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, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 05.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Duane Wesemann, MD, PhD Div. of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02115 Wesemann Lab   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a lot of variability in how long antibodies to pathogens are produced in humans.  Some infections and vaccinations like measles induce high levels of antibodies that can be produced for a lifetime.  Other infections or vaccinations induce only short lived antibody responses. Also, some people make longer lasting antibodies compared to others.   We wanted to ask what the antibody durability dynamics looked like after COVID-19 and if we could tease out any insights—both with regard to COVID-19 as well as in general.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 16.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shane Riddell MSc CSIRO—Australian Animal Health Laboratory Geelong, Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: While it is generally considered that SARS-CoV-2 is spread via aerosol and respiratory droplets, we still need to investigate how much of a role fomites play in transmission. Understanding the risk first requires you to know how long the virus can survive on a surface. We therefore wanted to assess how long the virus would remain viable on various common surfaces such as stainless steel, glass and banknotes. We found that, under controlled conditions, we could recover infectious virus at 28 days for all non-porous surfaces at 20 degrees Celsius. When the temperature was raised to 40 degrees Celsius, SARS-CoV-2 only remained viable for 24hrs on most surfaces. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 29.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Stephen Poole BRC Clinical Research Fellow from the Southampton Southampton, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our understanding of how the emergence of COVID 19 (SARS-CoV-2) has effected existing seasonal respiratory viruses, like influenza or common cold viruses, is limited. Many labs stopped or reduced their testing for these other respiratory viruses during the first epidemic peak as healthcare providers were trying to save resources for COVID-19 testing. We know that the viruses in circulation prior to COVID caused a lot of exacerbations of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but it is unclear whether this is the case with SARS-CoV-2. The aims of our study were to measure the impact of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 on other respiratory viruses and to compare the patterns of illness. Our group in Southampton, UK led by Dr Tristan Clark were uniquely positioned to be able to do this. We have run 3 large trials in the last 5 winters which have tested for a wide range of respiratory viruses all in the same group of patients: adults arriving in hospital with a recent onset respiratory illness. We use this to compare the proportion of tests which were positive in the height of the COVID pandemic (March-May) with the same time period in previous years. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Kidney Stones, Lancet, Stanford / 26.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shuchi Anand M.D. M.S. Director of the Center for Tubulointerstitial Kidney Disease Stanford University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Seroprevalence (or presence of antibodies in response to SARS CoV-2) is considered by many experts to be the most complete to track the spread of COVID19 in communities. However seroprevalence studies are hard to conduct, because they require going into communities and underdoing random blood draws. Many people—especially racial and ethnic minorities, or people with underlying health conditions, or people with language barriers—may be hard to reach for these types of surveys. Plus outreach into communities is very difficult in light of the COVID19 pandemic. To mitigate this problem we worked with a random sample of 28,503 patients on hemodialysis, the vast majority of whom are covered by Medicare. They get their blood drawn monthly, as part of their routine care. Furthermore even though we used a random sample, we know that patients on dialysis are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities, and more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, FASEB, Genetic Research / 25.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Gurwitz, PhD Associate Professor Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry Sackler Faculty of Medicine Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We closely followed the news on COVID-19 epidemiology since it was declared a pandemic, and were puzzled by the low fatality rates reported in nearly all East Asian countries, even that clearly this was in part due to fast response; for example, Taiwan remains the best example for combatting the pandemic. My past research on serpins (serine protease inhibitors) made me wonder if ethnic differences in some of them are in part related to the relatively low COVID-19 morbidities and fatalities, as serine proteases, in particular TMPPRSS2, are strongly implicated in the SARS-CoV-2 respiratory track cell entry and infection. Additionally, serine proteases such as neutrophil elastase are highly implicated in inflammatory tissue damage. Guy Shapira, a graduate student of my colleague Professor Noam Shomron, examined mutation records in different ethnic groups for the entire human serpin gene family. He came up with the findings we report regarding a close correlation between national records of the frequencies of the two mutations PiZ and PiS, underlying alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, in 67 countries on the global scale, and the current COVID-19 fatalities in the same 67 countries.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pediatrics / 10.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Burak Bahar, MD Children’s National Hospital Laboratory Medicine Division Washington DC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Objective of this study was to help us better understand how long it takes pediatric patients with COVID-19 to clear it from their system, and at what point they start to make antibodies against the virus. Main findings of our study were 19.5 days being the median duration of viral positivity which is later than 18 days that is the median time for detecting antibodies in the circulation. We also found that kids aged 6 through 15 had a longer duration of viral positivity which was a median of 32 days. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 21.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. med. Manuel Döhla Associate Researcher, AG "One Health" Institute for Hygiene and Public Health Medical Faculty, University of Bonn Bonn, Germany MedicalResearch.com: 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…)