Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Vaccine Studies / 03.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura M. Bogart, PhD Senior Behavioral Scientist RAND Corporation Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Recent media polls continue to show that Black Americans are less likely to intend to get the COVID-19 vaccine than White Americans, and initial state data show a similar racial/ethnic disparity in vaccination rates. Initial uptake of the vaccine has been significantly affected by inequities in vaccine access and supply. In addition to these challenges, other factors contribute to hesitancy around vaccination, including self-perceived risk of infection, trust in the vaccine itself, trust in healthcare systems, healthcare providers, and policymakers who support the vaccine, and trust in the pharmaceutical industry and clinical research. In this study, we conducted a survey of a nationally representative sample of 207 Black Americans in late 2020, after initial COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness and safety data were released to the public. We also did in-depth interviews with a subsample of those surveyed who said that they would not get vaccinated. In addition, we engaged with a stakeholder advisory committee comprised of individuals who represent different subgroups and organizations in Black communities in the U.S., in order to discuss the results and make recommendations for policies to increase COVID-19 vaccination among Black Americans. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, Nature, Statins / 27.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aakriti Gupta MD MS Fellow, Interventional Cardiology Columbia University Irving Medical Center NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: While taking care of patients with COVID-19 last spring and summer at the height of the pandemic, we observed that patients who got very sick and required hospitalization had high rates of hyperinflammation with elevated CRP levels, and thromboembolic phenomena. As cardiologists who frequently prescribe statins for hyperlipidemia, they were a class of drugs that came naturally to mind for their anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and immunomodulatory properties in addition to their cholesterol lowering properties. As such, we decided to look at the association of statin use with in-hospital mortality in patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, JAMA, UCLA / 22.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frederick Zimmerman, PhD Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management Fielding School of Public Health UCLA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The science on school transmissions of COVID is becoming clearer all the time in its conclusion that there is little to no transmission in school environments as long as reasonable precautions are taken. Yet one recent study got a lot of attention for claiming that states that allowed their schools to remain open in the early days of the pandemic saw more cases. That study did not control for several important factors that might explain this association, so our study aimed to correct that work. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Nature, Pediatrics / 19.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Melanie Neeland PhD Research Fellow Murdoch Children's Research Institute Royal Children's Hospital Flemington Road, Parkville Victoria Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Children generally have mild COVID-19 disease compared to adults, however the immune mechanisms underpinning this response are unclear. Understanding the underlying age-related differences in the severity of COVID-19 will provide important insights and opportunities for prevention and treatment of COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 17.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pam R. Taub, MD, FACC, FASPC Director of Step Family Foundation Cardiovascular Rehabilitation and Wellness Center Associate Professor of Medicine UC San Diego Health System Division of Cardiovascular Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome? Is it more common in patients who have incompletely recovered from a COVID-19 infection? Response: Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is a, complex multisystem clinical syndrome Patients experience a wide spectrum of symptoms of varying severity, which are often debilitating. Upon assuming an upright standing position from being supine, patients experience an increase in heart rate by 30 beats per minute (bpm) from supine position, This is often accompanied by lightheadedness, palpitations, dyspnea, mental clouding (“brain fog”), headaches. POTS can occur after infections as it thought to be triggered by the immune system . The hypothesis is that when the body is fighting an infection some of the antibodies it produces can attack our regulatory systems that control heart rate and blood pressure. We are seeing an increase in POTS cases occurring after COVID-19 infection. These patient are referred to as the “long haulers” These long haulers have elevated heart rate, fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath with activity consistent with POTS. We are seeing that COVID-19 is another infection that can lead to POTS. Some articles on this https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/national/coronavirus/some-covid-19-survivors-being-diagnosed-with-syndrome-called-pots (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 16.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rahul Subramanian PhD candidate Department of Ecology and Evolution Biological Sciences Division University of Chicago Chicago, IL 60637 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Understanding the proportion of COVID-19 cases that become symptomatic, as well as the extent to which people without symptoms contribute to COVID-19 transmission, has important public health implications. However, changes in PCR testing capacity over time have made these quantities hard to estimate precisely. We used a model that incorporates daily changes in PCR testing capacity, cases, and serology to precisely estimate the proportion of cases that were symptomatic in New York City during the initial wave of the outbreak. Only 1 in 7 to 1 in 5 cases were symptomatic. Furthermore, non-symptomatic cases of the virus (this includes people who are either pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic) substantially contribute to community transmission, making up at least 50% of the driving force of SARS-CoV-2 infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Kidney Disease / 05.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Peter G. Blake MD, FRCPC, FRCPI,MSc MB Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology Ontario Renal Network University of Western Ontario and London Health Sciences Centre London, Ontario MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Covid-19 pandemic has been very difficult for people on dialysis with reports of high infection rates and high mortality. We prospectively collected data on SARS-CoV-2 infection every week from all renal programs in the province of Ontario, Canada from the start of the pandemic. Between March and August 2020, 187 people on dialysis, equivalent to 1.5% of all those in the province, were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Over 60% were hospitalized, 20% required ICU and the mortality rate was very high at over 28%. Risk factors for infection included center hemodialysis versus home dialysis, residing in long term care, black, south Asian and other non-white ethnicity, and low neighbourhood income. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 04.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ankur Dalsania Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) M.D. Candidate 2021 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Similar to past pandemics, prior studies and news articles have highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 mortality in marginalized populations, especially Black Americans. Rather than biological differences, other factors like neighborhood conditions, educational attainment, economic stability, healthcare access, and social contexts have been hypothesized to influence the racial disparities. Using county-level data, we sought to quantitatively determine how these factors, collectively referred to as social determinants of health, impact COVID-19 mortality in Black Americans. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 29.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc, FACP Assistant Professor Holder of the Grace H. Elta MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award 2019-2024 University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of General Medicine and Hospital Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As there have been significant racial/ethnic disparities in US COVID-19 infections and health outcomes including death, we investigated county-level social factors that may explain these inequities. Specifically, we examined the association between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Social Vulnerability Index (a composite measure of social disadvantage) and COVID-19 incidence and mortality rates. We found that with just a one-point increase in the ten-point scale, there was a 14% increase in incidence rate and 14% increase in mortality rate. This equated to approximately 87 excess COVID-19 infections and 3 deaths per 100,000 population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 25.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marlene Cano MD. PhD. Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Pulmonary Transplant Immunology Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Department of Medicine Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital Saint Louis, MO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does this test differ from other tests for COVID-19? Response: We know COVID-19 causes a wide spectrum of disease, and that while many develop only mild uncomplicated illness, others develop severe respiratory failure, multi-organ failure and death. These patients often require prolonged hospitalization, ICU level care and even mechanical intubation for respiratory support. However, we still do not have a great way to identify which patients are likely to develop severe disease. We felt it was important to have a test that could act as sort of a ‘biomarker’ that we could measure early in COVID-19 patients and would help predict which patients would develop severe disease. From prior work, we knew that mitochondrial DNA, which are proinflammatory molecules that are released into the circulation from damaged organs could be this such ‘biomarker’. So, we measured the levels of mitochondrial DNA circulating in the plasma of patients with COVID-19 at the time they first presented to the hospital. Then we investigated if higher levels of mitochondrial DNA indeed predict the development of more severe disease. Currently there are no ‘biomarker’ tests specific for COVID-19. We do currently measure levels of other markers in the hospital that we feel might help us assess overall how sick patients may be, but these are very non-specific and assess only level of inflammation. This test instead can measure level of tissue injury. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 20.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Caroline Wei Shan Hoong, MBBS, MRCP Associate Consultant Endocrinologist Department of General Medicine Woodlands Health Campus National Healthcare Group, Singapore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the course of our clinical work, we have noticed a predominance of musculoskeletal complaints among some of COVID-19 patients who are otherwise clinically well, and a small subset of them who develop a viral arthralgia (joint pains) sometimes occurring separately from the onset of acute respiratory symptoms. Besides a few isolated case reports, there was not much described about COVID-19 associated viral arthralgia in the literature. Clinicians are well aware of the need to test for COVID-19 when patients present with cough or shortness of breath. However, when they present as joint pains without any respiratory symptoms, a diagnosis of COVID-19 could easily be missed. Due to overlapping clinical features like low platelet count and elevated liver enzymes, they could easily be misdiagnosed as having other vector-borne infections such as dengue fever, if clinicians do not have a high clinical suspicion of COVID-19. Hence we decided to describe the epidemiology and various presentations of musculoskeletal manifestations of COVID-19 in our cohort of patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Diabetes, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 16.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anath Shalev, M.D. Professor of Medicine Nancy R. and Eugene C. Gwaltney Family Endowed Chair in Juvenile Diabetes Research Director, Comprehensive Diabetes Center University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What is metformin normally prescribed for? Response: Diabetes has been recognized as one of the major comorbidities associated with higher mortality in the context of the spreading COVID-19 pandemic, but ways to improve outcome in this at-risk population are lacking. Metformin is the most common medication used for type 2 diabetes. In addition, it is sometimes prescribed to people with prediabetes or to women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Pulmonary Disease / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Andrew Conway Morris Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellow University of Cambridge Hon Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with COVID-19 frequently need to come to the intensive care unit (ICU), where we use mechanical ventilation to support their lungs as they get over the intense inflammation caused by the virus. During the first wave of the virus we noted that a lot of our patients appeared to be developing secondary infections (infections they didn’t have when they came into the ICU). We therefore rolled out a rapid diagnostic test for these secondary bacterial infections that we had developed previously, and this study reports the use of this diagnostic and also describes the types of bacteria seen. To see if the increase in secondary infections was due to COVID specifically, we compared them to patients who were managed in the same ICU but who did not have COVID. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Mental Health Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, UCSF / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason Nagata, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Food insecurity is the inability to afford or access nutritionally adequate and safe foods for an active, healthy lifestyle. Rates of food insecurity were projected to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, prior studies had not examined the association between food insufficiency, the most extreme form of food insecurity, and mental health. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Using a large national sample of nearly 64,000 adults, we found that food insufficiency rose from 8.1% to 10.0% during the pandemic. People of color and younger adults had higher risk of food insufficiency. People living in poverty or experiencing recent job loss were at higher risk of food insufficiency. Food insufficiency was associated with symptoms of anxiety, worrying, and depression. Hunger, exhaustion, and worrying about not getting enough food to eat may worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. Receiving food assistance alleviated the relationship between food insufficiency and poor mental health. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pulmonary Disease / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Liam Townsend, PhD Department of Infectious Diseases St. James's Hospital and Department of Clinical Medicine Trinity Translational Medicine Institute Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Much is known about the clinical characteristics and pathological features of acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, but there is relatively little known about post-COVID recovery. This has come under increasing scrutiny in light of reports that patients suffer persistent symptoms beyond resolution of initial infection, known as long COVID. We set out to assess patients in our post-COVID clinic for ongoing ill-health, with particular focus on fatigue and breathlessness. Given that COVID-19 primarily affects the respiratory system, we also evaluated respiratory recovery. Patients underwent chest radiography and six-minute-walk testing, as well as routine blood tests including inflammatory markers and D-dimers. We included both patients who were admitted during their acute infection as well as those managed in the community in order to capture the full spectrum of disease. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pulmonary Disease / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Maria A. Blasco, PhD Director of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre Head of the Telomeres and Telomerase Group – CNIO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In my group we have previously described that telomere dysfunction in alveolar type II (ATII) cells in the lung is sufficient to induce pulmonary fibrosis in mice, thus demonstrating that these cells, which have a role in lung regeneration, are at the origin of the disease (Povedano et al., Cell Reports, 2015). Indeed, we further demonstrated that telomere elongation in these cells by using a gene therapy strategy based on telomerase activation, was sufficient to stop the progression of pulmonary fibrosis induced by short telomeres in mice (Povedano, eLife, 2018). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JACC / 11.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rishi K. Wadhera, MD, MPP, MPhil Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Associate Program Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The direct toll of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. has been substantial, but concerns have also arisen about the indirect effects of the pandemic on higher-risk patients with chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular conditions, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke precipitously declined during the early phase of the pandemic. These patterns have raised concern that patients may be avoiding hospitals due to fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, and that some have died from cardiovascular conditions without seeking medical care. In addition, there has been growing concern about the the effects of health-care system strain and the deferral of semi-elective procedures on patients with cardiovascular conditions. (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.jpegMedicalResearch.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 MedicineWilliam 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…)