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March 16 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report

Transmission & Prevention

· Microfluidic-based air sampling has potential to be a better method for detecting aerosol SARS-CoV-2. Chemical and biomedical scientists from the Fudan University in Shanghai, China developed a new small-volume rotating microfluidic fluorescence chip-integrated system for detecting aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 suspended in the air. They found it detected virus faster (15 minutes) than current methods (3-4 hours for RT-PCR) while meeting current detection limits with 100% specificity after cross-reaction testing with other airborne pathogens. Authors suggest this system offers a faster on-site option for aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 detection that can improve infection prevention practices.

· Tocilizumab may influence hypoxia in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients. A randomized, controlled open-label trial conducted by physicians at First Affiliated Hospital of University of Science and Technology of China assessed the effectiveness of tocilizumab therapy to attenuate the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients. The tocilizumab group (n=34) had no statistically meaningful cure rate versus the control group (n=31) (p = 0.4133), but did have statistically significant improvement of hypoxia from day 12 versus the control group (p = 0.0359). The implication being that tocilizumab could potentially be effective in improving hypoxia and oxygenation in COVID-19 patients.

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