The gadgets beneath are highlights from the e-newsletter, “Smart, useful, science stuff about COVID-19.” To obtain e-newsletter points each day in your inbox, sign-up here.

On 6/10/20, The New York Occasions printed a “coronavirus vaccine tracker,” by Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer. With prose and graphics, it describes the standing of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates at present being developed and examined. The piece explains the timeline of the phases concerned in growing a vaccine (or different remedy), i.e. the trail from preclinical testing (animal analysis) to section Three efficacy trials (experiments testing the effectiveness of a vaccine or remedy in 1000’s of individuals) and approval. The names of firms growing vaccine candidates and every firm’s progress by way of the phases are listed for every sort of vaccine strategy, e.g. genetic vaccines, viral vector vaccines, and so on. The counts reported within the story: 125 or extra vaccine candidates in preclinical experiments; 7 in section 1 (small security research in people), 7 in section 2 (security exams on a whole bunch of individuals), 1 in section 3, and zero authorised by regulators in every nation. 

Three massive research of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine present both no safety from SARS-CoV-2 for individuals already uncovered to it (so-called post-prophylaxis publicity) or no therapy profit for individuals with extreme instances of COVID-19, reports Kai Kupferschmidt at Science (6/9/20). “The brand new outcomes imply it’s time to maneuver on, some scientists say, and finish many of the trials [experiments] nonetheless in progress,” Kupferschmidt writes. “There’s one exception,” he writes. Many researchers suppose the drug nonetheless must be examined to see if it may very well be given to teams of unexposed, wholesome individuals to stop them from coming down with the virus later, he writes — so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis. If efficient, such a therapy would possibly show useful to hospital staff, the story states.

A 6/8/20 story in The New York Occasions summarizes the replies of greater than 500 epidemiologists (researchers who research epidemics) to a survey despatched to about 6,000 of them about how quickly they anticipate to return to air journey, handshakes, hugs, prolonged household visits, and so on. “Their solutions will not be tips for the general public,” the story warns. Right here’s a snapshot: Greater than 50% (though not that far more than 50%) responded that they’d do the next actions this summer season: herald mail with out precautions this summer season; see a physician for a non-urgent appointment; or trip in a single day inside driving distance. Greater than 50% (however not that far more) responded that they’d do these actions later within the subsequent 12 months: ship children to highschool, camp or daycare; work in a shared workplace; or eat in a dine-in restaurant. Most say they’ll wait greater than a 12 months earlier than they cease routinely carrying a face masking or earlier than they attend a sporting occasion, live performance or play. Replies trusted particular person circumstances, the story states. It’s price perusing the main points of this piece.

COVID-19’s mortality price is an “natural, fluid metric,” not a “mounted quantity that distills the true essence of the virus’s hazard,” writes Dr. Clayton M. Dalton, an emergency resident at Massachusetts Normal Hospital / Brigham Girls’s Hospital, at Scientific American (6/5/20). In this essay, he warns in opposition to “utilizing anybody estimate of mortality in shaping our response to the pandemic.” Sluggish testing and incomplete demise information have difficult estimates of the true mortality price of COVID-19 within the U.S. and past, Dalton writes. Even when researchers had full, dependable information, mortality charges would range regionally (e.g. some areas have older populations and older individuals are at larger danger of dying from COVID-19; e.g. hospitals in some areas can deal with extra sufferers, so individuals there get extra care and are much less more likely to die) and individually (as a result of underlying circumstances comparable to diabetes or hypertension), Dalton writes. Apart from, the mortality price “doesn’t matter proper now,” as a result of skilled medical doctors have “confronted wave after wave of COVID sufferers of their 30s, 50s, or 80s” for weeks, he writes. “Wherever the mortality charges might settle,” he concludes, “now we have sufficient data to behave responsibly, with fastidiously phased reopening and strong testing and phone tracing.”

A reader referred me to this helpful guide for evaluating the danger of spreading or getting contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 in case you determine that you could journey by airplane. The piece, by Laurel Wamsey at NPR (5/15/20), quotes Dr. Henry Wu, a professor of infectious illness medication at Emory College. He advises individuals deciding whether or not to fly or to not assess their very own danger by contemplating their age, medical background, and “danger elements for extreme issues.” In case you should fly, sit “wherever is most distant from different,” Wu says. Wipe down your seat-back tray and journal poucy, your air vent (seems like it is best to preserve that on, particularly if somebody close by coughs or sneezes), and your seat belt. Then discard the wipe material and use hand sanitizer. Even in case you use a pen to press or contact buttons, bear in mind then that the pen ought to then be handled as contaminated—segregate it after which clear it.

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