Since the discovery of the virus that causes COVID-19, the daily news cycle has become swamped with updates about how the pathogen spreads, what the bug does to the body and what solutions might finally bring an end to the pandemic.
But staying up-to-date on all the latest coronavirus news can be a challenge. To help keep you informed, we at Live Science have compiled a short list of standout news stories from the week these are the ones that really caught our attention.
Related: 20 of the worst epidemics and pandemics in history
Researchers reported the first confirmed case of COVID-19 reinfection in a man in Hong Kong. The news initially came out on Aug. 24 in a press release from the University of Hong Kong, and the formal study was published Aug. 25 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. But don't panic an expert called the case "a textbook example of how immunity should work."
The 33-year-old was first diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26 and had mild symptoms at the time, including a cough and fever. The man was released from the hospital on April 14 after testing negative for the virus twice, but he tested positive again during an airport screening on Aug. 15. The virus that infected the man the second time around carried several genetic differences to the first one, suggesting that the man had been infected by a new variant of the virus that subtly mutated through time, as all viruses do. But the man showed no symptoms of illness the second time, hinting that his body retained some immunity against the pathogen.
"While this is a good example of how primary infection can prevent disease from subsequent infection, more studies are needed to understand the range of outcomes from reinfection," Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunobiology and molecular, cellular and developmental biology at the Yale School of Medicine, wrote on Twitter.
Since this news came out, two more cases of reinfection have been confirmed in Europe, and one in the U.S., The New York Times reported. Like the Hong Kong case, the two European cases showed milder or no symptoms during the second infection; however, the U.S. patient developed severe symptoms and scientists are investigating several theories as to why. We don't yet know how commonly reinfection occurs, how often people develop severe symptoms the second time around or what these trends mean for vaccine development that information will only come from further research.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) abruptly changed its COVID-19 testing guidance, stating that those who have come in contact with an infected person don't necessarily need a test if they are not in a high-risk group or showing symptoms of the disease.
Prior to the change, the CDC recommended that all close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 also be tested, given that we know the virus can spread before people show symptoms, and that testing close contacts helps keep outbreaks in check. The Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Dr. Brett Giroir told CNN that the new guidelines are intended to encourage tests to be used "appropriately," and not to reduce the number of tests given overall. But public health officials say the guidance directly conflicts with scientific evidence.
"These testing recommendations make no scientific sense, unless there are plans to demand isolation of all known contacts of COVID-19," said Krys Johnson, an assistant professor of instruction in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Temple University in Pennsylvania. Especially as schools and universities reopen, the U.S. should be testing more asymptomatic people for the virus, not fewer, she said.
In response to outcry from public health officials, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield clarified the new guidance on Aug. 27, saying "testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 patients," but should be prioritized for symptomatic people, people with risk factors for severe infection and people at high risk of exposure. However, at the time of this verbal statement, the official guidance on the CDC website remained unchanged.
Last week, we highlighted news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would not authorize the use of blood plasma to treat COVID-19 patients without more data from clinical trials. This week, the FDA issued an emergency use authorization for the treatment without any additional data in hand.
Emergency use authorization allows doctors to administer an unapproved medical treatment "when there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives," and patients don't need to be enrolled in a clinical trial to receive the therapy, according to the FDA website. But infectious disease experts and public health officials argue that convalescent plasma therapy which uses antibody-rich plasma from people who have recovered from a disease has not earned this seal of approval.
To demonstrate that plasma helps COVID-19 patients recover, scientists must conduct randomized controlled trials (RCTs), wherein participants randomly receive either plasma or the standard of care; outcomes can then be compared between the two groups without bias. RCTs of plasma have proven difficult to organize, given that the supply of eligible plasma and number of people sick with COVID-19 varies from region to region.
With many RCTs for plasma still underway, the authorization of the treatment could make recruiting patients for these trials even more difficult. While patients in an RCT randomly receive either plasma or the standard of care, patients treated under the emergency authorization would not be subject to this randomization; the guarantee of plasma outside of an RCT could make participating in the trials a hard sell.
If RCTs do get derailed, it will be harder to collect solid evidence that plasma therapy works.
Originally published on Live Science.
Read the rest here:
- Trump Embraces Fringe Theories on Protests and the Coronavirus - The New York Times - August 31st, 2020
- Elites are flouting coronavirus restrictions -- and that could hurt us all - CNN - August 31st, 2020
- Governor Cuomo Announces New Record High Number of COVID-19 Tests Reported to New York State - ny.gov - August 31st, 2020
- How Italy's 'father of the swabs' fought the coronavirus - Science Magazine - August 31st, 2020
- Alaska coronavirus Q&A: How are people here getting COVID-19? And what's the deal with testing numbers? - Anchorage Daily News - August 31st, 2020
- A case of coronavirus reinfection shows the complexities of the pandemic - The Verge - August 31st, 2020
- New drool-based tests are replacing the dreaded coronavirus nasal swab - Science Magazine - August 31st, 2020
- How Minnesota's biggest beef producer is weathering the coronavirus - Minneapolis Star Tribune - August 31st, 2020
- When the Threat of Eviction Meets the Threat of Coronavirus - The New York Times - August 31st, 2020
- Coronavirus worries force election officials to get creative - Wink News - August 31st, 2020
- This Trawlers Haul: Evidence That Antibodies Block the Coronavirus - The New York Times - August 20th, 2020
- Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today - The New York Times - August 20th, 2020
- NIH imposes 'outrageous' conditions on resuming coronavirus grant targeted by Trump - Science Magazine - August 20th, 2020
- What you need to know about coronavirus on Wednesday, August 19 - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- Coronavirus updates: University of North Carolina temporarily suspends fall sports; Pope warns against the rich getting vaccine first - USA TODAY - August 20th, 2020
- If New Zealand's Covid-19 outbreak is 'terrible' like Trump says, then how bad is the rest of the world? - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- Faster test results and 'robust' immune response may offer hope of curbing the pandemic, experts say - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- Why Pooled Testing for the Coronavirus Isn't Working - The New York Times - August 20th, 2020
- Coronavirus outbreak linked to wedding reception in Maine - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- COVID-19 UPDATE: Gov. Justice hosts Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, to discuss West Virginia virus response - West... - August 20th, 2020
- COVID-19 Daily Update 8-19-2020 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources - August 20th, 2020
- A person with Covid-19 may have exposed others at a bar during Sturgis motorcycle rally - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- White House focus on oleandrin treatment for coronavirus would be 'nonsense,' experts say - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- August 19 evening update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine - Bangor Daily News - August 20th, 2020
- Masks blunt the spread of coronavirus but not all are created equal - The Guardian - August 20th, 2020
- Opinion: There is a safe, healthy path forward from the ravages of the coronavirus - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - August 20th, 2020
- Few signs of collective mourning as the US tops 170,000 coronavirus deaths - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- Coronavirus is spreading in schools, but the federal government isn't keeping count - NBC News - August 20th, 2020
- Researchers hope this old-fashioned treatment will work for coronavirus - CNN - August 20th, 2020
- Older Children and the Coronavirus: A New Wrinkle in the Debate - The New York Times - August 20th, 2020
- Here's what's behind all those backlogged coronavirus cases across Texas - The Dallas Morning News - August 20th, 2020
- Potential Rising Income Streams and Equity Retirement Solutions - Dividend.com - August 10th, 2020
- Millions of America's working poor may lose out on key anti-poverty tax credit because of the pandemic - Chicago Reporter - August 10th, 2020
- Ive Witnessed the Decline of the Republican Party - The Atlantic - August 10th, 2020
- Pyxis Tankers Announces Financial Results for the Three and Six Months Ended June 30, 2020 - GlobeNewswire - August 10th, 2020
- Coronavirus live updates: 97,000 kids tested positive the last two weeks of July; college football faces decision time on fall season - USA TODAY - August 10th, 2020
- Breaking down the executive actions Trump signed on coronavirus relief - CNN - August 10th, 2020
- Brazil Reaches Milestone of More Than 100,000 Covid-19 Deaths and 3 Million Cases - The New York Times - August 10th, 2020
- Looking Beyond The Coronavirus Numbers As Plans Are Put In Place For Returning To School, Restaurants Face Restrictions - CBS Pittsburgh - August 10th, 2020
- August 9 update: The latest on the coronavirus and Maine - Bangor Daily News - August 10th, 2020
- Black and Hispanic children are impacted more severely by coronavirus, research shows - CNN - August 10th, 2020
- Why the Coronavirus Is More Likely to Superspread Than the Flu - The New York Times - August 10th, 2020
- Japan's coronavirus fatigue is fueling defiance in Tokyo, even as the case count rises - CNN - August 10th, 2020
- Hours of Talks on U.S. Coronavirus Relief End With No Deal - The New York Times - August 10th, 2020
- Nation hits 5 million coronavirus cases with few signs of slowing - NBC News - August 10th, 2020
- What you need to know about coronavirus Monday, Aug. 10 - KING5.com - August 10th, 2020
- Farm Workers Harvest Crops With Few Protections From The Coronavirus : Shots - Health News - NPR - August 10th, 2020
- COVID-19 Daily Update 8-9-2020 - West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources - August 10th, 2020
- Coronavirus updates: Trump's executive order on unemployment could take months to implement; hundreds quarantining in Ga. school district - USA TODAY - August 10th, 2020
- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus -- and then tests negative on second test - CNN - August 10th, 2020
- Inside the federal prison where three out of every four inmates have tested positive for coronavirus - CNN - August 10th, 2020
- Global deaths surpass 700,000; Vietnam reports further rise of infections - CNBC - August 10th, 2020
- Trump administration steps in as advocacy groups warn of Covid 'death panels' - POLITICO - August 10th, 2020
- Europe's biggest countries are seeing Covid surges -- but not this one - CNN - August 10th, 2020
- More than 97,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 in the last two weeks of July, report says - CNN - August 10th, 2020
- Mexicos Coronavirus Struggle Worsened by Fear of Hospitals - The New York Times - August 10th, 2020
- Study: 14 Face Masks, Here Are The Best, Worst For Covid-19 Coronavirus - Forbes - August 10th, 2020
- Coronavirus testing: How it works, why Utah's tests are down, and what's coming next? - Salt Lake Tribune - August 10th, 2020
- Your Hot-Weather Guide to Coronavirus, Air-Conditioning and Airflow - The New York Times - August 10th, 2020
- How San Francisco succeeded more than other U.S. cities in fighting the coronavirus - CNBC - August 10th, 2020
- 17 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Maine - Bangor Daily News - August 9th, 2020
- Everything you need to know about coronavirus in Arizona Aug. 9 - 12news.com KPNX - August 9th, 2020
- Coronavirus in N.Y.C.: Heres What Happened This Week - The New York Times - August 9th, 2020
- What you need to know about coronavirus Sunday, Aug. 9 - KING5.com - August 9th, 2020
- How fast is the coronavirus spreading (or not) in Philadelphia? Check this chart - Billy Penn - August 9th, 2020
- Coronavirus Live Updates: Latest News and Analysis - The New York Times - August 8th, 2020
- Americans are moving around too much and taking coronavirus with them, expert says - CNN - August 8th, 2020
- Fact Check: Will there be a coronavirus vaccine by November? - CNN - August 8th, 2020
- One man with coronavirus attending Ohio church service led to infection of 91 others - NBC News - August 8th, 2020
- What you need to know about coronavirus on Friday, August 7 - CNN - August 8th, 2020
- With Old Allies Turning Against Her, Birx Presses On Against the Coronavirus - The New York Times - August 8th, 2020
- Trump singles out Texas and Florida for help with coronavirus response - CNN - August 8th, 2020
- This Week in Coronavirus: July 31 to August 6 - Kaiser Family Foundation - August 8th, 2020
- St. Louis Cardinals have another series postponed because of positive coronavirus tests - CNN - August 8th, 2020
- At Europes Illegal Parties, Coronavirus Is the Last Thing on Anyones Mind - The New York Times - August 8th, 2020
- The Roach Unit is the only Texas prison reporting zero coronavirus cases - The Texas Tribune - August 8th, 2020
- Coronavirus in Oregon: 423 new infections and 9 deaths - oregonlive.com - August 8th, 2020
- Suspension Lifted of Georgia Student Who Posted Photos of Crowded Hall - The New York Times - August 8th, 2020
- 20 new coronavirus cases have been reported in Maine - Bangor Daily News - August 8th, 2020
- Saying goodbye to dying wife likely cost 90-year-old 'Romeo' his life. He had no regrets, family says. - USA TODAY - August 8th, 2020