Research Insights About Covid-19

We attempt to provide selected highlights in recent research findings

Last Update on 1 January 2021

A. Medicine and Health 

Dec 2020

Nov 2020

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A. Medicine and Health 

December 2020

December 10, 2020 (NEJM)

Efficacy of Tocilizumab in Patients Hospitalized with Covid-19

John H. Stone, Matthew J. Frigault, Naomi J. Serling-Boyd et al.

The efficacy of tocilizumab, an IL-6 receptor blocker, was tested in a randomized, controlled trial involving patients with COVID-19 who had fever, pulmonary infiltrates, or a need for supplemental oxygen. The authors found that the treatment had no significant effect on disease progression, independence from supplemental oxygen, or death.



December 10, 2020 (Int. J of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics)

Clinician attitudes to using low dose radiotherapy to treat COVID-19 lung disease

Catherine R. Hanna, Kathryn A. Robb, Kevin G. Blyth et al.

Low dose radiotherapy (LDRT) has received both interest and criticism as a potential treatment for COVID-19 lung disease. In this qualitative study, the authors explored clinicians’ perspectives to identify barriers to testing LDRT in clinical trials and implementing them in clinical practice. The authors hope to address the barriers identified to facilitate research into the potential benefits of radiation treatment for patients with COVID-19 lung disease.



December 8, 2020 (The Lancet)

Safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine (AZD1222) against SARS-CoV-2: an interim analysis of four randomised controlled trials in Brazil, South Africa, and the UK

Merryn Voysey, Sue Ann Costa Clemens, Shabir A Madhi et al.

The authors evaluated the safety and efficacy of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine in a pooled interim analysis of four ongoing blinded, randomised, controlled trials across the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. Participants in the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group received two standard doses of the vaccine. The primary efficacy analysis included symptomatic COVID-19 in seronegative participants with a nucleic acid amplification test-positive swab more than 14 days after the second dose of vaccine. In this interim analysis of ongoing clinical trials, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 has an acceptable safety profile and is efficacious against symptomatic COVID.

December 8, 2020 (JAMA)

Peripheral Oxygen Saturation in Older Persons Wearing Nonmedical Face

Noel C. Chan, Karen Li, Jack Hirsh

This study describes changes in portable oximeter–measured peripheral oxygen saturation (Spo2 or O2sat) in older adults before, during, and after wearing a 3-layer plane-shaped disposable nonmedical face mask widely used to protect against COVID-19. The authors found that wearing a 3-layer nonmedical face mask was not associated with a decline in oxygen saturation in older participants. Limitations to this study included small sample size, the exclusion of patients who were unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, investigation of only 1 type of mask and  Spo2 measurements during minimal physical activity.



December 8, 2020 (JAMA)

Fluvoxamine vs Placebo and Clinical Deterioration in Outpatients With Symptomatic COVID-19

Eric J. Lenze, Caline Mattar, Charles F. Zorumski et al.

This randomized trial compares the effects of fluvoxamine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor with immunomodulatory effects vs placebo on a composite of dyspnoea or pneumonia and oxygen desaturation among adult outpatients with polymerase chain reaction–confirmed mild COVID-19 illness.



December 4, 2020 (Nat Commun)

Longitudinal symptom dynamics of COVID-19 infection

Mizrahi, B., Shilo, S., Rossman, H. et al

The authors extracted data from primary-care electronic health records and nationwide distributed surveys to assess the longitudinal dynamics of symptoms before and throughout SARS-CoV-2 infection to better understand the full clinical spectrum of symptoms experienced by adults and children infected with COVID-19.



December 3, 2020 (Mayo Clinic Proceedings)

COVID-19: Understanding Inter-Individual Variability and Implications for Precision Medicine

Naveen L. Pereira, Ferhaan Ahmad, Mirnela Byku et al.

There are demographic characteristics such as age, race, and ethnicity, and sex and biological differences such as ACE2 expression, immune regulation, and genetics that define the well-known variability in COVID-19 disease manifestation, susceptibility, and progression. Identifying and validating these individual differences and leveraging digital platforms including the use of artificial intelligence in developing predictive algorithms may help in individualizing targeted therapy and hospitalization and assist in the logistics of vaccine administration.



December 2, 2020 ( Singapore Medical Journal)

A review of COVID-19-related thrombosis and anticoagulation strategies specific to the Asian population

Kai Chin Poh, Victoria Yu Jia Tay, Sarah Huixin Lin et al.

Severe COVID-19 is widely regarded as a risk factor for venous thromboembolism. This review article aimed to summarise the current understanding of arteriovenous thromboembolic complications in COVID-19 and discuss management strategies for prevention and treatment of thrombotic events in Asian COVID-19 patients.  



December 2, 2020 (Diagn Interv Radiol)

Predictive value of CT imaging findings in COVID-19 pneumonia at the time of first-screen regarding the need for hospitalization or intensive care unit

Tekcan Sanli DE, Yildirim D, Sanli AN, et al.

In this study, the authors aimed to reveal the relationship between initial lung parenchymal involvement patterns and the subsequent need for hospitalization and/or intensive care unit admission in COVID-19 positive cases. They found that in the case of infiltration dominated by a right middle or upper lobe involvement with a consolidation pattern, there is a higher risk of future intensive care need. Also, the need for intensive care increases as the number of affected lobes and the percentage of affected parenchymal involvement increase.



December 1, 2020 (JAMA Int. Med)

Seroprevalence of Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in 10 Sites in the United States, March 23-May 12, 2020

Fiona P. Havers, Carrie Reed, Travis Lim et al.

This cross-sectional study estimates the prevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 antibodies in convenience samples from 10 geographic sites in the United States.

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