Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, Technology, University of Pennsylvania / 30.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Srinath Adusumalli, MD, MSc, FACC Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Division of Cardiovascular Medicine| Penn Medicine Lauren A. Eberly, MD, MPH Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has uprooted conventional health care delivery for routine ambulatory care, requiring health systems to rapidly adopt telemedicine capabilities. At Penn Medicine, we wanted to ensure that as we developed a new system of telemedical care, we were reaching all of the patients we serve and access to care was maintained. As such, we undertook this study to examine utilization of care as we continued to iterate on and develop our telemedical system of care. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 30.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anita M. McGahan PhD, MBA University Professor Professor of Strategic Management Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy George E. Connell Chair in Organizations & Society Rotman School of Management University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The article by Phebo Wibbens, Wesley Wu-Yi Koo, and me that came out today in PLOS ONE at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0244177 investigates how effective different policies are in accomplishing COVID control across 40 different countries and U.S. states. The policies that we consider are standardized in the Oxford COVID policy database, and include, for example, school closings, workplace closings, international travel controls, restrictions on gatherings, etc. Each of these policies can be implemented at different levels of intensity. The analysis looks at the marginal impact of each of these policies in the presence of the others. We find that, in 90% of jurisdictions, compliance is not high enough to make a core group of socially tolerable policies sufficient to drive COVID growth below zero. In these places, one or more tougher-to-tolerate policies must be implemented on top of the core group to get COVID growth to stop. (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA / 30.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ana Blasco, MD, PhD Cardiology Department, Hospital Universitario Puerta de Hierro–Majadahonda Madrid, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our group has been investigating issues related to coronary thrombosis in patients with acute myocardial infarction for years. Recently, we developed a standardized technique for the detection and quantification of extracellular neutrophil networks (NETs) in coronary thrombi. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Madrid, Spain, we had some cases of myocardial infarctions with ST elevation and a large thrombotic component among patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. Given the important participation of NETs in severe COVID-19 disease, causing occlusion of microvessels as shown in pulmonary samples, we decided to analyze their role in coronary thrombi. Thanks to similar previous analyzes in patients without COVID-19, we have been able to compare our results with a historical series. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Social Issues / 23.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenneth Freedberg, MD Director, Medical Practice Evaluation Center Massachusetts General Hospital Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Study senior author Jessie Gaeta, MD Chief Medical Officer Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Assistant Professor of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Travis P. Baggett, MD, MPH Faculty clinician-investigator MGH Division of General Internal Medicine Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Dr. Baggett: We found that two strategies are crucial for addressing COVID-19 among people staying in homeless shelters: 1) Proactively identifying and testing people with symptoms, and 2) Providing a dedicated, medically supervised, non-hospital space for isolation and management of people with mild to moderate COVID. Together these two strategies would reduce infections, hospitalizations, and health care costs compared to not doing them. During a pandemic surge, like we are seeing now, it makes sense to add periodic universal testing of all shelter residents, even those without symptoms. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education / 23.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elena Losina, PhD Robert W. Lovett Professor of Orthopedic Surgery Harvard Medical School Director, Policy and Innovation eValuations in Orthopedic Treatments (PIVOT) Center Co-Director, Orthopedic and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research Department of Orthopedic Surgery Brigham and Women’s HospitalBoston, MA, 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Since the pandemic began, there have been over 320,000 COVID-19 cases and 80 deaths at over 1,700 colleges, highlighting the consequences of different mitigation strategies, and as colleges are closing the fall semester and preparing for the spring semester, figuring out what worked what did not, in term of COVID-19 mitigation, is critical to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on college campuses during the spring semeste. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Emergency Care, Heart Disease / 21.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michalis Katsoulis PhD Immediate PostDoctoral BHF fellow Institute of Health Informatics Senior Research Fellow, UCL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the early stage of the pandemic, we observed a decline in patient visits to Emergency Departments (ED), including those for cardiac diseases. This decline may have been due to fear of coronavirus infection when attending hospital, public reluctance to overload National Health Service facilities, or difficulty accessing care. In our study, we tried to estimate the impact of reduced ED visits on cardiac mortality in England. We used data from ED visits from the Public Health England Emergency Department Syndromic Surveillance System (EDSSS). For cardiovascular disease outcomes, we obtained mortality counts for cardiac disease from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for England. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Genetic Research, NYU / 19.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John T. Poirier, PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine Director, Preclinical Therapeutics Program Perlmutter Cancer Center An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center NYU Langone Health Smilow Research Center New York, NY 10016 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The goal of this study was to identify in as much detail as possible the genes that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, needs to successfully infect a human host cell. CRISPR technology played a key role in this research; it was used to disrupt every gene in the human genome in parallel and study which ones were required for infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania, Vaccine Studies / 18.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN Senior Fellow Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy Perelman School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Ending the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccination will require sufficient vaccine uptake. Various means are being considered to promote uptake, including mandatory vaccination. For instance, COVID-19 vaccination might be mandated by states (e.g., as a condition for children to attend public school) or by employers. Given the opposition we’ve seen to masks, to choose just one example, our team wanted to gauge the acceptability of COVID-19 vaccine mandates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Lung Cancer / 17.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert Van Haren, MD, MSPH College of Medicine University of Cincinnati MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all areas of society including the field of oncology. This study evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on lung cancer screening. Screening with low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) scans are important because they reduce lung cancer mortality by at least 20%. Our lung cancer screening program was closed in March 2020 due to COVID 19 and reopened again in June 2020. We cancelled over 800 LDCTs during that time period. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 17.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xiaolei Yang The State Key Laboratory of Nonlinear Mechanics, Institute of Mechanics School of Engineering Sciences University of Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing, China hallway-air-flow.jpeg MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The most important finding of this study is that the transmission of COVID-19 is highly influenced by the airflow and that a slight difference in the airflow can significantly alter the virus spreading pattern in the air. In this study, the change of airflow is caused by a minor difference in the corridor width and the walking speed. However, such a change can also come from other factors, such as the indoor architectural structure, the temperature, the humidity, etc. In many of these cases, the common guideline of 6-feet may not be enough when the influence of airflow is taken into account. Due to this complexity, there is still a gap of knowledge to fill before a safety guideline for different indoor environments can be provided to the public, many research efforts are needed from the fluid mechanics’ aspect. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, End of Life Care / 14.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Isaac Chua, MD, MPH Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patient surveys have shown that most people prefer to die at home at the end-of-life. However, during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, anecdotal evidence from our colleagues and findings from a prior study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that majority of COVID-19 decedents died in a medical facility. However, less is known about care intensity at the end-of-life according to place of death among patients who died of COVID-19. Therefore, we characterized end-of-life care by place of death among COVID-19 decedents at Mass General Brigham (MGB), the largest health system in Massachusetts. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, OBGYNE / 13.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheela Maru, MD, MPH Department of Health System Design and Global Health and Arnhold Institute for Global Health and Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Universal screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection on Labor and Delivery (L&D) units is a critical strategy to manage patient and health worker safety, especially in a vulnerable high-prevalence community. We describe the results of a SARS-CoV-2 universal screening program at the L&D Unit at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens, NY, a 545-bed public hospital serving a diverse, largely immigrant and low-income patient population and an epicenter of the global pandemic. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, CT Scanning, Johns Hopkins, Nature / 12.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Calculation of risks or severe COVID-19 disease and mortality for individuals in the general population can help to prioritize prevention efforts, such as early vaccination. We developed a model to estimate risks for COVID-19 mortality for currently uninflected individuals based on sociodemographic factors, pre-existing conditions and local pandemic intensity. The model captures factors associated with both risk of infection and complications after infection. The model was developed using information from a large UK based cohort study called OpenSAFELY, and was adapted to the US population based on information on mortality rate associated with age and race/ethnicity available through CDC. The model also utilizes information on state level projected death rates from pandemic forecasting models. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Environmental Risks, Science / 11.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Asimanshu Das, Ph.D. student Brown University School of Engineering MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Driving in a car with ride-share or car-pool is a widely prevalent social interaction. The study aimed to address the airflows inside cars in various window open/closed configurations using computer simulations, and also looking into the possibility of movement of aerosol-type of particles from one occupant to other. The main findings are that opening windows provides a likely benefit to reduce the potentially pathogenic aerosols inside the cabin. Generally, more windows the better, but at the least it would be advisable to have one rear side window and one frontside window open. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 10.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanne L. Blum, MD, PhD, FACP Texas Oncology and Director Hereditary Cancer Risk Program Baylor University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the POLARIS study? Response: POLARIS is an ongoing prospective, real-world, non-interventional study in patients with HR+/HER2-ABC receiving palboiclib plus endocrine therapy with a targeted enrollment of 1500 patients at 110 sites in the United States and Canada. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
  • Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately one third of the study sites experienced an impact on their responsiveness to correspondence, timely data entry, and subject management.
  • The geographic location or type (e.g., academic or community) of study site appears associated with whether the site was impacted by COVID-19.
  • Other study site characteristics were generally similar between sites that reported an impact of COVID-19 and those that were not impacted.
  • Because of inherent limitations of survey studies, these findings must be interpreted with caution.
(more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 07.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sitara Weerakoon, MPH (she/her) PhD Candidate | Epidemiology & Biostatistics Graduate Research Assistant Center for Pediatric Population Health UTHealth MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Measures to control the spread of COVID-19 included stay-at-home mandates and business lockdown policies which resulted in many facing a loss of income or employment and more time spent isolated at home. Life stressors (like job loss and social isolation) have been shown to be associated with increased drinking at unhealthy levels. Those with a history of mental health problems may be even more at risk. We aimed to see if binge drinking (5 or more drinks [male] or 4 or more drinks [female] in one session) and levels of alcohol consumption among binge drinkers were impacted by these pandemic-related factors. We found that increased time spent at home (in weeks) was associated with a 19% increase in the odds of binge drinking and binge drinkers with a previous diagnosis of depression and current depression symptoms (during the early months of the pandemic) had a 237% greater odds of drinking more alcohol (vs drinking the same amount) compared to those with no history and current symptoms of depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 07.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Martin Scholz Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Primary care physicians should have options available to effectively treat newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients in the outpatient setting to avoid severe COVID-19 progression, hospitalizations, and mortality. Already since the beginning of the pandemic different early treatment options were evaluated. My co-authors, Dr. Zelenko, Dr. Derwand, and myself were keen to confirm retrospectively the observed evidence for beneficial early treatment effects of an already applied triple therapy in combination with a risk stratification approach. The defined risk stratification allowed to differentiate between patients at low and high risk for disease progression and guided treatment decisions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Leukemia / 06.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William Wood, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology UNC School of Medicine William Wood, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology UNC School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were concerns that individuals with cancer, and especially those with hematologic malignancies, could be at higher risk for adverse outcomes following COVID-19 infection than the general population. For this reason the ASH Research Collaborative developed a voluntary data collection registry in which providers or sites caring for patients with hematologic malignancies and COVID-19 infection provided de-identified data via an online data collection platform. We believe that our findings – that 20% of patients with blood cancers who had COVID-19 infection died, including 33% of those who required hospital or ICU level-care – indicate that patients with blood cancers are a medically vulnerable group when it comes to COVID-19. The risk of dying was highest in patients who were older, had more severe infection, opted to forego more intensive treatment, and/or had poorer prognosis before their COVID-19 infection, as determined by their treating clinicians (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, JAMA, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH Dr. Adolph & Margaret Berger Professor of Population Health Director, Division of Health & Behavior Director Center for Healthful Behavior Change Department of Population Health NYU Langone Health NYU School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study is the disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Blacks and Hispanics compared to Whites in major cities across the country. We asked two questions: 1) are there racial/ethnic differences in COVID-19 outcomes (likelihood of testing positive, hospitalizations, severe illness, and deaths) among patients who receive care at NYU Langone Health? If there are differences, are they explained by comorbidity and neighborhood characteristics (poverty, educational status, employment, housing, proportion of Blacks and Hispanics in communities)? (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Hematology / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: George Sakoulas, MD Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group Associate Adjunct Professor UC San Diego School of Medicine San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by IVIG? Response: IVIG stands for intravenous immunoglobulin. It is a preparation from pooled blood donors isolating antibodies in their blood and highly concentrated for use. It's uses are to either replace immunoglobulins in patients who do not produce enough of them because of some underlying immunodeficiency or, as in the case of COVID, they take advantage of the immune signaling properties of the non-variable part of the antibodies. Many immune cells have receptors that bind the non-variable (also called the Fc-gamma region), and when bound, the activity of these activated immune cells is modulated. IVIG is used in many immunologic complications of infections like Guillan-Barre, Kawasaki's disease, immune mediated encephalitis from mycoplasma, just to name a few. We decided to study IVIG because:
  1. Our anecdotal yet successful use of IVIG in treating ARDS due to influenza and other viruses.
  2. Our very definitive successful use of IVIG in a very sick patient with COVID early in the pandemic.
  3. The weak yet positive retrospective data from China of IVIG in COVID.
  4. The mechanism of IVIG inhibiting neutrophil extracellular trap (or NETS) thought to play an important role in COVID severe disease.
  5. IVIG has been around to 4 decades and many physicians have a level of prescribing comfort.
It is worth clarifying that the benefit here is NOT from neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus but rather the immunomodulatory effect. It will be very interesting to see if the effect/benefit changes over time as pooled blood donors feeding the IVIG supply do develop more antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, but this is not yet known. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Pediatrics, Smoking, Stanford, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, FSAHM (pronouns: she/her) Professor of Pediatrics Taube Endowed Research Faculty Scholar Professor (by courtesy), Epidemiology and Population Health Professor (by courtesy), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director of Fellows’ Scholarship, Department of Pediatrics Director of Research, Division of Adolescent Medicine Co-leader, Scholarly Concentrations, Pediatrics Residency Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To examine adolescent and young adult e-cigarette use during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 4 main findings:
  • About 2/3 of adolescent and young adult ever-e-cigarette users reported either quitting or cutting back on e-cigarette use since COVID-19 began.
  • Users least likely to quit or cut back e-cigarette use were those showing higher levels of nicotine dependence and those who had used e- cigarettes a large number of times.
  • Adolescent and young adult e-cigarette users found it harder to access e-cigarettes, but unlike studies before COVID-19, the dominant source of purchasing e-cigs was online instead of brick-and-mortar during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Youth below 21 years were able to purchase e-cigarettes without any age verification, and those whose age was verified were asked to physically show ID or provided an email, which are less effective means to prevent underage youth use.
(more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Opiods, UCLA / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Friedman, MD/PhD student David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Numerous researchers, clinicians, officials, harm reduction agencies, and people who use drugs have sounded the alarm that the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the United States overdose crisis. However, data sources typically used to track overdoses in the US often have long lags that impede timely monitoring and response. For example, the CDC released preliminary overdose figures for 2019 in July 2020, and even these numbers may change. As they are available in near real-time, emergency medical services (EMS) data have increasingly been used as a source of up-to-date information to monitor epidemiological shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we used data from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), a large registry of over 10,000 EMS agencies in 47 states that represented over 80% of all EMS activations nationally in 2020. We used the data to track shifts in overdose-related cardiac arrests observed by EMS. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Inflammation, JAMA, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 30.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ellen H. Lee, MD Incident Command System Surveillance and Epidemiology Section New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Long Island City, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Published reports of the COVID-19-associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) have described higher proportions of cases among Black and Hispanic children. However, case series are limited by the lack of population-level data, which could help provide context for the racial/ethnic distribution of cases described in these reports. The New York City (NYC) Department of Health and Mental Hygiene required reporting of all possible cases of MIS-C among NYC residents, and for cases meeting MIS-C criteria, applied population denominators to calculate MIS-C incidence rates stratified by race/ethnicity. To help characterize the burden of severe COVID-19 disease in NYC, we also calculated COVID-19 hospitalization rates stratified by race/ethnicity. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 19.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH, FACC, FAHA Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Palo Alto, CA 94304 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified existing racial/ethnic disparities in the United States. The goal of this study was to leverage new data collected from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry to understand racial/ethnic differences in presentation and outcomes for hospitalized patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease / 17.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin D. Horne, PhD Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiologist Intermoumtain Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Intermountain Mortality Risk Score (IMRS) is a risk prediction tool developed in 2009 and repeatedly validated over the last decade to predict death, major adverse health events such as heart attack and stroke, and the onset of major chronic diseases. IMRS is computed using sex-specific weightings of parameters from the complete blood count (CBC) and basic metabolic profile (BMP), and age. The CBC and BMP are commonly-ordered clinical laboratory panels that include hemoglobin, white blood cell count, glucose, creatinine, sodium, calcium, and other factors whose testing is standardized and the results are objective and quantitative with no need to know what diagnoses a patient may have. IMRS is known to be a superior predictor of death compared to comorbidity-based risk scores and has been found to predict health outcomes in people with no chronic disease diagnoses as well as patients with coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, and various other diagnoses. IMRS has not been evaluated as a predictor of health outcomes for people with COVID-19, but if it does it could be useful for people to use to evaluate their own risk of poor outcomes if they are infected with SARS-CoV-2, for clinical personnel to guide the care of patients with COVID-19, and for public health professionals to use to determine who among those never diagnosed with COVID-19 is at higher risk of poor health outcomes and should be the first to receive a COVID-19 immunization. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Occupational Health / 16.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Barrett, PhD Associate Professor Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Rutgers School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We started this study in the very early stages of the pandemic to look at SARS-CoV-2 viral transmission and disease severity in health care workers as compared to non-health care workers. There was a tremendous amount of fear and uncertainty about the virus and the early anecdotal reports coming out of China and Italy highlighted the plight of many frontline health care workers who had been infected on the job. We knew that our U.S. health care workers would soon be facing this tremendous challenge. We started this study to examine risks of infection in our vulnerable frontline health care workers and a comparison group of non-health care workers. Our results are from the early stages of the U.S. pandemic in March-April 2020. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA / 12.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brunella Posteranno PhD Associate Professor of Microbiology Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences Rome, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: This study arises from an attempt to clarify some recent evidences of positive real-time PCR (RT-PCR) test results among patients who recovered from COVID-19 with prior negative results. Retesting positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, in the absence of any symptoms suggestive of new infection, poses questions regarding not only the SARS-CoV-2 infection course but also, most importantly, the infectivity status of recovered COVID-19 patients. In other words, it is unknown whether such patients are infectious and whether they should be quarantined. Detecting genetic sequences (i.e., RNA) of SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples (e.g., nasal/oropharyngeal swab samples) by RT-PCR assays enable us to identify persons suffering from COVID-19 along with those who have been exposed and able to transmit virus to others even if they are asymptomatic. It is not hyperbole to say that without RT-PCR testing an effective fight against the virus would be impossible. However, RT-PCR assays are not a viral culture and do not allow to determine whether the virus is viable and, consequently, transmissible. In this study, we investigated RT-PCR retested positive nasal/oropharyngeal swab (NOS) samples from recovered COVID-19 patients for the presence of replicative SARS-CoV-2 RNA to assess active virus replication. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Depression, Mental Health Research, Occupational Health, Pediatrics, UCSF / 11.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kyle T. Ganson, PhD, MSW Assistant Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work University of Toronto Toronto, Canada   Jason Nagata, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California, USA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A quarter of young adults in the US have reported being unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young adults may be especially affected by employment loss as they often work in industries most adversely affected by social distancing. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Among a sample of nearly 5,000 young adults age 18 to 26 in the US, we found that since March 2020, young adults who lost their job or were part of a household that experienced employment loss were more likely than those with secure employment to experience four common symptoms of anxiety and depression. This was also true of young adults who expected an employment loss in the next four weeks. The study also found that symptoms of anxiety and depression were common among the sample of young adults. In the seven days prior to the survey, 75% reported being nervous, anxious or on edge, 68% reported not being able to stop or control worrying, 67% reported having little interest or pleasure in doing things, and 64% reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Nutrition, Pediatrics, UCSF / 11.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason M Nagata M.D., M.Sc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: During the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity is expected to rise given economic uncertainty and job losses. Vulnerable and marginalized populations are disproportionately affected by both COVID-19 and food insecurity. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Rheumatology, UCSF / 07.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Milena Gianfrancesco, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor. Education Division of Rheumatology, Department of Medicine University of California, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study utilized data from the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Provider Survey, which launched on March 25th. To date, it has collected information on over 6,000 patients with rheumatic disease diagnosed with COVID-19 from over 40 countries worldwide. As COVID-19 spread across the world in the spring, and especially within the United States, it became clear that the disease was impacting certain groups more than others. Growing attention and research began to illustrate the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 among racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. We know that racial and ethnic minorities experience a higher burden of rheumatic disease risk and severity; therefore, our group was interested in examining whether the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 also affected this susceptible population. (more…)