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March 01 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report

Transmission & Prevention

· Are there issues with SARS-COV-2 vaccines and autoimmune diseases? In this review, authors from various institutions in Bulgaria detailed the current research regarding the effectiveness and safety of different types of vaccines in the setting of patients with autoimmune inflammatory diseases (AIIDs). They reviewed vaccines that use whole virus, protein subunit, viral vector, and nucleic acids, concluding that although more research is warranted, they believe vaccinations themselves do not pose more danger than the natural infections they are used to combat, and that the risk of COVID-19 vaccines should not lead to delay in administration to AIID patients.


· Anticoagulation and aspirin may reduce in-hospital mortality in COVID-19 patients. A retrospective cohort study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine of 2,785 hospitalized COVID-19 positive adults treated with either prophylactic-dose anticoagulation or intermediate-dose anticoagulation found that intermediate-dose anticoagulation was associated with a lower incidence of in-hospital death (hazard ratio 0.518 [0.308-0.872]), as was aspirin compared to no anti-platelet therapy (hazard ratio 0.522 [0.336-0.812]), suggesting that anticoagulation and anti-platelet therapy in hospitalized COVID-19 patients is an important method of reducing in-hospital death.

Adjusting Practice During COVID-19

· Comparing methodological and reporting quality of COVID-19 and other research from the first wave of the pandemic shows decreasing quality. A team of experienced medical researchers from the University of Glasgow compared the quality of COVID-19 research to non-COVID-19 related research published between December 2019 and May 2020. They found non-COVID-19 related papers were more likely to have a low risk of bias (OR 6.3, 95%CI 2.9 to 14.0; p < 0.001) and adhere to reporting guidelines (84% [95%CI 81 to 87] vs 71% [95%CI 66 to 77]) compared to COVID-19 research. Authors suggest COVID-19 related research early in the pandemic was of lower methodological quality, and emphasizes that compromising quality is not scientifically acceptable, even during a pandemic.

R&D: Diagnosis & Treatments

· Is SARS-CoV-2 antigen-detecting rapid test with self-collected nasal swab a good test? Infectious disease experts from Charité University Hospital in Berlin compare supervised, self-collected nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) swab samples with health care worker (professional)-collected nasopharyngeal (NP) swab samples in 303 adults deemed to be at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection according to clinical suspicion. They obtained no invalid results and found two patients were detected by NP but not by NMT sampling while no patients were detected by NMT sampling only (positive percent agreement: 90.6% [CI 75.8-96.8]; negative percent agreement: 99.2% [CI 97.2-99.8]). Authors suggest supervised nasal self-sampling is a reliable alternative to professional nasopharyngeal sampling when using a WHO-listed SARS-CoV-2 antigen-detecting rapid test.

· Shrinky-Dink© electrodes can detect the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in saliva. American and Brazilian biotechnology experts collaborate on this proof of mechanism research that demonstrates how the electrodes from a children's toy can be modified to detect SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S1) in saliva. Researchers utilized an aptamer-based electrochemical assay made from wrinkled electrodes in the Shrinky-Dink toy designed to bind specifically to the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, finding this was efficacious for detection of S1 in saliva. Further studies are needed to validate at different probe densities and to identify the whole virus instead of just S1. These findings suggest potential to increase accessibility of SARS-CoV-2 detection with low-cost screening materials and expansion for wide-range detection and analyses for future epidemics.

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