Series two of the COVID-19 Open Online Briefings is in motion.
Each week Dr David Nabarro shares the latest about the state of the pandemic and response priorities. He offers a 30-minute update on what he sees happening around the world from an interdisciplinary and people-focused perspective followed by 30-minutes of interactive discussion with participants. His updates are based on the analyses and guidance provided by the World Health Organization.
Nine in ten coronavirus patients reported experiencing side-effects such as fatigue, psychological after-effects and loss of smell and taste after they recovered from the disease, according to a preliminary study by South Korea.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, battles have raged over testing: Which tests should be given, to whom, and how often? Now, epidemiologists and public health experts are opening a new debate. They say testing centers should report not just whether a person is positive, but also a number known as the cycle threshold (CT) value, which indicates how much virus an infected person harbors.
All 54 COVID-19 patients who underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a Michigan hospital died, leading to questions about the risks and benefits of performing a procedure that exposes healthcare personnel to the coronavirus amid limited supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). [Related Study]
People with extra weight may struggle to mount a robust immune response to the coronavirus — and may respond poorly to a vaccine.
Official Reporting for September 29, 2020
Cumulative Cases: 33,249,563
Cumulative Deaths: 1,000,040
Confirmed Cases: 33,423,469
Confirmed Cases: 33,489,205
Total cases: 7,129,313
Total deaths: 204,598
New York: Cuomo takes steps to control COVID-19 clusters – WXXI News
Wisconsin: Coronavirus Cases Soaring in Wisconsin – NBC
UK: Students locked down in university dorms as coronavirus cases rise – CNN
Germany: Eyes Limiting Parties to Fight Coronavirus Spread
India: India’s Hospitals Are Struggling for Oxygen Supply as Pandemic Surges – Bloomberg
Science and Tech
In order to develop new treatments for COVID-19, it is important to understand how the human immune system responds to a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Now, a team from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has found that a type of unconventional T cell, mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, are recruited to the airways and strongly activated in some patients with severe COVID-19, suggesting the cells’ possible involvement in the development of disease. These findings corroborate other recent studies that highlight potential associations between strong MAIT cell activation and severe COVID-19 outcomes.
“While BARDA noted the company’s submission aligned with its mission, a combination of factors, including availability of funds, precluded the agency from entering into negotiations at this time,” Oragenics said in a statement.
Virologist and vaccinologist Florian Krammer offers a comprehensive review of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine landscape, including the status of the front-running candidates and their approaches. He also notes the enormous practical challenges and many unanswered questions, such as how long vaccine immunity will persist. The outlook is “cautiously positive”, writes Krammer. “It is certainly possible that vaccines with safety and efficacy proven in phase III trials might already enter the market in 2020.”
What We Can’t Know About a Vaccine – Bloomberg Prognosis Podcast
Four companies are in final-stage trials. But we won’t know exactly how these four vaccines work for months. Robert Langreth explains what we can, and, more importantly, can’t know about a shot developed at breakneck speed. Get the episode here.
As India is becoming the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety about the disease has at times descended into violence against the sick, and even health care workers. The problem isn’t limited to India—people in countries from Nepal to Mexico to Italy have stigmatized individuals connected to COVID-19, making it harder for them to go about their daily lives and get much-needed care. And such ostracism isn’t new: Societies have spurned people with leprosy for ages, as far back as ancient Hindu texts, which proscribed marriage into families that had a member with the disease. In a new story in Science, journalist Vaishnavi Chandrashekhar discusses the history of disease stigma—from leprosy, to plague, to HIV/AIDS—and how its vitriol and isolation can create a vicious cycle of disease.
Clinical Outcomes of In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in COVID-19 – JAMA
Safety and Immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Older Adults – NEJM
This is a new category for the Tulane Outbreak Daily – and I’m sure I could fill this one category up easily each day. I’ll focus on the best (worst?) one that I come across daily. Please feel free to comment on blog as to why these headlines are mis/disinformation, and in some cases dangerous if they gained traction in public or social media. Please feel free to email any information that you would like to share with our (almost) 4,000 readers around the world.
A refresher of terminology:
Misinformation: False or inaccurate information that may or may not have the intention to deceive. In some cases misinformation is the result of sloppy research, or misunderstanding.
Disinformation: False information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumors) in order to influence public opinion or obscure the truth.