A paper in the New England Journal of Medicine reports on a trial of 45 healthy adults aged 18-55, each vaccinated twice, 28 days apart, with the mRNA-1273 vaccine developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and pharmaceutical company Moderna. All participants subsequently produced antibodies against the SARS CoV-2 virus, and their blood serum showed neutralizing activity against the virus, preventing it from entering cells. Moreover, the vaccine appears to provide stronger protection against new infections than an average bout of actually catching the disease.
A comprehensive study shows wearing masks significantly reduces the number of infections, far more than other measures such as social distancing. It shows that airborne transmission is highly virulent and dominates the spread of COVID-19. It reveals that the difference with and without masks represents the determinant in shaping the trends of the pandemic.
Link to article: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/10/2009637117
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.
Link to paper: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6489/395.full
MIT has developed a model to determine the efficacy of quarantine measures and better predict the spread of the virus. The model found that in places where strong measures were implemented quickly, the quarantine effort could effectively curb the spread of the virus. In places where the quarantine efforts were rolled out slowly, the effort to slow the spread has been less effective. The model predicts when the coronavirus ‘plateau’ will take place, finding that the cases aren’t likely to start stagnating until some time between April 15 and April 20. It says that restrictions on quarantine can only be made when multiple conditions are met, including when the transmission is controlled, hospitals have capacities to meet all the needs of the public, workplaces have effective preventative measures in place, and more.
The paper published on March 27 by the American Enterprise Institute compared the economic costs of businesses staying closed, which causes a steep drop in the gross domestic product, with the economic benefits of a lockdown. The research found that for at least two more months, the economic benefits of controlling the virus and preventing illness and death are greater than the economic cost of closing most non-essential businesses. It also found that even after the lockdown is lifted, we must keep in place more moderate measures, such as wearing face masks and limiting public gatherings, until a vaccine or an effective drug or treatment becomes widely available.
The paper projects that the US may have to endure social distancing measures — such as stay-at-home orders and school closures — until 2022, unless critical care capacity is increased substantially or treatment or vaccine becomes available. Another round of the virus is possible once social distancing measures are lifted. Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024.
A Statement from ENT UK at The Royal College of Surgeons of England, the association of ear, nose and throat physicians in the United Kingdom says a growing body of data from COVID-19 patients in several countries strongly suggests that “significant numbers” of those patients experienced the complete loss of smell known as anosmia as one of the disease’s symptoms.
Link to PDF: Loss of sense of smell as marker of COVID.pdf
This paper finds that Inadequate risk assessment regarding the urgency of the situation, and limited reporting on the virus within China has, in part, led to the rapid spread of COVID-19. Compared with SARS and MERS, COVID-19 has spread more rapidly, due in part to increased globalization and the focus of the epidemic. The conclusion is that we did not learn from the two prior epidemics of coronavirus and were ill-prepared to deal with the challenges the COVID-19 epidemic has posed. Future research should attempt to address the uses and implications of the internet of things (IoT) technologies for mapping the spread of infection.
Link to paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32086938
This research proposes a possible explanation for the severe lung complications being seen in older people diagnosed with COVID-19 and also why young children seem protected against the disease.
This paper looks at the H1N1 Crisis as a Case Study for the Integration of Mental and Behavioral Health in the epidemics of this kind.
Link to paper: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/disaster-medicine-and-public-health-preparedness/article/h1n1-crisis-a-case-study-of-the-integration-of-mental-and-behavioral-health-in-public-health-crises/2DAAA72D6C23DD920F906B29C1300BAC
In this pre-print researchers analyzed the timing of control measures and of community spread of COVID-19 in the Chinese cities of Wuhan and Guangzhou from January 10 to February 29, 2020. Early intervention resulted in Guangzhou having “lower epidemic sizes and peaks” than Wuhan in the first wave of the outbreak.
Link to paper: https://dash.harvard.edu/handle/1/42599304
These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging.
New research “clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus”
The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0820-9
Preliminary results of how air temperature and humidity influence the transmission of COVID-19.
Paper on an online interactive dashboard, hosted by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA, to visualise and track reported cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in real-time.
Describes the successful combination of measures taken by Singapore to contain COVID-19 and share some early lessons learnt from the experience
The Seychelles Magpie Robin Copsychus sechellarum was once one of the most threatened birds in the world, but was downgraded from Critically Endangered to Endangered after a long-term recovery programme was successfully implemented. Comprehensive long-term monitoring of this species was conducted on the islands of Cousin and Cousine over an 18-year period. We report here on the species longevity and annual survival at these two sites.