Jul 1, 2020 • 4:48 pm CDT
Defense Department Authorizes Travel to Just 47 US States
The US Secretary of Defense recently signed a memo, moving to a conditions-based approach to personnel travel. The Secretary's #1 priority during the COVID-19 pandemic is protecting the military workforce.
As of June 29, 2020, there are 47 US states that meet the new conditions to lift travel restrictions, subject to individual military installation assessments.
California, Florida, and Michigan are the only US states to which service members are not authorized to travel for permanent-change-of-station moves, temporary duty, and other non-essential purposes.
However, if installation conditions are subsequently not met, the approval authority decides if travel restrictions should be reinstated, stated this DoD press statement.
Jul 1, 2020 • 1:32 pm CDT
Alert: Contact-Tracing Scams in the USA
Part of the continued effort to fight fraud connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Federal Trade Commission announced on June 30, 2020, they are partnering to alert the public of emerging threats to steal money and sensitive information through contact tracing scams.
Scammers may send text messages or emails with fake links, or call people pretending to be contact tracers.
Their goal is to get money, Social Security numbers, or other sensitive information not required for authentic contact tracing.
Jul 1, 2020 • 12:50 pm CDT
Treating COVID-19 Patients with Convalescent Plasma Found Safe
The first peer-reviewed study of COVID-19 and convalescent plasma therapy in the USA shows the treatment to be safe, with 76% of patients improving after receiving the treatment. No adverse events as a result of plasma transfusion were observed. Whole-genome sequencing data did not identify a strain genotype-disease severity correlation.
This study's data indicate that the administration of convalescent plasma is a safe treatment option for those with severe COVID-19 disease.
Jul 1, 2020 • 8:55 am CDT
Puerto Rico Requires American Visitors Pass COVID-19 Test
Puerto Rico's governor announced on June 30, 2020, new rules for all airline passengers arriving into Puerto Rico. Starting July 15th, all visitors, including USA citizens, must take a coronavirus test 72 hours prior to their arrival and submit the results to officials at the airport, reported Fox13 news.
Those who refuse to do so, or tested positive, or do not have the test results available, will be forced into a 2-week quarantine.
During that time, these visitors have to undergo a COVID-19 test and share the results if they want to be released from quarantine, said Puerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo Gonzalez.
Jul 1, 2020 • 5:58 am CDT
USA Consolidates Coronavirus Treatment Market
On June 29, 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced an agreement to secure large supplies - about 90% of all production - of the drug remdesivir for use by American hospitals.
According to international media, this implies European health authorities may not be able to acquire any supplies of remdesivir until the Fall of 2020.
Jul 1, 2020 • 5:47 am CDT
Far-UVC Light Safely Inactivates Airborne Coronaviruses
A direct approach to limit airborne viral transmissions is to inactivate them within a short time of their production. Germicidal ultraviolet light, typically at 254 nm, is effective in this context, reports a new study published in Nature on 24, June 2020.
However, far-UVC light (207–222 nm) efficiently kills pathogens ... potentially without harm ... to exposed human tissues.
Jul 1, 2020 • 5:33 am CDT
Goodbye Health Privacy ... Hello 'Digital Health Passport'
A British cybersecurity company, VTS, in partnership with several tech firms, is rolling out the COVI-PASS, which is a “digital health passport” that will contain your “relevant health information," reported mintpressnews.
In May 2020, VST signed with the owner of COVI-PASS, Circle Pass Enterprises (CPE) to integrate VST’s VCode into the biometric RFID-enabled “passports” which can be accessed via mobile phone or a key fob that will flash colored lights to denote if an individual is to be denied entry to public locations.
According to Twitter posts, VST now has a direct partnership with the UK government and has secured contracts to deploy its technology in 15 countries, including Italy, Portugal, France, India, the USA, Canada, Sweden, Spain, South Africa, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and the Netherlands.
This type of 'contact-tracing' app is currently being deployed throughout the USA, which suspended aspects of the HIPAA privacy law during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jul 1, 2020 • 5:15 am CDT
New Yorker's Were Infected During February 2020
A new study offers the first physical evidence that SARS-CoV-2 was circulating at low levels in New York City as early as the first week of February 2020, reported the NYTimes on June 30, 2020.
This study using 5,000 plasma samples from patients at Mount Sinai Hospital also confirms about 20% of New Yorkers had been exposed to the coronavirus by late April, which is consistent with data just released by the U.S. CDC.
Jun 30, 2020 • 5:44 pm CDT
USA's Coronavirus Version Could be 10x More Contagious
A non-peer-reviewed study by the Scripps Research Institute posted on June 12, 2020, shows that the original SARS-CoV-2 strain in China is dubbed D614, while the virus found in the UK, Italy, and North America by May 2020 is now called G614. And this S protein mutation results in more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 but also limits shedding of the S1 domain, which increases the S-protein incorporation into the virion.
This indicates the coronavirus version spreading in the USA could be about 10 times more infectious, meaning higher amounts of coronavirus are circulating in their body. reported these Scripps researchers based in Jupiter, Florida.
Jun 30, 2020 • 1:41 pm CDT
Scotland On-Track to Eliminate Coronavirus
Fatalities and new infections from the SARS-CoV-2 virus have fallen to such low levels in the country of Scotland that the first minister Nicola Sturgeon says the country is close to eliminating the virus', reported the BMJ on June 29, 2020.
Sturgeon described this trend as 'really significant.'
With a population of about 5.5 million, Scotland has reported 2,485 fatalities related to COVID-19 disease during 2020.
Jun 30, 2020 • 9:03 am CDT
Americans Barred From Entering the EU for Nonessential Travel
EU ambassadors plan to reopen external borders on July 1, 2020, but travellers from the USA could be among those not allowed into the EU, says the BBC.
This action by the EU could be related to the U.S. CDC's June 5, 2020, recommendation that travelers avoid all nonessential international travel.
Jun 30, 2020 • 7:35 am CDT
Another Coronavirus Vaccine Candidate Joins Operation Warp Speed
Based on positive phase 1 clinical trial results, the INO-4800 vaccine candidate has been selected to participate in a non-human primate challenge study as part of the U.S. government's Operation Warp Speed program.
And, INOVIO announced positive interim clinical data of its vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2, from the 1st, of two, Phase 1 clinical trial cohorts.
Jun 30, 2020 • 6:49 am CDT
30 Million SARS-CoV-2 IgG Antibody Test Become Available
Beckman Coulter announced on June 29, 2020, that its Access SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay has received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. FDA. Beckman Coulter has already shipped tests to more than 400 hospitals, clinics, and diagnostics laboratories in the USA.
The company said it is able to deliver more than 30 million tests per month.
Jun 30, 2020 • 6:35 am CDT
NuvOx Pharma's Oxygen Therapeutic Launches Phase IIa Clinical Trial in Canada
On June 29, 2020, NuvOx Pharma announced it received a “No Objection Letter” from Health Canada to proceed with a Phase IIa clinical trial of NanO2 in COVID-19 subjects with acute hypoxic respiratory failure (AHRF).
Some patients with AHRF can progress to a more severe form of the disease called acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is associated with lung inflammation leading to low blood oxygenation, which is the major cause of COVID-19 disease fatalities.
Jun 30, 2020 • 6:24 am CDT
Seniors Need Flu Shots When Traveling
The European Commission has given regulatory approval for the 1st adjuvanted quadrivalent influenza vaccine designed to protect those aged 65 and over.
Announced by UK-based Seqirus on June 8, 2020, this new vaccine is designed to give enhanced protection to people aged 65 and over in comparison to standard influenza vaccines.
Jun 30, 2020 • 6:20 am CDT
United Airlines Will Investigate Non-Compliant Passengers
United Airlines announced that it will strengthen mandatory mask-wearing policies to further mitigate against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus while flying.
United said in a press statement on June 15, 2020, this effort will ‘help continue to keep passengers and crew safe.’ United continued saying ‘While the overwhelming majority of passengers are complying with United's mandatory policy, starting on June 18, 2020, any passenger that does not comply when onboard a United flight will be placed on an internal travel restriction list.’
‘Customers on this list will lose their travel privileges on United for a duration of time to be determined pending a comprehensive incident review.’
Jun 30, 2020 • 6:17 am CDT
ICE Reports 1% Coronavirus Infection Rate
As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) proactive efforts to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities, ICE began offering voluntary testing to all detainees at the Aurora, Colorado facility.
The initial testing period took place from June 9 to June 18, 2020, ICE announced 427 detainees tested negative for COVID-19, 49 declined to be tested, and one test was inconclusive and 4 individuals were positive and are being treated.
Current ICE guidance encourages facilities to isolate new admissions into the detention network for 14 days before introducing them to the general population.
Jun 30, 2020 • 6:12 am CDT
Pneumonia, Influenza, or COVID-19 Fatalities Decreased Again
The percentage of specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, decreased from Week #23 in some regions, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on June 19, 2020.
Furthermore, based on death certificate data, the CDC stated the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia, influenza, or COVID-19 (PIC) decreased from 11.4 percent during week #23 to 7.1 percent during week #24.
Jun 29, 2020 • 7:13 pm CDT
67% of Parents Say Their Kids Will Go To School
A University of Michigan poll published on June 26, 2020, found about 2/3 of public school parents in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio indicate they will send their children to K-12 classrooms for the Fall 2020 semester.
However, 12% of these guardians/parents indicated the would not send their children to a physical school this year.
"On the one hand, sending children to school could increase the risk of COVID-19 among children and family members. On the other hand, children who don't return to in-person school may experience disruptions in their education," said these researchers in a press statement.
Jun 29, 2020 • 7:03 pm CDT
Study's Identify Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children
On June 29, 2020, the NEJM published 3 studies/article focused on the suspected COVID-19 disease-related inflammatory syndrome reported in children. The 1st study involving 186 kids in 26 states, concluded saying the 'multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children associated with SARS-CoV-2 led to serious and life-threatening illness in previously healthy children and adolescents.'
While the 2nd study involving 191 suspected patients in New York during early May 2020, the New York State Department of Health said 'this hyperinflammatory syndrome with dermatologic, mucocutaneous, and gastrointestinal manifestations was associated with cardiac dysfunction.'
In a related commentary, Michael Levin, Ph.D., of the Imperial College of London, said 'a consistent clinical picture is emerging... multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children occurs 2 to 4 weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2.'
Jun 29, 2020 • 2:03 pm CDT
CDC Publishes Commercial Lab Seroprevalence Data
The U.S. CDC published updated regional COVID-19 seroprevalence data from Connecticut, South Florida, the New York City metro area, Missouri, Utah, and Western Washington State for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.
As more data become available, tables and data charts will be added to this CDC page to show the early antibody test results for patient specimens tested in these areas.
Jun 29, 2020 • 1:52 pm CDT
Gargling Salt Water May Reduce COVID-19 Symptoms
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh said on June 25, 2020, sea salt may work by boosting cells’ antiviral defense that kicks in when they are affected by a common cold. These researchers now aim to investigate whether the same solution will benefit those who are experiencing symptoms of the new strain of coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.
The ELVIS COVID-19 study is recruiting adults in Scotland with recent COVID-19 symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19 disease. One study group will be asked to gargle and clear their nose with saltwater.
A secondary analysis of data from the Edinburgh and Lothians Viral Intervention Study (ELVIS) pilot randomized controlled trial, indicates that hypertonic saline nasal irrigation and gargling reduced the duration of coronavirus upper respiratory tract infection by an average of 2.5 days.
Jun 29, 2020 • 10:25 am CDT
China Approves 1st Coronavirus Vaccine
China's Central Military Commission approved the use of the vaccine by the military on June 25, 2020, for a period of 1-year, according to media reports.
The Ad5-nCoV vaccine is a genetically engineered vaccine candidate with the replication-defective adenovirus type 5 as the vector to express SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
Jun 29, 2020 • 8:54 am CDT
Houston's Coronavirus Tests May Be Fake
Criminals have found yet another way to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic in Houston, Texas, by selling fake antibody tests. According to ABC13 News on June 29, 2020, in addition to producing incorrect coronavirus infection test results, the FBI says these criminals are really after your personal information.
These test scammers are interested in private information such as your name, birth date, social security number, Medicare, or health insurance information.
Jun 29, 2020 • 7:56 am CDT
Summer Cruise Voyages Canceled
Cruise ships announced an extension of the suspension of voyages embarking between August 1 and September 30, 2020. Previously, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 3 Travel Alert that recommends travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide.
Jun 29, 2020 • 7:48 am CDT
Airport Screening Heats-Up
Airports around the world, such as Los Angeles International (LAX), have installed thermal cameras that scan passengers for high temperatures. If a passenger is found to have a body temperature of 100.4 or higher, LAX staff will request the 2nd screening.
And, that passenger could be referred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff, which could instruct that person into quarantine.
Jun 29, 2020 • 7:17 am CDT
Oral COVID-19 Vaccine Selected For Operation Warp Speed
A South San Francisco based biotechnology company announced on June 26, 2020, that its oral COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been selected to participate in a non-human primate challenge study, organized and funded by the U.S. government’s Operation Warp Speed.
“Our vaccine is a room temperature-stable tablet, an enormous logistical advantage in large vaccination campaigns.”
Jun 29, 2020 • 7:12 am CDT
Coronaviruses Follow Similar Seasonal Influenza Patterns
University of Michigan researchers conclude human coronaviruses and influenza are primarily seasonal. Furthermore, coronaviruses appear to transmit similarly to influenza in the same population, according to a new study published by the Journal of Infectious Diseases, July 1, 2020, Volume 22 edition.
Jun 29, 2020 • 7:07 am CDT
Which Facemask Should Food Service Staff Wear?
Respirators, disposable facemasks, or cloth face coverings are designed for different purposes. This fact sheet, developed in collaboration with CDC, provides a quick reference to these items potentially worn by workers in the Food and Agriculture Sector.
Jun 28, 2020 • 10:27 am CDT
Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Peaked Near You?
After an initial surge of cases in China in January, Europe’s average count of coronavirus-related fatalities overtook Asia in early March 2020, with Italy, Spain, and the UK becoming the new global hotspots. From mid-April, the focus shifted to the USA where the number of fatalities remained consistently high and currently accounts for 12% of global fatalities.
South America has recently seen its share increase to more than half of new COVID-19 disease fatalities, fueled by a surge in cases in Brazil, reported the FT.com, on June 28, 2020.
Jun 28, 2020 • 10:19 am CDT
Men Feel Wearing Face-Masks Isn't Cool
Male vanity appears to be a powerful factor in rejecting face masks, reported the WSJ on June 28, 2020. A study found that more men than women agreed that wearing a mask is “shameful, not cool, a sign of weakness, and a stigma."
According to researchers from Middlesex University London in the U.K. and the Mathematical Science Research Institute in Berkeley, California, this study's finding suggests that making face coverings mandatory “has a larger effect on men ... than on women.”
Jun 28, 2020 • 9:33 am CDT
Do Coronavirus and Influenza Viruses Differ?
“Unlike the influenza viruses, which peak at different times during the colder season from year to year, and even the rhinoviruses, which are most common in the autumn and spring, but are present year-round, the studied coronaviruses are sharply seasonal .... with little spread after May until November or December," reported a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, Volume 222, on July 1, 2020.
This means 'coronaviruses are sharply seasonal. They appear, based on serial interval and secondary infection risk, to have similar transmission potential to influenza A(H3N2) in the same population.'
Jun 28, 2020 • 6:59 am CDT
Can Coronavirus Vaccine Developers Learn From Ebola?
A new report published in Nature on June 15, 2020, says 'there is an urgent need for global regulatory standardization to the development of vaccines for emergency preparedness, such as for the recent Ebola virus outbreak in Africa indicates.
'Regulatory agencies need to remove roadblocks and put solutions in place that enable the rapid global development of preventive vaccines for SARS-CoV-2.'
Jun 28, 2020 • 6:50 am CDT
COVID-19 Disease Fatal For Europe's Seniors
The WSJ reported on June 27, 2020, almost 80% of fatalities linked to Covid-19 disease in Europe during 2020 were in people over 75 years of age.
Jun 28, 2020 • 6:42 am CDT
Pediatricians Recommend ... In-Person Classes for Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued COVID-19 clinical interim guidance on June 25, 2020, which says 'schools are fundamental to child development..... and should reopen for the Fall 2020 academic term in the USA and offer in-person classes.
'The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020.'
Jun 28, 2020 • 6:28 am CDT
NBA Players Can Wear the 'Coronavirus Ring'
When the NBA released its virus safety protocols on June 16, 2020, with details included regular COVID-19 tests, along with bracelets that beep when the 6-foot social distancing rule is violated for too long, reported ESPN.
And now, each basketball player will also have access to the Oura ring, a $300 high-tech tool equipped with tiny sensors that can pick up signs of an illness called 'digital phenotyping' even before coronavirus symptoms appear.
However, the Oura ring does not specifically identify a coronavirus infection, since fatigue, fever, and respiratory issues could point to any number of illnesses, including influenza.
Jun 28, 2020 • 6:16 am CDT
Nursing Homes Linked to 43% of Coronavirus Fatalities
According to the NY Times on June 28, 2020, about 43% of COVID-19 disease fatalities in the USA are linked to nursing homes. As of June 26th, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected more than 282,000 people at some 12,000 facilities.
These nursing home coronavirus infections have caused about 54,000 resident and staff fatalities during 2020.
Jun 28, 2020 • 5:56 am CDT
Brazil Signs $127 Million Deal to Acquire Coronavirus Vaccine
On June 28, 2020, Brazil's Health Ministry executive secretary Elcio Franco said under the US$127 million deal, the Brazilian government’s public-health institute will acquire the technology and supplies to produce the AZD1222 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which is being tested in Britain and South Africa, as well as Brazil.
If the vaccine is demonstrated to be effective, 100 million doses will be available to the Brazilian population, reported SCMP.
Jun 27, 2020 • 1:44 pm CDT
Relying on Coronavirus Antibody Detection May Lead to Prior Exposure Under-Estimation
A non-peer-reviewed study published on June 22, 2020, found that antibodies are not the only evidence that an individual has recovered from a COVID-19 infection. Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can induce virus-specific T cell responses without seroconversion. This means, T cell responses may be more sensitive indicators of SARS-Co-V-2 exposure than antibodies.
'Our results indicate that epidemiological data relying only on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies may lead to a substantial underestimation of prior exposure to the virus.'
Jun 27, 2020 • 1:36 pm CDT
SARS-CoV-2 Changes Platelet Gene Expression
Researchers reported in a study published in Blood on June 23, 2020, the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus significantly changes platelet gene expression and function. Proteins from the virus cause blood platelets to become hyperreactive which can lead to more clots.
This pathway analysis revealed differential gene expression changes in pathways associated with protein ubiquitination, antigen presentation, and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Jun 27, 2020 • 12:40 pm CDT
After Recovering From COVID-19... Am I Immune?
As of June 24, 2020, the U.S. CDC says 'We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again. The CDC and partners are investigating to determine if a person can get sick with COVID-19 more than once.'
'Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others after you recover.'
Jun 27, 2020 • 12:40 pm CDT
After Recovering From COVID-19... Am I Immune?
As of June 24, 2020, the U.S. CDC says 'We do not know yet if people who recover from COVID-19 can get infected again. The CDC and partners are investigating to determine if a person can get sick with COVID-19 more than once.'
'Until we know more, continue to take steps to protect yourself and others after you recover.'
Jun 27, 2020 • 12:35 pm CDT
Colleges To Report Coronavirus Infected Students
When institutions of higher education (IHE) reopen for the Fall 2020 semester, new CDC rules are in place regarding managing students found infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The more an individual interacts with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19 disease.
In accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, IHEs should notify local health officials, faculty, staff, and students immediately of any case of COVID-19.
Jun 27, 2020 • 12:27 pm CDT
CNS Damage Found in Patients with COVID-19
A new, very large study published in The Lancet on June 26, 2020, investigated the breadth of complications of COVID-19 disease that affected the brain. This study found clear evidence of CNS damage in patients with COVID-19.
Altered mental status was the second most common presentation, comprising encephalopathy or encephalitis and primary psychiatric diagnoses, often occurring in younger patients.
Jun 26, 2020 • 12:12 pm CDT
USA Conducting 500,000 Coronavirus Tests Daily
According to comments stated on Twitter during the US Coronavirus Task Force briefing on June 26, 2020, the USA has already conducted 30 million tests and is surpassing 500,000 tests administered each day.
Jun 26, 2020 • 11:55 am CDT
Texas Closes Down Most Bars
Texas Governor Abbott issued an executive order on June 26, 2020, rolling back the reopening plan in the state of Texas. "At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars."
"Every Texan has a responsibility to themselves and their loved ones to wear a mask, wash their hands, stay 6-feet apart from others in public, and stay home if they can."
Jun 26, 2020 • 8:59 am CDT
Another COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate Selected for 'Operation Warp Speed'
On June 26, 2020, Vaxart, Inc. announced that its oral COVID-19 vaccine has been selected to participate in a non-human primate challenge study, organized and funded by Operation Warp Speed, a U.S. national program aiming to provide substantial quantities of safe, effective and preventive vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus for Americans by January 2021.
This new coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease in humans.
Jun 26, 2020 • 2:27 am CDT
Sensor May Soon Test for Coronavirus and Flu Together
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin announced on June 25, 2020, they are developing a new sensor that can tell the difference between the 2 illnesses and test for both simultaneously.
The sensor is the size of a micro USB drive and is infused with antibodies of both SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. One part of the device is sensitive only to the flu, while another part will react only to the coronavirus.
Jun 25, 2020 • 12:41 pm CDT
CDC Clarifies Coronavirus Symptoms List
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently added 3 symptoms of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 to its list. As on May 13, 2020, the CDC symptom list was expanded to include congestion, nausea, and diarrhea.
Furthermore, the CDC highlighted seniors and people with severe underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular, and lung disease to be at higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19 disease.
Jun 25, 2020 • 12:27 pm CDT
CDC Contradicts Connecticut, NJ, and NY's Travel Ban
Robert Redfield, the director of the CDC, stated on June 25, 2020, 'There’s no clear evidence out-of-state quarantines like those imposed by New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are effective in containing the coronavirus,' reported CNBC.
“We don’t have any evidence-based data to support the public health value of that decision,” he added.
Jun 25, 2020 • 10:20 am CDT
Cancer Patients Often Hospitalized When Infected With Coronavirus
Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center located in NY, NY, found of the COVID-19 disease patients diagnosed with cancer, 40% were hospitalized, 20% developed severe respiratory illness, 11% required high-flow oxygen, 9% required mechanical ventilation, and 12% died within 30 days, according to a research letter published in Nature on June 24, 2020.
Jun 25, 2020 • 10:12 am CDT
Gout Medicine Colchicine Displays Positive Results in Hospitalized Coronavirus Patients
A new study published in JAMA Network Open on June 24, 2020, found that hospitalized COVID-19 patients who received anti-inflammatory medication Colchicine had a lower rate of clinical deterioration and required mechanical ventilation 2 days later than other hospitalized patients.
However, these researchers stated: These findings should be interpreted with caution.
Jun 25, 2020 • 9:42 am CDT
Obese People Should Wear Face-Masks
A research team from Miyazawa Clinic in Hyogo, Japan, and the University of Houston-Victoria created a computer model to see how various factors affected death rates from the disease in different countries. This model, published in a non-peer-reviewed study on June 23, 2020, showed how COVID-19 disease fatality rates were higher in countries where people tended not to cover their mouths.
And, these researchers found that people with more body fat were less willing to wear face masks, reported SCMP on June 25, 2020.
“When people are obese, they feel more uncomfortable wearing a mask as obese adults inhale an average of 50% more air per day than non-obese adults,” these researchers stated.
Jun 25, 2020 • 9:14 am CDT
100 Million Vaccine Doses Preparing for 3rd Quarter Distribution
On Jun. 25, 2020, Moderna, Inc. and Catalent, Inc. announced a collaboration for large-scale, commercial fill-finish manufacturing of Moderna’s mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) at Catalent’s biologics facility in Indiana.
And, Catalent will provide manufacturing operations at the site to support the production of an initial 100 million mRNA-1273 vaccine doses to supply the USA market starting in the 3rd quarter of 2020.
Jun 25, 2020 • 5:51 am CDT
Pregnant Women Infected With Coronavirus Should be Carefully Monitored
A New York Times article published on June 24, 2020, presented conflicting studies regarding the number of pregnant women admitted into high-levels of hospital care when they are confirmed with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Pregnant women are known to be particularly susceptible to other respiratory infections, but the U.S. CDC has maintained as of June 9, 2020, that this coronavirus does not seem to 'affect pregnant people differently than others.
'We do know that pregnant women are at greater risk of getting sick from respiratory viruses. Sometimes, this causes adverse outcomes for the mother or child.'
Jun 25, 2020 • 5:39 am CDT
Few Infants Expected in 2021
More than 40% of women reported that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they changed their plans about when to have children or how many children to have, according to an analysis conducted by the Guttmacher Institute between April 30–May 6, 2020.
Jun 25, 2020 • 5:32 am CDT
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut Discourage Visitors
The governors of New York state, New Jersey, and Connecticut announced a joint incoming travel advisory on June 24, 2020, that all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19 disease, is quarantined for a 14-day period from the time of the last contact within the identified state.
'This step to inform travelers from states with hot-spots to self-isolate is meant to protect our residents.'
Jun 24, 2020 • 11:33 am CDT
SARS-CoV-2 Found More Efficient Than SARS-1 and MERS
An early released study published by the CDC on June 22, 2020, found aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 aerosol efficiency surpassed those of SARS-1 and MERS. And, although these researchers only performed an experiment once, they suggest SARS-CoV-2 retained infectivity and virion integrity for up to 16 hours in respirable-sized aerosols.
Jun 24, 2020 • 10:55 am CDT
1% of ICE Detainees Found Coronavirus Positive
As part of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) proactive efforts to expand COVID-19 testing capabilities, ICE began offering voluntary testing June 9, 2020, to all current detainees and new admissions at the Aurora Contract Detention Facility in Colorado.
Of the ICE detainees tested, 427 were found negative for COVID-19, and just 4 tested positive, which is less than 1% infection rate.
Jun 24, 2020 • 6:05 am CDT
China's SAR & Province Reduced Coronavirus Outbreaks
On June 23, the National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China reported 1,668 confirmed SARS-CoV-2 virus infections had been reported in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and Taiwan province.
There were 1,177 in Hong Kong (6 had died and 1,083 had been cured and discharged from the hospital; 45 in Macao (all had been cured and discharged from the hospital); and 446 in Taiwan (7 had died and 435 had been cured and discharged from the hospital).
Jun 24, 2020 • 5:34 am CDT
Olympics Day Launches #HEALTHYTogether
On Olympic Day, the International Olympic Committee together with the WHO and UN, launched a partnership on June 23, 2020, to encourage individuals and communities around the world to be #HEALTHYTogether. These partners and Olympic athletes will spotlight the global collaboration needed to stay healthy and reduce the spread and impact of COVID-19 disease.
The 2020 Summer Olympics hosted by Japan has been rescheduled to start on July 23, 2021.
Jun 24, 2020 • 5:16 am CDT
South Africa Vaccine Study Vaccinates Initial Participants
The South African Ox1Cov-19 Vaccine VIDA-Trial announced on June 23, 2020, a clinical trial for a vaccine against COVID-19 disease will vaccinate participants this week. Wits University is collaborating with the University of Oxford and the Oxford Jenner Institute on the South African study.
This vaccine, AZD1222, formerly known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, was made by adding genetic material - called spike glycoprotein - that is expressed on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 to the ChAdOx1 virus.
The vaccine was developed at the Oxford Jenner Institute and is currently on trial in the UK, where over 4,000 participants are already enrolled in the clinical trial, and enrolment of an additional 10, 000 participants is planned.
Jun 24, 2020 • 4:54 am CDT
Vaccine Studies Seeking Coronavirus Outbreaks
Sarah Gilbert, a researcher in vaccinology at the Jenner Institute at Oxford University told the UK's House of Lords Science and Technology Committee: "Of course we had the lockdown, which fortunately reduced transmission. However, not so fortunate for those of us trying to develop vaccines in the UK," reported the Mirror on June 23, 2020.
'We now have essentially a very large immunogenicity study running in the UK with little chance, frankly, of determining efficacy."
Professor Gibert added 'researcher's approach now is working with different countries (Brazil) to give them the best chance of seeing efficacy in at least one (vaccine) of those countries.'
Jun 23, 2020 • 10:58 am CDT
Combining Self-Isolation and Contact-Tracing Produces Lower RO
If combined with moderate physical distancing measures, self-isolation and contact tracing would be more likely to achieve control of SARS-CoV-2 transmissions, reported a study published in The Lancet on June 16, 2020.
This analysis estimated that a high proportion of SARS-CoV-2 cases would need to self-isolate and a high proportion of their contacts to be successfully traced to ensure an effective Reproduction Number lower than 1 in the absence of other measures.
Jun 23, 2020 • 5:49 am CDT
Dexamethasone Reduced Mortality Among Patients Receiving Ventilation
A non-peer-reviewed study published on June 22, 2020, found the use of dexamethasone reduced fatalities by 1/3 in patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation, by 1/5 in patients receiving oxygen without invasive mechanical ventilation.
But, dexamethasone did not reduce mortality in patients not receiving respiratory support at randomization.
Jun 23, 2020 • 5:41 am CDT
UK's Test and Trace Program Ramps-Up
Official figures released by the UK's NHS suggest the Test and Trace program was able to trace 66% of those who tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and thus trace their contacts, between 28 May and 3 June 2020.
Jun 22, 2020 • 8:31 pm CDT
Miami Is Florida's Coronavirus Hot-Spot
Within hours after the state of Florida surpassed 100,000 cases of COVID-19 disease, the mayors of about a dozen cities in Miami-Dade County announced that they will be requiring people to wear face coverings in public. Miami-Dade County is responsible for 26,239 of the state’s cases as of June 22, 2020.
City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said. “Everyone will have to be wearing a mask in public," reported Local10 news.
“Miami-Dade County Police will continue to be out in force checking on businesses, parks, beaches, and marinas, both in the unincorporated areas and in cities that are not enforcing the County orders.”
Jun 22, 2020 • 8:22 pm CDT
German Pork Plant Remains Closed
One of Germany’s largest pork plants had to temporarily close due to COVID-19 infections reported PigProgress. The meatpacker Tönnies Fleisch in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, in the German state North Rhine Westphalia, the majority of employees tested positive for COVID-19 disease.
As of June 22, about 1,331 of over 2,000 tested employees had tested positive for coronavirus.
Jun 22, 2020 • 7:58 pm CDT
Saudi Arabia to Host Limited Hajj in 2020
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced on June 22, 2020, that because of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic, very few people will be allowed to perform the annual hajj pilgrimage this summer, reported CTV.
Saudi Arabia had already suspended the smaller year-round umrah pilgrimage and closed the Grand Mosque in Mecca, home to Islam's holiest site, to the public. Although Saudi Arabia has lifted some restrictions in recent days, the umrah continues to be suspended and the country's borders remain shut to visitors and tourists.
Saudi Arabia has reported 1,307 fatalities related to COVID-19 disease during 2020. Additionally, from January 2020 to March 2, 2020, there were 35 MERS-CoV cases reported in Saudi Arabia.
Jun 22, 2020 • 10:49 am CDT
Mortality Attributed to COVID-19 Decreased Last Week in the USA
Nationally, levels of influenza-like illness (ILI) and COVID-19-like illness (CLI) remain lower than peaks seen in March and April 2020, but are increasing slightly in some regions, reported the U.S. CDC on June 19, 2020.
The overall percentage of respiratory specimens testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 increased slightly from Week #23 (6.1%) to week 24 (6.4%), driven by increases in 5 regions.
Mortality attributed to COVID-19 decreased compared to Week #23, but remains elevated above baseline and may increase as additional death certificates are processed.
Jun 22, 2020 • 10:33 am CDT
Gilead is Starting Study of an Inhaled Version of Remdesivir
On June 22, 2020, Daniel O’Day, Chairman & CEO, Gilead Sciences announced: After receiving the green light from the FDA to move forward, Gilead is about to start trials of an inhaled version of remdesivir. We will screen healthy volunteers for Phase 1 trials this week and hope to begin studies in patients with COVID-19 disease in August 2020.
Remdesivir, our investigational antiviral medicine, is currently given to patients intravenously through daily infusions in the hospital.
An inhaled formulation would be given through a nebulizer, which could potentially allow for easier administration outside the hospital, at earlier stages of this disease.
Jun 22, 2020 • 7:27 am CDT
German City Requires 2 Negative Coronavirus Tests
The mayor of the German city of Göttingen announced on June 21, 2020, that residents of a quarantined housing complex will be allowed to leave their apartments if they test negative twice for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
"If they test negative twice, groups of two or three maximum can leave by signing in and out," Mayor Rolf-Georg Köhler stated, reported DW news.
The complex, which houses some 700 people, was put under forced lockdown on June 19, 2020, when tests showed around 120 residents had COVID-19 disease.
Jun 22, 2020 • 7:20 am CDT
Saudi Arabia Begins ReOpening
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced it is easing SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus lockdown measures, days after its decision to open mosques. On June 21, 2020, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media announced there will be strict precautionary measures and preventative protocols set in place to limit the spread of Covid-19 disease, reported the New Arab.
This announcement comes as Saudi Arabia considers canceling the holy pilgrimage of Hajj due to the ongoing pandemic, reports CNBC. One of the largest religious gatherings in the world, the hajj draws about 2 million people to The Kingdom each year.
Jun 22, 2020 • 4:20 am CDT
U.S. CDC's Coronavirus Test Kits Were 'Contaminated'
A 3-page summary of findings issued on official letterhead on June 19, 2020, by the office of HHS General Counsel Robert P. Charrow, who opened the investigation on orders from HHS Secretary Alex Azar on March 1, found that an “initial batch” of coronavirus test kits produced by the U.S. CDC in late January 2020, relied on a “reagent” that was likely contaminated.
Reagents are substances introduced into chemical tests to produce reactions, according to a final report obtained by Sinclair News on June 19, 2020.
The faulty test kits were “developed to be manufactured by CDC as a first wave of testing to be shipped to public health laboratories across the USA until commercial laboratories and diagnostic companies were able to come online” with kits of their own.
“New, uncontaminated reagents manufactured by private laboratories for CDC,” report James Rosen TV, “were distributed to public health laboratories beginning in late February 2020.”
Jun 21, 2020 • 2:02 pm CDT
MMR Vaccines Might Dampen Septic Inflammation Associated with COVID-19 Infection?
Administering the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine could serve as a preventive measure to dampen septic inflammation associated with COVID-19 infection, researchers stated in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology on June 19, 2020.
'There is mounting evidence that live attenuated vaccines (such as the MMR) provide nonspecific protection against lethal infections unrelated to the target pathogen of the vaccine by inducing “trained” nonspecific innate immune cells for improved host responses against subsequent infections.'
Dr. Paul Fidel, Associate Dean for Research at Louisiana State University Health School of Dentistry. commented: "I don't think it's going to hurt anybody to have an MMR vaccine that would protect against the measles, mumps, and rubella with this potential added benefit of helping against COVID-19 disease."
Jun 21, 2020 • 1:23 pm CDT
COVID-19 Wins Tennis Match Over Tennis Star
@GrigorDimitrov announced late on June 21, 2020, that he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 disease, and is at his home in Monico recovering.
“I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and takes the necessary precautions," said Dimitrov, a Bulgarian top 10 pro tennis player.
The initial pro tennis star to contract COVID-19 disease was Brazilian tennis star Thiago Seyboth Wild, who announced in late March 2020 that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
Jun 21, 2020 • 11:33 am CDT
From 'Aggressive Tiger' of a Disease To Just a 'Wild Cat'
A leading doctor at San Martino General Hospital in Genoa, Italy, Professor Matteo Bassetti said 'he is convinced the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is 'changing in severity' and patients are now surviving infections that would have previously been fatal,' reported The Sun on June 21, 2020.
And if the virus's weakening is true, COVID-19 disease could even disappear without deploying a preventive vaccine by becoming so weak, it fades away on its own.
Professor Bassetti added: "The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity." He believes this coronavirus is causing less serious illnesses because a genetic mutation has made it less damaging to people's lungs.
As of June 21st, Italy has experienced a significant flattening of the pandemic curve over the past 30-days.
Jun 21, 2020 • 11:14 am CDT
Which US States Are Ready To Test & Trace?
A new website has compiled and synthesized key Test and Trace data for each state so that it can be objectively measured whether each state is prepared to manage contact-tracing programs.
Additionally, Scott Gottlieb, MD posted on Twitter on June 21, 2020, states with higher population mobility, low virus testing, and reduced tracing are more likely to be experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks.
Jun 21, 2020 • 5:43 am CDT
Say 'Au revoir' To Cheek-Kissing
The cheek kiss is fundamental to greetings among friends in most Europian countries. It is also not advised during the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. As Europeans start meeting people in person again, they are discovering a need to suppress a seemingly inherent reflex, reported the Washington Post.
This societal change may also include hand-shaking.
Shaking a person's hand is the modern standard greeting a person and has been around for thousands of years. But public health experts urge everyone to re-examine this ritual from a disease-spreading perspective.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a well-known leader in the USA recently said to NPR: 'I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again.'
Jun 21, 2020 • 5:22 am CDT
Blood Group A Showed Higher Risk When Infected With Coronavirus
A study published in the NEJM on June 17, 2020, identified a 3p21.31 gene cluster as a genetic susceptibility locus in patients with Covid-19 disease with respiratory failure and confirmed a potential involvement of the ABO blood-group system.
A blood-group–specific analysis showed people in blood group A had a higher risk than those in other blood groups.
Jun 20, 2020 • 9:44 am CDT
California and Margaritaville: Face Masks Required
The California Department of Public Health released updated guidance on June 18, 2020, which requires Californian's 39 million residents to wear face-coverings when in high-risk settings, such as an indoor public space. This action is related to over 5,290 coronavirus related fatalities reported in Californa during 2020.
Similarly, about 3,000 miles to the east, Monroe County Florida, with a population of about 74,000 residents, has reported 4 fatalities related to COVID-19 disease.
To reduce future coronavirus cases, the Board of County Commissioners voted on June 17th to make facial coverings mandatory throughout the Monroe County, which includes Key West, Florida. However, this ordinance permits Key West bar patrons to remove their masks while drinking.
Jun 20, 2020 • 8:02 am CDT
The UK Reduces Coronavirus Risk Level
The United Kingdom (UK) coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from 4 to 3. This means the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is considered to be "in general circulation" and there could be a "gradual relaxation of restrictions." said the UK's Health Secretary Matt Hancock, according to the BBC on June 19, 2020.
The decision to reduce the alert level followed a recommendation by the UK's Joint Biosecurity Centre, the chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, stated Hancock.
Jun 20, 2020 • 7:18 am CDT
Coronavirus Identified in Italy During December 2019
A study reported the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was present in the cities of Milan and Turin sewage systems as early as December 2019. This new research announced on June 18, 2020, may identify the beginning of the coronavirus's circulation in Italy.
'This (data) confirms the strategic function of monitoring virus samples taken in sewers and at the entrance to the treatment plants, as a tool capable of identifying and monitoring virus circulation.' comments this researchers in a press statement.
However, a separate water research study published by Science Direct says 'there is no evidence of coronavirus transmission to humans through contaminated water.'
This new information is consistent with a retrospective analysis in France and a recent Spanish study that found SARS-CoV-2 RNA in samples collected in mid-January 2020 in Barcelona.
Jun 20, 2020 • 6:11 am CDT
Coronavirus Antibodies May Fade Away Quickly
A study from the Wanzhou District in the People Republic of China published in Nature on June 18, 2020, showed that SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus antibodies faded quickly in both asymptomatic and symptomatic patients during the early stages of convalescence.
Forty percent of asymptomatic individuals became seronegative and 12.9% of the symptomatic group became negative for IgG antibodies within 3 months of confirmed infection.
This finding indicates 'it could be risky to assume that recovered patients are immune to coronavirus reinfection, which may impact future public health discussions.
Jun 20, 2020 • 5:58 am CDT
Latinos Most Often Infected With Coronavirus in the Northeast
About 42% of Latinos tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metropolitan region between March and May 2020, were found positive, a rate far higher than for any other racial/ethnic group reported a study published in JAMA on June 18, 2020.
This new finding is similar to an unrelated study's results in New York City.
Jun 19, 2020 • 3:14 pm CDT
UV-C Light Eradicates SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus in Seconds
Researchers at Boston University's National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories and Signify confirmed on June 16, 2020, that UV-C light effectively eradicates the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Specifically, a 5mJ/cm2 dose of UV-C light eradicated 99% of this coronavirus in 6 seconds, according to Anthony Griffiths, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology.
'Our test results show that above a specific dose of UV-C radiation, viruses were completely inactivated: in a matter of seconds we could no longer detect any virus, said the press statement.
Jun 19, 2020 • 7:31 am CDT
Minneapolis Reports Few COVID-19 Infections
HealthPartners, one of the largest healthcare providers in the state of Minnesota, reported about 8,000 people were asymptomatic for coronavirus infection and received tests after participating in recent, large community gatherings around the 'Twin Cities.'
The number of diagnostic tests administered reached a daily high of 1,484 on June 8, 2020, and declined to 488 on June 17th.
Among these tested individuals, only 0.99% tested positive for COVID-19 disease, reported Wired on June 18, 2020.
Jun 19, 2020 • 7:14 am CDT
Taste and/or Smell Reductions Frequently Indicate COVID-19 Infection
A new study published in JAMA on June 18, 2020, suggests that coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) should be suspected when a severe reduction of taste and smell are present in the absence of nasal obstruction.
This study focused on Italy finds that the loss of taste and smell may be common symptoms among those in the early stages of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection.
More than 55% of the patients in this survey reported losing their sense of taste, while around 41% lost their sense of smell or both taste and smell in the time between when they first realized they had symptoms and when a lab test confirmed infection.
Jun 19, 2020 • 1:06 am CDT
UK Identifies Who Will Initially Receive Coronavirus Vaccine
On June 18, 2020, preliminary advice was announced by the UK's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) following a request from the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England, to facilitate planning for the deployment of any safe and effective SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus vaccine(s) as soon as licensure is obtained for use in the UK.
The JCVI committee advises priority vaccination for frontline healthcare staff, social care workers, followed by those at increased risk of serious disease from COVID-19 infection, stratified according to age and risk factors.
Jun 18, 2020 • 8:03 pm CDT
Are Masks Really Proetctive?
A study by researchers from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus found mild coughing can expel small saliva droplets through and around a face mask and travel as far as 1 meter during cough cycles.
Published on June 16, 2020, this finding means wearing a mask does not provide complete protection from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and social distancing remains an important prevention tactic during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jun 18, 2020 • 7:49 pm CDT
Blood Group 'A' Linked to Higher Coronavirus Risk
An analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 17, 2020, found that group A was linked to a significantly higher coronavirus disease risk than other blood groups (odds ratio [OR], 1.45, while blood group O had a lower risk than other blood groups (OR, 0.65).
Jun 18, 2020 • 7:42 pm CDT
Older Latinos in NYC Contracted Coronavirus Most Often
An extensive study in the USA showed that about 2.1 million New York state residents had likely contracted SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus antibodies by March 29, 2020. The study is published in Annals of Epidemiology on June 17, 2020.
The incidence was highest in New York City with 22.7%, among Hispanic/Latino 29.2%, and in adults ≥55 years of age.
Jun 18, 2020 • 3:38 pm CDT
New York Threatens Florida With Reciprocal Travel Ban
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on June 18, 2020, that he’s considering imposing a quarantine on travelers arriving in New York from states like Florida where coronavirus cases have recently spiked, reported CNBC.
Just three months ago, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis mandated that travelers from the New York tri-state area self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Florida.
When comparing COVID-19 disease-related fatalities during 2020, New York has confirmed over 24,000, while Florida has reported about 3,000 deaths.
Jun 18, 2020 • 2:33 pm CDT
Can HIV Drugs Treat Coronavirus Disease?
Reuters reported the World Health Organization (WHO) is looking at interim data from its large multi-country trial of the combination of HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir to treat COVID-19 disease patients, chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on June 18, 2020.
While there are indications from laboratory experiments that this combination may be effective against COVID-19, studies done so far in COVID-19 patients have been inconclusive, says the WHO.
The WHO's Solidarity Trial is comparing treatment options against standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19. By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the Solidarity Trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slow disease progression or improve survival.
Jun 18, 2020 • 11:46 am CDT
Researchers Say 'Alpha Defensin Speeds Up Blood Clot Formation'
Researchers discovered that COVID-19 patients who form fatal blood clots have an increased level of alpha defensin protein in their blood, explained Dr. Abd Alrauf Higavi, reported JPost on June 16, 2020.
“Patients with mild (COVID-19) symptoms have a low concentration of alpha-defensin. Patients with increased disease symptoms have high levels. The people who die have very high levels," stated Dr. Abd Alrauf Higavi, at Hadassah University Medical Center.
Jun 18, 2020 • 11:29 am CDT
Phase 2/3 Study for Oral Drug With Dual-Mechanism of Action Now Authorized
On June 17, 2020, PTC Therapeutics, Inc. announced that the U.S. FDA has authorized the initiation of a Phase 2/3 trial to investigate PTC299, a dihydroorotate dehydrogenase inhibitor, as a potential treatment for COVID-19 disease.
PTC299 is an oral investigational drug with a novel dual-mechanism of action that has the potential to address the two critical elements of COVID-19: 1.) the high viral replication, and 2.) the uncontrolled inflammatory response that ensues after infection.
PTC will initiate an integrated Phase 2/3 study in the USA with additional sites planned globally.
Jun 18, 2020 • 11:21 am CDT
China Testing Coronavirus Vaccine's Efficacy in Beijing
According to BloombergLaw on June 18, 2020, The Peoples Republic of China has begun offering coronavirus vaccine candidates to workers at state-owned companies in the capital city of Beijing. Bloomberg reported China National Biotec Group Co. (CNBG) stated one of the 2 experimental vaccines has been found to be generally safe and able to generate neutralizing antibodies.
Bloomberg previously reported a vaccine developed by CNBG had been offered to state-run companies’ workers when traveling overseas.
Jun 18, 2020 • 10:55 am CDT
Israel Orders Moderna's Coronavirus Vaccine
Reuters reported on June 17, 2020, Israel has signed an agreement with Moderna for the future purchase of its potential COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273. Moderna designs its mRNA vaccines using the sequence of the virus, not by working on the virus itself.
And, Israel's leadership said it 'would continue its own efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine through the Israel Institute for Biological Research.'
Jun 18, 2020 • 6:34 am CDT
Washington Mis-Counts COVID-19 Fatalities and Test Results
Washington State has been reporting incorrect COVID-19 testing numbers for 8-weeks by overcounting the number of people who have tested negative, reported the Seattle Times on June 17, 2020.
Washington's dashboard has shown 13% more people testing negative since April 21st than actually have, the Department of Health confirmed. The DOH had reported that 5.5% of all test results in the state were positive; after the correction, that number was adjusted to 6.2%.
The state also adjusted its official COVID-19 fatality count. The state identified about 100 death certificates in which physicians listed COVID-19 as a cause, but there was no record of the deceased having a positive test in the state’s system.
“We understand that we made mistake(s) and we own it,” stated spokesperson Lisa Stromme Warren.
Jun 18, 2020 • 6:00 am CDT
WHO Stops Hydroxychloroquine Study ... Again
On June 17, 2020, Ana Maria Henao-Restrepo told investigators at the WHO Solidarity Drug Trial had decided to stop recruiting new patients. ”After deliberation, they concluded that the hydroxychloroquine arm is going to be stopped."
Henao-Restrepo said at a press conference the WHO made this decision was based on evidence from the Solidarity Trial itself.
Data from these studies have shown that hydroxychloroquine does not reduce the mortality of ... 'hospitalized COVID-19 disease patients.'