to knowledge from Johns Hopkins University.

Historically, creating a vaccine from scratch had taken 10 years on common, Vallance stated, and it had by no means taken beneath 5 years.

“We’re now in the extraordinary situation where there are at least eight vaccines which are in quite large clinical studies around the world … We will know over the next few months whether we have any vaccines that really do protect and how long they protect for,” he stated.

He added there have been a variety of vaccines that created an immune response and antibody response, however solely the Phase three scientific trials would show whether or not they “actually stop people getting infected.” The security profile of such vaccines would additionally become clearer and from then on, a “sensible vaccination strategy” may be checked out, Vallance stated.

Vallance concluded he did not consider there would be any vaccine obtainable for widespread use in the group till at the very least spring 2021.
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