Author Interviews, BMJ, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: corona virus-Covid19 Dr. 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…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Infections / 01.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hariom Yadav, PhD Assistant Professor, Molecular Medicine Wake Forest School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As gut microbiota is linked with all kind of known human diseases, however, commonly studied microorganisms are bacteria. Our study is first-of-its kind to discover the role of fungi living in our gut to influence our brain health like Alzheimer’s disease pathology in humans. It also describes that a Mediterranean ketogenic diet can beneficially change fungi and bacteria populations to improve brain health. (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-Ruiz Ruth 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.
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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, HIV, University of Pittsburgh / 14.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Egan, Ph.D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor Behavioral and Community Health Sciences Pitt Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: When taken as a daily pill, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, adhering to a daily medication regimen doesn’t work for everyone for reasons that include cost and individual concerns about the biological consequences of long-term medication. Previous studies have shown that there are certain periods when some men who have sex with men may be more vulnerable to contracting HIV, including when traveling, on vacation, moving to a new city or after a break-up. Our team set out to explore whether these men might be more receptive to adhering to PrEP treatment during these times. We followed 48 adult men from Pittsburgh or Boston who have sex with men in a pilot program to test the daily use of PrEP for 30 days that included an out-of-town vacation, with the men starting the medication seven days before the trip and continuing for at least seven days after vacation. The men were also given a brief session introducing them to the use of PrEP and discussion adherence. (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; P < .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, Infections, Schizophrenia / 05.08.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: GeNeuro Hervé Perron PhD Chief Scientific Officer at GeNeuro MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs), remnants of ancestral viral genomic insertions, are known to represent 8% of the human genome and are associated with several pathologies. Certain proteins produced by HERVs have previously been found to be involved in pathogenic mechanisms linked to, e.g., multiple sclerosis (MS) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, despite previous results having shown an abnormal expression of HERV-W in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, the mechanisms involved in these psychiatric disorders are poorly understood. (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…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA, MRI / 28.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Valentina Puntmann, MD, PhD, FRCP Deputy Head Goethe CVI Fellowship Programme Lead Consultant Physician, Cardiologist and Clinical Pharmacologist Institute for Experimental and Translational Cardiovascular Imaging DZHK Centre for Cardiovascular Imaging - Goethe CVI Department of Cardiology, Division of Internal Medicine University Hospital Frankfurt, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients who recently recovered from COVID19 have been identified through the testing centre and invited to be screened for cardiac involvement with MRI. Importantly, they have not come to us because of having heart problems. In fact, none of them thought that they had had anything wrong with the heart. They were mostly healthy, sporty and well prior to their illness. A considerable proportion had been infected while on skiing vacations. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 26.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Li, MD MMSc Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Division of Infectious Diseases Brigham and Women’s Hospital MedicalResearch.com: Why did you do this study? Response: The accurate diagnosis of COVID-19 is critical for our patients in order to receive appropriate care, and for infection control and public health. In the US, the gold standard for COVID diagnosis is sampling through a nasopharyngeal swab (NP) but is that really the best way to diagnose COVID? As many of your viewers may have experienced first hand, nasopharyngeal swabs require inserting a long swab into the back of the nose, which is incredibly uncomfortable for the patient, technically-challenging for the health care worker, and requires equipment and reagents that are in short supply. There are also alternative sampling methods for COVID diagnosis. In Asia, oropharyngeal sampling(OP), or swabbing the back of the mouth, are commonly used and in my hospital, the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, we frequently test sputum as well for inpatients. But there’s a lot of confusion in the field about which of these methods is the most sensitive? We undertook this study to try to bring some clarity to this question of what is the most sensitive way to diagnose COVID and detect SARS-CoV-2? (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 21.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gil Garnier PhD Director and Professor Bioresource Processing Research Institute of Australia (BioPRIA) PALS ARC Industry Transformation Research Hub Department of Chemical Engineering Monash University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We wanted to develop a test that would be: 1) Reliable and fast to perform, 2) Easy and fast to manufacture, 3) Easy and fast to distribute and be adopted by the Health care community. We also wanted to capitalize on our vast expertise and experience from developing novel blood typing tests. Our strategy was to develop a serology COVID test using the current Gel card technology available in most hospital and blood laboratories throughout the world. Equipment and expertise are already available from point of care setting to high throughput/automated systems measuring 100-200 test/ h. Also, these cards are currently produced by many companies all over and these can be shipped all international. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 17.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abdi Ghaffari, Ph.D. Associate Professor (adjunct) Dept. of Pathology and Molecular Medicine Queen’s University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: SARS-CoV-2 virus has infected millions and changed our way of life by placing nearly 3 billion people under lockdown or some form of physical isolation. In the absence of a vaccine or reliable treatment, diagnostic testing must be a pillar of public health policy to control further spread of the virus and to guide gradual removal of lockdown measures. COVID-19 antibody diagnostic tests are being increasingly used to assess the protective immunity status in the population. There are over 100 different COVID-19 antibody tests developed by companies worldwide in an effort to address this need. However, companies’ reported performance data are not always in line with the actual performance of these diagnostic tests in the real-world. In this work, we conducted a systemic review of independent studies (sponsored by academic or government institutions) that aimed to validate the performance of currently available COVID-19 antibody tests on the market. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 17.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rajan K. Chakrabarty, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering Washington University in Saint Louis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: At the onset of COVID-19, we developed a state-of-the-art epidemic progression model involving the susceptible, exposed, infected, and recovered (SEIR) dynamics, the age-stratified disease transmissibility, and the possible large-scale undocumented asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 taking place in the US states. By informing our model with using epidemiological COVID-19 data for the US between March 19 and 28 – a period corresponding to the early stage of the epidemic when the impacts of social distancing on disease progression were yet to manifest – we investigated: “What is the medical cost benefit of implementing social distancing as the “only” non-pharmaceutical intervention policy to combat COVID-19 in the US?” As part of this study, we investigated three social distancing strategies – indefinite, finite-duration, and intermittent – on age-stratified US population and benchmark its effectiveness in reducing the burden on hospital beds. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Infections, NEJM, Vaccine Studies / 15.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frederick Hayden MD Stuart S Richardson Professor Emeritus of Clinical Virology Professor Emeritus of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health University of Virginia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although primary prevention approach for influenza infections is vaccination, vaccine efficacy is incomplete and uptake rates are variable in the population. Preventing people who have been exposed to someone with influenza from developing the disease is an important way to prevent its rapid spread, reduce the disruption to peoples' lives and, in some cases, reducing the risk of serious illness or even death. Prior studies have shown that antivirals like oseltamivir and inhaled zanamivir can reduce the risk influenza illness in those exposed. The BLOCKSTONE study was designed to assess the efficacy of postexposure prophylaxis with a single oral dose of baloxavir for the preventing influenza in household contacts. This antiviral drug was approved first in 2018 for treatment of adults with uncomplicated influenza. (more…)