CDC: Focus On Airborne Covid Transmission, Not Surfaces

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The chief of the CDC’s Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch said “putting on a show” to clean and disinfect “may be used to give people a sense of security that they are being protected from the virus.” In other covid research news, a new covid treatment shows promise — in hamsters.

Disinfecting Surfaces To Prevent Covid Often All For Show, CDC Advises 

The risk of surface transmission of Covid-19 is low, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Far more important is airborne transmission — and people who obsessively disinfect surfaces may be doing more harm than good. “CDC determined that the risk of surface transmission is low, and secondary to the primary routes of virus transmission through direct contact droplets and aerosols,” Vincent Hill, Chief of the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said on a CDC-sponsored telephone briefing. (Langmaid, 4/19)

In other covid research news —

COVID-19 Damages Brain Without Infecting It, Study Suggests 

Although SARS-CoV-2 probably does not infect the brain, it can damage it significantly, a new study of autopsies of 41 COVID-19 patients finds. Researchers at Columbia University say that they found no signs of virus inside the patients’ brain cells but saw many brain abnormalities that could explain the confusion and delirium seen in some patients with severe coronavirus and the lingering “brain fog” in those with mild disease. (Van Beusekom, 4/19)

Study: Indoor School Sports Most Likely To Spread COVID-19

A study in an Atlanta school district revealed that the highest secondary COVID-19 attack rates were in indoor, high-contact sports settings (23.8%), staff meetings or lunches (18.2%), and elementary school classrooms (9.5%), and that staff were more susceptible to COVID-19 than students were. The study, published late last week in Clinical Infectious Diseases, tracked COVID-19 cases and case contacts from Dec 11, 2020, through Jan 22, 2021, in a district that included eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. Students were in-person 4 days per week and wore masks, and desks were spaced 3 to 6 feet apart. (4/19)

Fox News:
Oxford Challenge Trial Assessing Coronavirus Reinfection, Immune Responses

The University of Oxford announced Monday it launched a challenge trial intentionally re-infecting participants with the novel coronavirus to better understand how the immune system mounts a response the second time around, and potentially pave the way for improved vaccines and treatments. Britain marked the first country worldwide to greenlight “challenge trials” in February, Reuters reports, which generally involves “a carefully controlled study that involves purposefully infecting a subject with a pathogen or bug, in order to study the effects of that infection,” per a related university release posted Monday. (Rivas, 4/19)

Fox News:
Coronavirus Antiviral Drug Shows Promise In Hamsters, Enters Human Testing

An experimental antiviral treatment against the virus causing COVID-19 showed promise in animal studies and has entered human clinical trials, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The drug, MK-4482, was said to drop viral levels and reduce damage from the disease in the lungs of hamsters treated for infection, per an NIH release. The treatment works by preventing the virus from replicating, with benefits seen when the drug was given 12 hours before or 12 hours after infection. Researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases published findings in the Nature Communications journal. (Rivas, 4/19)

Boston Globe:
Adagio Raises $336 Million To Advance Covid-19 Antibody Treatment

Waltham-based Adagio Therapeutics announced on Monday that it has raised $336 million in new funding to rapidly advance its Covid-19 antibody treatment, which aims to treat and prevent the disease and all of its known variants. Last week the Waltham biotech began recruitment for global clinical trial to test the drug’s efficacy as a treatment for high-risk individuals with mild or moderate Covid-19. The goal: to determine whether a single intramuscular dose could prevent hospitalizations and deaths. (Gardizy, 4/19)

Also —

Learning To Breathe: German Clinic Helps COVID Long Haulers

Located in Heiligendamm, a north German seaside spa popular since the late 18th century, the clinic specializes in helping people with lung diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and cancer. Over the past year it has become a major rehabilitation center for COVID-19 patients, treating 600 people from across Germany, according to its medical director, Dr. Joerdis Frommhold. (Jordans and Sopke, 4/20)

CBS News:
Some Long-Haul COVID Patients Report Vaccines Are Easing Their Lingering Symptoms

A Facebook group called “Survivor Corps” polled 962 COVID-19 long haulers and found 39% said they saw mild to full resolution of their lingering symptoms after they were vaccinated. 46% of people said they remained the same after their shot, 14% said they felt worse. “For me, this is a miracle,” COVID long-hauler Kimberly Willis-Rinaldi told CBS News senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula. “The viral conjunctivitis specifically in my right eye is gone. The rash that was on my back and on my arms and my neck, that’s gone.” (4/19)

We Know A Lot About Covid-19. Experts Have Many More Questions

Less than a year and a half ago, the world was blissfully, dangerously ignorant of the existence of a coronavirus that would soon turn life on earth on its head. In the 16 months since the SARS-CoV-2 virus burst into the global consciousness, we’ve learned much about this new health threat… But many key questions about SARS-2 and the disease it causes, Covid-19, continue to bedevil scientists. (Branswell, 4/20)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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