All Research Progress

Clinical Findings and Disease Severity in Hospitalized Pregnant Women With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Bottom Line: While 20% of women from this study had severe disease (e.g. declining respiratory function, admission to ICU, or both), there were no deaths observed in these patients. In additions, factors such as Body Mass Index (BMI), respiratory rate, and heart rate were associated with severe disease. Reference: Valeria, SM. et al. Clinical Findings and […]

Dexamethasone in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 — Preliminary Report

Bottom Line: Among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, administering dexamethasone resulted in lower 28-day mortality in patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation or oxygen alone. Reference: Horby, P. et al. Dexamethasone in Hospitalized Patients with Covid-19 — Preliminary Report. NEJM (2020). Date Published: 17 July 2020 Synopsis: Preliminary results from the REOVERY trial indicate that the use of dexamethasone […]

Clinical update on COVID-19 in pregnancy: A review article

Bottom Line: Current evidence does not suggest increased risk of severe COVID-19 infection in pregnant women, although high-risk obstetrical patients should be appropriately evaluated and managed. Reference: Gillian, RA. et al. Clinical update on COVID‐19 in pregnancy: A review article. The Journal of  Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research .2020). Date Published: 4 June 2020 Synopsis: In general, pregnant […]

Cognitive Bias and Public Health Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bottom Line: Cognitive errors may distract policy makers and citizens from making appropriate public health decisions that reduce the impact of COVID-19 across the entire population. Reference: Halpern, SD. et al. Cognitive Bias and Public Health Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA (2020). doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11623 Date Published: 29 June 2020 Synopsis: Despite an emphasis on using evidence to guide […]

Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone Inhibitors and Susceptibility to and Severity of COVID-19

Bottom Line: Contrary to initial beliefs, use of ACEIs and ARBs is not associated with increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection or increased severity of COVID-19. Reference: Curfman, G. Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone Inhibitors and Susceptibility to and Severity of COVID-19. JAMA (2020). DOI:10.1001/jama.2020.11401 Date Published: 19 June 2020 Synopsis: To enter a human cell, SARS-CoV-2 uses its spike protein and two […]

Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Transmission in a Skilled Nursing Facility

Bottom Line: Positive SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) screens were observed in more than half of residents who did not have symptoms at the time of testing. Infection-control strategies for residents with symptoms were not sufficient to prevent viral transmission. Reference: Arons, M.M. et al. Presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Transmission in a Skilled Nursing Facility. The New […]

Early evidence of pronounced brain involvement in fatal COVID-19 outcomes

Bottom Line: Through possible mechanisms of viral infiltration, immune response, and hypercoagulability, COVID-19 appears to cause encephalitis and meningitis in a small sample of autopsied patients. Reference: Hann von Weyhern, C. et al. Early evidence of pronounced brain involvement in fatal COVID-19 outcomes. The Lancet (2020). Date Published: 4 June 2020 Synopsis: The researchers studied six autopsied patients […]

Creating dermatology guidelines for COVID-19: The pitfalls of applying evidence-based medicine to an emerging infectious disease

Bottom Line: Although the guidelines for an emerging infectious disease are more reliant on expert advice as opposed to evidence-based medicine, efforts must be made to create amendable guidelines based on the best available information at a time. Reference: Freeman, E.E. et al. Creating dermatology guidelines for COVID-19: The pitfalls of applying evidence-based medicine to […]

Practical Recommendations for Gynecologic Surgery during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Bottom Line: All patients undergoing gynecologic surgery during the pandemic need to have a health risk assessment performed before any type of surgery. Patients with confirmed or suspected infections need to postpone their surgeries until they have fully recovered from the active infection. Reference: Chiofalo, B. et al. Practical recommendations for gynecologic surgery during the COVID-19 […]

What mental health interventions would be most effective in supporting health professionals, patients, and the general public during pandemics like COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Mental health implementations that take into account cultural differences and empower individuals with social opportunities may be effective during medical pandemics. Reference: Soklaridis, S. et al. Mental health interventions and supports during COVID- 19 and other medical pandemics: A rapid systematic review of the evidence. General Hospital Psychiatry (2020). Date Published: 22 August 2020 […]

Does the administration of tocilizumab reduce hospital-related mortality for COVID-19 patients in the ICU?

Bottom Line: This study looked at 764 COVID-19 patients in the ICU and found that administration of tocilizumab, a potential treatment, reduced hospital-related mortality from the virus. Reference: Biran, N. et al. Tocilizumab among patients with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit: a multicentre observational study. The Lancet Rheumatology (2020).   Date Published: 14 August 2020 […]

Do more in-person healthcare visits increase the risk of COVID-19 infection among pregnant women?

Bottom Line: In a group of pregnant women, those who had a higher number of in-person health care appointments did not have higher rates of COVID-19 infection. Reference: Reale, S. C. et al. Association Between Number of In-Person Health Care Visits and SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Obstetrical Patients. JAMA Network (2020). Date Published: 14 August 2020 Synopsis: […]

Should COVID-19 patients be treated with low molecular weight heparin (LMWH)?

Bottom Line: The study concluded that intermediate doses of LMWH in COVID-19 patients is feasible and safe, even in elderly patients with chronic kidney disease. Reference: Mattioli, M. et al. Safety of intermediate dose of low molecular weight heparin in COVID-19 patients. J Throm Thrombolysis (2020). Date Published: 13 August 2020 Synopsis: Based on past autopsy studies, […]

How common is misinformation about COVID-19 on social media?

Bottom Line: Misinformation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic is prevalent on social media, and can have serious public health implications. Reference: Islam, M. S et al. COVID-19–related Infodemic and its impact on public health: A global social media analysis. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (2020). Date Published: 10 August 2020 Synopsis: A lot of misinformation about […]

Does vitamin D deficiency affect mortality in patients with acute respiratory failure caused by COVID-19?

Bottom Line: In 42 consecutive patients with acute respiratory failure from COVID-19, it was found that severe vitamin D deficiency increased the chance of mortality from the virus. Reference: Carpagnano, G.E. et al. Vitamin D deficiency as a predictor of poor prognosis in patients with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19. J Endocrinol Invest (2020). […]

Does personal resilience, social support, and organisational support have an influence on COVID-19-related anxiety in frontline nurses?

Bottom Line: It is important to consider organisational support, social support, and personal resilience to reduce anxiety levels in healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reference: Labrague, L.J. et al. COVID‐19 anxiety among frontline nurses: predictive role of organisational support, personal resilience and social support. Journal of Nursing Management (2020). Date Published: 8 August […]

How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the mental health of patients with bulimia nervosa?

Bottom Line: Approximately half of the patients in the study reported a deterioration of the symptoms of their eating disorder since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Reference: Schlegl, S. et al. Bulimia nervosa in times of the COVID-19 pandemic— Results from an online survey of former inpatients. Eur Eat Disorders Res (2020). Date […]

How easily is SARS-CoV-2 transmitted in educational settings?

Bottom Line: Educational settings might not contribute significantly to the spread of COVID-19 when there are effective contact-tracing measures and smaller class sizes. Reference: Macartney, K. et al. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Australian educational settings: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet (2020). Date Published: 3 August 2020 Synopsis: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many […]

Are front-line healthcare workers at an increased risk of testing positive for COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Front-line healthcare workers were over three times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 when compared to the general community. Additionally, re-use of PPE was found to increase the risk of a positive coronavirus test in healthcare workers when compared to those with adequate PPE. Reference: Nguyen, L.H. et al. Risk of COVID-19 […]

Does wearing face masks and facial coverings reduce face-touching behaviour among individuals?

Bottom Line: This study found that when individuals wear face masks, their face-touching behaviours are reduced overall, which may help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in public areas. Reference: Chen, Y-J. et al. Comparison of Face-Touching Behaviors Before and During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. JAMA Network Open (2020). Date Published: 29 July 2020 Synopsis: […]

Does the increased use of digital devices during COVID-19 lockdown impact the development of myopia in children?

Bottom Line: This study found that the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially inflate the association between factors including increased digital screen time, near work, and limited outdoor activities, and the development of myopia. Reference: Wong, C.W. et al. Digital Screen Time During COVID-19 Pandemic: Risk for a Further Myopia Boom? Am J Ophthalmol (2020). Date Published: […]

What is the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to newborns?

Bottom Line: The risk of transmission of COVID-19 from mothers to newborns is low when proper masking and hand hygiene is practiced. Reference: Salvatore, C. et al. Neonatal management and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic: An observation cohort study. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (2020). Date Published: 23 July 2020 Synopsis: The risk of a newborn […]

What were the characteristics of nursing homes in the U.S. that reported cases of COVID-19?

Bottom Line: While nursing homes that reported COVID-19 cases had similar overall ratings to those that did not, nursing homes that reported COVID-19 did have a higher average of reported incidents and complaints. Reference: Chatterjee, P. et al. Characteristics and quality of US nursing homes reporting cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). JAMA Network Open (2020). Date […]

How does COVID-19 affect the central nervous system with regards to speech and language?

Bottom Line: The COVID-19 disease may be associated with unusual speech distortions leading to foreign accent syndrome. Reference: Cotelli, M. S. et al. Effortful speech with distortion of prosody following SARS-Cov-2 infection. Neurological Sciences (2020). Date Published: 19 July 2020 Synopsis: The COVID-19 infection has been reported to target the central nervous system, leading to the manifestations […]

How has COVID-19 affected the diagnosis of cancer?

Bottom Line: This study found that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there would be an increase in the number of avoidable deaths due to breast, esophageal, lung, and colorectal cancer. Reference: Maringe, C. et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer deaths due to delays in diagnosis in England, UK: a national, population-based, […]

What factors influence how easily SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted between individuals?

Bottom Line: Three factors were shown to decrease how easily SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted across the United States: lower population density, temperate climate and social distancing. Reference: Rubin, D. et al. Association of Social Distancing, Population Density, and Temperature With the Instantaneous Reproduction Number of SARS-CoV-2 in Counties Across the United States. JAMA Network Open (2020). […]

What were the knowledge, concerns, and behaviours of Italy residents during the first week of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Bottom Line: During the first week of the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy, people were well informed and had a stable level of worries that were positively associated with cognitive rigidity and emotional instability. Reference: Pagnini, F. et al. Knowledge, Concerns, and Behaviors of Individuals During the First Week of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic in […]

Does treatment with hydroxychloroquine either alone or in combination with azithromycin improve symptoms in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19?

Bottom Line: The study found no significant difference in clinical status in patients that were given hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin. Reference: Cavalcanti, A.B. et al. Hydroxychloroquine with or without Azithromycin in Mild-to-Moderate Covid-19. New England Journal of Medicine (2020). Date Published: 23 July 2020 Synopsis: In a previous study with a small […]

What are the clinical outcomes and side effects in COVID-19 patients treated with off-label hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin?

Bottom Line: The clinical benefits of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin combination therapy were minimal and were associated with a significant increase in toxicity. Reference: Kelly, M. et al. Clinical outcomes and adverse events in patients hospitalised with COVID ‐19, treated with off‐ label hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2020). Date Published: 20 July 2020 Synopsis: […]

Does having diabetes increase the risk of ICU admission and death?

Bottom Line: Diabetes does not increase the risk of death from COVID-19, but is associated with increased ICU admission, in addition to other outcomes. Reference: Al-Salameh, A. et al. Characteristics and outcomes of COVID-19 in hospitalized patients with and without diabetes. Diabetes/Metabolism Research & Review (2020). Date Published: 19 July 2020 Synopsis: This study looked […]

What factors put critically ill patients more at risk of dying from COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Multiple factors lead to a higher risk of death in critically ill patients with COVID-19, including older age, higher body mass index (BMI), active cancer, organ dysfunction, and being admitted to a hospital with fewer ICU beds. Reference: Gupta, S. et al. Factors Associated With Death in Critically Ill Patients With Coronavirus Disease […]

How does COVID-19 fear and anxiety affect chemotherapy adherence in patients with cancer?

Bottom Line: This study finds that COVID-19 related fear and anxiety increases chemotherapy postponement rates. Reference: Karacin, C. et al. How does COVID-19 fear and anxiety affect chemotherapy adherence in patients with cancer. Future Oncology (2020). Date Published: 17 July 2020 Synopsis: Discontinuation of chemotherapy (CT) is detrimental to treatment effectiveness for cancer patients. It […]

What are the preferences of Ontario patients and healthcare providers regarding ‘virtual healthcare’ visits?

Bottom Line: Virtual healthcare visits – visits that do not involve a face-to-face meeting between the patient and provider – are perceived as high-quality by Ontario patients, and both patients and healthcare providers prefer message-based visits over phone or video visits. Reference: Stamenova V. et al. Uptake and patient and provider communication modality preferences of […]

What were the results from the first published study on a COVID-19 vaccine?

Bottom Line: Preliminary data shows that the mRNA-1273 vaccine generates immune response to SARS-COV2 without serious adverse effects, thereby supporting further development of this vaccine. Reference: Jackson L.A. et al. An mRNA Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 – Preliminary Report. N Engl J Med (2020). Date Published: 16 July 2020 Synopsis: Many clinical trials for vaccine development […]

Which symptoms were persistent in individuals who recovered from COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 exhibited persistent symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain and joint pain. Only 12% of patients were completely symptom-free. Reference: Carfì A. Persistent Symptoms in Patients After Acute COVID-19. JAMA (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.12603 Date Published: 9 July 2020 Synopsis: One of the many questions regarding the trajectory […]

What is the prevalence of asthma in patients who are not hospitalized with the SARS-CoV-2 infection?

Bottom Line: Few non-hospitalized patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 presented with asthma. Furthermore, the infection has not been found to be a significant contributor to asthma exacerbation. Reference: Garcia-Pachon E. et al. Asthma prevalence in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection detected by RT-PCR not requiring hospitalization. Respir Med (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.rmed.2020.106084 Date Published: 4 July 2020 Synopsis: […]

How does COVID-19 affect the cardiovascular system?

Bottom Line: Cardiac manifestations of COVID-19 include heart failure, cardiogenic shock, arrhythmias, heart inflammation and coronary symptoms. Risk factors for the development of cardiac manifestations include, but are not limited to, pre-existing cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and elevated troponin. Reference: Shafi, A.M.A. et al. Cardiac manifestations in COVID‐19 patients—A systematic review. Journal of Cardiac […]

How has COVID-19 affected the outcome of pregnancies?

Bottom Line: Stillbirth rates were shown to have increased over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it is possible this is a direct consequence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, other reasons for this trend should also be taken into consideration. Reference: Khalil, A. et al. Change in the Incidence of Stillbirth and Preterm Delivery During the […]

How does obesity affect the susceptibility of a patient to respiratory viral infections like COVID-19?

Bottom Line: This review article explores how obesity affects immune function and the specific mechanisms involved. Obesity is associated with high levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that regulates appetite. Reference: Rebello, C. et al. Obesity, the most common comorbidity in SARS-CoV-2: is leptin the link? International Journal of Obesity (2020). Date […]

What proportion of the population of Spain has developed antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 infection?

Bottom Line: Only approximately 5% of the Spanish population has developed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 after the initial epidemic wave. Reference: Pollán, M. et al. Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain (ENE-COVID): a nationwide, population-based seroepidemiological study. The Lancet (2020). Date Published: 6 July 2020 Synopsis: Spain was one of the European countries most affected by the […]

Can public health campaigns help change behaviours that lead to reduced COVID-19 transmission?

Bottom Line: A public health campaign in the Netherlands using a widely-circulated news article with infographics and a video featuring a social media influencer led to increases in hand washing, greater awareness of face touching, and physical distancing. Reference: Yousuf, H. et al. Association of a public health campaign about coronavirus disease 2019 promoted by news […]

How is the SARS-CoV-2 virus able to invade the brain and cause an infection?

Bottom Line: The slightly positively charged spike protein is thought to allow the virus to enter the central nervous system and cause a brain infection. Reference: Hassanzadeh, K. et al. Considerations around the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein with particular attention to COVID-19 brain infection and neurological symptoms. ACS Chemical Neuroscience (2020). Date Published: 6 July 2020 Synopsis: Increasing […]

Has the COVID-19 pandemic caused changes in mental health symptoms of individuals?

Bottom Line: This study sampled over 55,000 individuals and found an overall increase in mental health symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and acute stress in people either directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19. Reference: Shi, L. et al. Prevalence of and Risk Factors Associated With Mental Health Symptoms Among the General Population in China During the […]

Does exposure to COVID-19 protect against reinfection early on in recovery?

Bottom Line: Infection with SARS-CoV-2 was shown to protect against reinfection during the early recovery phase in rhesus monkeys. Reference: Deng, W. et al. Primary exposure to SARS-CoV-2 protects against reinfection in rhesus macaques. Science (2020). DOI: 10.1126/science.abc5343 Date Published: 2 July 2020 Synopsis: There have been reports of patients who recover from COVID-19 illness and have undetectable […]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, have there been more deaths of any cause than would have been expected based on the death rate in previous years?

Bottom Line: From March 1 through to May 30, 2020 there were 120,000 more deaths than would have been expected based on previous years, with roughly 80% of these extra deaths being due to COVID-19 and 20% being due to causes other than COVID-19. Reference: Weinberger, D.M. et al. Estimation of excess deaths associated with the […]

What clinical characteristics of patients with cancer are associated with worse COVID-19 disease?

Bottom Line: Older age and medications called immune checkpoint inhibitors are associated with more severe COVID-19 infections in patients with cancer. Reference: Robilotti, E.V. et al. Determinants of COVID-19 disease severity in patients with cancer. Nat Med (2020). Date Published: 24 June 2020 Synopsis: Previous studies have shown that patients with cancer have a higher risk of death […]

How did adolescents view COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic, and how did their attitudes shape their associated behaviors?

Bottom Line: The majority of adolescents did not practice physical distancing, but did practice disinfecting behaviors and followed COVID-related news. Those who viewed the virus as more severe were significantly more likely to follow the news, practice physical distancing, and disinfecting behaviors. Reference: Oosterhoff, B. & Palmer, C.A. Attitudes and psychological factors associated with news monitoring, social […]

What are the neurological and neuropsychiatric complications associated with COVID-19 infection?

Bottom Line: Cerebrovascular events, altered mental status, and peripheral neurologic syndromes have been noted in some patients affected by COVID-19. Although this link has been seen, more research is needed to understand why these syndromes occur, and potential risk factors leading to them. Reference: Varatharaj, A. et al. Neurological and neuropsychiatric complications of COVID-19 in 153 […]

Does treatment with tocilizumab in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia lead to better outcomes than treatment with standard of care alone?

Bottom Line: Treatment with tocilizumab can potentially reduce the risk of mechanical ventilation and death in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Reference: Guaraldi, G. et al. Tocilizumab in patients with severe COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study. The Lancet Rheumatology (2020). Date Published: 24 June 2020 Synopsis: In severe cases, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia that may lead […]

Does treatment with colchicine lead to improved clinical outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Colchicine may slow disease progression in patients with severe COVID-19. Reference: Deftereos, S.G. et al. Effect of colchicine vs standard care on cardiac and inflammatory biomarkers and clinical outcomes in patients hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019. JAMA Network Open (2020). Date Published: 24 June 2020 Synopsis: Systemic inflammation plays a role in disease progression […]

What is the proportion of essential workers in the United States, and what proportion of essential workers live in households with higher-risk populations?

Bottom Line: 40% of workers in the United States were classified as essential workers, and 51% of households had at least 1 essential worker. Nearly half of essential workers lived in a household with moderate risk, while over 1 in 10 essential workers lived in higher-risk households. Reference: McCormack, G. et al. Economic vulnerability of households […]

What are the clinical effects of the anti-inflammatory medication tocilizumab on patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line: The use tocilizumab was associated with lower mortality; however, tocilizumab did not show improvement in patients with severe to critical COVID-19. Reference: Rojas-Marte, G.R. et al. Outcomes in patients with severe COVID-19 disease treated with Tocilizumab – A case- Controlled study. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine (2020). Date Published: 22 June 2020 Synopsis: The […]

Can a ‘safety grading system’ for shops and businesses improve public safety as economies begin to re-open?

Bottom Line: A safety grading system, in which shops and businesses are inspected and assigned a grade based on their use of COVID-19 safety precautions is a potentially effective strategy to safeguard public health as economies re-open. Reference: Rafferty, M. et al. COVID-19 Safety Grades for Businesses—A Possible Mitigation Tool. JAMA Health Forum (2020). Date […]

Did the overall level of loneliness change over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Bottom Line: Over the course of the social distancing measures, individuals in this study felt increased support. Additionally, older individuals felt less lonely overall, when compared to their younger counterparts. Reference: Luchetti, M. et al. The Trajectory of Loneliness in Response to COVID-19. Am Psychol (2020). Date Published: 22 June 2020 Synopsis: This study aimed […]

What should be the proposed approach to COVID-19 patients with skin disorders, especially those using immunomodulators?

Bottom Line: This study discovered that patients with skin disorders do not have more severe symptoms of COVID-19. Patients are recommended to stop their previous medications until they are no longer symptomatic. Reference: Nobar, N.N. et al. Patients With Specific Skin Disorders Who Are Affected by COVID-19: What Do Experiences Say About Management Strategies? : […]

What are the current WHO guidelines on masks during COVID-19?

Bottom Line: The WHO advises that governments should apply a risk-based approach when encouraging the general public to wear masks in specific situations and settings as part of a comprehensive approach to curb COVID-19 transmission. Reference: Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19. World Health Organization (2020). Date Published: 5 June […]

What are the characteristics of patients who preferred telemedicine versus in-person visits, prior to COVID-19?

Bottom Line: This study suggests that there are important socio-demographic differences between patients who prefer in-person primary care visits instead of telemedicine. Patients were more likely to prefer in-person visits if they were: age 65 and over, non-English speakers, and living in neighborhoods with less internet access. Reference: Reed, M.E. et al. Patient characteristics associated with […]

What are some of the dermatological findings in patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Some patients with COVID-19 experience rashes, hives and itching without any specific dermatological signs, commonly around the trunk area. Reference: Dalal, A. et al. Dermatological findings in SARS‐CoV ‐2 positive patients: An observational study from North India. Dermatologic Therapy (2020). Date Published: 16 June 2020 Synopsis: The clinical symptoms of COVID-19 are wide and encompass […]

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected physical activity, sleep, alcohol consumption and tobacco use in Australian adults?

Bottom Line: This study found that the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with changes in physical activity, stress, depression, sleep quality, smoking rates in current smokers, and alcohol intake in many people. Reference: Stanton, R. et al. Depression, Anxiety and Stress During COVID-19: Associations With Changes in Physical Activity, Sleep, Tobacco and Alcohol Use in Australian […]

Does natalizumab, a medication used to treat multiple sclerosis, have potential for producing therapeutic effects against COVID-19?

Bottom Line: This is the first case report to propose the potential use of natalizumab, an effective treatment for multiple sclerosis, in preventing the binding of COVID-19 to human cells. Reference: Aguirre, C. et al. Covid-19 in a patient with multiple sclerosis treated with natalizumab: May the blockade of integrins have a protective role? Multiple […]

What is the risk of a mother transmitting COVID-19 to a newborn?

Bottom Line: It is uncommon for a newborn to be infected with COVID-19, and the risk of infection is no higher if the baby is born vaginally, breastfed, or allowed contact with the mother. Reference: Walker, K. et al. Maternal transmission of SARS‐COV‐2 to the neonate, and possible routes for such transmission: A systematic review and […]

How effective are facemasks in controlling the spread of COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Mathematical modelling data suggests that widespread adoption of facemasks by the public can prevent subsequent waves of COVID-19. Reference: Stutt, R.O.J.H. et al. A modelling framework to assess the likely effectiveness of facemasks in combination with ‘lock-down’ in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences (2020). Date […]

Could the hormone melatonin play a role in COVID-19 treatment?

Bottom Line: Melatonin has been used to treat respiratory diseases in the past due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects, and may be a valuable component in the treatment of COVID-19. Reference: Zhang, R. et al. COVID-19: Melatonin as a potential adjuvant treatment. Life Sciences (2020). Date Published: 23 March 2020 Synopsis: Melatonin is a hormone produced […]

What is the impact of climate and temperature on the spread of COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Occurrence of COVID-19 is impacted by temperature and climate, where higher temperatures and levels of humidity are linked to lower incidence of COVID-19. However, greater sunshine exposure is also linked to increased rates of COVID-19. Reference: Paez, A. et al. A spatio‐temporal analysis of the environmental correlates of COVID‐19 incidence in Spain. Geographical Analysis (2020). […]

What are the clinical effects of the anti-viral medication, Arbidol, on patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line: When combined with adjuvant therapy, Arbidol has shown to accelerate recovery in COVID-19 patients. Reference: Chen, W. et al. A study on clinical effect of Arbidol combined with adjuvant therapy on COVID‐19. Journal of Medical Virology (2020). Date Published: 8 June 2020 Synopsis: Arbidol (ARB) is an anti-viral medication that has been used therapeutically during […]

Can treatments that suppress immune system activity help treat patients with severe COVID-19 disease?

Bottom Line: In severe COVID-19 disease, the immune system becomes overactivated which generates excessive inflammation. Therefore, therapies that decrease immune system activity may improve the health of these patients. Reference: Ye, Q., Wang, B. & Mao, J. The pathogenesis and treatment of the `Cytokine storm’ in COVID-19. Journal of Infection (2020). Date Published: 10 April 2020 Synopsis: The immune system […]

What are the prevalence and characteristics of asymptomatic COVID-19 patients?

Bottom Line: The likelihood that approximately 40% to 45% of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 will remain asymptomatic suggests that the virus might have greater potential than previously estimated to spread silently and deeply through human populations. Reference: Oran, D.P. et al. Prevalence of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection. Annals of Internal Medicine (2020). Date Published: 3 June 2020 […]

Does high-dose famotidine improve symptoms in non-hospitalized patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line: The study suggests that high-dose oral famotidine results in an improvement of symptoms within 24-48 hours in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients with minimal adverse effects. Reference: Janowitz, T. et al. Famotidine use and quantitative symptom tracking for COVID-19 in non-hospitalised patients: a case series. Gut (2020). Date Published: 4 June 2020 Synopsis: While most of the […]

What is the best way to re-introduce social networks while continuing to practice social distancing in a post-lockdown world?

Bottom Line: Maintaining social networks may be an effective and more practical way of reducing the spread of COVID-19 compared to current social distancing practices. Reference: Block, P. et al. Social network-based distancing strategies to flatten the COVID-19 curve in a post-lockdown world. Nature Human Behaviour (2020). Date Published: 4 June 2020 Synopsis: Recently, many jurisdictions have […]

What were the mental health outcomes of health care workers who provided care during the days immediately preceding the COVID-19 peak in Italy?

Bottom Line: Health care workers in Italy experienced post traumatic stress syndrome, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and stress while providing care during the peak of COVID-19. Women and younger workers were more likely to report mental health symptoms. Reference: Rossi, R. et al. Mental Health Outcomes Among Frontline and Second-Line Health Care Workers During The Coronavirus Disease […]

What effects does COVID-19 have on mothers during pregnancy?

Bottom Line: Pregnant women presenting with severe COVID-19 infections are at risk for pregnancy complications related to high blood pressure and abnormal kidney and liver functions. Reference: Mendoza, M. et al. Preeclampsia‐like syndrome induced by severe COVID‐19: a prospective observational study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (2020). Date Published: 1 June 2020 Synopsis: A […]

What are the effects of the influenza vaccine on COVID-19 risk?

Bottom Line: The influenza vaccine does not increase the risk of non-influenza respiratory viruses (NIRV), including seasonal coronaviruses, in Canada. Reference: Skowronski, D.M. et al. Influenza vaccine does not increase the risk of coronavirus or other non-influenza respiratory viruses: retrospective analysis from Canada, 2010-11 to 2016-17.Clinical Infectious Diseases (2020). DOI:10.1093/cid/ciaa626 Date Published: 22 May 2020 […]

Can behavioral changes observed in COVID-19 patients be explained by primary viral invasion of the brain?

Bottom Line: Since behavioral changes can be the first presentation in patients with COVID-19, it may be beneficial to expand screening criteria to include neurological symptoms. Reference: Beach, S. et al. Delirium in COVID-19: A case series and exploration of potential mechanisms for central nervous system involvement. General Hospital Psychiatry (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2020.05.008 Date Published: […]

What precautions need to be taken for patients with COVID-19 undergoing gynecologic surgery?

Bottom Line: All patients undergoing gynecologic surgery during the pandemic need to have a health risk assessment performed before any type of surgery and patients with confirmed or suspected infections should postpone their surgeries until they have fully recovered from the active infection. Reference: Chiofalo, B. et al. Practical Recommendations for Gynecologic Surgery During the […]

Can a machine learning program use chest CT with clinical symptoms to augment early detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection?

Bottom Line: Artificial intelligence can help diagnose COVID-19 in patients with equal sensitivity to a senior radiologist, allowing rapid diagnosis particularly when there is a shortage of RT–PCR test kits. Reference: Mei, X. et al. Artificial intelligence–enabled rapid diagnosis of patients with COVID-19. Nature Medicine (2020). Date Published: 19 May 2020 Synopsis: Current diagnosis […]

Are there racial and ethnic differences in COVID-19 outcomes?

Bottom Line: Differences in in-hospital mortality to COVID-19 between white and black patients reflect racial differences in the types of jobs with increased risk of community exposure, socioeconomic status, prevalence of chronic conditions, and characteristics of initial clinical presentation . Reference: Price-Haywood, E.G. et al. Hospitalization and Mortality among Black Patients and White Patients with […]

What are the interactions between COVID-19 therapies and anti-cancer drugs?

Bottom Line: Currently, the scientific literature does not have enough evidence to suggest specific side-effects to using anti-cancer drugs in combination with COVID-19 therapies. There are some drugs that should be avoided to avoid side effects and interactions with COVID-19 drugs but more research needs to be done to determine how these cancer drugs interact […]

Is a 5-day treatment course with the SARS-CoV-2 drug ‘remdesivir’ as effective as a 10-day treatment course?

Bottom Line: The 5-day remdesivir treatment was as effective as the 10-day treatment course at improving COVID-19 patients’ health. In addition, both treatment durations had a similar frequency of side effects. Reference: Goldman, J.D. et al. Remdesivir for 5 or 10 Days in Patients with Severe Covid-19. New England Journal of Medicine (2020). Date Published: […]

How do the lungs of patients with COVID-19 differ from the lungs of patients with influenza?

Bottom Line: Autopsy findings of lungs from patients with COVID-19 show distinctive changes to their blood vessels compared to patients with influenza, suggesting that COVID-19 may cause a different disease process. Reference: Ackermann, M. et al. Pulmonary vascular endothelialitis, thrombosis, and angiogenesis in COVID-19. New England Journal of Medicine (2020). Date Published: 21 May 2020 Synopsis: Most […]

What was the COVID-19 infection rate among healthcare workers in a hospital in Wuhan, China?

Bottom Line: Around 1% (110 of 9,684) of healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19 but the rate was not consistent across all healthcare workers. Women, nurses under 45 years of age, and those working in non-COVID areas had significantly higher rates of infection. Reference: Lai, X. et al. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) infection among health care […]

How infectious is the COVID-19 virus in saliva?

Bottom Line: Levels of the COVID-19 virus were consistently high in saliva, particularly in the early stages of the disease. Reference: Yoon, J.G. et al. Clinical significance of a high SARS-Cov-2 viral load in the saliva. Journal of Korean Medical Science (2020). Date Published: 25 May 2020 Synopsis: Patients can unknowingly spread the COVID-19 virus to others […]

Does the presence of cardiovascular disease impact patients with COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Patients with underlying cardiovascular disease were at an increased likelihood of developing abnormalities of liver function, certain laboratory tests, and more critical illness. Reference: Zhang, J. et al. Do Underlying Cardiovascular Diseases Have Any Impact on Hospitalised Patients With COVID-19?. Heart (2020). DOI: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-316909 Date Published: 25 May 2020 Synopsis: This study found that […]

Can we use serologic testing to find out the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a population?

Bottom Line: Serologic testing estimates that at the time of the study, about 367,000 adults in Los Angeles County may have had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, despite only having 8,430 confirmed cases in the area. Reference: Sood, N. et al. Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2–Specific Antibodies Among Adults in Los Angeles County, California, on April 10-11, 2020. JAMA (2020). […]

Is previous radiation to the lungs a risk factor for death due to COVID-19?

Bottom Line: This study found that a history of lung irradiation increases mortality risk in COVID-19 patients. Reference: Kabarriti, R. et al. Extent of prior lung irradiation and mortality in COVID-19 patients with a cancer history. Advances in Radiation Oncology (2020). Date Published: 20 May 2020 Synopsis: The study gathered 107 patients who tested positive […]

What are the cardiac consequences of COVID-19 infection in children?

Bottom Line: Children may develop heart failure due to a severe inflammatory state caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Reference: Belhadjer, Z. et al. Acute heart failure in multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in the context of global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Circulation (2020). Date Published: 17 May 2020 Synopsis: Typically, […]

Does infection with SARS-CoV-2 protect against re-exposure to the virus in monkeys?

Bottom Line: Monkeys infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop immunity that protects them from re-infection from the virus. Reference: Chandrashekar, A. et al. SARS-CoV-2 infection protects against rechallenge in rhesus macaques. Science (2020). Date Published: 20 May 2020 Synopsis: It is currently not known whether infection with SARS-CoV-2 provides protective immunity to re-exposure to the virus. To […]

How are children and newborns affected by COVID-19?

Bottom Line: This study found that the most commonly experienced clinical symptoms among children under the age of 18 were fever, cough, and sore throat. Additionally, symptoms were less severe, compared to adults, as approximately 95% of cases either didn’t have symptoms, or only had mild to moderate symptoms from infection with COVID-19. Reference: Liguro, I. […]

What level of personal protective equipment is needed to protect healthcare workers treating COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Although limited evidence is available, the results of this study suggest that healthcare workers directly exposed to COVID-19 should follow more aggressive protection measures, including the use of respirators (N95 masks) instead of the use of surgical masks. Reference: Bahl, P. et al. Airborne or droplet precautions for health workers treating coronavirus disease 2019? The […]

How effective is the antiviral interferon-a2b treatment in COVID-19?

Bottom Line: Treatment with interferon-a2b antiviral therapy significantly reduced inflammatory proteins and increased viral clearance in patients with COVID-19. Reference: Zhou, Q. et al. Interferon-α2b treatment for COVID-19. Frontiers in Immunology, (2020). Date Published: 15 May 2020 Synopsis: With the absence of an approved vaccine against COVID-19, the effectiveness of various antiviral therapies is currently being investigated. One […]

Do jurisdictions that issue “stay-at-home” orders have lower rates of COVID-19 infections?

Bottom Line: This study found that when comparing the bordering counties of two U.S. states where one issued stay-at-home orders (Illinois) and the other did not (Iowa), there was an increase in the estimated rates of COVID-19 cases in Iowa counties, compared with Illinois counties. Reference: Lyu, W. & Wehby, G.L. Comparison of estimated rates of coronavirus […]

What are the characteristics and outcomes of children with COVID-19?

Bottom Line: This study confirms that COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children but not as severe as in adult patients. Similar to adult COVID-19 patients, severe disease in children is associated with pre-existing comorbidities. Reference: Shekerdemian, L. et al. Characteristics and Outcomes of Children With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Infection Admitted to US and […]

Should the antibiotic azithromycin be used to treat COVID-19?

Bottom Line: There is currently not enough evidence to support the use of azithromycin for the treatment of COVID-19. Reference: Gbinigie, K. et al. Should azithromycin be used to treat COVID-19? A rapid review BJGP Open (2020). DOI: 10.3399/bjgpopen20X101094 Date Published: 12 May 2020 Synopsis: The researchers sought to summarize current scientific knowledge regarding the […]

Does lying face down help COVID-19 patients breathe?

Bottom Line: Initial evidence suggests potential improvement in oxygenation and reduced lung injury from patients adopting the prone position (lying face down and back up) in spontaneous and assisted breathing. Reference: Telias, I. et al. Is the Prone Position Helpful During Spontaneous Breathing in Patients With COVID-19? JAMA (2020). DOI:10.1001/jama.2020.8539 Date Published: 15 May 2020 […]