Author Interviews, BMJ, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 23.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joon Seo Lim, PhD, ELS Clinical Research Center Asan Institute for Life Sciences Asan Medical Center, Songpa-gu Seoul, Republic of Korea MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to spread at an alarming rate in all parts of the world, and screening individuals based on symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, anosmia) does not seem to be effective in sufficiently curbing the transmission of the disease. This suggests that asymptomatic individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 may be a driving force of the ongoing pandemic, but empirical evidence on this issue has been lacking because asymptomatic individuals are likely to go unnoticed unless subjected to systematic contact tracing. A large-sized outbreak of COVID-19 from a single religious group in South Korea enabled us to identify and test a large number of asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2 alongside symptomatic patients from the same cluster.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 09.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Claudia Alteri, PhD Assistant Professor (RTD-B) in Microbiology And Clinical Microbiology Department of Oncology and Hemato-Oncology University of Milano  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the context of SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis, laboratories play a critical role in confirming the initial clinical suspicion of this disease, as confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 presence is essential to ensure the prompt initiation of containment and treatment protocols. This is of utmost importance to avoid further spread of the pandemic, and to assure the best clinical and therapeutic management of the infected patients in the hospital setting. Unfortunately, currently used rtPCR assays lack of the necessary sensitivity to identify all cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection (20% of false negative results [Li D et all, Korean J Rad 2020; Zhao et all CID 2020]). Complementary laboratory assays are therefore strongly needed. Droplet Digital PCR (ddPCR) is a highly sensitive assay for the direct detection and quantification of DNA and RNA targets. It has been increasingly used in infectious disease settings, especially thanks to its ability to consistently and reliably detect down to few copies of viral genomes. Standing the necessity of a limitation (as much as possible) of false negative results in COVID-19 diagnosis, the use of ddPCR could provide a critical support. In the context of COVID-19 diagnosis, two recent studies highlight the good performances of ddPCR in detecting low viral load samples (Suo T MedRxiv 2020; You F MedRxiv 2020)  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 03.09.2020

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