Recent Submissions

  • School Closures During COVID-19: Opportunities for Innovation in Meal Service

    Kinsey, Eliza W; Hecht, Amelie A; Dunn, Caroline Glagola; Levi, Ronli; Read, Margaret A; Smith, Courtney; Niesen, Pamela; Seligman, Hilary K; Hager, Erin R (American Public Health Association, 2020-09-17)
    In 2019, the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program served approximately 15 million breakfasts and 30 million lunches daily at low or no cost to students.Access to these meals has been disrupted as a result of long-term school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially decreasing both student nutrient intake and household food security. By the week of March 23, 2020, all states had mandated statewide school closures as a result of the pandemic, and the number of weekly missed breakfasts and lunches served at school reached a peak of approximately 169.6 million; this weekly estimate remained steady through the final week of April.We highlight strategies that states and school districts are using to replace these missed meals, including a case study from Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture waivers that, in many cases, have introduced flexibility to allow for innovation. Also, we explore lessons learned from the pandemic with the goal of informing and strengthening future school nutrition policies for out-of-school time, such as over the summer.
  • Testing for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2: Challenges in Getting Good Specimens, Choosing the Right Test, and Interpreting the Results

    Tu, Yuan-Po; O'Leary, Timothy J (Wolters Kluwer Health, 2020-11-01)
    OBJECTIVES: We explore ways to reduce errors in laboratory diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 infection by considering preanalytic, analytic, and postanalytic sources. To address preanalytic challenges, we first consider alternative anatomic sites for specimen collection, then discuss self-collection, alternative sampling devices, and transport media. Strengths and limitations of various analytic test systems are considered in the context of postanalytic challenges associated with making test results meaningful, specifically considering the complex relationship between "positive" test results and reproduction and shedding of intact virus. Finally, we provide recommendations regarding healthcare worker surveillance and release of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 from isolation. DATA SOURCES: Material was derived from a Webinar available to the public, manufacturer's websites, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites and from both peer-reviewed papers identified by PubMed search and nonpeer-reviewed papers posted on Biorxiv and Medrxiv. Unpublished data came from the Washington State Department of Health. STUDY SELECTION: We included studies that compared diagnostic performance strategies without introducing bias due to use of an imperfect gold standard. Case series and case reports were included as necessary to illuminate the significance of results. DATA EXTRACTION: Data were extracted manually. DATA SYNTHESIS: Sensitivity, specificity, and CIs were computed from article data using a composite reference standard. Nucleic acid-based tests were assumed to perform at 100% specificity. CONCLUSIONS: Although sputum and bronchoalveolar lavage samples provide the highest diagnostic sensitivity for severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2, nasopharyngeal, mid turbinate, and nasal specimens are suitable in most cases and require less use of personal protective equipment. When desired sampling materials are unavailable, alternatives may be substituted with no loss of performance. Both reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction tests and rapid nucleic acid-based tests offer good performance in most circumstances. Testing is not required to release most patients from isolation.
  • Ethical conflicts in COVID-19 times

    Vizcaino, Gilberto; Esparza, José Gilberto (Open Learning on Enteric Pathogens, 2020-09-30)
    The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges on multiple fronts including a few ethical concerns. Timely and appropriate access to health services and the need to protect vulnerable people are some of them. An important aspect to consider, at the global level, is the frailty of health systems in many developing countries and the constant threat of these collapsing due to shortage of resources and medical supply. Special attention should be placed towards protecting the health of care workers who are highly exposed to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Research and clinical trials involving COVID-19 patients and healthy human volunteers must be done in strict adherence to the fundamental principles of bioethics, even if finding a solution is an urgent need. Shared responsibility must be assumed as we collectively face a common problem and ethical conflicts must be resolved using, as reference, the guidelines developed by the World Health Organization and other relevant international and national organizations. This would allow responsible action in the face of the pandemic without harming human rights, the individual and collective well-being.
  • COVID-19 pandemic and health anxiety among nurses of intensive care units

    Mokhtari, Razieh; Moayedi, Siamak; Golitaleb, Mohamad (Blackwell Publishing, 2020-10-16)
  • Covid-19 vaccine trial protocols released

    Doshi, Peter (BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-10-21)
  • Extended use or re-use of single-use surgical masks and filtering facepiece respirators during COVID-19: A rapid systematic review

    Toomey, E; Conway, Y; Burton, C; Smith, S; Smalle, M; Chan, Xhs; Adisesh, A; Tanveer, S; Ross, L; Thomson, I; et al. (Cambridge University Press, 2020-10-08)
    Background: Shortages of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the extended use or re-use of single-use respirators and surgical masks by frontline healthcare workers. The evidence base underpinning such practices warrants examination. Objectives: To synthesise current guidance and systematic review evidence on extended use, reuse, or reprocessing of single-use surgical masks or filtering facepiece respirators. Data sources: World Health Organization, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Public Health England websites to identify guidance. Medline, Pubmed, Epistemonikos, Cochrane Database and preprint servers for systematic reviews. Methods: Two reviewers conducted screening and data extraction. Quality of included systematic reviews was appraised using AMSTAR-2. Findings were narratively synthesised. Results: Six guidance documents were identified. Levels of detail and consistency across documents varied. Four high-quality systematic reviews were included: three focused on reprocessing (decontamination) of N95 respirators, one on reprocessing of surgical masks. Vaporised hydrogen peroxide and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation were highlighted as the most promising reprocessing methods, but evidence on the relative efficacy and safety of different methods was limited. We found no well-established methods for reprocessing respirators at scale. Conclusions: There is limited evidence on the impact of extended use and re-use of surgical masks and respirators and gaps and inconsistencies exist in current guidance. Where extended use or reuse is being practiced, healthcare organisations should ensure that policies and systems are in place to ensure these practices are carried out safely and in line with available guidance.
  • Immune Correlates of COVID-19 Control

    Poonia, Bhawna; Kottilil, Shyam (Frontiers Media S.A., 2020-09-29)
    COVID-19 caused by SARS CoV2 emerged in China at the end of 2019 and soon become a pandemic. Since the virus is novel, pre-existing CoV2-specific immunity is not expected to exist in humans, although studies have shown presence of CoV2 cross-reactive T cells in unexposed individuals. Lack of effective immunity in most individuals along with high infectiousness of the virus has resulted in massive global public health emergency. Intense efforts are on to study viral pathogenesis and immune response to help guide prophylactic and therapeutic interventions as well as epidemiological assessments like transmission modeling. To develop an effective vaccine or biologic therapeutic, it is critical to understand the immune correlates of COVID-19 control. At the same time, whether immunity in recovered individuals is effective for preventing re-infection will be important for informing interventions like social distancing. Key questions that are being investigated regarding immune response in COVID-19 which will help these efforts include, investigations of immune response that distinguishes patients with severe versus mild infection or those that recover relative to those that succumb, durability of immunity in recovered patients and relevance of developed immunity in a cured patient for protection against re-infection as well as value of convalescent plasma from recovered patients as a potential therapeutic modality. This is a broad and rapidly evolving area and multiple reports on status of innate and adaptive immunity against SARS-CoV2 are emerging on a daily basis. While many questions remain unanswered for now, the purpose of this focused review is to summarize the current understanding regarding immune correlates of COVID-19 severity and resolution in order to assist researchers in the field to pursue new directions in prevention and control. © Copyright © 2020 Poonia and Kottilil.
  • Mental health management of elite athletes during COVID-19: a narrative review and recommendations.

    Reardon, Claudia L; Bindra, Abhinav; Blauwet, Cheri; Budgett, Richard; Campriani, Niccolo; Currie, Alan; Gouttebarge, Vincent; McDuff, David; Mountjoy, Margo; Purcell, Rosemary; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-09-23)
    Elite athletes suffer many mental health symptoms and disorders at rates equivalent to or exceeding those of the general population. COVID-19 has created new strains on elite athletes, thus potentially increasing their vulnerability to mental health symptoms. This manuscript serves as a narrative review of the impact of the pandemic on management of those symptoms in elite athletes and ensuing recommendations to guide that management. It specifically addresses psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy and higher levels of care. Within the realm of psychotherapy, crisis counselling might be indicated. Individual, couple/family and group psychotherapy modalities all may be helpful during the pandemic, with novel content and means of delivery. Regarding pharmacotherapy for mental health symptoms and disorders, some important aspects of management have changed during the pandemic, particularly for certain classes of medication including stimulants, medications for bipolar and psychotic disorders, antidepressants and medications for substance use disorders. Providers must consider when in-person management (eg, for physical examination, laboratory testing) or higher levels of care (eg, for crisis stabilisation) is necessary, despite potential risk of viral exposure during the pandemic. Management ultimately should continue to follow general principles of quality health care with some flexibility. Finally, the current pandemic provides an important opportunity for research on new methods of providing mental health care for athletes, and consideration for whether these new methods should extend beyond the pandemic.
  • Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Cancer Care: A Global Collaborative Study

    Jazieh, Abdul Rahman; Akbulut, Hakan; Curigliano, Giuseppe; Rogado, Alvaro; Alsharm, Abdullah Ali; Razis, Evangelia D.; Mula-Hussain, Layth; Errihani, Hassan; Khattak, Adnan; De Guzman, Roselle B.; et al. (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2020-09-01)
    PURPOSE: The COVID-19 pandemic affected health care systems globally and resulted in the interruption of usual care in many health care facilities, exposing vulnerable patients with cancer to significant risks. Our study aimed to evaluate the impact of this pandemic on cancer care worldwide. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study using a validated web-based questionnaire of 51 items. The questionnaire obtained information on the capacity and services offered at these centers, magnitude of disruption of care, reasons for disruption, challenges faced, interventions implemented, and the estimation of patient harm during the pandemic. RESULTS: A total of 356 centers from 54 countries across six continents participated between April 21 and May 8, 2020. These centers serve 716,979 new patients with cancer a year. Most of them (88.2%) reported facing challenges in delivering care during the pandemic. Although 55.34% reduced services as part of a preemptive strategy, other common reasons included an overwhelmed system (19.94%), lack of personal protective equipment (19.10%), staff shortage (17.98%), and restricted access to medications (9.83%). Missing at least one cycle of therapy by > 10% of patients was reported in 46.31% of the centers. Participants reported patient exposure to harm from interruption of cancer-specific care (36.52%) and noncancer-related care (39.04%), with some centers estimating that up to 80% of their patients were exposed to harm. CONCLUSION: The detrimental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care is widespread, with varying magnitude among centers worldwide. Additional research to assess this impact at the patient level is required.
  • What GI Physicians Need to Know During COVID-19 Pandemic

    Thuluvath, Paul J.; Alukal, Joseph J.; Ravindran, Nishal; Satapathy, Sanjaya K. (Springer Nature, 2020-01-01)
    The worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, continues to cause significant morbidity and mortality in both low- and high-income countries. Although COVID-19 is predominantly a respiratory illness, other systems including gastrointestinal (GI) system and liver may be involved because of the ubiquitous nature of ACE-2 receptors in various cell lines that SARS-CoV-2 utilizes to enter host cells. It appears that GI symptoms and liver enzyme abnormalities are common in COVID-19. The involvement of the GI tract and liver correlates with the severity of disease. A minority (10–20%) of patients with COVID-19 may also present initially with only GI complaints. The most common GI symptoms are anorexia, loss of smell, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Viral RNA can be detected in stool in up to 50% of patients, sometimes even after pharyngeal clearance, but it is unclear whether fecal–oral transmission occurs. Liver enzymes are elevated, usually mild (2–3 times), in a substantial proportion of patients. There are many confounding factors that could cause liver enzyme abnormalities including medications, sepsis, and hypoxia. Although infection rates in those with preexisting liver disease are similar to that of general population, once infected, patients with liver disease are more likely to have a more severe disease and a higher mortality. There is a paucity of objective data on the optimal preventive or management strategies, but few recommendations for GI physicians based on circumstantial evidence are discussed.
  • Overdue for an Overhaul: How Opioid Treatment Programs Can Learn From COVID-19

    Greenblatt, Aaron D; Magidson, Jessica F; Belcher, Annabelle M; Gandhi, Devang; Weintraub, Eric (Elsevier Ltd., 2020-08-25)
  • Things must not fall apart: the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children in sub-Saharan Africa

    Coker, Modupe; Folayan, Morenike O.; Michelow, Ian C.; Oladokun, Regina E.; Torbunde, Nguavese; Sam-Agudu, Nadia A. (Springer Nature, 2020-09-24)
    Children aged 0–19 years in sub-Saharan Africa bear a disproportionate proportion of the global burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Significant public health gains have been made in the fight against these diseases. However, factors such as underequipped health systems, disease outbreaks, and conflict and political instability continue to challenge prevention and control. The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) introduces new challenges to public health programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Of particular concern are programs targeting major conditions among children, such as undernutrition, vaccine-preventable pneumonia and diarrhea, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, and sickle cell disease. This article focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child health in sub-Saharan Africa. We review the epidemiology of major pediatric diseases and, referencing modeling projections, discuss the short- and long-term impact of the pandemic on major disease control. We deliberate on potential complications of SARS-CoV-2 co-infections/co-morbidities and identify critical social and ethical issues. Furthermore, we highlight the paucity of COVID-19 data and clinical trials in this region and the lack of child participants in ongoing studies. Lastly, approaches and interventions to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on child health outcomes are discussed. Impact: Children in sub-Saharan Africa bear a disproportionate burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases globally; this remains true even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.Amidst the fast-expanding COVID-19 literature, there is little comprehensive coverage of the pandemic’s indirect impact on child health in sub-Saharan Africa.This article comprehensively outlines the threat that the pandemic poses to major disease prevention and control for children in sub-Saharan Africa. It discusses the potential impact of SARS-CoV-2 co-infections/co-morbidities, highlights research gaps, and advocates for data and action to mitigate the ripple effects of the pandemic on this population.
  • Coronavirus interactions with the cellular autophagy machinery

    Miller, Katelyn; McGrath, Marisa E.; Hu, Zhiqiang; Ariannejad, Sohha; Weston, Stuart; Frieman, Matthew; Jackson, William T. (Taylor and Francis Inc., 2020-01-01)
    The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is the most recent example of an emergent coronavirus that poses a significant threat to human health. Virus-host interactions play a major role in the viral life cycle and disease pathogenesis, and cellular pathways such as macroautophagy/autophagy prove to be either detrimental or beneficial to viral replication and maturation. Here, we describe the literature over the past twenty years describing autophagy-coronavirus interactions. There is evidence that many coronaviruses induce autophagy, although some of these viruses halt the progression of the pathway prior to autophagic degradation. In contrast, other coronaviruses usurp components of the autophagy pathway in a non-canonical fashion. Cataloging these virus-host interactions is crucial for understanding disease pathogenesis, especially with the global challenge of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. With the recognition of autophagy inhibitors, including the controversial drug chloroquine, as possible treatments for COVID-19, understanding how autophagy affects the virus will be critical going forward. Abbreviations: 3-MA: 3-methyladenine (autophagy inhibitor); AKT/protein kinase B: AKT serine/threonine kinase; ATG: autophagy related; ATPase: adenosine triphosphatase; BMM: bone marrow macrophage; CGAS: cyclic GMP-AMP synthase; CHO: Chinese hamster ovary/cell line; CoV: coronaviruses; COVID-19: Coronavirus disease 2019; DMV: double-membrane vesicle; EAV: equine arteritis virus; EDEM1: ER degradation enhancing alpha-mannosidase like protein 1; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; ERAD: ER-associated degradation; GFP: green fluorescent protein; HCoV: human coronavirus; HIV: human immunodeficiency virus; HSV: herpes simplex virus; IBV: infectious bronchitis virus; IFN: interferon; LAMP1: lysosomal associated membrane protein 1; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MCoV: mouse coronavirus; MERS-CoV: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus; MHV: mouse hepatitis virus; NBR1: NBR1 autophagy cargo receptor; CALCOCO2/NDP52: calcium binding and coiled-coil domain 2 (autophagy receptor that directs cargo to phagophores); nsp: non-structural protein; OS9: OS9 endoplasmic reticulum lectin; PEDV: porcine epidemic diarrhea virus; PtdIns3K: class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase; PLP: papain-like protease; pMEF: primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts; SARS-CoV: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus; SKP2: S-phase kinase associated protein 2; SQSTM1: sequestosome 1; STING1: stimulator of interferon response cGAMP interactor 1; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; Vps: vacuolar protein sorting.
  • Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on rheumatic patients' perceptions and behaviors: A cross-sectional study

    Hassen, Lena Mostafa; Almaghlouth, Ibrahim A; Hassen, Ikhlass Mostafa; Daghestani, Maha H; Almohisen, Amal A; Alqurtas, Eman M; Alkhalaf, Abdulaziz; Bedaiwi, Mohammed K; Omair, Mohammed A; Almogairen, Sultan M; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2020-09-17)
    Aim: The dynamics of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has become of special concern to the rheumatology community. Rheumatic patients are required to engage in effective health management but their behavior is often influenced by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. This cross-sectional study aims to examine patients' experiences during the current pandemic and its implication on their health perception and behavior. Method: A patient-centered electronic survey was used, randomly sampling rheumatic patients in Saudi Arabia during March and April 2020. Questions included patients' socio-demographics, diseases, medications, COVID-19 knowledge, source of information, fear level, disease activity perception, health care utilization, medication accessibility, and therapeutic compliance (measured using a modified version of Medication Adherence Reporting Scale). Correlation and regression coefficients were used to evaluate associations among the aforementioned variables. Results: A total of 637 respondents were included. The majority were rheumatoid arthritis patients (42.7%). Patients' knowledge about COVID-19 was correlated with social media use (P = .012). Fear of COVID-19 infection correlated with healthcare facility for follow-up visits (P = .024) and fear of disease deterioration if contracting the infection correlated with patients' levels of knowledge (P = .035). Both types of fear did not correlate with patients' perceptions of disease activity. However, patients' perceptions of worsened disease activity were correlated with unplanned healthcare visits (P < .001), medication non-adherence, and difficulty accessing medication (P = .010 and .006, respectively). Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic and surrounding public health measures could affect rheumatic patients' health management which might contribute to disease flare-up and subsequently taxing healthcare systems even further.
  • Revisiting the Protein C Pathway: An Opportunity for Adjunctive Intervention in COVID-19?

    Mazzeffi, Michael; Chow, Jonathan H; Amoroso, Anthony; Tanaka, Kenichi (Wolters Kluwer Health, 2020-09-01)
  • In Response

    Chow, Jonathan H; Mazzeffi, Michael A; Tanaka, Kenichi A (Wolters Kluwer Health, 2020-09-01)
  • Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity?

    Doshi, Peter (BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-09-17)
  • Minimizing pharmacotherapy-related healthcare worker exposure to SARS-CoV-2

    Barlow, Brooke; Barlow, Ashley; Thompson Bastin, Melissa L; Berger, Karen; Dixit, Deepali; Heavner, Mojdeh S (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 2020-09-04)

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