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3/27/20 FDA GRANTS EMERGENCY USE authorisation of RAPID CORONAVIRUS TEST

Currently available tests in USA take few hours to days to detect novel Coronavirus cases. Now, Abbott has received emergency use authorisation of rapid Coronavirus Test. Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test is a point of care test: Delivers positive results in 5 minutes and megative results in 13 minutes. This test is performed on a light box platform, so it can be used in various locations like hospitals or clinics. Abbott is hoping to produce 50,000 kits a day and start delivering to healthcare systems early April.


3/26/20  Hubei region opened after lockdown

Hubei region opened yesterday after 2 months of lockdown. People wear masks and are still worried about silent spread.  Today, 1 local and 54 “foreign” new cases were reported among Chinese returning back from other countries. China plans to cut international flights. The US will be releasing county level data to estimate the level of community spread. India under lockdown but cases rising at logarithmic level as expected. Ramping up of testing is considered cornerstone and remains grim in the US and India. 


3/25/20 Why social distancing matters in reducing coronavirus-2 transmission

Recent study analysed the stability of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on different surfaces. The virus was stable on surfaces upto 3 hours in air, and  upto 72 hours on plastic. The study suggested due to prolonged stability of virus outside the body, people may be transmitting the disease even without any symptoms. The SARS-CoV-2  is highly contagious and can transmit to an average of 2.6 people as compared to flu, in which transmission rate is almost 1 person to one more.Due to high transmission risk, quarantine of active cases and people with exposure to active cases is important.


Reference:1.NEJM. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056

2. WHO. www.who.org

3/24/20: No benefit of Antiviral combination Lopinavir-ritonavir in COVID-19 cases

Recent trial published in NEJM showed no benefit of Lopinavir-ritonavir combination in hospitalised COVID-19 cases as compared to standard care.

Reference: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056

3/24/20: Countries with highest burden of Coronavirus cases

Coronavirus, COVID-19 disease has spread to over 195 countries. There are more than 375,000 cases and 16,000 deaths due to this pandemic. The countries with most cases are: China, Italy, USA, Spain and Germany.





3/23/20: PM Modi orders lockdown for India for 3 weeks

As of 3/23/20 India has more than 500 cases of COVID-19. Globally there are 375,000 cases and more than 16,000 deaths in 195 countries. India has been very strict in implementation of travel restrictions since the pandemic started. PM Modi urged Indian citizens for self lock-down (Janta curfew) on March 22nd from 7am to 9 pm IST. On March 23rd, India ramped up its fight against Coronavirus by announcing the strict shutdown for 21 days.


3/22/20: FDA approves rapid 45 minute test for COVID-19

San Diego based Mesa Biotech company has received emergency use authorization from FDA for its Accula SARS-CoV-2 test. The test can detect the active infection in about 45 minutes. Currently there are more than 42,000 cases in the USA and the number is increasing day by day. This test can play a major role in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic.

3/21/20: “Cloth masks” may be dangerous for healthcare workers.

Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting coronavirus pandemic and taking care of sick patients in ICU. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is recommended for healthcare providers taking care of active cases in the healthcare facilities. PPE includes gown, gloves, face mask or N95 respirator. The N95 respirator filters out more than 95% of very small particles. Due to limited supply of  face masks, some societies have mentioned using cloth masks as alternatives. There is not much data about safety of cloth masks to reduce disease transmission. Infact, previous studies have shown that penetration of cloth masks by particles is almost 97% and there is significantly higher risk of infection with cloth mask as compared to medical mask. 

Reference: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/4/e006577?fbclid=IwAR1cH790GmTddcNIJNegvNP9z8oK9UFq_rIwhXX7-y_JXcnL14eJDaKaeH4


3/20/20: More lockdowns after Wuhan’s Lockdown success. Early intervention without drastic measure with more testing did work for Taiwan/Singapore. 

Canada- US border lockdown tonight. Restricted US-Mexico non-essential travel. California, US - Stay at home order. Germany may have stay at home orders on Monday (3/23). New York, US - any size non-essential gatherings canceled starting 3/22. India got sensitive after singer Kanika Kapoor, who attended the party of 100? including politicians, self-tested positive. Indian stages will maintain a day of Curfew. Long-distance trains in India canceled on Sunday. 


3/19/20: Malaria drug for the treatment of COVID-19 infection

Hydroxychloroquine is a derivative of the anti malaria drug chloroquine. Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs currently being studied for treatment of COVID-19 infection. Chloroquine has been widely used for malaria and rheumatic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. It is cheap and readily available. For use of anti-malaria -Hydroxychloroquine - FDA support an expeditious review and drug availability if proven effective. Small studies have shown significant improvement in patients who have taken this drug. 

Reference: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41421-020-0156-0

3/18/20: Remdesivir may be a promising medication to treat COVID-19

Currently, there are no specific medications available to treat COVID-19. Remdesivir is an antiviral drug developed by Gilead. This has been used for human studies in Ebola and animal studies for other coronavirus diseases like SARS and MERS. A Phased 3 clinical trial was started in Wuhan in February 2020,  FDA also supports NIH randomized controlled trial with the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir. 

Reference: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-continues-facilitate-development-treatments


3/18/20 and 3/19/20 Wuhan Zero Days

  • 0 (Zero) new local case of coronavirus identified in Wuhan, China


3/17/20  No evidence ibuprofen worsens COVID-19 infection

Some concerns were raised whether ibuprofen use for fever, headache, muscle aches can worsen COVID-19. WHO clarifies on their website that there is no evidence that ibuprofen use can worsen COVID-19

Reference: www.who.org

3/16/20 Vaccine for SARS-CoV-2

  • First US participant was injected with coronavirus vaccine (m-RNA based from Moderna claiming 63 days from getting gene sequence from China to first human injection) to test safety (phase I) in Seattle, United States. Adults in Seattle between age 18y to 55y can participate. The feasible vaccine may take at least a year or more. Multiple other companies and research organizations are trying to bring other vaccines to phase I trial. There was a hoax about Israel ready with a vaccine exploiting truthful breakthroughs and the availability of a coronavirus vaccine for poultry. Vaccine’s effectiveness may be tried on other animals including monkeys. The human vaccine requires extending time to study safety and efficacy and will likely be available by mid of next year for the general population. 

  • China will start Phase I trial for another coronavirus based vaccine soon enrolling 18-60 years old based on adenoviral vector similar to the ebola vaccine.

  • DNA based vaccine by Inovio plans to start trials in China, North Korea, and the United States in early April

  •  Another mRNA based vaccine developed by BioNTech will started clinical trials in April in collaboration with Pfizer

3/13/20  Certain Blood group more susceptible to acquiring COVID-19

Study involved 2173 patients with COVID-19 confirmed by SARS-CoV2 test from three hospitals in China. Blood Group A has significantly higher risk and Blood group O has significantly lower risk than other blood groups for acquiring COVID-19 infection.

Reference: Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.11.20031096v1


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