NEW YORK (Reuters) – Following is a brief summary of the latest scientific studies on the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: A computer image created by Nexu Science Communication in conjunction with Trinity College in Dublin, shows a structurally representative model of a betacoronavirus, which is the type of virus linked to COVID-19, better known as an outbreak-linked coronavirus from Wuhan, shared with Reuters on February 18, 2020. NEXU Science Communication / via REUTERS
New antibody test for highly accurate coronavirus
A new antibody test is highly accurate to determine whether people have been infected with the new coronavirus, according to a study published on Friday in The Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine found that the test, manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, had a specificity rate of 99.9% and a sensitivity rate of 100%, suggesting little chance of misdiagnosing a healthy person as having been misdiagnosed. infected and with virtually no chance of a false negative reading. Abbott's test has received emergency use authorization from the FDA and the company has shipped more than 10 million tests to hospitals and laboratories. (Links: reut.rs/2xIdOdk bit.ly/2Lb24U3)
Antibodies to coronavirus in breast milk may protect babies
Breast milk from infected mothers may contain antibodies against the new coronavirus that can protect babies, a study suggests. "Mothers who are infected with the new coronavirus should continue to breastfeed throughout COVID-19 disease and beyond, because (other researchers) have shown that transmission does not occur through milk and we have determined that antibodies are almost certainly present and can protect their babies from infection, "Rebecca Powell of the Icahn School of Medicine on Mount Sinai in New York, who led the study, told Reuters. His team's report, published on Friday on the medRxiv prepress server, has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. (bit.ly/2WHvJcA)
Hydroxychloroquine shows no benefit in hospitalized coronavirus patients
In a large observational study of hospitalized coronavirus patients, hydroxychloroquine – an ancient malaria drug advocated by U.S. President Donald Trump as a "game changer" in the fight against the virus – has neither diminished the need for respiratory assistance or the risk death of patients. to a report published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
"We saw no association between taking this drug and the chance of dying or being intubated," lead researcher Neil Schluger of New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University's Irving Medical Center told Reuters. "Patients who took the drug did not seem to do better." Study patients were not randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine or placebo, the researchers noted, and therefore randomized trials, the gold standard for testing new therapies, should continue. (Links: reut.rs/2WHgjoZ bit.ly/2SLrAn1 bit.ly/2SLrAn1)))
Life-threatening syndrome develops in some children after exposure to coronavirus
A rare, life-threatening condition is developing in some children after exposure to the new coronavirus that the researchers are calling "pediatric inflammatory syndrome with multiple systems potentially associated with COVID-19". Doctors are seeing groups of children, some very young, with the disorder, which can attack multiple organs, impair cardiac function and weaken the cardiac arteries. British doctors reporting on Thursday at The Lancet said the children initially had a fever, rash, conjunctivitis, swelling of the lower limbs, pain in the arms and legs and "significant" gastrointestinal symptoms, even without positive tests for the coronavirus. The syndrome, although rare, can progress rapidly to critical illnesses that require mechanical ventilation. (Links: reut.rs/3cj848U bit.ly/3cea3LK bit.ly/3cea3LK)))
Coronavirus can survive in sperm
Chinese researchers who tested the sperm of 38 men infected with COVID-19 found that six of them, or 16%, had the new coronavirus in their semen, suggesting a small chance that the virus, formally known as SARS-CoV-2, could be sexually transmitted, the scientists said. Some of the men were already recovering from the disease.
"If it is possible to prove that SARS-CoV-2 can be sexually transmitted … (that) can be a critical part of prevention," doctors at China's Shangqiu Municipal Hospital wrote in the medical journal JAMA Network Open on Thursday, adding that more research is needed. (Links: reut.rs/2WhI2h0 bit.ly/3bm6JgA )
Inadequate nasal smear technique may explain some false negative coronavirus tests
Part of the reason for some false negative tests for coronavirus – tests that do not detect the virus in someone who is actually infected – may be that the sample was not collected properly by the person using the nasopharyngeal swab, say Canadian researchers. They re-analyzed samples from patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, whose results were negative or unclear and found less human DNA than they expected to see. The correct use of nasopharyngeal swabs to obtain a high-quality sample "requires training and knowledge, as it involves inserting the swab into … a depth of approximately 7 centimeters (2.76 inches), followed by rotation and removal," Zabrina Brumme, of Simon Fraser University of Burnaby, British Columbia and colleagues say. The study, published on Friday on the medRxiv prepress server, has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal. ( bit.ly/2yGKG6J )
Coronavirus spread affected by public health measures rather than climate
Temperature and latitude do not appear to be associated with the spread of the new coronavirus, and humidity levels have only a weak effect, according to data collected in March in 144 regions of the world. On the other hand, public health measures like social detachment, closing schools and sheltering at home make a difference and have been strongly associated with reduced epidemic growth, Dr. Peter Juni of the University of Toronto and colleagues found in a published report on Friday at CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).
"The important effect of public health interventions needs to be carefully weighed against possible economic and psychosocial damage when deciding when and how to lift restrictions," concluded Juni's team in their report. ( bit.ly/2YIVmfS )
Graph: The lifeline pipeline, COVID-19 treatments, vaccines under development on here
Reporting by Saumya Joseph, Julie Steenhuysen, Gene Emery, Kate Kelland and Nancy Lapid; Edition by Bill Berkrot
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