Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 11.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Irfan Rahman, Ph.D. Principal Investigator. Center for Inhalation and Flavoring Toxicological Research University of Rochester MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study aimed to determine whether vaping and smoking affect Covid-19 proteins and genes and whether that effect changes depending on the age of the vaper/smoker. SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, enters cells by interacting with ACE2 and TMPRSS2-Furin proteins. We found that both of these proteins increase with age and are also increased by smoking or vaping. This suggests that older adults, smokers and vapers may be more prone to infection with SARS-Cov-2 and may be more likely to have severe complications. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pediatrics / 10.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Burak Bahar, MD Children’s National Hospital Laboratory Medicine Division Washington DC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Objective of this study was to help us better understand how long it takes pediatric patients with COVID-19 to clear it from their system, and at what point they start to make antibodies against the virus. Main findings of our study were 19.5 days being the median duration of viral positivity which is later than 18 days that is the median time for detecting antibodies in the circulation. We also found that kids aged 6 through 15 had a longer duration of viral positivity which was a median of 32 days. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Hospital Acquired, Infections, JAMA / 10.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chanu Rhee MD MPH Associate Hospital Epidemiologist Attending Physician, Infectious Diseases and Critical Care Medicine Assistant Professor of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Many patients have been avoiding essential care during the COVID-19 pandemic due to fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2 in healthcare settings. Little is known, however about the adequacy of infection control practices in preventing nosocomial COVID-19 in U.S. acute care hospitals. We therefore conducted this observational study to determine the incidence of nosocomial COVID-19 in patients hospitalized at a large academic medical center in Boston (Brigham and Women’s Hospital) during the first 12 weeks of the surge in Massachusetts.    (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 09.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Claudia Alteri, PhD Assistant Professor (RTD-B) in Microbiology And Clinical Microbiology Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology University of Milano  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the context of SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis, laboratories play a critical role in confirming the initial clinical suspicion of this disease, as confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 presence is essential to ensure the prompt initiation of containment and treatment protocols. This is of utmost importance to avoid further spread of the pandemic, and to assure the best clinical and therapeutic management of the infected patients in the hospital setting. Unfortunately, currently used rtPCR assays lack of the necessary sensitivity to identify all cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection (20% of false negative results [Li D et all, Korean J Rad 2020; Zhao et all CID 2020]). Complementary laboratory assays are therefore strongly needed. Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) is a highly sensitive assay for the direct detection and quantification of DNA and RNA targets. It has been increasingly used in infectious disease settings, especially thanks to its ability to consistently and reliably detect down to few copies of viral genomes. Standing the necessity of a limitation (as much as possible) of false negative results in COVID-19 diagnosis, the use of ddPCR could provide a critical support. In the context of COVID-19 diagnosis, two recent studies highlight the good performances of ddPCR in detecting low viral load samples (Suo T MedRxiv 2020; You F MedRxiv 2020)  (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, CDC, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 09.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nathan Furukawa, MD, MPH Medical officer, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The cost of the PrEP medication is the largest driver of the cost of providing PrEP care. Most patients need insurance or help from a medication assistance program to cover the large costs of the PrEP medication. We wanted to describe how these costs were paid by patients (out-of-pocket payments) and insurers (third-party payments) nationally.    MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: The study found that the cost for a month of the PrEP medication tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine increased from $1350 to $1638 from 2014 to 2018, an average annual increase of 5%. Out-of-pocket costs increased faster from $54 to $94, an average annual increase of 14.9%. In 2018, at least $2 billion was spent paying for the PrEP medication, and this covered 18% of people that had an indication for PrEP.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Pediatrics / 08.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xiaoyan Song, PhD, MBBS, CIC Director, Office of Infection Control/Epidemiology Children's National Hospital Professor of Pediatrics George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Science Washington, D.C. 20010 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As soon as SARS-COV-2 virus began spreading in early January and raising concerns for a potential pandemic, both the public and healthcare providers have wondered how this new virus is compared to influenza, a virus that human has known for a century and has become much more familiar with its spread pattern, disease characteristics, and treatment. In contrast, we have very little knowledge about SARS-COV-2 and are still getting to know it little by little.  At Children’s National, we always maintain high vigilance on emerging infectious diseases and have excellent surveillance programs for influenza and other respiratory viral diseases.  Therefore, driven by 1) Our curiosity to know if SARS-COV-2 is indeed similar or different from influenza, and 2) Availability of both SARS-COV-2 and influenza data, we conducted this retrospective study. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 08.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Gadi Segal Director of the Internal Medicine Department Sheba Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The background is the need to learn about COVID-19 pathophysiology in order to better stratify patients according to current and future severity. Such classification will enable better triage in times of pandemic and health-care-system over-load. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation, Pediatrics / 04.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alvaro Moreira, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics Co-Director Neonatal Nutrition and Bone Institute UT Health San Antonio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), also known as pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome, is a new dangerous childhood disease that is temporally associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We conducted a systematic review to communicate the typical presentation and outcomes of children diagnosed with this hyperinflammatory condition.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, Pediatrics / 04.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine A. S. Auger, MD, MSc Division of Hospital Medicine James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings Network Cincinnati, Ohio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: All states closed schools in the spring of 2020 to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Our study demonstrated a large, significant association between school closure and fewer COVID-19 cases and deaths even when accounting for other state policies. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Glicksberg, PhD Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences Member of the Mount Sinai COVID Informatics Center Member of the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Healt Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reports from health systems that detailed the clinical characteristics and outcomes of their COVID-19 patients were instrumental in helping other health systems rapidly adapt and know what to expect. There are few studies, however, that assess what happens to these patients after they were discharged from the hospital. In our work, we address this gap by determining both how many individuals re-present to the hospital within 14 days, and what clinical characteristics of these patients differ from those who do not. Such information is critical in order to continue to refine optimal treatment plans and discharge decisions for patients of all backgrounds and clinical profiles. To provide more context to the question, we also determined if and how these factors changed between initial presentation and readmission to the hospital. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: corona virus-Covid19Dr. Francesco Venturelli Servizio di Epidemiologia Direzione Sanitaria - Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia Padiglione Ziccardi, Via Amendola MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Contact tracing and isolation for people testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 are two of the main strategies to limit the viral spread and contain the current pandemic. Long persistence of viral RNA detected by RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal swabs is commonly reported, while its correlation to virus viability is still debated. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: The study showed that in people with COVID-19, the median time between symptoms onset and viral clearance at RT-PCR was 36 days. Moreover, an overall 20% risk of “false negative” results at RT-PCR was observed, decreasing with time from diagnosis.     (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 29.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanne Lemieux, Ph.D. Professor, Director, Membrane Protein Disease Research Group Department of Biochemistry Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry University of Alberta Edmonton AB Canada  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Labs at the University of Alberta developed and studied inhibitors directed against the main protease of coronavirus virus back in 2003 during the initial SARS outbreak. These inhibitors were subsequently developed by other labs to treat a fatal form of coromavisus infection in cats. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Medical Imaging / 27.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bruce G. Haffty, MD FACR FASTRO FASCO Associate Vice Chancellor Cancer Programs Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Professor and Chair, Dept. Radiation Oncology Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson and New Jersey Medical Schools Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? : What are the main findings? Response: That at peak times of COVID in NJ, in a tertiary care hospital with lots of COVID patients, where cancer patients still need to get treated, there was no evidence of surface COVID contamination, which should be reassuring to patients requiring radiation treatment in a busy hospital with a high in patient population of COVID patients. It should be noted that patients and staff were routinely mask wearing, observing social distancing and routinely hand washing as well as screening patients as they came in to the department with temperature checks and questions regarding symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation / 27.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sacha Gnjatic, PhD Associate Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Center Associate Professor of Medicine, Oncological Sciences and Pathology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Member of the Precision Immunology Institute and The Tisch Cancer Institute Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by cytokine/cytokines? Response: COVID-19 is a disease where inflammation is suspected to play a large role in pathogenicity, possibly more so than the tissue damage created by the virus alone. Cytokines are small soluble proteins that are produced by both immune cells and cells from tissues, and many play a role in signaling such inflammation, to alert of tissue damage or infection. Among these cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, IL-1beta, and Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-a) have been well established as important markers of pathogenic inflammation. Drugs that counteract these cytokines are routinely use in various inflammatory disease, from rheumatoid arthritis to plaque psoriasis and Crohn’s disease. When the initial wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection hit our hospitals in New York, we therefore wondered whether these cytokines were associated with COVID-19 disease severity and outcome, and hoped that a rapid test to detect them in blood could be useful to make clinical decisions about treatment. We were able to analyze a very large number of patient samples (>1400) in a period of one month, and confirmed our findings in a second smaller cohort. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Gastrointestinal Disease / 27.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Arvind J. Trindade, MD Director of Endoscopy Long Island Jewish Medical Center Associate professor at Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Division of Gastroenterology, Zucker School of Medicine Hofstra/Northwell, Northwell Health System New Hyde Park, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although most patients with COVID-19 present with respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms have also been reported in up to 25% of patients. Some case reports have shown acute pancreatitis as the initial presentation in patients with COVID-19, however the literature supporting this is limited. Our study aimed to report the point prevalence, risk factors, and outcomes of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 presenting with acute pancreatitis in a large health system and to compare outcomes of pancreatitis in patients without COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, NYU, Rheumatology / 26.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Fernandez-RuizRuth Fernandez-Ruiz, MD Post-Doctoral Fellow Department of Rheumatology NYU Langone Heath  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) represent a unique population in considering risk for COVID-19 with biologic, genetic, demographic, clinical and treatment issues at play. By the nature of their chronic inflammatory autoimmune condition, the presence of comorbidities, and regular use of immunosuppressants, these individuals would traditionally be considered at high risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 and possibly having worse outcomes from the viral infection. However, it might be speculated that inherently elevated type I Interferon, characteristic of the majority of patients with SLE, confers a protective effect as a first line anti-viral defense. Additionally, hydroxychloroquine, which was suggested as a potential therapeutic agent for COVID-19 early on, is used in most patients with SLE. Accordingly, we initiated this study to provide critical data needed to address the frequency and severity of COVID-19 in patients with SLE. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease / 25.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric J. Chow, MD, MS, MPH Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer (completed in 2020); Influenza Division. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Both heart disease and influenza epidemics cause substantial morbidity and mortality every year. In some seasons, influenza virus infections alone contribute up to 810,000 hospitalizations and 61,000 deaths. There is increasing evidence that there is overlap between infections, specifically influenza, and heart disease. In our study, we sought to describe the frequency and risk factors for acute cardiac events in patients who are hospitalized with influenza.
  • In over 80,000 adults hospitalized with influenza over 8 seasons (2010-2018), almost 12% were diagnosed with acute cardiac events, with acute heart failure and acute ischemic heart disease being the most common.
  • Among patients hospitalized with influenza who experienced acute cardiac events, almost one-third were admitted to the intensive care unit and 7% died while hospitalized.
  • Our study also reaffirmed that people who are older, smoke tobacco or have underlying cardiovascular disease, diabetes and kidney disease are at increased risk for the most common acute cardiac events, acute heart failure and acute ischemic heart disease.
  • Although vaccinated persons had a lower risk of acute ischemic heart disease and acute heart failure, this study was not designed to specifically assess vaccine effectiveness.  However, this and other studies support the importance of influenza vaccines for people with underlying heart conditions. 
(more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Weight Research / 24.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa Pawloski PhD Associate Dean for International Programs Professor of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences The University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This exploratory research uses the currently available data on COVID-19 cases and mortality, along with estimates of the morbidly obese populations in the United States by county to examine the association between morbid obesity and deaths from COVID-19 and to identify potential coincident spatial clusters of morbid obesity and COVID-19 deaths. Results indicate statistically significant positive correlation between population adjusted COVID-19 deaths and cases and the estimated population with a BMI>=40. Clustering analyses show there is a predominant similarity in the distribution of COVID-19 deaths and obesity. Our findings suggest it is critical to include an awareness of obesity when developing infectious disease control measures and point to a greater need to focus resources towards obesity education and policy initiatives.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 24.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ajit Ahlawat (en.) Scientific staff (Post-Doc), Department Experimental Aerosol & Cloud Microphysics Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: World Health Organization (WHO) has recently acknowledged that novel coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted via aerosols after an appeal from 239 scientists from 32 countries including the chemist Prof. Hartmut Herrmann from our institute i.e. TROPOS. In order to contain the spread via the aerosol particles floating in the air, the researchers recommend not only continuing to wear masks but also, and above all, good indoor ventilation. In aerosol research, it has been long known that air humidity plays a major role i.e. either at high humidity, more water adheres to the particles and so they can grow faster or at low humidity, evaporation occurs and particle will lose its water content. So, we were curious about what types of studies have already been conducted on this topic and how indoor relative humidity (RH) will influence SARS-CoV-2 airborne transmission in indoor environments. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pediatrics / 22.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lael Yonker, MD Pediatric Pulmonology Director, MGH Cystic Fibrosis Center Principal Investigator, Pediatric COVID biorepository Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Children were initially felt to be spared from the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, we show that children can become sick from SARS-CoV-2 infection, and even if the initial illness is mild, some go on to develop a severe inflammatory illness after the initial illness. We also show that children can carry very high levels of virus early in the course of infection, suggesting they may play a larger role in spreading the virus than previously thought. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Social Issues / 21.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Monik Carmen Jimenez, Sc.D Assistant Professor of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We wanted to get a comprehensive picture of the epidemiology of COVID-19 in carceral facilities that included jails and was not restricted solely to prisons. We utilized publicly available data collected in Massachusetts, pursuant to a court order. These data included prison and jail systems and were used to calculate rates of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and testing rates among incarcerated individuals. We were also able to compare those to changes in the population size within each system. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Flu - Influenza, JAMA / 19.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeremy Samuel Faust, M.D., M.S., M.A., FACEP Brigham & Women's Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Health Policy and Public Health Instructor, Harvard Medical School President, Roomful of Teeth Vocal Arts Project (www.roomfulofteeth.org)  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We sought to compare the initial covid-19 outbreak in NYC to the peak of the 1918 H1N1 pandemic in that same city. We found that the covid-19 pandemic was associated with more than 70% as many deaths per capita (monthly) as 1918 H1N1 was. But because baseline mortality rates are about 1/2 of what they were a century ago, death rates were over 400% of usual rates in March and April of this year compared to recent years, while 1918 was "merely" over 280% of usual death rates from prior years leading up to it. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pinar Karaca-Mandic, PhD Professor, Finance Department Arthur Williams Jr. Professor of Healthcare Risk Management Academic Director, Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI) Carlson School of Management University of Minnesota MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Several studies have highlighted disparities in COVID-19 infection rates and deaths. Less is known about disparities in hospitalizations. Reports from the Centers for Disease Control showed that in the nation overall, non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanics and American Indian Alaska Native persons have substantially higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalization. Our study extends this work by providing a state-by-state analysis of race/ethnic prevalence of cumulative COVID-19 hospitalizations and comparing this prevalence to ethnic/racial composition of each state’s population. Through our University of Minnesota Covid-19 hospitalization tracking project (https://carlsonschool.umn.edu/mili-misrc-covid19-tracking-project) we collect data every day from state department of health websites, and we started collecting information on race/ethnicity breakdown of the hospitalizations as soon as states started reporting such data. During our study period, between April 30 and June 24, 12 states reported cumulative hospitalizations by race/ethnicity. By the end of our study, our data from these 12 states represented almost 50,000 hospitalizations.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 12.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Morayma Reyes Gil M.D., Ph.D. Director of hematology and Coagulation Labs Associate Professor, Pathology Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein School of Medicine Bronx, NY 10467 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Antiphospholipid Syndrome is an entity caused by autoantibodies that cause arterial and venous thrombosis as well as miscarriages. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we tested 187 patients for Lupus anticoagulant (LA); 68 turned out to be COVID positive. 30 of the 68 COVID-positive patients were found to be positive for LA by the DRVVT test, and 17 of them were also determined to be positive by the hexagonal phospholipid neutralization STACLOT-LA test. Importantly, of the 30 patients who were LA positive, 19 had documented thrombosis (arterial and venous), an event rate of 63%, as compared with a rate of 34% (p = .03) for LA-negative patients. We also checked CRP, an inflammatory marker known to affect the hexagonal phospholipid neutralization STACLOT-LA test. Although the mean CRP level was higher in patients testing positive for LA by DRVVT (14.4 vs 7.5 mg/dL; < .01), patients with thrombosis did not have significantly higher CRP levels than those with no thrombosis. Hence, we adjusted for CRP, and LA was found to be independently associated with thrombosis (odds ratio, 4.39; 95% CI, 1.45-14.57; p= .01). No statistically significant difference was found by anticoagulation at the time of thrombosis, gender, race, ethnicity, ventilation, and mortality between patients who tested LA positive vs. negative.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Genetic Research, JAMA / 11.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Caspar van der Made, MD Resident in Internal Medicine, PhD-student Alexander Hoischen, PhD Geneticist, Assistant professor, Departments of Human Genetics and Internal Medicine Radboud University Medical enter Nijmegen, The Netherlands  First author Caspar van der Made is a resident in Internal Medicine and PhD-student on the topic of immunogenomics. Alexander Hoischen is geneticist with a special focus on the application of genomic technologies in primary immunodeficiencies and last author of this study. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: This study was initiated to investigate the presence of monogenic factors that predispose young individuals to develop a severe form of COVID-19. It has become clear that several general risk factors such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes mellitus increase the risk of developing severe coronavirus disease. However, even though differences in interindividual genetic make-up are thought to influence the immune response to SARS-CoV-2, such specific genetic risk factors had not yet been identified. We therefore chose to study young brother pairs (sharing half of their genomes) without any general risk factors that nevertheless contracted severe COVID-19. We hypothesized these highly selected case series may offer the most optimal chance of identifying a (possible X-linked) primary immunodeficiency specific to COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 10.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karina W. Davidson, PhD, MA Senior Vice President of Research, Northwell Health Director, Center for Personalized Health, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Dean of Academic Affairs & Professor, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research Donald and Barbara Zucker Professor in Health Outcomes, Department of Medicine, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: New York was epicenter for COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic, and Northwell Health, the largest health system in New York, did everything in its power to care for our sick community members but also care for and protect our frontline health care providers (HCPs) and 72,000 employees. We were fortunate enough to have not run out of PPE – from masks to gowns. Through our employee health team we were able to offer free antibody screenings and through the Northwell Health Research Consortium and the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research we looked to use the data collected from our consented employees to determine the prevalence of antibodies. We designed the study to not only identify the presence of antibodies but also key factors like demographics, in what capacity our providers worked on the frontlines and if they suspected infection. Our data helped identify the best practices Northwell Health – from PPE to care procedures - and others nationwide would need to do to keep our frontline workers safe. Key takeaways from the research show that from April 20 to June 23, of the final consented sample of health care providers (40,329), 13 percent (5,523) tested positive for antibodies. The positive sample pool included 28.4 percent (11,468) nurses and 9.3 percent (3,746) physicians. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA / 07.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ty J. Gluckman, M.D., FACC Providence St Joseph Health Portland, Oregon MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In spite of significant decreases in the incidence of coronary artery disease, an estimated 800,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) this year.  For large numbers of these patients, substantial benefit is afforded by early diagnosis and treatment.  Accordingly, multiple campaigns have been launched over time to increase public awareness about the symptoms and signs of AMI and the need to seek immediate medical attention. The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly changed health care delivery worldwide.  While early attention was disproportionately focused on efforts to “flatten the curve”, recent reports have revealed a disturbing finding—a substantial decrease in the hospitalization rate for AMI.  Most worrisome among potential reasons for this has been reluctance of patients with an AMI to seek medical attention out of fear that they become infected with SARS-CoV-2. To better understand the impacts associated with this, we performed a retrospective, cross-sectional study of all AMI hospitalizations in a large multistate health care system (Providence St. Joseph Health).  We sought to define changes in AMI case rates, patient demographics, cardiovascular comorbidities, treatment approaches and in-hospital outcomes during the pandemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Pediatrics / 05.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Taylor Heald-Sargent, M.D., Ph.D. Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Given the ongoing debate around the ability of children to transmit SARS-CoV-2, we noticed that our clinical data could address one of the prevalent assumptions.  Some people postulated that the reason children have less severe infections with SARS-CoV-2 is because they are not able to replicate virus as much as adults and therefore may not transmit as readily.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 05.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pranay Sinha, MD Research Fellow Section of Infectious Diseases Boston University School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the early days of the COVID-19  pandemic there were no evidence-based treatments for severely ill patients infected with this virus. We formed an interdisciplinary group of physicians from departments of adult and pediatric infectious diseases, rheumatology, and pulmonary/critical care as well as clinical pharmacy specialists. Given some promising data from China, we instituted treatment with off-label IL-6 receptor inhibitors (tocilizumab and sarilumab). The rationale was to mitigate the exuberant immune response observed in some patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 (also called cytokine storm or cytokine release syndrome). Quite quickly, we started noticing that giving the drug to our sickest patients wasn’t eliciting dramatic improvement. We reasoned that by the time patients were severely ill and requiring ventilators, the damage to their lungs from the cytokine storm had already taken place. It was like closing the barn door after the horse had already bolted. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 04.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Harvey W. Kaufman, MD, MBA, FCAP Senior Medical Director, Medical Informatics Quest Diagnostics Needham, MA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted routine healthcare and in particular cancer screenings.  We documented the impact on patients who were newly identified by cancer in the early months of the pandemic by analysis of Quest Diagnostics data. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: We saw a 46% decline in newly identified patients with six common types of cancer.  In accordance to healthcare recommendations, many patients didn’t receive mammograms, colonoscopies, low-dose CT scans, and avoided physician visits for minor complaints.  When these patients return, some will present with more advanced stages of cancer than they would have without the disruption of the pandemic.  (more…)