· Dr. Melina R. Kibbe from UNC Chapel Hill in the Department of Surgery argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected female parents working in academic and/or clinical environments with reduction in female manuscript authorship, citing drops in female-first authors (4%), female-last authors (6%), and female-corresponding authors (7%) from 2019 to 2020 in terms of published JAMA Surgery articles. She suggests that protocols should be put in place to alleviate this disparity, such as extending grant end-dates, incorporating offsetting work shifts, and increasing allowances for part-time work.
Transmission & Prevention
· Canadian researchers investigated the effectiveness of performing asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 testing of hospitalized patients in Hamilton, Ontario during April 2020 when incidence of new daily cases in the community was 1.9 per 100,000 people. Of the 125 hospitalized adults who were tested, only a single patient tested positive (0.8%) and this patient had reported two weeks of fevers and cough, suggesting asymptomatic testing has “minimal utility” in populations with low prevalence of COVID-19.
· A retrospective collaborative study by multiple specialties at First People's Hospital of Tianmen and Fudan University of 183 COVID-19-positive patients found that increased time from symptom onset to admission (HR=0.829), use of corticosteroids (HR=0.496; Figure 2), and use of oseltamivir (HR=0.416) were associated with a longer duration for viral shedding, while use of arbidol (HR=2.605) was associated with a shorter period of shedding. These findings suggest need for early admission and therapy, cautious use of corticosteroids and oseltamivir, and clinical studies on the efficacy of arbidol.
· A case report from the Department of Cardiology, Hospital Universitario de La Princesa in Madrid, Spain examined a 66-year-old male recently diagnosed with COVID-19 pneumonia who presented with acute inferolateral ST segment elevation due to coronary vasospasm (CV) that was detected via optical coherence tomography and invasive vasospasm (ergonovine provocation) test and reversed after intracoronary nitroglycerin administration. Authors suggest COVID-19 induced inflammation may result in CV and myocardial damage, which could also be a viable mechanism in patients with normal coronary arteries on angiogram.
· A case report from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine of a 49-year-old SARS-CoV-2-positive patient with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL; Rai stage IV, Binet stage C) explores the patient’s inability to produce SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Despite a multifaceted serological approach to detect antibodies within the target period for normal production (1 to 6 weeks of infection), the patient did not mount an antibody response, suggesting that antibody testing in immunocompromised patients may have limited value due to resulting hypogammaglobulinemia so both nucleic acid and antigen tests should be performed in this population.
R&D: Diagnosis & Treatments
· Biomedical engineers and medical researchers from the University of California have pioneered a 3D-printable portable imaging platform, TinyArray imager, for rapid use in reading coronavirus antigen microarrays (CoVAMs). It achieved results equivalent to the commercial microarray reader ArrayCAM 400-S in probing and imaging of coronavirus microarrays with COVID-19-positive and -negative sera, suggesting that the TinyArray imager will help to increase serosurveillance in tandem with containment and therapeutic developments.