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Viral load of SARS-CoV-2 in adults during the first and second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in Houston, TX: the potential of the super-spreader

By |2021-02-18T06:50:36+00:00February 18th, 2021|

Background During the COVID-19 pandemic, a minority of index cases are associated with a majority of secondary cases suggesting that super-spreaders could drive the pandemic. We identified a phenotype in individuals with extremely high viral load who could act as super-spreaders. Methods Data were analyzed from individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2 from March 18 through August 15, 2020. [...]

S-variant SARS-CoV-2 lineage B1.1.7 is associated with significantly higher viral loads in samples tested by ThermoFisher TaqPath RT-qPCR

By |2021-02-18T06:50:35+00:00February 18th, 2021|

Abstract A SARS-CoV-2 variant B1.1.7 containing a mutation Δ69/70 has spread rapidly in the UK and shows an identifiable profile in ThermoFisher TaqPath RTqPCR (S-gene target failure; SGTF). We analysed recent test data for trends and significance. Linked Ct values for respiratory samples showed that a low Ct for ORF1ab and N were clearly associated [...]

Proteins found in semen increase the spread of Ebola virus infection

By |2021-02-18T06:50:34+00:00February 18th, 2021|

Protein fragments, called amyloid fibrils, in human semen significantly increase Ebola virus infection and protect the virus against harsh environmental conditions such as heat and dehydration. Follow-up studies from the 2014 epidemic found that men can harbor the virus in their semen for at least 2.5 years, with the potential to transmit the virus sexually [...]

Listeria (Listeriosis)

By |2021-02-18T06:50:32+00:00February 18th, 2021|

CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. Epidemiologic data show that Hispanic-style fresh and soft cheeses may be contaminated with Listeria and may be making people sick. A specific type or brand of Hispanic-style fresh and [...]

Coronavirus and food safety: what the studies say

By |2021-02-18T06:50:31+00:00February 18th, 2021|

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, not much was known about SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus) and its survival in food, on various materials and on surfaces. Since then, several food safety agencies have assessed the risk of potentially acquiring the virus from contaminated food or food packaging. The consensus is that currently, there’s no evidence it’s a food safety risk. The [...]

Using face masks in the community: first update – Effectiveness in reducing transmission of COVID-19

By |2021-02-18T06:50:30+00:00February 18th, 2021|

Executive summary The role of face masks in the control and prevention of COVID-19 remains an issue of debate. Prior to COVID-19, most studies assessing the effectiveness of face masks as a protective measure in the community came from studies on influenza, which provided little evidence to support their use. Assessment of the evidence The evidence regarding [...]

Do COVID-19 variants mean that we need a booster shot for our booster?

By |2021-02-18T06:50:29+00:00February 18th, 2021|

Viruses mutate, and vaccines can be tweaked. However, news that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may be less effective against the B.1.351 variant first discovered in South Africa, has raised the prospect of “booster” shots for people who have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, in addition to the second ‘booster’ already recommended. Already, an updated version of the [...]

New COVID variant with 5 mutations identified in California

By |2021-02-16T06:29:28+00:00February 16th, 2021|

A new SARS-CoV-2 variant, CAL.20C, has been detected in southern California amid a surge in local infections and is spreading through and beyond the United States, according to a research letter published yesterday in JAMA. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) in Los Angeles analyzed COVID-19 strains before and after the surge in cases in southern California in October [...]

CDC offers steps for reopening schools amid COVID-19

By |2021-02-16T06:29:25+00:00February 16th, 2021|

As some school districts across the country are approaching 1 year of being closed to in-person learning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today issued a new operational strategy to help schools across the country reopen safely. “We wanted to provide a one-stop shop for schools,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, during a press [...]

Zinc, vitamin C show no effect for COVID-19 in small study

By |2021-02-16T06:29:22+00:00February 16th, 2021|

Consuming high doses of zinc and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) was not associated with improvement in COVID-19 infections, according to a small study published today in JAMA Network Open. In a 214-person, open-label experiment with COVID outpatients in Ohio and Florida, those who received one or both supplements had similar symptom-reduction periods as those who received standard [...]