U.S. nursing houses nonetheless expertise delays in COVID-19 exams. You’ll be able to wash Halloween sweet

© Reuters. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madison

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

U.S. nursing homes do not have access to instant COVID-19 diagnoses

Most U.S. nursing homes are still unable to get instant results from COVID-19 tests from staff and residents, researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine on Friday. They received answers from more than 15,000 qualified care facilities to the question: How long did it take you on average in the last two weeks to receive COVID-19 test results? Only 14% said they got the results of the most reliable virus tests back in less than a day, while 40% said it took at least three days to get results. The study co-author, Dr. Michael Barnett of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health called this “an unacceptably slow turnaround”. This was true “even in homes in hotspot countries that were equipped with federal government rapid test devices, implying that those devices are not helping nursing homes with the quick turnaround that they need,” he said. Nursing homes are responsible for more than 40% of US COVID-19 deaths. “Our results show that despite longstanding knowledge of this vulnerability, nursing homes still do not have the basic ability to effectively screen employees to prevent new COVID-19 outbreaks.” (https: //

You can wash your Halloween candy to reduce the risk of infection

The risk of getting COVID-19 on Halloween can be reduced somewhat with a simple method of washing candy, researchers reported in mSystems on Thursday. An accompanying press release recommends mixing 85g of dish soap with sodium laureth sulfate or SLS (sometimes called sodium dodecyl sulfate or SDS) per gallon (3.8 liters) of water and then dipping the candy so that all surfaces of the wrappers are covered. After immersing for at least a minute, the candy should be rinsed with clean water. To test this approach, they had 10 recently diagnosed COVID-19 patients handle typical individually wrapped Halloween candy. If the candies were not washed afterwards, the researchers found viruses in 60% of the candies that were handled with unwashed hands or intentionally coughed. Treating sweets with dishwashing detergent reduced the amount of virus by 62%. While cleaning Halloween candy “is reasonable if you want to be extra careful … the main risk of COVID-19 transmission during trick or treat transmission is airborne transmission,” said co-author Rodolfo Salido of from the University of California at San Diego in a news publication. (https: //

The shift in the immune response seen as COVID-19 is from mild to moderate

The immune response to the new coronavirus shifts dramatically as patients transition from mild to moderate illness. This information has implications for patient care, researchers reported in Cell on Wednesday. “Moderate illness (hospitalized but not intubated) is very different from mild illness … but is quite similar to severe illness,” said co-author James Heath of the Seattle Institute of Systems Biology, whose team is 139 COVID-19 -Patients of all severity levels studied. Once COVID-19 patients become moderately ill, “strong inflammatory signals prompt the body to show a strong response,” said Heath. “However, there is a severe lack of nutrients in the blood that provides the raw materials for building this response,” and “unusual and dysfunctional immune responses appear and increase with severity.” The same goes for serious illnesses, only more so, he said. The results suggest that new drugs should be tested in moderately ill patients. “At this stage, it’s easier to treat patients because they’re more likely to respond,” said Heath. Additionally, blood nutrient depletion suggests that non-pharmaceuticals like dietary supplements might aid these patients’ response, he said. (https: //

Wearable sensors can improve detection of COVID-19

Wearable fitness equipment could one day help detect early or mild cases of COVID-19, new research shows. More than 30,000 people in the United States have volunteered to use a smartphone app that collects smartwatch and activity tracker data on heart rate, sleep and activity levels, as well as self-reported symptoms and diagnostic test results. A total of 3,811 reported symptoms. Most weren’t tested for the coronavirus, but of those who did, 54 tested positive and 279 tested negative. “The team was able to determine whether a person reporting symptoms was likely to have COVID-19 with about 80% predictive accuracy,” a significant improvement compared to just asking people about their symptoms, said co-author Giorgio Quer von Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. Participants can connect their data to Fitbit (NYSE 🙂 devices, the Apple (NASDAQ 🙂 HealthKit or Google (NASDAQ 🙂 Fit. “As the depth and variety of data types from personal sensors continues to increase … the ability to detect subtle individual changes in response to early (infection) will potentially improve,” researchers said in their report Thursday in Nature Medicine. “Early identification of people who are presymptomatic or even asymptomatic would be particularly valuable, as people may be infectious during this time,” added Quer. “That is the ultimate goal.” (https://go.nature.com/3kKVVxP)

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