The Scientific Process That Used To Take Years Is Being Compressed To Weeks. What Does That Mean For Accuracy?
As information floods in about COVID-19, experts struggle with making sure the best, more accurate rises to the top. But in a time when what is "best" and "accurate" remains murky, how do scientists approach their role in disseminating research? In other science and innovation news: why fit patients still get hit hard with the illness; why coronavirus infects some but not others; a look at how the virus interacts with water as summer nears; a skin condition that could give hints about who has COVID-19; and more.
The New York Times:
Coronavirus Is Forcing Medical Research To Speed Up
As scientists race to understand the coronavirus, the process of designing experiments, collecting data and submitting studies to journals for expert review is being compressed drastically. What typically takes many months is happening in weeks, even as some journals are receiving double their normal number of submissions. Science, one of the world’s most selective research outlets, published the structure of the spiky protein that the virus uses to enter host cells — crucial knowledge for designing a vaccine and antiviral drugs — nine days after receiving it, according to Holden Thorp, the journal’s editor in chief. “It’s the same process going extremely fast,” he says. Is there precedent in Science’s 140-year history? “Not that anybody can remember.” (Tingley, 4/21)
He Ran Marathons And Was Fit. So Why Did Covid-19 Almost Kill Him?
A week after testing positive for Covid-19, Joshua Fiske drove himself to a New Jersey hospital with a fever nearing 104 and a blood oxygen level extraordinarily low for an athletic 47-year-old. An X-ray revealed pneumonia in both lungs. He was admitted but his condition worsened: He felt cold enough to shiver under five blankets in one moment, then sweated through his hospital gown the next. He worried he wouldn’t pull through. (Glaser, 4/21)
The New York Times:
How Coronavirus Infected Some, But Not All, In A Restaurant
In January, at a restaurant in Guangzhou, China, one diner infected with the novel coronavirus but not yet feeling sick appeared to have spread the disease to nine other people. One of the restaurant’s air-conditioners apparently blew the virus particles around the dining room. There were 73 other diners who ate that day on the same floor of the five-story restaurant, and the good news is they did not become sick. Neither did the eight employees who were working on the floor at the time. (Chang, 4/20)
What Experts Say About Coronavirus In Water -- And What It Means For Beach Season
With the weather warming up and states like Florida announcing plans to reopen beaches, thoughts of beach vacations and weekends at the lake are bubbling up -- and so is the question about whether it's safe to go swimming without contracting the new coronavirus. Research indicates that other coronavirus strains, such as SARS, can survive 12 days in room temperature tap water, two to three days in room temperature wastewater, and much longer in both at cooler temperatures, according to Dr. Ian Pepper, PhD, director of the University of Arizona Water and Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center. (Anoruo, 4/20)
'COVID Toes': Could Skin Conditions Offer Coronavirus Clues?
Months after the novel coronavirus appeared on the world stage, the deadly disease is still prompting medical mysteries, and doctors have identified another odd potential symptom: skin problems. A growing number of prominent dermatologists treating suspected and confirmed coronavirus-positive patients are reporting patterns and trends of skin conditions, suggesting the skin could be a kind of window about what may be happening with COVID-19 inside the body. Italian doctors published a series of cases signaling a trend about the skin in late March. In that study, one in five patients had a skin issue, most commonly a red rash or a hive-like eruption. (Romero, Kim and Abdelmalek, 4/20)
Explaining How A Plasma Transplant May Help Coronavirus Patients Recover
Experts are hoping a century-old technique used for treating epidemics may hold new promise for treating COVID-19 patients. It’s the much talked about treatment called convalescent plasma. The question doctors and researchers are asking is this: Can the blood of a recovered coronavirus patient be donated to help others who are sick? (Abdelmalek, 4/20)
COVID-19 Survivor Launches Plasma Donor Group To 'Help Contribute To The Cure'
A woman who overcame the coronavirus has turned her experience into an act of heroism by donating her plasma for antibody testing and spearheading a volunteer movement to help others. Diana Berrent, a professional photographer from New York, joined ABC News' "Pandemic: What You Need to Know" to share details about her experience with the disease and how it acted as a catalyst for her to mobilize volunteer efforts with other COVID-19 survivors. (4/20)
Symptom Checker Steers Covid-19 Patients To Care
When Covid-19 began spreading in the United States, Emory Healthcare was prepared in one way other health systems were not: A decade earlier — in response to the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak — it had built an online symptom checker that could be quickly adjusted to screen patients for the new respiratory illness. The tool was launched on March 20, and in less than three weeks, more than 300,000 screenings had been completed, including many thousands in early hotspots such as California (18,500) and New York (17,000), according to data Emory provided to STAT. In nearly 22 percent of cases, patients reported signs of severe illness and were directed to seek emergency care. (Ross, 4/21)