December 7, 2020

Clinical Reports

  • Olfactory transmucosal SARS-CoV-2 invasion as a port of central nervous system entry in individuals with COVID-19
    Thromboembolic events throughout the body, including in the CNS, have been described in COVID-19 patients. Given the neurological symptoms observed in a large majority of individuals with COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 penetrance of the CNS is likely. Authors demonstrate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and protein in anatomically distinct regions of the nasopharynx and brain. Morphological changes associated with infection such as thromboembolic ischemic infarction of the CNS are described as is evidence of SARS-CoV-2 neurotropism. SARS-CoV-2 can enter the nervous system by crossing the neural-mucosal interface in olfactory mucosa, exploiting the close vicinity of olfactory mucosal, endothelial, and nervous tissue, including delicate olfactory and sensory nerve endings. Subsequently, SARS-CoV-2 appears to follow neuroanatomical structures, penetrating defined neuroanatomical areas including the primary respiratory and cardiovascular control center in the medulla oblongata.

Antiviral Therapeutics and Vaccines

  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, 2020
    Demand is expected to exceed supply during the first months of the national COVID-19 vaccination program. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended, as interim guidance, that both 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities be offered COVID-19 vaccine in the initial phase of the vaccination program. Federal, state, and local jurisdictions should use this guidance for COVID-19 vaccination program planning and implementation. ACIP will consider vaccine-specific recommendations and additional populations when a Food and Drug Administration–authorized vaccine is available.

  • Analysis of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients and its correlation with inflammatory markers
    Vitamin D had recently been reviewed as one of the factors that may affect the severity in COVID-19. The objective of current study is to analyze the vitamin D level in COVID-19 patients and its impact on the disease severity. The current study was undertaken as continuous prospective observational study of 6 weeks. Participants were COVID-19 patients of age group 30–60 years admitted during the study period of 6 weeks. Study included either asymptomatic COVID-19 patients (Group A) or severely ill patients requiring ICU admission (Group B). Serum concentrations of 25 (OH)D, were measured along with serum IL-6; TNFα and serum ferritin. Standard statistical analysis was performed to analyze the differences. Current Study enrolled 154 patients, 91 in Group A and 63 patients in Group B. The mean level of vitamin D (in ng/mL) was 27.89 ± 6.21 in Group A and 14.35 ± 5.79 in Group B, the difference was highly significant. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 32.96% and 96.82% respectively in Group A and Group B. Out of total 154 patients, 90 patients were found to be deficient in vitamin D (Group A: 29; Group B: 61). Serum level of inflammatory markers was found to be higher in vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients viz. IL-6 level (in pg/mL) 19.34 ± 6.17 vs 12.18 ± 4.29; Serum ferritin 319.17 ± 38.21 ng/mL vs 186.83 ± 20.18 ng/mL; TNFα level (in pg/mL) 13.26 ± 5.64 vs 11.87 ± 3.15. The fatality rate was high in vitamin D deficient (21% vs 3.1%). Vitamin D level is markedly low in severe COVID-19 patients. Inflammatory response is high in vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients. This all translates into increased mortality in vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients. As per the flexible approach in the current COVID-19 pandemic authors recommend mass administration of vitamin D supplements to populations at risk for COVID-19.

Diagnostics

  • SARS-CoV-2 genomic and subgenomic RNAs in diagnostic samples are not an indicator of active replication
    Both replication and transcription of coronaviruses are thought to take place in so-called double-membrane vesicles in the cytoplasm of infected cells. Authors show detection of SARS-CoV-2 subgenomic RNAs in diagnostic samples up to 17 days after initial detection of infection and provide evidence for their nuclease resistance and protection by cellular membranes suggesting that detection of subgenomic RNAs in such samples may not be a suitable indicator of active coronavirus replication/infection.

Epidemiology

  • Updated CDC guidance on when to quarantine
    Reducing the length of quarantine may make it easier for people to quarantine by reducing the time they cannot work. A shorter quarantine period also can lessen stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising. Local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last, based on local conditions and needs. Options they will consider include stopping quarantine
      • On day 10 without testing
      • On day 7 after receiving a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later)

 

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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