Despite conflicting data, results from largest trial that show the antiviral speeds up recovery will make the treatment a standard of care in the United States.
The new coronavirus invades human cells after one of its proteins binds with ACE2, a protein found in cells in many human organs. But little has been known about that crucial interaction. [Related Paper]
Clinicians treating COVID-19 patients have described pervasive clots in the lungs on autopsy, breakthrough clotting clogging dialysis lines despite antithrombotic medication, and even clots forming in real-time during mechanical thrombectomy for ischemic stroke. [Related Study and Guidelines] [Anticoagulation Guidance Webinar] [Guidelines from Netherlands]
Federal data released this week shows that the number of deaths recorded in the U.S. this year is higher than normal, outpacing deaths attributed to COVID-19 in states that have been hit hardest by the virus. [Related Study]
For the past week, I’ve seen a glimmer of optimism in my New Orleans health care colleagues. The emergence of hope is no small thing. This pandemic has been inches from overwhelming those of us on the front lines for weeks. Louisiana has one of the cases in the country, and St. John the Baptist Parish—just outside New Orleans—has the highest per capita death rate in the country. As the pandemic continues, infections will spread, and the death toll will rise. But there are signs that the city and the state are beginning to “flatten the curve.” The spread of new cases has slowed, and hospital admissions are stable.
An international team of more than 120 scientists has detailed the impact of 75 over-the-counter prescription and development-stage drug compounds on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Several of these agents show promise in blocking SARS-CoV-2 replication in laboratory experiments. One compound investigated in the research, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough medicines, appears to have the potential to promote the growth of the virus. [Related paper in Nature]
There is a simple, but crucial number at the heart of understanding the threat posed by the coronavirus. It is guiding governments around the world on the actions needed to save lives, and it gives us clues to the extent that lockdown can be lifted.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made German virologist Christian Drosten an unlikely cult figure.
Analyses from single-cell sequencing datasets support the idea that COVID-19 is not just a respiratory disease but an illness that can affect multiple organs. [Related Pre-Print]
NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly talks with Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of the infectious diseases department at Children’s National Hospital, about the COVID-19 cases among children.
Data have suggested that men who get infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are more likely to suffer worse outcomes than women, as Nina Shapiro described for Forbes. This has prompted scientists to wonder what is different about men, not in general, but in regards to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Well, one difference (or perhaps two differences) is those things that men are adjusting all the time. No, not the television remote control, but testicles. [Related pre-print study]
A discussion on the data from the FLARE team.
Official Reporting for April 30, 2020
|WHO SITREP #100||ECDC | Country Data||Johns Hopkins|
Massachusetts: Coronavirus kills 70 veterans at care home – BBC
Chicago, Illinois: firefighter, apparently recovered from COVID-19, suffers fatal stroke – Chicago Tribune
Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles City And County Offer Free Coronavirus Testing To All Residents – NPR
Germany: German social distancing will be extended to May 10 – Reuters
Germany: R0 has risen slightly from 0.7 earlier this month to 1.0 – CIDRAP
Africa: Pandemic activity is evolving rapidly in Africa, with cases rising 42% over the past week and deaths increasing by 24% – CIDRAP/WHO
Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, and Tanzania: Reported exponential increases last week
South Africa, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Iory Coast, Guinea, Niger, Senegal and Burkina Faso: Account for 84% of all cases. Niger reports 126 health care workers infected – CIDRAP
Niger: 4.4% reported mortality rate – CIDRAP
Algeria: 12.6% reported mortality rate – CIDRAP
Liberia (9.7%) reported mortality rate – CIDRAP
Democratic Republic of the Congo (6.1%) reported mortality rate – CIDRAP
Mali (6.6%) reported mortality rate – CIDRAP
Burkina Faso (6.6%). reported mortality rate – CIDRAP
Japan: Low testing rate raises questions – BBC
South Korea: Reports No New Domestic Coronavirus Cases – NPR
Science and Tech
More than 90 vaccines are being developed against SARS-CoV-2 by research teams in companies and universities across the world. Researchers are trialling different technologies, some of which haven’t been used in a licensed vaccine before. At least six groups have already begun injecting formulations into volunteers in safety trials; others have started testing in animals. Nature’s graphical guide explains each vaccine design.
The collaboration aims to bring to patients the potential vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, being developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group, at the University of Oxford. Under the agreement, AstraZeneca would be responsible for development and worldwide manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine.
Pfizer and Germany-based BioNTech are collaborating on a messenger RNA vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The two companies have already begun Phase I/II clinical testing in Germany. The companies now plan to start testing in the U.S. once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives approval.
The COVID-19 testing picture in the U.S. is far from easy to understand, given the disparate agencies and public and private health organizations involved. Johns Hopkins, building on its excellent work developing COVID-19 case tracking and basic information resources, has developed a new hub called the COVID-19 Testing Insights Initiative that breaks down what kinds of tests are available, as well as where they’re being administered in the U.S., and in what volume.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) today announced a $1.5 billion initiative to speed breakthroughs in diagnostic tests for the virus that causes COVID-19. The program aims to increase the U.S. capacity for SARS-CoV-2 testing up to 100-fold by late summer, in time for the start of the flu season.
Pre-Pub (not yet peer reviewed, should not be regarded as conclusive)
Integrated analyses of single-cell atlases reveal age, gender, and smoking status associations with cell type-specific expression of mediators of SARS-CoV-2 viral entry and highlights inflammatory programs in putative target cells – BioRXiv
Coping in Quarantine
It’s been more than a month since many of us have been to work, the gym or the hairdressers. We’re still not sleeping well, our hands are dry from too much hand sanitizer, and our brains are foggy from reading too much about covid-19. Take a step back and pay attention to your mental and physical needs during this time. You’ll be glad you did. [if you hit a paywall at the link, let me know and I’ll post entire article]