Launched on 3/14/2020


on Seven Selected Topics & Lead Curator for Contact:










April 2020




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.



1. Chen Y, Liu Q, Guo D. 2020. Emerging coronaviruses: genome structure,

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.


6. Chen W, Sharma R, Rizzo AN, Siegler JH, Garcia JG, Jacobson JR. 2014.

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

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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