Covid-19 is spreading again across most of the U.S., hammering rural America and smaller cities and raising anxiety in New York, as experts warn that school reopenings and colder weather may cause the situation to rapidly deteriorate.
Peter Marks, MD, PhD directs the US FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) and will “call the balls and strikes” on any COVID-19 vaccine, according to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD. He joins JAMA editor Howard Bauchner, MD for an update on vaccine progress-to-date and prospects for pre-election political interference in the FDA approval process. Recorded October 5, 2020.
One of the many perplexing issues with COVID-19 is that it affects people so differently. That has researchers trying to explain why some folks bounce right back from the virus, or don’t even know they have it—while others become critically ill. Now, two NIH-funded studies suggest that one reason some otherwise healthy people become gravely ill may be previously unknown trouble spots in their immune systems, which hamper their ability to fight the virus.
The science supports that face coverings save lives, and yet the debate trundles on. How much evidence is enough? To be clear, the science supports using masks, with recent studies suggesting that they could save lives in different ways: research shows that they cut down the chances of both transmitting and catching the coronavirus, and some studies hint that masks might reduce the severity of infection if people do contract the disease.
Bloomberg Prognosis Podcast: A Homemade Vaccine?
A fringe group of DIY scientists bet that without regulatory hurdles, they could produce a shot themselves a whole lot faster. But as Kristen V. Brown reports, they learned that making one that is reliable and proven safe is incredibly difficult. Get the latest episode here.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the coronavirus can be spread through airborne particles that can linger in the air “for minutes or even hours” — even among people who are more than 6 feet apart.
About 4 out of 5 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 suffer neurologic symptoms such as muscle pain, headaches, confusion, dizziness and the loss of smell or taste, new research shows.
Amid a flurry of press conferences delivering upbeat news, President Trump’s doctors have administered an array of experimental therapies that are typically reserved for the most severe cases of Covid-19. Outside observers were left to puzzle through conflicting messages to determine the seriousness of his condition and how it might inform his treatment plan.
Official Reporting for October 6, 2020
Cumulative Cases: 35,347,404
Cumulative Deaths: 1,039,406
Confirmed Cases: 35 523 518
Deaths: 1 042 398
Confirmed Cases: 35,659,199
Total cases: 7,436,278
Total deaths: 209,560
Minnesota: Reports all-time high of confirmed COVID-19 infections from unknown sources – Minneapolis Star
US Colleges: Even In COVID-19 Hot Spots, Many Colleges Aren’t Aggressively Testing Students – NPR
Arizona: How Arizona Squelched Its COVID-19 Surge – MedPageToday
France: Paris goes back on high alert for COVID-19: French capital closes bars, limits gatherings – USA Today
Science and Tech
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released new guidance for developers of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine candidates to follow when submitting the product for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval.
Last month, a grand experiment was launched. Its aim? To speed up the development of COVID‑19 vaccines and make sure they are distributed equitably among higher- and lower-income countries.
Lopinavir-ritonavir (Kaletra), a protease inhibitor mainly used for HIV, did not reduce mortality or speed recovery from COVID-19, Britain’s large RECOVERY trial affirmed.
Using a modified version of a standard serology test, BUSM researchers have found SARS-CoV-2 reactive antibodies in samples collected before the start of the pandemic, revealing antibody immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 in unexposed people.
The National Institutes of Health, working in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), today announced a third round of contract awards for scale-up and manufacturing of new COVID-19 testing technologies. The six new Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative contracts total $98.35 million for point-of-care and other novel test approaches that provide new modes of sample collection, processing and return of results. Innovations in these new technologies include integration with smart devices, mobile-lab processing that can be deployed to COVID-19 hot spots, and test results available within minutes.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
A new variation on “broken heart syndrome” described in Japanese data. Having a spouse in the ICU was linked to modestly elevated risk of a cardiovascular event, a Japanese observational study showed. [Related Study]
Covid-19 is far from over in the US. Infections continue to occur in communities around the country. Viral resurgence has forced multiple states to pause or reverse overall reopening plans. Public health leaders caution that we may not experience “real normality” until next year, and even that may be optimistic. The pandemic has not gone away.
Upper respiratory tract levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and duration of viral RNA shedding do not differ between patients with mild and severe/critical COVID-19 – Journal of Infectious Diseases
Frequent neurologic manifestations and encephalopathy‐associated morbidity in Covid‐19 patients – Annals of Translational Neurology
Risk of Cardiovascular Events After Spouse’s ICU Admission – Circulation
Case Series of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults Associated with SARS-CoV-2 Infection — United Kingdom and United States, March–August 2020 – CDC
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
Many appear to be politically motivated and conflicting information from the White House over the weekend hasn’t helped.