October 8 | Daily COVID-19 LST Report

Understanding the Pathology

· Physicians from Pisa University Hospital (Italy) remark on Zhao et al's (2020) findings on ABO Blood Group Correlations With COVID-19, stating that their observed association between blood group A and increased risk of COVID-19 may be due to their choice in cohort. In the authors' own study of a group of 7,713 healthy blood donors, there was no significant difference in rate of anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid IgG based on blood type and there are other studies with similar findings. While this study does not eliminate the need to examine differential rates of infection and outcomes for COVID-19 patients based on blood type, it does indicate that previous study results may be biased by group selection.

Transmission & Prevention

· Vaccines that present the α-gal epitope produced by glycoengineered bacteria or yeast had increased uptake by antigen presenting cells (APCs) by 10 to 200 fold when given to mice. Since anti-Gal is a natural immunoglobulin G (IgG) in the human serum, authors state that vaccines with the α-gal epitope may increase anti-viral immune response of T cells against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Authors suggest development of vaccines with α-gal epitopes have been shown to be safe for use in humans through clinical trials and could offer improved efficacy via maximized immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Resources

A data-driven, ontology-based, and natural language processing approach for analyzing COVID-19 clinical trials was developed by a high school student from The Harker School in San Jose, California who data mined using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to compile relevant data from COVID-19 clinical trials including drug treatments and interventions, outcomes, Medical Subject Heading (MeSH), and Human Phenotype Ontologies (HPO). The results (available at provide a public compilation of unique reports in each category analyzed, which could offer guidance to the global research community to support development of future clinical trials, treatments and interventions, and meta-analyses, as well as general insight into the response to COVID-19.

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