COVID - 19 Updates

Keeping our patients informed of the latest developments in healthcare is one of our highest priorities.

COVID-19 Vaccines

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of progress reported regarding the development of a
multiple vaccines for COVID-19. Of special note have been reports that multiple companies have developed vaccines that may be up to 90% effective. While there is still a great deal of data that needs to be reviewed, including the vaccine’s safety, this news offers great hope regarding the possible prevention—and spreading—of the disease. 

FDA Authorizes New Antibody Detection Test

The FDA recently gave approval to a new test that evaluates SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The test
will help researchers gain vital information as to the role these antibodies may play in a patient’s
potential immunity.

Treatment Update

As researchers continue to learn more and more about COVID-19, they are developing ever
more innovative ways to treat the disease. The FDA recently gave approval to pharmaceutical
company Eli Lilly to pursue its study into whether its monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab may
be useful in treating non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients who are older than 65 years of age, as
well as those who have certain chronic health conditions.

COVID-19 and Children

Since the earliest days of the presentation of COVID-19, it was generally assumed that children were
less at risk for infection than adults. Recent data shows that this may not be the case. In fact, in
October, alone, children accounted for 200,000 of the new cases of COVID-19 being reported. With
recent data suggesting the majority of new cases have been coming from the ‘young adult’
population, it now appears that there may be cause for concern that this population may not just be
transmitting the virus to the elderly, but to their own children, as well. This supposition is supported
by a recent study conducted in North Carolina which found that 77% of children and adolescents
who lived with a household member who was infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus had a positive
COVID-19 RT/PCR test. Possible reasons for the increased risk of infection were having an infected
sibling or Hispanic ethnicity. Interestingly, asthma was associated with a lower risk. Also of interest
is a study conducted in New York of children and adults with COVID-19 that revealed that there
were different antibody responses between the adult and pediatric populations.

False Positive Antigen Tests

While scientists and researchers take every possible precaution to ensure the accuracy and reliability of a medical test, the possibility of receiving ‘false positive’ results remains.  Recently, the FDA sent a letter to clinical laboratories and healthcare providers alerting them to the potential for false-positive results in rapid detection COVID-19 antigen tests.  The FDA has also been informed of false-positive readings coming from tests conducted in various settings, including nursing homes.  While concerning, it should be noted that these results are not unexpected, given that, large populations with a low prevalence of infection are being screened. 

Does Short-Term Recurrence of Positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA Indicate a Relapse?

Studies have shown that patients who had been discharged from the hospital following treatment for COVID-19, and who received positive results when retested, were not likely to be experiencing a relapse of the virus.  Research showed that, while of the 192 patients studied, the short-term recurrence of positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in15% of the patients, it was not associated with new symptoms.  It was also shown that the individuals who had recurrent positive tests tended to be younger (34 vs 45 years of age) and exhibited a higher proportion of moderate symptoms.  Of the total number who had recurrent positive tests, no signs of infection were noted, and none of their close contacts developed the COVID-19 virus. 

Aerosol vs. Drop Spread

There has been much discussion surrounding the various means by which COVID-19 is spread.  A recent study revealed that 10 seconds after an individuals cough, more than half of the virus-containing particles were able to remain airborne.  Studies have also found that masking can be effective in blocking nearly 95% of viruses that may remain airborne following the 10-second time period.