The effect of travel restrictions on the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Paper published in Science looks at how travel and quarantine influence the dynamics of the spread of COVID-19. It concludes that the travel quarantine introduced in Wuhan on 23 January 2020 only delayed epidemic progression by 3 to 5 days within China, but international travel restrictions did help to slow spread elsewhere in the world until mid-February. The results suggest that early detection, hand washing, self-isolation, and household quarantine will likely be more effective than travel restrictions at mitigating this pandemic.

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Selection of viral variants during persistent infection of insectivorous bat cells with Coronavirus

New paper shows that when exposed to the MERS Coronavirus (CoV)  bat cells adapt—not by producing inflammation-causing proteins but rather by maintaining a natural antiviral response. Simultaneously, the MERS virus also adapts to the bat host cells by very rapidly mutating one specific gene. Operating together, these adaptations result in the virus remaining long-term in the bat but being rendered harmless. Instead of killing bat cells as the virus does with human cells, the MERS coronavirus enters a long-term relationship with the host, maintained by the bat’s unique ‘super’ immune system. SARS-CoV-2 is thought to operate in the same way. The work suggests that stresses on bats—such as wet markets, other diseases, and possibly habitat loss—may have a role in coronavirus spilling over to other species.

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Effect of Alert Level 4 on Reff : review of international COVID-19 cases

This study mapped the coronavirus epidemic curve for 25 countries and modeled how the spread of the virus has changed in response to the various lockdown measures. It classifies each country’s public health response using New Zealand’s four alert system. Levels 1 and 2 represent relatively relaxed controls, whereas levels 3 and 4 are stricter. By mapping the change in the effective reproduction number (Reff, an indicator of the actual spread of the virus in the community) against response measures, the research shows countries that implemented level 3 and 4 restrictions sooner had greater success in pushing Reff to below 1.

Stopping Deforestation Can Prevent Pandemics – Scientific American

This article in Scientific American points out that three-quarters of the emerging pathogens that infect humans leaped from animals, many of the creatures in the forest habitats that we are slashing and burning to create land for crops, including biofuel plants, and for mining and housing. The more we clear, the more we come into contact with wildlife that carries microbes well suited to kill us—and the more we concentrate those animals in smaller areas where they can swap infectious microbes, raising the chances of novel strains.

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CIDRAP report COVID-19 to spread up to 2 years

The new coronavirus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to two years—until 60% to 70% of the population has been infected, says a new report. The primary focus of these scenarios is on the Northern Hemisphere, but similar patterns could occur in the Global South, as well. The lack of robust healthcare infrastructure and comorbidities such as other infections, malnutrition, and chronic respiratory disease in certain areas of the Global South could result in the pandemic being even more severe in those areas, as was noted during the 1918-19 pandemic.

Link to PDF: CIDRAP report COVID-19 to spread up to 2 years

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