Coronavirus

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New study confirms

Covid-19 vaccines highly effective in nursing homes

In what is believed to be the first published study of Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, a research team co-led by the Yale School of Public Health found a widely used vaccine is highly successful in preventing infections. Residents of such facilities, particularly those in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), have experienced disproportionately high…

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Model analysis

Machine learning for Covid-19 diagnosis: promising, but still too flawed

Systematic review finds that machine learning models for detecting and diagnosing Covid-19 from medical images have major flaws and biases, making them unsuitable for use in patients. However, researchers have suggested ways to remedy the problem. Researchers have found that out of the more than 300 Covid-19 machine learning models described in scientific papers in 2020, none of them is suitable…

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How our brain handles the pandemic

Fear of Covid-19: The psychology of the pandemic

During pandemics, protective behaviors need to be motivated by effective communication. A critical factor in understanding a population’s response to such a threat is the fear it elicits, since fear both contributes to motivating protective responses, but can also lead to panic-driven behaviors. Furthermore, lockdown measures affect well-being, making it important to identify protective factors…

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Epidemilogical study shows

Covid variant B.1.1.7.: A lot more dangerous than the original form

The highly infectious variant of Covid-19 discovered in Kent, which swept across the UK last year before spreading worldwide, is between 30 and 100 per cent more deadly than previous strains, new analysis has shown. A pivotal study, by epidemiologists from the Universities of Exeter and Bristol, has shown that the SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, is associated with a significantly higher mortality…

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Laboratory management

Covid-19: Overcoming unprecedented challenges

During a pandemic, the demands for laboratory testing challenge routines in an efficiently run clinical laboratory. Gold standard procedures may need modification, or to be discarded, and the more nimble, resilient and receptive a lab is to change, the better off it could be. Senior managers at ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City, Utah, a large clinical reference laboratory that offers over 3,000…

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Covid-19 collaterals

Coronavirus impacts heart surgery across Europe

Cardiac surgery across Europe is being set back as a result of the ongoing coronavirus. Operations are being postponed, treatment delayed, and critical care staff have been redeployed to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic on health services. However, gaining a clear picture of the Europe-wide situation, and the long-term effects coronavirus will have on heart surgery, is a challenge…

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Airborne attack

Pollen increase Covid-19 risk

When airborne pollen levels are higher, increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates can be observed. These results were determined by a large-scale study conducted by an international team headed by researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Members of high-risk groups could protect themselves by watching pollen forecasts and wearing dust filter masks.

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Improved Coronavirus detection

Low-cost and fast Covid-19 test uses pool of gargle lavage samples

In order to monitor and contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 it is necessary to test large numbers of people on a regular basis in decentralized settings. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Hospital St. Georg in Leipzig, Germany, have developed improved protocols for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. The method can detect a positive sample in a pool with 25…

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Delay in treatment for serious illness

Digital Covid-19 'symptom checkers' may do more harm than good

Digital Covid-19 ‘symptom checkers’ may stop some patients from getting prompt treatment for serious illness, suggests an international case simulation study. Both the US and UK symptom checkers consistently failed to identify the symptoms of severe Covid-19, bacterial pneumonia, and sepsis, frequently advising these cases to stay home, the findings indicate. The availability and use of…

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Mutations of SARS-CoV-2 & Co.

Tracking virus variants faster with sequencing

A global group of researchers is calling for better integration of viral genetics, bioinformatics, and public health to enable better pandemic response now and better pandemic preparedness in the future. In a comment piece in the journal Nature, an international collaboration of specialists in viral and genetic analysis, led by Swiss scientists Dr. Emma Hodcroft at the University of Bern and…

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Coronavirus research

Promising SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors discovered

A research team of pharmacists at the University of Bonn has discovered two families of active substances that can block the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The drug candidates are able to switch off the the key enzyme of the virus, the so-called main protease. The study is based on laboratory experiments. Extensive clinical trials are still required for their further development as…

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Covid-19's impact

Awareness is key for breast screening services

Daniela Zimmermann speaks to Samir Parikh, Hologic’s Global Vice-President (Research & Development and Clinical Affairs), about the company’s approach to raising post-Covid awareness of breast screening. The impact of Covid-19 has been devastating; countless lives lost, millions of infections worldwide, health systems overwhelmed and economies rapidly shrinking. In addition, routine…

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All-in-one imaging trailer

Mobile solutions for the COVID-19 frontline

With public health issues continuing to make daily mainstream news headlines across the world, it is clear how much change the healthcare environment is going through. Not only are there existing pressures on resources, space, staff, certain procedures, and budgets, but there are brand new ones resulting from the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to an even greater need for…

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Portable ultrasound demonstrates versatility in all specialties

Covid-19 – Testing time for people and devices

Due to the coronavirus, hospitals and medical staff developed new work practices involving, in acute settings, social distancing, rigid use of personal protective equipment (PPE), handwashing, and disinfection of equipment every day. Additionally, portable, highly-mobile and versatile equipment came to the fore in point-of-care (POC) – particularly when wards and operating theatres are spread…

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Pandemic forecast modelling

Exploring the uncertainties in Covid-19 simulations

Computer modelling to forecast Covid-19 mortality contains significant uncertainty in its predictions, according to an international study led by researchers at University College London (UCL) and Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in the Netherlands. Their article ‘The Impact of Uncertainty on Predictions of the CovidSim Epidemiological Code’ was published in Nature Computational…

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'Vaccelerate' cooperation

Building a Covid-19 vaccine network across Europe

The European Commission has launched a contingency plan to meet the challenge of the various mutations of the coronavirus. Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital are contributing to a new network for the evaluation and testing of new vaccines. The network is called "Vaccelerate" and it will contribute both to the evaluation of ongoing and future vaccinations, as well…

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Peptide research

A 'fake handshake' to trick the coronavirus

Scientists have developed peptides that fit snugly into a groove on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein that it would normally use to access a host cell. These protein fragments effectively trick the virus into “shaking hands” with a replica rather than with the actual protein on a cell’s surface that lets the virus in. revious research has determined that the novel coronavirus binds to a receptor…

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Immune response or breast cancer?

Swollen lymph nodes after Covid-19 vaccination: what women should know

For many women, swollen lymph nodes are a red flag pointing to breast cancer – but may also be a normal immune reaction to a Covid-19 vaccination. So, to avoid anxiety or downright refusal of the vaccine, the Society of Breast Imaging Patient Care and Delivery Committee has developed a comprehensive resource to help patients understand the most important facts and guide them in making the most…

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Legal, ethical, medical challenges

12 things to consider before introducing Covid-19 vaccine passports

Covid-19 vaccine passports could be created, but significant challenges need to be overcome first, according to a report from a panel led by Oxford Professors Melinda Mills and Chris Dye, which outlines a dozen issues which must be addressed before passports can be introduced. The report is published by the SET-C (Science in Emergencies Tasking: Covid-19) group at the Royal Society and it…

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Expert prediction

How will Covid affect cancer death rates in 2021?

Researchers have called on European policymakers to make adequate resources available to tackle pancreatic cancer, a disease that is almost invariably fatal and where little progress has been made over the past 40 years. In the latest predictions for cancer deaths in the EU and UK for 2021, published in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, researchers led by Carlo La Vecchia (MD), a professor…

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Vocal biomarker

Covid-19 'voice check' screening tool validated in large clinical study

AI-based vocal biomarker company Vocalis Health announced results of a clinical study conducted in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) at their NESCO Covid-19 Center to validate Vocalis Health’s Covid-19 screening tool, VocalisCheck. The study included over 2,000 participants who spoke numerous languages including English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati. Results…

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Experimental therapy

CRP apheresis: First successful treatment of Covid-19 patient

Apheresis, a procedure that separates removes particular blood constituents, has so far been primarily used with myocardial infarction patients. Now, however, it seems to be a promising approach for Covid-19 cases: the first patient successfully underwent so-called CRP apheresis. The treatment does not target the virus but can prevent potentially fatal consequences of the infection.

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Healthcare facilities analysed

Cutting Coronavirus air contamination in hospitals

Preventing air contamination in healthcare facilities is crucial to minimise the airborne spread of Covid-19 and its new strains. Universal masking, rigorous use of and safe disposal of PPE, plus building ventilation are vital. Twenty-four studies reporting hospital SARS-CoV-2 air contamination are summarised in a meta-analysis by a multi-institutional team of French researchers. These show that,…

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Inactivation of Coronavirus & Co. via electrochemistry

Antiviral mask offers protection at the push of a button

Researchers at ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences are working with the Swiss company Osmotex AG to develop a self-disinfecting mask that inactivates viruses at the push of a button. The prototype of this mask made of electrochemical textiles shows an antiviral effect of over 99 percent. Further applications such as sterilizable seat covers are being examined.

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