April 7 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report

Transmission & Prevention

· Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection appears to be promising among children in summer schools that are applying stringent control measures in Barcelona, Spain. Epidemiologists from Barcelona University evaluated SARS-CoV-2 transmission rates in 1,905 children attending summer schools with strict preventive measures for 5 weeks between June and July of 2020 compared to general population transmission rates in the same period. They found reproduction number was lower in children attending summer school (normalized reproduction rate [Re]=1.3) compared to the general population (Re=1.9). Authors conclude risk for SARS-CoV-2 transmission in schools is low and schools can be opened safely with strict preventive measures in place.

· Transmissibility may be an important consideration in immunocompromised patients. Internists, infectious disease physicians, and a pulmonologist from the University of Toledo summarized the findings of 21 studies reporting data on the infectiousness and shedding of SARS-CoV-2 in a total of 69 immunocompromised patients. They found that all patients had positive RT-PCR for > 3 weeks (median 50.5 days, IQR 35-74 days). Though RT-PCR cannot differentiate between viable and dead virus, authors suggest immunocompromised patients may transmit SARS-CoV-2 for prolonged periods and emphasize the importance of isolation precautions and follow-up in this population.

R&D: Diagnosis & Treatments

· SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 form the second wave may raise concern for neutralization by convalescent plasma. Investigators from various academic and medical institutions in South Africa, Israel, London, United States, and Germany collected and analyzed plasma from patients positive for SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 variant with K417N, E484K, and N501Y mutations in the spike receptor binding domain (RBD), then compared viral growth response verses non-variant strains using a live neutralizing assay (LVNA). The results revealed the strongest neutralization of both the variant and non-variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 when treated with plasma elicited by E484K mutation, suggesting the possibility of novel treatments and targets with adequate protection from variant strains, a concern with the current vaccines.

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