Tulane Outbreak Daily – August 21, 2020

Featured Articles

Saliva COVID Tests Have Real Potential, FDA Leader Says – MedPageToday

The saliva-based test “really has potential” as a more convenient COVID-19 diagnostic, said Anand Shah, MD, the Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs at FDA, during a virtual press event Thursday morning.

How does immunity against coronavirus work? New research shows how antibodies can block it – Washington Post

When a coronavirus outbreak on a Seattle trawler in May infected more than 100 crew members, three fishermen with antibodies were spared, according to a new study, providing encouraging evidence about our immunity from the contagion.

U.S. universities have been trying to prepare for months, but outbreaks are forcing last-minute changes. – NY Times

As college students return to U.S. campuses, some schools are already hastily rewriting their plans for the fall. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Michigan State and Drexel University will now hold most fall classes online, and Notre Dame and the University of Pittsburgh are among several that have abruptly suspended in-person classes for the coming weeks.

Failing the Coronavirus-Testing Test – Harvard Magazine

At the moment, the U.S. has no semblance of public-health testing” for the coronavirus, says Michael Mina, an assistant professor of epidemiology at both Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. What does Mina—an expert in viral testing protocols—mean by that?

Q&A with Dr. Fauci: ‘We will get out of this and we will return to normal. Don’t despair.’ – Washington Post

A study published yesterday in the Journal of Pediatrics found that 49 Massachusetts children and young adults 0 to 22 years with COVID-19 had significantly higher levels of virus RNA in their airways than did infected adults in intensive care units, suggesting that the novel coronavirus doesn’t spare young people and that they could spread it just as easily.

COVID-19 cases climb higher in European countries – CIDRAP

COVID-19 cases in Europe are rising steadily, increasing about 26,000 cases per day, and two thirds of countries have reimposed some restrictions, the head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) European regional office said today.

3 New Scientific Studies Say, ‘Mask Up!’ COVID-19 Can Spread In Surprising Ways We Didn’t Realize – Forbes

Three new scientific studies published this month show that the COVID-19 virus can spread in more ways than we once knew. Research from various parts of the world considered three separate factors in each study: low humidity, public restrooms and airborne dust. The implications from all three of these studies? Mask up!

With Coronavirus Cases Surging, Europe Braces for New Phase in Pandemic – NY Times

Despite rules on masks and distancing, fears are growing that the end of the summer travel season will bring a wave of infections.

Clinical Considerations

Kids with COVID have more viral RNA in their airways than adults do – CIDRAP

A study published yesterday in the Journal of Pediatrics found that 49 Massachusetts children and young adults 0 to 22 years with COVID-19 had significantly higher levels of virus RNA in their airways than did infected adults in intensive care units, suggesting that the novel coronavirus doesn’t spare young people and that they could spread it just as easily. [Related Journal of Pediatrics Study] [Related article Physicians Weekly]

Official Reporting for August 21, 2020

World Health Organization

Weekly Epi Update 1

(last updated 8/16)


Confirmed Cases: 20,730,456

Deaths: 751,154


Confirmed Cases: 22,705,645

Deaths: 794,104

Johns Hopkins

Confirmed Cases: 22,709,116

Deaths: 794,274

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC Media Telebriefing: Update on COVID-19 – CDC

Total cases: 5,551,793
Total deaths: 173,490

Surveillance Headlines


Cases surge in France, Germany, Italy and Spain – NY Times

Spain: Why Spain is seeing second wave – BBC

Science and Tech

Genomic Analysis Reveals Many Animal Species May Be Vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 Infection – Smithsonian

Humans are not the only species facing a potential threat from SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to a new study from the University of California, Davis. An international team of scientists used genomic analysis to compare the main cellular receptor for the virus in humans — angiotensin converting enzyme-2, or ACE2 — in 410 different species of vertebrates, including birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. [Related Study PNAS]

Natural killer cell immunotypes related to COVID-19 disease severity – Science Magazine

Understanding innate immune responses in COVID-19 is important to decipher mechanisms of host responses and interpret disease pathogenesis. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate effector lymphocytes that respond to acute viral infections but might also contribute to immunopathology. Using 28-color flow cytometry, we here reveal strong NK cell activation across distinct subsets in peripheral blood of COVID-19 patients. This pattern was mirrored in scRNA-seq signatures of NK cells in bronchoalveolar lavage from COVID-19 patients. Unsupervised high-dimensional analysis of peripheral blood NK cells furthermore identified distinct NK cell immunotypes that were linked to disease severity. Hallmarks of these immunotypes were high expression of perforin, NKG2C, and Ksp37, reflecting increased presence of adaptive NK cells in circulation of patients with severe disease. Finally, arming of CD56bright NK cells was observed across COVID-19 disease states, driven by a defined protein-protein interaction network of inflammatory soluble factors. This study provides a detailed map of the NK cell activation landscape in COVID-19 disease.

Early NK cell-mediated immune response may contribute to severe COVID-19 – Science Daily

Researchers may have come one step closer toward understanding how the immune system contributes to severe COVID-19. In a new study, researchers show that so-called natural killer (NK) cells were strongly activated early after SARS-CoV-2 infection but that the type of activation differed in patients with moderate and severe COVID-19. The discovery contributes to our understanding of development of hyperinflammation in some patients.


Self-collected saliva and deep nasal swabs are equally effective for diagnosing COVID-19, study finds – Science Daily

Self-collected saliva and deep nasal swabs collected by healthcare providers are equally effective for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a new study conducted by ARUP Laboratories and University of Utah (U of U) Health.

Better Tool Created to Aid COVID-19 Diagnosis – ScienceTech Daily

A Louisiana State University Health New Orleans radiologist and evolutionary anatomist have teamed up to show the same techniques used for research on reptile and bird lungs can be used to help confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19 in patients. Their paper published in BMJ Case Reports demonstrates that 3D models are a strikingly clearer method for visually evaluating the distribution of COVID-19-related infection in the respiratory system.

Published Research

Pediatric SARS-CoV-2: Clinical Presentation, Infectivity, and Immune Responses – Journal of Pediatrics

Broad host range of SARS-CoV-2 predicted by comparative and structural analysis of ACE2 in vertebrates – PNAS

SARS-CoV-2 in cardiac tissue of a child with COVID-19-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome – The Lancet

The Cellular basis of loss of smell in 2019-nCoV-infected individuals – Briefings in Bioinformatics

Coping in Quarantine

Looking for respite from the coronavirus, these Israelis sought peace in nature – Washington Post Photography

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