Transmission & Prevention
· N95 respirators and surgical/face masks are comparable in effectiveness of preventing airborne infections. Researchers from Poland and the Cleveland Clinic conducted a meta-analysis of six articles evaluating the effectiveness of N95 vs medical masks in reducing the risk of acute respiratory infections. They found that N95 masks did not significantly reduce infection risk for respiratory viruses over medical masks (RR=1.12, CI: 0.88-1.41, p=0.36; Fig 3) and that medical masks provide similar protection against respiratory viruses including coronaviruses (RR=0.74, CI:0.32-1.73, p=0.49). This suggests that the data to support the superiority of N95 masks over medical masks is insufficient.
· SARS-CoV-2 infection can effect the lower urinary tract and male genital system. A group of Italian physicians review sixteen studies involving 575 patient (538 male, 37 female) to investigate the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on urinary tract and male genitals. They found that patients with COVID-19 may have de novo or worsening lower urinary tract symptoms, as well as testicular and epididymal discomfort or pain. They also found that spermatogenesis can be impaired in patients with moderate infection. This review is important in alerting healthcare professionals to focus attention on the lower urinary tract and male genital system in COVID-19 patients.
R&D: Diagnosis & Treatments
· Clinical stage molecule PT150 is a modulator of glucocorticoid and androgen receptors with antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. A multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team in the US examined the in vitro effects of PT150 (a glucocorticoid antagonist that downregulates the androgen receptor and acts as a minor glucocorticoid receptor agonist) by culturing MERS-positive and SARS-CoV-2-positive cells with PT150 and remdesivir. In the SARS-CoV-2 cells, PT150 had an effective 90% inhibitory antiviral concentration (EC90) of 5.55 µM compared to an EC90 of 0.0013 µM for remdesivir, and no cytotoxicity seen at the highest dose of either treatment. The authors postulate PT150 may have some benefit as an adjuvant therapy against the hypercortisolemia associated with more severe COVID-19.