Tulane Outbreak Daily – July 29, 2020

Featured Headlines

How covid-19 conspiracy videos keep getting millions of views – MIT Technology Review
The ongoing battle between social-media companies and covid-19 misinformation pushers—including US president Donald Trump—stepped up again this week thanks to a new viral video.

No Evidence That Doctor Group in Viral Video Got Near COVID ‘Front Lines’ – MedPageToday

Who are the physicians behind America’s Frontline Doctors?

Why The Novel Coronavirus Has The Power To Launch A Pandemic – NPR

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus — then unnamed — to be a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” The virus, first reported in China in late 2019, had started to spread beyond its borders, causing 98 cases in 18 countries in addition to some 7,700 cases in China at the time.

Hong Kong on verge of ‘large-scale’ outbreak, says Carrie Lam – BBC

Hong Kong’s hospital system could face “collapse” as it grapples with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the city’s leader Carrie Lam has warned. She said the city was “on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak” and urged people to stay indoors.

The World’s Supply Chain Isn’t Ready for a Covid-19 Vaccine – Bloomberg

Already stretched thin by the pandemic, freight companies face problems ranging from shrinking capacity on container ships and cargo aircraft to a lack of visibility on when a vaccine will arrive. Shippers have struggled for years to reduce cumbersome paperwork and upgrade old technology that, unless addressed soon, will slow the relay race to transport fragile vials of medicine in unprecedented quantities.

Britain Signs Another Deal to Secure Covid Vaccine Supplies – Bloomberg

Britain is snapping up supplies of future coronavirus vaccines, rushing ahead of other countries in a bid to end the pandemic.

US hot spots see COVID-19 level off, but case counts stay high – CIDRAP

New COVID-19 cases in Texas, Arizona, and Florida—the main drivers of a summer surge of coronavirus infections in the United States—appear to be leveling off. In all three states, the 7-day average of newly reported cases has dropped, according to an analysis by CNBC.

Rare mutations reveal more about COVID-19 and the immune system – Medical News Today

Scientists have found that four young males who experienced severe cases of COVID-19 in the Netherlands had rare mutations in the same gene on their X chromosome. The discovery sheds light on how the innate immune system mounts an early defense against the infection.
Share on PinterestA new study looks at how genetics might influence the immune response to COVID-19.
Doctors know that people with conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity, and older people are at greater risk of developing severe COVID-19, the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2.

Strategies Against SARS-CoV-2 by Studying Immune Response – Yale Scientific

While scientists have tirelessly worked to understand SARS-CoV-2’s mechanism of infection and pathogenesis, much is still unknown. To design an effective treatment or vaccine, researchers must both understand the mechanism by which a pathogen invades a cell, and have a way to measure the effectiveness of immune response. Since directly identifying the extent of the immune response to a vaccine is often difficult, “biomarkers”, or easy-to-measure benchmarks for different biological conditions, could help quantify immune response. To explore possible biomarkers for SARS-CoV-2 immunity, a team of researchers at the University of Melbourne studied the antibodies produced by immune cells of patients who recovered from COVID-19.

Clinical Considerations

SARS-CoV-2 Virus Isolated From the Mastoid and Middle Ear – JAMA

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus and associated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease pandemic have rapidly spread around the world since December 2019. The high rate of droplet spread can endanger health care workers during procedures of the aerodigestive tract,1 particularly affecting otolaryngologists. Although there are no human data relating to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the middle ear, the recommendations to mitigate these risks include precautions for middle ear and mastoid surgery1,2 because middle ear effusions have been shown to contain some non–SARS-CoV-2 coronaviruses.3 We present confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 colonization of the middle ear and mastoid in 2 of 3 patients.

Computational analyses suggest new pathway for inflammatory response to SARS-CoV-2 – Medical News.net

Analyses of lung fluid cells from COVID-19 patients conducted on the nation’s fastest supercomputer point to gene expression patterns that may explain the runaway symptoms produced by the body’s response to SARS-CoV-2.

Official Reporting for July 29, 2020

World Health Organization

SITREP #191

Confirmed Cases: 16,558,289

Deaths: 656,093

ECDC

Confirmed Cases: 16,708,920

Deaths: 660,123

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 16,824,259

Deaths: 662,222

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 4,339,997
Total deaths: 148,866

Surveillance Headlines

UNITED STATES

Data Analysis: COVID-19 Is Filling Up Hospitals In Small Cities – NPR

New Jersey: Over 500 New COVID-19 Cases Reported In New Jersey For Third Time In Four Days – Local News

Maryland: Over 750 New Cases In 24 Hours, 20 New Deaths With Hospitalizations Up – CBS Baltimore

EUROPE

 

ASIA

Hong Kong: Faces Worst Wave of Virus, But It Can’t Lock Down – Bloomberg

Science and Tech

Vaccine

NIAID-Led Study of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine Supports Advance to Phase 3 Human Trials – Global BioDefense

Two doses of an experimental vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) induced robust immune responses and rapidly controlled the coronavirus in the upper and lower airways of rhesus macaques exposed to SARS-CoV-2, report scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Some scientists are taking a DIY coronavirus vaccine, and nobody knows if it’s legal or if it works – MIT Tech Review

Nearly 200 covid-19 vaccines are in development and some three dozen are at various stages of human testing. But in what appears to be the first “citizen science” vaccine initiative, Estep and at least 20 other researchers, technologists, or science enthusiasts, many connected to Harvard University and MIT, have volunteered as lab rats for a do-it-yourself inoculation against the coronavirus. They say it’s their only chance to become immune without waiting a year or more for a vaccine to be formally approved.

A coronavirus vaccine may require boosters – here’s what that means – Medical Express

In the global race to contain the coronavirus pandemic, there is hopeful news on the vaccine front, with a number of potential candidates being developed and some promising early results. Based on what we know so far, it currently seems likely that most potential vaccines designed to protect against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 will require boosters, perhaps regularly. Why is this?

Experimental COVID-19 vaccine protects upper and lower airways in nonhuman primates – NIH

Two doses of an experimental vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) induced robust immune responses and rapidly controlled the coronavirus in the upper and lower airways of rhesus macaques exposed to SARS-CoV-2, report scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.

Therapeutics

Phase III study of Roche anti-inflammatory drug in Covid-19 fails – MedCityNews

The company said that the COVACTA trial of Actemra in Covid-19 pneumonia had failed to meet its primary endpoint. Earlier this month, Regeneron and Sanofi announced that their study of a similar anti-inflammatory drug had also not met its primary endpoint.

Drug discovery strategies for SARS-CoV-2 -Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

COVID-19 is a novel disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that was first detected in December of 2019 in Wuhan, China and has rapidly spread worldwide. The search for a suitable vaccine as well as effective therapeutics for the treatment of COVID-19 is underway. Drug repurposing screens provide a useful and effective solution for identifying potential therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2. For example, the experimental drug remdesivir, originally developed for Ebola virus infections, has been approved by the FDA as an emergency use treatment for COVID-19. However, the efficacy and toxicity of this drug needs further improvements. In this review, we discuss recent findings on the pathology of coronaviruses and the drug targets for the treatment of COVID-19. Both SARS-CoV-2 specific inhibitors and broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus drugs against SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 will be valuable additions to the anti-SARS-CoV-2 armament. A multi-target treatment approach with synergistic drug combinations containing different mechanisms of action may be a practical therapeutic strategy for the treatment of severe COVID-19.

Infection Prevention

 

Social and Psychological Impact

How the Pandemic May Change ‘Work-Life Balance’ Forever – Bloomberg

U.S. companies known to treat workers right pivot to a new reality, offering perks employees may want to keep when the virus recedes.

How is COVID-19 affecting America’s rich? – Brookings.edu

In the United States, as in many other countries, a battle has been unfolding between those who want to save lives and those who want to save livelihoods. Those who want to save livelihoods argue that the economic downturn is so massive that it is not only impacting the health of the economy but also health on a broader scale. As people lose health insurance, suffer growing anxieties, and face the risk of contracting the virus, a balance that optimizes the people’s well-being is difficult to attain. In uncertain times like these, granular data that provide accurate information on what is unfolding around the world are especially useful.

Published Research

Papain-like protease regulates SARS-CoV-2 viral spread and innate immunity – Nature

The pathophysiology of ‘happy’ hypoxemia in COVID-19 – Respiratory Research

SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthy donors and patients with COVID-19 – Nature

COVID-19: A Perspective from Clinical Neurology and Neuroscience – The Neuroscientist

The impact of obesity on COVID-19 complications: a retrospective cohort study – Nature

A comparative overview of COVID-19, MERS and SARS: Review article – International Journal of Surgery

SARS-CoV-2 productively infects human gut enterocytes – Natl Library of Medicine

Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)

 

Coping in Quarantine

Goodbye, jeans. The pandemic is ushering in an era of comfort. – Washington Post

Once the ultimate in comfort and casual wear, jeans have been usurped by more comfortable — and stretchier — options. White-collar workers who are logging in from home say they’re increasingly reaching for basketball shorts and yoga pants to pair with more professional-looking tops for video calls.

How to stay calm, optimistic, even happy during the COVID-19 pandemic — Tribune readers share what works for them – Chicago Tribune

I think my favorite in this list was the Booze Brigade. If we didn’t live on a farm, I’d start one of those.

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