Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 09.09.2020 Interview with: Claudia Alteri, PhD Assistant Professor (RTD-B) in Microbiology And Clinical Microbiology Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology University of Milano 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…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 21.04.2020 Interview with: Dr. med. Manuel Döhla Associate Researcher, AG "One Health" Institute for Hygiene and Public Health Medical Faculty, University of Bonn Bonn, Germany What is the background for this study? Response: Rapid and reliable testing of suspected cases is an important measure in the fight against the corona pandemic. In PCR diagnostics, 24 hours and sometimes more elapse between testing and notification of the test result. During this period, suspect cases must be isolated pre-emptively so that they do not cause further transmission. This is logistically and personnel-intensive and highly error-prone. The shorter the time between test and result, the more effective containment measures can be. This is why the test we have evaluated, which shows a result within 20 minutes, has aroused our interest. The manufacturer's specifications (sensitivity 70 % in early stage disease (day 4-10), 100 % in late stage disease (day 11-24), specificity 100 %) were promising. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pharmaceutical Companies / 02.04.2020 Interview with: Dr. Larry Schlesinger MD Professor, President and CEO Texas Biomed What is the background and mission of Texas Biomed? Response: Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) is a not-for-profit, independent research institute with a strong history of pioneering, biomedical breakthroughs that have contributed to the world of science and human health for nearly 80 years. The Texas Biomed mission is to pioneer and share scientific breakthroughs that protect you, your families and our global community from the threat of infectious diseases. Texas Biomed is capitalizing on its strengths – outstanding collaborative scientists and unique assets and resources. Texas Biomed is home to the nation’s only privately-owned BSL4 facility, five fully outfitted BSL3 facilities with the latest technologies and the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC). The Institute focuses on a core understanding of the basic biology of infectious diseases, animal model development, and studies to move therapies and vaccines to human clinical trials. The Institute’s independent, nonprofit business model moves science from the bench to clinical trials faster and with less bureaucracy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, COVID -19 Coronavirus, NYU, Technology / 02.04.2020 Interview with: Professor Anasse Bari PhD Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science Department, New York University, New York, and Megan Coffee MD PhD Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Medicine New York University, Department of Population and Family Health Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University, New York What is the background for this study? Coffee and Bari:  This work is led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine and NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in partnership with Wenzhou Central Hospital and Cangnan People's Hospital, both in Wenzhou, China. This is a multi-disciplinary team with backgrounds in clinical infectious disease as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science. There is a critical need to better understand COVID-19. Doctors learn from collective and individual clinical experiences. Here, no clinician has years of experience. All are learning as they go, having to make important decisions about clinical management with stretched resources. The goal here is to augment clinical learning with machine learning. In particular, the goal is to allow clinicians to identify early who from the many infected will need close medical attention. Most patients will first develop mild symptoms, yet some 5-8 days later will develop critical illness. It is hard to know who these people are who will need to be admitted and may need to be intubated until they become ill. Knowing this earlier would allow more attention and resources to be spent on those patients with worse prognoses. If there were ever treatments in the future that could be used early in the course of illness, it would be important to identify who would most benefit We present in this study a first step in building an artificial intelligence (AI) framework, with predictive analytics (PA) capabilities applied to real patient data, to provide rapid clinical decision-making support. It is at this point a proof of concept that it could be possible to identify future severity based on initial presentation in COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 02.04.2020 Interview with: Hongcui Cao, M.D. State Key Laboratory for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases National Clinical Research Center for Infectious Diseases The First Affiliated Hospital College of Medicine, Zhejiang University Hangzhou, China What is the background for this study? Response: The proportion of severe novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases has dropped significantly. Specifically, this number has decreased from 32.4% on January 28 to 21.6% in Wuhan and to 7.2% in other provinces of China on February. Measures such as strengthened medical support and centralized isolation greatly contributed to the improved circumstances, and laid a solid foundation for further enhancing the cure rate and reducing the mortality rate. However, there are still hundreds of severe patients dying every day. It is extremely important to make timely and efficient diagnosis and initiate treatment for severe patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, NEJM / 28.03.2020 Interview with: Bin Cao, Yeming Wang, Guohui Fan, Lianghan Shang, Jiuyang Xu, DingyuZhang, Chen Wang on behalf of LOTUS-China Study Group China-Japan Friendship Hospital; Wuhan Jintinyan Hospital; Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Science What is the background for this study? Response: In the past two months, the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly across the world. Science and technology is the most powerful weapon for human to fight against diseases, especially in such a pandemic setting. Seeking for effective antiviral medication is the most critical and urgent among the many scientific tasks in the pandemic. At the most critical moment in the fight against COVID-19, Chinese clinical scientists have stepped forward under extremely difficult research conditions to carry out clinical trials in antiviral treatment including lopinavir–ritonavir and remdesivir, in a swift, decisive and effective manner. These trials have attracted worldwide attention. Recently, the Lopinavir–ritonavir Trial for suppression of SARS-CoV-2 in China (LOTUS-China) has been completed, which, with great clinical significance, can provide strong evidence for the treatment of COVID-19 both in China and around the world. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Lung Cancer / 27.03.2020 Interview with: Dr. Amy C. Moore PhD Director of Science and Research GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer What is the mission of the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer? Response: GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer’s mission is to transform survivorship by  saving, extending, and improving the lives of those vulnerable, at risk, and diagnosed with lung cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Vaccine Studies / 13.03.2020 Interview with: Cynthia Liu,  Ph.D. Manager, Scientific Information CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society Columbus, OH 43210 What is the background for this study? Response: The outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the new virus SARS-CoV-2 has overwhelmed the health systems in many countries and been declared by WHO as a pandemic which will continue to affect global public health and world economy. This threat calls for an intensified effort in the development of therapeutic agents and vaccines. CAS is a not-for-profit division of the American Chemical Society that specializes in scientific information solutions. Our team includes hundreds of scientists that build a global data collection of curated scientific content from both journal articles and patent applications as well as chemical and biological substance collections. With this report, our team hopes to support the efforts of R&D organizations seeking to address this crisis by providing an up-to-date overview of recent relevant publications and insight into potential therapeutic agents, including both small molecules and biologics. (more…)