Tulane Outbreak Daily – August 11, 2020

Featured Headlines

Russia Approves a Vaccine Before Completing Trials – NYT

Russia is the first country to approve a vaccine, and its announcement raises fears that the country is rushing for political purposes. The number of virus cases worldwide has now passed 20 million. [Related NPR article] [Related Bloomberg Article]

Russia’s fast-track coronavirus vaccine draws outrage over safety – Nature.com

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin announced on 11 August that the country’s health regulator had become the world’s first to approve a coronavirus vaccine for widespread use — but scientists worldwide have condemned the decision as dangerously rushed. Russia hasn’t completed large trials to test its safety and efficacy, and rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could put at risk people who receive it, researchers say. It could also impede global efforts to develop quality COVID-19 immunizations, they suggest.

Follow Times journalists inside a Houston hospital’s battle with the virus. – NYT

In one of the hospital’s I.C.U.s, many patients or their families gave the Times journalists Sheri Fink, Emily Rhyne and Erin Schaff permission to follow their care. The 24-bed unit, where more than 60 percent of the patients who were there in mid-July identified as Hispanic, is a microcosm for a country where the pandemic has disproportionately affected Latinos.

America’s uniquely bad Covid-19 epidemic, explained in 18 maps and charts – Vox

It’s now clear the United States has failed to contain its Covid-19 epidemic, with case counts far ahead of other developed nations and more than 1,000 deaths reported a day for over two weeks and counting.

What COVID-19 Shares in Common with Other Viruses – HCP Live

Last week, HIV/AIDS research pioneer David Ho, MD, joined HCPLive® and the American Lung Association (ALA) on Lungcast, to discuss the up-to-date burden of COVID-19, and what future optimal response would look like—from vaccines to public health practices. Being a world-leading virology expert, Ho also made note of a trio of past viruses in which he sees similarities, and stark differences, within COVID-19.

Most Americans Won’t Be Able to Get a Coronavirus Vaccine Until Well Into 2021 – Bloomberg

The first doses will likely be reserved for health workers and others at high risk. Even if the most optimistic projections hold true and a Covid-19 vaccine is cleared for U.S. use in November, the vast majority of Americans won’t be able to get the shots until spring or summer next year at the earliest.

Clinical Considerations

Heterogeneous Headache Characteristics Associated With COVID-19 – Clinical Pain Advisor

The heterogeneous expression of headache associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) indicates various underlying pathophysiological mechanisms, according to results of a survey published in Headache. Though headaches have been shown to be a symptom of COVID-19 in up to 60% of cases, no study has yet been done to analyze the characteristics of headaches in these patients.

Inducing hypothermia can help get ICU patients with COVID-19 off ventilators, doctors find – ABC News

Since the novel coronavirus caught the world’s attention in December 2019, doctors have been trying to determine how the virus damages the body — and trying innovative treatments to stop it in its tracks. Now, they may have found one solution for treating COVID-19 patients in critical condition. Some of the most serious cases of COVID-19 require long periods of time in the intensive care unit, on ventilators. Out of options, a group of doctors at Northwell Health’s North Shore University in Manhasset, New York, took a step back and wondered if they could stop the virus from causing further damage by introducing freezing temperatures.

Vaping linked to COVID-19 risk in teens and young adults – Stanford.edu

Data collected in May shows that teenagers and young adults who vape face a much higher risk of COVID-19 than their peers who do not vape, Stanford researchers found.

Bloomberg Podcast: The Cost of Keeping Schools Safe – Bloomberg

rne Duncan, the former US secretary of education, recently warned a House panel against opening schools prematurely. He’s one of a growing chorus of voices sounding the alarm about opening schools without properly funding safety measures. The schools, they say, simply don’t have the money they need to make their buildings safe for students and teachers. At that same house panel, witnesses said public schools would need $200 billion in federal aid to open safely with the virus continuing to circulate. Skylar Woodhouse reports on costs, and challenges, of creating safe classrooms.

SARS-CoV-2 Causes a Specific Dysfunction of the Kidney Proximal Tubule – Kidney International

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is commonly associated with kidney damage, and the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor for SARS-CoV-2 is highly expressed in the proximal tubule cells. Whether patients with COVID-19 present specific manifestations of proximal tubule dysfunction remains unknown. To test this, we examined a cohort of 49 patients requiring hospitalization in a large academic hospital in Brussels, Belgium. There was evidence of proximal tubule dysfunction in a subset of patients with COVID-19, as attested by low-molecular-weight proteinuria (70-80%), neutral aminoaciduria (46%), and defective handling of uric acid (46%) or phosphate (19%). None of the patients had normoglycemic glucosuria.

Understanding of COVID-19 Impact on Arrhythmias Evolves With New Data – American College of Cardiology

Parinita Dherange, MBBS, et al., highlight the potential mechanisms of arrhythmias in this setting and management of arrhythmias to provide a resource for clinicians during the pandemic. The paper also suggests strategies to minimize exposure to COVID-19. Arrhythmias are more common in critically ill COVID-19 patients, and the increased risk of arrhythmias in COVID-19 patients likely is due to systemic illness rather than a direct effect of the virus, the authors note. [Related Study in Clinical Electrophysiology]

Official Reporting for August 11, 2020

World Health Organization


Confirmed Cases: 19.936,210

Deaths: 732,499


Confirmed Cases: 20,075,600

Deaths: 736,372

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 20,166,415

Deaths: 738,266

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Total cases: 5,064,171
Total deaths: 162,407

Surveillance Headlines


Georgia: 9 Test Positive For Coronavirus After In-Person Classes Resume At Georgia High School – NPR

Alaska: Officials confirm 70 new COVID-19 cases across Alaska; State ferry system reports positive crew member – Anchorage News

Lousiana: 4th Louisiana child dies from coronavirus-linked illness – NOLA


Nigeria: Getting to grips with the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria – The Conversation


Finaland: Forces Quarantine on Travelers From Most of World – Bloomberg


Nursing Home Outbreaks Lift Death Rates in Hong Kong, Australia – Bloomberg

South Korea: What South Korea can teach the world about containing COVID-19 – WEFORUM


Coronavirus breaks out again in New Zealand after 102 days – ABC News

Science and Tech

Research exposes new vulnerability for SARS-CoV-2 – Eureka Alert

Northwestern University researchers have uncovered a new vulnerability in the novel coronavirus’ infamous spike protein — illuminating a relatively simple, potential treatment pathway.

Pathogenetic profiling of COVID-19 and SARS-like viruses – Oxford Academics

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has recently emerged, causing COVID-19 outbreaks and significant societal/global disruption. Importantly, COVID-19 infection resembles SARS-like complications. However, the lack of knowledge about the underlying genetic mechanisms of COVID-19 warrants the development of prospective control measures. In this study, we employed whole-genome alignment and digital DNA–DNA hybridization analyses to assess genomic linkage between 2019-nCoV and other coronaviruses.

Inspired by llamas’ unique antibodies, scientists create a potent anti-coronavirus molecule – Stat

Inspired by a unique kind of infection-fighting antibody found in llamas, alpacas, and other camelids, a research team at the University of California, San Francisco, has synthesized a molecule that they say is among the most potent anti-coronavirus compounds tested in a lab to date.

Scientists May Be Using the Wrong Cells to Study Covid-19 – Wired

How did an African green monkey that died in 1962 get involved in the biggest research debacle of this pandemic? By now there islittle doubt about hydroxychloroquine: It doesn’t work for treating Covid-19. But there’s a bigger, more important lesson hidden in the story of its failure—a rarely mentioned, but altogether crucial, error baked into the early research. The scientists who ran the first, promising laboratory experiments on the drug had used the wrong kind of cells. Instead of testing its effects on human lung cells, they relied on a supply of mass-produced, standardized cells made from a monkey’s kidney. In the end, that poor decision made their findings more or less irrelevant to human health.


Re-Testing for SARS-CoV-2: Patterns of Testing from a Large U.S. Healthcare System – Cambridge University Press


Covid-19 Drug Research Is a Big Huge Mess – Wired

Covid-19 does much more to the human body than a typical respiratory virus. In addition to neurological problems ranging from a loss of sense of smell to outright seizures, surprising gastrointestinal symptoms and kidney damage, and a potentially fatal haywire immune response, the disease also messes with a person’s blood. The sickest people start forming clots, potentially leading to stroke, heart attack, lung damage … it’s a mess. Physicians started noticing all this early in the pandemic, of course. The question was—and remains—what to do about it all.


Merck Bets On a One-Shot Vaccine in Race With Its Faster Rivals – Bloomberg

America’s top vaccine maker has kept a low profile during the pandemic but says convenience will be its advantage.

Economic Impact


Published Research

Applications of predictive modelling early in the COVID-19 epidemic – The Lancet

Patient-reported outcomes: central to the management of COVID-19 – The Lancet

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

None Today

Coping in Quarantine

11 Supposedly Fun Things We’ll Never Do the Same Way Again – NYT

The pandemic could change unexpected parts of our lives for years to come, experts say.

Despite The Risks, Business Is Booming At National Parks – NPR

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