October 26, 2020

Clinical Reports

  • An inflammatory cytokine signature predicts COVID-19 severity and survival
    Authors implemented a rapid multiplex cytokine assay to measure serum interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and IL-1β in hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) upon admission to the Mount Sinai Health System in New York. Patients (n = 1,484) were followed up to 41 d after admission (median, 8 d), and clinical information, laboratory test results and patient outcomes were collected. Authors found that high serum IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α levels at the time of hospitalization were strong and independent predictors of patient survival (P < 0.0001, P = 0.0205 and P = 0.0140, respectively). When adjusting for disease severity, common laboratory inflammation markers, hypoxia and other vitals, demographics, and a range of comorbidities, IL-6 and TNF-α serum levels remained independent and significant predictors of disease severity and death. These findings were validated in a second cohort of patients (n = 231). Serum IL-6 and TNF-α levels should be considered in the management and treatment of patients with COVID-19 to stratify prospective clinical trials, guide resource allocation and inform therapeutic options.

Antiviral Therapeutics and Vaccines

  • Moderna phase III clinical study protocol
    ModernaTX, Inc released its study protocol for Phase 3, Randomized, Stratified, Observer-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety, and Immunogenicity of mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine in Adults Aged 18 Years and Older

  • Pfizer phase III clinical study protocol
    Pfizer released it study protocol for a phase 1/2/3, placebo-controlled, randomized, observer-bling, dose-finding study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, immunogenicity, and efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 RNA vaccine candidates against COVID-19 in healthy individuals.

Diagnostics

  • Identifying Optimal COVID-19 Testing Strategies for Schools and Businesses: Balancing Testing Frequency, Individual Test Technology, and Cost
    Authors model various combinations of key variables to identify and compare a range of effective and practical surveillance strategies for schools and businesses. A simulated data set incorporating actual community prevalence and test performance characteristics was coupled with a susceptible, infectious, removed (SIR) compartmental model, modeling the impact of base and tunable variables including test sensitivity, testing frequency, results lag, sample pooling, disease prevalence, externally-acquired infections, and test cost on outcomes case reduction. Increasing testing frequency was associated with a non-linear positive effect on cases averted over 100 days. While precise reductions in cumulative number of infections depended on community disease prevalence, testing every 3 days versus every 14 days (even with a lower sensitivity test) reduces the disease burden substantially. Pooling provided cost savings and made a high-frequency approach practical; one high-performing strategy, testing every 3 days, yielded per person per day costs as low as $1.32. A range of practically viable testing strategies emerged for schools and businesses. Key characteristics of these strategies include high frequency testing with a moderate or high sensitivity test and minimal results delay. Sample pooling allowed for operational efficiency and cost savings with minimal loss of model performance.

Epidemiology

  • Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19, by Age and Race and Ethnicity — United States, January 26–October 3, 2020
    As of October 15, 216,025 deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been reported in the United States; however, this number might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality. Measures of excess deaths have been used to estimate the impact of public health pandemics or disasters, particularly when there are questions about under-ascertainment of deaths directly attributable to a given event or cause. Excess deaths are defined as the number of persons who have died from all causes, in excess of the expected number of deaths for a given place and time. Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths occurred from late January through October 3, 2020, with 198,081 (66%) excess deaths attributed to COVID-19. The largest percentage increases were seen among adults aged 25–44 years and among Hispanic or Latino persons. These results inform efforts to prevent mortality directly or indirectly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, such as efforts to minimize disruptions to health care.

Situation Dashboards

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World Health Organization (WHO)

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation from World Health Organization (WHO)
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Johns Hopkins University (JHU)

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at JHU
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COVID-19 in US and Canada

1Point3Acres Real-Time Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates in US and Canada with Credible Sources
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Genomic Epidemiology COVID-19

Genomic Epidemiology of (COVID-19) Maintained by the Nextstrain team, enabled by data from GISAID.

Sources for COVID-19 Information

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World Health Organization (WHO)

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Centers for Disease Control, US

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International Society for Infectious Diseases

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This Week in Virology (TWIV)

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