Top ten articles on COVID-19

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As we continue to further our understanding of the novel coronavirus, its epidemiological characteristics and possible avenues for treatment, take a look at the top ten most-read articles from March on COVID-19.

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COVID-19 antibody seroprevalence in Santa Clara county, California
Bendavid et al., 2020 – medRxiv

In early April, researchers measured seroprevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 among residents in Santa Clara Country. Using their data, the team calculated COVID-19 prevalence estimates 50–85-fold more than the number of confirmed cases. This implies that the infection is much more widespread than indicated by the number of confirmed cases.

Covid-19 – navigating the uncharted
Fauci et al., 2020 – N. Engl. J. Med.

An editorial published in late March outlines the results from previous research concerning SARS-CoV-2, which have since been used to inform the response to the outbreak, including travel restrictions. As current studies continue to shed light on the characteristics of this virus, this article highlights the need to understand the pathogenesis of COVID-19 in order to navigate our responses in this unchartered arena.

Treatment of 5 critically ill patients with COVID-19 with convalescent plasma
Shen et al., 2020 – JAMA

A study conducted in Shenzhen (China) involved transfusing five critically ill COVID-19 patients with convalescent blood plasma in order to determine whether this was beneficial to their treatment. The researchers observed an improved clinical status in their patients as a result of the treatment but stated that these observations require further evaluation in clinical trials.

Clinical course and risk factors for mortality of adult inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective cohort study
Zhou et al., 2020 – Lancet

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A retrospective multicenter study analyzed data from 191 COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Wuhan (China) in January 2020, in order to identify risk factors for mortality and severity of illness. The researchers discovered that, among other factors, older age increased the likelihood of in-hospital death. Further, they observed that the median duration of viral shedding was 20 days.

Characteristics of and important lessons from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in China
Wu and McGoogan, 2020 – JAMA

Published in late February, this article summarizes key findings from a large case series of COVID-19, published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Beijing, China). The summary includes the epidemiologic characteristics of COVID-19 and a comparison with SARS and MERS.

High temperature and high humidity reduce the transmission of COVID-19
Wang et al., 2020 – SSRN

Researchers calculated the reproductive number, R, for each Chinese city with more than 40 cases of the novel coronavirus. Using the daily R values from 21–23 January 2020 and linear regression modelling, they demonstrated that high temperature and high humidity could reduce the transmission of COVID-19, respectively. Though their results may seem to suggest that the arrival of summer and rainy season could reduce transmission of the virus, they also acknowledged that 80% of R-value fluctuations cannot be explained by temperature and humidity, therefore other measures are important for reducing transmission.

Severe outcomes among patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Bialek et al., 2020 – MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep.

This report, published on 27 March 2020, uses preliminary data to describe outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States as of mid-March 2020. Though the landscape continues to change as the virus spreads, the report outlines the implications for the disease in terms of severity and the need for social distancing.

Temporal dynamics in viral shedding and transmissibility of COVID-19
He et al., 2020 – Nature

This study, published in Nature Medicine, investigated temporal patterns of viral shedding in 94 patients with COVID-19, as well as infectiousness profiles from a separate sample of transmission pairs. Using their results, the researchers estimated that a substantial number of cases were infected during the source’s presymptomatic stage.

The incubation period of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from publicly reported confirmed cases: estimation and application
Lauer et al., 2020 – Ann. Intern. Med.

In order to determine an estimated incubation period for COVID-19, researchers analyzed a pool of confirmed cases reported between 4 January – 24 February 2020 in areas outside Wuhan. Using this data, they estimated a median incubation period of 5.1 days and recommended 14 days’ quarantine for anyone potentially exposed to SARS-CoV-2.

Compassionate use of remdesivir for patients with severe COVID-19
Grein et al., 2020 – N. Engl. J. Med

During the period from 25 January – 7 March 2020, a cohort of COVID-19 patients, hospitalized with low oxygen saturation, received a 10-day course of remdesivir. Researchers observed clinical improvement in 68% of those who completed the course, while also stating that ongoing trials of remdesivir therapy will be necessary in order to measure its efficacy.

If you would like to stay up-to-date on COVID-19, check out our COVID-19 Hub.

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