The U.S. CDC reported on September 26, 2020, that there have been 109,520,237 coronavirus diagnostic tests reported during the COVID-19 pandemic 2020. The types of tests most often discuss are RT-PCR, the nasal-swab test that detects viral RNA, and various antibody tests, that detect if you have an immune response due to past exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Coronavirus Breaking News
The coronavirus disease COVID-19 is currently reaching pandemic levels in various countries.
Over 109 Million Coronavirus Tests Completed
3,000 Muscovites Already Coronavirus Vaccinated
According to TASS reporting on September 27, 2020, over 3,000 residents of the Russian Federation's capital city of Moscow have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus, the mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin said on Rossiya 1 TV channel. 'I myself went through this vaccination procedure and you see - nothing happened to me, although several months have already passed.'
The Sputnik V vaccine was conditionally launched in Russia during August 2020.
Mayor Sobyanin's personal blog stated on September 25, 2020: 'I ask you to strictly observe the mask and glove regime in transport, in shops and other public places. And, by all means, show special attention to the elderly and chronically ill people who must stay at home again.'
India Pledges COVID-19 Vaccine Production to 'Help All Humanity'
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged at the United Nations on September 26, 2020, that India’s vaccine production capacity would be made available globally to fight the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic.
“As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today,” Modi said in a video posted on YouTube. “India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis.”
U.S. FDA Updates COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary
The U.S. FDA issued an updated FDA COVID-19 Response At-A-Glance Summary on September 25, 2020, which provides a quick look at facts, figures, and highlights of the agency's response efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Can Oral Polio Vaccination Help Prevent COVID-19?
California based Biomed Industries, Inc. announced on September 4, 2020, the initiation of a Phase 3 study with 3,600 participants to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral polio vaccine and NA-831™ for prophylaxis and treatment of early onset of COVID-19.
Both poliovirus and coronavirus are positive-strand RNA viruses and they may induce and be affected by common innate immunity mechanisms. Recent reports indicate that COVID-19 may result in suppressed innate immune responses.
"We believe that a drug combination of NA-831™ with an oral polio vaccine could offer a safe, efficacious, and low-cost prevention and treatment for COVID-19," stated Lloyd L. Tran, CEO of Biomed.
Tokyo Approaches COVID-19 'Herd-Immunity'
A new, non-peer-reviewed study published on September 23, 2020, found COVID-19 infections may have spread widely across the city of Tokyo, despite the very low fatality rate. The seropositivity rate increased from 5.8% at the beginning of the study to an unexpectedly high 46.8 % by the end of the summer of 2020.
Given the temporal correlation between the rise in seropositivity and the decrease in reported COVID-19 cases that occurred without a shut-down, herd-immunity may be implicated in Japan's capital city.
Contact-Tracing Programs Fumble in the USA
Despite aggressive efforts by health departments, many COVID-19 patients do not report their close contacts, and many contacts cannot be reached, according to the U.S. CDC announcement on September 25, 2020. As an example, during periods of high COVID-19 incidence in North Carolina, 48% of COVID-19 patients reported no close-contacts, and 25% of contacts were not reached in Mecklenburg County.
The CDC stated 'improved timeliness of contact tracing, community engagement, and community-wide mitigation are needed to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission.'
New York Extends Enhanced Airline Screening to European Visitors
Anyone flying into New York from Europe will be required to complete COVID-19 contact tracing forms the state's governor's office announced on September 24, 2020. “We’re gonna mandate that you have to fill out the forms so that we’re able to keep track of the people who are coming in from Europe,” Cuomo’s top aide, Secretary Melissa DeRosa, said according to the NYPost.
New York has been screening air travelers arriving from certain US states for the past few months.
These actions are producing a positive trend in COVID-19 cases. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on September 18, 2020, that New York State's COVID-19 infection rate reached a low of 0.88 of people tested.
Let's Talk Masks
There has been a lot of news about masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such as which masks to wear, when to wear a mask, why wear a mask, even about people who want to wear masks, people who don’t want to wear masks, and people who really, really don’t want to wear masks. To confront these questions, the U.S. CDC published some important information about masks on June 28, 2020.
And recently, a study published on September 2, 2020, compared a variety of commonly available mask types and observed that some mask types approach the performance of standard surgical masks, while some mask alternatives, such as neck gaiters or bandanas ... offer very little coronavirus transmission protection.
Coronavirus Positive Tests Decreased 5.8% Last Week
The U.S. CDC reported on September 25, 2020, that since mid-July 2020, there has been an overall decreasing trend in the percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, however, there has been some regional variation. Using combined data from the three laboratory types, the national percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the new coronavirus with a molecular assay decreased from 5.1% during week #37 to 4.8% during week #38.
Separately, the COVID-19 Tracker data indicates 109,520,237 tests have been reported as of September 26, 2020.
Respiratory Fatalities Decreased 5% in the USA Last Week
In the USA, the percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus decreased from 5.1% during week #37 .... to 4.8% during week #38, reported the U.S. CDC on September 25, 2020.
The UK Finds COVID-19 and Flu Coinfections Produce Very Negative Outcomes
An analysis by Public Health England (PHE) of COVID-19 cases from January to April 2020 found that people with (2) viruses were more at risk of severe illness. Most cases of coinfection were in seniors, and more than half of them died, reported the BMJ on September 23, 2020.
And when combining intensive care admission or death into a composite variable, the odds of death were 6.33 times greater in people with coinfection (3.57 to 11.23) than in those with neither COVID-19 or influenza infections.
Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, told a PHE media briefing, “There is now some emerging evidence which clearly suggests that coinfection with influenza and COVID-19 produces bad outcomes. One of these diseases is currently vaccine-preventable, and that’s the really important point.”
The PHE updated data was published as a preprint on medRxiv on September 25, 2020.
France Closes Marseille and Guadeloupe's Bars
In response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in France, Health Minister Olivier Véran announced that bars and restaurants in the coastal city of Marseille and the island of Guadeloupe will shut their doors as of September 26, 2020. Additionally, in "super-red" areas which include the city of Paris, bars and cafes will soon be required to shut from 10 pm, reported France24.
As of September 25, 2020, France has confirmed 31,511 fatalities related to COVID-19.
Cat Vaccine Study Against Coronavirus Launches in New York
Applied DNA Sciences, Inc. announced on September 16, 2020, that it and a spin-out of Takis Biotech are expected to initiate a veterinary clinical trial of one of the Company’s five LineaDNA™ vaccine candidates upon approval of the clinical plan by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The goal of this vaccine is to prevent infections from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in companion felines (cats).
Launched in Brewster, N.Y., this study will evaluate (30) feline immune responses of the LineaDNA vaccine candidate, which will be injection 1x per month at 1mg/month for the first 3-months of the trial, with dosing administered intramuscularly. The primary endpoint is to determine evidence of antibody and T-cell response in the companion felines.
In addition to curbing feline SARS-CoV-2 infections, the vaccine may have a secondary benefit of preventing the transfer of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from cats to their human owners.
AstraZeneca's COVID-19 Vaccine Granted Partial Legal Immunity
According to Reuters reporting on September 25, 2020, European governments have agreed to pay legal claims above an agreed limit against AstraZeneca over potential side-effects from its AZD1222 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate, which is conducting phase 3 studies in various countries. The AZD1222 vaccine was developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute.
This confidential agreement with AstraZeneca shifts some of the vaccine's legal risks to taxpayers in those countries, which were not disclosed.
Over 8,000 individuals have received vaccinations as part of clinical trials, as of September 12, 2020.
10,000 UK Adults to Participate in Phase 3 Coronavirus Vaccine Study
Maryland-based Novavax, Inc. announced on September 24, 2020, that it has initiated a Phase 3 study to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of the NVX-CoV2373 COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the United Kingdom and is expected to enroll and immunize up to 10,000 individuals over the next 6-weeks.
Men Have 62% Increased Risk of COVID-19 Associated Fatality
A new study published on September 23, 2020, found that being male proved to be an independent risk factor for a 62% increased risk of COVID-19 death, possibly related to them experiencing higher levels of inflammation. While most laboratory parameters were comparable between male and female patients with COVID-19, men had significantly higher inflammatory markers (IL-6, CRP, PCT, ferritin) across all phases of the disease.
"Men have higher death rates as well as more frequent ICU admissions and longer hospital stays, that are all associated with higher inflammatory parameters during all phases of COVID-19. "We need further studies on what exactly makes men more vulnerable to COVID-19", concluded Dr. Frank Hanses, University Hospital Regensburg, Germany.
"We do not yet know which biological or possibly social factors lead to these marked differences."
Eyeglasses Can Reduce COVID-19 Risk
In a study published by the JAMA on September 16, 2020, the proportion of inpatients with COVID-19 who wore glasses for extended daily periods (>8 h/d) was smaller than that in the general population, suggesting that daily wearers of eyeglasses may be less susceptible to COVID-19.
In this cohort of 276 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Suizhou, China, the proportion of daily wearers of eyeglasses was lower than that of the local population (5.8% vs 31.5%).
Delivery Complications Uncommon in Coronavirus Infected Pregnant Women
According to a new JAMA study by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital published on September 23, 2020, an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus during pregnancy does not appear to increase the risk of complications during delivery or negatively impact the health of newborns.
This research also found that approximately two out of three women who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were asymptomatic, which means they were not aware of the virus infection.
However, preeclampsia was more common in infected women, stated these researchers in a press release.
Second Coronavirus Wave's ‘Escapians’ Found in Texas
A new study published on September 23, 2020, found that 'virtually all SARS-CoV-2 strains in the second wave in Houston, Texas, have a Gly614 amino acid replacement in the coronavirus spike protein, a polymorphism that has been linked to increased transmission and infectivity. Furthermore, patients infected with the Gly614 variant strains had significantly higher virus loads in the nasopharynx on initial diagnosis.
This non-peer-reviewed study by Houston Methodist researchers 'helps to understand the origin, composition, and trajectory of future coronavirus infection waves, and the potential effect of the host immune response and therapeutic maneuvers on SARS-CoV-2 evolution.'
Furthermore, this finding reinforces other researchers’ concerns of the coronavirus is gaining momentum through naturally occurring mutations capable of producing mutant coronaviruses that can escape vaccines – dubbed ‘escapians’ – or mutants that can resist drugs and other therapies, reported Newswise.
Fingerstick Coronavirus Test Now Authorized
The U.S. FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) on September 23, 2020, for the first serology point-of-care (POC) test for COVID-19. The Assure COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Device was authorized in July 2020 to help identify individuals with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, indicating recent or prior COVID-19 infection.
Today, that EUA is being reissued to authorize the test for POC use using fingerstick blood samples.
This authorization means that fingerstick blood samples can now be tested for antibodies in POC settings like doctor’s offices, hospitals, urgent care centers, and pharmacies rather than having to be sent to a central lab for testing.
Dental Clinics Can Defeat COVID-19
The DentaQuest Partnership has collaborated with the Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention to best practices and guidelines for dental clinics to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the use of universal PPE and source control in dental settings, targeted SARS-CoV-2 testing of patients without signs or symptoms of COVID-19 might be used to identify those with asymptomatic or presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and further reduce the risk for exposures in dental settings.
A free 26-page guide was updated on September 10, 2020.
Convalescent Plasma Studies Launched by the U.S. NIH
Additional clinical trials funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) are expanding enrollment to further evaluate convalescent plasma treatments for patients hospitalized with COVID-19. These studies are needed as observational studies indicate that convalescent plasma may improve outcomes among severely ill and hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
However, prospective, well-controlled randomized trials are needed to generate sufficient data on whether convalescent plasma is effective and safe for the treatment of COVID-19, stated the NIH’s press release published on September 22, 2020.
Coronavirus Infection Rates Vary by US State
A majority of the USA remains susceptible to a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told lawmakers on September 23, 2020. The infection rate ranges up to 20% of the population in some US states, and less than 1% in others, the director said, according to CNBC.
Dr. Robert Redfield stated on Twitter 'the CDC recommends that you wear masks in public settings around people who don’t live in your household and when you can’t stay 6 feet away from others. Masks help stop the spread of COVID-19 to others,' says Dr. Redfield.
J&J Launches Large Phase 3 Coronavirus Vaccine Study
Johnson & Johnson announced on September 23, 2020, the launch of its large-scale, pivotal, multi-country Phase 3 trial (ENSEMBLE) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Ad26.COV2-S, JNJ-78436735, being developed by its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies. ENSEMBLE will enroll up to 60,000 volunteers across (3) continents and will study the safety and efficacy of a single vaccine dose of Ad26.COV2-S versus placebo in preventing COVID-19.
Avigan Increased COVID-19 Recover Time
Japan-based Fujifilm Toyama Chemical Co. announced on September 23, 2020, its phase III trial evaluating Avigan was now complete, and it intends to apply for the antiviral medication to be approved for treating coronavirus patients after the trials showed the median recovery time was 11.9 days in those receiving Avigan, compared with 14.7 for patients given a placebo.
Avigan's generic name is favipiravir, was approved for use in Japan in 2014, but only for influenza outbreaks. Favipiravir, which can be taken orally as a pill, works by blocking the ability of a virus to replicate inside a cell.
Most People Will Not Remain Asymptomatic While Infected
The findings of a new living systematic review published by PLOS on September 22, 2020, suggest that most people who become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus .... 'will not remain asymptomatic throughout the course of the infection.'
These researchers stated: 'the findings from systematic reviews, including this new one, do not support the claim that a large majority of SARS-CoV-2 infections are asymptomatic.'
These researchers estimated that, across all study settings, the proportion of SARS-CoV-2 infections that are asymptomatic throughout the course of infection is 20% (95% CI 17%–25%).
'World Patient Safety Day' Focuses on Worker Protections
The COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 presents a stark reminder of the importance of health worker safety and offers 'too many examples of health workers becoming infected and dying from COVID-19. The harsh consequences of inequalities have also been laid bare by the pandemic,' states a new commentary published by The Lancet.
As everyone marks the WHO's World Patient Safety Day 2020 on September 17,2 020, it is crucial to highlight that there can be no patient safety ...' without health worker safety. One cannot exist without the other.'
As in previous outbreaks of Ebola virus disease, MERS, and SARS-1, only when health workers are safe can they keep patients safe. Furthermore, 'Governments and healthcare organizations must act now to support and protect the health workforce ... so that we can provide safe care for our patients,' concluded this editorial.
Canada Buys 72 Million Coronavirus Vaccine Doses
The Government of Canada agreed to purchase up to 72 million doses of an adjuvanted COVID-19 vaccine beginning in 2021 from Sanofi and GSK on September 22, 2020. Both companies have vaccine manufacturing sites in Canada that are contributing to overall global COVID-19 vaccine development.
These companies initiated a Phase 1/2 study on September 3, 2020, with a total of 440 subjects and anticipate results in early December 2020, to support the initiation of a pivotal Phase 3 study before the end of 2020. If these data are sufficient for licensure application, it is planned to request regulatory approval in the first half of 2021.
In the aggregate, Canada has committed about $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from (5) different companies.
Digital Health Technologies Addressing COVID-19 Awarded by the NIH
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced on September 15, 2020, has awarded contracts to (7) companies and academic institutions to develop digital health solutions that help address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposed digital health tools will leverage multiple data sources, including wearable devices and COVID-19 diagnostic and serology test results. Each organization will share data and other assets in an NIH-supported central data hub in ways that protect individuals’ privacy.
These companies are listed on this NIH webpage.
Brazil Approves Phase 2/3 COVID-19 Study with Orally-Administered Opaganib
The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency has approved RedHill Biopharma's ongoing global Phase 2/3 study evaluating orally-administered opaganib in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Announced on September 22, 2020,
Opaganib is a first-in-class, orally-administered, sphingosine kinase-2 selective inhibitor with demonstrated dual anti-inflammatory and antiviral activity that targets a host cell component, unaffected by viral mutation, thus minimizing the likelihood of resistance.
Opaganib completely inhibited SARS-CoV-2 viral replication in an in vitro human lung cell model, comparing favorably with remdesivir, the positive control in the study.
'No Approved Drugs or Vaccines' Says the FDA
A new video published by the U.S. FDA on September 21, 2020, entitled, Beware of Fraudulent Coronavirus Tests, Vaccines and Treatments, explains to consumers that there are currently no FDA-approved drugs or vaccines to treat or prevent COVID-19.
CDC Removes New Coronavirus Transmission Guidelines
During the afternoon of September 21, 2020, the U.S. CDC removed from the website the revised SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus transmission guidance it published on September 18, 2020. According to the WSJ, the CDC stated 'it had posted a draft version of proposed changes in error.'
'The CDC is currently updating its recommendations regarding the airborne transmission of the new virus that causes COVID-19. Once this process has been completed, the updated language will be posted.'
This is a developing story.
China Coronavirus Vaccine Launches Phase 3 Study in Russia
Petrovax announced on September 21, 2020, it will be able to produce more than 4 million doses of CanSino Biologics's Ad5-nCoV vaccine per month in 2020 at its Moscow Region facilities. And, vaccine production can be increased to 10 million doses per month in 2021 due to the planned expansion of production capacity. As a Russian vaccine manufacturer, Petrovax will have exclusive rights to supply China-based CanSino's vaccine in Russia and the CIS countries.
Additionally, the first group of volunteers participating in an international Phase III clinical trial of the Ad5-nCoV vaccine were vaccinated at Moscow medical centers.
According to clinical regulations, study participants will be under direct supervision for the first 28-days after vaccination and will have to undergo (4) interim face-to-face examinations at treatment centers. According to expert forecasts, during this period, the Ad5-nCoV vaccinated subjects will develop an antibody and cellular immune response to COVID-19.
Coronavirus Detected in Sewage Ahead of Outbreaks
A new study published on September 18, 2020, measured SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in primary sewage sludge in the New Haven, Connecticut, during the Spring of 2020. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected throughout the study.
"Our data show the utility of viral RNA monitoring in municipal wastewater for SARS-CoV-2 infection surveillance at a population-wide level. In communities facing a delay between specimen collection and the reporting of test results, immediate wastewater results can provide considerable advance notice of infection dynamics," stated these researchers.
Coronavirus Spreads Through Respiratory Droplets Says the U.S. CDC
On September 18, 2020, the U.S. CDC confirmed the new coronavirus is spread through respiratory droplets, or small particles, such as aerosols produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. These particles can be inhaled into an unsuspecting person's nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection.
The CDC says 'this is thought to be the main way the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads between people.'
Abbott's COVID-19 Test Re-Authorized
The U.S. FDA reissued the Emergency Use Authorization for the Abbott ID Now COVID-19 test on September 17, 2020. This coronavirus diagnostic test is Indicate for specimens collected “from individuals who are suspected of COVID-19 by their healthcare provider within the first 7-days of the onset of symptoms.
Canada and USA Border Remains Closed
Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair tweeted on September 18, 2020, "We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the USA until October 21st, 2020. And the Canada Border Services Agency is reminding all travelers who are celebrating the Rosh Hashanah (September 18 to 20, 2020) and Yom Kippur (September 27 and 28, 2020) holidays, those travel restrictions remain n place at all Canadian international border crossings including land, marine, air and rail ports of entry.
If you are driving to the United States, you can now consult Canada to U.S. border online wait times.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement on September 20, 2020: 'Labs across Canada tested an average of 47,111 people daily over the past week with 1.4% testing positive of COVID-19. I urge all Canadians to take action now to slow the spread of the coronavirus.'
Can MMR Vaccines Defend Against SARS-CoV-2 Infection?
The Washington University School of Medicine announced on September 3, 2020, it is the clinical coordinating center for an ambitious, international clinical trial, which is the first to evaluate on a large scale whether the common MMR vaccine can protect against COVID-19.
Data from the trial sites will be compiled at University College London. Laurence Lovat, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of gastroenterology and biophotonics, is the study leader in the United Kingdom. “If we discover that the MMR vaccine can help train the body’s immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, then we will have something to administer very quickly while waiting for more specific vaccines and preventive therapies to be developed,”
The UK Over-Counted COVID-19 Caused Fatalities
'Almost 33% of COVID-19 fatalities recorded by the UK's Office for National Statistics in July and August 2020 were 'primarily caused by other conditions, not related to SARS-CoV-2 virus' reported Oxford University researchers. The Telegraph reported on September 18, 2020, the Oxford researcher found 'someone who had a heart attack may have been included in figures if they had also tested positive for the coronavirus.'
The study found COVID-19 was not the main cause of death in 465 cases out of 1,617 people.
The latest Oxford study came as it emerged that COVID-19 is no longer in the top ten of England’s causes of death. Dr. Jason Oke, with the Centre of Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford, added: 'people had been dying “with” the disease rather than “from” it," reported the DailyMail.
Russian Scientists Defend Sputnik V Vaccine's Efficacy
The developers of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine have defended the clinical trial data they presented during August 2020, in a new letter published in The Lancet on September 18, 2020. The letter to the Lancet's editorial board, 'emphasized that all the data presented were obtained in ‘experiments and double-checked,’ reported the TASS news agency.
Furthermore, deputy director Denis Logunov and the letter co-authors at the Gamaleya Center based in Russia promised to 'provide access to certain volunteers, so that all the existing issues are clarified.'
Russian Pharmacies Selling COVID-19 Treatment
According to Reuters reporting on September 18, 2020, R-Pharm’s Coronavir treatment for outpatients with mild to moderate COVID-19 infections will be sold in pharmacies in Russia. R-Pharm stated it received approval for Coronavir after the completion of Phase III clinical trials involving 168 patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Coronavir was first approved for in-hospital use to treat Russian patients with COVID-19 in July 2020, according to a government registry.
Coronavir is sold under various names around the world, including Avigan, FabiFlu, Avifavir, Ciplenza, FluGuard, Avifavir, and is an active form, favipiravir-RTP (favipiravir ribofuranosyl-5′-triphosphate).
France Reports Coronavirus Case 1-Day Record
According to France's Public Health Agency, 13,215 people have tested positive for COVID-19 on September 18, 2020, making it the highest largest number of infections recorded in a single day since the coronavirus outbreak of 2020 began, reported XinhuaNet.
In France, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now totals 428,696.
COVID-19 Asymptomatic Persons Should Be Tested
On September 18, 2020, the U.S. CDC issued a new statement: 'Due to the significance of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, this guidance further reinforces the need to test asymptomatic persons, including close contacts of a person with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection.'
The CDC recommendations for SARS-CoV-2 testing have been developed based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and are subject to change as additional information becomes available.
And, the U.S. FDA has not authorized using antibody tests to diagnose SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the CDC does not currently recommend using antibody testing as the sole basis for diagnosis of acute infection. In certain situations, serologic assays may be used to support a clinical assessment of persons who present late in their illnesses when used in conjunction with viral detection tests.
In-Flight Coronavirus Transmission Confirmed
Although the risks for SARS-CoV-2 transmission have been extensively investigated, the in-flight transmission of the virus has not been formally confirmed, stated a team of researchers.
According to an Early Release study published by the U.S. CDC on September 18, 2020, four persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection recently traveled on the same flight from Boston, Massachusetts to Hong Kong, China. Given the case histories and sequencing results, the most likely sequence of events is that one or both of passengers A and B contracted SARS-CoV-2 in North America and transmitted the virus to flight attendants C and D during the flight.
The airplane was the only location where all 4 persons were in close proximity for an extended period.
Furthermore, their virus genetic sequences were found to be identical, unique, and belong to a clade not previously identified in Hong Kong, which strongly suggests that the virus can be transmitted during air travel.
COVID-19, Influenza and Pneumonia Related Fatalities Decreased 33%
Nationally, based on death certificate data as of September 18, 2020, the percentage of fatalities attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 (PIC) for week #37 was found to be 6.2%. This data is currently lower than the percentage reported during week #36 (9.3%).
However, this percentage could increase as more PIC related death certificates are processed says the U.S. CDC.
European Commission Agrees to Purchase 300 Million Coronavirus Vaccine Doses
France based Sanofi and GSK announced they have finalized an advanced purchase agreement with the European Commission for the supply of up to 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, once the vaccine is approved. This final agreement confirms the announcement made on July 31, 2020, and marks a key milestone in protecting European populations against COVID-19.
Previously, the companies announced the launch of a Phase 1/2 clinical study on September 3rd. And stated a 'Phase 3 study is planned to begin by the end of 2020 and regulatory approval could be requested in the first half of 2021.'
12-Year Old Prints Life-Saving Shields
A student at South Middle School in Arlington Heights, Chicago, showed the world how digital innovations can be used to help reduce the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Twelve-year-old Vince Radlicz morphed his 3D printer into a plastic face shield-maker in March, spurred by the needs of a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
As coronavirus cases continued to increase, Radlicz didn’t rest until hundreds of his creations had been delivered to hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities across Chicago and its suburbs free of charge.
“Some of them went as far as California. It kind of snowballed after we first started doing it,” said Vince. He added that it felt amazing to help people just by doing something he loves, reported Marisa Sloan at Northwestern University of September 16, 2020.
Contact-Tracing Has Failed... Now What?
The government's systems to find people who might pass on coronavirus infections to others, known as contact tracing, are in disarray across Europe and the USA, reported the WSJ on September 17, 2020. In France, Spain, and England investigators have been interviewing far fewer contacts of infected people than officials expected.
With many governments unwilling to reimpose sweeping lockdowns, epidemiologists say swift contact tracing is essential to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus because infected people become contagious before they develop symptoms. That means the contacts of people who have tested positive must be identified and isolated quickly before they unknowingly infect others.
One positive case-study is the Republic of Singapore, which has enhanced its national-level contact tracing efforts by requiring anyone entering a public venue to be scanned for a QR code or identity cards to verify health status.
This effort contrasts with some U.S. states and big cities, where investigators aren’t contacting many people who test positive, and those who are reached, often don’t disclose their contacts. That has prevented investigators from casting a wide net to stop new infections. The full WSJ article is found at this link.
248 Coronavirus Tests Now Authorized in the USA
As of September 17, 2020, the U.S. FDA has authorized 248 coronavirus diagnostic tests, which include 198 molecular tests, 46 antibody tests, and 4 antigen tests. And, there have been 100,269,291 tests reported in the USA.