Launched on 3/14/2020


VIEWS for Eight Pages of LPBI Group’s Coronavirus PORTAL


  1. Breakthroughs
  2. Development of Medical Counter-measures for 2019-nCoV, CoVid19, Coronavirus
  3. An Epidemiological Approach Stephen J. Williams, PhD and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Lead Curators – e–mail Contacts: sjwilliamspa@comcast.net and avivalev-ari@alum.berkeley.edu
  4. Community Impact Stephen J. Williams, PhD and Irina Robu, PhD Lead Curators – e–mail Contacts: irina.stefania@gmail.com and sjwilliamspa@comcast.net
  5. Economic Impact of The Coronavirus Pandemic Dr. Joel Shertok, PhD Lead Curator – e–mail Contact: jshertok@processindconsultants.com
  6. Voices of Global Citizens: Impact of The Coronavirus Pandemic Gail S. Thornton, M.A. Richard A. Mandahl, MBA and Sudipta Saha, PhD Lead Curators – e–mail Contacts: gailsthornton@yahoo.com and rmandahl@gmail.com and sudiptasaha1977@gmail.com
  7. Diagnosis of Coronavirus Infection by Medical Imaging and Cardiovascular Impacts of Viral Infection Dr. Jason Zielonka, MD, AFACC and Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN Lead Curators e-mail contacts: Jasonz.mit@gmail and avivalev-ari@alum.berkeley.edu
  8. Key Opinion Leaders Followed by LPBI Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN and Dr. Ofer Markman, PhD Lead Curators e-mail contacts; oferm2015@gmail.com and avivalev-ari@alum.berkeley.edu




On 5/6/2020

Since 3/14/2020

Portal’s Pages

5/30/2020 1 – BREAKTHROUGHS


5/13/2020 2 – Drug Development


5/13/2020 3 – Epidemiology


5/13/2020 4 – Community Impact


5/13/2020 5 – Economic Impact


5/13/2020 6 – Voices of Global Citizens


(articles are in 1, above)

5/13/2020 7 – SAR-CoV-2 Diagnosis by Medical Imaging


5/13/2020 8 – KOLs Followed by LPBI





  • Population genetics
  •  Population Health Management
    •  U.S. Employment-to-Population Ratio


on Seven Selected Topics & Lead Curator for Contact:









April 2020


SARS-CoV-2 is pre-adapted to Human Transmission, branches of evolution stemming from a less well-adapted human SARS-CoV-2-like virus have been found: The Role of SARS-CoV-2 Virus Progenitors for Future Virus Disease Transmission and Pandemic Re-Emergence

Reporter and Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN – all bold face and colors are my additions




May 24, 2020

What you need to know today

  • Worldwide (per Johns Hopkins University)
    • Current total of worldwide confirmed cases: 5,370,893 (up 100,649 from Saturday*)
    • Current number of worldwide deaths:343,617 (up 3,501 from Saturday*)
    • Current number of recoveries worldwide: 2,149,407(up 62,081 from Saturday*)
    • Total countries/regions affected thus far: 188
  • Massachusetts:
  • Rhode Island:
    • 608 deaths (up 11 from Saturday*)
    • 14,065 confirmed cases (up 116 from Saturday*)
    • Total tests completed: 132,701(2,572 newly reported tests since Saturday*)
  • Maine:
    • 78 deaths (up 1 from Saturday*)
    • 2,055 total cases (up 42 from Saturday*)
    • Total tests completed: 37,725(only updated on Wednesdays)
  • New Hampshire (as of May 23)
    • 208 deaths (up 4 from May 22*)
    • 4,089 confirmed cases (up 75 from May 22*)
  • Vermont:
    • 54 deaths (up 0 from Saturday*)
    • 956 confirmed cases (up 2 from Saturday*)
  • Connecticut:
    • 3,693 deaths (up 18 from Saturday*)
    • 40,468 confirmed cases (up 446 from Saturday*)

*Increases each day are calculated from the time this newsletter was sent the previous day.

In N.H., a drive-in live concert is what the new normal may look (and sound) like during the coronavirus pandemic: Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, N.H. held a socially distant concert in the parking lot Saturday afternoon – giving insight to what might become the new normal for entertainment. Most of the people spread far apart were wearing masks. So were the orange-vested attendants directing concert-goers to their “seats,” which in this case consisted of two parking spots each — one for the car, and one for whatever lawn chairs patrons pulled out of their trunks.

Much of the establishment backed Charlie Baker during the pandemic — but there has been one exception: Over the past few weeks, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and Jim Rooney, its chief executive, have publicly prodded the Baker administration to be more clear and forthcoming about the reopening process, raising eyebrows in the city’s tight-knit business community that tends to work behind the scenes and air grievances privately.

New study says Massachusetts coronavirus rates are much higher than reported and could rise steeply: The estimates from Imperial College London said the virus has already infected about 13 percent of the state’s 6.9 million residents. That’s about 896,000 people, far more than the 91,662 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported by the state on Saturday but significantly short of the threshold for herd immunity.

Around the region:

Sports update:

  • As we consider a future without fans in the stands, what does that mean for athletes? | By Adam Himmelsbach
  • Here are the best sports reruns to watch on Sunday. 
  • Eddie Sutton, who led three teams to the Final Four and was the first coach to take four schools to the NCAA Tournament, died Saturday. He was 84. 
  • The NBA is in talks with The Walt Disney Company on a single-site scenario for a resumption of play in Central Florida in late July, the clearest sign yet that the league believes the season can continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Stories to make you smile:

  • State troopers reunited ducklings who fell down a storm drain with their mother on Saturday morning. 
  • How to fill the long summer ahead? Here are some safe ways for teens to volunteer
  • Want to stay entertained? Here are some virtual events in music, comedy, theater, visual arts, family entertainment and more — all chosen by Globe critics and staff. 
  • A Tufts professor – and her sisters – have released a Web comedy series coined “Old Guy,” a humorous take on ageism in the media.



From: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Reply-To: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Date: Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 4:47 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Coronavirus Now: New study says Massachusetts coronavirus rates are much higher than reported




Great News from the South Korean CDC!  Published paper shows patients who recovered are showing immunity and are not reinfected!

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

In the video below, Dr. John Campbell, internationally renowned immunologist and virologist from Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses a recent paper from the south Korean CDC (not published in English yet) that shows patients who had previously been infected with COVID19 and have recovered (recovered from illness) are retesting positive merely because the high sensitivity of the PCR test used was actually detecting “dead” viral particles which were still being shed from upper airway epithelium.  These patients were showing immunity to COVID19 and were not shedding live viral particles (infectious virus).  In addition, the Korean CDC feels that there was not a reactivation of the virus nor was this reinfection by new virus particles, as patients had antibodies and appeared immune to further COVID19 infection.  Dr. Campbell describes this as very good news.  In addition he says that COVID19, unlike some influenza viruses, is a slow mutating virus and explains why this is important with respect to pathogenecity and herd immunity.

However we don’t really know how long the immunity lasts, if memory immune cells have been detected, or if this immunity is dependent on exposure to a certain viral load.

In summary, 290 patients that had recovered from COVID19 that retested positive after 10 weeks post recovery

  1. probably retested positive due to the sensitivity of the PCR test used to detect dead virus (a sort of false positive) and
  2.  they developed immunity and
  3. did not appear to have capacity to infect others




Last updated: May 20, 2020, 05:23 GMT
Graphs – Countries – Death Rate – Symptoms – Incubation –Transmission – News

Coronavirus Cases:





Currently Infected Patients

2,659,477 (98%)

in Mild Condition

45,431 (2%)

Serious or Critical

Show Graph

Jan 22Apr 21Feb 01Feb 11Feb 21Mar 02Mar 12Mar 22Apr 01Apr 11May 01May 1102M4M

Show Statistics

Cases which had an outcome:

1,959,191 (86%)

Recovered / Discharged

324,962 (14%)


Show Graph



From the Wall Street Journal



Rethinking Health Policy in the Age of Coronavirus

Dr. Simon Johnson, MIT Sloan School of Management

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health

Interviewed By:

Greg Ip, Chief Economics Commentator, The Wall Street Journal

The Policy Prescription

Nancy-Ann Deparle, former Director of The White House Office of Health Reform

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former U.S. Commissioner of Food & Drugs

Interviewed By:

Anna Mathews, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Chasing Cures

Dr. Marcy Darnovsky, Executive Director, Center for Genetics

Dr. Todd Kuiken, Senior Research Scholar, NC State

Interviewed By:

Amy Dockser Marcus, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

Investing in Global Health

Dr. Howard Zucker, Health Commissioner, New York State Department of Health

Interviewed By:

Stefanie Ilgenfritz, Health & Science Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal

The Coronavirus and the Health-care System

Dr. Howard Zucker, Health Commissioner, New York State Department of Health

Interviewed By:

Stefanie Ilgenfritz, Health & Science Bureau Chief, The Wall Street Journal

The Cost of the Cure

Dr. Amy P. Abernethy, Principal Deputy Commissioner, FDA

Interviewed By:

Peter Loftus, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

The Ground Battle

Dr. Jeff Colyer, former Governor of Kansas

Interviewed By:

Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal


Beating Cancer

Alexander Hardy, CEO, Genetech

Interviewed By:

Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal

Is Gun Violence a Health Issue?

Dr. Patrice Harris, President, AMA

Interviewed By:

Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal

Gattaca and You

Richie Etwaru, CEO, Hu-manity.co

Kayte Spector-Bagdady, J.D., Chief of Research Ethics, U. of Michigan Medical School

Interviewed By:

Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal

Predicting Illness

Dr. Daniel Benjamin, Professor of Economics, USC

Dr. Stephen Hsu, SVP of Research, Michigan State

Interviewed By:

Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal

Case Study: Heart Disease

Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Medical Director, NYU Women’s Heart Program

Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, CEO, Verve Therapeutics

Interviewed By:

Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal


Today’s Rundown

Featured Story

Moderna posts ‘positive’ early data for COVID-19 vaccine

Monday, May 18, 2020

Moderna’s COVID-19 prompted an immune response similar to those seen in patients who have recovered from infection. Eight patients who received the two lowest dose levels—25 micrograms and 100 micrograms—developed neutralizing antibodies against the virus two weeks after receiving their second dose.


From: Fierce COVID-19 Update <editors@FiercePharma.com>

Reply-To: <qx_fiercelifesciences@inbound.bamboocricket.com>

Date: Monday, May 18, 2020 at 5:13 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: | 05.18.2020 | Moderna’s early vaccine gains; Verily launches antibody test research; Plus the pandemic’s 4 long-term effects



Moderna Announces Positive Interim Phase 1 Data for its mRNA Vaccine (mRNA-1273) Against Novel Coronavirus

from Moderna Press release:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 18, 2020– Moderna, Inc., (Nasdaq: MRNA) a clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for patients, today announced positive interim clinical data of mRNA-1273, its vaccine candidate against novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), from the Phase 1 study led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).Immunogenicity data are currently available for the 25 µg and 100 µg dose level (ages 18-55) after two doses (day 43) and at the 250 µg level (ages 18-55) after one dose (day 29). Dose dependent increases in immunogenicity were seen across the three dose levels, and between prime and boost within the 25 µg and 100 µg dose levels. All participants ages 18-55 (n=15 per cohort) across all three dose levels seroconverted by day 15 after a single dose. At day 43, two weeks following the second dose, at the 25 µg dose level (n=15), levels of binding antibodies were at the levels seen in convalescent sera (blood samples from people who have recovered from COVID-19) tested in the same assay. At day 43, at the 100 µg dose level (n=10), levels of binding antibodies significantly exceeded the levels seen in convalescent sera. Samples are not yet available for remaining participants.At this time, neutralizing antibody data are available only for the first four participants in each of the 25 µg and 100 µg dose level cohorts. Consistent with the binding antibody data, mRNA-1273 vaccination elicited neutralizing antibodies in all eight of these participants, as measured by plaque reduction neutralization (PRNT) assays against live SARS-CoV-2. The levels of neutralizing antibodies at day 43 were at or above levels generally seen in convalescent sera.mRNA-1273 was generally safe and well tolerated, with a safety profile consistent with that seen in prior Moderna infectious disease vaccine clinical studies. The sole incidence of a grade 3 adverse event in the 25 µg and 100 µg dose cohorts was a single participant at 100 µg who experienced grade 3 erythema (redness) around the injection site. To date, the most notable adverse events were seen at the 250 µg dose level, comprising three participants with grade 3 systemic symptoms, only following the second dose. All adverse events have been transient and self-resolving. No grade 4 adverse events or serious adverse events have been reported.

Summary of Press Release: After two doses all participants evaluated to date across the 25 µg and 100 µg dose cohorts seroconverted with binding antibody levels at or above levels seen in convalescent sera. mRNA-1273 elicited neutralizing antibody titer levels in all eight initial participants across the 25 µg and 100 µg dose cohorts, reaching or exceeding neutralizing antibody titers generally seen in convalescent sera. The significance is that neutralizing antibody, even at the lowest dose of vaccine, was detectable in a number of subjects however this was the initial 8 subjects who received the vaccine.  This study involved 60-100 subjects.




Massachusetts reopening plan and guidelines

Gov. Charlie Baker released his reopening plan for the state today.

Here’s links some of the many relevant documents designed to guide your business and nonprofit.

There’s much more here.





The Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV) Partnership on May 18, 2020: Leadership of AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eisai, Eli Lilly, Evotec, Gilead, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, KSQ Therapeutics, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi, Takeda, and Vir. We also thank multiple NIH institutes (especially NIAID), the FDA, BARDA, CDC, the European Medicines Agency, the Department of Defense, the VA, and the Foundation for NIH

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN




NIH Director: Defeating COVID-19 requires unprecedented action and collaboration


To respond to the generational public health crisis caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, a swift, coordinated effort across many sectors of society is necessary, say National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and Johnson & Johnson Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels, M.D. In a Viewpoint published today in JAMA(link is external), Drs. Collins and Stoffels outline the innovative efforts of Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV), a public-private initiative organized by NIH and the Foundation for the NIH. ACTIV’s partners, which include at least 18 leading biopharmaceutical companies, multiple U.S. federal agencies, and the European Medicines Agency, are developing an international strategy for an integrated research response to COVID-19.

Noting that never has a public-private biomedical research effort of this scope and scale come together with such speed and determination, Drs. Collins and Stoffels describe how ACTIV has established a collaborative framework

  • to prioritize therapeutic and vaccine candidates;
  • to streamline human clinical trials and
  • tap into existing trial networks; and
  • to coordinate regulatory processes and
  • leverage assets among all partners.

The authors point out that ACTIV’s industry partners have taken unprecedented steps to support a prioritization of therapeutic and vaccine candidates, no matter who has developed them, and have indicated willingness to contribute their respective clinical trial capacities, irrespective of the agent to be studied.

ACTIV has established four working groups, each with one co-chair from NIH and one from industry. They are:

  • The Preclinical Working Group. Charged with standardizing and sharing preclinical evaluation resources and methods, and with accelerating testing of candidate therapies and vaccines to support entry into clinical trials.


  • The Therapeutics Clinical Working Group. Charged with prioritizing and accelerating clinical evaluation of a long list of therapeutic candidates for COVID-19 with near-term potential.


  • The Clinical Trial Capacity Working Group. Charged with assembling and coordinating existing networks of clinical trials to increase efficiency and build capacity to test potential therapies and vaccines for COVID-19.


  • The Vaccines Working Group. Charged with accelerating evaluation of vaccine candidates to enable rapid authorization or approval.


Collins FS, Stoffels P. Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV): An Unprecedented Partnership for Unprecedented Times(link is external). JAMA. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.8920 (2020).


NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. is available to provide comment.


Please contact nmb@od.nih.gov(link sends e-mail) to schedule an interview with Dr. Collins. For interviews for Dr. Paul Stoffels, please contact Seema Kumar (skumar10@its.jnj.com(link sends e-mail)), 908-405-1144, or Jake Sargent (JSargen3@ITS.JNJ.com(link sends e-mail)).

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.





Novartis CEO: COVID-19 vaccine might take until end of 2021 to reach patients

Vas Narasimhan
Novartis isn’t currently developing a vaccine for COVID-19. (Novartis)


Thursday, May 14, 2020

NIH begins clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin to treat COVID-19

Study enrolling adults with mild to moderate COVID-19 in the United States.

A clinical trial has begun to evaluate whether the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, given together with the antibiotic azithromycin, can prevent hospitalization and death from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring the trial, which is being conducted by the NIAID-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). Teva Pharmaceuticals is donating medications for the study.

The Phase 2b trial will enroll approximately 2,000 adults at participating ACTG sites(link is external) across the United States. Study participants must have confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and be experiencing fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. The investigators anticipate that many of those enrolled will be 60 years of age or older or have a comorbidity associated with developing serious complications from COVID-19, such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Participants will be randomly assigned to receive short-term treatment with either hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin or matching placebos. People living with HIV and pregnant and breastfeeding women also are eligible to participate in the study. The first participant enrolled today in San Diego, California.

“We urgently need a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19. Repurposing existing drugs is an attractive option because these medications have undergone extensive testing, allowing them to move quickly into clinical trials and accelerating their potential approval for COVID-19 treatment,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “Although there is anecdotal evidence that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin may benefit people with COVID-19, we need solid data from a large randomized, controlled clinical trial to determine whether this experimental treatment is safe and can improve clinical outcomes.”

As of May 13, the World Health Organization (WHO)(link is external) has reported 4.17 million cases of and 287,399 deaths from COVID-19 worldwide. In the United States, 1.36 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 82,246 deaths have been reported as of May 13, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)(link is external).

Currently, there are no specific therapeutics approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat people with COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine is FDA-approved to prevent and treat malaria, as well as to treat the autoimmune diseases rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Some preliminary reports have suggested that hydroxychloroquine, alone or in combination with the FDA-approved antibiotic azithromycin, may benefit people with COVID-19. Numerous clinical trials are planned or underway, including a recently launched study supported by NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute evaluating the safety and effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of adults hospitalized with COVID-19. On March 28, FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization(link is external) (EUA) to allow hydroxychloroquine and medical-grade chloroquine to be distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized adolescents and adults with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.

Participants in the ACTG study, called A5395, will receive oral medications to take at home. Those randomly assigned to the experimental treatment group will take 400 milligrams (mg) of hydroxychloroquine twice on the first day and 200 mg twice daily for an additional six days. They also will take 500 mg of azithromycin on the first day and 250 mg daily for an additional four days. The control group will receive equivalent numbers of placebo pills. Neither the participants nor the study team will know who received experimental treatment or placebo until the end of the trial.

Participants will record their symptoms, adherence to treatment, and major events such as hospitalizations in a diary for 20 days. Study staff will follow up with participants by telephone during this period. When possible, participants will come to the clinical research site for an in-person visit at day 20. Additional follow-ups will be conducted by telephone three and six months after treatment starts.

The main objective of the study is to determine whether hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin can prevent hospitalization and death due to COVID-19. Additionally, investigators will evaluate the safety and tolerability of the experimental treatment for people with SARS-CoV-2 infection. While hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin are both considered safe in most people, they can cause side effects ranging from headache and nausea to, rarely, heart rhythm problems that can be life-threatening. Because of the risk of heart problems when hydroxychloroquine is used alone or combined with azithromycin, FDA cautions that use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 should be limited to clinical trials or for treating certain hospitalized patients under EUA(link is external) so clinicians can monitor patients for adverse effects.

“This study will provide key data to aid responses to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ACTG Chair Judith Currier, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles. “We are pleased to be able to leverage ACTG’s existing infrastructure for HIV treatment clinical trials to quickly implement this important study.”

The study team is led by Protocol Chair Davey Smith, M.D., of the University of California, San Diego. David Wohl, M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Kara W. Chew, M.D., and Eric S. Daar, M.D., both of the University of California, Los Angeles, serve as protocol vice-chairs. The trial is expected to enroll quickly given the high incidence of COVID-19, and initial results may be available later this year.

For more information about A5395, visit ClinicalTrials.gov and search identifier NCT04358068. Adults interested in participating in the study should email actg.communications@fstrf.org(link sends e-mail).

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.





Scott Gottlieb, MD

Daily covid19 testing continues to increase nationally while the positivity rate continues to decline. These are hopeful signs that — at least in many parts of the nation — the epidemic is slowing. Some models show that the doubling time is now 45 days and the Ro is 1.10



Yaneer Bar-Yam

Look at NY and NJ





Latest Mass. Map And Case Count: Breaking Down Coronavirus Here In Charts

The Department of Public Health (DPH) updates data on deaths and cases by city and town once a week, on Wednesdays. Click on the interactive above to see how your town or city has been affected. For more, explore a sortable table with each city and town here.

Tracking Cases, Deaths And Tests Over Time

Each day, DPH releases a dashboard of its data tracking cases and deaths by race, sex and geography. You can find more on that information on this page.

Back to top

Tracking Patients At Mass. Hospitals

A daily look at how many beds are available in the state’s hospitals and at its new field hospitals, such as Boston Hope at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

Here’s how many hospital beds are being used:

Hospitals are reporting how many confirmed and suspected coronavirus patients they are treating, including inside their ICUs. Our charts below show how the number of patients has changed over time.

Search for individual hospitals in the two charts below.

Here’s how many confirmed/suspected COVID-19 patients are in hospitals:

Here’s how many confirmed/suspected COVID-19 patients are in ICUs:

For additional details on the hospitalization charts, read more here(Note: DPH did not provide data for April 17 or 18.)
Back to top

Long-Term Care Facility Cases And Deaths

Nursing homes, assisted-living residences and rest homes are among the hardest hit amid the pandemic.

The charts below show how the number of cases, deaths and the numbers of long-term care (LTC) facilities reporting at least one case of the virus have changed over time, as well as how those factor into the overall number of cases and deaths. (Note: DPH didn’t provide data on April 20.)

Spread Of The Coronavirus In The U.S.

See more charts, including a state-by-state comparison of the spread and new cases here.


Dr. Klibanski will welcome participants to the 2020 World Medical Innovation Forum, a global — and this year, virtual — gathering of more than 5,000 senior health care leaders. This annual event was established to respond to the intensifying transformation of health care and its impact on innovation. The Forum is rooted in the belief that no matter the magnitude of that change, the center of health care needs to be a shared, fundamental commitment to collaborative innovation – industry and academia working together to improve patient lives. No collaborative endeavor is more pressing than responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

#1 | Battling COVID-19: Maps, Technology, and AI

Rochelle Walensky, MD

Chief, Infectious Disease, MGH; Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Mapping the spread of infectious diseases within communities is more important than ever as the novel coronavirus continues to sweep across the globe. Researchers are harnessing AI, technology, and advanced data analytics to map the spread of COVID-19 and identify those infected with the virus.








May 10, 2020

What you need to know today

  • Current total of worldwide confirmed cases, per Johns Hopkins University: 4,088,393 (up 92,216 from Saturday*)
  • Current number of worldwide deaths, per Johns Hopkins University: 281,893 (up 4,494 from Saturday*)
  • Current number of recoveries worldwide, per Johns Hopkins University: 1,397,501 (up 49,321 from Saturday*)
  • Total countries/regions affected thus far, per Johns Hopkins University: 187
  • Massachusetts total cases:
  • Total tests completed in Massachusetts: 388,389 (11,852 newly reported tests since Saturday)

*Increases each day are calculated from the time this newsletter was sent the previous day.

State by state, region by region, it’s a patchwork approach: Here’s what reopening the economy looks like: About three dozen states have issued reopening plans, according to the National Governors Association. Massachusetts has yet to unveil its own, even though restrictions on daily life to contain COVID-19 have so far kept hospitals from being overwhelmed. The stay-at-home advisory and ban on nonessential businesses is in effect until May 18, which is also the deadline for a board appointed by Governor Charlie Baker to deliver recommendations on how to restart the economy.


From: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Reply-To: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Date: Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 5:45 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Coronavirus Now: A different kind of Mother’s Day




Virtual Community Event with Karen Eggleston & Yong Suk Lee

The Impact of Robots on Staffing in Nursing Homes

Live Virtual Event

May 14, 2020

4:00-5:00pm (PDT)

Add to Calendar


Karen Eggleston is a Senior Fellow, Director of the Stanford Asia Health Policy Program, and Deputy Director of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford University.

Yong Suk Lee is the SK Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Deputy Director of the Korea Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. 


Most studies of automation focus on manufacturing or use aggregate data. In one of the first studies of the service sector using establishment-level data, we examine the impact of robot adoption on staffing in nursing homes. This setting is important because robots are increasingly being adopted in many countries to address the challenges posed by population aging. Japan, in particular, has been actively developing and deploying robots in nursing homes to deal with labor shortages, and since 2015 has subsidized nursing home purchase of robots. Analyzing 2017 data from Japanese nursing homes, we document that facilities that adopt robots are larger, with more functionally-impaired residents, greater numbers of care workers and nurses, many other assistive technologies, better management practices, and located in prefectures with higher planned subsidies for robots per nursing home.

Streaming Details

SIEPR Virtual Associates Meeting with Nick Bloom

May 12, 2020, 5:00-6pm (PDT)

Add to Calendar


Nick Bloom is a Professor in the department of economics and Professor, by courtesy, at the Graduate School of Business. He is also the Co-Director of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a fellow of the Centre for Economic Performance, and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

Read More

COVID-19: The Economic Impact in China

May 15, 2020, 10:30-11:30am (PDT)

Add to Calendar

The King Center on Global Development is hosting a special virtual event with the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center on the economic impact of COVID-19 in China. You will hear from four Stanford faculty members as they analyze the Chinese government’s initial response, as well as how the virus impacted urban and rural employment and the health care sectors.

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COVID-19 Collaboration Opportunities

COVID-19 is having a substantial impact on our students and broader research community, such as job or internship offers that are being rescinded. At the same time, many new research projects and collaborations are being launched to address the pandemic. HAI would like to create a clearinghouse for COVID-19 research collaborations and other opportunities, such as RA positions, internships, or funding opportunities.

See current opportunities


From: Stanford HAI <stanford-hai@stanford.edu>

Reply-To: Stanford HAI <stanford-hai@stanford.edu>

Date: Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 4:59 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: HAI Upcoming Events





New study of diabetes drug for COVID-19 raises eyebrows

A just-launched study of the type 2 diabetes agent dapagliflozin (Farxiga, AstraZeneca) in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 is raising eyebrows, given that several expert groups have advised that drugs in this class – the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors – be stopped in all patients hospitalized with COVID-19 because of the increased risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 Dapagliflozin in Respiratory Failure in Patients With COVID-19 (DARE-19) study is sponsored by AstraZeneca and Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. The trial will assess whether dapagliflozin reduces the risks of disease progression, clinical complications, and death because of COVID-19 in patients with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and/or mild to moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD). “Dapagliflozin has demonstrated cardio- and renal-protective benefits and improved outcomes in high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes, heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, and CKD,” said the principal investigator of DARE-19, Mikhail N. Kosiborod, MD, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, Mo. And “patients with COVID-19 and underlying cardiometabolic disease appear to be at the highest risk of morbid complications,” he explained in an AstraZeneca statement. “Through DARE-19, we hope to decrease the severity of illness, and prevent cardiovascular, respiratory, and kidney decompensation, which are common in patients with COVID-19,” Dr. Kosiborod continued. However, advice to stop SGLT2 inhibitors in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 because of its associated DKA risk has come from several channels. These include initial guidance from Diabetes UK; experts who spoke during an American Diabetes Association webinar; and most recently, an international panel of diabetes experts. Some clinicians went so far as to say that they view the trial as potentially dangerous, while others said they could see some logic to it, as long as it is carefully managed.





MA Coronavirus Deaths Edge Closer To 5k

The statewide death toll is now at 4,840. One forecast says MA could lose a total of 7,000 people to the coronavirus by August.

By Jenna Fisher, Patch Staff 

The statewide death toll is 4,840 and the total number of people to test positive is up to 76,743. (Jenna Fisher/Patch)
BOSTON — Another 138 people have died because of the coronavirus and 1,410 others have tested positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, according to state officials. This brings the statewide death toll to 4,840 and the total number of people to have tested positive up to 76,743.A closely watched estimate of the state’s likely death toll from the coronavirus now says Massachusetts may see nearly 7,700 deaths by August.The Seattle-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation forecast has steadily risen as government policies change and the spread of the virus continues. Its prediction model forecast in March that the pandemic could take around 2,300 lives during the next four months. The April estimate put that figure around 5,625, based in part on the state’s failure to mandate social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders.




Sherlock’s quick, CRISPR-based coronavirus test gets emergency nod

The FDA granted its first emergency authorization for a CRISPR-based test for COVID-19, developed by Sherlock Biosciences, designed to turn results around in about an hour compared to the four to six hours needed for other molecular diagnostics.

The test is based on the company’s namesake technology, SHERLOCK, short for Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing, a Cas13a-based CRISPR system that targets RNA rather than DNA. It looks for an RNA sequence specific to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in patient samples taken from the upper airways with a swab or from airways in the lungs known as bronchoalveolar washing.

“If it’s there, it attaches to the Cas13 enzyme and activates it, which leads to the chewing up and cleaving of RNA probes,” Sherlock CEO Rahul Dhanda told FierceMedTech. When cleaved, those RNA molecules release a fluorescent signal to show the virus is present.

RELATED: FierceMedTech’s 2019 Fierce 15 | Sherlock Biosciences

Sherlock did more than 2,000 tests in preparation for its FDA submission, finding it had 100% specificity and sensitivity in its clinical data, Dhanda said, meaning that it turned up no false positives or false negatives.

The Sherlock CRISPR SARS-CoV-2 kit is designed to test many samples in a high-volume hospital lab, but the company is working with potential partners to make it adaptable to a point-of-care system, Dhanda said. It’s also working on its own point-of-care efforts using its synthetic biology platform, INSPECTR, or Internal Splint-Pairing Expression Cassette Translation Reaction.

That said, the company hopes the newly OK’d test will ease the bottleneck faced by testing labs around the country.

RELATED: FDA greenlights first 45-minute, point-of-care coronavirus diagnostic test

“We launched to alleviate that issue. We felt by giving everybody a different kind of test that had a different kind of process would supplement the testing they are doing now,” Dhanda said.

Sherlock is working to ramp up production of the test kit and will unveil distribution plans in the coming weeks.

“We are incredibly fortunate in that we’re working out details with a very large-scale manufacturer in terms of what their capacity will be. We have a well-vetted and trusted group that has scaled molecular diagnostics to very large volumes,” Dhanda said. “We’re confident that we’ll have tens of thousands of tests available as soon as we launch.”

And if the healthcare system needs more?

“They are the team that can scale it.”



Scott Gottlieb, MD
Daily positive cases of covid19 as a percent of total daily tests continues to fall nationally, a very good sign as covid testing expands. Declining positivity could be a leading indicator of an epidemic starting to decline. 10% is still high but it’s coming down at a steady pace


5:14 PM · May 7, 2020Twitter Web App


Interview with Dr. Scott Gottlieb @MorningMika


a day ago10 tweets, 3 min read

Humoral immune response and prolonged PCR positivity in a cohort of 1343 SARS-CoV 2 patients in the New York City region

Ania WajnbergMayce MansourEmily LevenNicole M BouvierGopi PatelAdolfo FirpoRao MenduJeffrey JhangSuzanne ArinsburgMelissa GitmanJane HouldsworthIan BaineViviana SimonJudith AbergFlorian KrammerDavid ReichCarlos Cordon-Cardo


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused a global pandemic. The percentage of infected individuals who seroconvert is still an open question. In addition, it has been shown in some individuals that viral genome can still be detected at considerable time post symptom resolution. Here we investigated both seroconversion and PCR-positivity in a large cohort of convalescent serum donors in New York City. Methods: Individuals with confirmed or suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection were screened via PCR for presence of viral genome and via enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for presence of anti SARS-CoV-2 spike antibodies.

Results: All but three confirmed SARS-CoV-2 patients seroconverted to the SARS-CoV-2 spike while only 37.4% of suspected SARS-CoV-2 patients seroconverted. PCR-positivity was detected up to 28 days from symptom resolution.

Conclusions: Here we show that the vast majority of confirmed COVID19 patients seroconvert, potentially providing immunity to reinfection. We also report that in a large proportion of individuals, viral genome can be detected via PCR in the upper respiratory tract for weeks post symptom resolution, but it is unclear if this signal represents infectious virus. [bold face by ALA]

1) I wanted share some data from a manuscript that just wen online at medrxiv.org/content/10.110…. This was spearheaded by the fantastic Dr. Ania Wajnberg in collaboration with many parts of the Mount Sinai Hospital and Icahn School of Medicine.
2) The data describes PCR and serology findings in the first 1343 plasma donors screened at Mount Sinai. Initially, there were two groups of donors: people who at some point had PCR confirmed COVID19 and people who had suspected COVID19 (but were never PCR confirmed).
3) The majority of these donors were mild cases. Now, almost all PCR-confirmed donors had antibodies, while the majority of the suspected COVID19 individuals did not. This tells us two things: a) the assay works and b) many people who think they had COVID19 might not have had it.
4) When concentrating on the PCR confirmed donors we find that at first testing not all of them make antibodies, but many have high titers (in A). When we then recall people without/with low antibody titers for second test that vast majority of them becomes positive (shown in B).
5) Keep in mind that this ELISA assay that we use here was shown to correlate well with a neutralization assay (here: medrxiv.org/content/10.110…) basically suggesting that the vast majority make neutralizing antibodies, even if they were mild cases.
6) Now, this is expected. This looks pretty normal and is basically what we see for influenza. Sometime, somebody doesn’t make antibodies (lack of seroconversion), but that is normal too. It is OK that this occurs, it happens for many other viruses at a low rate as well.
7) So, this is all good news. It still does not show that we are protected from reinfection, but it makes me feel pretty good. Now, Dr. Wajnberg found something in addition that is super interesting. Remember those reports of people testing positive again weeks after they…..
8)….recovered? Now, recently it was suggested that this is just viral fragments that are shed, not reinfection and not reactivation. Many of us have suspected this for a long time, and now we can maybe close that discussion. So, the donors were also tested by PCR when they….
9)….came in for their blood draw. And guess what? The latest PCR+ post recovery (not post-disease onset) we found so far was 28 days out. I find this extremely interesting. It is very likely that all this positivity you see below in red is genome, not infectious virus.
10) I need to go back to work, but stay tuned. I hope we will have more data for you soon. Lots of work, lots to learn. Stay home, stay safe!


IDF Innovation Saves Lives During COVID-19

Israel’s undisputed reputation as the “Start-Up Nation” has only been strengthened during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the IDF and Israeli society are working wonders, showing again that their response to life-and-death situations is proactive, solution-oriented ingenuity. While this creativity spans from AI to biotech to leading the race for a vaccine, today we’re spotlighting some of the IDF’s most resourceful repurposing, innovation, and inventions that have emerged from this global crisis to protect and save lives:

• Shayetet 13, the Israeli Navy’s Commando unit, developed a solution for civilians in need of oxygen, as COVID-19 impacts lung capacity. Naturally, the unit has extensive scuba diving experience, a practice that requires compressed oxygen devices. In the face of the coronavirus, development teams converted these operational tanks into medical, oxygen compressing systems that meet all required standards and protocols, answering a lifesaving need. Along with development and supply, the unit is managing distribution logistics!

• The IDF’s Elite Military Intelligence Directorate’s 81st Technological Unit is focused on tackling several main issues amid existing shortages: ventilators, PPE (personal protective equipment), and improved data collection. In the project “Breathing Air,” the unit converts inexpensive and simple CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines, typically used by first responders for breathing assistance, into fully functioning respirators. As coronavirus attacks patients’ lungs, these machines pump air in and out, keeping sufferers alive as doctors try to fight off the virus. The system also monitors patients’ breathing and transmits this information to hospital staff. Described by doctors as “first-class invasive respirators” that are “far, far cheaper” than proper ventilators, the IDF took a simple product that already existed in high supply, overcame the challenges of emitting sterile air in proper quantities, and ensured reliable devices in the event that existing machines and ventilators ran out.

Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, Head of Military R&D in Israel’s Ministry of Defense, explains some of the ways Israel has adapted its military technology to combat COVID-19, including the use of robots in hospitals that allow for doctor-patient interfacing that keep both parties safe by eliminating exposure.

• The IDF’s elite ‘Yahalom’ unit repurposed robots, originally intended to deliver heavyweight equipment to fighter forces, into coronavirus aid delivery systems. Operated at a distance via remote control, these portable and small “Probots” transport large quantities of groceries and supplies to civilians living in “hotspot” areas, easily navigating narrow spaces crowded with parked vehicles and approaching residences without generating human exposure.

• The Israel Security Agency, the Shin Bet, worked with the Health Ministry to retrace the movements of coronavirus patients by tracking cell phone and other digital data to identify, alert, and order into quarantine people unknowingly exposed to the pathogen. The practice spared untold numbers of people, as the 500 people they directed into quarantine later tested positive for the virus. This sophisticated technology was previously reserved for counterterrorism operations alone but has been revealed and deployed temporarily to save lives and curb the virus outbreak.

It’s no wonder that Israel’s status as the Start-Up Nation and an innovative trailblazer and powerhouse is often attributed to the country’s mandatory IDF service. Well-honed skills like problem-solving crises, diagnosing potential outcomes, mitigating risks, educating, and exercising life-saving practices have all proven critical and lifesaving during this crisis. Further, Israel and the IDF have impacted and lifted the world by immediately sharing their successful innovations to protect as many human lives as possible.

We at FIDF are so proud to support the heroic efforts of our men and women in uniform, so that they may continue their ingenious work, protecting all Israeli civilians, and helping those around the world over suffering from this devasting virus.

Brig. Gen. Tal Aharon joined the IDF in 1990 and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering. He served in various positions in the IDF’s Technological Division of the Ground Forces before stepping into his current role as Head of the Division and has been involved in the technological development of numerous vehicles, tanks, armored personnel carriers (APCs), weapon systems, robotics, and more. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Brig. Gen. Aharon has been leading acquirement initiatives of Medical Corps equipment and technological solutions aimed at assisting the civilian population.


From: Friends of the IDF <fidf@fidf.org>

Reply-To: <fidf@fidf.org>

Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at 2:42 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: IDF Innovation Saves Lives During COVID-19



Development of a Vaccine at Oxford University


Mass. High Technology Council COVID-19 Recovery and Return to Work Series: Framework for Restarting the MA Economy

The Massachusetts High Technology Council’s Executive Committee along with a diverse group of private sector leaders have developed a Recovery and Return to Work framework designed to restart the Commonwealth’s economy while protecting the health of residents. The framework’s essential categories are presented by Steve Pagliuca, Co-Chairman, Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, and Megan Greenfield, Partner, McKinsey & Co.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/414000566″>Mass. High Technology Council COVID-19 Recovery and Return to Work Series: Framework for Restarting the MA Economy</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user38060768″>Mass. High Tech Council.</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>





Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Potential COVID-19 Treatment

For Immediate Release:

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the investigational antiviral drug remdesivir for the treatment of suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. While there is limited information known about the safety and effectiveness of using remdesivir to treat people in the hospital with COVID-19, the investigational drug was shown in a clinical trial to shorten the time to recovery in some patients.

“FDA’s emergency authorization of remdesivir, two days after the National Institutes of Health’s clinical trial showed promising results, is a significant step forward in battling COVID-19 and another example of the Trump Administration moving as quickly as possible to use science to save lives,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “NIH, FDA, and scientists across America and around the world have worked tirelessly with patients to get us this new potential treatment for COVID-19. The seamless cooperation between government and private industry under the President’s all-of-America approach to COVID-19 is getting treatment options to patients in record time.”

The emergency use authorization allows for remdesivir to be distributed in the U.S. and administered intravenously by health care providers, as appropriate, to treat suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in adults and children hospitalized with severe disease. Severe disease is defined as patients with low blood oxygen levels or needing oxygen therapy or more intensive breathing support such as a mechanical ventilator.

“From day one, the FDA has been committed to expediting the development and availability of potential COVID-19 treatments. Today’s action is an important step in our efforts to collaborate with innovators and researchers to provide sick patients timely access to new therapies where appropriate, while at the same time supporting research to further evaluate whether they are safe and effective,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “There’s tremendous interest among all parties to identify and arm ourselves with medicines to combat COVID-19, and through our Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program, the FDA is working around-the-clock and using every tool at our disposal to speed these efforts.”

Based on evaluation of the emergency use authorization criteria and the scientific evidence available, it was determined that it is reasonable to believe that remdesivir may be effective in treating COVID-19, and that, given there are no adequate, approved, or available alternative treatments, the known and potential benefits to treat this serious or life-threatening virus currently outweigh the known and potential risks of the drug’s use.

The EUA also requires that fact sheets that provide important information about using remdesivir in treating COVID-19 be made available to health care providers and patients, including dosing instructions, potential side effects and drug interactions. Possible side effects of remdesivir include: increased levels of liver enzymes, which may be a sign of inflammation or damage to cells in the liver; and infusion-related reactions, which may include low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and shivering.

Following the declaration by the Secretary of HHS that circumstances exist justifying the emergency use of unapproved products, the FDA may issue an emergency use authorization to allow unapproved medical products or unapproved uses of approved medical products to be used in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions caused by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.

The issuance of an EUA is different than FDA approval. In determining whether to issue an EUA, the FDA evaluates the available evidence and carefully balances any known or potential risks of any unproven products with any known or potential benefits of making them available during the emergency.

The EUA was issued to Gilead Sciences Inc. The FDA previously allowed for study of the investigational drug under clinical trials, as well as expanded access use for individual patients and through a multi-patient expanded access program coordinated by Gilead.

The EUA will be effective until the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of the emergency use of drugs and biologics for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 is terminated and may be revised or revoked if it is determined the EUA no longer meets the statutory criteria for issuance.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.


FDA cheers on Gilead’s remdesivir with a snap emergency OK following the first solid glimpse of positive Covid-19 data

The FDA didn’t leave much time to assess the positive nature of the first cut of data from a controlled study of remdesivir in severely afflicted coronavirus cases. On Friday the agency stamped their approval on Gilead’s drug, which NIAID director Anthony Fauci has already determined should become the new standard of care in treating hospitalized patients fighting off Covid-19.

After recalibrating the primary endpoint, researchers determined that the drug cut the average time to recovery to 11 days in the drug arm, compared to 15 in the control group. The drug arm mortality rate hit 8%, beating out the control group at 11%, but failed to come in at a statistically significant improvement on the first cut of the data.

The approval comes just 2 months after the outbreak truly began to rattle the US, and 3 months after the Wuhan outbreak triggered a pandemic that has killed people and shattered economies around the globe, sickening millions. The FDA’s action follows an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, malaria meds that have also raised safety alarms on their side effects.

Taken together, the FDA has made it clear that regulators will move first and ask questions later. In this case, there’s still much left to learn about remdesivir, including the best dose and its impact on different patient groups.

Another mystery is how Gilead plans to make money on the drug — and how much. Analysts grilled CEO Dan O’Day on that score on Thursday evening, during their Q1 call, but to no avail. All that has yet to play out.

O’Day’s emphasis on responsibility first and profits second, though, has some discounting any upside for the company.

Evan Seigerman at Credit Suisse was one of the first analysts to make a comment, noting:

We do not expect RDV to be a significant com. biz for GILD & do not model any sales.


From: John Carroll — Endpoints News <john@endpointsnews.com>

Reply-To: <john@endpointsnews.com>

Date: Friday, May 1, 2020 at 4:11 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: ALERT: FDA cheers on Gilead’s remdesivir with a snap emergency OK following the first solid glimpse of positive Covid-19 data



An astounding article. The drone photo is devastating. As bad as the events in the Western World are, this is so much worse …. and Africa is just starting to surge …. 

And the Amazon region

Aerial view of coffins being buried at an area where new graves have been dug at the Parque Tarumã cemetery in Manaus. Photograph: Michael Dantas/AFP via Getty Images




Luke Timmerman

Keeping an Academic Lab Afloat. By Jim Olson, pediatric oncologist,

Keeping an Academic Lab Afloat in a Pandemic – TimmermanReport.com
Two months ago, our lab at Fred Hutch was on a roll. After six years of hard work building technology platforms to discover protein drugs — infrastructure that few academic labs have — we were…
11:56 AM · Apr 28, 2020Twitter Web App





Aviva Lev-Ari

#elective #procedures are now at a standstill.~50% of #GDP #decline in 1Q 2020 is attributable to it. No full 3record yet on the #Global #impact the #COVID-19 will have on other #countries GDP

will unfortunately enter #Depression by 3Q 2020

Justin Wolfers
This is stunning: Nearly half of the Q1 decline in GDP can be attributed to healthcare, which is presumably delaying of elective procedures. It’s a strange reality that in the midst of a pandemic, we have a healthcare-led recession.


8:51 AM · Apr 29, 2020Twitter Web App



From: FierceBiotech <editors@FierceBiotech.com>

Reply-To: <qx_fiercelifesciences@inbound.bamboocricket.com>

Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 11:33 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: | 04.29.20 | Gilead’s new data could deliver quick COVID-19 nod; AZ downplays pandemic trial risk




Media Coverage from Mass General

Read the latest news featuring Mass General physicians and subject matter experts on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

April 27

April 26

April 25

April 24






What’s Happening Inside The Cells Of A Coronavirus Patient

coronavirus biology v5-01.png
Emily Judem/WGBH News


The Biology Of COVID-19

There are many big numbers associated with the coronavirus pandemic: tens of thousands have lost their lives, and millions have filed for unemployment. But there’s also much smaller story playing out — inside the cells of those who contract the virus.

This microscopic, unpredictable story is what makes the coronavirus so deadly, and developing a treatment so challenging, experts say.

Unlike bacteria or fungi, viruses cannot live on their own — they require host cells to function. When viruses use human cells as hosts, they “completely take over all of the metabolic pathways of the cell to replicate itself,” explained David Leib, chair of microbiology and immunology at Dartmouth College.

“It would be as if somebody walked into a car factory and snapped his fingers and said suddenly, ‘You’re making Twinkies!’ ” he said.

The coronavirus can attack the first cells it encounters in our nose or throat.

“It takes the virus roughly 10 minutes to get inside that cell and then to begin its replication cycle,” Leib said.

Then, he said, it takes eight to 10 hours to produce hundreds of copies of itself that go on to infect other cells in our bodies.

But while the virus is replicating and spreading, people are not necessarily aware. The World Health Organization says it can take between one and 14 days for a person to notice symptoms; the average is five days. And some people who are infected never develop symptoms.

Leib said it’s this period of time, when you do not feel sick but the virus is replicating, that makes coronavirus so dangerous and so hard to stop.

“You are a walking bottle of virus,” he said. “Any of your respiratory droplets would be quite infectious during that time, despite the fact that you feel well enough to go out and go to the store.”

After the virus breaks into your cells, some patients develop symptoms. However, many of the symptoms, including fever and aches, are actually a product of your immune system fighting off the virus rather than the virus itself.

“Many people have mild illness and after a week or so they feel a lot better,” said Shira Doron, an infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center.

For most people, Doron said, that mild illness seems to be it. The person’s immune system is able to see that the virus is hijacking cells and stop it.

But a small percentage of people have a second phase of the illness. They seem to be getting better until their symptoms begin escalating. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that “clinicians should be aware of the potential for some patients to rapidly deteriorate one week after illness onset.”

For many of these coronavirus cases — in which symptoms become severe — the body’s response to the virus may actually be more damaging than the virus itself.

“We actually, occasionally, find that people who are really, really sick from COVID-19, don’t even have a positive test at that point,” Doron said. “It’s not the virus really anymore that’s causing the symptoms. It’s the immune response to that invasion. We call it the cytokine storm.”

Cytokines are proteins that act like an alarm in the immune system, sending out signals and calling in reinforcements to fight an invader. In a cytokine storm, although the fight might need just one military unit, the alarm keeps going off and a massive army shows up.

“This immune overreaction is causing collateral damage. It’s like friendly fire,” explained Leib. “It’s just like any other urgent situation — an overreaction can be just as damaging as not reacting at all.”

Too many cells are recruited to fight off the invader, and the cells fail to respond effectively.

“The cells become exhausted very quickly,” said Galit Alter, a professor of medicine at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, MIT and Harvard. “They’re getting stimulated so hard by all these cytokines that the cells at some point almost poop out. And they are not able to completely participate in that antiviral response.”

In the lungs, this can look like a lot of inflammation — there is fluid accumulation where there is supposed to be air. That makes it very challenging for oxygen to transfer into the blood.

Unlike humans, Leib said, bats — which experts think are the source of COVID-19 — don’t get cytokine storm. “This lack of cytokine storm in bats may explain why they don’t get sick, but we do,” he said.

Leib said one of the challenges of combating COVID-19 in humans is the fact that viruses hijack our cells.

“This is really the crux of the reason why it has been so hard to develop antiviral drugs, because almost any drug that will stop viruses dead in [their] tracks will also stop our cells dead in their tracks,” he said.

Doron, Alter and Leib emphasized how much there is still to learn about the virus. But Leib believes our best hope for fighting it is a vaccine that trains the immune system to recognize and eliminate the coronavirus before it can take hold — and before the immune system can call in that army.

Gabrielle Emanuel  @gabrieman

Gabrielle Emanuel is a reporter for WGBH News.




Upcoming Leadership Livestreams (2020)

  • April 29th – COVID-19 & the Future of Healthcare Register Free  (Featuring Naveen Jain-CEO Viome, Professor (Dr.) Shafi Ahmed, John Nosta)
  • May 6th – COVID-19 & the Future of Real Estate Register Free
  • May 13th – COVID-19 & the Future of Banking Register Free
  • May 20th – COVID-19 & the Future of Events Industry (registrations open soon)
  • May 27th – COVID-19 & the Future of Associations (registrations open soon)
  • June 3rd – COVID-19 & the Future of Education (registrations open soon)
  • June 10th  – COVID-19 & the Future of Public Relations & Media (registrations open soon)
  • June 17th – COVID-19 & the Future of Retail (registrations open soon)
  • June 24th – COVID-19 & the Future of Marketing (registrations open soon)
  • July 1st – COVID-19 & the Future of Selling (registrations open soon)

Past Leadership Livestreams (2020)

  • March 25th – COVID-19 & the Future of CPA & Accounting Livestream has Concluded – Access On Demand
  • April 1st – COVID-19 & the Future of IT Industry – Livestream has Concluded – Access On Demand
  • April 8th – COVID-19 & the Future of Supply Chain Management (SCM) & Logistics Access On Demand
  • April 15th – COVID-19 & the Future of Manufacturing Access On Demand
  • April 22nd – COVID-19 & the Future of Smart Cities Access on Demand





Recently funded COVID-19 related Studies


Coronavirus Resources & Readings

Editor’s note: This is a list of selected resources on the novel coronavirus (formerly known as as 2019 n-CoV, now known as SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19 disease. The list spans everything from official sources, trackers, and data sites to medical journal information hubs, background readings, and Twitter accounts. If you have suggestions for what to add here (please note, the list is not crowdsourced but carefully curated), please email sonal [at] a16z [dot] com. 







Righting the Wrongs of Misinformation about the Whole Ultraviolet light Issue







I have included some of the papers which may clarify some of this confusion around ultraviolet light and COVID19.  The groups of scientists and publications in question are using UV-C light to destroy viral particles in isolated plasma, not in humans.  The authors were merely trying to offer a solution to blood banks like the Red Cross, who were worried that blood donations, sans the levels of available COVID testing among the general population, could destroy the viral particles in plasma and blood products they collect and use for various transfusion processes.  The authors found that exposure to UV-C could be effective in destroying viral particles however it must be stated that the biological activity or infectivity of the treated purified plasma was not tested.  In addition there is no safety information on the parenteral administration of riboflavin (vitamin B2) or riboflavin containing products.

What are the different types of UV Light?

Scientists categorize UV light into several different subtypes:

  • UV-A light (320-400nm) is UV light with the longest wavelength, and the least harmful. It is more commonly known as “black light”, and many use its ability to cause objects to emit fluorescence (a colored glowing effect) in artistic and celebratory designs. Many insects and birds can perceive this type of UV radiation visually, along with some humans in rare cases such as Aphakia (missing optic lens).
  • UV-B light (290-320nm) causes sunburns with prolonged exposure along with increasing the risk of skin cancer and other cellular damage. About 95% of all UV-B light is absorbed by the ozone in Earth’s atmosphere.
  • UV-C light (100-290nm) is extremely harmful and is almost completely absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere. It is commonly used as a disinfectant in food, air, and water to kill microorganisms by destroying their cells’ nucleic acids.

Note:  DNA absorbs UV light at a peak of 260 nm and prolonged exposure to the 300 nm wavelength can damage purified DNA. UV-B transluminators are used for detection of ethidium stained DNA, however most scientists use at 365 nm in order to minimize potential damage to DNA, allowing for downstream application using the purified DNA piece including various cloning procedures. UV-B light can also damage DNA. Germicidal UV lamps emit UV-C light in this range.

Vox Sang. 2020 Apr 20. doi: 10.1111/vox.12937. [Epub ahead of print]
Inactivation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in plasma and platelet products using a riboflavin and ultraviolet light-based photochemical treatment.
Keil SD1, Ragan I2, Yonemura S1, Hartson L3, Dart NK1, Bowen R2.

Severe acute respiratory distress syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a member of the coronavirus family. Coronavirus infections in humans are typically associated with respiratory illnesses, however viral RNA has been isolated in serum from infected patients. Coronaviruses have been identified as a potential low-risk threat to blood safety. The Mirasol Pathogen Reduction Technology (PRT) System utilizes riboflavin and ultraviolet (UV) light to render blood-borne pathogens noninfectious, while maintaining blood product quality. Here we report on the efficacy of riboflavin and UV light against the pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2 when tested in both plasma and platelets units.
Stock SARS-CoV-2 was grown in Vero cells and inoculated into either plasma or platelet units. Those units were then treated with riboflavin and UV light. The infectious titers of SARS-CoV-2 were determined by plaque assay using Vero cells. A total of five (n=5) plasma and three (n=3) platelet products were evaluated in this study.
In both experiments the measured titer of SARS-CoV-2 was below the limit of detection following treatment with riboflavin and UV light. The mean log reductions in the viral titers were ≥3.40 and ≥4.53 for the plasma units and platelet units, respectively.
Riboflavin and UV light effectively reduced the titer of SARS-CoV-2 in both plasma and platelet products to below the limit of detection in tissue culture. The data suggest that the process would be effective in reducing the theoretical risk of transfusion-transmitted SARS-CoV-2.

Other papers from NCBI Pubmed on this topic include:

Inactivation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in plasma and platelet products using a riboflavin and ultraviolet light-based photochemical treatment.
Keil SD, Ragan I, Yonemura S, Hartson L, Dart NK, Bowen R.
Vox Sang. 2020 Apr 20. doi: 10.1111/vox.12937. [Epub ahead of print]

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Free PMC Article

A paper from 1988 shows the DNA damaging effect of UV light in the 300 nm range even more than with the suspected mutagen ethidium bromide, which may be a result of ethidium bromide protecting the strand from formation of thymine dimers.
DNA damage produced by ethidium bromide staining and exposure to ultraviolet light.
N F Cariello, P Keohavong, B J Sanderson, and W G Thilly




Thomas Wilckens (托馬斯)

Status is reachable

Thomas Wilckens (托馬斯)

MD #PrecisionMedicine 精密医学 thought & technology leader, Keynote Speaker, industry advisor 29.000+ Followers


NIH – COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines


These Treatment Guidelines have been developed to inform clinicians how to care for patients with COVID-19. Because clinical information about the optimal management of COVID-19 is evolving quickly, these Guidelines will be updated frequently as published data and other authoritative information becomes available.

The recommendations in these Guidelines are based on scientific evidence and expert opinion. Each recommendation includes two ratings: a letter (A, B, or C) that indicates the strength of the recommendation and a Roman numeral (III, or III) that indicates the quality of the evidence that supports the recommendation (see Table 1).

Panel Composition

Members of the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel (the Panel) were appointed by the Panel co-chairs and chosen based on their clinical experience and expertise in patient management, translational and clinical science, and/or development of treatment Guidelines. Panel members include representatives from federal agencies, health care and academic organizations, and professional societies. Federal agencies and professional societies represented on the Panel include:

  • American College of Chest Physicians
  • American College of Emergency Physicians
  • American Thoracic Society
  • Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Infectious Diseases Society of America
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
  • Society of Critical Care Medicine
  • Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists.

The inclusion of representatives from professional societies does not imply that their societies have endorsed all elements of this document.

The names, affiliations, and conflict of interest disclosures of the Panel members, ex-officio members, and support staff are provided in the Panel Roster and Financial Disclosures.

Development of the Guidelines

Each section of the Guidelines was developed by a working group of Panel members with expertise in the section’s area of interest. Each working group was responsible for identifying relevant information and published scientific literature, and conducting a systematic, comprehensive review of that information and literature. The working groups will propose updates to the Guidelines based on the latest published research findings and evolving clinical information.

Each guideline section has been reviewed, modified as necessary, and voted on by the entire Panel. A majority vote was required for a recommendation to be included in the posted Guidelines. Panel members are required to keep all Panel deliberations and unpublished data considered during the development of the guidelines confidential.

Method of Synthesizing Data and Formulating Recommendations

The working groups critically review and synthesize the available data to develop recommendations. Aspects of the data that are considered include, but are not limited to, the type of study (e.g., case series, prospective cohort, randomized controlled trial), the quality and suitability of the methods, the number of participants, and the effect sizes observed. Each recommendation is assigned two ratings according to the scheme presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Recommendation Rating Scheme

Strength of Recommendation Quality of Evidence for Recommendation
A:  Strong recommendation for the statement

B:  Moderate recommendation for the statement

C:  Optional recommendation for the statement

I:  One or more randomized trials with clinical outcomes and/or validated laboratory endpoints

II:  One or more well-designed, nonrandomized trials or observational cohort studies

III:  Expert opinion

It is important to note that at present, to develop the recommendations in these Guidelines, the Panel relied heavily on experience with other diseases, supplemented with evolving personal clinical experience with COVID-19, and incorporated the rapidly growing published scientific literature on COVID-19. When information existed in other published Guidelines that the Panel felt important to include in these Guidelines, the information was included with permission from the original sources.

Evolving Knowledge on Treatment for COVID-19

Currently there are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs for COVID-19. However, an array of drugs approved for other indications, as well as multiple investigational agents, are being studied for the treatment of COVID-19 in several hundred clinical trials around the globe. These trials can be accessed at ClinicalTrials.gov. In addition, providers can access and prescribe investigational drugs or agents approved or licensed for other indications through various mechanisms, including Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA), Emergency Investigational New Drug (EIND) applications, compassionate use or expanded access programs with drug manufacturers, and/or off-label use.

For this reason, whenever possible, the Panel recommends that promising, unapproved or unlicensed treatments for COVID-19 be studied in well-designed controlled clinical trials. This includes drugs that have been approved or licensed for other indications. The Panel recognizes the critical importance of clinical research in generating evidence to address unanswered questions regarding the safety and efficacy of potential treatments for COVID-19. However, the Panel also realizes that many patients and providers who cannot access such trials are still seeking guidance about whether to use these agents.

Finally, it is important to stress that the rated treatment recommendations in these Guidelines should not be considered mandates. The choice of what to do or not to do for an individual patient is ultimately decided by the patient together with their provider.




Kevin William David
Director of Community @angellist. No 1 Hunter on @product-hunt .
COVID-19 software industry statistics
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has driven big spikes in interest in telemedicine software, electronic signature tools, and Web conferencing platforms, according to recent research from TrustRadius.
  • The biggest increase in interest since March 9 has been in the telemedicine software category, with search impressions up 613%.
  • That’s followed by the electronic signature (+511%), Web conferencing (+500%), mobile app development (+366%), antivirus (+357%), remote desktop (+281%), video platforms (+265%), webinar (+226%), Web portal (+199%), and live chat (+194%) categories.
  • The products with the biggest spikes in interest since March 9 on the TrustRadius platform are Intermedia AnyMeeting (Web conferencing category), Google Classroom (learning management system), Blackboard Collaborate (Web conferencing), Zoom (Web conferencing), and Webex Events (webinar).
Foundation Inc
What software are people buying during COVID-19?
TrustRadius Blog
New Data on How COVID-19 Will Impact B2B Tech Spending | TrustRadius Blog




UPDATED on 4/23/2020

Gilead’s hopeful Covid-19 drug failed, errantly posted WHO report says


Coronavirus live updates: Accuracy of antibody testing questioned – Scott Gottlieb, ex-FDA Commissioner warned that the tests shouldn’t be relied upon to make “individual decisions.”

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN





Dr. J. Craig Venter


Don Kennedy who just died from COVID-19 was one of the American hero’s of science. As Science editor he stood for truth and science against dishonest political pressure from those trying to block my teams publication of the human genome. He will be remembered.


4/22/20, 12:14 AM




The Forum is pleased to host the following virtual symposium on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

COVID-19: Where do we go from here?
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
12-1pm ET
Presented jointly by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the New England Journal of Medicine


Join us for a one-hour virtual symposium jointly presented by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the New England Journal of Medicine for a timely and important conversation with leaders in public health on COVID-19 and our next collective steps. From securing crucial supplies, to hopes for treatments and vaccines, to “reopening” society, experts will explore how best to proceed.

The live stream will be on this website.

Additional ways to watch live:

Harvard Chan Facebook

NEJM Facebook

The Forum Facebook

Harvard Chan website

Zoom webinar



From: Stanford Report <stanfordreport-editor@stanford.edu>

Reply-To: <us5-33afd34a86-2e51b46fa2@inbound.mailchimpapp.net>

Date: Monday, April 20, 2020 at 7:00 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Reengineering masks; Truman Scholars; SLAC research; voting by mail



SLAC joins the global fight against COVID-19


The lab is responding to the coronavirus crisis by imaging disease-related biomolecules, developing standards for reliable coronavirus testing and enabling other essential research.

As part of the international response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory has re-opened some of its facilities for essential research on the atomic structure of the virus and how it interacts with potential treatments and vaccines.

SLAC scientists are also leading the development of global standards to ensure reliable testing for the coronavirus, and they are participating in DOE working groups that are considering a wide range of proposals for coronavirus research, including high-throughput drug screening and novel approaches for building ventilators.

“Working with our fellow national labs, Stanford University and other partners, we’re applying our unique expertise and facilities to make a difference in the global fight against this disease,” said SLAC Director Chi-Chang Kao.

Targeting the virus on an atomic level

At the forefront of SLAC’s coronavirus research are techniques that use beams of X-rays or electrons to decipher how life’s molecular machinery works on the atomic level. This can help answer key questions about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, such as how it recognizes and infects cells, how it replicates within them, and how it spreads through our bodies. This detailed knowledge can feed into the development of vaccines and treatments with drugs or antibodies.

S-protein – ACE2

This animation, created with publicly available protein structure data, shows how a spike protein on the surface of novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 binds to a human ACE2 receptor protein, leading to infection. (Greg Pintilie/National Center for Macromolecular Imaging)

While the March 16 San Francisco Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order temporarily shut down all but essential operations at the lab, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) is operating a subset of its experimental stations to provide powerful X-rays for coronavirus-related studies.

One method they are using is X-ray crystallography, which examines biomolecules such as the spike proteins on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. These proteins dock onto receptor molecules on the surface of cells in the lungs, heart or intestines and spill the virus’s genetic material into the host cells where it replicates.

Researchers crystallize these biomolecules for analysis with SSRL’s X-rays, which produces detailed images of where each atom of the protein is located. These 3D maps can then feed into the design of targeted therapeutic interventions, for instance drugs that block spike proteins from binding to host cells.

Collaborating with researchers from other institutions, the SSRL team is working to determine the 3D structures of a number of biomolecules involved in the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2.

Robotic sample changer

A robot mounts samples, stored in liquid nitrogen, into an experimental station for X-ray crystallography at SLAC’s synchrotron, SSRL. (Aina Cohen/Silvia Russi/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

“We’re able to do this research and, at the same time, follow strict social distancing protocols because our experimental stations are highly automated and require only minimal staff on site,” said Aina Cohen, who co-leads SSRL’s Structural Molecular Biology Division. “Researchers can send us frozen samples to be mounted by robots into the experimental stations. The remote researchers then use our software and video tools to control the robots, view their samples, and control all the details of their experiment from their home lab, or even from their homes.”

Another method used at SSRL is small-angle X-ray scattering, which looks at how X-rays bounce off biomolecules and their complexes in solution. Thomas Weiss, who oversees the research at this experimental station, is collaborating with Gerard Wong’s lab and other scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as researchers at the University of California, San Diego, to look at how pieces of viral proteins interact with the machinery of the human immune system.Insights into these interactions could help scientists understand why SARS-CoV-2 is so infectious and causes so much inflammation – a principal reason for why it is so deadly.




Jared N. Schwartz MD, PhD LLC

Status is online

Jared N. Schwartz MD, PhD LLC

• 1st
Healthcare Consultant: Pathology/Telemedicine/PrecisionMed/Microbiology/Evolving New Technologies
5 days ago
Interesting information from good source. hashtagCOVID-19 strains
Kevin Havens

Kevin Havens

• 2nd
Executive Director of The Precision Medicine Laboratory and Business Operations at GSPMC
5 days ago
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With Mass General models showing a flattening curve, coronavirus patients are not expected to overwhelm the system during this week’s surge

Doctors and mathematicians at Massachusetts General Hospital, part of a little-known modeling team, are now optimistic that the number of coronavirus patients has plateaued at their institution, as well as in their larger hospital network, and will not overwhelm clinicians.

The Mass. General predictions come at a time when the state is considered a national hotspot for coronavirus and when data show 100 to 150 Massachusetts residents dying daily from the virus.

But analysts at the hospital believe that the crush of very sick patients at its doors is unlikely to get worse — and could start to ease in a week.


From: The Boston Globe <newsletters@bostonglobe.com>

Reply-To: The Boston Globe <newsletters@bostonglobe.com>

Date: Monday, April 20, 2020 at 8:36 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Mass General models show flattening curve; project system won’t be overwhelmed by coronavirus patients


Dear Aviva,

Following the success of the Fierce coronavirus virtual series in March, the editorial teams beind FiercePharma and FierceHealthcare bring you the second installment in our spring virtual series, Coronavirus: Where are we now?  We’ll bring together a new series of experts for a week of virtual panels to discuss our current progress against the coronavirus pandemic, and what challenges remain ahead.

View the schedule below and click here to register for the sessions of your choice.

Monday, May 4:

  • 11:00am — 12:00pm ET | Tech’s role in managing COVID-19 patients’ recovery outside the hospital and preparing for the next virus
  • 3:00pm — 4:00pm ET | Vaccines accelerate toward market: How fast and how far?

Tuesday, May 5:

  • 11:00am — 12:00pm ET | Hospitals after the ‘peak’: What happens next?
  • 3:00pm — 4:00pm ET | Clinical trial challenges amid COVID-19

Wednesday, May 6:

  • 11:00am — 12:00pm ET | Bouncing back: Payers’ role in helping the system recover from COVID-19
  • 3:00pm — 4:00pm ET | Outbreak scramble: Could COVID-19 change infectious disease R&D?

I hope you will join us for our Virtual Series. And as always, thank you for being a part of the Fierce community.

Rebecca Willumson


FiercePharma & FierceHealthcare




From: Rebecca Willumson <editors@FierceHealthcare.com>

Reply-To: <qx_fiercehealthcare@inbound.bamboocricket.com>

Date: Monday, April 20, 2020 at 11:36 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Fierce Coronavirus Virtual Series: Where are we now?


With Mass General models showing a flattening curve, coronavirus patients are not expected to overwhelm the system during this week’s surge

Doctors and mathematicians at Massachusetts General Hospital, part of a little-known modeling team, are now optimistic that the number of coronavirus patients has plateaued at their institution, as well as in their larger hospital network, and will not overwhelm clinicians.

The Mass. General predictions come at a time when the state is considered a national hotspot for coronavirus and when data show 100 to 150 Massachusetts residents dying daily from the virus.

But analysts at the hospital believe that the crush of very sick patients at its doors is unlikely to get worse — and could start to ease in a week.


From: The Boston Globe <newsletters@bostonglobe.com>

Reply-To: The Boston Globe <newsletters@bostonglobe.com>

Date: Monday, April 20, 2020 at 8:36 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Mass General models show flattening curve; project system won’t be overwhelmed by coronavirus patients



What you need to know today

  • Current total of worldwide confirmed cases, per Johns Hopkins University: 2,375,443 (up 74,569 from yesterday*)
  • Current number of worldwide deaths, per Johns Hopkins University: 164,716 (up 6,294 from yesterday*)
  • Current number of recoveries worldwide, per Johns Hopkins University: 611,791 (up 22,215 from yesterday*)
  • Total countries/regions affected thus far, per Johns Hopkins University: 185
  • Massachusetts total cases:
  • Total tests completed in Massachusetts: 162,241 (5,435 newly reported tests since yesterday)

*Increases each day are calculated from the time this newsletter was sent the previous day.

US health officials watching Mass. coronavirus outbreak closely: Massachusetts is becoming a top concern for federal officials responding to the COVID-19 outbreak as cases here climb into what Governor Charlie Baker described on Sunday as “the middle of the surge.” White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx listed Boston and Massachusetts alongside the Chicago area as places where officials were focusing their attention.

Amid a flurry of national coronavirus data, Massachusetts remains a hot spot of infection: Nationally, day after day, Massachusetts has persistently stood out by several alarming metrics, often ranking near or in the top five among states for deaths, per capita infections, and the rate of those who have tested positive for the virus. Explore how it compares to all other states.

Trump administration, congressional leaders near deal on virus aid that includes major boost for small businesses: The Trump administration and congressional leaders are closing in on a $400 billion-plus deal that could pass in the Senate as soon as Monday to renew funding for a small business loan program that recently ran out of money. The deal would also boost spending for hospitals and testing.

Around the region:

  • The fall semester poses a looming financial dilemma for colleges and students and their families. Colleges and universities across the country are already preparing in case students cannot come to campus in the fall.
  • Boston broadcasted warnings about COVID-19 from public works trucks fitted with sound equipment through the neighborhoods with the highest rates of the virus — Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester, East Boston, Roxbury, and Roslindale — delivering the message to wash hands and stay inside in seven languages.
  • With the number of Rhode Island residents who have died from the coronavirus now at 150, Governor Gina Raimondo on Sunday once again urged people to wear a mask anytime that they’re in public.
  • Boston’s newest medical facility — a pop-up field hospital at the city’s cavernous convention center — has already treated more than 100 coronavirus patients in the past week and could reach capacity in the coming days.


From: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Reply-To: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Date: Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 4:49 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Coronavirus Now: US health officials watching Mass. outbreak closely


News From Sciencemag.org and the AAAS: NIH and Drug Firms Work Together to Speed Vaccine and Therapy Development

Source: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/tame-testing-chaos-nih-and-firms-join-forces-streamline-coronavirus-vaccine-and-drug

To tame testing chaos, NIH and firms join forces to streamline coronavirus vaccine and drug efforts

More than 100  treatments and vaccines are in development to stem the COVID-19 pandemic, and some onlookers have worried that this sprawling and potentially duplicative effort is wasting time and resources. Hoping to bring order to the chaos, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and major drug companies today announced a plan to stage carefully designed clinical trials of the drugs and vaccines they have decided are the highest priorities for testing and development.

The public-private partnership involves NIH, other U.S. government agencies, 16 pharma companies and biotechs, and the nonprofit Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH). It aims to develop “an international strategy” for COVID-19 research, a press release states. However, NIH Director Francis Collins told reporters during a press call today that, “It is primarily a U.S. focused effort.”

The initiative, called Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines (ACTIV), aims to make efficient use of NIH funding and its clinical trial networks by working with companies to evaluate data on early candidates, selecting those that have the most promise and are not already part of rigorous human tests.

AAAS Science Podcast: Why some diseases are seasonal and some are not: Coronaviruses and more

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD



HHS inks $1.4B in 7 new ventilator orders with big medtechs

“Individually, the contacts include waves of delivery deadlines for early May and early June, with their totals set for early and mid-July:

  • Hamilton netted $552 million for 14,115 ventilators by July 3.

  • Vyaire landed $407.9 million for 22,000 by June 29.

  • Zoll will collect $350.1 million for 18,900 ventilators made by July 3.

  • GE will receive $64.1 million for 2,410 ventilators produced by June 29.

  • ResMed gets $31.98 million for 2,550 by July 13.

  • Hill-Rom’s $20.1 million contract covers 3,400 completed by July 13.

  • And Medtronic will be paid $9.1 million for 1,056 ventilators by June 22.”






Biomarkers Diagnostics for Cytokine Storm

The Quanterix Simoa technology enables researchers to measure baseline levels of important cytokines and chemokines, such as:

  • IL-6,
  • TNFα,
  • IL-8 and even low abundance
  • IFNα and
  • IL1β

well above limits of quantification and directly in blood. We invite you to watch the webinar below to learn more:



Measuring early levels of these biomarkers during acute infection will deepen our understanding of cytokine storm onset and related cardiopulmonary and neurological damage. Simoa allows measurement of trace levels of IFNα, which enables separation of bacterial from viral infections, characterization of lupus samples and now following COVID-19 patients IFNα profile and assess type I interferon treatment options. Listen to key opinion leaders discussing their views on circulating cytokines as predictive biomarkers for COVID-19 severity, early viral load quantification based on viral proteins and early measurement of IgM, IgG and IgA for seroprevalence studies.






Important decisions about this question are being made, as they must be, based on only glimmers of data.


Mr. Lipsitch is an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist.

Image Source: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/04/14/science.abb5793.full

These studies form the basis for an educated guess at what might happen with Covid-19 patients. After being infected with SARS-CoV-2, most individuals will have an immune response, some better than others. That response, it may be assumed, will offer some protection over the medium term — at least a year — and then its effectiveness might decline.

Other evidence supports this model. A recent peer-reviewed study led by a team from Erasmus University, in the Netherlands, published data from 12 patients showing that they had developed antibodies after infection with SARS-CoV-2. Several of my colleagues and students and I have statistically analyzed thousands of seasonal coronavirus cases in the United States and used a mathematical model to infer that immunity over a year or so is likely for the two seasonal coronaviruses most closely related to SARS-CoV-2 — an indication perhaps of how immunity to SARS-CoV-2 itself might also behave.

If it is true that infection creates immunity in most or all individuals and that the protection lasts a year or more, then the infection of increasing numbers of people in any given population will lead to the buildup of so-called herd immunity. As more and more people become immune to the virus, an infected individual has less and less chance of coming into contact with a person susceptible to infection. Eventually, herd immunity becomes pervasive enough that an infected person on average infects less than one other person; at that point, the number of cases starts to go down. If herd immunity is widespread enough, then even in the absence of measures designed to slow transmission, the virus will be contained — at least until immunity wanes or enough new people susceptible to infection are born.

At the moment, cases of Covid-19 have been undercounted because of limited testing — perhaps by a factor of 10 in some places, like Italy as of late last month. If the undercounting is around this level in other countries as well, then a majority of the population in much (if not all) of the world still is susceptible to infection, and herd immunity is a minor phenomenon right now. The long-term control of the virus depends on getting a majority of people to become immune, through infection and recovery or through vaccination — how large a majority depends on yet other parameters of the infection that remain unknown.

One concern has to do with the possibility of reinfection. South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that 91 patients who had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and then tested negative for the virus later tested positive again. If some of these cases were indeed reinfections, they would cast doubt on the strength of the immunity the patients had developed.

An alternative possibility, which many scientists think is more likely, is that these patients had a false negative test in the middle of an ongoing infection, or that the infection had temporarily subsided and then re-emerged. South Korea’s C.D.C. is now working to assess the merit of all these explanations. As with other diseases for which it can be difficult to distinguish a new infection from a new flare-up of an old infection — like tuberculosis — the issue might be resolved by comparing the viral genome sequence from the first and the second periods of infection.

And then there is the question of immune enhancement: Through a variety of mechanisms, immunity to a coronavirus can in some instances exacerbate an infection rather than prevent or mitigate it. This troublesome phenomenon is best known in another group of viruses, the flaviviruses, and may explain why administering a vaccine against dengue fever, a flavivirus infection, can sometimes make the disease worse.

More science on almost every aspect of this new virus is needed, but in this pandemic, as with previous ones, decisions with great consequences must be made before definitive data are in. Given this urgency, the traditional scientific method — formulating informed hypotheses and testing them by experiments and careful epidemiology — is hyper-accelerated. Given the public’s attention, that work is unusually on display. In these difficult circumstances, I can only hope that this article will seem out of date very shortly — as much more is soon discovered about the coronavirus than is known right now.

Marc Lipsitch (@mlipsitch) is a professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, where he also directs the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics.



Today’s Rundown


http://From: FierceBiotech <editors@FierceBiotech.com> Reply-To: <qx_fiercelifesciences@inbound.bamboocricket.com> Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 12:34 PM To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu> Subject: | 04.15.20 | Gilead forced to stop second remdesivir test; Former GSK chief Witty hired as WHO’s COVID-19 vax lead


Health care workers are 10 to 20 percent of U.S. coronavirus cases


As of the middle of last week, the CDC had reports of more than 315,000 cases in the U.S. The new report focused on about 49,000 for which researchers had data on whether or not they worked in health care. About 9,300, or 19 percent, of them were medical professionals. That included 27 who died.

But the data varied in how complete it was, researchers said. In 12 states that did a better job reporting on whether patients worked in medicine, around 11 percent of cases were health care workers.

Compared with U.S. cases overall, larger proportions of diagnosed health care workers were women, were white, and were young or middle-aged adults. That’s consistent with the demographics of who works in health care, researchers said.

About 10 percent of the health care workers were hospitalized with symptoms, compared with 21 percent to 31 percent of overall cases. That may reflect the younger age of the workers, as well as prioritization of testing for health care employees, the report said.






Today’s Rundown


From: FiercePharma <editors@FiercePharma.com>

Reply-To: <qx_fiercelifesciences@inbound.bamboocricket.com>

Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2020 at 1:29 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: | 04.14.20 | J&J execs unveil their COVID-19 future; GSK, Sanofi chase a vaccine together






Friday, April 10, 2020

NIH begins study to quantify undetected cases of coronavirus infection

Interested in enrolling? Contact: clinicalstudiesunit@nih.gov

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (blue) infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. NIAID

A new study has begun recruiting at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, to determine how many adults in the United States without a confirmed history of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), have antibodies to the virus. The presence of antibodies in the blood indicates a prior infection. In this “serosurvey,” researchers will collect and analyze blood samples from as many as 10,000 volunteers to provide critical data for epidemiological models. The results will help illuminate the extent to which the novel coronavirus has spread undetected in the United States and provide insights into which communities and populations are most affected.

The study will be conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), with additional support from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), all parts of NIH.

“This study will give us a clearer picture of the true magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States by telling us how many people in different communities have been infected without knowing it, because they had a very mild, undocumented illness or did not access testing while they were sick,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., NIAID director. “These crucial data will help us measure the impact of our public health efforts now and guide our COVID-19 response moving forward.”

Investigators will test participants’ blood samples for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies , proteins the immune system produces to fight a specific infectious agent. A positive test result indicates previous infection. To date, reporting of U.S. cases of COVID-19 has mostly relied on molecular tests that determine the presence of the virus in a person’s airways using a noninvasive cotton swab. While these cotton swab-based tests rapidly and effectively identify active infection, they do not determine whether a person was previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and recovered.

“An antibody test is looking back into the immune system’s history with a rearview mirror,” said Matthew J. Memoli, M.D., M.S., principal investigator of the study and director of NIAID’s Laboratory of Infectious Diseases Clinical Studies Unit. “By analyzing an individual’s blood, we can determine if that person has encountered SARS-CoV-2 previously.”

Investigators will analyze blood samples for two types of antibodies, anti-SARS-CoV-2 S protein IgG and IgM, using an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) developed by researchers at NIAID and NIBIB. In blood samples found to contain antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, researchers may perform additional tests to evaluate the volunteers’ immune responses to the virus. These data may provide insight as to why these cases were less severe than those that lead to hospitalization.

Image of a researcherKaitlyn Sadtler, Ph.D., study lead and principal investigator for laboratory testing, holds up a microsampling device from the home blood collection kit used in the study.NIBIB

Healthy volunteers over the age of 18 from anywhere in the United States can participate and will be asked to consent to enrollment over the telephone. Individuals with a confirmed history of COVID-19 or current symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are not eligible to participate.

After enrollment, study participants will attend a virtual clinic visit, complete a health assessment questionnaire and provide basic demographic information—including race, ethnicity, sex, age and occupation—before submitting samples in one of two ways. Participants working at the NIH Bethesda campus will have blood drawn at the NIH Clinical Center. Other volunteers will participate in at-home blood sampling. Neoteryx, a medical device firm based in Torrance, California, will supply at-home blood collection kits. Researchers will ship each study participant a Mitra®Home Blood Collection Kit and provide detailed instructions on collecting a microsample of blood and mailing it back for future analysis in the laboratory.

“Researchers have considerable experience using these at-home blood collection kits to track the spread of other infectious diseases like influenza, and this method is safe, effective and easy-to-use,” said Kaitlyn Sadtler, Ph.D., study lead for laboratory testing and chief of NIBIB’s Section for Immunoengineering. “With a small finger-pick, volunteers can help scientists fight COVID-19 from their homes.”

People interested in joining this study should contact clinicalstudiesunit@nih.gov. For more information on the COVID-19 Pandemic Serum Sampling Study Launch, see the Questions and Answers. For more information on this study, please visit ClinicalTrials.gov using identifier NCT04334954. For more information on the U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.coronavirus.gov.

NIAID conducts and supports research — at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide — to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.




SID ISRAEL Panel 31 March 2020 Covid 19 outbreak in the Developing world

LIVE Coverage & Reporter’s Perspective: Ofer Markman, PhD



FDA quickly authorizes its second blood filtering device for COVID-19

Shortly after granting an emergency authorization to Terumo BCT’s blood filtering device for COVID-19, the FDA did the same for CytoSorbents’ system. Both are designed to strip out the immune system proteins that fuel the deadly cytokine-storm reactions associated with the disease.

Previously cleared for use in the European Union, the company’s CytoSorb purification system has been used to treat septic shock patients receiving intensive care, as well as those undergoing heart surgery or experiencing liver failure.

Now with the FDA’s blessing, the filters can be used in U.S. intensive care units for adults suffering from imminent respiratory failure, with acute lung injuries or severe COVID-19 disease.

Cytokine storms can cause severe inflammation, tissue damage and rapidly progressive shock, following a cascading release of white blood cells as the body overreacts to the coronavirus infection.

RELATED: Terumo partners with CytoSorbents to commercialize blood purification tech

CytoSorbents describes its filters as “plug-and-play compatible” with most blood purification devices or pumps found in the ICU, such as dialysis hardware or the lung-supporting extracorporeal membrane oxygenation hardware known as ECMO machines.

“As a U.S.-based company with CytoSorb device manufacturing in New Jersey, we are eager to expand the availability of CytoSorb to U.S. hospitals and patients as a treatment option to fight cytokine storm and deadly inflammation that is believed to exacerbate COVID-19 infection,” said CytoSorbents CEO Philip Chan.

RELATED: FDA greenlights blood detox device to combat COVID-19’s cytokine storms

“With more than 555,000 documented coronavirus infections, the U.S. leads the world with over 22,000 deaths, and emergently needs new therapies to reduce the severity of this disease,” Chan added, as of early April 13. “This is important not just to reduce poor clinical outcomes and mortality, but to also alleviate the bottleneck for scarce resources such as ventilators and ECMO in the treatment of these critically ill patients.”

CytoSorb has previously been used in more than 80,000 treatments overseas to help treat the same kinds of complications seen in COVID-19, he said, as well as more than 200 patients with the infection itself. Its use has also been included in treatment guidelines in Italy, Panama, and China.

“Under the EUA, we plan to ramp the availability of CytoSorb in a controlled manner, to clinical centers that will work with us to generate data and leverage our knowledge of how to use the device most effectively,” Chan said.


A research trial of coronavirus patients in Brazil ended after patients taking a higher dose of chloroquine, one of the drugs President Trump has promoted, developed irregular heart rates.

Roughly half the study participants were given a dose of 450 milligrams of chloroquine twice daily for five days, while the rest were prescribed a higher dose of 600 milligrams for 10 days. Within three days, researchers started noticing heart arrhythmias in patients taking the higher dose. By the sixth day of treatment, 11 patients had died, leading to an immediate end to the high-dose segment of the trial.

The researchers said the study did not have enough patients in the lower-dose portion of the trial to conclude if chloroquine was effective in patients with severe disease. More studies evaluating the drug earlier in the course of the disease are “urgently needed,” the researchers said.




 2020 Apr 4;8(1):e43. eCollection 2020.

Laboratory Parameters in Detection of COVID-19 Patients with Positive RT-PCR; a Diagnostic Accuracy Study.



The role of laboratory parameters in screening of COVID-19 cases has not been definitely established. This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of laboratory parameters in predicting cases with positive RT-PCR for COVID-19.


This diagnostic accuracy study was conducted on suspected COVID-19 patients, who presented to Behpooyan Clinic Medical center in Tehran (Iran) from 22 February to 14 March, 2020. Patients were divided into two groups based on the results of real time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for COVID-19, and the accuracy of different laboratory parameters in predicting cases with positive RT-PCR was evaluated using area under the ROC curve (AUC).


Two hundred cases with the mean age of 41.3± 14.6 (range: 19-78) years were studied (0.53% male). The result of RT-PCR for COVID-19 was positive in 70 (35%) cases. Patients with positive RT-PCR had significantly higher neutrophil (NEU) count (p = 0.0001), and C-reactive protein (CRP) (p = 0.04), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) (p = 0.0001), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (p = 0.001), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (p = 0.0001), and Urea (p = 0.001) levels in serum. In addition, patients with positive RT-PCR had lower white blood cell (WBC) count (p = 0.0001) and serum albumin level (p = 0.0001) compared to others. ALT (AUC = 0.879), CRP (AUC = 0.870), NEU (AUC = 0.858), LDH (AUC = 0.835), and Urea (AUC = 0.835) had very good accuracy in predicting cases with positive RT-PCR for COVID-19, respectively.


Our findings suggest that level of LDH, CRP, ALT and NEU can be used to predict the result of COVID-19 test. They can help in detection of COVID-19 patients.


Biochemistry; blood cell count; Biomarkers; COVID-19; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction; SARS-CoV-2



Patients with positive COVID-19 had significantly higher neutrophil count CRP LDH AST ALT Urea levels in serum patients with positive COVID-19 had lower WBC count serum albumin level
12:25 AM · Apr 13, 2020Twitter Web App



Pluristem Expands its Compassionate Use Program: Treated First COVID-19 Patient in U.S. Under FDA Single Patient Expanded Access Program

  • Cleared by FDA to proceed with the treatment in U.S. under Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP)
  • Pluristem’s main focus:  multinational clinical trial of PLX cells for treatment of complications associated with COVID-19

HAIFA, Israel, April13, 2020 – Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:PSTI) (TASE:PSTI), a leading regenerative medicine company developing a platform of novel biological therapeutic products, announced today that it has treated its first patient suffering from COVID-19 complications in the United States under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Single Patient Expanded Access Program, also called a compassionate use program, which is part of the U.S. Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP), an emergency program for possible therapies that uses every available method to move new treatments to patients as quickly as possible.

The patient was treated with PLX cell therapy at Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey, an acute care facility that is currently an active site for Pluristem’s Phase III critical limb ischemia (CLI) study. Prior to treatment with PLX, the patient was critically ill with respiratory failure due to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and was under mechanical ventilation in an intensive care unit (ICU) for three weeks.

“We are receiving many inquiries and requests for treatment from healthcare providers and families worldwide. In parallel with our planned clinical trial, we expect to continue treating patients under compassionate use through the appropriate regulatory clearances in the United States and Israel, as well as expanding treatment under compassionate use in other countries. Our main focus remains however, the initiation of a multinational clinical study,” stated Pluristem CEO and President Yaky Yanay. 

Pluristem’s main target is to initiate a multinational clinical trial as soon as possible for PLX cells in the treatment of patients suffering from complications associated with COVID-19. As the Company focus is the initiation of such clinical trial, it does not intend to provide further updates on the status of patients treated under compassionate use. Pluristem will update on the status and progress of its planned COVID-19 clinical trial program. 

PLX Cells for COVID-19

PLX cells are available off-the-shelf and once commercialized, can be manufactured in large scale quantities, offering a key advantage in addressing a global pandemic. PLX cells are allogeneic mesenchymal-like cells that have immunomodulatory properties that induce the immune system’s natural regulatory T cells and M2 macrophages, and thus may prevent or reverse the dangerous overactivation of the immune system. Accordingly, PLX cells may potentially reduce the incidence and\or severity of COVID-19 pneumonia and pneumonitis leading hopefully to a better prognosis for the patients. Previous pre-clinical findings of PLX cells revealed therapeutic benefit in animal studies of pulmonary hypertension, lung fibrosis, acute kidney injury and gastrointestinal injury which are potential complications of the severe COVID-19 infection. Clinical data using PLX cells demonstrated the strong immunomodulatory potency of PLX cells in patients post major surgery. Taken together, PLX cells’ potential capabilities with the safety profile observed from clinical trials involving hundreds of patients worldwide potentially position them as a therapy for mitigating the tissue-damaging effects of COVID-19.

About Pluristem Therapeutics

Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. is a leading regenerative medicine company developing novel placenta-based cell therapy product candidates. The Company has reported robust clinical trial data in multiple indications for its patented PLX cell product candidates and is currently conducting late stage clinical trials in several indications. PLX cell product candidates are believed to release a range of therapeutic proteins in response to inflammation, ischemia, muscle trauma, hematological disorders and radiation damage. The cells are grown using the Company’s proprietary three-dimensional expansion technology and can be administered to patients off-the-shelf, without tissue matching. Pluristem has a strong intellectual property position; a Company-owned and operated GMP-certified manufacturing and research facility; strategic relationships with major research institutions; and a seasoned management team.


From: Ofer Markman <oferm2020@gmail.com>

Date: Monday, April 13, 2020 at 6:50 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Fwd: Pluristem Expands its Compassionate Use Program: Treated First COVID-19 Patient in U.S. Under FDA Single Patient Expanded Access Program


The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.




Inovio Pharmaceuticals, in conjunction with Univ. of PA and Center for Pharmaceutical Research Announce Human Trials of a New Sars-COV2 vaccine

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

source: https://www.inquirer.com/health/coronavirus/live/coronavirus-covid-19-philadelphia-pennsylvania-new-jersey-confirmed-case-updates-news-20200406.html

A select group of healthy Philadelphia-area volunteers will receive an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus, Inovio Pharmaceuticals of Plymouth Meeting said Monday. Inovio, which began work on its vaccine in January soon after Chinese authorities published the microbe’s genetic code, said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had given the go-ahead to test it in humans. The study will enroll up to 40 volunteers, split between two sites: the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and the Center for Pharmaceutical Research in Kansas City, Mo. Human tests have begun on at least one other vaccine candidate, made by Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna Inc., but most of the several dozen vaccines in development have not reached that stage. Screening of potential participants for the Inovio vaccine already has started at the Kansas City site, company officials said. Each volunteer will receive two doses of the vaccine, spaced four weeks apart. A primary goal is to make sure the vaccine, for now called INO-4800, does not cause any adverse effects. Researchers also will analyze blood samples from participants to make sure their immune systems are generating an appropriate response. The vaccine volunteers are not being exposed to the virus, at least not on purpose. But separately, scientists are doing that in animal studies. Several dozen labs and companies are at work on vaccines worldwide; none is expected to be ready before next year.


Recombinant Coronavirus Vaccines Delivered via Microneedle Array

Curator: Irina Robu, PhD






Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine announced today that they have developed a promising new COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Early animal trials have shown promise so far, but human trials are still in the planning stages. The researchers already had a big leg up from past epidemics.

“We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014,” said Andrea Gambotto, co-senior author of the peer-reviewed paper published in the journal EBioMedicine, and associate professor of surgery at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in a statement.

“These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus,” Gambotto explained. “We knew exactly where to fight this new virus.”

The vaccine dubbed “PittCoVacc” (Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine) works in the same basic way as a flu shot: By injecting lab-made pieces of viral protein into the body to help it build an immunity.

When tested in mice, the researchers found that the number of antibodies capable of neutralizing the deadly SARS-CoV-2 virus surged two weeks after delivery.

Instead of being delivered through a needle, the new drug is administered through a microneedle array, a Band-Aid like patch made up of 400 tiny microneedles. Once the patch is applied, the microneedles, which are made entirely of sugar and protein dissolve, leaving no trace behind.

“We developed this to build on the original scratch method used to deliver the smallpox vaccine to the skin, but as a high-tech version that is more efficient and reproducible patient to patient,” said co-senior author Louis Falo, professor and chair of dermatology at Pitt’s School of Medicine, in the statement. “And it’s actually pretty painless — it feels kind of like Velcro.”

According to the researchers, these patches can be easily manufactured in massive “cell factories” at an industrial scale. The vaccine doesn’t even need to be refrigerated during storage or transport — a massive complication for other vaccines.

“For most vaccines, you don’t need to address scalability to begin with,” Gambotto said. “But when you try to develop a vaccine quickly against a pandemic that’s the first requirement.”

Before starting human trials, the researchers are currently applying for drug approval from the US Food and Drug Anticipation.

“Testing in patients would typically require at least a year and probably longer,” Falo said. “This particular situation is different from anything we’ve ever seen, so we don’t know how long the clinical development process will take.”

UPDATED on 4/1/2020

4/1/2020 – First Conference in 2020

all scheduled conferences are postponed to August 2020 and October 2020

  • COVID-19 and AI: A Virtual Conference – Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute, Stanford University, 4/1/2020, 9AM PST – 3:30PM PST @StanfordHAI @pharma_BI @AVIVA1950

Real Time coverage: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN


  • Tweets and Retweets @ COVID-19 and AI: A Virtual Conference – Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Institute, Stanford University, 4/1/2020, 9AM PST – 3:30PM PST @StanfordHAI  BY @pharma_BI and @AVIVA1950



UPDATED on 3/31/2020


New Guidance on Management of Acute CVD During COVID-19

Topol: US Betrays Healthcare Workers in Coronavirus Disaster

Wuhan Data Link COVID-19 With Myocardial Damage

ACCVICTORIA: Vericiguat Seen as Novel Success in High-Risk HFrEF

MallidiCardiology Practice in the Time of COVID-19

ACCSecond Trial Supports Ticagrelor Alone in ACS After PCI: TICO

‘Stealth Transmission’ of COVID-19 Demands Widespread Mask Usage


Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.


From: “theheart.org | Medscape Cardiology” <Medscape_Cardiology@mail.medscape.com>

Reply-To: Medscape from WebMD <reply-fe9a16737665047571-100_HTML-1821998-7000859-2@mail.medscape.com>

Date: Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 8:05 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: New Guidance on Management of Acute CVD During COVID-19


UPDATED on 3/31/2020

The Mathematics of Predicting the Course of the Coronavirus

Epidemiologists are using complex models to help policymakers get ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the leap from equations to decisions is a long one.

THE BASIC MATH of a computational model is the kind of thing that seems obvious after someone explains it. Epidemiologists break up a population into “compartments,” a sorting-hat approach to what kind of imaginary people they’re studying. A basic version is an SIR model, with three teams: susceptible to infection, infected, and recovered or removed (which is to say, either alive and immune, or dead). Some models also drop in an E—SEIR—for people who are “exposed” but not yet infected. Then the modelers make decisions about the rules of the game, based on what they think about how the disease spreads. Those are variables like how many people one infected person infects before being taken off the board by recovery or death, how long it takes one infected person to infect another (also known as the interval generation time), which demographic groups recover or die, and at what rate. Assign a best-guess number to those and more, turn a few virtual cranks, and let it run.

“At the beginning, everybody is susceptible and you have a small number of infected people. They infect the susceptible people, and you see an exponential rise in the infected,” says Helen Jenkins, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Public Health. So far, so terrible.

The assumption for how big any of those fractions of the population are, and how fast they move from one compartment to another, start to matter immediately. “If we discover that only 5 percent of a population have recovered and are immune, that means we’ve still got 95 percent of the population susceptible. And as we move forward, we have much bigger risk of flare-ups,” Jenkins says. “If we discover that 50 percent of the population has been infected—that lots of them were asymptomatic and we didn’t know about them—then we’re in a better position.”

So the next question is: How well do people transmit the disease? That’s called the “reproductive number,” or R0, and it depends on how easily the germ jumps from person to person—whether they’re showing symptoms or not. It also matters how many people one of the infected comes into contact with, and how long they are actually contagious. (That’s why social distancing helps; it cuts the contact rate.) You might also want the “serial interval,” the amount of time it takes for an infected person to infect someone else, or the average time before a susceptible person becomes an infected one, or an infected person becomes a recovered one (or dies). That’s “reporting delay.”

And R0 really only matters at the beginning of an outbreak, when the pathogen is new and most of the population is House Susceptible. As the population fractions change, epidemiologists switch to another number: the Effective Reproductive Number, or Rt, which is still the possible number of people infected, but can flex and change over time.




UPDATED on 3/30/2020

LATEST CDC Updated on COVID-19

image of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Click this graphic for the latest CDC updates.










UPDATED on 3/29/2020

A commentary in Mbio/ Hiding in :Plain Sight: an Approach to Treating Patients with Severe COVID-19 Infection


Hiding in Plain Sight: an Approach to Treating Patients with Severe COVID-19 Infection

David S. Fedson,a Steven M. Opal,b Ole Martin Rordamc

a57, chemin du Lavoir, Sergy Haut, France

bDepartment of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

cFyordgata 59, Trondheim, Norway



Patients with COVID-19 infection are at risk of acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS) and death. The tissue receptor for COVID-19 is ACE2, and higher levels of ACE2 can protect against ARDS. Angiotensin receptor blockers and statins upregulate ACE2. Clinical trials are needed to determine whether this drug combination might be used to treat patients with severe COVID-19 infection.

KEYWORDS COVID-19, endothelial dysfunction, generic drugs, host response treatment


The severe respiratory disease that has recently emerged in China is caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) (1). The virus is similar to the SARS coronavirus that spread internationally in 2003, infected more than 8,000 people, and killed almost 800. Infection with COVID-19 has now spread throughout the world, causing widespread social and economic disruption. To control its spread, Chinese officials have imposed extensive travel bans and quarantined large areas. Accelerated development of new vaccines and treatments is already under way. It is too early to know whether any of these efforts will contain the outbreak.

Thus far, patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 infection have had pneumonia (2). Of 44,672 laboratory-confirmed patients, almost 5% have had critical illness and almost 50% of critically ill patients have died (3). The overall case fatality rate (2.3%) has been higher than that seen with seasonal influenza. Most deaths have involved older adults, many of whom have had underlying chronic illnesses. Although there is no known treatment for any coronavirus infection, investigators in China have undertaken several clinical trials. Except for corticosteroids, all of the drugs being tested target coronavirus replication. Unfortunately, very few of these antiviral drugs will be available to people who have been (or will be) infected with COVID-19. Yet, for those who develop severe disease, only one question matters: “will I live or die?” This is the question that clinical investigators should address. Could they discover a treatment that might reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection and improve patient survival?

In 2014, one of us suggested that statins might be used to treat patients with Ebola virus disease (4). A supply of a generic statin and a generic angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) was sent to Sierra Leone. Experimental studies had shown that both drugs improved outcomes in experimental acute lung injury/acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS) (5–9). In Sierra Leone, local physicians treated approximately 100 Ebola patients with a combination of the two drugs. They noted “remarkable improvement” in survival. Although there was no support for a proper clinical trial, the findings from this unconventional and poorly documented treatment experience were published (10, 11). During the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), expensive vaccines are being used. Investigational monoclonal antibody preparations (12), but not inexpensive generic drug treatments (13), have been tested.

There are Citation Fedson DS, Opal SM, Rordam OM.

2020. Hiding in plain sight: an approach to treating patients with severe COVID-19 infection. mBio 11:e00398-20. https://doi.org/


Copyright © 2020 Fedson et al. This is an

open-access article distributed under the terms

of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

International license.

Address correspondence to David S. Fedson,


The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the journal or of ASM.





Therapeutics and Prevention

crossm March/April 2020 Volume 11 Issue 2 e00398-20 ® mbio.asm.org 1

20 March 2020 preliminary signs that the DRC outbreak is coming under control, although the case

fatality rate is still 66%.

An approach to treating patients with severe COVID-19 infection might be hiding in plain sight. The tissue receptor for the virus is ACE2, which is also the receptor for the SARS coronavirus (1). Several years ago, investigators in the Netherlands and elsewhere showed that ARBs and statins upregulate the activity of ACE2 (14, 15), and higher levels of ACE2 are associated with a reduced severity of ARDS (16). Both statins and ARBs target the host response to infection, not the virus (9). They act largely (although not exclusively) on endothelial dysfunction, which is a common feature of many virus infections (17). Both drugs counter endothelial dysfunction by affecting the ACE2/ angiotensin-(1–7)/Mas and angiopoietin/Tie-2 signaling axes (9). Combination treatment with these two drugs appears to accelerate a return to homeostasis, allowing patients to recover on their own.

The host response is a major determinant of the pathogenesis of infectious diseases (18). We believe that investigators in China and elsewhere should undertake studies of patients with severe COVID-19 infection to determine whether targeting the host response with widely available and inexpensive generic drugs, like ARBs and statins, will improve their chances of survival. The studies would not have to be large; a successful clinical trial might require only 100 patients (9). Convincing evidence of the effectiveness of this treatment would suggest a syndromic approach to treating patients with other emerging infectious diseases, like Ebola and pandemic influenza, as well as everyday illnesses, like sepsis and pneumonia (19). The long-term benefits of these findings for global public health could be immense.


We declare no conflicts of interest. No funding was provided to support the

preparation of this article.



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replication, and pathogenesis. J Med Virol 92:418–423. https://doi.org/


2. Wang D, Hu B, Hu C, Zhu F, Liu X, Zhang J, Wang B, Xiang H, Cheng Z,

Xiong Y, Zhao Y, Li Y, Wang X, Peng Z. 7 February 2020. Clinical

characteristics of 138 hospitalized patients with 2019 novel coronavirusinfected

pneumonia in Wuhan, China. JAMA https://doi.org/10.1001/


3. The Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology

Team. 2020. The epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019

novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19)—China, 2020. China CDC Weekly

2:113–122. http://weekly.chinacdc.cn/en/article/id/e53946e2-c6c4-41e9

-9a9b-fea8db1a8f51. Accessed 18 February 2020.

4. Fedson DS. 2015. A practical treatment for patients with Ebola virus

disease. J Infect Dis 21:661– 662. https://doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiu474.

5. Shyamsundar M, McKeown STW, O’Kane CM, Craig TR, Brown V, Thickett

DR, Matthay MA, Taggart CC, Backman JT, Elborn JS, McAuley DF. 2009.

Simvastatin decreases lipopoly-saccharide-induced pulmonary inflammation

in healthy volunteers. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 179:1107–1114.


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Role of claudin-5 in the attenuation of murine acute lung injury by

simvastatin. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 50:328 –336. https://doi.org/10


7. Shen L, Mo H, Cai L, Kong T, Zheng W, Ye J, Qi J, Xiao Z. 2009. Losartan

prevents sepsis-induced acute lung injury and decreases activation of

nuclear factor kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinases. Shock

3:500 –506. https://doi.org/10.1097/SHK.0b013e318189017a.

8. Li Y, Cao Y, Zeng Z, Liang M, Xue Y, Xi C, Zhou M, Jiang W. 2015.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2/angiotensin-(1–7)/Mas axis prevents

lipopolysaccharide-induced apoptosis of pulmonary microvascular endothelial

cells by inhibiting JNK/NF-B pathways. Sci Rep 5:8209. https://


9. Fedson DS. 2016. Treating the host response to emerging virus diseases:

lessons learned from sepsis, pneumonia, influenza and Ebola. Ann Transl

Med 4:421. https://doi.org/10.21037/atm.2016.11.03.

10. Fedson DS, Jacobson JR, Rordam OM, Opal SM. 2015. Treating the host

response to Ebola virus disease with generic statins and angiotensin receptor

blockers. mBio 6:e00716-15. https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.00716-15.

11. Fedson DS, Rordam OM. 2015. Treating Ebola patients: a ‘bottom up’

approach using generic statins and angiotensin receptor blockers. Int J

Infect Dis 36:80–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2015.04.019.

12. Mulangu S, Dodd LE, Davey RT, Jr, Tshiani Mbaya O, Proschan M, Mukadi

D, Lusakibanza Manzo M, Nzolo D, Tshomba Oloma A, Ibanda A, Ali R,

Coulibaly S, Levine AC, Grais R, Diaz J, Lane HC, Muyembe-Tamfum JJ,

PALM Writing Group, Sivahera B, Camara M, Kojan R, Walker R, Dighero-

Kemp B, Cao H, Mukumbayi P, Mbala-Kingebeni P, Ahuka S, Albert S,

Bonnett T, Crozier I, Duvenhage M, Proffitt C, Teitelbaum M, Moench T,

Aboulhab J, Barrett K, Cahill K, Cone K, Eckes R, Hensley L, Herpin B,

Higgs E, Ledgerwood J, Pierson J, Smolskis M, Sow Y, Tierney J, Sivapalasingam

S, Holman W, Gettinger N, Vallée D, Nordwall J, PALM

Consortium Study Team. 2019. A randomized, controlled trial of Ebola

virus disease therapeutics. N Engl J Med 381:2293–2303. https://doi.org/


13. Fedson DS. 2019. Treating Ebola in eastern DRC. Lancet Infect Dis

19:1059 –1060. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30484-0.

14. Wösten-van Asperen RM, Lutter R, Specht PA, Moll GN, van Woensel JB,

van der Loos CM, van Goor H, Kamilic J, Florquin S, Bos AP. 2011. Acute

respiratory distress syndrome leads to reduced ratio of ACE/ACE2 activities

and is prevented by angiotensin-(1–7) or an angiotensin II receptor

antagonist. J Pathol 225:618–627. https://doi.org/10.1002/path.2987.

15. Tikoo K, Patel G, Kumar S, Karpe PA, Sanghavi M, Malek V, Srinivasan K. 2015.

Tissue specific up regulation of ACE2 in rabbit model of atherosclerosis by

atorvastatin: role of epigenetic histone modifications. Biochem Pharmacol

93:343–351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2014.11.013.

16. Wösten-van Asperen RM, Bos AP, Bem RA, Dierdorp BS, Dekker T, van

Goor H, Kamilic J, van der Loos CM, van den Berg E, Bruijn M, van

Woensel JB, Lutter R. 2013. Imbalance between pulmonary angiotensin-

Commentary ®

March/April 2020 Volume 11 Issue 2 e00398-20 mbio.asm.org 2

converting enzyme and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 activity in

acute respiratory distress syndrome. Pediatr Crit Care Med 14:

e438–e441. https://doi.org/10.1097/PCC.0b013e3182a55735.

17. Steinberg BE, Goldenberg NM, Lee WL. 2012. Do viral infections mimic

bacterial sepsis? The role of microvascular permeability: a review of

mechanisms and methods. Antiviral Res 93:2–15. https://doi.org/10


18. Pirofski LA, Casadevall A. 2018. The Damage-Response Framework as a

tool for the physician-scientist to understand the pathogenesis of infectious

diseases. J Infect Dis 218(Suppl 1):S7–S11. https://doi.org/10.1093/


19. Fedson DS. 2018. Clinician-initiated research on treating the host response

to pandemic influenza. Hum Vaccin Immunother 14:790 –795.


Commentary ®



UPDATED ON 3/29/2020 – UC’s leadership in facing the threat of COVID-19.

Message from The president of the University of California system

From: Janet Napolitano <janet@ucop.edu>

Reply-To: Janet Napolitano <janet@ucop.edu>

Date: Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 8:33 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu> UC, Berkeley, PhD’83

Subject: My March Newsletter

Dear friends and colleagues: 


It is hard to think of a moment in the recent history of the University of California – or, indeed, in the history of our nation – as challenging and complex as this one. Across the country, normal life has been severely impacted by COVID-19. Our university community is feeling the stress and strain of this global pandemic, and my thoughts are constantly with the patients, students, faculty, and staff who are most affected. We will continue to do all that we can to protect and support our community. 


In times like these, UC’s public service mission comes into sharp focus, and I couldn’t be more proud of how our community is stepping up to the challenges at hand: UC clinicians are on the front lines of this crisis treating patients; our researchers are hard at work fighting coronavirus on multiple fronts; UC students have quickly transitioned to online classes and remote study groups, all while navigating the complexities of campus shutdowns; and our faculty and staff have adopted new teaching methods and platforms in the face of the unprecedented suspension of in-classroom instruction. 


Below, you can learn even more about UC’s leadership in facing the threat of COVID-19. I want to thank everyone across the University who is going the extra mile in their work, in their studies, and in simply looking out for each other and coming together as a community during a difficult time. UC has been here for its students, faculty, and staff – and for all Californians – since our founding more than 150 years ago. And the University will be here, stronger than ever, long after we emerge from this crisis together. May you all be well, and Fiat Lux.

Yours very truly,

UC medical centers launch in-house coronavirus testing and clinical trials

As has been widely reported, the ability of U.S. health providers to test and treat patients for coronavirus has lagged. Academic medical centers in California – including UC – are stepping up to help meet that challenge.


All five UC medical centers are ramping up their in-house testing while seeking commercial partnerships that will help expand our testing capacity. Meanwhile, physician scientists at UC San Diego Health, UC San Francisco, UC Irvine Health and UC Davis Health have launched a new clinical trial to assess the safety and effectiveness of an existing antiviral drug on COVID-19.


We have a long way to go, but I’m heartened by the efforts of scientists and medical professionals across California’s academic medical centers to ensure the public will be able to get the care they need.

UC experts take on COVID-19

We can face the COVID-19 threat more effectively by understanding it better. UC researchers are always working to put the best evidence-based research into the hands of decision-makers. This is no different with coronavirus – as always, UC’s research enterprise is on the front lines. Here are just a few examples:

  • A team of engineers and physicians at UC San Diego are developing simple, ready-to-use ventilators that can be quickly deployed to support patients in a crisis.
  • Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories are leading members of a new national consortium that will use U.S. supercomputing resources to help scientists answer complex scientific questions about the virus in hours or days, rather than weeks or months.
  • A team of researchers at UC Riverside, the University of Chicago, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, and Northwestern University have mapped a key protein that may aid in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • UCLA researchers published a new study explaining how long the COVID-19 virus remains active on surfaces like cardboard, metal, and plastic.
  • UC San Diego physician scientist David Pride published a helpful explainer about the state of COVID-19 testing in the United States – and how UC’s academic medical centers are stepping up to develop tests that will help public health officials mitigate the spread of the virus.  

UC joins together to fight the pandemic

I’ve been inspired by stories of UC students, faculty, staff, and donors who are rising to the occasion and finding creative ways to help each other in this time of crisis. This demonstrates the power of our community.


Scientists at the Innovative Genomics Institute – a partnership between UCSF and UC Berkeley and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub – are helping one another find necessary equipment, re-agents, and volunteers to expand clinical COVID-19 testing on our campuses. The UCSF Institute for Nursing Excellence has held dozens of training sessions for UC Health staff and nurses on best practices for managing coronavirus patients. Meanwhile, medical students at UCSF have kindly volunteered to support health care workers by providing free childcare and running errands in the midst of the coronavirus response.

Generous donors have rallied to support UCSF doctors and scientists working to address COVID-19, giving more than $12 million to help UCSF respond to the pandemic. (Have resources or medical supplies to contribute? UCSF and UC San Diego Health are accepting donations.) Hundreds of donors have also contributed to UCLA’s Bruin Tech Award fund, which provides an award of up to $1,000 to UC students who may not have the technology needed to access online classes.


We can all take immense pride in the outstanding people working diligently every single day at UC’s medical centers to take care of patients in this uniquely challenging time, whether they are health professionals, or those sanitizing our facilities and providing nourishing food.

Managing anxiety about coronavirus

Many UC experts have shared good advice about taking care of your mental health during a time of increased stress. UC San Diego and UCSF have compiled dozens of tips and resources designed to alleviate the mental and emotional strain many of us are feeling.

UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine also shared eight acts of goodness amid the COVID-19 outbreak that could brighten your day. (Seeing penguins roaming a shuttered Chicago aquarium certainly made me smile.)


Recently I was asked:

Many of us are at home practicing social distancing. Any recommendations on how to keep busy and entertained?

Here are my thoughts:

First, I want to thank everyone who is practicing social distancing to help halt the spread of COVID-19. This is a crucial step to keep our communities safe, including our own medical and health center staff who are on the front lines of fighting this virus.


While you’re distancing, I recommend picking up a good book! I just started reading The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel. It’s the third and final volume in her fictional recounting of the life of Thomas Cromwell. The first two volumes were terrific, combining both literary and historical fiction. I’m already entranced by the third. 


For nonfiction, I’m reading These Truths: A History of the United States by Jill Lepore. She’s a wonderful writer and an astute historian with keen insights into what has made our country what it is today.

When I’m tired of reading, there’s always Netflix. I can return to Cromwell’s era and watch “The Tudors.” Or, for a complete change of pace, I can stream “Better Call Saul.”


Like everyone else, I’m doing my best to entertain myself while working from home. Thank goodness for modern technology, which helps us all stay connected during these difficult times. But as the Brits would say, we will keep calm and carry on.



UPDATED ON 3/29/2020

Mayo Clinic, Amazon, others launch collaboration to increase COVID-19 testing, vaccine development

Mayo Clinic
The COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition plans to leverage the strengths of healthcare organizations, technology companies, non-profits, academia, and startups to provide a focused response to the coronavirus outbreak. (Mayo Clinic)


UPDATED ON 3/29/2020



All Journal content related to the Covid-19 pandemic is freely available

NEJM Coronavirus Update

PERSPECTIVE Critical Supply Shortages M.L. Ranney, V. Griffeth, and A.K. Jha

U.S. hospitals are already reporting shortages of key equipment needed to care for critically ill patients with Covid-19, including ventilators and personal protective equipment for medical staff. Adequate production and distribution of this equipment is crucial.


The Covid-19 pandemic has already stressed health care systems throughout the world, requiring rationing of medical equipment and care. The authors discuss the ethical values relevant to health care rationing and provide six recommendations to guide fair allocation of scarce medical resources during the pandemic.

MAR 23

PERSPECTIVEThe Toughest TriageR.D. Truog, C. Mitchell, and G.Q. Daley

Of all the medical care that will have to be rationed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the most problematic will be mechanical ventilation. One strategy for avoiding debilitating distress over these decisions is to use a triage committee to buffer bedside clinicians.

MAR 23



Dr. Anthony Fauci on Covid-19 Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on talking with patients about Covid-19.




NEJM Catalyst Articles and Podcasts

View more NEJM Catalyst content »



NEJM Journal Watch Summaries

View more NEJM Journal Watch content »







UPDATED ON 3/27/2020

The Global Impact of COVID-19 and Strategies for Mitigation and Suppression

Page 2 of 19


The world faces a severe and acute public health emergency due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. How individual countries respond in the coming weeks will be critical in influencing the trajectory of national epidemics. Here we combine data on age-specific contact patterns and COVID-19 severity to project the health impact of the pandemic in 202 countries. We compare predicted mortality impacts in the absence of interventions or spontaneous social distancing with what might be achieved with policies aimed at mitigating or suppressing transmission. Our estimates of mortality and healthcare demand are based on data from China and high-income countries; differences in underlying health conditions and healthcare system capacity will likely result in different patterns in low income settings.

We estimate that in the absence of interventions, COVID-19 would have resulted in 7.0 billion infections and 40 million deaths globally this year. Mitigation strategies focussing on shielding the elderly (60% reduction in social contacts) and slowing but not interrupting transmission (40% reduction in social contacts for wider population) could reduce this burden by half, saving 20 million lives, but we predict that even in this scenario, health systems in all countries will be quickly overwhelmed. This effect is likely to be most severe in lower income settings where capacity is lowest: our mitigated scenarios lead to peak demand for critical care beds in a typical low-income setting outstripping supply by a factor of 25, in contrast to a typical high-income setting where this factor is 7. As a result, we anticipate that the true burden in low income settings pursuing mitigation strategies could be substantially higher than reflected in these estimates.

Our analysis therefore suggests that healthcare demand can only be kept within manageable levels through the rapid adoption of public health measures (including testing and isolation of cases and wider social distancing measures) to suppress transmission, similar to those being adopted in many countries at the current time. If a suppression strategy is implemented early (at 0.2 deaths per 100,000 population per week) and sustained, then 38.7 million lives could be saved whilst if it is initiated when death numbers are higher (1.6 deaths per 100,000 population per week) then 30.7 million lives could be saved. Delays in implementing strategies to suppress transmission will lead to worse outcomes and fewer lives saved.

We do not consider the wider social and economic costs of suppression, which will be high and may be disproportionately so in lower income settings. Moreover, suppression strategies will need to be maintained in some manner until vaccines or effective treatments become available to avoid the risk of later epidemics. Our analysis highlights the challenging decisions faced by all governments in the coming weeks and months, but demonstrates the extent to which rapid, decisive and collective action now could save millions of lives.


26 March 2020 Imperial College, COVID-19 Response Team

Patrick GT Walker, Charles Whittaker, Oliver Watson et al. The Global Impact of COVID-19 and Strategies for Mitigation and Suppression. WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics, Imperial College London (2020) doi: missing

Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team

WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics Imperial College London

*Contributed equally

Correspondence: a.ghani@imperial.ac.uk, neil.ferguson@imperial.ac.uk




From: “Dr. Larry Bernstein” <larry.bernstein@gmail.com>

Reply-To: “Dr. Larry Bernstein” <larry.bernstein@gmail.com>

Date: Friday, March 13, 2020 at 11:07 AM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Re: ACC issues COVID-19 guidance for cardiologists

Dear colleagues:

I understand the serious blunder of our not having sufficient testing for Coronavirus in patients who need it. In the meantime, I am unable to understand that the hematology panel routinely widely available isn’t recommended as a necessary first step. Maybe I see this from a long career in clinical laboratory science.

The most important feature early on is a characteristic depression of the lymphocyte count, and perhaps an increase in the eosinophil count. That would be consistent in patients who might need the virus identification.

Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP


This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019.

Image and Caption Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM available at https://phil.cdc.gov/Details.aspx?pid=23311



UPDATED ON 3/27/2020

COVID-19 database covering worldwide information

It includes:

  • – John Hopkins University Data
  • – WHO Incident Reports (PDF conversions) – Country-specific reporting (including all data attributes)
  • – Our World In Data
  • – ESRI COVID-19 Portal
  • – Sources crowdsourced by the community via GitHub
  • – Kaggle Competition Data
  • – Worldwide country census info
  • – General Health Stats


UPDATED ON 3/26/2020

The Diagnostics Market – TESTING for Coronavirus Infection – COVID-19


TYPES of Infection Testing by Methods

Manual NAT

Automated lab-based, near-POC NAT or POC NAT



In development
Manual NAT

Automated lab-based, near-POC or POC NAT


Manual or automated immunoassays

Rapid diagnostic tests


In development
Manual or automated immunoassays


Rapid diagnostic tests









For more information please contact us.





SOURCE for  ALL Product Testing by Method of Measurement



UPDATED ON 3/26/2020

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Pathophysiology, Epidemiology, Clinical Management and Public Health Response

An outbreak of a respiratory disease began in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and the causative agent was discovered in January 2020 to be a novel betacoronovirus of the same subgenus as SARS-CoV and named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has rapidly disseminated worldwide, with clinical manifestations ranging from mild respiratory symptoms to severe pneumonia and a fatality rate estimated around 2%. Person to person transmission is occurring both in the community and healthcare settings. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently declared the COVID-19 epidemic a public health emergency of international concern.

The ongoing outbreak presents many clinical and public health management challenges due to limited understanding of viral pathogenesis, risk factors for infection, natural history of disease including clinical presentation and outcomes, prognostic factors for severe illness, period of infectivity, modes and extent of virus inter-human transmission, as well as effective preventive measures and public health response and containment interventions. There are no antiviral treatment nor vaccine available but fast track research and development efforts including clinical therapeutic trials are ongoing across the world.

Managing this serious epidemic requires the appropriate deployment of limited human resources across all cadres of health care and public health staff, including clinical, laboratory, managerial and epidemiological data analysis and risk assessment experts. It presents challenges around public communication and messaging around risk, with the potential for misinformation and disinformation. Therefore, integrated operational research and intervention, learning from experiences across different fields and settings should contribute towards better understanding and managing COVID-19.

This Research Topic aims to highlight interdisciplinary research approaches deployed during the COVID-19 epidemic, addressing knowledge gaps and generating evidence for its improved management and control. It will incorporate critical, theoretically informed and empirically grounded original research contributions using diverse approaches, experimental, observational and intervention studies, conceptual framing, expert opinions and reviews from across the world. The Research Topic proposes a multi-dimensional approach to improving the management of COVID-19 with scientific contributions from all areas of virology, immunology, clinical microbiology, epidemiology, therapeutics, communications as well as infection prevention and public health risk assessment and management studies.

Submissions are welcome for the following article types: original research, review, mini-reviews, systematic reviews, research protocol, opinion and hypothesis. We particularly welcome contributions that include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

• SARS-CoV-2 genome structure, encoded proteins, replication properties, viral pathogenesis, comparative phylogenetic and viral receptor binding analysis within the betacoronavirus genus, e.g. SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV;
• SARS-CoV-2 antiviral susceptibility and antigen diversity;
• Natural history of COVID-19 clinical disease spectrum in different populations and analysis of intrinsic and extrinsic prognostic factors, including sero-epidemiological studies in the general population;
• Host factors, including host genetics and immunological variabilities, and their association with disease severity;
• Modes and dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the household, workplace, closed community and healthcare settings, including the role of super-spreading events;
• Systematic reviews and meta-analysis of COVID-19 epidemiological studies and surveillance data as well as modeling studies and analytical methods for risk assessment studies;
• Effectiveness of COVID-19 infection prevention and control procedures including personal protective equipment and airborne/aerosol versus droplet isolation precautions for specific healthcare settings and epidemiological stages of the outbreak;
• Effectiveness of novel public health interventions for containment or impact mitigation of the COVID-19 outbreak, including social distancing and quarantine measures;
• Clinical accuracy and effectiveness of rapid SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics and serological assays;
• Pre-clinical development and clinical trials of therapeutic agents for COVID-19;
• Pre-clinical development and clinical trials of COVID-19 candidate vaccines;
• Evaluation of methods for COVID-19 epidemiological surveillance, contact tracing studies and public health risk assessment, including digital health solutions and modeling/forecasting studies;
• Clinical immunology of COVID-19, including specific antibody and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 and protective immunity.
• Challenges and the potential for communication, including social media, social distancing, and ‘community spread
• Community, culture, and technology-based interventions.

As this is a multidisciplinary Research Topic, we ask the authors to choose the appropriate Topic Editor for sections upon submission. For any questions please contact the editorial office (publichealth@frontiersin.org).

***Due to the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 situation, Frontiers is waiving all article publishing charges for COVID-19 related research.***


Keywords: Coronavirus, microbiology, immunology, public health, communication, risk, social media, community understanding, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, infection prevention and control, epidemiology, transmission studies, antiviral therapy


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.



AUDIO from Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem – Insight on Coronavirus, 3/18/2020



VIDEO on the CORONAVIRUS From the Technion –>>>> A Conversation with Prof. Avi Schroeder – Zoom, 3/19/2020



Link to share

UNTIL Apr 10, 2020, 08:30 am CEST

CEST = Central European Summer Time (CEST)

‘COVID-19: Pandemic Surgery Guideline’

will be online as “Rapid Publication – for Online Peer-Review” at 4open by EDP Sciences


contributed to this website by

Prof. Björn Brücher






March 2020


US President Trump and White House Coronavirus Task Force Extend Social Distancing Guideline to April 30, 2020

SOURCE ABC NEWS https://www.abc4.com/news/top-stories/trump-coronavirus-task-force-set-5-p-m-briefing/

At 4 pm E.S.T.  President Trump and the White House announced, after a meeting with members of the Coronavirus Task Force, that social distancing guidelines should be extended to April 30, 2020 in order to stem the rise in COVID-19 cases.

During a briefing Sunday afternoon, Trump said with the peak of the disease to hit sometime in the next two weeks and extending the guidelines will slow the spread of the virus.

“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end,” he said.

The federal guidelines recommend against large group gatherings and urge older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay home. People are urged to work at home when possible and avoid restaurants, bars, non-essential travel and shopping trips.

The U.S. had more than 139,000 COVID-19 cases reported by Sunday evening, with more than 2,400 deaths. During the course of the Rose Garden briefing, reported deaths grew by several dozen and the number of cases by several thousand.

One in 3 Americans remain under state or local government orders to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus, with schools and businesses closed and public life upended.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, offered his prognosis as the federal government weighs rolling back guidelines on social distancing in areas that have not been as hard-hit by the outbreak at the conclusion of the nationwide 15-day effort to slow the spread of the virus.

“I would say between 100,000 and 200,000 cases,” he said, correcting himself to say he meant deaths. “We’re going to have millions of cases.” But he added “I don’t want to be held to that” because the pandemic is “such a moving target.”


SOURCE @MIT Technology Review


  1. What the hell is going on with coronavirus testing in the US?

    The country is woefully behind where it should be, and that’s going to make it much harder to track and curtail the coronavirus’s spread.

    March 25, 2020
    Covid-19 testing
  2. Coronavirus is forcing a trade-off between privacy and public health

    The crisis has governments and companies scrambling to decide when it’s appropriate to lift data privacy protections and AI ethics guidelines.

    March 24, 2020
    Two people wearing masks walk on the streets of Italy during the coronavirus pandemic.
  3. Your biggest questions about coronavirus, answered

    Battling the spread of Covid-19 is going to be a long-haul effort. Here’s what you asked us.

    March 19, 2020
    person overwhelmed by coronavirus coverage illo
  4. Warmer weather could slow the spread of coronavirus—but not by much

    Several initial analyses of transmission data suggest the pandemic could ease up in summer. But that doesn’t reduce the need for measures like social distancing.

    March 19, 2020
    People walk on the street in Macau wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus.
  5. We need more ventilators. Here’s what it will take to get them.

    Manufacturers need fast-track regulatory approvals and government contracts. STAT.

    March 18, 2020
    A rendering of One Breath's ventilator.
  6. This blood test can tell us how widespread coronavirus really is

    A test can see if a person has ever been infected, even if they had no symptoms.

    March 18, 2020
  7. What is herd immunity and can it stop the coronavirus?

    Once enough people get Covid-19, it will stop spreading on its own. But the costs will be devastating.

    March 17, 2020
  8. A new app would say if you’ve crossed paths with someone who is infected

    Private Kit: Safe Paths shares information about your movements in a privacy-preserving way—and could let health officials tackle coronavirus hot spots.

    March 17, 2020
    People crossing a street.
  9. We’re not going back to normal

    Social distancing is here to stay for much more than a few weeks. It will upend our way of life, in some ways forever.

    March 17, 2020
    photograph of a single car on an highway
  10. Amazon is hiring 100,000 new workers in the US to deal with the coronavirus boom

    The hiring spree is to cope with an unprecedented surge in demand for online deliveries during the outbreak.

    March 17, 2020
    Amazon worker
  11. Here’s how social media can combat the coronavirus ‘infodemic’

    With millions on lockdown, Facebook and Twitter are major sources of Covid-19 news. They’re also where misinformation thrives. How can platforms step up?

    March 17, 2020
    rolls of toilet paper in a grid
  12. Over 24,000 coronavirus research papers are now available in one place

    The data set aims to accelerate scientific research that could fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

    March 16, 2020
    A scientist conducting research.
  13. US coronavirus testing is slowly ramping up, but way too late

    Private and academic labs are rushing to fill the void left by CDC’s mistakes, hoping to slow the deadly pandemic in the US.

    March 13, 2020
    Medical personnel obtain samples from a drive-thru coronavirus testing station at a Kaiser Permanente facility in San Francisco.
  14. This is how the CDC is trying to forecast coronavirus’s spread

    It has tapped one of the nation’s best flu-forecasting labs to retool its prediction algorithms for the Covid-19 pandemic.

    March 13, 2020
    Roni Rosenfeld and his team at Carnegie Mellon University.
  15. Worst-case coronavirus scenario: 214 million Americans infected, 1.7 million dead

    The worst-case figures are what would happen if no action is taken to slow the virus, which spreads person to person.

    March 13, 2020
  16. No, coronavirus is not a good argument for quitting cash

    Though it’s theoretically possible, there is no evidence that physical money—or any inanimate surface, for that matter—helps the virus spread.

    March 12, 2020
    Chinese and American paper currency
  17. How to practice social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic

    Not everyone can work from home or cease traveling. Here’s what you can do when circumstance forces you to be out and about during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    March 13, 2020
    A person holed up inside, looking out the window.
  18. Singapore is the model for how to handle the coronavirus

    The key features: quick action, extensive testing, and relentless tracking.

    March 12, 2020
    singapore during coronavirus
  19. AI could help with the next pandemic—but not with this one

    Some things need to change if we want AI to be useful next time, and you might not like them.

    March 12, 2020
    Purple people on a green street
  20. Here’s how long the coronavirus can live in the air and on packages

    The virus prefers steel and plastic, materials commonly found in hospitals and homes.

    March 11, 2020
    delivery guy wearing mask
  21. Chinese hackers and others are exploiting coronavirus fears for cyber espionage

    Headline news and global disorder are tools hackers take advantage of to make their next breach.

    March 12, 2020
    macbook open
  22. Why the coronavirus outbreak is terrible news for climate change

    It’ll sap funding and political will—but actually, it should.

    March 9, 2020
    A tiny planet.
  23. China’s travel lockdown sharply slowed the global spread of Covid-19

    March 6, 2020
    Poster of Wuhan quarantine instructions in an airport in Japan
  24. A coronavirus vaccine will take at least 18 months—if it works at all

    A fast-track vaccine will be tried on people soon but it uses an unproven technology.

    March 10, 2020
    Stephane Bancel of Moderna Therapeutics
  25. The best, and the worst, of the coronavirus dashboards

    There are dozens of sites that show you how coronavirus is spreading around the world. Here is our ranking.

    March 6, 2020
  26. South Korea is watching quarantined citizens with a smartphone app

    Thousands in coronavirus lockdown will be monitored for symptoms—and tracked to make sure they stay at home and don’t become “super spreaders.”

    March 6, 2020
    public transporation in South Korea during coronavirus
  27. Why the CDC botched its coronavirus testing

    The first testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control had a simple fault, and red tape prevented other labs from creating their own.

    March 5, 2020
  28. Gene sleuths are tracking the coronavirus outbreak as it happens

    Genetic data shows that countries are getting hit with multiple introductions of the virus.

    March 4, 2020
  29. How coronavirus turned the “dystopian joke” of FaceID masks into a reality

    Thousands ordered masks that let them unlock their phones during outbreaks. But this viral art project doesn’t just work with surveillance technology—it works against it, too.

    February 29, 2020
  30. How to prepare for the coronavirus like a pro

    Some of the smartest people I know are getting ready for a crisis—including me.

    February 28, 2020
    Coronavirus prepper
  31. What are the best coronavirus treatments?

    Here’s a list of promising drugs being tried on people infected with the virus.

    February 25, 2020
    patient receives treatment
  32. Biologists rush to re-create the China coronavirus from its DNA code

    Synthetic versions of the deadly virus could help test treatments. But what are the risks when viruses can be synthetized from scratch?

    February 15, 2020
    Hospital workers in China
  33. China’s coronavirus app could have unintended consequences

    Tracking people to tell them whether they’ve been in close contact with a virus carrier might cause a whole new series of complicated issues.

    February 13, 2020
    Beijing woman riding bus using mobile phone
  34. The coronavirus is the first true social-media “infodemic”

    Social media has zipped information and misinformation around the world at unprecedented speeds, fueling panic, racism … and hope.

    February 12, 2020
    Illustration of people wearing masks against a backdrop of phones and other personal devices sending pollution into the air.
  35. This is what happens when you get the coronavirus

    Hospitals in China are reporting their experiences with hundreds of patients so far.

    February 11, 2020
    worker in Wuhan hospital
  36. Satellite images show how coronavirus brought Wuhan to a standstill

    Photos taken from space show how little activity there is in Wuhan since China shut down all transportation in the city of 11 million people.

    February 6, 2020
    Wuhan Copernicus Sentinel-2
  37. Meet the Chinese crowdsourcers fighting coronavirus censorship

    Faced with information suppression and untrustworthy news, citizens in China and Hong Kong do their best to chronicle the coronavirus outbreak and sift fact from fiction.

    February 2, 2020


New testing technology for Coronavirus

Researchers from the University of Oxford, UK, are developing rapid testing technology for COVID-19

Scientists from the University of Oxford’s Engineering Science Department and the Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR) have developed a rapid testing technology for the novel corona virus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).

The team, led by Prof. Zhanfeng Cui and Prof. Wei Huang, have been working to improve test capabilities as the virus spreads internationally.

The new test is much faster and does not need a complicated instrument.  Previous viral RNA tests took 1.5 to 2 hours to give a result. The research team has developed a new test, based on a technique which is capable of giving results in just half an hour – over three times faster than the current method.

Prof Wei Huang says: ‘The beauty of this new test lies in the design of the viral detection that can specifically recognise SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RNA and RNA fragments.  The test has built-in checks to prevent false positives or negatives and the results have been highly accurate.’

Additionally, the technology is very sensitive.  This means that patients in early stages of infection may be identified sooner, potentially helping to reduce the spread of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).  The technology only requires a simple heat-block which maintains a constant temperature for RNA reverse transcription and DNA amplification, and the results can be read by the naked eye. This makes it potentially useful in rural area or community healthcare centres.

The technology has been validated with real clinical samples at Shenzhen Luohou People’s Hospital in China. Shenzhen Luohu People’s Hospital has applied the rapid detection kits on 16 clinic samples, including 8 positives and 8 negatives, which have been confirmed by conventional RT-PCR methods and other clinical evidence. The test results using the rapid detection kits were all successful.

Prof. Zhanfeng Cui, the Director of OSCAR, says: ‘I am proud of our team that have developed a useful technology and can make a contribution in combating CoV-19, and  we are very grateful to the hospital’s medical team led by Dr Xizhou Sun, Dr Xiuming Zhang and Dr Dan Xiong for their part in testing this new technology.’

The Oxford scientists are now working to develop an integrated device so that the test can be used at clinics, airports, or even for home use.

The project was initiated by Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research (OSCAR), a University of Oxford centre in Suzhou Industrial Park.  The experiments to develop the technology were performed in the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford.




Cost sharing is waived for COVID-19 tests and testing related visits

If you believe you might have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider right away. Only health care providers can order a COVID-19 test.

We are waiving cost sharing for COVID-19 testing during this national emergency. And we are waiving cost sharing for COVID-19 testing related visits during this same time, whether the testing related visit is received in a health care provider’s office, an urgent care center, an emergency department or through a telehealth visit. This coverage applies to Medicare Advantage, Medicaid and employer-sponsored plans.

The CDC remains your best resource for COVID-19

The COVID-19 situation continues to quickly evolve. Go to the CDC for the latest information on COVID-19, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you are sick.

If you believe you might have been exposed to COVID-19 or have symptoms such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider right away. Only health care providers can order a COVID-19 test.


FDA authorizes CPAP machines and more as emergency ventilator alternatives

The FDA issued a wide-ranging emergency policy allowing alternative devices to be used as potentially lifesaving ventilators as shortages begin to impact hospitals’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

This includes modified anesthesia gas hardware and positive-pressure breathing devices as well as home continuous positive airway pressure machines used to treat sleep apnea, portable oxygen generators for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and nasal cannulae hoses.

The agency’s broad Emergency Use Authorization enables their use for treating COVID-19 patients following a manufacturer’s official request, and the FDA will be compiling a public list of permitted devices.

In addition, the FDA told healthcare providers that certain ventilators may be able to support multiple patients at once using air tube splitters.

Earlier this week, the FDA told the industry it would allow manufacturers to modify and deploy previously cleared ventilators without needing to resubmit them for agency review and gave providers permission to use ventilators beyond their indicated shelf life.

Meanwhile, Medtronic and GE Healthcare are working to ramp up ventilator production. Medtronic, maker of the Puritan Bennett brands, said it increased global production by more than 40% and plans to more than double its total capacity. GE Healthcare said it is setting up additional manufacturing lines, increasing shifts and hiring new employees and will boost output of CT scanners, ultrasound devices, mobile X-rays and patient monitors as well.



Former FDA chief Gottlieb has dire warnings about hitting the brakes on social distancing measures

Scott Gottlieb FDA
Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said public policy leaders will not be able to “hit the brakes” on social distancing measures until the epidemic curve begins to drop, and that could be several weeks away. (FDA)


ALL UPDATES from John Hopkins CoronaVirus Resource Center




Technion researchers working on emergency projects to fight coronavirus

These emergency projects focus on different important aspects, such as detection and diagnostics; vaccine development; therapeutic treatments; and methods for remote care and monitoring of patients.

An employee of German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, demonstrates research workflow on a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease at a laboratory in Tuebingen, Germany (photo credit: REUTERS/ANDREAS GEBERT)
An employee of German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, demonstrates research workflow on a vaccine for the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease at a laboratory in Tuebingen, Germany

Researchers from over 20 labs at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology are working around the clock to combat the further spread of the novel coronavirus outbreak around the world.

These emergency projects focus on different important aspects, such as detection and diagnostics; vaccine development; therapeutic treatments; and even methods for remote care and monitoring of patients suffering from COVID-19, including robotic solutions.

Noteworthy examples in coronavirus diagnostics include Prof. Hossam Haick, from Technion’s Wolfson Faculty of Chemical engineering. His research is working on a diagnostic test for coronavirus carriers before they show symptoms.

In the vaccine development field, the chemical engineering faculty’s Prof. Avi Schroeder is working on a vaccine based on one developed for shrimps. If successful, the vaccine will be commercialized by his start-up company, ViAqua Theraputics. Schroeder is also working on a therapeutic treatment method by working on a drug that could treat some respiratory distress symptoms.

“Technion is at the forefront of science and technology worldwide, and during this time of crisis, we are collaborating closely with the health system and the hospitals in order to find immediate solutions to the challenges they are facing,” said Technion president Prof. Uri Sivan.

“We are working on advanced diagnostic techniques, personalized medical treatment, technologies that enable pinpointed drug delivery, treatment protocols based on machine learning and artificial intelligence, data mining and Big Data management, developing robots for remote medical care and more.

“Technion’s added value is apparent in the close interaction between medicine and engineering at our university, and in the interdisciplinary collaborations that are generating rapid and sophisticated solutions to help fight COVID-19.”

In addition, Technion researchers are collaborating with medical staff from Rambam Medical Center on numerous other emergency projects to help combat the coronavirus.

However, other research institutes in Israel are also working hard on treatments and vaccines for the virus. Earlier this week, the Kiryat Shmona-based MIGAL – Galilee Research Institute announced that they expected to begin human testing of an oral vaccine – which was based on a vaccine originally designed to prevent the Infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) in poultry – for the coronavirus in eight to 10 weeks.

“We are currently in intensive discussions with potential partners that can help accelerate the in-human trials phase and expedite the completion of final product development and regulatory activities,” said MIGAL CEO David Zigdon.

The coronavirus outbreak has spread throughout the world in the past few months, infecting hundreds of thousands of people and killing thousands more. At the time of writing, Israel has confirmed over two thousand cases and five deaths from COVID-19, and the country has been hard at work expanding testing and implementing containment measures.

Eytan Halon contributed to this report.



AI could help with the next pandemic—but not with this one

Some things need to change if we want AI to be useful next time, and you might not like them.

Mar 12, 2020

It was an AI that first saw it coming, or so the story goes. On December 30, an artificial-intelligence company called BlueDot, which uses machine learning to monitor outbreaks of infectious diseases around the world, alerted clients—including various governments, hospitals, and businesses—to an unusual bump in pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China. It would be another nine days before the World Health Organization officially flagged what we’ve all come to know as Covid-19.

BlueDot wasn’t alone. An automated service called HealthMap at Boston Children’s Hospital also caught those first signs. As did a model run by Metabiota, based in San Francisco. That AI could spot an outbreak on the other side of the world is pretty amazing, and early warnings save lives.

You can read all of our coverage of the coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak for free, and also sign up for our coronavirus newsletter. But please consider subscribing to support our nonprofit journalism..

But how much has AI really helped in tackling the current outbreak? That’s a hard question to answer. Companies like BlueDot are typically tight-lipped about exactly who they provide information to and how it is used. And human teams say they spotted the outbreak the same day as the AIs. Other projects in which AI is being explored as a diagnostic tool or used to help find a vaccine are still in their very early stages. Even if they are successful, it will take time—possibly months—to get those innovations into the hands of the health-care workers who need them.





Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The National Library of Medicine expands access to coronavirus literature through PubMed Central

The National Library of Medicine (NLM), part of the National Institutes of Health, is working on multiple fronts to aid in the COVID-19 response through new initiatives with the global publishing community and artificial intelligence researchers. NLM is expanding access to scientific papers on coronavirus for researchers, care providers, and the public, and for text-mining research. This work makes use of NLM’s PubMed Central® (PMC), a digital archive of peer-reviewed biomedical and life sciences literature. PMC currently provides access to nearly 6 million full-text journal articles.

Following on a statement issued by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and science policy leaders from almost a dozen other nations, NLM has stepped up its collaboration with publishers and scholarly societies to increase the number of coronavirus-related journal articles in PMC, along with available data supporting them. Submitted publications will be made available in PMC as quickly as possible after publication, in formats and with needed permissions to support text mining.

To support this initiative, NLM is adapting its standard procedures for depositing articles into PMC to provide greater flexibility that will ensure coronavirus research is readily available. NLM is also engaging with journals and publishers that do not currently participate in PMC but are in-scope for the NLM Collection. Interested publishers should contact pmc-phe@ncbi.nlm.nih.gov for information on participating in this initiative. Additional information, including a list of participating publishers and journals, is available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/about/covid-19.

By making this collection of coronavirus articles more readily available in machine-readable formats, NLM aims to enable artificial intelligence researchers to develop and apply novel approaches to text mining to help answer questions about coronavirus. NLM has already made more than 10,000 full-text scholarly articles from PMC related to the coronavirus available through the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19). The CORD-19 dataset, the result of a request by OSTP, represents the most extensive machine-readable coronavirus literature collection available for text mining to date.

NLM will continue to aid COVID-19 response efforts by adding articles to its text-mining collection as they are published and submitted. It will also aim to bring this collection to the attention of the artificial intelligence and machine learning research communities.

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at https://www.nlm.nih.gov.





UCSF’s Dr. Sachin Shah compiled PubMed articles on Coronavirus into Topics. It is a very Valuable RESOURCE



This NYT article on the movements of hundreds of millions of people show the Transmission routes for the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic. IT IS THE BEST INVESTIGATING REPORTING ON THIS SUBJECT TO DATE.

How the Virus Got Out

The most extensive travel restrictions to stop an outbreak in human history haven’t been enough. We analyzed the movements of hundreds of millions of people to show why.

Hong Kong
Ho Chi Minh City
Phnom Penh
of cases
Nearly a
thousand cases
South Korea
and Japan
North America
Middle East
South Asia
Australia and
New Zealand
South America
New York
Washington D.C.
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Tel Aviv
San Diego
Chiang Mai
Chiang Rai
Hong Kong
Da Nang
Ko Samui
Siem Reap
Nha Trang
Phnom Penh
Ho Chi Minh City
Kota Kinabalu
Bandar Seri Begawan
São Paulo
Buenos Aires
Mexico City
New York





Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak

Mainland China 81,093 3,270
Italy 59,138 5,476
United States 39,819 458
Spain 33,089 2,182
Iran 23,049 1,812
Germany 22,672 86
France 19,856 860
South Korea 8,961 111
Switzerland 8,060 66
U.K. 6,650 335
Austria 4,306 21
Netherlands 4,204 179
Belgium 3,743 88
Norway 2,547 10
Portugal 2,060 23
Sweden 2,046 25
Japan 1,785 48
Australia 1,682 7
Brazil 1,629 25
Malaysia 1,518 14
Canada 1,430 20
Israel 1,238 1
Czech Republic 1,236 1
Turkey 1,236 30
Ireland 1,125 6
Ecuador 981 18
Luxembourg 875 8
Pakistan 873 6
Chile 746 2
Thailand 721 1
Finland 700 1
Greece 695 17
Poland 692 8
Iceland 588 1
Indonesia 579 49
Romania 576 7
Saudi Arabia 562 0
Singapore 509 2
Qatar 501 0
India 467 9
Philippines 462 33
Slovenia 442 3
Russia 438 1
South Africa 402 0
Bahrain 377 2
Peru 363 5
Hong Kong 356 4
Estonia 352 0
Egypt 327 14
Mexico 316 2
Croatia 315 1
Panama 313 3
Lebanon 267 4
Argentina 266 4
Iraq 266 23
Serbia 249 2
Dominican Rep. 245 3
Colombia 231 2
Algeria 230 17
Bulgaria 201 3
U.A.E. 198 2
Taiwan 195 2
Armenia 194 0
Kuwait 189 0
San Marino 187 20
Slovakia 186 0
Latvia 180 0
Hungary 167 7
Lithuania 160 1
Uruguay 158 0
Morocco 143 4
North Macedonia 136 2
Costa Rica 134 2
Andorra 133 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 131 1
Jordan 127 0
Vietnam 123 0
Faroe Islands 118 0
Cyprus 116 1
Moldova 109 1
Malta 107 0
Albania 104 4
New Zealand 102 0
Burkina Faso 99 4
Sri Lanka 97 0
Brunei 91 0
Tunisia 89 3
Cambodia 87 0
Belarus 81 0
Venezuela 77 0
Ukraine 73 3
Azerbaijan 72 1
Senegal 67 0
Oman 66 0
Kazakhstan 62 0
Georgia 61 0
Cameroon 56 0
West Bank & Gaza 52 0
Trinidad and Tobago 51 0
Uzbekistan 46 0
Liechtenstein 46 0
Afghanistan 40 1
Cuba 40 1
Congo 36 1
Nigeria 36 1
Channel Islands 36 0
Bangladesh 33 3
Mauritius 28 2
Bolivia 27 0
Honduras 27 0
Montenegro 27 1
Ivory Coast 25 0
Ghana 24 1
Monaco 23 0
Paraguay 22 1
Guatemala 20 1
Guyana 19 1
Jamaica 19 1
Rwanda 19 0
Togo 18 0
Barbados 17 0
Kenya 16 0
Kyrgyzstan 16 0
Gibraltar 15 0
Isle of Man 13 0
Maldives 13 0
Madagascar 12 0
Tanzania 12 0
Ethiopia 11 0
Mongolia 10 0
Macau 10 0
Aruba 9 0
Equatorial Guinea 9 0
Seychelles 7 0
Bermuda 6 0
Haiti 6 0
Gabon 5 1
Suriname 5 0
Bahamas 4 0
Greenland 4 0
Guinea 4 0
Eswatini 4 0
Curaçao 4 1
Central African Republic 3 0
Republic of the Congo 3 0
Fiji 3 0
Cayman Islands 3 1
Saint Lucia 3 0
Liberia 3 0
Namibia 3 0
El Salvador 3 0
Zambia 3 0
Zimbabwe 3 1
Angola 2 0
Benin 2 0
Bhutan 2 0
Gambia 2 1
Mauritania 2 0
Niger 2 0
Nicaragua 2 0
Nepal 2 0
Sudan 2 1
Sint Maarten 2 0
Antigua and Barbuda 1 0
Djibouti 1 0
Dominica 1 0
Eritrea 1 0
Grenada 1 0
Montserrat 1 0
Mozambique 1 0
Papua New Guinea 1 0
Somalia 1 0
Syria 1 0
Chad 1 0
Timor-Leste 1 0
Uganda 1 0
Vatican City 1 0
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1 0
Cape Verde 0 0
Denmark 0 0
Guadeloupe 0 0
Martinique 0 0
Réunion 0 0
Kosovo 0 0
Notes: New cases are represented as seven-day averages. Japan’s count includes 696 cases and seven deaths from a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama. France and the U.S. figures include overseas territories.

How many people have recovered or died

Source: Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; Local governments.




3/23/2020   published here by Jason Zielonka, MD, AFACC

Researchers in U.S. university find new drug target for COVID-19

(Xinhua via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have identifiedanew drug target for COVID-19, Xinhua reported on Sunday.
  • The researchers mapped the atomic structure of critical proteins in a complex, nsp10/16, representing that fourth protein structure of a potential drug target of SARS-CoV-2 determined by the scientists.
  • “This is a really beautiful target, because it’s a protein absolutely essential for the virus to replicate,” said lead investigator Karla Satchell.
  • The RNA methyltransferase is comprised of two proteins bound together, which makes it more difficult to work with.
  • “We need multiple drugs to treat this virus, because this disease is likely to be with us for a long time,” Satchell said, adding that “it’s not good enough for us to develop a single drug. If COVID-19 develops a resistance to one drug, then we need others.”




Investigating the New Coronavirus with Karla Satchell, PhD

Microbiologist Karla Satchell, PhD, is leading a national effort to investigate the structure biology of the components of the new coronavirus virus (2019-nCoV) and ultimately understand how to stop it from replicating in human cells through a medication or vaccine.

This work is being done with the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases at Northwestern, which is funded by the National  Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.



Moderna’s COVID-19 Treatment May Go to Small Group in Fall 2020; Commercial Availability Unlikely for at Least 12-18 Months – (Fidelity via NewsPoints Desk)

  • In a regulatory filing, Moderna clarified comments it said it had made to representatives of Goldman Sachs during a recent meeting, as reported in Fidelity.
  • According to Moderna, it told the investment bank that a vaccine targeting the treatment of COVID-19 “could be available to some people, possibly including healthcare professionals, in the fall of 2020,” on an emergency basis.
  • However, the company clarified in its statement that a commercially-available vaccine was not “likely to be available for at least 12-18 months.”
  • Meanwhile, CEO Stephane Bancel confirmed that it was scaling up manufacturing capacity targeting “millions of doses per month, in the potential form of individual or multi-dose vials.”



New COVID-19 research

Before long, studies on SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and the role of genetics will be published. Here at Nebula, we are monitoring the research on COVID-19 and will provide our users with timely updates. You can stay updated with the latest research discoveries by purchasing our whole-genome sequencing or uploading your existing 23andMe or AncestryDNA data.

For updates on the genetics of COVID-19 visit: https://blog.nebula.org/covid-19/



How Genetic Mapping Is Allowing Scientists To Track The Spread Of Coronavirus


Scientists are using genetic sequences of the coronavirus to learn where and how it is spreading. The approach relies on technology that didn’t exist just a few years ago.


Hunt For New Coronavirus Treatments Includes Gene-Silencing And Monoclonal Antibodies





To help you make decisions about large events during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we’re sharing public health guidelines from cdc.gov.




IBM helps bring supercomputers into the global fight against COVID-19

By Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research

At IBM, I have the privilege of working with colleagues who have dedicated their lives and careers to advancing science and creating innovative technology that can be a force for progress in the world. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we have been working closely with governments in the U.S. and worldwide to find all available options to put our technology and expertise to work to help organizations be resilient and adapt to the consequences of the pandemic, and to accelerate the process of discovery and enable the scientific and medical community to develop treatments and ultimately a cure.

Now, in collaboration with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy and many others, IBM is helping launch the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, which will bring forth an unprecedented amount of computing power—16 systems with more than 330 petaflops, 775,000 CPU cores, 34,000 GPUs, and counting — to help researchers everywhere better understand COVID-19, its treatments and potential cures.

How can supercomputers help us fight this virus? These high-performance computing systems allow researchers to run very large numbers of calculations in epidemiology, bioinformatics, and molecular modeling. These experiments would take years to complete if worked by hand, or months if handled on slower, traditional computing platforms.

By pooling the supercomputing capacity under a consortium of partners, including IBM, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), Argonne National Lab (ANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and multiple leading technology companies, we can offer extraordinary supercomputing power to scientists, medical researchers and government agencies as they respond to and mitigate this global emergency.

As a powerful example of the potential, IBM’s Summit, the most powerful supercomputer on the planet, has already enabled researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee to screen 8,000 compounds to find those that are most likely to bind to the main “spike” protein of the coronavirus, rendering it unable to infect host cells. They were able to recommend the 77 promising small-molecule drug compounds that could now be experimentally tested. This is the power of accelerating discovery through computation.

Now we must scale, and IBM will work with our consortium partners to evaluate proposals from researchers around the world and provide access to this supercomputing capacity for the projects that can have the most immediate impact.

I am proud to be working with my IBM colleagues and the extended scientific community to help kick-start this effort. What began just days ago with one conversation with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has solidified quickly into an unprecedented effort that can make a real difference. In a time of uncertainty, I want to offer this promise: IBM will continue to explore everything in our power to use our technology and expertise to drive meaningful progress in this global fight.





VOICE of Jason Zielonka, MD on Coronavirus Testing

Very interesting approach, redirecting testing based on patient self-awareness & reporting. The weakness is how asymptomatic but contagious individuals can be found … 

Best implemented through the state-level health departments with cell coordination through Federal government. Keeps delivery and pickup of swabs local, where rapid response is possible. 


On Sun, Mar 22, 2020 at 08:51 Aviva Lev-Ari <aviva.lev-ari@comcast.net> wrote:


A thread written by @trvrb

I’ve been mulling over the @MRC_Outbreak modeling report on #COVID19 mitigation and suppression strategies since it was posted on March 16. Although mitigation through social distancing may not solve things I believe we can bring this epidemic under control. 1/19

But first, the report. @neil_ferguson, @azraghani and colleagues model COVID-19 epidemic outcomes under different intensities of non-pharmaceutical, aka social distancing, interventions. 2/19

Different mitigation scenarios that include things like school closures, isolation of symptomatic individuals and quarantine of exposed household members, result in #flatteningthecurve and reducing mortality, but under the author’s assumptions still result in an epidemic. 3/19

Given assumed severity of COVID-19 infections, this flattened epidemic is still severe, resulting in over 1 million deaths in the US and >250k deaths in GB, mostly concentrated in those over 60 and with underlying health conditions. 4/19

Alternatively, with stronger social distancing, the epidemic could be brought under control and effectively “suppressed”. However, stopping this level of social distancing would result in a fairly rapid rebound as the population would still lack immunity to the virus. 5/19

Managing this level of social distancing required for suppression while still having a functional economy and society would be difficult and it’s not at all clear that this could be maintained for the ~18 months until we have a vaccine. 6/19

This is the catch-22 as presented by the report. 7/19

However, I’m not quite that pessimistic. Although I agree that basic mitigation efforts won’t stop the epidemic, I have hope that we can solve this thing by doing traditional shoe leather epidemiology of case finding and isolation, but at scale, using modern technology. 8/19

There are two main case-based strategies that I see here, both related, as well as a supporting serological strategy. 9/19

The first strategy revolves around a massive rollout of testing capacity. We believe that a significant proportion of epidemic transmission is due to mild and maybe even asymptomatic infections (science.sciencemag.org/content/early/…). 10/19

We also believe that a significant amount of transmission may occur in the window before symptoms develop (evidence from viral load dynamics nejm.org/doi/full/10.10…, evidence from serial intervals ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32145466). 11/19

These transmission routes can be reduced by a huge rollout of testing capacity. If someone can be tested early in their illness before they show symptoms, they could effectively self isolate and reduce onward transmission compared to isolation when symptoms develop. 12/19

This strategy of massive testing has been a cornerstone in South Korea’s response (sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/c…) and we’re now seeing their epidemic brought under control without the stringent policies put in place elsewhere. Case counts in South Korea via @covid2019app. 13/19

This rollout of testing could be achieved through at home delivery of swabs with centralized lab-based processing combined with drive-through testing facilities. There are logistics involved in getting a result quickly, but it’s really just logistics, which can be solved. 14/19

The second, related, strategy is using cell phone location data combined with data on known positive cases to alert possible exposures to self isolate and get tested. Figure from @ChristoPhraser and colleagues who’ve considered this in detail. 15/19

This strategy targets testing capacity at most likely cases and serves to detect exposure events early, when isolation is most valuable. This cell phone location based approach is outlined carefully here: github.com/BDI-pathogens/…. 16/19

A third, supporting, strategy: as the epidemic proceeds get serological assays run on as many people as possible to systematically identify individuals who have recovered and are highly likely to possess immunity. 17/19

Individuals who have serological evidence of recovery and are no longer shedding virus can fully return to the workforce and keep society functioning (especially important for those at the clinical front lines). 18/19

Together, I believe these (and other case-based) strategies can bring down the epidemic. This is the Apollo program of our times. Let’s get to it. 19/19

You can follow @trvrb.



An adaptation of a chart by Skye Gould for Business InsiderChristina Animashaun/Vox





What you need to know today

  • Worldwide confirmed cases: 297,090 (up 39,038 from Friday)
  • Worldwide deaths: 12,755 (up 1,487 from Friday)
  • Recoveries worldwide: 91,540 (up 4,170 from Friday)


From: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Reply-To: Boston Globe <newsletters@globe.com>

Date: Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 4:41 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: Coronavirus Now: When could this pandemic end? Here’s what experts say



In the last two days, major players including Bayer, Novartis, Teva and Mylan agreed to donate vast quantities of malaria med chloroquine, which President Donald Trump highlighted in a press conference Thursday as a possible treatment. Other companies including Merck KGaA, with multiple sclerosis med Rebif, and AbbVie, with HIV therapy Kaletra, have also pitted their existing drugs against the virus.

At all levels of Regeneron’s global operations, Weinreich said, researchers grasp the vastness of the pandemic’s fallout and the challenge ahead of them. Their solution? Find comfort in the work.

“There’s no escaping that it’s not business as usual, but the work is still business as usual,” Weinreich said. “We’re not compromising on the science.”


Inside Regeneron’s R&D war room, sleepless nights and ‘esprit de corps’ in hunt for COVID-19 therapy




Top of the news is that the Ministry of Health’s Central Laboratory, located at Sheba Hospital has been shut down as the Assistant Head of the Department was diagnosed with COVID-19. The Ministry of Health was in touch with Prof. Dana Wolf, Head of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Hadassah, and asked that Hadassah replace the Central Laboratory of the State of Israel. Hadassah immediately responded to the request. We have recruited the assistance of all of our scientists and laboratory workers to fill the void left by the Central Laboratory of the State of Israel.

We have recruited volunteers, mainly doctoral students from the sciences, who will work three shifts a day (including nights and weekends) to double and even triple the number of tests we can perform.

Until yesterday, the Central Laboratory performed approximately 480 tests a day. We are trying to close the gap that has been created. To reach this goal, this morning a new robot was put into operation, in addition to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) equipment, needed for the tests, which was recruited from research laboratories. With the assistance of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a new area was built to collect the biological materials and then process and neutralize them through automatic systems.

Hadassah once again turned to the Ministry of Health with a request to expand screening in the general population and perform a minimum of 25,000 tests a day to minimize the possibility that home quarantine will cause coronavirus infected individuals to infect their family members, as well as to minimize its infiltration into the medical systems or other sensitive security systems.


From: Hadassah <donorservices@hadassah.org>

Organization: Hadassah the Women’s Zionist Organization of America

Reply-To: Hadassah <donorservices@hadassah.org>

Date: Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 7:01 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: COVID-19: Emergency Measures at Hadassah Hospital



China investigating ex-Biogen employee who fled to country while sick

A statistician who was working in Massachusetts for Biogen Inc., the host of the now infamous Boston conference at the epicenter of the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, is being investigated in Beijing for allegedly flying to her native China while sick, not disclosing her exposure to coronavirus to the airline, and covering up her fever with drugs, according to reports in Chinese-based media.

Read the full story.


Italy’s coronavirus death toll overtakes China’s

– State Department preparing to tell Americans not to travel overseas

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic


From: The Boston Globe <newsletters@bostonglobe.com>

Reply-To: The Boston Globe <newsletters@bostonglobe.com>

Date: Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 3:25 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Subject: China investigating ex-Biogen employee who fled to country while sick



From: “Ofer Markman (I/O) Enterprises)” <oferm2015@gmail.com>

Date: Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 2:24 PM

To: Aviva Lev-Ari <AvivaLev-Ari@alum.berkeley.edu>

Cc: “Stephen Williams, PhD” <sjwilliamspa@comcast.net>, Gail Thornton <gailsthornton@yahoo.com>, Rick Mandahl <rmandahl@gmail.com>, “Dr. Joel Shertok, PhD” <jshertok@processindconsultants.com>, Marcus W Feldman <mfeldman@stanford.edu>, “Dr. Jason Zielonka, MD” <Jasonz.mit@gmail.com>, “Irina Robu, PhD” <irina.stefania@gmail.com>, “Dr. Sudipta Saha” <sudiptasaha1977@gmail.com>, “Dr. Larry Bernstein” <larry.bernstein@gmail.com>, “Devanshi Bhangle (2020 Summer Research Associate)” <devanshi.bhangle@mail.mcgill.ca>, Alex Crystal <acrystal@u.rochester.edu>, Adam Sonnenberg <Adamsonnenberg@hotmail.com>, Justin MDMEPhD <jdpmdphd@gmail.com>

Subject: glycans in the skies of corona

your notes and enlightenment is needed as its my first….

Glycans in the viral pathology of COVID-19?

While we are constantly cautioning people from putting too much validity to the results seen in this bellow mentioned paper, it was not coming from thin air to the researchers minds.

The ABO blood groups are a result of various and different glycans on the surfaces of red blood cells and their defenition is related to immunology of blood and the core of blood typing in blood donation. It was also the hallmark of the 1930 Nobel prize of medicine.

e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2766682/ in this article the authors claim and show that the ABH(O) glycan can modulate the surface of cells and their interactions to pathogens, in this case the malaia pathogen.

Glycans are involved in the interaction of the flu virus to the host cell and Tamiflu (Oseltamivir ) is based on the inhibition of that sort of interaction/modulation.

Even if true, the numbers in this paper show statistically significant difference but midly significant differences in risk profile to suggest we are to pay too much attention to the phenomena or worry, regardless of the fact these result have no significance on behavioral instructions nor would I run to check my blood type in regards to this. I would neither totally ignore the finding as it may shed light on viral pathology and infection mechanisms and understanding the later may lead us to treatment or effective vaccines. But we are still early in this path.


Relationship between the ABO Blood Group and the COVID-19 Susceptibility

Jiao Zhao, Yan Yang, Han-Ping Huang, Dong Li, Dong-Feng Gu, Xiang-Feng Lu, Zheng Zhang, Lei Liu, Ting Liu, Yu-Kun Liu, Yun-Jiao He, Bin Sun, Mei-Lan Wei, Guang-Yu Yang,  View ORCID ProfileXinghuan Wang, Li Zhang, Xiao-Yang Zhou, Ming-Zhao Xing,  View ORCID ProfilePeng George Wang

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.11.20031096



FDA maps out plan for trials as coronavirus starts to threaten drug research

“FDA recognizes that protocol modifications may be required, and that there may be unavoidable protocol deviations due to COVID-19 illness and/or … control measures,” the agency wrote. Among them: pausing recruitment or monitoring patients less frequently, or even virtually, rather than through hospital visits.

There are even more difficult decisions to consider, such as taking certain patients off of experimental medicines altogether if the risks outweigh the benefits. Patients who stop treatment might need extra monitoring, the FDA noted.

Trial sponsors should detail specifically how COVID-19 impacts their trials — from missed study visits or patients who drop out to contemplated protocol changes. That will keep the FDA up to date so it can understand reasons behind any “missing data” and more accurately review the drugs being tested, the agency said.

“Robust efforts by sponsors, investigators, and [review boards] to maintain the safety of trial participants and study data integrity are expected, and such efforts should be documented,” the FDA wrote. COVID-19-related trial issues are likely unavoidable, so “efforts to minimize impacts on trial integrity, and to document the reasons for protocol deviations, will be important.”



Dive Insight:

A vaccine to prevent infections of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is likely a year or more away — at best — and treatments specifically designed to fight this virus or its complications are similarly far off.

Possible treatments, however, could already be available in the form of marketed or existing experimental drugs. Global public health officials, eager for a weapon to use in the midst of a global pandemic, are showing a willingness to be flexible in terms of the clinical trials and the evidence needed to prove treatments’ effectiveness.

Earlier this month, China OK’d the use of Actemra in patients with lung complications and high levels of interleukin-6, or IL-6, a protein that mediates inflammatory and immune response. High levels of IL-6 have been associated with a greater risk of death in patients with community-acquired pneumonia.

Actemra and Kevzara both block IL-6 and are prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis, a disorder in which an overactive immune system creates joint-damaging inflammation and pain. Actemra is similarly approved in conjunction with cancer cell therapy, which can sometimes trigger an immune reaction known as cytokine release syndrome.

The U.S.-based Kevzara trial is a two-part design that will initially evaluate fever and oxygen use in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS. Two different dose levels will be used and compared to a placebo.

Longer-term, the trial hopes to measure prevention of death, use of ventilation, supplemental oxygen or hospitalization, but the design will be “adaptive” to determine the number of patients that will be followed and the endpoints to be used. ARDS often causes permanent lung damage and can lead to early death.

The trial aims to enroll 400 patients in the U.S. Regeneron’s partner Sanofi will handle international trial sites, naming Italy as one likely location for testing in coronavirus patients.

To get the trial underway quickly, Regeneron and Sanofi worked closely with the Food and Drug Administration and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, the division of HHS involved in preparing for natural and man-made biological threats.




NIH clinical trial of investigational vaccine for COVID-19 begins

A Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating an investigational vaccine designed to protect against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has begun at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, is funding the trial. KPWHRI is part of NIAID’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium. The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks. The first participant received the investigational vaccine today.

The study is evaluating different doses of the experimental vaccine for safety and its ability to induce an immune response in participants. This is the first of multiple steps in the clinical trial process for evaluating the potential benefit of the vaccine.

The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supported the manufacturing of the vaccine candidate for the Phase 1 clinical trial.

“Finding a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 is an urgent public health priority,” said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This Phase 1 study, launched in record speed, is an important first step toward achieving that goal.”

Infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can cause a mild to severe respiratory illness and include symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. COVID-19 cases were first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. As of March 15, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 153,517 cases of COVID-19 and 5,735 deaths worldwide. More than 2,800 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 58 deaths have been reported in the United States as of March 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Currently, no approved vaccines exist to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2.



Anti-Coronavirus Treatments in Use:

  • The first treatment is Chloroquine, a medication that has been used for over 70 years to treat malaria and rheumatic illnesses such as lupus and arthritis. The bus driver who was infected with coronavirus and recovered is being treated with this medication along with other anti-viral medications.
  • Remdesivir, the second treatment approved, is still in the first stages of human testing and results will be available within a number of weeks, according to Ynet. Experiments with the drug began in China, the USA and additional countries, even on some severely ill patients in Israel, including the bus driver who was hospitalized in the Puria Medical Center in Tiberias. The driver saw a dramatic improvement and was even taken off a respirator.
The treatment may slow down the spread of the virus and may even stop the virus from multiplying in the body. The virus has been shown to work against MERS and SARS, viruses related to the novel coronavirus. Remdesivir succeeded in preventing monkeys from being infected with MERS in trials and led to an improvement in those who were already infected. The drug has also shown promising results against a variety of other viruses.
  • Kaletra, the third treatment approved, is an anti-viral medication that combines two anti-viral “protease inhibitor” medications that prevent the multiplication of HIV. The virus is already used to treat those who are carrying or ill from AIDS.


In Israel, Health Ministry approves experimental treatments for coronavirus



SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA β-coronavirus similar to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) viruses. Potential antiviral targets encoded by the viral genome include non-structural proteins (e.g., 3-chymotrypsin-like protease, papain-like protease, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and its helicase), structural proteins (e.g., the capsid spike glycoprotein) and accessory proteins. Kaletra is thought to inhibit the 3-chymotrypsin-like protease of the SARS and MERS coronaviruses and was associated with improved clinical outcomes in a trial against SARS. Ascletis also reported that a patient with COVID-19 improved rapidly when given this HIV protease inhibitor combination.

The genomic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 suggests that there is a high level of sequence similarity between the SARS-CoV-2, SARS and MERS proteins involved in the replication cycle.

But Erik De Clercq, of the Rega Institute for Medical Research in Leuven, Belgium, says that in searching for or designing effective drugs against COVID-19: “We should stay away from antivirals known to be acting at targets not playing a role in the replication of coronaviruses.” Such drugs include penciclovir, which is targeted at the herpesvirus DNA polymerase, and lopinavir/ritonavir, which are targeted at the HIV protease. Instead, he would favor targeting a virus-specific protein such as the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, noting that coronaviruses do not contain or use a reverse transcriptase. George Painter, president of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, Emory University, is also cautious about the HIV protease inhibitor strategy. “It’s probably a long shot to go for drug repurposing activity against the coronavirus using HIV drugs; these were protease inhibitors that were designed specifically for HIV,” he says.

Targeting viral cellular entry via the spike glycoprotein, which mediates the virus–cell receptor interaction, is another option for repurposing. SARS-CoV-2 uses angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and the cellular protease transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) to enter target cells. The marketed TMPRSS2 inhibitor camostat mesylate blocked cellular entry of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to an unpublished preprint. And the Janus-associated kinase (JAK) inhibitor Olumiant (baricitinib), approved for rheumatoid arthritis, was identified using machine learning algorithms on the basis of its inhibition of ACE2-mediated endocytosis. Another JAK inhibitor, Jakafi (ruxolitinib), is in trials (combined with mesenchymal stem cell infusion) for COVID-19.



COVID-19 and the 2003 SARS outbreak

Introduction to SARS

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) emerged in 2003 in China. An epidemic followed, spreading across 26 countries and infecting over 8000 people before the virus was contained. The typical symptoms of SARS are similar to the flu, including fever, headache, and overall feelings of discomfort. Severe cases of the illness were common, resulting in a mortality rate of nearly 10%. Because of the severity of the symptoms, it was possible to identify those infected with SARS-CoV and isolate them. Public health measures like social distancing were successful at containing the outbreak.

SARS and the COVID-19 pandemic

The situation is different with today’s COVID-19 pandemic. This novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) can infect people who then remain largely asymptomatic. This makes it much more difficult to identify and contain those infected who continue spreading the disease. Although the mortality rate of COVID-19 is estimated to be 5 to 10 times lower than SARS, the total number of deaths has already surpassed the SARS outbreak due to failure to contain the pandemic.

However, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 also share many similarities. Both viruses originated in bats and share 80% of their genetic code. Furthermore, both viruses infect the respiratory tract using the same mechanism, and they cause similar symptoms.

While our understanding of COVID-19 is still lacking, much research on SARS has been produced in the years after 2003. Researchers have identified genetic variants that are associated with susceptibility to infection with SARS-CoV. It remains an open question whether the same genetic variants are also associated with susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection given the similarities between the two coronaviruses.

To inform our users about past research on coronaviruses, we added 3 studies on SARS coronavirus infection to the Nebula Research Library. These studies give us some understanding of the links between human genetics and coronavirus infection.

Nebula Library entries on SARS

SARS coronavirus infection (Hamano, 2005)

This study explored genetic data from Vietnamese individuals and identified a genetic variant in the OAS-1 gene that is associated with susceptibility to infection with the SARS coronavirus.

SARS coronavirus infection (Ching, 2010)

This study used genetic data from Chinese individuals to demonstrate that a genetic variant is linked to a decreased susceptibility to SARS coronavirus infection. This variant is found near the MxA gene, which normally plays a role in inhibiting the replication of the SARS coronaviruses.

SARS coronavirus infection (Tu, 2015)

This study examined the genetic data of Chinese SARS patients to identify variants in 2 genes that lead to an increased risk of infection with the SARS coronavirus. One variant is in the CCL2 gene, which plays a role in attracting macrophages to an infection site. The other variant is in the MBL gene, which helps the immune system recognize molecular patterns that are commonly found on the surface of many viruses and bacteria.

New COVID-19 research

Before long, studies on SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility and the role of genetics will be published. Here at Nebula, we are monitoring the research on COVID-19 and will provide our users with timely updates. You can stay updated with the latest research discoveries by purchasing our whole-genome sequencing or uploading your existing 23andMe or AncestryDNA data.

For updates on the genetics of COVID-19 visit: https://blog.nebula.org/covid-19/






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