Research Insights About Covid-19

We attempt to provide selected highlights in recent research findings

Last Update on 1 December 2020

A. Medicine and Health 

October 2020

Oct 28, 2020 (JCLA)

Laboratory markers associated with COVID‐19 progression in patients with or without comorbidity: A retrospective study

Zaishu Chen, Furong Zhang, Weihua Hu et al.

The authors performed a multicentre retrospective study on 836 COVID-19 patients to investigate the utility of laboratory markers for COVID‐19 progression in patients with different medical conditions. They found that lactate dehydrogenase was a reliable predictor associated with COVID‐19 severity and mortality in patients with different medical conditions.



Oct 28, 2020 (Adv. Matter)

SARS‐CoV‐2 RBD Neutralizing Antibody Induction is Enhanced by Particulate Vaccination

Huang, W.‐C., Zhou, S., He, X. et al.

In this article, the authors discuss particulate presentation strategies for the receptor‐binding domain (RBD) immunogen to strongly induce neutralizing antibody responses against SARS‐CoV‐2. They show that rapid conversion of recombinant RBD into particulate form via admixing with liposomes containing cobalt‐porphyrin‐phospholipid (CoPoP) potently enhances the functional antibody response.



October 26, 2020 (E Clinical Medicine)

Diagnosis of COVID-19 by analysis of breath with gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry – a feasibility study

Dorota M Ruszkiewicz, Daniel Sanders, Rachel O'Brien et al.

Two independent observational prevalence studies were conducted in the UK and Germany to test the feasibility of using breath-analysis with near-patient gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry (GC-IMS) to distinguish between COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Participants gave a single breath-sample for VOC analysis by GC-IMS. COVID-19 infection was identified by RT- qPCR of oral/nasal swabs together with the clinical review. A COVID-19 breath-score based on the relative abundance of a panel of volatile organic compounds was proposed and tested against the cohort data. The results showed that patients with COVID-19 can be rapidly distinguished from patients with other conditions at first healthcare contact. The authors postulate that the development and validation of this approach may allow rapid diagnosis of COVID-19 in the coming endemic flu seasons.


Oct 23, 2020 (J of Parentral and Enteral Nutrition)

Clinical Nutrition Research and the COVID‐19 Pandemic: A Scoping Review of the ASPEN COVID‐19 Task Force on Nutrition Research

Jeffry I. Mechanick, Salavatore Carbone, Roland N. Dickerson et al.

This scoping review by the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition COVID‐19 Nutrition Task Force aimed to examine nutrition research and identify knowledge gaps applicable to the COVID‐19 pandemic. Epidemiological/mechanistic relationships between nutrition and COVID‐19 were reviewed and results mapped to the Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome, and Time (PICO‐T) questions. Nutrition topics meriting urgent research included food insecurity/societal infrastructure and transcultural factors (pre–COVID‐19); cardiac‐based chronic disease, pediatrics, nutrition support, and hospital infrastructure; dietitian nutritionist counselling; and malnutrition and management. Knowledge gaps were discovered for PICO‐T questions. In conclusion, areas for urgent nutrition research were identified, particularly using RCT design to improve nutrition care for patients before, during, and after COVID‐19.



Oct 22, 2020 (Investigative Otolaryngology)

Evaluation of predictive value of olfactory dysfunction, as a screening tool for COVID‐19

Romero‐Gameros, CA, Waizel‐Haiat, S, Mendoza‐Zubieta, V, et al.

This cross‐sectional, observational, and pro‐elective study was performed in a tertiary care hospital to determine the diagnostic yield of the smell dysfunction as a screening tool for COVID‐19. A Self‐Perception Questionnaire and psychophysical olfactory test (POT) were applied to 139 participants. The authors found that although there is a strong association between olfactory dysfunction and COVID-19, it is not an efficient screening tool and should not be considered as a single diagnostic instrument.

October 12, 2020 (JAMA Pediatrics)

Outcomes of Neonates Born to Mothers With Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection at a Large Medical Center in New York City

Dani Dumitriu, Ukachi N. Emeruwa, Erin Hanft


This cohort study describes the outcomes of neonates born to mothers with perinatal severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection and the infection prevention and control practices associated with these outcomes.



October 9, 2020 (IJID)

Susceptibility of obese population to COVID-19

Takefumi Kimura, Ho Namkoong

Obesity has been reported to be a risk factor for COVID-19 severity. The authors outline several pathophysiological mechanisms that could account for the higher risk of severe disease in obese individuals.


October 8, 2020 (Cell Systems)

Large-Scale Multi-omic Analysis of COVID-19 Severity

Katherine A. Overmyer, Evgenia Shishkova, Ian J. Miller et. al.

The authors performed RNA-seq and high-resolution mass spectrometry on 128 blood samples from COVID-19-positive and COVID-19-negative patients with diverse disease severities and outcomes.  They found 219 biomolecules strongly associated with COVId-19 status and severity, many of which were involved in complement activation, dysregulated lipid transport, and neutrophil activation. The authors present a web-based tool ( enabling interactive exploration of their data.


October 7, 2020 (Virol J)

The effect of temperature on persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on common surfaces

Riddell, S., Goldie, S., Hill, A.  

The authors investigate the environmental stability of SARS-CoV-2 to determine risks of fomite transmission. This study measured the survival rates of infectious SARS-CoV-2, suspended in a standard ASTM E2197 matrix, on several common surface types such as glass, stainless steel and banknotes and at several temperatures. 


October 6, 2020 (PNAS)

Systemic complement activation is associated with respiratory failure in COVID-19 hospitalized patients

Jan C. Holter, Soeren E. Pischke, Eline de Boer et al.

In this prospective cohort study of 39 hospitalized coronavirus disease COVID-19 patients, the authors describe systemic complement activation and its association with the development of respiratory failure. They found that several complement activation products are systemically, consistently, and long-lastingly increased from admission and during the hospital stay. Notably, the terminal sC5b-9 complement complex was associated with respiratory failure. Thus, the authors conclude that complement inhibition is an attractive therapeutic approach for the treatment of COVD-19.



October 6, 2020 (PNAS)

Decoy nanoparticles protect against COVID-19 by concurrently adsorbing viruses and inflammatory cytokines

Lang Rao, Shuai Xia, Wei Xu et. al.

The authors report a decoy nanoparticle against COVID-19. The decoy nanoparticles were constructed by fusing cell membrane nanovesicles derived from genetically engineered cells, which stably express SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2, and human monocytes, which display abundant cytokine receptors. By competing with host cells, these nanodecoys efficiently adsorb viruses and inflammatory cytokines such as IL-6 and GM-CSF. These two functionalities allow the effective intervention of viral infection and its associated immune disorder, presenting a promising therapeutic strategy for COVID-19 and other potential epidemics.



October 5, 2020 (Annals of Clin. And Translational Neurology)

Frequent neurologic manifestations and encephalopathy‐associated morbidity in Covid‐19 patients

Eric M. Liotta, Ayush Batra, Jeffrey R. Clark et. al.

In this study, the authors sought to characterize the neurologic manifestations, their risk factors, and associated outcomes in hospitalized patients with COVID‐19. They examined neurologic manifestations in 509 consecutive patients admitted with confirmed Covid‐19 within a hospital network in Chicago, Illinois and found that neurologic manifestations occur in most hospitalized COVID‐19 patients. Encephalopathy was associated with increased morbidity and mortality, independent of respiratory disease severity.



October 1, 2020 (Cell Host & Microbe)

Activating Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic: In vivo Models for Vaccines and Therapeutics

Judith A. Hewitt, Cathleen Lutz, William C. Florence et. al.

This review provides a snapshot that recommends the suitability of animal models for testing vaccines and therapeutics. To date, mouse, hamster, ferret, guinea pig, and non-human primates have been investigated. Several species are permissive for SARS-CoV-2 replication, often exhibiting mild disease with the resolution, reflecting most human COVID-19 cases. The more severe disease develops in a few models, some associated with advanced age, a risk factor for human disease.