What does the spread of COVID-19 look like in long-term care facilities?

Bottom Line: Public health surveillance data on the spread of COVID-19 at one long-term care facility in Washington shows that long-term care facilities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 outbreaks. Reference: McMichael, T.M. et al., Epidemiology of Covid-19 in a Long-Term Care Facility in King County, Washington. NEJM (2020). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2005412 Date Published: 27 March 2020 [...]

Can viral material from the COVID-19 infection be found in fecal samples, and if so, how long does it remain for?

Bottom Line: Viral material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been found in fecal samples of patients with the COVID-19 infection, lasting up to 5 weeks following clearance of their respiratory tract infection. This poses a concern of potential fecal-oral transmission and reinforces strict precautions to prevent further transmission, especially in dense, contained areas. Reference: Wu, [...]

What host cell factors are involved in infection by SARS-CoV-2?

Bottom Line: To enter and infect human cells, surface proteins on the SARS-CoV-2 virus must be modified by an enzyme called TMPRSS2 in the lung. This protein can be effectively targeted by an existing drug, which may constitute a possible treatment option. Reference: Hoffmann, M. et al. SARS-CoV-2 cell entry depends on ACE2 and TMPRSS2 [...]

What proportion of COVID-19 cases lead to severe outcomes?

Bottom Line: The case fatality risk of symptomatic COVID-19 was 1.4% in Wuhan, China. The risk of having symptomatic infection or death increased with age, particularly those above 59 years. This information can help health providers ensure we are prepared and have enough supplies through the peak and duration of this pandemic. Reference: Wu, J.T. [...]

How long can SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) particles survive in the air, or on certain surfaces?

Bottom Line: SARS-CoV-2 particles remain viable for up to 3 hours in aersolized (air) droplets, and 4-72 hours on surfaces, depending on the material (plastic, stainless steel, copper, or cardboard). This suggests that transmission via aerosols or inanimate objects is possible. Reference: van Doremalen, N. et al. Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared [...]

Can we identify specific features of a patient’s immune response to COVID-19 from symptom-onset to recovery?

Bottom Line: Specific types of immune cells and antibodies were elevated in a patient’s blood before the resolution of their symptoms from COVID-19. Following further evaluation, these immune parameters can potentially be used to predict disease outcome or evaluate efficacy of new interventions. Reference: Thevarajan, I. et al. Breadth of concomitant immune responses prior to [...]

How much do mild, undocumented cases of COVID-19 contribute to the spread of the disease?

Bottom Line: Before travel restrictions were placed, the majority of COVID-19 infections in China were undocumented, as they were associated with mild, limited or no symptoms. Undocumented cases appear to play the largest role in dissemination of COVID-19. Reference: Li, R. et al. Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Science [...]

What is the structure of the protein that the 2019-nCoV uses to bind and infect human cells, and can we develop therapies, vaccines, or diagnostic tests to target it?

Bottom Line: The specific structure of this protein was solved and can now be used to rationally design effective anti-2019-nCoV therapies, vaccines, and diagnostic tests; however three potential antibodies that were tested by the authors were not effective. Reference: Wrapp, D. et al. Cryo-EM structure of the 2019-nCoV spike in the prefusion conformation. Science (2020). [...]

What are the symptoms of COVID-19 in the pediatric population?

Bottom Line: Symptoms in the children in this study were nonspecific and no children required respiratory support or intensive care. Notably, eight children persistently tested positive on rectal swabs even after nasopharyngeal testing was negative, raising the possibility of fecal–oral transmission. Reference: Xu, Y. et al. Characteristics of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection and potential evidence for [...]