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Physician’s Briefing Weekly Coronavirus Roundup

Here is what the editors at Physician’s Briefing chose as the most important COVID-19 developments for you and your practice for the week of March 30 to April 3, 2020. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal studies and other trusted sources that is most likely to affect clinical practice.

Enrollment Begins in NIH-Sponsored Trial of Remdesivir for COVID-19 Patients

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A number of institutions this week announced their participation in an international clinical drug trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with the novel coronavirus 2019.

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Test Vaccine Elicits Strong Ab Response to SARS-CoV-2 in Mice

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Microneedle array delivery of trimeric coronavirus spike protein subunit vaccines seems promising for immunization against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection, according to research published online April 2 in EBioMedicine.

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Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 ID’d in Singapore

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Presymptomatic transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 has been observed in epidemiological clusters in Singapore, with transmission occurring one to three days before symptom onset, according to research published in the April 1 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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Model Projects COVID-19 Deaths in Italy Through Mid-April

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Modeling suggests that in Italy, the number of coronavirus disease 2019 intensive care unit patients will continue increasing into April, according to a report published April 1 by the European Society of Anaesthesiology.

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Test for COVID-19 Antibodies Approved by FDA

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The first COVID-19 virus antibody test for use in the United States has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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N.Y. Hospital Converts Sleep Apnea Machines Into Ventilators

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — As COVID-19 pushes American hospitals to the breaking point, intensive care units are finding creative ways to deal with a looming shortage of lifesaving mechanical ventilators.

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Amid COVID-19 Crisis, Blood Donor Restrictions Eased

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — America is in urgent need of blood donations during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will relax donor restrictions placed on gay and bisexual men and others.

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Gastrointestinal Symptoms Common in COVID-19 Patients

FRIDAY, April 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Gastrointestinal symptoms are common in patients with coronavirus disease 2019, with increased prevalence seen in the later stages of the epidemic in China, according to a review published online March 29 in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

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Unemployed Workers Less Likely to Be Uninsured Post-ACA

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Following implementation of the Affordable Care Act, unemployed workers were less likely to be uninsured, and uninsurance rates decreased more in states with Medicaid expansion, according to a report from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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COVID-19 Outbreak Described in Long-Term Care Facility

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 can have a considerable impact on long-term care facilities, according to a report published online March 27 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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CT Scores Higher With Longer Time to COVID-19 Diagnosis

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 with longer time from symptom onset to diagnosis have higher computed tomography scores and longer time to disease resolution, according to a study published online March 30 in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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Transmission Control Measures Tied to Delay in COVID-19 Growth

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Transmission control measures implemented in Wuhan were associated with a delay in epidemic growth during the first 50 days of the coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic in China, according to a study published online March 31 in Science.

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Guidelines Developed for Head and Neck Care During COVID-19

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In a special article published online March 31 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, guidelines are presented for head and neck physical examination and associated procedures during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.

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Half of People With COVID-19 Do Not Have Symptoms, Iceland Testing Shows

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Up to half of people who test positive for the new coronavirus do not have symptoms, results from Iceland show.

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Imported Masks, Other Medical Supplies Arriving in U.S.

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For the first time since February, imported N95 medical masks are arriving in the United States, but they are not nearly enough to meet demand as COVID-19 cases climb.

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Severe COVID-19 Risk Up With Existing Health Conditions in U.S.

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In the United States, individuals with underlying health conditions have an increased risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019, according to research published in the March 31 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Could Reach 240,000, Task Force Warns

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The White House coronavirus task force delivered a tough statistic to Americans late Tuesday, warning that the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could climb to 240,000, even with social distancing policies in place.

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Ocular Abnormalities Seen in One-Third of COVID-19 Patients

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — About one-third of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 have ocular abnormalities, according to a brief report published online March 31 in JAMA Ophthalmology.

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Patients With Mild COVID-19 May Present With Digestive Symptoms

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Patients with mild coronavirus disease 2019 can present with digestive symptoms, sometimes without concurrent fever, according to a study published online March 30 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

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Persistent Positive SARS-CoV-2 Found in Sputum, Feces Samples

WEDNESDAY, April 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Some patients with coronavirus disease 2019 remain positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in sputum or feces after pharyngeal samples become negative, according to a research letter published online March 30 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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WHO Issues Guidance on Prevention of COVID-19 at LTCFs

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In a technical guidance document issued by the World Health Organization, recommendations are presented for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 entry and spread in long-term care facilities.

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Case Fatality Ratio for COVID-19 Estimated at 1.38 Percent

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The case fatality ratio for coronavirus disease 2019 in China is estimated at 1.38 percent, according to a study published online March 30 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

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Decontamination Method Adopted to Ease N95 Mask Shortage

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Duke Health research and clinical teams have developed a validated process for decontaminating N95 masks. The process is described in an article published online in Applied Biosafety: Journal of ABSA International.

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FDA Grants First Approval of Convalescent Plasma Therapy in COVID-19 Patient

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Over the weekend, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the first approval for an academic medical center to transfuse donated plasma from a recovered novel coronavirus patient into a critically ill patient.

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Statement Issued on Use of Anesthesia Machines as Ventilators

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Although U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved labeling does not provide for use of anesthesia ventilators for long-term ventilator support, they can be repurposed during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, according to a statement from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation.

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Preventionists Report Widespread Shortages of Protective Equipment

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Nearly half of U.S. health care facilities surveyed are out of or almost out of respirators to use while caring for patients with COVID-19, according to the results of a national survey of infection prevention experts released March 27 by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

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Doctors, Hospitals, Pharmacies Warned Not to Stockpile Meds

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) — In a joint statement released by the American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the professional groups “strongly oppose” physicians, pharmacies, and hospitals prophylactically prescribing medications or purchasing excessive amounts or stockpiles of potential treatments for COVID-19.

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U.S. Army Opens Field Hospital in New York City

MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The first U.S. Army field hospital for civilian patients opened in New York City Monday and could be the first of many across the nation as it struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.

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Artificial Intelligence Framework May Predict ARDS in COVID-19

MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Data from patients with coronavirus disease 2019 can be used to develop a model that can predict who will develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, according to a study published online March 30 in Computers, Materials & Continua.

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President Extends Social Distancing to April 30 as COVID-19 Cases Surge

MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — As U.S. coronavirus cases and deaths continue to rise, President Donald Trump on Sunday extended strict social distancing guidelines for the country to April 30.

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Patients Viral Positive for Days After COVID-19 Resolution

MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Some patients who have recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 continue to be viral positive up to eight days after resolution of symptoms, according to a study published online March 23 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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Concomitant Myocardial Injury With COVID-19 Infection Linked to Fatal Outcome

MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Myocardial injury is associated with fatal outcome in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to research published online March 27 in JAMA Cardiology.

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ASA Warns Against Multiple Patients Per Ventilator

MONDAY, March 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Sharing mechanical ventilators should not be attempted during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, according to a joint statement published March 26 by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Association for Respiratory Care, Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, and American College of Chest Physicians.

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