A new study of more than a half-million people in India who were exposed to the novel coronavirus suggests that the virus’ continued spread is driven by only a small percentage of those who become infected, known as superspreaders. The study also found that children and young adults are potentially much more important to transmitting the virus than previously thought. The paper is the largest COVID-19 contact-tracing study to date.
Long-term exposure to air pollution may increase the risk of death from Covid-19, according to a large study. It analysed more than 46,000 coronavirus deaths in England and showed that a small, single-unit increase in people’s exposure to small-particle pollution over the previous decade may increase the death rate by up to 6%. A single-unit increase in nitrogen dioxide, which is at illegal levels in most urban areas, was linked to a 2% increase in death rates.
Researchers say that antibodies in patients who have become infected by the virus may decline, or even disappear, within months, suggesting immunity from an eventual vaccine could fade as well over. Only 17% of the 60% of patients who had had a particularly strong antibody response when they were fighting the virus still had those antibodies at the same levels three months later. In some cases, the antibodies disappeared entirely, the researchers found. The study, if backed up by further evidence, would further undermine the concept of herd immunity.
Study shows that people with Type A blood have a higher risk of catching coronavirus and of developing severe symptoms, while people with Type O blood have a lower risk. People with Type A blood had a 45% higher risk of becoming infected than people with other blood types, and people with Type O blood were just 65% as likely to become infected as people with other blood types.
Link to study: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2020283
Study shows that field rats sold in markets and restaurants of Southeast Asia harbour multiple coronaviruses, a study shows. The proportion of positives increased as live animals were moved from “field to fork”, suggesting they were picking up viruses in the process. The strains detected are different from Covid-19 and are not thought to be dangerous to human health. However, scientists have warned that the wildlife trade is an incubator for disease. The mixing of multiple coronaviruses, and their amplification along the supply chain into restaurants, suggests “maximal risk for end consumers”.
Link to study: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.06.05.098590v1
The study identifies the businesses that have the best overall risk-benefit profiles when weighing important factors such as essential value to shoppers and the economy, as well as the relative risk of contracting COVID-19—or as one researcher put it, which businesses give us the most bang for our buck. At the top of the pile are banks, which are economically important yet uncrowded and visited infrequently.
Link to study: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/09/2008025117
Up to 45 percent of SARS-CoV-2 infections may be asymptomatic a new study shows. Asymptomatic infections may have played a significant role in the early and ongoing spread of COVID-19 and highlight the need for expansive testing and contact tracing to mitigate the pandemic.
Link to Study: https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/M20-3012
This study looks at certain genetic variations in people that are associated with susceptibility to infection and the diverse clinical presentation of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) – including asymptomatic cases and severe forms of the disease in younger patients.
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.
A novel study looking at impacts of coverage of COVID-19 by two Fox News shows in the United States – Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight – on viewers’ behavior and downstream health outcomes. Carlson warned viewers about the threat posed by the coronavirus from early February, while Hannity originally dismissed the risks associated with the virus before gradually adjusting his position starting late February. Hannity’s viewers changed behavior in response to the virus later than other Fox News viewers, while Carlson’s viewers changed behavior earlier. Greater viewership of Hannity relative to Tucker Carlson Tonight is strongly associated with a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the early stages of the pandemic. The researchers say that provision of misinformation in the early stages of a pandemic can have important consequences for how a disease ultimately affects the population.
Link to paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3580487
About half of all Covid-19 deaths appear to be happening in care homes in some European countries, according to early figures. Snapshot data from varying official sources shows that in Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and Belgium between 42% and 57% of deaths from the virus have been happening in care homes (non-acute residential and nursing facilities that house people with some form of long-term care needs).
Study shows that by the end of February 2020 without non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in China– such as early detection, isolation of cases and social distancing – the number of infected people would have been 67 times larger than that which occurred. If NPIs could have been conducted one week, two weeks, or three weeks earlier in China, cases could have been reduced by 66%, 86%, and 95%, respectively, together with significantly reducing the number of affected areas. Improved disease detection, isolation of cases and social distancing are likely to a far greater positive impact on containment than travel restrictions, says the study.
A new preliminary study shows a single 200 mL dose of convalescent plasma (CP) from COVID-19 patients who recently recovered shortened the duration of symptoms, improved oxygen levels and increased the clearance of the virus in patients who were still suffering from the disease. “One dose of convalescent plasma with a high concentration of neutralizing antibodies can rapidly reduce the viral load and tends to improve clinical outcomes”.
A new paper shows that the destruction of forests into fragmented patches is increasing the likelihood that viruses and other pathogens will jump from wild animals to humans.
Link to paper: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10980-020-00995-w
Study showed that a single dose of the drug, Ivermectin, could stop the SARS-CoV-2 virus growing in cell culture – effectively eradicating all genetic material of the virus within 48 hours. Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug that has also been shown to be effective in vitro against a broad range of viruses including HIV, Dengue, Influenza and Zika virus.
New study in JAMA Cardiology says COVID-19 can not only be deadly for people with existing heart conditions, but it can also cause cardiac injury for people without pre-existing heart conditions. The study looked at 416 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Wuhan, China and found that 19.7% suffered a cardiac injury, which put them at higher risk for a fatal version of Coronavirus.
Link to article: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamacardiology/fullarticle/2763524
Phyloepidemiologic analyses indicated the SARS-CoV-2 source at the Hua Nan market should be imported from other places. The crowded market boosted SARS-CoV-2 rapid circulations in the market and spread it to the whole city in early December 2019.