COVID-19 information center

For complete information from Wayne State University, including campus restart plans, training, messages from central units and more, visit the WSU coronavirus website

The following are reliable sources of information on COVID-19 recommended by the Wayne State Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Faculty Against Coronavirus Team (FACT).

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Weekly links

A roundup of notable COVID-19 news and information curated by FACT

July 31, 2020

What's New in the NIH COVID-19 Guidelines. Remdesivir; Corticosteroids / Dexamethasone; Mesenchymal Stem Cells; Adjunctive Therapies - Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Zinc Supplementation; Special Considerations in Solid Organ Transplant, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant, and Cellular Therapy Candidates, Donors, and Recipients; and other topics.

Potent neutralizing antibodies directed to multiple epitopes on SARS-CoV-2 spike.  61 SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies isolated from 5 infected patients hospitalized with severe disease. 19 antibodies potently neutralized the authentic SARS-CoV-2 in vitro, 9 exhibited exquisite potency.  Antibodies were equally divided between the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and the N-terminal domain (NTD).  Several monoclonal antibodies are promising candidates as potential therapeutic and/or prophylactic agents against SARS-CoV-2.

Viral levels could help to target treatment.  The amount of viral RNA in the nose and throat could decide treatment. Researchers noted 2 stages of COVID-19, early with high viral loads, which tend to decline gradually as the disease progresses. This later stage is characterized by inflammation. Viral-load decline could thus be a cue to start treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.  This Pre-Print that has not been peer-reviewed.

Encouraging results from phase 1/2 COVID-19 vaccine trials.  Both used an adenoviral vector, and both report the vaccine achieving humoral responses to the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein receptor binding domain by day 28 as well as T-cell responses. Both report local and systemic mild adverse events such as fever, fatigue, and injection site pain. In neither trial was a severe adverse event reported.

South African epidemic could exceed a million cases.   More than half of the continent's 780,000 reported cases are in South Africa.  Top coronavirus adviser Salim Abdool Karim says the country must rediscover its community spirit to deal with a coming surge in infections. More than half of the continent's 780,000 reported cases are in South Africa. People need to realize that the best protection we is ubuntu — a South African word that means 'I am because you are.'

Discovery of SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drugs through large-scale compound repurposing.  Profiled a library of known drugs encompassing approximately 12,000 clinical-stage or FDA-approved small molecules. We report the identification of 100 molecules that inhibit viral replication, including 21 known drugs that exhibit dose response.

Why hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine don't block coronavirus infection of human lung cells.  Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine decrease acidity in green monkey kidney cells, disabling cathepsin L enzyme and blocking the virus from infecting cells. Human lung cells have very low levels of L enzyme so the virus uses the enzyme TMPRSS2 to enter the cell. But because that enzyme is not controlled by acidity, HCQ and CQ neither block the SARS-CoV-2 from infecting the lungs nor stop virus replication. 

A large COVID-19 outbreak in a high school 10 days after schools' reopening, Israel, May 2020.  Testing of the complete school community revealed 153 students (13.2%) and 25 staff members (16.6%) were COVID-19 positive. 260 persons were infected (students, staff members, relatives and friends). This report describes the investigation and epidemiological characteristics of the school's outbreak.

Virologists divided over plans to change virus-naming rules during the pandemic.  Researchers say now is bad time to introduce a system for naming viral species, when scientists are focused on the coronavirus outbreak.

Point-of-care serological assays for delayed SARS-CoV-2 case identification among health-care workers in the UK: a prospective multicentre cohort study.  There was variation between lateral flow serological assays; Encode assay displayed reasonable IgG sensitivity (93·4%]) and specificity (99·0%) among PCR-proven cases and good agreement (94·0%) with the laboratory immunoassay. Onsite had lower sensitivity (88·2%) and specificity (94·0%) and agreement (84·7%). Five of 70 (7%) PCR-positive cases were negative across all assays.

July 24, 2020

Coronavirus vaccines leap through safety trials — but which will work is anybody's guess. Scientists caution against comparing immune responses shown in early-stage trials, and say there might be more than one path to an effective vaccine.

The explosion of new coronavirus tests that could help to end the pandemic. Researchers are scrambling to find other ways to diagnose the coronavirus and churn out millions of tests a week — a key step in returning to normality.

Immunogenicity and safety of a recombinant adenovirus type-5-vectored COVID-19 vaccine in healthy adults aged 18 years or older: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 2 trial

Histopathology and ultrastructural findings of fatal COVID-19 infections in Washington State: A case series

Structural basis for translational shutdown and immune evasion by the Nsp1 protein of SARS-CoV-2

July 17, 2020

COVID-19: The worst may be yet to come. Editorial from The Lancet.

Challenges to medical education at a time of physical distancing 

The COVID-19 vaccine-development multiverse

COVID-19 and disparities in nutrition and obesity

The climate crisis and COVID-19 — a major threat to the pandemic response

Working memory capacity predicts individual differences in social-distancing compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States

First data for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine show it spurs an immune response

Megakaryocytes and platelet-fibrin thrombi characterize multi-organ thrombosis at autopsy in COVID-19: A case series. Growing recognition of increased thrombotic complications in COVID-19, higher than in respiratory failure due to influenza, and with pulmonary thrombosis in the absence of lower extremity deep venous thrombosis.  

The mathematical strategy that could transform coronavirus testing. Four charts show how pooling samples from many people can save time or resources.

Critical review and analysis of approval of Favipiravir for restricted emergency use in mild to moderate COVID-19

July 10, 2020

Recent publications by WSU researchers including Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Paul Kilgore

The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus
Early numbers had shown that Black and Latino people were being harmed by the virus at higher rates. But the new federal data — made available after The New York Times sued the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — reveals a clearer and more complete picture: Black and Latino people have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in a widespread manner that spans the country, throughout hundreds of counties in urban, suburban and rural areas, and across all age groups.

International students must take classes in person to stay in the country legally this fall, ICE announces

Researchers seeking an 'exit plan' for leaving academia amid coronavirus worries
The pandemic is prompting some early-career researchers to rethink their hopes for a university post.

It Should Scare Us That Tuition Is A Tiny Amount Of Medical School Revenue

Six months of coronavirus: The mysteries scientists are still racing to solve
From immunity to the role of genetics, Nature looks at five pressing questions about COVID-19 that researchers are tackling.

Mounting evidence suggests coronavirus is airborne — but health advice has not caught up
Governments are starting to change policies amid concerns that tiny droplets can carry SARS-CoV-2. And after months of denying the importance of this, the World Health Organization is reconsidering its stance.

Spain's coronavirus antibodies study adds evidence against herd immunity

Low SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in COVID-19 hotspots
In light of these findings, any proposed approach to achieve herd immunity through natural infection is not only highly unethical, but also unachievable.

Coronavirus: US buys nearly all of Gilead's COVID-19 drug remdesivir

'Cries for help': Drug overdoses soar during the coronavirus pandemic
Suspected overdoses nationally jumped 18 percent in March, 29 percent in April and 42 percent in May.

Pandemic unleashes a spike in overdose deaths
The coronavirus threat put on hold a billion-dollar research program focused on new forms of addiction treatment.

COVID-19: The Potential Role of Copper and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in a Combination of Candidate Antiviral Treatments Against SARS-CoV-2

National Geographic series on COVID-19

Scientists scoff at Indian agency's plan to have COVID-19 vaccine ready for use next month

'The epidemic is growing very rapidly': Indian government adviser fears coronavirus crisis will worsen
Jayaprakash Muliyil says coronavirus infections are rising rapidly in the country, and the surprisingly low death rate could be misleading

June 26, 2020

Hospitalization and Mortality among Black Patients and White Patients with COVID-19

Perspective: COVID-19 and the Need for Health Care Reform
"Never before has the interdependence of all our health, finances, and social fabric been so starkly visible."

Audio Interview: The Challenges of Safe Reopening, New England J. Med. [17:33]

Challenges of "Return to Work" in an Ongoing Pandemic

On Dexamethasone:

June 19, 2020

Dr. Michael Rybak interviewed by the Detroit News on the use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

Clinical Characteristics and Morbidity Associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 in a Series of Patients in Metropolitan Detroit

Pandemic vaccines are about to face the real test

Press Release: Low-cost dexamethasone reduces death by up to one third in hospitalized patients with severe respiratory complications of COVID-19. Deaths were reduced by one-third in ventilated patients, and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only. There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support. This study has yet to be peer-reviewed and published.
 
How deadly is the coronavirus? Scientists are close to an answer. Public health researchers use the infection fatality rate to gauge how to respond to a new disease, but it's tricky to calculate.

Why children avoid the worst coronavirus complications might lie in their arteries. Evidence is mounting that healthy blood vessels protect children from serious effects of COVID-19, such as stroke.
 
Famotidine Use is Associated with Improved Clinical Outcomes in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients: A Propensity Score Matched Retrospective Cohort Study

Structure-based design of antiviral drug candidates targeting the SARS-CoV-2 main protease

Can phone apps slow the spread of the coronavirus?

U.S. academic research funding stays healthy despite pandemic

June 12, 2020

New Analysis Shows Governor Whitmer's Aggressive Action Against COVID-19 Saved Lives, Significantly Lowered Cases, Deaths [Also see Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team link below]

NIH COVID-19 Guidelines Updated
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Treatment Guidelines issued an update June 11, 2020, available at covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov. Revisions include new recommendations on the use of remedesivir, hydroxychloroquine, and immune-based therapies, as well as new sections on pediatrics and SARS-CoV-2 testing. This is the second update of the NIH COVID-19 guidelines since they were first posted on April 21, 2020. WSU Applebaum Clinical Professor of Pharmacy Practice Susan Davis is a member of the NIH COVID-19 Guideline Panel. 

State-level tracking of COVID-19 in the United States by the Imperial College COVID-19 Response Team
"Overall, we show that while all US states have substantially reduced their reproduction numbers, we find no evidence that any state is approaching herd immunity or that its epidemic is close to over."

COVID-19 and flu, a perfect storm [Science editorial]

Big studies dim hopes for hydroxychloroquine
Amid politicization and scandal, a disappointing scientific picture is emerging.

Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, first-in-human trial

Has COVID-19 subverted global health?

Zoonotic origins of human coronaviruses

The Chinese government has moved slowly to permanently stop the sale and consumption of wild animals in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic, raising fears the practice may continue

First reported cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in companion animals

Surviving the Surge: Evaluation of Early Impact of COVID-19 on Inpatient Pharmacy Services at a Community Teaching Hospital

June 5, 2020

COVID-19 and Racial Disparities

As of June 4, more than 1.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States, with over 109,000 known deaths. While the rate of new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths per day from COVID-19 has slowed in Michigan, we continue to feel the impact in our community and region particularly in some of our most vulnerable patients. 

Emerging data has identified that minority communities are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, although race information is available in less than half of cases reported for national surveillance (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html). Factors that may contribute to this burden include a higher prevalence of comorbidities in patients from minority populations, as well as disparities in access to health, social, and economic resources.

Selected publications and preprints describing these disparities in COVID-19 include the following:

How You Should Read Coronavirus Studies, or Any Science Paper

The coronavirus outbreak could make it quicker and easier to trial drugs
Remote clinical trials and other changes could permanently alter pharmaceutical development: Part 7 in a series on science after the pandemic.

How to Discover Antiviral Drugs Quickly

Effect of Convalescent Plasma Therapy on Time to Clinical Improvement in Patients With Severe and Life-threatening COVID-19  A Randomized Clinical Trial

Lancet, NEJM Retract Surgisphere Studies on COVID-19 Patients

Hydroxychloroquine for the Prevention of COVID-19 — Searching for Evidence

A Randomized Trial of Hydroxychloroquine as Postexposure Prophylaxis for COVID-19

A Trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in Adults Hospitalized with Severe COVID-19

Remdesivir for 5 or 10 Days in Patients with Severe COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2 strategically mimics proteolytic activation 2 of human ENaC

May 29, 2020

Remdesivir for 5 or 10 days in patients with severe COVID-19

Hospitalization and mortality among black patients and white patients with COVID-19 [Louisiana]

Open letter to MR Mehra, SS Desai, F Ruschitzka, and AN Patel, authors of "Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis" published in The Lancet on May 22, 2020, and to journal editor Richard Horton with an international list of signatories

How countries are using genomics to help avoid a second coronavirus wave: Scientists in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and other places are using sequence data to track new infections as lockdowns ease

Ethical guidelines for COVID-19 tracing apps: Protect privacy, equality and fairness in digital contact tracing with these key questions

Reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2: Countries that have been most effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19 have implemented universal masking, including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea

May 22, 2020

FDA names 28 coronavirus antibody diagnostics it says should be taken off the market weeks after the agency closed its open-door policy on COVID-19 blood tests and required developers to submit their products and data for review

DNA vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques

Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to begin phase II/III human trials

Rapid reconstruction of SARS-CoV-2 using a synthetic genomics platform

Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: A multinational registry analysis

Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in COVID-19
 
Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in humans with COVID-19 disease and unexposed individuals

Advisory opinion 20-02 on the public readiness and emergency preparedness act and the secretary's declaration under the act - May 19, 2020

CDC: Considerations for Institutes of Higher Education

NHS contact tracing app: how does it work and when can you download it? [UK]

May 15, 2020

How coronavirus mutates and spreads

Coronavirus blood-clot mystery intensifies

Emergency approval of the antiviral drug remdesivir is the first good news of this pandemic. This is how Gilead Sciences prepared for the moment.

Roche's COVID-19 antibody test receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization and is available in markets accepting the CE mark

US approves first CRISPR coronavirus test that can be used at home

On decontaminating filtering facepiece respirators:

'Finally, a virus got me.' Scientist who fought Ebola and HIV reflects on facing death from COVID-19

CDC: Guidance for 'Opening up America Again' framework – Full 63-page document acquired by Associated Press

May 8, 2020

Remdesivir in the news

Antibody responses to COVID-19

Impact of COVID-19 on professional careers

May 1, 2020

April 24, 2020

April 17, 2020

April 10, 2020

April 3, 2020


General resources

The University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is known for reliable information on infectious diseases/antibiotic resistance; their COVID-19 resource page aggregates interesting news and follows up with expert commentary.

The Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists offers a series of great educational videos and handouts giving a basic overview of experimental therapies being used for COVID-19. 

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists offers an exhaustive list of tools, guidance documents and national pharmacy news related to COVID-19.

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America provides some of the best resources on infection control, hand hygiene, occupational health and protective equipment.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America resource center provides links to resources on developments, guidelines, protocols, policies and tools for practitioners.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers guidance for patients and health care professionals.
 

Who is at highest risk for COVID-19?  

The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report describes the epidemiology of the virus in the United States. Persons with certain underlying conditions appear to be at highest risk of severe COVID-19 associated disease. These include:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Cardiovascular disease