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COVID-19 perspectives from three international leading general medical journals

Keep up with the mass amount of information about COVID-19 being rolled out online. In this perspective we present three of this week’s COVID-19 headlines from The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet & The British Medical Journal.

The New England Journal of Medicine: SARS-CoV-2 stability similar to original SARS virus
A new study from the New England Journal of Medicine has examined the stability and viability of the two coronaviruses.

Acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causing COVID-19 has evolved to a much larger outbreak than its most related human coronavirus SARS-CoV-1 causing SARS, which also emerged from China and infected more than 8,000 people in 2002 and 2003.

The two viruses shared many similar behavings, including their stability in aerosols and different surfaces:

  • SARS-CoV-2 remained viable in aerosols throughout the duration of our experiment (3 hours).
  • SARS-CoV-2 was more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces.
  • Estimated differences in the half-lives of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 were small for all materials except for those on cardboard (but data from cardboard had bigger variation and a larger standard error).

Hence research indicate that it is not the stability of the SARS-CoV-2 that causes severeness of this outbreak. Findings indicate that the different epidemiologic characteristics between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 must be further investigated to uncover the underlying reasons for the mass spread, including the fact that people infected with SARS-CoV-2 are spreading the disease prior to recognizing symptoms.

Read the full article here

The Lancet: Research gaps that need to be addressed to strengthen COVID-19 response
The WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards (STAG-IH) has made a series of recommendations to the WHO Health Emergence Programme. These recommendations include a list of research priorities needed for bringing the COVID-19 outbreak to a close (made on conclusions from the global community and from the WHO Research and Development Blueprint Scientific Advisory Group). The Lancet has outlined the recommendations.

The list highlights the need for:

  • A better understanding of the natural history of disease, including research about virus stability.
  • Comparative analysis of different quarantine strategies.
  • An ethical framework for outbreak response.
  • Determine the best way to communicate guidelines about infection prevention and control to resource-constrained countries.
  • Validate existing serological tests and establish biobanks and serum panels
  • Complete work on animal models for vaccine and therapeutic research and development.

Read the full comment here

The British Medical Journal: No substantial scientific evidence that ibuprofen makes COVID-19 infection worse
Doing this week there has been controversy regarding the role of ibuprofen in COVID-19 infection. Last Saturday – the 14th of March – The French Health Minister Olivier Veran posted on twitter that the use of non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) ibufren and cortisone could worsen coronavirus disease. Since then, there has been many different statements about the matter.

There is no substantial evidence that taking ibuprofen worsen the progress of the illness, BMJ reported.

According to BMJ the warnings has come from four alleged cases of young patients with COVID-19. It was reported that the four patients had no underlying health problems before they used NSAIDs. After the use of NSAIDs they developed severe symptoms.

The World Health Organization WHO is currently looking into the link between NSAID and COVID-19. Some media have reported that WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier has advised against using ibuprofen with COVID-symptoms, but Linndmeier has said that is not true to NPR.

Several experts argue that ibuprofen should be avoided until the link between has been studied.

Read the full article here

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