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  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2673-8112
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  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 418-427: Low CD4 Counts and History of Sore Throat
           Predict High SARS-CoV-2 Seropositivity among Human Immunodeficiency
           Virus-Infected Patients in Mwanza, Tanzania

    • Authors: Helmut A. Nyawale, Mariam M. Mirambo, Fabian Chacha, Nyambura Moremi, Mohamed Mohamed, Phares C. Lutema, Betrand Msemwa, James Samwel Mundamshimu, Bartholomeo Nicholaus, Stephen E. Mshana
      First page: 418
      Abstract: Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite the fact that it affects all ages and profiles, some evidence shows that patients with comorbidities, including diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, are likely to be most affected. For chronic diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), information is scarce, with a few studies from high-income countries. This study reports predictors of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity (IgG + IgM) among unvaccinated people living with HIV attending Bugando Medical Centre in Mwanza, Tanzania. Methodology: A cross-sectional, hospital-based study involving 150 HIV-infected patients was conducted at Bugando Medical Centre between June and July 2022. A pretested questionnaire was used to collect the participants’ information. Blood samples were collected and used for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 (IgM/IgG) antibodies by immunochromatographic assay. Data were analyzed using STATA version 15. Results: The mean age of the enrolled participants was 46.4 ± 11.1 years. The overall seropositivity (IgG + IgM) of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 79/150 (52.7%) [95% CI: 44.4–60.9]. Seropositivity of IgM only was 8/150 (5.3) [95% CI: 1.7–8.8], while that of IgG only was 61/150 (40.6%) [95% CI: 32.7–48.4]. Seropositivity of both IgG and IgM was observed in 10/150 (6.7%) patients. In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, history of sore throat (OR: 6.34, 95% CI: 2.305–18.351, p < 0.001), low CD4 count (OR: 0.99, 95% CI: 0.995–0.999, p = 0.004), and use of pit latrines (OR: 2.30, 95% CI: 1.122–4.738, p = 0.023) were independently associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. Conclusion: HIV-infected individuals with history of sore throat, low CD4 count, and use of pit latrines were more likely to be SARS-CoV-2 IgG seropositive. There is a need to routinely screen for SARS-CoV-2 infection among HIV-infected individuals to obtain comprehensive data regarding the interactions of the pathogens.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-24
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3040031
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 4 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 428-439: SARS-CoV-2 Contacts’ Symptom
           Development and Secondary Attack Rate: A Retrospective Analysis of a
           Contact-Tracing Cohort in Catalonia

    • Authors: Meritxell Mallafré-Larrosa, Mercè Herrero Garcia, Sergi Mendoza-Funes, Èrica Martínez-Solanas, Glòria Patsi-Bosch, Jacobo Mendioroz Peña, Pilar Ciruela Navas
      First page: 428
      Abstract: Contact tracing outcome indicators, such as symptom development (SD) and secondary attack rate (SAR) among close contacts (CCs), are key to understanding SARS-CoV-2 transmission. This study analyses SD and SAR and estimates the incubation period (IP) from a cohort of 47,729 CCs from 17,679 SARS-CoV-2 cases diagnosed in Catalonia (Spain) from May to August 2020. Globally, 19.4% of the CCs reported symptoms, especially adult women living in urban areas. SAR was 24.5%, notably higher among infants (37.6%), and 45.9% of secondary cases (SCs) were asymptomatic. Household CCs had 98% (OR: 1.98, 95% CI: 1.81–2.18) and 138% (2.38, 2.19–2.58) increased risk of SD and becoming SCs compared to social settings. The IP was 3.42 days, being 4.10 days among social CCs, and only 15.4% and 4.8% of SCs developed symptoms after days 7 and 10 of quarantine, respectively. These results, notably the higher SAR among asymptomatic children, highlight the importance of diligent monitoring to inform SARS-CoV-2 control strategies.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-24
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3040032
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 4 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 320-335: Community Coping Strategies for COVID-19 in
           Bangladesh: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Survey

    • Authors: K. M. Amran Hossain, Rubayet Shafin, Mst. Hosneara Yeasmin, Iqbal Kabir Jahid, Mohammad Anwar Hossain, Shohag Rana, Mohammad Feroz Kabir, Sanjit Kumar Chokrovorty, Rafey Faruqui
      First page: 320
      Abstract: It is important to know the community coping strategies during the rapid uprise of a pandemic, as this helps to predict the consequences, especially in the mental health spectrum. This study aims to explore coping strategies used by Bangladeshi citizens during the major wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design: Prospective, cross-sectional survey of adults living in Bangladesh. Methods: Participants were interviewed for socio-demographic data and completed the Bengali-translated Brief-COPE Inventory. COPING indicators were categorized in four ways, such as approach, avoidant, humor, and religion. Results: Participants (N = 2001), aged 18 to 86 years, were recruited from eight administrative divisions within Bangladesh (mean age 31.85 ± 14.2 years). The male-to-female participant ratio was 53.4% (n = 1074) to 46.6% (n = 927). Higher scores were reported for approach coping styles (29.83 ± 8.9), with lower scores reported for avoidant coping styles (20.83 ± 6.05). Humor coping scores were reported at 2.68 ± 1.3, and religion coping scores at 5.64 ± 1.8. Both men and women showed similar coping styles. Multivariate analysis found a significant relationship between male gender and both humor and avoidant coping (p < 0.01). Male gender was found to be inversely related to both religion and approach coping (p < 0.01). Marital status and education were significantly related to all coping style domains (p < 0.01). The occupation was related to approach coping (p < 0.01). Rural and urban locations differed in participants’ coping styles (p < 0.01). Exploratory factor analysis revealed two cluster groups (factors 1 and 2) of mixed styles of coping. Conclusions: Participants in this study coped with the COVID-19 pandemic by utilizing mixed coping strategies. This study finds female gender, the married, elderly, and rural populations were adaptive to positive approaches to coping, whereas the male and educated population had the avoidant approach to coping.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-02
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3030024
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 3 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 336-347: Infection Prevention and Control in Public
           Hospitals and COVID-19 Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities in
           the Philippines: Results of a Baseline Survey

    • Authors: Vergil de Claro, Noemi Bautista, Ma. Rosario Torralba, Vina Vanessa Castro, Miguel Angelo Lucero, Lady Jedfeliz Molleno, Laurentiu Stan
      First page: 336
      Abstract: Infection prevention and control measures are effective at protecting patients and healthcare workers from healthcare-acquired infections, averting onward transmission of the disease and mitigating the impact of the outbreak on the healthcare system. This study assessed the compliance of public hospitals and isolation facilities with a set of standards for COVID-19 infection prevention and control. A 35-point questionnaire was developed and utilized to collect data from selected facilities in 38 local government units across the country. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data, and differences between island groups were tested using Pearson’s χ2 test for categorical variables. The results indicate that hospitals reported better infection prevention and control preparedness and compliance than temporary treatment and monitoring facilities in the domains of engineering and administrative controls. However, weak compliance was observed in a number of indicators for waste management in both types of facilities. These suggest that periodic monitoring and the augmentation of resources are necessary to sustain adherence to standards and to immediately address compliance gaps. In addition, systemic improvements through sufficient planning and long-term investments are required to sustain infection prevention and control practices over time.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-02
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3030025
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 3 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 348-369: A Scoping Review on COVID-19-Induced
           Cardiovascular Complications

    • Authors: Ian Osoro, Manisha Vohra, Mohammad Amir, Puneet Kumar, Amit Sharma
      First page: 348
      Abstract: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a type of human coronavirus that resulted in the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Although it was generally categorized as a respiratory disease, its involvement in cardiovascular complications was identified from the onset. Elevated cardiac troponin levels (a myocardial injury marker) and echocardiograms, which showed the anomalous performance of the patients’ hearts, were noted in the early case reports obtained from Wuhan, China. A couple of mechanisms have been proposed to explain COVID-19-induced cardiovascular complications, with systemic inflammation being the major focus recently. Chest pain and palpitations are among the prevalent symptoms in moderate to severe COVID-19-recovering patients. Cardiac damage potentially occurs due to multifactorial factors, which include cytokine-induced inflammation, direct cardiotoxicity, and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), among others. The cardiovascular manifestations include cardiac arrhythmia, cardiogenic shock, venous thromboembolism, and elevated cardiac biomarkers. Both the long- and short-term effects of these cardiovascular complications remain puzzling to researchers, as substantial evidence is yet to be gathered to reach a consensus on the severity of COVID-19 in the heart. The treatment considerations currently include antiarrhythmic management, ACEI or ARB use, anticoagulation, hemodynamic support, and immunosuppression. This review aimed to outline the pathogenesis of the various cardiac complications due to COVID-19 as well as the available treatment modalities of COVID-19 infection. Both the mechanisms and the treatments have been succinctly explained in a proper manner to ensure understanding.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-03
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3030026
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 3 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 370-380: It Didn’t Go Away: The Political and
           Social Determinants of COVID-19 Mortality Rates across Counties in the
           United States

    • Authors: Simone Rambotti, Caroline Wolski, Kathryn Freeman Anderson
      First page: 370
      Abstract: Research over the last several years has demonstrated a wide variety of inequalities in the COVID-19 pandemic by socio-demographic characteristics, place, and political and religious ideology. In this study, by combining several county-level data sources, we examine how the social conditions of counties across the United States relate to their differential COVID-19 mortality rates. We find that percent Black, percent Hispanic, and income inequality are all positively related to higher mortality rates at the county level. Moreover, the percentage of the population that voted for Trump in the 2020 election was a significant and substantively large predictor of higher mortality rates. We also include healthcare-related variables, but compared to the social circumstances of the pandemic, these effects are relatively small. These results indicate that the social conditions of areas are strong predictors of how counties have experienced the pandemic and where the greatest loss of life has occurred.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-08
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3030027
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 3 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 381-391: COVID-19 Pandemic: Brief Overview of the
           Consequences on Family Informal Caregiving

    • Authors: Antonella Serafini, Giuseppe Peralta, Paola Martucci, Alberto Tagliaferro, Ann Hutchinson, Carlo Barbetta
      First page: 381
      Abstract: Background and aim of the work: The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected the quality of people’s social life, strongly impacting family dynamics, too, not only in the harshest periods of the pandemic but also afterwards. Pandemic-related measures led to a ‘stay-at-home’ approach that increased the mental and physical burdens of family caregivers, irrespective of whether they were living together with the person they were caring for or not. In this paper, we provide an overview of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on family relationships and dynamics, as well as on family caregivers’ mental burden, and outline how this developed. Methods: We collected relevant info by searching the PubMed/Medline database with appropriate keywords. The search was performed up to 28 February 2023. This paper is reported in line with PRISMA guidance. Results: Given the recent onset of the issue, the number of relevant papers was limited. However, the additional burden that the pandemic has caused worldwide to informal caregivers clearly emerges. Conclusions: The worldwide impact of the pandemic on informal caregiving is assessed, and recommendations on how the issue can be handled are briefly sketched, too.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-11
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3030028
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 3 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 392-404: COVID-19 Pandemical Period: Issues and
           Strategies to Make Sustainable Socialization and Recreation for Elderly
           People in Long-Term Care Institutions

    • Authors: Ana Dias, Annibal Scavarda, Augusto da Cunha Reis, Isabel Santos, Andre Fonseca
      First page: 392
      Abstract: The usual lives have been changed since the COVID-19 Outbreak took place. Elderly people suffer as much as others and their lives have been impacted a lot. This paper aims to analyze the social network use and the recreation and socialization activity participation before and after the COVID-19 pandemical appearance in long-term care institutions. In the empirical side of this research, the authors of this paper sent an email questionnaire to long-term care institutions located in Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil. In the theoretical side of this research, an investigation was carried out through the scientific databases. Data were analyzed using the programming languages Python, Excel, and IBM SPSS Statistics. As a result, this paper shows an apparent increase in social network use and a drop in recreation and socialization activity participation after the COVID-19 pandemical appearance in long-term care institutions. The presented findings are the first step, which can be part of future studies analyzing the potential growth in social network use among elderly people by comparing elderly residents with non-residents in the long-term care institutions.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-13
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3030029
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 3 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 405-417: Assessing Internet Surfing Behaviours and
           Digital Health Literacy among University Students in Ghana during the
           COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Authors: Francis Britwum, Stephen Kofi Anin, Edmond Kwesi Agormedah, Frank Quansah, Medina Srem-Sai, John Elvis Hagan, Thomas Schack
      First page: 405
      Abstract: This study assessed the internet surfing behaviours and digital health literacy (DHL) among university students in Ghana during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was guided by three major objectives: (1) examine the online information searching behaviours of university students during the COVID-19 pandemic, (2) investigate the thematic areas university students searched during COVID-19, and (3) examine the DHL level of university students. The study conveniently sampled 1014 university students to solicit their responses through questionnaire administration. Using frequency and percent counts, multiple response analysis, as well as mean and standard deviation, the study revealed that the predominant platforms university students used were search engines (n = 954, 94.1%), social media (n = 950, 93.7%), and WhatsApp (n = 950, 93.7%). Predominant themes among the thematic areas university students searched during COVID-19 were symptoms of COVID-19 (n = 701, 81.7%), COVID-19 vaccines (n = 689, 80.3%), and transmission routes of the coronavirus (n = 664, 77.4%). Further, other results showed that students enrolled in health-related programmes showed significantly higher levels of DHL compared to those in non-health-related programmes. The findings suggest the need to implement health education measures to strengthen students’ health literacy capacities and their DHL ability. This finding requires governments and health authorities to implement evidence-informed health communication strategies to provide valid and reliable health information concerning the COVID-19 pandemic and support individuals to make health-promoting decisions.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-03-20
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3030030
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 3 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 124-130: Using Smart Devices for Monitoring Elderly
           Patients in Rural Areas of Calabria after COVID-19 Vaccination:
           Experiences within the SI4CARE Project

    • Authors: Alessandro Gallo, Salvatore Fregola, Margherita Menon, Filomena Talarico, Stella Fragkiadaki, Dionysia Kontaxopolou, Katarina Vukojevic, Danira Matijaca, Miodrag Miljkovic, Srdjan Kožetinac, Alessio Merola, Vlado Dimovski, Anamarija Kejar, Ivan Radevic, Danica Stevovic, Vlatka Martinovic, Katjia Matesan, Roberta Matkovic, Guido Piccoli, Francesco Esposito, Nicola Mayera, Elisabetta Pedace, Darja Semrov, Pietro Hiram Guzzi, the SI4CARE Partners Members the SI4CARE Partners Members
      First page: 124
      Abstract: The SI4CARE project is a transnational project which aims to develop both strategy and action plans to improve health and social care in the Adriatic–Ionian region. Starting from a survey of the status quo, each partner has developed some pilots to support the development and monitoring of the policy actions. In particular, partner number three, the Municipality of Miglierina, designed and developed a pilot related to the use of wearable devices for monitoring elderly patients in rural areas. With the collaboration of the complex unity of primary care (UCCP) of the Reventino area, the pilot is based on the use of smart wearable devices to monitor some parameters of older adults after their vaccinations for flu and covid. This paper focused on the design and implementation of the system. It describes its application in the Municipality of Miglierina. Presentation of the results and a discussion of the strengths and weaknesses will be presented, in detail, in future work. Finally, the possibility of extending the experiment to other Adriatic–Ionian regions is addressed.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-17
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020007
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 131-143: Impact of COVID-19 on UK Banks; How Banks
           Reshape Consumer Banking Behaviour during Pandemic

    • Authors: Nidal A. Darwish, Mohammed Bayyoud
      First page: 131
      Abstract: Due to COVID-19 and prolonged lockdown, banks in the UK have reported impact on their operational activities and financial aspects. To deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, banks have adopted different strategies that reshape consumer banking behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study evaluates the impact of COVID-19 on three banks in the UK, including HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Barclays Bank. A mixed research approach was adopted where a closed-ended survey with 30 employees (10 employees from each bank) were chosen to participate in the survey. Interviews are conducted with three managers of the banks. The study findings show that banks adopted social distancing to ensure that their brand operations were not affected. The banks did not consider shutting down the branches for cutting the cost. However, there has been a shift from a manual to a digital process for client queries to improve efficiency. The banks also created the brand image of operating during the pandemic.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-24
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020008
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 144-150: Safe and Timely Delivery of Essential
           Surgical Care for Skin Cancer in a Pandemic

    • Authors: Stephanie R. Jackson Cullison, Arda Celen, Nicole A. Doudican, John A. Carucci, Mary L. Stevenson
      First page: 144
      Abstract: Many surgical practices closed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We implemented operational changes to safely continue treating patients with cutaneous tumors during the pandemic. This study seeks to evaluate the impact of pandemic-based operational changes on safety, access, and treatment. Here, we report results from a retrospective study from a single academic office-based surgical practice that provided treatment to patients with skin cancer between November 2019 and September 2020. Time to treatment, tumor area, and upstaging after treatment were compared among patients seen “pre-pandemic” (November 2019 to March 2020), during the “pause” (March 2020 to June 2020), and in the “reopening” (June 2020 to September 2020). One-way ANOVA or Fisher Exact analyses were performed, and p < 0.05 was considered significant. Our study included 691 patients (22–101 years old) with a total of 912 tumors. No cases of COVID-19 transmission occurred during the study period. The time from consultation to treatment was reduced during the pause and reopening periods relative to pre-pandemic (p ≤ 0.002), and the average Mohs post-operative defect size remained unchanged throughout the study period (p = 0.75). Consistent with the prioritization of higher-risk tumors in the pandemic peak, a significant reduction in the treatment of basal cell carcinoma tumors was noted during the pause (p = 0.01), and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma tumors were upstaged more frequently after treatment (p < 0.001). Our findings demonstrate that practice modifications can permit essential surgical care to be delivered safely to patients with high-risk skin cancers during a pandemic.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020009
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 151-165: Hate Crime during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A
           Qualitative Study of the Experiences of an Ethnically Diverse University
           Student Population

    • Authors: Lieve Gies, Mayuri Gogoi, Christopher D. Bayliss, Manish Pareek, Adam Webb, Neil Chakraborti, Emily Wertans
      First page: 151
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic coincided with a rise in reports of hate crime against East and Southeast Asian minorities. Political rhetoric blaming China for causing the pandemic was tantamount to a ‘permission to hate’, making COVID-19 a catalyst of hate crime against Chinese people which also fuelled overt prejudice against other ethnic minorities. Researching experiences of hate offences in an ethnically diverse university student population in the United Kingdom during COVID-19, this qualitative study found that actual reported cases potentially underestimate the problem of hate crime. Analysing data from semi-structured interviews, we argue that a focus on reported cases alone risks obscuring the full extent of pandemic-related harassment and the insidious nature of hate crimes more generally. Minority ethnic interview participants lived with varying degrees of fear of victimisation, even if they were not personally subjected to any actual incidents during the pandemic. Accounts of pre-pandemic experiences, along with vicarious experiences involving victims with similar characteristics as interview participants, confirm the status of hate crime as a ‘message crime’. Third-party bystander accounts involving the victimisation of others whose identity research participants did not share afford additional insights into the nature and extent of pandemic-related hate.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020010
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 166-168: Acknowledgment to the Reviewers of COVID in

    • Authors: COVID Editorial Office COVID Editorial Office
      First page: 166
      Abstract: High-quality academic publishing is built on rigorous peer review [...]
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020011
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 169-182: Delivering Health Services during Early Days
           of COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives of Frontline Healthcare Workers in
           Kenya’s Urban Informal Settlements

    • Authors: Vibian Angwenyi, Sabina Adhiambo Odero, Stephen Mulupi, Derrick Ssewanyana, Constance Shumba, Eunice Ndirangu-Mugo, Amina Abubakar
      First page: 169
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread disruptions to health, economic and social lives globally. This qualitative study explores frontline healthcare workers’ (HCWs) experiences delivering routine care in Kenya’s informal settlements during the early phases of the pandemic, amidst stringent COVID-19 mitigation measures. Thirteen telephone interviews were conducted with facility and community-based HCWs serving three informal settlements in Nairobi and Mombasa. Data were analyzed using the framework approach. Results indicate there were widespread fears and anxieties surrounding COVID-19 and its management. Secondly, access to facility-based care at the onset of the pandemic was reported to decline, with service availability hampered by the imposed curfew hours and guidance on the maximum allowable number of clients. HCWs experienced heightened risk of COVID-19 infection due to poor working conditions including inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and unavailable isolation areas for COVID-19 positive patients. HCWs also experienced stigma associated with contact with persons suspected of having COVID-19 infection, thereby causing a strain on their mental health and wellbeing. The study recommends the need for interventions to support and protect HCWs’ physical and mental health, alongside health system preparedness. Additionally, it is vital to identify ways of taking health services closer to the community to address access barriers in health emergency contexts.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020012
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 183-191: A Case of COVID-Related MERS (Clinically
           Mild Encephalitis/Encephalopathy with a Reversible Splenial Lesion) with a
           Typical Imaging Course and Hyponatremia in Adults—A Case Report and
           Literature Review

    • Authors: Mieko Tokano, Norihito Tarumoto, Iichiro Osawa, Jun Sakai, Mariko Okada, Kazuhide Seo, Yoshihiko Nakazato, Toshimasa Yamamoto, Takuya Maeda, Shigefumi Maesaki
      First page: 183
      Abstract: Clinically mild encephalitis/encephalopathy with reversible splenial lesions (MERS) is a mild form of encephalitis/encephalopathy that appears in association with various conditions, including infection. COVID-19 is also known to cause MERS. MERS more commonly occurs in children, and adult cases are relatively rare. Typical head MRI findings include a round lesion in the mid-layer of the corpus callosum with a high signal intensity on diffusion-weighted images. Most improve within a week. Although the exact mechanism by which the cerebral corpus callosum is affected is still unknown, several hypotheses have been proposed, including the involvement of electrolyte abnormalities (e.g., hyponatremia) and inflammatory cytokines (e.g., IL-6). In this report, we describe the first case of COVID-associated MERS with a typical imaging course and hyponatremia, with a review of the relevant literature. When psychiatric symptoms and the disturbance of consciousness appear in COVID patients, MERS should be considered in addition to delirium due to fever and hypoxia.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-01
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020013
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 192-197: Cardiac Arrhythmias in Pediatric Age: Are
           They Triggered by SARS-CoV-2 Infection'

    • Authors: Jennifer Fumanelli, Jolanda Sabatino, Roberta Biffanti, Elena Reffo, Giovanni Di Salvo, Loira Leoni
      First page: 192
      Abstract: Coronavirus disease 2019 is a highly contagious infectious disease. Research on heart rhythm disorders in children affected by COVID-19 infection is quite lacking. An infant and a congenital heart disease (CHD) teenager with a pacemaker presented fascicular tachycardia and atrial flutter, respectively, during COVID-19 pauci-symptomatic infection. The hemodynamic condition was always stable. The self-resolving trend of the atrial flutter and progressive resolution of the ventricular tachycardia occurred in conjunction with the negativization of the swab. These particular tachyarrhythmias have been reported as a form of potential arrhythmic complication during active pauci-symptomatic COVID-19 infection for the first time ever.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-03
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020014
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 198-217: Real-World Safety and Effectiveness of
           Remdesivir and Corticosteroids in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19

    • Authors: Aisling R. Caffrey, J. Xin Liao, Vrishali V. Lopes, Kerry L. LaPlante, Haley J. Appaneal
      First page: 198
      Abstract: Real-world effectiveness studies of remdesivir in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 conducted to date have produced conflicting findings which may be due, in part, to treatment heterogeneity within standard of care comparison groups. Our objective was to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and safety of remdesivir in a cohort of patients all treated with corticosteroids. We conducted a retrospective cohort study in the National Veterans Affairs Healthcare System. We included hospitalized patients (>18 years old) with positive COVID-19 PCR tests and COVID-19 diagnosis codes, and corticosteroid treatment within 2 days of admission, from 1 May 2020 to 30 November 2021. Time-to-event outcomes included time to inpatient mortality (primary), discharge, mortality after discharge, readmission, and acute kidney injury and bacterial infection after treatment initiation. Propensity score (PS)-adjusted, PS-matched, and inverse probability of treatment weighted (IPTW) Cox proportional hazards regression models controlled for study timeframe, supplemental oxygen, vaccination status, and other important confounders. We observed significantly lower inpatient mortality, 90-day post-discharge mortality, 30-day post-discharge readmission, and significantly longer hospital stays in the remdesivir group (n = 14,509) compared with the non-remdesivir group (n = 4365). Higher rates of bacterial infections were observed in the remdesivir group. Acute kidney injury was lower in subgroup analyses restricting the study population to index dates in 2021, on supplemental oxygen, and fully vaccinated, and higher in those without baseline supplemental oxygen. When comparing the effectiveness and safety of remdesivir plus corticosteroids to a homogenous comparison group, all also treated with corticosteroids, mortality and readmission were significantly lower in the remdesivir group. Longer length of stay corresponds with duration of remdesivir treatment and may impact the risk of developing infections during the hospitalization, which requires further study.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-05
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020015
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 218-225: Onset of Mental Disorders Following
           Hospitalization for COVID-19: A 6-Month Follow-Up Study

    • Authors: Jaime Chamorro-Delmo, Pablo Portillo De-Antonio, Alejandro Porras-Segovia, Santiago de León-Martínez, Marta Figuero Oltra, Pablo del Pozo-Herce, Adela Sánchez-Escribano Martínez, Irene Abejón Pérez, Constanza Vera-Varela, Teodor T. Postolache, Olatz Lopez-Fernandez, COVID-MH Collaboration Group COVID-MH Collaboration Group, Enrique Baca-Garcia
      First page: 218
      Abstract: (1) Background: The present study aimed to investigate the onset of mental disorders in the six months following hospitalization for COVID-19 in people without a previous psychiatric history. (2) Methods: This was a longitudinal study carried out among adults who had been hospitalized due to COVID-19 infection. Six months after discharge, a series of questionnaires were administered (the World Health Organization Well-being Index (WHO-5), the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the General Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-7, and the Drug Abuse Screen Test, among others). Based on these scores, a compound Yes/No variable that indicated the presence of common mental disorders was calculated. A multivariate logistic regression was built to explore the factors associated with the presence of common mental disorders. (3) Results: One hundred and sixty-eight patients (57.34%) developed a common mental disorder in the 6 months following hospital discharge after COVID-19 infection. Three variables were independently associated with the presence of common mental disorders after hospitalization for COVID-19, and the WHO-5 duration of hospitalization), and severity of illness. (4) Conclusions: Among people with no previous psychiatric history, we observed a high incidence of mental disorders after COVID-19 hospitalization. A moderate (1–2 weeks) duration of hospitalization may pose a higher risk of post-COVID-19 onset of a mental health condition than longer or shorter durations of medical hospitalization. Further research is needed to better understand the mechanisms underlying the psychopathological consequences of COVID-19 and their predictors.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-06
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020016
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 226-237: Vaccine Breakthrough COVID-19 Outbreak in
           Section of a Hospital with 88% Attack Rate: Lessons to Be Learned

    • Authors: N. D. B. Ehelepola, B. A. S. Wijewardana
      First page: 226
      Abstract: Vaccine breakthrough COVID-19 clusters with high attack rates are very rare. They paralyze affected section/s of the institution; thus, awareness of them is important. This is an analysis of a vaccine breakthrough COVID-19 cluster with an 88% attack rate involving 35 security guards (SGs) of the Teaching Hospital-Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. The identification of the particular combination of factors that resulted in this outbreak’s 88% attack rate was our main objective, because this knowledge is useful to prevent similar clusters of COVID-19 and other similar infections. We traced and documented contact details, risky behaviors, and medical history of all SGs. Contacts of all COVID-19 cases were tested for COVID-19. We created an epi-curve and identified the index case (IC). The epi-curve pattern indicates a propagated source outbreak. No SG was seriously immunocompromised. There was no breach in the local cold chain. The following combination of factors synergistically created this outbreak: communal meals at cramped spaces, unfamiliarity with vaccine breakthrough cases, disregard of the risk of infection from fully vaccinated coworkers, hesitancy to report COVID-19-like symptoms early on, symptomatic treatment of COVID-19-like patients without testing for COVID-19, permission to return home, and the Alpha variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-06
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020017
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 238-246: Assessing the Vaccine Efficacy in Health
           Care Providers for Combating the COVID-19 Infection: Results from Tertiary
           Cancer Care Centre

    • Authors: Shalini Agnihotri, Anurag Mehta, Anurag Sharma
      First page: 238
      Abstract: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s rapid expansion, the creation of vaccines is crucial for lowering disease transmission. Therefore, to determine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine against symptomatic illness and to evaluate breakthrough infections, those who received single or both the doses of vaccine against COVID-19 infection. A retrospective observational study was carried out on vaccine efficacy and the incidence of the breakthrough infections among the heath care workers, support staff and administrative staff. Out of 599 fully vaccinated health care workers, those who tested COVID-19 positive post-vaccination only 1.16 % developed a severe illness that necessitates hospitalization. This study reflects a significant vaccine efficacy of 81.3% after a complete dose of vaccination and protection of 76.9% after one standard dose against symptomatic disease. The frequency of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough is very low, which means that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19, particularly when it comes to severity.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-10
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020018
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 246-254: An Exploratory Ecological Study between
           COVID-19 Vaccination Rate and Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Status
           Neighborhood Conditions in Michigan

    • Authors: Grigoris Argeros, Jenni L. Hoffman, Natalie Dove
      First page: 246
      Abstract: COVID-19 vaccination rate disparities continue to persist in the U.S., despite their wide availability. A multidimensional host of sociodemographic, economic, political, and cultural factors have resulted in differences in vaccine coverage rates across the U.S. The present study descriptively explores one component of the complex relationship among what drives COVID-19 vaccination rate differences—specifically, the relationship between neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics and vaccination rates in Michigan. Data from the 2019 5-Year American Community Survey are merged with vaccine coverage rate data at the census tract level for the 18-years-and-older population for Michigan from 15 December 2020 to 19 November 2021. On the one hand, the results reveal that a neighborhood’s racial and ethnic composition and socioeconomic status characteristics are part of the complex bundle of characteristics affecting neighborhood vaccination coverage rates across Michigan. On the other hand, the findings also reveal a set of surprising patterns as they relate to the racial and ethnic composition of neighborhoods in Michigan. Future studies should further explore the extent to which race/ethnicity and class-related neighborhood characteristics are statistically relevant in examining the broader community effects on vaccine coverage rates in Michigan.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-15
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020019
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 255-272: How Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Change the
           Hand and Mobile Phone Hygiene Behaviors of Greek Undergraduate

    • Authors: Dimitrios Delitzakis, Vilelmine Carayanni, Panagiota Giakkoupi, Kyriakoula Merakou
      First page: 255
      Abstract: The aim of this study is to assess the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on undergraduate students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors on hand and mobile phone hygiene. An anonymous self-reported questionnaire was distributed among 100 Greek male and female undergraduate students of all academic years who attended healthcare as well as non-healthcare curriculums. Descriptive statistics and statistical tests (chi-squared and Wilcoxon signed-rank test) were used (α = 5%). Students provided better responses during COVID-19, compared to the period before the COVID-19 pandemic, concerning their hand washing frequency (p < 0.001), hand washing circumstances, certain hand washing procedures, as well as their mobile phones’ cleaning/disinfection methods and frequency (p < 0.001). Statistically significant differences were observed between males and females in their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors on hand and mobile phone hygiene, followed by faculty and year of studies. Overall, being a final-year female undergraduate student of health sciences has a positive influence on correct knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors on hand and mobile phone hygiene.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-16
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020020
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 273-288: Labour Mobility and Foreign Direct
           Investment: India during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Authors: Diotima Chattoraj, AKM Ahsan Ullah
      First page: 273
      Abstract: COVID-19 has had a negative impact on the majority of rising economies since 2020. The economic effects of the majority of countries were mixed as a result of the lockdown measure they enacted. Economic conditions have a significant impact on the spread of pandemics, as history has proved. This article concentrates on India in order to ascertain the relationship between migration, FDI, and COVID-19. We undertake this study to determine whether labour movement (in/out) inside COVID-19 has an effect on FDI influx. Our research—based on qualitative secondary sources—reveals that multinational corporations prefer native workers over imported personnel in India due to the country’s abundant skilled manpower. This implies that multinational corporations can replace foreign workers with locally employed workers if they can find suitable candidates among the local labour force. According to our findings, FDI and skilled migration to India appear to be linked.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-16
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020021
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 289-300: Behavioral Changes during the First Year of
           the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Comparison of Bullying,
           Cyberbullying, Externalizing Behavior Problems and Prosocial Behavior in

    • Authors: Neele Bäker, Jessica Schütz-Wilke
      First page: 289
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in the lives of children and adolescents worldwide. During the first year in the COVID-19 pandemic German schools were partially closed. The restrictions to limit the pandemic can be viewed as incongruent with developmental tasks of children and adolescent, and this can harbor risks such as loss of education, well-being, and daily structure. Additionally, social skills could decrease. The current study analyzed behavioral changes in traditional bullying and cyberbullying, externalizing behavior problems and prosocial behavior from spring 2020 (pandemic outbreak) to spring 2021 (during the pandemic; a time when schools were closed and infection rates peaked). We addressed our research question with an online survey in a German sample. A total of 130 students (65 females and 65 males) with ages ranging from 10 to 17 (MT1 = 13.88; SDT1 = 1.26) participated. Our results revealed significant differences in cyberbullying and prosocial behavior and no significant differences in traditional bullying and externalizing behavior problems across one year. Cyberbullying increased and prosocial behavior decreased during the first year of pandemic.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-20
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020022
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 301-319: Researching Teacher Work Motivation in Ghana
           through the Lens of COVID-19

    • Authors: Michael Agyemang Adarkwah
      First page: 301
      Abstract: Teachers, particularly in developing contexts, were vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As natural parental figures for students, they had to reconcile the dual role of ensuring the safety and health of students and their own and their family’s well-being. The external crisis of COVID-19 heightened the negative experiences of teachers in their work environments during both online and physical instruction. This qualitative phenomenological study involving thirty (30) secondary school teachers in Ghana took a comprehensive and fresh look at how COVID-19 impacted the work motivation of teachers. It was found that teachers suffered a great deal of stress in the wake of the pandemic and had to face mounting concerns about their working conditions. The low morale of teachers precipitated by COVID-19 made them develop attrition intentions. However, intrinsic and altruistic traits such as passion, the feeling of responsibility, and the desire to contribute to society and foster student development made teachers resilient towards the deleterious effects of the pandemic to promote optimal teaching. Future studies should investigate the installation of support structures that strengthen the motivation of teachers in unforeseen crises.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-02-20
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3020023
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 2 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 65-81: Mitigation of Socio-Economical Inequalities on
           the Profile of Healthcare Workers Infected with SARS-CoV-2 upon
           Vaccination: The Experience of a Brazilian Public Healthcare Institution
           during the Omicron Wave

    • Authors: Maria Celia Chaves Zuma, Roberta Soares Faccion, Ana Carolina Carioca da Costa, Leonardo Henrique Ferreira Gomes, Daniella Campelo Batalha Cox Moore, Saint Clair Gomes Junior, Adriana Cesar Bonomo, Wilson Savino, Sotiris Missailidis, Zilton Farias Meira Vasconcelos
      First page: 65
      Abstract: Background: COVID-19 increased health inequalities worldwide. Even among healthcare workers, social-economical features enhanced the risk of infection (having positive serology) during the first outbreak. The Omicron variant changed the pandemic course and differs from previous variants in many aspects (molecular, clinical, and epidemiological). Herein, we investigated if the profile of our hospital SARS-CoV-2-positive workers during the Omicron outbreak was the same as the first COVID-19 wave. Methods: Socio-demographics, previous infection, and vaccine status of 351 healthcare workers from our institution during the Omicron outbreak were compared between SARS-CoV-2-negative and -positive workers, using chi-square tests. These data were confronted with the profile observed at the beginning of the pandemic. Results: Compared to the original COVID-19 wave, higher odds of SARS-CoV-2 positivity in highly exposed workers in our hospital and a loss of impact of public transportation and other socio-demographic features in SARS-CoV-2 transmission were observed. Conclusions: Our data suggest the current phase of the pandemic is associated with a reduction of social inequalities among healthcare workers in Rio de Janeiro, possibly due to vaccine-associated protection. Therefore, a worldwide effort to advance vaccination coverage, especially for healthcare workers in developing countries, should be reinforced.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-05
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3010004
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 82-89: Spatial Mapping of Genes Implicated in
           SARS-CoV-2 Neuroinvasion to Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Gray Matter

    • Authors: Sai Batchu, Michael Joseph Diaz, Jasmine Thuy Tran, Angela Fadil, Kamil Taneja, Karan Patel, Brandon Lucke-Wold
      First page: 82
      Abstract: Introduction: SARS-CoV-2 is the newest beta coronavirus family member to demonstrate neuroinvasive capability in severe cases of infection. Despite much research activity in the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 space, the gene-level biology of this phenomenon remains poorly understood. In the present analysis, we leveraged spatial transcriptomics methodologies to examine relevant gene heterogeneity in tissue retrieved from the human prefrontal cortex. Methods: Expression profiles of genes with established relations to the SARS-CoV-2 neuroinvasion process were spatially resolved in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex tissue (N = 4). Spotplots were generated with mapping to six (6) previously defined gray matter layers. Results: Docking gene BSG, processing gene CTSB, and viral defense gene LY6E demonstrated similar spatial enrichment. Docking gene ACE2 and transmembrane series proteases involved in spike protein processing were lowly expressed across DLPFC samples. Numerous other findings were obtained. Conclusion: Efforts to spatially represent expression levels of key SARS-CoV-2 brain infiltration genes remain paltry to date. Understanding the sobering history of beta coronavirus neuroinvasion represents a weak point in viral research. Here we provide the first efforts to characterize a motley of such genes in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-06
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3010005
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 90-123: On the Adoption of Modern Technologies to

    • Authors: Abdul Majeed, Xiaohan Zhang
      First page: 90
      Abstract: In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, digital technologies have played a vital role to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and to control its pitfalls for the general public. Without such technologies, bringing the pandemic under control would have been tricky and slow. Consequently, exploration of pandemic status, and devising appropriate mitigation strategies would also be difficult. In this paper, we present a comprehensive analysis of community-beneficial digital technologies that were employed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, we demonstrate the practical applications of ten major digital technologies that have effectively served mankind in different ways during the pandemic crisis. We have chosen these technologies based on their technical significance and large-scale adoption in the COVID-19 arena. The selected technologies are the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence(AI), natural language processing(NLP), computer vision (CV), blockchain (BC), federated learning (FL), robotics, tiny machine learning (TinyML), edge computing (EC), and synthetic data (SD). For each technology, we demonstrate the working mechanism, technical applications in the context of COVID-19, and major challenges from the perspective of COVID-19. Our analysis can pave the way to understanding the roles of these digital COVID-19-fighting technologies that can be used to fight future infectious diseases to prevent global crises. Moreover, we discuss heterogeneous data that have significantly contributed to addressing multiple aspects of the ongoing pandemic when fed to the aforementioned technologies. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is a pioneering work on community-beneficial and transformative technologies in the context of COVID-19 with broader coverage of studies and applications.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2023-01-16
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3010006
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2023)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 1-27: Workforce Management during the Time of
           COVID-19—Lessons Learned and Future Measures

    • Authors: Rupkatha Bardhan, Traci Byrd, Julie Boyd
      First page: 1
      Abstract: Industries worldwide have faced continuous burdens since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, while adjusting to rapidly changing rules and regulations. Industries need to be prepared to remain operational and productive in the face of current and emergent pathogens. While several businesses could remain functional through remote work, critical industries faced closings, worker shortages, and loss of productivity. Pharmaceutical industries were blessed with an increase in the stock market and creation of new jobs, but faced serious severe challenges due to shortage of medicines and drugs. Critical infrastructures such as healthcare, food and agriculture, manufacturing, construction, transportation, retail, waterworks, and waste management took a significant hit during the pandemic, and are still suffering from worker shortages to function optimally. Above all odds, companies were able to maintain the necessities by implementing strict safety protocols such as thorough and repeated cleaning, use of hand sanitizer/disinfectants, wearing face masks and personal protective equipment, and maintaining social distancing. This article addresses how COVID-19 disrupted normal operations on a large scale, and how essential businesses have learned to assess the impact, handle situations effectively, and become resilient for future crises. Best practices were tailored to each industry sector to prepare for and address the pandemic.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-23
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3010001
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 28-50: The Difference in Wave Dynamics between
           SARS-CoV-2 Pre-Omicron and Omicron Variant Waves

    • Authors: Franz Konstantin Fuss, Yehuda Weizman, Adin Ming Tan
      First page: 28
      Abstract: Compared to previous SARS-CoV-2 variants, the Omicron variant exhibited different epidemiological features. The purpose of this study was to assess the wave dynamics of pre-Omicron and Omicron waves in terms of differences and similarities. We investigated the COVID-19 waves since the beginning of the pandemic up to 28 August 2022, 1000 waves in total, as to their effectiveness for flattening the curve, calculated from the first and second time derivative of the daily case data. The average number of Omicron waves per month (42.78) was greater than the one of pre-Omicron waves per month (25.62). Omicron waves steepen and flatten the curve significantly faster, more effectively and with sharper peaks. Omicron waves generated more daily case data than pre-Omicron waves; the pre-Omicron trend showed increasing numbers over time, whereas the Omicron trend showed decreasing numbers. In denser populated countries, pre-Omicron waves were managed more effectively, in contrast to Omicron waves which were managed less effectively (but more effectively in less densely populated countries). This study provides the evidence for a different behaviour of Omicron waves in terms of wave dynamics, and thereby confirms that the Omicron variant is not only genetically different but even more so in terms of epidemiological dynamics.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-26
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3010002
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 3, Pages 51-64: Repeat-Dose Toxicity of Candidate Omicron
           COVID-19 Vaccine in Sprague-Dawley Rats

    • Authors: Yuxiu Zhao, Zhenyu He, Zhanhui Wang, Yao He, Xue Zhao, Hongyang Liang, Yancen Guo, Yichuan Wang, Xiaonan Zhang, Huiqin Zhu, Yuan Dong, Yingwei Liu, Wanli Li, Ling Ding, Xiujuan Zhu, Haoyue Lan, Yuntao Zhang, Hui Wang, Xiaoming Yang
      First page: 51
      Abstract: Due to a large number of mutations in the spike protein and immune escape, the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has become a predominant variant of concern (VOC) strain. To prevent the disease, we developed a candidate inactivated vaccine (Omicron COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated). To evaluate the safety of the vaccine, we tested the repeat-dose toxicity in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. The doses were administered randomly to three groups: physiological saline solution (control), aluminum adjuvant in PBS solution adjuvant (adjuvant group), and low-dose and high-dose omicron vaccines (vaccine group) for 6 weeks. The SD rats were allowed to recover for 4 weeks after withdrawal. We evaluated the physiological condition of the rats, including their ophthalmological condition, body weight, food intake, body temperature, blood biochemistry, urine, neutralizing antibody, inflammation at the injection site, and organs weight. In summary, no dose-dependent adverse toxicological changes were observed, and a recovery trend was obvious, which proved the preclinical safety of the candidate omicron vaccine and provided evidence for clinical trials in humans.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-27
      DOI: 10.3390/covid3010003
      Issue No: Vol. 3, No. 1 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1183-1192: The Role of Climate in the Spread of
           COVID-19 in Different Latitudes across the World

    • Authors: Azad Rasul, Heiko Balzter
      First page: 1183
      Abstract: Most transmittable diseases appear in a specific season and the effect of climate on COVID-19 is of special interest. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between climatic variables and the R0 of COVID-19 cases in a list of areas in different latitudes around the world. The daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 and climatic data of each area per day from January 2020 to March 2021 were utilized in the study. The GWR and MLR methods were used to identify the relationship between the R0 of COVID-19 cases and climatic variables. The MLR results showed a significant (p-value < 0.05) weak inverse relationship between the R0 of COVID-19 cases and wind speed, but a positive significant (p-value < 0.01) relationship with precipitation. This implies that lower COVID-19 cases were recorded with high wind speed and low precipitation. Based on GWR, the R0 of COVID-19 infection assessed against air temperature, rh, and precipitation was found to be statistically significant using the Monte Carlo p-value test, and the effect of climatic variables on COVID-19 infection appears to vary geographically. However, besides climatic variables, many socioeconomic factors could influence the virus’s transmission and will need to be considered in future studies.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-23
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090085
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1193-1206: Using Panel Data Analysis to Evaluate How
           Individual Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions Affected Traffic in the U.S.
           during the First Three Months of the COVID Pandemic

    • Authors: Diomo Motuba, Muhammad Asif Khan, Babak Mirzazadeh, Muhammad Faisal Habib
      First page: 1193
      Abstract: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictive non-pharmaceutical policy interventions (NPIs), with the goals of reducing interactions and travel for people in different households, were introduced. In the U.S., each state had jurisdiction over the NPI policy imposed, resulting in myriad policy decisions. The aggregate impacts of these decisions are known; however, the individual impacts are not fully understood. We disaggregated the NPIs imposed during the first three months of the epidemic (1 March and 7 June 2020) using panel data regression analysis. Vehicular travel reduction as a proxy for NPI impacts on traffic was regressed against stay-at-home orders, business closures, school closures, and gathering bans. The results show that school closures and full closures of non-essential businesses were correlated with the largest impacts in reducing vehicle trips compared to when they are not in place. Stay-at-home orders had about half the impact of school closures compared to when they were not in place. Gathering bans had the least impact. In the U.S., decisions that target businesses were the most effective in reducing vehicle traffic. There was heterogeneity in how people responded to these restrictions. This study can be used in epidemiology models and inform decision-makers on policies that work best.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-26
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090086
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1207-1213: Trends in COVID-19 Inpatient Cases and
           Hospital Capacities during the Emergence of the Omicron Variant in the
           United States

    • Authors: Man Hung, Benjamin Mennell, Angela Christensen, Amir Mohajeri, Helen Azabache, Ryan Moffat
      First page: 1207
      Abstract: Introduction: The purpose of this study was to analyze hospital capacities in terms of hospital beds and staffing in the United States and explore the trends of hospital capacities during the Omicron variant emergence. Methods: Using data collected by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, this study examined hospitalization rates from 15 December 2021 to 13 February 2022. Graphical trends were plotted for visualization of hospital bed usage and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inpatient cases. A Pearson correlation test was used to explore the relationship between critical staffing shortage and COVID-19 death cases. Descriptive statistics of all hospital data were calculated. Results: At the peak of the Omicron variant surge, approximately one-third of the adult intensive care unit beds were used for COVID-19 patients in the United States. The total number of COVID-19 death cases increased as the number of hospitals with critical staffing shortages increased (p < 0.05). Discussion: This study can inform hospital administrators and public health policymakers on how to modify the use of existing hospital and human resources as the continually evolving pandemic taxes hospital capacity. Future studies need to be conducted to determine the long-term trend and how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change rapidly.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-26
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090087
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1214-1227: Learning from the COVID-19 Pandemic and
           AKI Evolution for Extracorporeal and Adsorption Techniques in Kidney
           Replacement Therapy

    • Authors: Rupesh Raina, Siddhartha Singh, Vignasiddh Enukonda, Davinder Pandher, Brian Abboud, Vishnu Bhola, Sumedha Bagga, Tara Zehrer, Ashley Desmett
      First page: 1214
      Abstract: Increased mortality has been observed in patients who develop acute kidney injury (AKI) in the setting of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has led to the approval of extracorporeal kidney support by the FDA. We analyzed the existing literature to compare the efficacy and therapeutic benefits of various extracorporeal modalities for the oXiris membranes and CytoSorb cartridge in high-flow continuous kidney replacement therapy (HFCKRT). AKI due to COVID-19 is mediated by a state of systemic inflammation (cytokine storm syndrome), leading to multiple organ dysfunction. Although there is no consensus on a protocol for providing kidney support therapy, clinically oriented studies have shown the capacities of oXiris and CytoSorb filters to effectively filter out pro-inflammatory components, leading to improved clinical outcomes in critically ill patients. In this review, we study the development of cytokine storm syndrome, important clinical evidence regarding the roles of various adsorption techniques in kidney support therapy in this setting, and a protocol influenced by FDA recommendations for oXiris and CytoSorb membranes.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-30
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090088
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1228-1231: Quantifying the Impact of COVID-19
           “Lockdown” on Physical Activity in Children and Adults with
           Implanted Cardiac Rhythm Devices: A Single Center Experience Using Cardiac
           Rhythm Device Accelerometer Data

    • Authors: Rebecca Fisher, David Jevotovsky, Jessica Raviv, Barry Love
      First page: 1228
      Abstract: Background: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the US states of New York and New Jersey instituted a “lockdown” that closed schools and most businesses except for essential services. The public was urged to remain at home. The 78-day lockdown period extended from 22 March 2020 to 6 June 2020. We sought to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on continuously recorded physical activity in our patients with congenital heart disease with implanted cardiac rhythm management (CRM) devices—pacemakers (PPM), defibrillators (ICD) and implantable loop recorders (ILR) enabled with accelerometers that translate motion into a measure of active hours/day. Methods: All patients from our congenital CRM database with accelerometer-enabled devices who had stable cardiac status residing in NY and NJ were included. Forty-one patients met the inclusion criteria; the median age was 29.6 years (range 7–60); 54% female; 23 ICD, 15 PPM and 3 ILR. The patient activity was averaged for the 2 months prior to lockdown, during the lockdown, and the 2 months afterward. Paired t-tests were used to compare activity before and during lockdown, and before and after lockdown. Each patient served as his/her own control. Results: Active hours/day decreased by a mean of 32% (±27%) from baseline (p < 0.001). A total of 32 patients experienced a decline, 6 had no change and 3 had an increase. Active hours rebounded after lockdown and were unchanged compared to pre-lockdown levels. Conclusions: The COVID-19 lockdown in NY/NJ during the Spring of 2020 resulted in a significant drop in active hours/day in children and adults with congenital heart disease. Active hours/day rebounded to baseline after restrictions were lifted.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-31
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090089
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1232-1243: STEMI Patients in the First and Second
           Waves of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Northeast Slovenia—A
           Retrospective, Single-Center Observational Study

    • Authors: Andreja Sinkovič, Manja Kraševec, David Šuran, Martin Marinšek
      First page: 1232
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the outcomes of ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients in most countries. We aimed to retrospectively assess the admissions, treatments, complications, and mortality of STEMI patients in the northeast of Slovenia during the first (March–May 2020) and second waves (October–December 2020) of the COVID-19 pandemic and to compare them with data from 2019 (March–October). Comparing 2019 and both waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, we observed nonsignificant differences in the number of STEMI admissions, baseline characteristics, use of primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) within the first 3 (40.5%* vs. 38.7% vs. 25%*, *p = 0.074) or 6 h, TIMI III flow after primary PCI, and hospital complications, as well as significant increases in hospital heart failure (23.3% vs. 42%, p = 0.015) and mitral regurgitation in the second wave (10% vs. 26.9%, p = 0.008) of the pandemic and a nonsignificant increase in hospital mortality (8.9% vs. 9.4% vs. 13.6%) during both waves of the pandemic. We conclude that, due to the increased severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in the second wave, there were longer delays to primary PCI in STEMI patients, resulting in significantly increased hospital heart failure and non-significantly increased hospital mortality.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-31
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090090
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1244-1252: Joint COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Malaria
           Reactive Case Detection as Efficient Strategies for Disease Control

    • Authors: Ebenezer Krampah Aidoo, Daniel Sai Squire, Obed Ohene-Djan Atuahene, Kingsley Badu, Felix Abekah Botchway, George Osei-Adjei, Samuel Asamoah Sakyi, Linda Amoah, Michael Appiah, Ruth Duku-Takyi, Richard Harry Asmah, Bernard Walter Lawson, Karen Angeliki Krogfelt
      First page: 1244
      Abstract: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) contact tracing and malaria reactive case detection (RACD) are effective strategies for disease control. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global attention COVID-19 has received in the recent past and present has hampered malaria control efforts. Among these are difficulties in finding and treating malaria-infected individuals in hypoendemic settings in the community, due to lockdown restrictions by countries. It is common knowledge that malaria cases that cannot be identified remain untreated. To sustain the gains made in malaria control, we proposed a two-pronged hybrid approach for COVID-19 contact tracing and malaria RACD in communities with COVID-19 and malaria coinfections. Such an approach would equally factor the burden of malaria cases and COVID-19 to support an effective strategy for responding to current and future pandemics.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-01
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090091
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1253-1264: Neuropsychological Outcomes of COVID-19: A
           Multicenter, Cross-Cultural Study of Patients Referred for Outpatient

    • Authors: Christina D. Kay, Ana Sofia Costa, Tracy D. Vannorsdall, Paula Aduen, Clara Vila-Castelar, Sarah M. Burstein, Lauren Pollak, Daniel K. Leibel, Janet C. Sherman, Julia Bungenberg, Kathrin Reetz, Yakeel T. Quiroz
      First page: 1253
      Abstract: Objective: Cognitive dysfunction is one of the most frequently reported symptoms in post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) and has become a common reason for neuropsychological referral. While data are emerging, we aimed to address possible cross-cultural patterns of neuropsychological outcomes that remain underexplored. Methods: In this cross-sectional, retrospective study, we characterize the cognitive performance, demographic makeup, and clinical characteristics of 84 PASC patients (Mage = 57 years) referred for neuropsychological evaluation to three USA sites and one in Germany. Neuropsychological data (mean demographically adjusted z-scores and frequencies of impairment) were examined across six cognitive domains. Independent t-tests compared performances of previously hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients. Results: Patients were assessed on average seven months post-COVID-19 infection. The majority were women and non-hospitalized. Mean cognitive performance was within the normative range, but high variability existed within and between sites. Deficits were generally mild and most frequent in processing speed (range across sites: 9–57% of patients), executive functioning (range across sites: 4–43% of patients) and attention/working memory (range across sites: 0–43% of patients). Hospitalized patients showed greater cognitive impairment than those not requiring hospitalization. Mood symptoms and fatigue/sleep disturbance were more frequent than objective cognitive impairments. At the time of assessment, most patients were unable to return to work. Conclusions: Cognitive performance in clinically referred PASC patients was, overall, within the normative range. Mild deficits were most frequent in time-based attentional/executive tasks. Other factors, such as affective symptoms and fatigue, were frequent and may significantly impact functioning, perhaps more than cognition. Further work with larger samples and longitudinal measures is needed to clarify the impact of COVID-19 on cognitive function and psychiatric distress.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-02
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090092
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1265-1269: Neonatal Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome
           (MIS-N): The First Case Report in Thailand

    • Authors: Nophathai Sojisirikul, Keswadee Lapphra, Sopapan Ngerncham, Sirirat Charuvanij, Kritvikrom Durongpisitkul, Marcel E. Curlin, Kulkanya Chokephaibulkit
      First page: 1265
      Abstract: Cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C-like disease), have rarely been reported in neonates. A 33-week gestational age twin B female neonate presented with respiratory distress, tachycardia, and abdominal distention at 15 days of age. Echocardiogram found reduced left ventricular ejection fraction to 33%. Cardiac enzyme levels were all elevated: creatine kinase-MB 6.1 ng/mL (normal 0–4.5 ng/mL), troponin-T 170 ng/L (normal < 14 ng/L) and NT-proBNP > 35,000 pg/mL (normal 250.0 to 3987.0 pg/mL). Multiplex PCR of nasopharyngeal swab material was negative for respiratory pathogens. Serological tests revealed negative anti-spike SARS-CoV-2 IgM but positive anti-nucleocapsid SARS-CoV-2 IgG in both the mother and the patient. The mother provided a history of COVID-19 during pregnancy at 19 weeks gestation. The patient was diagnosed with neonatal multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-N) and successfully treated with intravenous immunoglobulin (two doses of 1 gm/kg/dose) and methylprednisolone (2 mg/kg/day for 5 days then tapered off). She later developed coronary vessel (LMCA and RCA) dilation. The non-identical twin A did not develop MIS-N, suggesting a role of host genetic background. Newborn infants born to SARS-CoV-2-infected mothers at any time during pregnancy should be closely monitored for MIS-N. The optimal treatment approaches to this syndrome and the prognosis require further study.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-07
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090093
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1270-1286: Association between SARS-CoV-2 Infection
           and Neuropsychiatric Manifestations

    • Authors: Aranza Llorente Vidrio, Humberto Nicolini, Carlos Tovilla Zarate, Thelma Gonzales Castro, Isela Juárez Rojop, Jaime Martínez Magaña, Nicolás Martínez López, Alma Delia Genis Mendoza
      First page: 1270
      Abstract: Coronaviruses are neurotropic viruses capable of entering the brain through various mechanisms and generating an important inflammatory response that is capable of triggering neuropsychiatric manifestations. Several reports describe the appearance of different conditions, such as sleep problems, anxiety and depression disorders, acute psychotic disorders, encephalitis, and delirium, among others, associated with COVID-19 infection. We performed a literature review in PubMed, Springer, Nature, MDPI, and other scientific journals on the relationship between COVID-19 infection with the development and aggravation of neuropsychiatric manifestations explained by molecular changes secondary to SARS-CoV-2 where it was found that there is a relationship between the virus and the development of these manifestations. Prospective neuropsychiatric follow-up of people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 at different points in their lives, as well as their neuroimmunological status, is necessary to fully understand the long-term impact of COVID-19 on mental health. It is required to identify the risk of developing neuropsychiatric problems due to COVID-19 infection to provide better medical care from a multidisciplinary team and improve the prognosis of these patients as well as the treatment of long-term sequelae.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-09
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090094
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1287-1302: From International to Local: Promoting
           Local Volunteer Tourism to Guarantee the Persistence of Wildlife
           Conservation Projects in the Post-COVID-19 Era

    • Authors: K. A. I. Nekaris, Michela Balestri, Hani R. El Bizri, Tungga Dewi, Katherine Hedger, Thais Q. Morcatty, Vincent Nijman, Ariana V. Weldon, Marco Campera
      First page: 1287
      Abstract: Volunteer tourists, often foreigners, collect essential data in wildlife conservation projects worldwide. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international tourism activities reduced drastically, forcing many conservation projects to shut down. Using a nine-year (2013–2021) case study in Indonesia, we examine how local and foreign tourists construct the meaning of their volunteer experiences in the light of COVID-19. We aim to highlight the potential benefits of local volunteer tourism to face the travel limitations posed by COVID-19, and to show an example of how conservation projects can overcome the challenges of the current and potential future pandemics. We recruited 117 volunteers (49 Indonesians, 68 foreign; 73 females, 44 males; mean age: 24.2 ± SD 4.7) that collected 50.8% of the total amount of data collected by the project over the same period. Of the 117 volunteers, 81 of them (38 Indonesians, 43 foreigners) filled in a feedback form at the end of their stay. Via logistic regressions, we found that Indonesian volunteers declared more positive feedback on the logistics at the research station (p = 0.047). Via Bayesian structural equation models, we found that Indonesian volunteers reported significantly more frequently than foreign volunteers that they learned new skills (89% Credible Interval = 0.017–0.351) and that they gained personal wisdom, growth and maturity (89% Credible Interval = 0.891–1.003) from the volunteer experience. The volunteer program evolved from being 100% foreign volunteers in 2013 to 100% Indonesian volunteers by 2020 at the peak of the pandemic, which helped maintain the continuity of the research and conservation activities. We presented the positive implications of shifting towards local volunteer tourists in a long-term conservation project. We suggest that promoting local volunteer tourism through training new generations of nationals in conservation projects is key to guarantee the persistence of such initiatives in the post-COVID-19 Era.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-14
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2090095
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 9 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 983-1013: Safe University in the Omicron Era: An
           Adaptable and Adjustable Protocol for the Operation of Universities during
           Epidemics Caused by Airborne Viruses

    • Authors: Georgios Pappas, Manolis Wallace
      First page: 983
      Abstract: In this work we present an updated version of “Safe University”, a protocol aimed to ensure the safe operation of academic institutions during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The protocol is detailed, addressing all aspects of the actions that are required, ranging from controlled access to the university premises and tracking of immunity status to air quality provisions and organization of classes and teaching methods and more. A step-by-step guide and a sample timeline are included, to facilitate practical implementation. The protocol was first developed in the summer of 2021, when the Delta variant had first emerged but not yet dominated, with the aim to support the operation of Greek universities at the beginning of the 2021–2022 academic year. Since then, it has been updated to reflect the evolution of the virus and the pandemic, as well as the developments in the relevant scientific knowledge and additional monitoring, safeguarding and treatment tools that humanity now possesses. It has also been given a more generic form, making it suitable and adjustable for other countries and cultural/political environments as well as other respiratory viruses. With some additional adjustments, it can also be suitable to deal with epidemics from non-respiratory viruses that may arise in the future.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-23
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080074
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1014-1025: COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance: A Case Study
           from Nepal

    • Authors: Amrit Gaire, Bimala Panthee, Deepak Basyal, Atmika Paudel, Suresh Panthee
      First page: 1014
      Abstract: While vaccine acceptance changes over time, and factors determining vaccine acceptance differ depending on disease and region, limited studies have evaluated vaccine acceptance in Nepal. We conducted an online, cross-sectional study to assess COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among Nepalese. Data were collected before and after the vaccine approval in Nepal, during which 576 and 241 responses were obtained, respectively. We found that vaccine acceptance was generally high among Nepalese (93%) and increased after the safety of vaccine was examined by the regulatory bodies (98%). This indicated the role of the national drug regulatory authority to convey drug safety. In addition, we analyzed the predictor(s) of vaccine acceptance. We found that the people who believe that vaccine is an effective measure in preventing and controlling the disease were highly likely to accept vaccination. Given that Nepal had just passed the most devastating wave of COVID-19 during our post-approval data collection, we assume that this might have also played a role in the belief that vaccination is an appropriate approach to combat the pandemic. Likewise, the number of people willing to vaccinate as soon as possible increased from 43% to 86% after approval. Therefore, our results indicate that the government needs to focus on assuring the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine to enhance acceptance. Although fewer responses obtained after vaccine approval might have affected our results, overall, our findings indicate vaccine acceptance is likely to be affected by socio-demographic factors and the attitudes of respondents. This should be carefully considered in the rollout of the vaccination plans in Nepal and countries alike in future.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-23
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080075
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1026-1049: An Exploratory Study of Tweets about the
           SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant: Insights from Sentiment Analysis, Language
           Interpretation, Source Tracking, Type Classification, and Embedded URL

    • Authors: Nirmalya Thakur, Chia Y. Han
      First page: 1026
      Abstract: This paper presents the findings of an exploratory study on the continuously generating Big Data on Twitter related to the sharing of information, news, views, opinions, ideas, knowledge, feedback, and experiences about the COVID-19 pandemic, with a specific focus on the Omicron variant, which is the globally dominant variant of SARS-CoV-2 at this time. A total of 12,028 tweets about the Omicron variant were studied, and the specific characteristics of the tweets that were analyzed include sentiment, language, source, type, and embedded URLs. The findings of this study are manifold. First, from sentiment analysis, it was observed that 50.5% of tweets had a ‘neutral’ emotion. The other emotions—‘bad’, ‘good’, ‘terrible’, and ‘great’—were found in 15.6%, 14.0%, 12.5%, and 7.5% of the tweets, respectively. Second, the findings of language interpretation showed that 65.9% of the tweets were posted in English. It was followed by Spanish or Castillian, French, Italian, Japanese, and other languages, which were found in 10.5%, 5.1%, 3.3%, 2.5%, and <2% of the tweets, respectively. Third, the findings from source tracking showed that “Twitter for Android” was associated with 35.2% of tweets. It was followed by “Twitter Web App”, “Twitter for iPhone”, “Twitter for iPad”, “TweetDeck”, and all other sources that accounted for 29.2%, 25.8%, 3.8%, 1.6%, and <1% of the tweets, respectively. Fourth, studying the type of tweets revealed that retweets accounted for 60.8% of the tweets, it was followed by original tweets and replies that accounted for 19.8% and 19.4% of the tweets, respectively. Fifth, in terms of embedded URL analysis, the most common domain embedded in the tweets was found to be, which was followed by,,,,,, and other domains. Finally, to support research and development in this field, we have developed an open-access Twitter dataset that comprises Tweet IDs of more than 500,000 tweets about the Omicron variant, posted on Twitter since the first detected case of this variant on 24 November 2021.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-25
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080076
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1050-1056: Environmental Contamination with
           SARS-CoV-2 in Hospital COVID Department: Antigen Test, Real-Time RT-PCR
           and Virus Isolation

    • Authors: Urška Rozman, Lea Knez, Goran Novak, Jernej Golob, Anita Pulko, Mojca Cimerman, Matjaž Ocepek, Urška Kuhar, Sonja Šostar Turk
      First page: 1050
      Abstract: Background: With the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, an important question about virus transmission via contaminated surfaces is arising; therefore, research is needed to prove the persistence of viable viruses on surfaces. The purpose of the study was to determine the level of surface contamination with SARS-CoV-2 in a university clinical center. Methods: A study of environmental viral contamination in the rooms of an acute COVID department was performed. Rapid qualitative antigen tests, real-time RT-PCR, and virus isolation in cell cultures were used for virus detection. Results: None of the taken samples were antigen positive. The SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 10% of samples: one positive sample in an empty room after cleaning and disinfection; nine positive samples in occupied rooms. No viable virus was recovered on cell cultures. Conclusions: In our research, the rapid antigen tests did not prove to be effective for environmental samples, but we were able to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 10% of samples using the RT-PCR method. The highest proportion of PCR-positive samples was from unused items in occupied multi-bed rooms. No viable virus was detected, therefore, infection by surface transmission is unlikely, but it remains prudent to maintain strict hand and environmental hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-25
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080077
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1057-1076: Risk/Benefit Profiles of Currently
           Approved Oral Antivirals for Treatment of COVID-19: Similarities and

    • Authors: Suzana Corritori, Nikolay Savchuk, C. David Pauza
      First page: 1057
      Abstract: A complete response to the challenge of COVID-19 requires diagnosis, prevention, and treatment strategies. Until recently, the treatment arm has included largely ineffective, often unproven medications with minimal impact on disease outcomes. The earlier experimental therapies are now giving way to approved antiviral drugs with a demonstrated capacity for SARS-CoV-2 suppression, and more are on the way. New oral antiviral drugs will expand treatment options for persons with COVID-19 and, if used early, become the first line of defense for reducing hospitalization, mortality, and virus spread. Several oral medications have been approved for treating COVID-19 on an emergency use basis in the United States (US), European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK), China, Russia, and India, with other countries now facilitating regulatory reviews and approvals. Here, we compare the risk/benefit profiles of three leading oral antiviral drugs: Favipiravir, Molnupiravir, and Paxlovid. These compounds have distinct features supporting their targeted use by persons with COVID-19 disease.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080078
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1077-1088: Real-Time Optimization of Social

    • Authors: Laurent Dewasme, Alain Vande Wouwer
      First page: 1077
      Abstract: The application of extremum seeking control is investigated to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, maximizing social distancing while limiting the number of infections. The procedure does not rely on the accurate knowledge of an epidemiological model and takes realistic constraints into account, such as hospital capacities, the observation horizon of the pandemic evolution and the quantized government sanitary policy decisions. Based on the bifurcation analysis of a SEIARD compartmental model providing two possible types of equilibria, numerical simulation reveals the transient behaviour of the extremum of the constrained cost function, which, if rapidly caught by the algorithm, slowly drifts to the steady-state optimum. Specific features are easily incorporated in the real-time optimization procedure, such as quantized sanitary condition levels and long actuation (decision) periods (usually several weeks), requiring processing of the discrete control signal saturation and quantization. The performance of the proposed method is numerically assessed, considering the convergence rate and accuracy (quantization bias).
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-29
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080079
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1089-1101: SARS-CoV-2 Intermittent Virulence as a
           Result of Natural Selection

    • Authors: Alberto Rubio-Casillas, Elrashdy M. Redwan, Vladimir N. Uversky
      First page: 1089
      Abstract: For the first time in history, we have witnessed the origin and development of a pandemic. To handle the accelerated accumulation of viral mutations and to comprehend the virus’ evolutionary adaptation in humans, an unparalleled program of genetic sequencing and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants has been undertaken. Several scientists have theorized that, with the Omicron surge producing a more contagious but less severe disease, the end of COVID-19 is near. However, by analyzing the behavior shown by this virus for 2 years, we have noted that pandemic viruses do not always show decreased virulence. Instead, it appears there is an evolutionary equilibrium between transmissibility and virulence. We have termed this concept “intermittent virulence”. The present work analyzes the temporal and epidemiological behavior of SARS-CoV-2 and suggests that there is a high possibility that new virulent variants will arise in the near future, although it is improbable that SARS-CoV-2’s virulence will be the same as was seen during the alpha or delta waves, due to the fact that the human population has reached a sufficient level of herd immunity through natural infection or due to the vaccination programs. The most recent global mortality data raised a question whether this pandemic is really over. Furthermore, it is uncertain when the endemic phase will begin. Darwin’s words: “the survival of the fittest” are still valid, and the virus will continue killing nonvaccinated old people, vaccinated old people, and those with comorbidities. We have underestimated the SARS-CoV-2 mastery of immune escape and have not yet seen the full adaptive potential this virus can develop through natural selection.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-31
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080080
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1102-1115: Clinical Outcomes and Severity of Acute
           Respiratory Distress Syndrome in 1154 COVID-19 Patients: An Experience
           Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study

    • Authors: Abbas Al Mutair, Saad Alhumaid, Laila Layqah, Jinan Shamou, Gasmelseed Y. Ahmed, Hiba Chagla, Khulud Alsalman, Fadhah Mohammed Alnasser, Koritala Thoyaja, Waad N. Alhuqbani, Mohammed Alghadeer, Mohammed Al Mohaini, Sana Almahmoud, Jaffar A. Al-Tawfiq, Javed Muhammad, Lamiaa H. Al-Jamea, Alexander Woodman, Ahmed Alsaleh, Abdulaziz M. Alsedrah, Hanan F. Alharbi, Chandni Saha, Ali A. Rabaan
      First page: 1102
      Abstract: Background: Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is caused by non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema and occurs in critically ill patients. It is one of the fatal complications observed among severe COVID-19 cases managed in intensive care units (ICU). Supportive lung-protective ventilation and prone positioning remain the mainstay interventions. Purpose: We describe the severity of ARDS, clinical outcomes, and management of ICU patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection in multiple Saudi hospitals. Methods: A multicenter retrospective cohort study was conducted of critically ill patients who were admitted to the ICU with COVID-19 and developed ARDS. Results: During our study, 1154 patients experienced ARDS: 591 (51.2%) with severe, 415 (36.0%) with moderate, and 148 (12.8%) with mild ARDS. The mean sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score was significantly higher in severe ARDS with COVID-19 (6 ± 5, p = 0.006). Kaplan–Meier survival analysis showed COVID-19 patients with mild ARDS had a significantly higher survival rate compared to COVID-19 patients who experienced severe ARDS (p = 0.023). Conclusion: ARDS is a challenging condition complicating COVID-19 infection. It carries significant morbidity and results in elevated mortality. ARDS requires protective mechanical ventilation and other critical care supportive measures. The severity of ARDS is associated significantly with the rate of death among the patients.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-01
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080081
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1116-1124: Evolution of SARS-CoV-2 Strains in
           Senegal: From a Wild Wuhan Strain to the Omicron Variant

    • Authors: Khadim Gueye, Abdou Padane, Cyrille Kouligueul Diédhiou, Samba Ndiour, Ndéye Diabou Diagne, Aminata Mboup, Moustapha Mbow, Cheikh Ibrahima Lo, Nafissatou Leye, Aissatou Sow Ndoye, Anna Julienne Selbé Ndiaye, Seyni Ndiaye, Gora Lo, Djibril Wade, Ambroise Ahouidi, Papa Alassane Diaw, Marièma Sarr, Mamadou Beye, Badara Cissé, Cheikh Sokhna, Makhtar Camara, Ndéye Coumba Touré Kane, Souleymane Mboup
      First page: 1116
      Abstract: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by a new coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The first case was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, raising concerns about the emergence of a new coronavirus that poses a significant public health risk. The objective of this study, based on data collected and sequenced at the Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formations (IRESSEF), is to characterize the pandemic evolution, establish a relationship between the different strains in each wave, and finally determine the phylodynamic evolution of the pandemic, utilizing microreact simulations. The study shows that SARS-CoV-2 strains have evolved over time and the variability of the virus is characterized by sequencing during each wave, as is its contagiousness (the speed at which it spreads). The pandemic has spread at a rate of 44.34 cases/week during the first wave. Twelve weeks later it has risen to 185.33 cases/week during the second wave. Twenty-three weeks into the pandemic, the numbers have reached 681.77 cases/week during the third wave. During the fourth wave, the rate of infection was found to decrease slightly at 646 cases/week between early December 2021 and mid-January 2022. Data collected during this study also provided us with a geographical distribution of COVID-19, indicating that the epidemic started in Dakar before spreading inland.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-09
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080082
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1125-1138: Analysis of COVID-19 Risk Perception and
           Its Correlates among University Students in Ghana

    • Authors: Frank Quansah, Stephen Kofi Anin, John Elvis Hagan, Edmond Kwesi Agormedah, Prince Oduro, Medina Srem-Sai, James Boadu Frimpong, Thomas Schack
      First page: 1125
      Abstract: Monitoring students’ risk perception forms part of emergency management during public health emergencies. Thus, public risk perception generally triggers attitudes, emotional responses, and prevention behaviors, which affect the evolution of emergencies and disease control strategies. However, research has paid less attention to the COVID-19 risk perception of students in Ghana. This study assessed the prevalence of COVID-19 risk perception and further identified its correlates among university students. In this study, 882 students from two public universities in Ghana were conveniently recruited. The data were analysed using frequency counts, percentages, and ordered logistic regression. The study revealed the prevalence of a high degree of COVID-19 risk perception among almost half (47.4%) of the sampled students. Results from ordered logistic regression analysis showed that age, sex, religion, use of professional and social media platforms, level (years) of study, and COVID-19 knowledge were significant correlates of COVID-19 risk perception. The dissemination of appropriate COVID-19 information and behavior-change communication to such relatively high-risk behavior sub-groups could help counter the debilitative effects of non-altruistic attitudes because of COVID-19 risk perception.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-11
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080083
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1139-1182: Statistical Analysis Methods Applied to
           Early Outpatient COVID-19 Treatment Case Series Data

    • Authors: Eleftherios Gkioulekas, Peter A. McCullough, Vladimir Zelenko
      First page: 1139
      Abstract: When confronted with a public health emergency, significant innovative treatment protocols can sometimes be discovered by medical doctors at the front lines based on repurposed medications. We propose a statistical framework for analyzing the case series of patients treated with such new protocols, that enables a comparison with our prior knowledge of expected outcomes, in the absence of treatment. The goal of the proposed methodology is not to provide a precise measurement of treatment efficacy, but to establish the existence of treatment efficacy, in order to facilitate the binary decision of whether the treatment protocol should be adopted on an emergency basis. The methodology consists of a frequentist component that compares a treatment group against the probability of an adverse outcome in the absence of treatment, and calculates an efficacy threshold that has to be exceeded by this probability, in order to control the corresponding p-value and reject the null hypothesis. The efficacy threshold is further adjusted with a Bayesian technique, in order to also control the false positive rate. A random selection bias threshold is then calculated from the efficacy threshold to control for random selection bias. Exceeding the efficacy threshold establishes the existence of treatment efficacy by the preponderance of evidence, and exceeding the more demanding random selection bias threshold establishes the existence of treatment efficacy by the clear and convincing evidentiary standard. The combined techniques are applied to case series of high-risk COVID-19 outpatients that were treated using the early Zelenko protocol and the more enhanced McCullough protocol.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-08-18
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2080084
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 8 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 858-866: Comparable Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Sputum
           and Oropharyngeal Swab Samples of Suspected COVID-19 Patients

    • Authors: Emmanuel Akowuah, Godfred Acheampong, Nana Kwame Ayisi-Boateng, Andrews Amaniampong, Francis Opoku Agyapong, Japhet Senyo Kamasah, George Agyei, Dorcas Ohui Owusu, Bernard Nkrumah, Mohamed Mutocheluh, Augustina Angelina Sylverken, Michael Owusu
      First page: 858
      Abstract: The accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 through respiratory sampling is critical for the prevention of further transmission and timely initiation of treatment. There is a diverse range of SARS-CoV-2 detection rates in reported studies, with uncertainty regarding the optimal sampling method for COVID-19 diagnosis and monitoring. Oropharyngeal sampling (OPS) is one of the most commonly used methods of respiratory sampling in Ghana and other parts of the world for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA. However, this sampling technique has a number of drawbacks, which include difficulty in obtaining high-quality swab samples, increased risk of infection to healthcare workers, and increased cost from a regular supply of swabs, transport media, and personal protective equipment (PPE). This study, therefore, sought to evaluate the diagnostic performance of sputum specimens in the diagnosis of COVID-19. This was a cross-sectional analytical study conducted in two health facilities in Kumasi, Ghana, between April and September 2021. Paired samples (an oropharyngeal swab and sputum) were taken from each recruited patient and run concurrently for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 genes (the N and ORF1ab genes) using RT-qPCR. Of the 317 patients recruited, 50.8% were males, and 60.4% were young adults aged 20–39 years. A significant proportion (65.9%) of the patients did not have any co-morbidity, and the majority were with symptoms; predominantly cough (36.3%), headache (31.5%), general weakness (24.0%), fever (20.2%), and sore throat (16.1%). Being symptomatic (p = 0.003), having comorbidity (p = 0.001), and the reporting facility (p = 0.010) were significantly associated with the COVID-19 status. The sputum samples yielded more COVID-positive, 120/317 (37.9%), as compared to OPS, 83/317 (26.2%). The sputum samples were 85.5% (95% CI, 76.4–91.5) sensitive, 79.1% (95% CI, 73.4–83.7) specific, and with positive and negative predictive values of 59.2% and 93.9%, respectively, when compared with OPS. The overall median of the SARS-CoV-2 viral loads for sputum (3.70 × 103 copies/mL) were significantly higher than in OPS (1.18 × 102 copies/mL) (p = 0.003). Findings from the study suggest self-collected sputum as a useful alternative to OPS for the diagnosis of COVID-19, providing a comparable diagnostic performance and, thereby, easing the uncomfortable process and mitigating risk of aerosol transmission to healthcare workers.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-06-24
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070062
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 867-876: Risk Markers of COVID-19, a Study from

    • Authors: Mohamed Chakkour, Ali Salami, Dana Olleik, Israa Kamal, Fatima Y. Noureddine, Ali El Roz, Ghassan Ghssein
      First page: 867
      Abstract: Background: COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, was declared by WHO in early 2020 as a worldwide pandemic. Several known risk markers are associated with COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, including age, gender, and diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes, and chronic cardiovascular diseases. Recent studies have shown an association between COVID-19 infection and the ABO blood groups. Objective: To assess the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 among suspected COVID-19 patients as well as the risk markers for COVID-19 associated with ABO blood group, Rhesus factor, and patient’s address during the past year. Methods: 69,019 nasopharyngeal swab samples were collected and analyzed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction technique for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in patients attending a tertiary health care center in South Lebanon during the period between August 2020 and July 2021. Results: Among all tested subjects, the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was 19.2% (95% CI: 18.9% to 19.5%). Among those with known blood group (N = 17,462), odds of SARS-CoV-2 were higher in group A (Odds Ratio = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.23) and group AB (OR = 1.19, 95% CI: 1.00 to 1.41) relative to the reference group O (OR = 1). Odds of SARS-CoV-2 in the Rh-negative group (OR = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.89 to 1.16) were not significantly different from the Rh-positive group. Among those with known address (N = 30,060), odds of SARS-CoV-2 were lower in residents of remote areas (OR = 0.89, 95% CI: 0.80 to 0.99) relative to central cities. Conclusion: There is a modestly higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with blood groups A and AB, and a lower risk associated with living in remote, less crowded regions.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-06-27
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070063
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 877-894: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and COVID-19:
           Mortality Prediction of COVID-19-Infected Patients with OSA Using Machine
           Learning Approaches

    • Authors: Sidratul Tanzila Tasmi, Md. Mohsin Sarker Raihan, Abdullah Bin Shams
      First page: 877
      Abstract: COVID-19, or coronavirus disease, has caused an ongoing global pandemic causing un-precedented damage in all scopes of life. An infected person with underlaying medical conditions is at greater risk than the rest of the population. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an illness associated with disturbances during sleep or an unconscious state with blockage of the airway passage. The comobordities of OSA with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and age can place the life of an already infected COVID-19 patient into danger. In this paper, a prediction model for the mortality of a COVID-infected patient suffering from OSA is developed using machine learning algorithms. After an extensive methodical search, we designed an artificial neural network that can predict the mortality with an overall accuracy of 99% and a precision of 100% for forecasting the fatality chances of COVID-infected patients. We believe our model can accurately predict the mortality of the patients and can therefore assist medical health workers in predicting and making emergency clinical decisions, especially in a limited resource scenario, based on the medical history of the patients and their future potential risk of death. In this way, patients with a greater risk of mortality can receive timely treatment and benefit from proper ICU resources. Such artificial intelligent application can significantly reduce the overall mortality rate of vulnerable patients with existing medical disorders.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-06-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070064
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 895-906: COVID-19 Response in Zimbabwe: The Need for
           a Paradigm Shift'

    • Authors: Itai Chitungo, Tafadzwa Dzinamarira, Nigel Tungwarara, Munashe Chimene, Solomon Mukwenha, Edward Kunonga, Godfrey Musuka, Grant Murewanhema
      First page: 895
      Abstract: Zimbabwe reported its first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on 20 March 2020 and the country’s response has largely adhered to international protocols. From the outset of the pandemic, most control measures were premised upon knowledge of breaking infectious diseases’ chains of transmission gained from previous experiences with comparable pathogens. As relatively little was known about the novel virus, and the prospects of effective vaccines were not on the horizon, these tough control measures were deemed appropriate. Two years into the pandemic, a massive evolution of knowledge has transpired, and safe and effective vaccines against the virus are now available, are administered to billions of people, and can significantly reduce new infections, severe disease, hospitalisation, and death from the disease. Based on the understanding of the pandemic and the need to restore socio-economic activities, in this review we propose a paradigm shift in addressing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 response should take into consideration the local context and tailor-make a response that addresses local challenges.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-06-29
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070065
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 907-915: Latex Allergens in the Ear Straps of Face
           Coverings and Masks in the UK: Initial Findings

    • Authors: Howard Mason, Iwona Rosa
      First page: 907
      Abstract: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic led to an unprecedented demand for PPE and generated a small-scale industry making personalised face coverings. Concerns had been raised about the use of natural rubber latex (NRL) as an elastomeric material, with its health risks. We have investigated the levels of four NRL allergens and total protein in elastomeric ear-straps in manufactured face coverings and the material sold for their production, and a number of imported N95/KN95 PPE masks. None of the samples identified whether NRL was involved or not. NRL allergens levels in manufactured masks were low or not detectable; 3/10 of the N95/KN95 masks showed levels above the limit of detection, probably reflecting low-level cross-contamination during manufacture. Three batches of material sold for “the manufacture of ear straps for face coverings” had significant but variable levels of allergen (250–2526 ng/g of material). Historically, extractable protein measurements have been used as an indicator of possible NRL proteins. This study showed significant levels of apparent protein in sample extracts without measurable NRL allergens or confirmation by electrophoresis. Therefore, the immunochemical measurement of NRL allergens remains key to rule out elastomeric material with the potential to cause latex-related health problems.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-07
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070066
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 916-939: Transmission Pathways and Genomic
           Epidemiology of Emerging Variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the Environment

    • Authors: Ariful Islam, Md. Abu Sayeed, Md. Abul Kalam, Jinnat Fedous, Shahanaj Shano, Josefina Abedin, Shariful Islam, Shusmita Dutta Choudhury, Otun Saha, Mohammad Mahmudul Hassan
      First page: 916
      Abstract: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can spread to the environment through several routes and persist for a more extended period. Therefore, we reviewed pertinent literature to understand the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 and genomic epidemiology of emerging variants of concern (VOCs) in the environment, their inactivation strategies, and the impact of COVID-19 on the ecosystem. The fallouts of the reviewed studies indicate that SARS-CoV-2 transmits through air and fomite, contaminated surfaces, biomedical wastes, and stool, which contaminates the environment through wastewater. As a result, multiple VOCs of SARS-CoV-2 were circulating in the environment. Genomic epidemiology revealed that the most prevalent VOC was Delta (B.1.617.2; 44.24%), followed by Omicron (B.1.1.529; 43.33%), in the environment. Phylogenetic analysis showed that environmental strains are clustered with a likeness of the human strains of the same or nearby countries, emphasizing the significance of continued environmental surveillance to track the emergence of the new variant. Thus, we should reduce viral dispersion in the environment through rapid and appropriate disinfection strategies. Moreover, the increased production and use of macro and microfiber plastic products should be brought under strict legislation with integrated waste management to control the unrelenting propagation of viral RNA. Finally, a comprehensive understanding of the environmental transmission pathways of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial for forecasting outbreak severity in the community, allowing us to prepare with the correct tools to control any impending pandemic. We recommend wastewater-based SARS-CoV-2 surveillance and air particulates to track the emerging VOCs of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the environment.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-07
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070067
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 940-951: Effect of Indoor Bioaerosols (Fungal)
           Exposure on the Health of Post-COVID-19 Patients and Possible Mitigation

    • Authors: Yogesh Kumar Vishwakarma, Amrita Shahi, Ram Sharan Singh
      First page: 940
      Abstract: Bioaerosols are present everywhere around us, either on surfaces or in the air. Depending on their nature, these bioaerosols have positive or negative impacts on our bodies. Our immune system always creates a balance in our health system in response to these bioaerosols. If our body’s immune system is compromised for a while, it could have many severe health complications. A good example is in patients who recovered from COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic. During treatment, many drugs like dexamethasone, tocilizumob, itolizumab, and steroids were extensively used that suppressed the immune system, resulting in many fungal infections. In this review, we summarise the various studies carried out throughout the globe regarding fungal infection, including Mucormycetes (black fungus), Candida spp., Aspergillus fumigatus, and pneumocystis jirovecii. The patient disease history and treatment details were also examined so as to develop the risk of mortality. Populations with other pre-existing diseases such as diabetes and asthma are more vulnerable to infection. These infections spread at a very high rate and have a high risk of mortality in patients who have recovered from COVID-19. Earnest attention is needed regarding the treatment procedure of COVID-19 patients and for the follow-up of recovered patients. Here, we suggest some treatment methods that will help prevent infection in patients who have recovered from COVID-19 or in immunosuppressed bodies.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-11
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070068
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 952-953: Benford Law to Monitor COVID-19 Registration
           Data. Comment on Farhadi, N.; Lahooti, H. Forensic Analysis of COVID-19
           Data from 198 Countries Two Years after the Pandemic Outbreak. COVID 2022,
           2, 472–484

    • Authors: Francisco Morillas-Jurado, Maria Caballer-Tarazona, Vicent Caballer-Tarazona
      First page: 952
      Abstract: In a recent study published in COVID by Farhadi & Lahooti, 2022 [...]
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-12
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070069
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 954-955: Reply to Morillas-Jurado et al. Benford Law
           to Monitor COVID-19 Registration Data. Comment on “Farhadi, N.;
           Lahooti, H. Forensic Analysis of COVID-19 Data from 198 Countries Two
           Years after the Pandemic Outbreak. COVID 2022, 2, 472–484”

    • Authors: Noah Farhadi, Hooshang Lahooti
      First page: 954
      Abstract: In our paper Forensic Analysis of COVID-19 Data from 198 Countries Two Years after the Pandemic Outbreak [...]
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-13
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070070
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 956-963: Social Professionals in the Face of the
           Health Crisis

    • Authors: María Dosil-Santamaria, Miriam Modrego, Amaia Eiguren Munitis, Maitane Picaza, Naiara Ozamiz-Etxebarria
      First page: 956
      Abstract: Due to the crisis generated by COVID-19 at a global level, many professionals are working under harsh conditions, and the Basque Country is no exception. On 14 March 2020, the head of the government decreed a state of alarm at the state level, which forced us all to be confined to our homes. This situation directly affected the profession of social educator. In fact, these professionals work with the most vulnerable groups, so working on the front line is mandated, even if this results in a significant risk. The situation of the groups in residential resources cannot be easy due to the stress produced by living together and being locked up, and this directly affects the educators who necessarily work in it. However, the over-exertion that all of this requires, which is a risk, has not been detected nor recognized at the social level. For this reason, the objective of this investigation is to measure the stress of social educators of advanced age who work in residential resources in different zones of the Basque Country (northern Spain). Sixty-seven social educators participated in the case study. Qualitative and quantitative methods were combined for data collection. This questionnaire was conducted through the Google Forms platform. The quantitative data collected through the questionnaire were analyzed by descriptive analysis and frequency contrasts were performed through the SPSS V25 program. We can conclude that it is necessary to take into account the difficulties of this sector and the professionals both at the governmental and social levels. Future research should include responses from both groups and workers in order to guarantee adequate inclusion.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-15
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070071
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 964-975: Caregiver Perspective on the Impact of
           COVID-19 on the Psychosocial and Behavioral Health of Children with ASD in
           the United States: A Questionnaire-Based Survey

    • Authors: Dominique Schwartz, Prageet K. Sachdev, Laura Hewitson
      First page: 964
      Abstract: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were particularly vulnerable to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study we conducted an anonymous caregiver survey to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the psychosocial and behavioral health of children with ASD. Data from 700 responses identified several significant factors predicting greater difficulties for the child including pre-existing behavioral challenges (OR = 5.179; 95% CI: 2.696, 9.951), disrupted sleep (OR = 2.618; 95% CI 1.341, 5.112), and a diagnosis of depression (OR = 3.425; 95% CI: 1.1621, 4.116). Greater difficulties for caregivers in managing their child’s behaviors were associated with sleep disturbances (OR = 1.926; 95% CI: 1.170, 3.170), self-injurious behavior (OR = 3.587; 95% CI: 1.767, 7.281), and managing the child’s school activities (OR = 3.107; 95% CI: 1.732, 5.257) and free time (OR = 3.758; 95% CI: 2.217, 6.369). However, being under the care of a neuropsychiatrist was associated with less difficulty in managing the child’s behaviors (OR = 2.516; 95% CI: −1.046, −5.382). Finally, the presence of comorbidities (OR = 2.599; 95% CI: 1.053, 4.067) and a greater difficulty in managing the child’s school activities (OR = 2.531; 95% CI: 1.655, 3.868) and free time (OR = 1.651; 95% CI: 1.101, 2.478) were associated with an increased likelihood of caregiver desire for their child to return to in-person school in the fall. The COVID-19 pandemic had a wide-ranging impact on the behaviors of children with ASD and challenges for their caregivers.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-20
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070072
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 976-982: COVID-19-Associated Pulmonary Aspergillosis:
           A Year-Long Retrospective Case Series

    • Authors: Barbara Salas, Iain McCullagh, Katie Cranfield, Christine Fagan, Angela Geering, Ali Robb
      First page: 976
      Abstract: COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA) refers to co-infection with Aspergillus spp. in patients with COVID-19. It has a higher mortality rate when compared with patients only infected with COVID-19, but we still know little about the epidemiology, diagnosis, and best treatment options for patients with CAPA. We report our findings from a year-long retrospective case series of patients with CAPA in two tertiary hospitals in the United Kingdom. We included all patients admitted to critical care with CAPA between March 2020–2021. We used the European Confederation for Medical Mycology and the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology consensus criteria to categorise CAPA. Demographic data, patients’ co-morbidities, time to and method of diagnosis, COVID-19 and aspergillosis treatment, and outcomes were analysed. Thirteen patients were diagnosed with probable CAPA between October/2020–March/2021, and 54.8% also had hypertension. Diagnosis was established after a median of 18 days post-COVID-19 infection, and a median of 7 days post-intubation. All patients had received corticosteroids, as well as tocilizumab (7; 53.8%) and remdesivir (3; 23%). Eleven patients received antifungal treatment. Nine (69%) patients died by 30 days post-ICU admission, one patient died on day 32, and three (23%) patients survived. CAPA has a very high mortality rate. We also identified three areas that merit further investigation: lack of positive tests between March–October 2020; COVID-19 treatments and possible relationship with increased CAPA rates; and the rationale behind antifungal treatment in our hospitals compared to recommended treatment in the literature.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-07-21
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2070073
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 7 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1625-1634: Antibodies to Commonly Circulating Viral
           Pathogens Modulate Serological Response to Severe Acute Respiratory
           Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection

    • Authors: Protim Sarker, Evana Akhtar, Sharmin Akter, Sultana Rajia, Rakib Ullah Kuddusi, Razu Ahmed, Md. Jakarea, Mohammad Zahirul Islam, Dewan Md Emdadul Hoque, Shehlina Ahmed, Rubhana Raqib
      First page: 1625
      Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine the seropositivity of circulating viral pathogens and their association with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seropositivity. In a cross-sectional design, inhabitants (aged 10–60 years) of the slum and surrounding non-slum areas of Dhaka and Chattogram Metropolitan cities in Bangladesh were enrolled from October 2020 to February 2021. Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, influenza B, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1), dengue and chikungunya viruses were determined in plasma. The association of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity with seropositivity to other viruses was assessed using the multi-variate logistic regression model. Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2, influenza B, RSV, dengue, chikungunya, HCoV-HKU1 and the parainfluenza virus were 68.3%, 98%, 50.0%, 16.5%, 15.5%, 3.36% and 0.0%, respectively. Individuals seropositive for RSV had lower odds (OR = 0.60; 95% CI= 0.49, 0.73) of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity compared to RSV-seronegative individuals. Conversely, higher odds of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity were observed in participants seropositive for dengue (OR= 1.73; 95% CI = 1.14, 2.66, only in slum) or chikungunya (OR = 1.48; 95% CI = 1.11, 1.95) compared to their seronegative counterparts. The study findings indicated that exposure to vector-borne virus dengue or chikungunya enhance, while antibodies to respiratory virus RSV decrease, the serological response to SARS-CoV-2.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-23
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120117
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1635-1649: The Effects on Neighborhood Environments
           during Lockdowns: Being Comfortable in Residences

    • Authors: Yasmeen Gul, Gul Ahmed Jokhio, Zahid Sultan, John Alexander Smith, Wan Saiful Nizam, Mehdi Moeinaddini, Dalia Hafiz
      First page: 1635
      Abstract: Cities around the world have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis. The worst consequences of the pandemic are closely related to urban areas. Many studies investigated the impact of COVID-19 on people but there are few studies that have investigated the satisfaction level of university students during the COVID-19 lockdown at the neighborhood level. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the satisfaction of university students at the neighborhood level during the COVID-19 lockdown and investigate the experience of online education during that period—if they received any. An online survey was conducted involving university students of different countries, and a total of 427 responses (n = 427) were received and analyzed using the CHAID model. Results show that comfort at residences during the COVID-19 lockdown was affected by the neighborhood environment (viz., greenery, pleasant views, independent housing with gardening facilities), transportation (i.e., saving 1–2 commuting hours on a daily basis and safety from traffic hazards), and the provision of online education (i.e., effectiveness, such as traditional methods of education and the opportunity to connect with field experts). Thus, it can be concluded that providing green neighborhoods, detached or terraced houses (townhouses) with visual connection, and gardening facilities for the residents should be encouraged in the future because these types of neighborhoods are not only comfortable in ordinary situations but also provide comfort during critical periods such as COVID-19 lockdowns. It can also be concluded that a hybrid style of education should be encouraged for universities, as it can save travel time, provide safety from traffic, and provide more opportunities to become connected with international experts through online guest lectures, seminars, and workshops.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-24
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120118
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1650-1665: Fruit Vending Machines as a Means of
           Contactless Purchase: Exploring Factors Determining US Consumers’
           Willingness to Try, Buy and Pay a Price Premium for Fruit from a Vending
           Machine during the Coronavirus Pandemic

    • Authors: Meike Rombach, David L. Dean, Tim Baird, Jill Rice
      First page: 1650
      Abstract: During the coronavirus pandemic, buying and consumption patterns of US consumers shifted towards contactless buying. While the topic of online buying is well explored within the existing literature on this topic, purchasing fruit from a vending machine is still yet to be investigated. This exploratory study used quantitative data to examine the factors driving US consumers’ willingness to try, buy and pay a premium for fruit from vending machines. An online survey of 391 US consumers was conducted to fill this research gap between 7 July and 10 July 2022. This survey was distributed via Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing platform which is widely used for consumer research. Smart PLS 4 facilitated the Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM) analysis, as this method well suited for testing exploratory models with complex relations between the latent variables. Results indicated that COVID-19 pandemic-related benefits, quality benefits, value-related benefits and experiential benefits were the most important predictors that determined willingness to try, buy and pay a price premium when purchasing fruit from a vending machine.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-26
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120119
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1666-1688: Making Improvisations, Reconfiguring

    • Authors: Esther K. Nanfuka, David Kyaddondo
      First page: 1666
      Abstract: The declaration of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic led to the enforcement of national lockdowns in several countries. While lockdowns are generally effective in containing the spread of infectious diseases, they are associated with negative impacts on livelihoods. Although evidence suggests that urban informal sector populations in low-resource settings bore the brunt of the adverse economic effects of COVID-19 lockdowns, there is little on how they survived. The article provides insights into the survival mechanisms of urban informal sector populations during a COVID-19 lockdown. Data are from narrative interviews with 30 residents of Kampala City and surrounding areas. We found that the COVID-19 lockdown chiefly jeopardized the livelihoods of urban residents through job loss and reduced incomes. Affected individuals and households primarily survived by making improvisations such as adjusting expenditures and reconfiguring their livelihoods. The cardinal elements of the informal sector, such as limited regulation, served as both a facilitator and constraint to survival. Therefore, the informal sector is an important buffer against livelihood shocks in situations of crisis. However, its inherent limitations imply that promoting livelihood resilience among urban residents during lockdowns and similar shocks may necessitate harnessing both formal and informal safety nets.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-26
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120120
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1689-1709: Endemicity Is Not a Victory: The
           Unmitigated Downside Risks of Widespread SARS-CoV-2 Transmission

    • Authors: Madison Stoddard, Alexander Novokhodko, Sharanya Sarkar, Debra Van Egeren, Laura F. White, Natasha S. Hochberg, Michael S. Rogers, Bruce Zetter, Diane Joseph-McCarthy, Arijit Chakravarty
      First page: 1689
      Abstract: The strategy of relying solely on current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines to halt SARS-CoV-2 transmission has proven infeasible. In response, many public-health authorities have advocated for using vaccines to limit mortality while permitting unchecked SARS-CoV-2 spread (“learning to live with the disease”). The feasibility of this strategy critically depends on the infection fatality rate (IFR) of SARS-CoV-2. An expectation exists that the IFR will decrease due to selection against virulence. In this work, we perform a viral fitness estimation to examine the basis for this expectation. Our findings suggest large increases in virulence for SARS-CoV-2 would result in minimal loss of transmissibility, implying that the IFR may vary freely under neutral evolutionary drift. We use an SEIRS model framework to examine the effect of hypothetical changes in the IFR on steady-state death tolls under COVID-19 endemicity. Our modeling suggests that endemic SARS-CoV-2 implies vast transmission resulting in yearly US COVID-19 death tolls numbering in the hundreds of thousands under many plausible scenarios, with even modest increases in the IFR leading to unsustainable mortality burdens. Our findings highlight the importance of enacting a concerted strategy and continued development of biomedical interventions to suppress SARS-CoV-2 transmission and slow its evolution.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120121
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1710-1714: Survival by Mediastinal Chest Drain Due to
           Pneumomediastinum Resulting from COVID-19

    • Authors: Johanna Elisabeth Lingens, Jan Berend Lingens, Achim Gutersohn, Christian Hönemann
      First page: 1710
      Abstract: Pneumomediastinum, pneumothorax, and subcutaneous emphysema may occur as rare complications of COVID-19. They are associated with worsened prognosis and survival from SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. The treatment of pneumomediastinum involves supportive care and management of underlying diseases. Our case presents a female patient suffering from COVID-19 pneumonia with life-threatening mediastinal emphysema. According to guidelines, literature, and other clinical sources, no further therapy options were recommended, and survival was improbable. During an interdisciplinary case discussion, we decided to establish a mediastinal drain and tracheal cannula. This achieved a significant reduction of emphysema as well as an improvement in the patient’s clinical condition and long-term survival. This case demonstrates a rarely used invasive therapy for pneumomediastinum. Furthermore, it demonstrates the importance of cooperation with other centers, interdisciplinary teamwork, and of presenting case reviews—especially when guidelines are unavailable.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-29
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120122
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1715-1730: Gender and COVID-19 Vaccine Disparities in

    • Authors: Adidja Amani, Tatiana Mossus, Fabrice Zobel Lekeumo Cheuyem, Chanceline Bilounga, Pamela Mikamb, Jonas Basseguin Atchou, Aude Perine Minyem Ngombi, Armanda Nangmo, Yannick Kamga, Georges Bediang, Joseph Kamgno, Anne-Cécile Zoung-Kanyi Bissek
      First page: 1715
      Abstract: Six months following the national launch of COVID-19 vaccinations in Cameroon, only 1.1% of the target population was fully vaccinated, with women representing less than one-third of the vaccinated population regardless of age, profession, or comorbidities. Hence, the aim of this study was to understand the low COVID-19 vaccination rate of women in order to enhance vaccine uptake. A cross-sectional study was conducted between July and October 2021 through an online survey. Additionally, a retrospective analysis of the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health (MINSANTE) database of the pandemic (COVID-19) for the period of March 2020 to October 2021 was simultaneously carried out. Our sample consisted of 249 responders aged between 18 and 50 years enrolled in the 10 regions of Cameroon, with 142 (57%) who were female. We assessed factors related to having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and predictors of COVID-19 vaccination among non-vaccinated people. Concerning COVID-19 vaccination, 39.2% were not vaccinated. Non-vaccination was statistically associated with being female, being a healthcare worker, fear of adverse effects, and not believing in the vaccine. In the qualitative analysis, women identified themselves as being anti-COVID-19-vaccine for several reasons, including doubts about the quality or safety of the vaccine; the perception that COVID-19 vaccines are presented as being an obligation; and regarding the multitude of vaccines on the market, the belief that there are “more local” effective alternatives to the vaccine. The implementation of the gender approach to COVID-19 vaccination is one factor influencing its effectiveness and sustainability.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-30
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120123
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1731-1747: In Silico Screening of Prospective MHC
           Class I and II Restricted T-Cell Based Epitopes of the Spike Protein of
           SARS-CoV-2 for Designing of a Peptide Vaccine for COVID-19

    • Authors: Kishore Sarma, Nargis K. Bali, Neelanjana Sarmah, Biswajyoti Borkakoty
      First page: 1731
      Abstract: Multiple vaccines were developed and administered to immunize people worldwide against SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, changes in platelet count following the course of vaccination have been reported by many studies, suggesting vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia. In this context, designing an effective targeted subunit vaccine with high specificity and efficiency for people with low platelet counts has become a challenge for researchers. Using the in silico-based approaches and methods, the present study explored the antigenic epitopes of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 involved in initial binding of the virus with the angiotensin converting enzyme-2 receptor (ACE-2) on the respiratory epithelial cells. The top ten major histocompatibility complex-I (MHC-I) and MHC-II restricted epitopes were found to have 95.26% and 99.99% HLA-class-I population coverage, respectively. Among the top ten promiscuous MHC-I restricted epitopes, ’FTISVTTEI’ had the highest global HLA population coverage of 53.24%, with an antigenic score of 0.85 and a docking score of −162.4 Kcal/mol. The epitope ‘KLNDLCFTNV’ had the best antigenic score of 2.69 and an HLA population coverage of 43.4% globally. The study predicted and documented the most suitable epitopes with the widest global HLA coverage for synthesis of an efficient peptide-based vaccine against the deadly COVID-19.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-30
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120124
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1748-1757: Prevalence of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies
           in HIV-Positive Patients in Wroclaw, Poland—Unexpected Difference
           between First and Second Wave

    • Authors: Hubert Dawid Ciepłucha, Małgorzata Zalewska, Krzysztof Kujawa, Bartosz Szetela
      First page: 1748
      Abstract: Background: The presence and level of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in PLWH from the Lower Silesia region in Poland. Material and Methods: A total of 216 serum samples of both sexes, aged 21–77, and treated with TDF or TAF together with FTC and INSTI at two points of time. Anyone who did not experience COVID-19 symptoms. Samples were checked for the presence and levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies regarding CD4 + T and CD8 + T cells counts, the ratio of these cells, age, sex, VL, and type of tenofovir used. Results: The average level and prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during the first wave were 65.81 IU/mL and 4.17%, while during the second wave, they were 125.98 IU/mL and 14.29%, respectively. There was a significant correlation between the number and type of lymphocytes and the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. We did not find the same correlation regarding anti-SARS-CoV-2 levels. The average level of antibodies was higher during the second wave. There was no difference between the type of tenofovir used and the humoral response, as well as no correlation of anti-SARS-CoV-2 levels with age, gender, or VL. Conclusion: PLWH can have asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, which can influence the presence, but not levels, of anti-SARS-CoV-2 Ab. No correlation with type of tenofovir was observed.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-04
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120125
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1758-1767: Clinical Outcomes and Survival Analysis of

    • Authors: Iman Aboelsaad, Rasha Ashmawy, Doaa Mahrous, Sandy Sharaf, Shahinda Aly, Sara Abdullatif, Ayat Fakhry, Basma Hassan, Dalia Khamis, Alaa Aldakhs, Ehab Kamal
      First page: 1758
      Abstract: Background: Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral that has been approved as promising medicine worldwide for the fatal pandemic COVID-19 disease. There is a debate over its efficacy, with different studies taking into account a variety of factors. Therefore, we conducted this study to evaluate the primary composite outcome of mortality rate, need for mechanical ventilation (MV), and escalation of care among Remdesivir (RDV) and non-Remdesivir (NoRDV) groups. Methods: Patients with moderate and severe PCR-confirmed COVID-19 infection were observed retrospectively, before and after including RDV in the treatment protocol during the period from August 2020 to February 2021. Result: From the 509 hospitalized patients, 35% received Remdesivir, with 64% being severe patients. The median age in both groups was 59 years old, and there was no significant difference between the two groups regarding gender, baseline characteristics, and comorbidities. In contrast, the median hospital length of stay in the RDV group was lower (8 days) than the NoRDV (9 days), p = 0.004. The composite outcome was 17.7% in the RDV group and 22.2% in the NoRDV group, but the difference was statistically insignificant (p-value 0.289). Adjusted logistic regression demonstrated a non-significant lower association of the composite outcome with RDV use (OR 0.623, 95CI% 0.37–1.02), and a significant reduction occurred in patients <60 years old (OR 0.39, 95%CI 0.17–0.83). However, survival analysis for mortality, MV, and transfer to a higher level revealed insignificant differences in the median time between groups. Subgroup analyses showed that RDV utilization had a non-significant effect on the risk of all three outcomes across different groups. Conclusion: Despite controlling all patient characteristics, treatment with RDV did not improve patient outcomes over other antivirals and standard care. There is an urgent need for further studies to investigate and evaluate new therapeutic approaches or combinations.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-05
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120126
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1768-1777: SARS-CoV-2 Lineage P.4 Detection in
           Southeast Brazil: A Retrospective Genomic and Clinical Overview

    • Authors: Mirele Daiana Poleti, Jéssika Cristina Chagas Lesbon, Elisângela Chicaroni de Mattos Oliveira, José Salvatore Leister Patané, Luan Gaspar Clemente, Vincent Louis Viala, Gabriela Ribeiro, Jéssica Fernanda Perissato Pinheiro, Marta Giovanetti, Luiz Carlos Junior Alcantara, Loyze Paola Oliveira de Lima, Antonio Jorge Martins, Claudia Renata dos Santos Barros, Elaine Cristina Marqueze, Jardelina de Souza Todão Bernardino, Debora Botequio Moretti, Ricardo Augusto Brassaloti, Raquel de Lello Rocha Campos Cassano, Pilar Drummond Sampaio Corrêa Mariani, Svetoslav Nanev Slavov, Rafael dos Santos Bezerra, Evandra Strazza Rodrigues, Elaine Vieira Santos, Josiane Serrano Borges, Debora Glenda Lima de La Roque, João Paulo Kitajima, Bibiana Santos, Patrícia Akemi Assato, Felipe Allan da Silva da Costa, Cecília Ártico Banho, Lívia Sacchetto, Beatriz de Carvalho Marques, Rejane Maria Tommasini Grotto, Jayme A. Souza-Neto, Maurício Lacerda Nogueira, Luiz Lehmann Coutinho, Rodrigo Tocantins Calado, Raul Machado Neto, Dimas Tadeu Covas, Simone Kashima, Maria Carolina Elias, Sandra Coccuzzo Sampaio, Heidge Fukumasu
      First page: 1768
      Abstract: São Paulo state has been the epicenter of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Brazil, ranking first by state with over six million reported cases. In February 2021, the P.4 lineage was reported in 21 cities across the state by public health authorities due to the L452R mutation. Here, by analyzing 17,304 genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2 sampled between February and August of 2021 in 476 distinct cities in São Paulo, we assess the transmission dynamics of the P.4 lineage and other SARS-CoV-2 variants that were, at the time of the study, co-circulating in the state. Additionally, clinical parameters from the city of Araras, São Paulo (N = 251) were considered to estimate the potential risk and mortality rate associated with the P.4 lineage since its higher prevalence was observed in that city. Our data suggest a low frequency (0.55%) of the P.4 lineage across the state, with the gamma variant being the dominant form in all regions (90%) at that time. Furthermore, no evidence of increased transmissibility and disease severity related to the P.4 lineage was observed. The displacement through the time of different lineages in São Paulo highlights how challenging genomic surveillance appears to track the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 lineages, which could better guide the implementation of control measures.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-05
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120127
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1778-1786: Annual Excess Crude Mortality in Europe
           during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Longitudinal Joinpoint Regression Analysis
           of Historical Trends from 2000 to 2021

    • Authors: Alessandro Rovetta
      First page: 1778
      Abstract: COVID-19 represents the greatest health crisis in recent human history. To date, it is still difficult to estimate its impact on mortality. This paper investigates the excess crude mortality in 27 European countries. The differences between the values observed in 2020 and 2021 with those predicted by a joinpoint regression model were evaluated. A multi-regression analysis was implemented to assess the relationship between health variables and excess mortality. Europe experienced a marked and surprising (S-value > 52) increase in crude mortality during 2020 (Δ% = +10.0%, 95% CI: [2.5; 18.7]) and 2021 (Δ% = +12.1%, 95% CI: [4.3; 21.2]). The difference between average excesses of Eastern and Western countries was not surprising (S < 2) and had little relevance (ΔE-W = −2.4, 95% CI: [−2; 7]) during 2020 but was more pronounced (S = 15, ΔE-W = +17.2, 95% CI: [11.0; 23.5]) during 2021. Excess crude mortality increased in 2021 (Δ% = +65%, 95% CI: [12.6; 118], S = 5.9). Evidence has been found for a surprising and marked negative linear relationship between COVID-19 vaccinations and excess mortality (“2021 excess mortality = A + BX4”, with “A = 58 ± 7, S = 28” and “B = −0.65 ± 0.10, S = 22, Radj2 = 0.65, 95% CI: [0.38; 0.82]). In light of the current literature, these findings provide solid evidence of the substantial role of COVID-19 in the unexpected and marked excess mortality recorded in Europe. COVID-19 vaccinations have appeared to be one of the main determinants for reducing mortality. Future research should explore these aspects in more detail.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-15
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120128
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1787-1805: Parameters Sensitivity Analysis of
           COVID-19 Based on the SCEIR Prediction Model

    • Authors: Guanhua Ni, Yan Wang, Li Gong, Jing Ban, Zhao Li
      First page: 1787
      Abstract: At the end of 2019, COVID-19 outbreaks occurred one after another in countries worldwide. Managing the outbreak efficiently and stably is an essential public health issue facing countries worldwide. In this paper, based on the SEIR model, we propose a SCEIR model that incorporates close contacts (C) and self-protectors (P). Firstly, the epidemic data of China, the USA, and Italy are predicted and compared with the actual data. Secondly, sensitivity analysis of each parameter in the SCEIR model was conducted using Anylogic. The study shows that the SCEIR model established in this paper has a certain validity. The infection rate in contact with E (𝛽) etc., has positive effects on the basic regeneration number (R0); the self-isolation rate (φ) etc., has a negative effect on the basic regeneration number (R0). Emergency management measures are proposed according to the influencing factors corresponding to the model parameters. These can provide theoretical guidance for developing effective epidemic prevention and control measures in areas where the epidemic has not yet been controlled. It also provides some reference for formulating prevention and control policies for similar epidemics that may occur in the future.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-12-15
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2120129
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 12 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1518-1537: Motivation, Intention and Action: Wearing
           Masks to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

    • Authors: Geoff Kaine, Vic Wright, Suz Greenhalgh
      First page: 1518
      Abstract: Governments are seeking to slow the spread of COVID-19 by implementing measures that encourage, or mandate, changes in people’s behaviour such as the wearing of face masks. The success of these measures depends on the willingness of individuals to change their behaviour and their commitment and capacity to translate that intention into actions. Understanding and predicting both the willingness of individuals to change their behaviour and their enthusiasm to act on that willingness are needed to assess the likely effectiveness of these measures in slowing the spread of the virus. We analysed responses to two different regional surveys about people’s intentions and behaviour with respect to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. While motivations and intentions were largely similar across the regions, there were surprisingly large differences across the regions regarding the frequency of wearing face masks. These regional differences were not associated with regional differences in demographics (or in Alert levels) but were associated with regional differences in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. The results highlight the importance to policy design of distinguishing the factors that might influence the formation of behavioural intentions from those that might influence the implementation of those intentions.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-24
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110109
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1538-1550: A Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic:
           Experience of the University of Botswana

    • Authors: Benjamin Bolaane, Richie Moalosi, Yaone Rapitsenyane, Monageng Kgwadi, Venkata Kommula, Jerekias Gandure
      First page: 1538
      Abstract: The outbreak of COVID-19 presented many challenges to the global community. The scientific community developed vaccines to mitigate the virus spread and morbidity. Higher Education institutions shifted their research and development activities toward developing COVID-19 interventions. The University of Botswana set up a multi-disciplinary design team that responded to society’s COVID-19 needs. An agile methodology and co-creation process to design medical assistive devices was adopted for the study. These methods are human-centred, participatory, and have the added advantage of developing impactful, value-added, and acceptable products. This paper reports on the experiences of developing assistive breathing devices in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Experience gained from the study has enabled universities to continue to build local capacity in research and development to respond effectively and efficiently to future pandemics and any pressing societal challenge.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-26
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110110
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1551-1563: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Activity of Adamantanes In
           Vitro and in Animal Models of Infection

    • Authors: Sun-Young Lim, Zhiru Guo, Ping Liu, Lindsay G. A. McKay, Nadia Storm, Anthony Griffiths, Ming Da Qu, Robert W. Finberg, Mohan Somasundaran, Jennifer P. Wang
      First page: 1551
      Abstract: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had devastating effects worldwide, with particularly high morbidity and mortality in outbreaks on residential care facilities. Amantadine, originally licensed as an antiviral agent for therapy and prophylaxis against influenza A virus, has beneficial effects on patients with Parkinson’s disease and is used for treatment of Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, acquired brain injury, and various other neurological disorders. Recent observational data suggest an inverse relationship between the use of amantadine and COVID-19. Adamantanes, including amantadine and rimantadine, are reported to have in vitro activity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and, more recently, SARS-CoV-2. We hypothesized that adamantanes have antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2, including variant strains. To assess the activity of adamantanes against SARS-CoV-2, we used in vitro and in vivo models of infection. We established that amantadine, rimantadine, and tromantadine inhibit the growth of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro in cultured human epithelial cells. While neither rimantadine nor amantadine reduces lung viral titers in mice infected with mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2, rimantadine significantly reduces viral titers in the lungs in golden Syrian hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2. In summary, rimantadine has antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 in human alveolar epithelial cells and in the hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 lung infection. The evaluation of amantadine or rimantadine in human randomized controlled trials can definitively address applications for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110111
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1564-1574: Characterization of CCP: Can We Use Past
           Convalescent Plasma from COVID-19 Patients for Treatment of New Emerging

    • Authors: Alessandro Ferrari, Irene Cassaniti, Antonella Sarasini, Daniele Lilleri, Josè Camilla Sammartino, Claudia Del Fante, Fausto Baldanti, Elena Percivalle, Cesare Perotti
      First page: 1564
      Abstract: Background and Objectives: New SARS-CoV-2 variants may impact the effectiveness of previously stored convalescent plasma (CCP). We defined levels of anti-delta and anti-omicron SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies (Nt-Abs) and investigated possible differences of past CCP Nt-Abs responses related to donor location in North and South Italy. Methods: Serum from 153 donors recovered from SARS-COV-2 infection (98 from northern and 55 from southern Italy) were analyzed for Nt-Abs characterization using our in house microneutralization assay. Results were compared to anti-Spike IgG measured by chemiluminescent assay (CLIA) to define a possible agreement with a more affordable test. Results: delta Nt-Abs titer in comparison to the reference strain (PV10734 D614G) showed a reduction of 82% in northern and 77% in southern Italy groups. Omicron Nt-Abs titer showed a reduction of 97%. CCP corresponding to Nt-Abs titer > 1:80 showed a median of 1365 BAU/mL for delta strain and 653 BAU/mL for reference strain. We found no statistical differences between Nt-Abs responses in North and South CCP donors. Conclusions: Not all past CCP could be used to treat patients with SARS-CoV-2 delta and omicron infections due to the lack of specific Nt-Abs. For the moment, the neutralization test remains the gold standard to select potential CCP donors. Interestingly, our study did not find NT-Abs differences between plasma collected from donors living in different areas of Italy.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-31
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110112
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1575-1583: Frequency of Positive Results for
           SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Symptomatic Pediatric Patients Treated in the
           Emergency Department of a Regional Hospital

    • Authors: Gabriela Fernanda López, Andreu Fenollosa, Victoria Wolter, Pau Satorra, Carlos Pérez-López, Alejandro Rodríguez-Molinero
      First page: 1575
      Abstract: Objectives: Since 11 March 2020, when the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic, trials have found that the pediatric population is the least affected, and most positive cases are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms such as fever and cough. Aims: The main objective of this study was to describe the percentage of positive tests among children who presented to the emergency department for symptoms compatible with SARS-CoV-2. Additional objectives were to identify clinical screening criteria to identify candidates to perform a polymerase chain reaction or antigen screening test. Patients/Methods: The study had a mixed cross-sectional and case-control design. Data were obtained from the electronic medical records of the emergency service of Hospital Sant Camil, Sant Pere de Ribes (Spain), from May 2020 to September 2021. Patients included had symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and a positive polymerase chain reaction or antigen SARS-CoV-2 screening test. Results: The study included 1508 patients with a mean age of 4.5 years (SD 4.2): 670 of whom were female (44.4%). The percentage of children with a positive polymerase chain reaction or antigen test was 3.51%. For the secondary objectives, some rules were created to create groups in which all patients tested negative: (1) Patients with abdominal pain, who did not present with diarrhea or fatigue, (2) Patients with asthma or allergies, (3) patients older than 3.5 years, with asthenia but without abdominal pain, and (4) patients younger than 3.5 years with abdominal pain and rash. Conclusions: The frequency of children who tested positive for COVID-19 was low among those with a clinical suspicion tested in the emergency room. Some combinations of symptoms and personal history were without exception associated with a negative polymerase chain reaction result for SARS-CoV-2 and could therefore help rule out the disease.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-09
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110113
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1584-1593: Follow-up of Interleukin 6 and Other Blood
           Markers during the Hospitalization of COVID-19 Patients: A Single-Center

    • Authors: Maritza P. Garrido, Varsha Vaswani, Katherinne Contreras, Marcela Barberán, Manuel Valenzuela-Valderrama, Diana Klajn, Carmen Romero, María Jesús Vial Covarrubias, Rodrigo Alfredo Cornejo
      First page: 1584
      Abstract: COVID-19 is a recent respiratory illness with high morbidity and mortality; therefore, the study and characterization of blood markers associated with the improvement or deterioration of COVID-19 patients are crucial. This study compared levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), procalcitonin (PCT), D-dimer, cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), c-reactive protein (CRP), 25-OH vitamin D, anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies, and viremia in mild–moderate and severe–critical COVID-19 patients. In addition, the time course of blood markers was studied in severe–critical cases. The results show that levels of IL-6, PCT, D-dimer, and CRP, the cortisol/DHEA-S ratio, as well as positive viremia and anti-Spike IgGs were higher in severe–critical patients requiring hospitalization. During follow-up, most severe–critical cases displayed similar time patterns of IL-6 and viral load, whereas anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody curves showed an inverse pattern. A decrease in IL-6 levels was associated with the improvement of COVID-19 patients, mostly through a reduced oxygen requirement. This preliminary study suggests that an increase in serum IL-6, PCT, D-dimer and CRP levels and the cortisol/DHEA-S ratio could support the selection of patients with poorer prognosis and the need for an intensive or alternative treatment. Additionally, changes in IL-6 during hospitalization were associated with changes in patient’s status mainly with a decrease in oxygen requirements, which indicates that serial measurements of IL-6 could predict the outcome of severe–critical patients with COVID-19 pneumonia.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-10
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110114
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1594-1608: Caregiver and Youth Mental Health during
           COVID-19: Risk and Resilience Factors in a Large National Sample in Peru

    • Authors: July Caballero-Peralta, Daniel A. Antiporta, Yuri Cutipé, Rocío Vargas-Machuca, Carlos Rojas, Carla Cortez-Vergara, Johann M. Vega-Dienstmaier, Talia S. Benheim, Anamika Dutta, Juliana M. Holcomb, Felipe Peña, Michael Jellinek, J. Michael Murphy
      First page: 1594
      Abstract: The present study examined the prevalence and correlates of psychosocial impairment in a large, national sample of Peruvian children and adolescents (ages 5.0–17.9) during the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2020. A sample of 8263 online questionnaires were completed by caregivers in Peru between 23 October–26 November 2020. In addition to sociodemographic and pandemic-related factors, the survey administered the Peruvian Spanish version of the Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC-17) to assess child psychosocial risk. The Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), Kessler-6 (K-6), and Brief Resilience Scale (BRS-6) assessed caregiver depression, psychological distress, and resilience, respectively. In this case, 33% of the children were at overall risk on the PSC-17. In adjusted models, caregiver distress, depression, and low resilience, as well as having a family member with a health risk factor were the strongest predictors of child psychosocial risk, accounting for nearly 1.2 to 2.1 times the likelihood of risk individually and 2.4 to 3.4 times the likelihood of risk when summed. Due to the opt-in sampling method, the obtained sample was likely skewed toward more advantaged families, suggesting that the study’s high prevalence of PSC-17 positivity might have been even higher in a more economically representative sample. Given the prevalence of psychosocial problems in Peruvian youth during COVID-19, preventive interventions, with a special focus on family-level approaches that involve and support parents as well as children, are clearly warranted.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-12
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110115
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1609-1624: Inflammation in COVID-19: A Risk for

    • Authors: Mariana Boulos, Tamara Bassal, Asad Layyous, Maamoun Basheer, Nimer Assy
      First page: 1609
      Abstract: The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has been one of the most significant health crisis threats in recent years. COVID-19 has not been the only cause of mortality in this pandemic. A dangerous but frequent complication of viral infections is secondary superinfection or superimposed bacterial infection. Despite lacking data on the prevalence, microbiology, and outcomes of co-infection and superinfection, limited publications have reported the high incidence of severe infection in COVID-19 patients and its effect on mortality. Those who have severe clinical symptoms of the disease, and others requiring prolonged stay in intensive care units (ICU), are more susceptible to developing superinfections by nosocomial pathogens. Ventilator-acquired pneumonia (VAP) is the most common type of infection observed among COVID-19 patients, followed by bacteraemia with sepsis, and urinary tract infections (UTI). There is an urgent need for prospective studies to provide epidemiological, clinical, and microbiological data on superinfections, which can be used to form effective antimicrobial guidelines that could have an important role in disease outcomes.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-11-18
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2110116
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 11 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1303-1328: Fear-Responses to Bat-Originating
           Coronavirus Pandemics with Respect to Quarantines Gauged in Relation to
           Postmodern Thought—Implications and Recommendations

    • Authors: Carol Nash
      First page: 1303
      Abstract: Fear-responses to bat-originating coronavirus pandemics with respect to quarantine imposition are gathered and interpreted from large datasets, identified and disseminated by media. Responses are effectively gauged using postmodern thought with a continuum ranging from people’s resilience to define their own perspectives to public views being socially conditioned from media persistence in maintaining fear. Public responses to the 2003 SARS pandemic generally presumed and supported resilience of citizens’ perspectives. In contrast, from late 2019 to mid-2022, public responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were media-determined, promoting fear. In this regard, reactions to the COVID-19 quarantines are contrasted to the hospital isolations of SARS. The primary source of the difference was the major polarizing influence by social media of the WHO policy makers’ pronouncements and of healthcare providers’ statements directing media spotlight in their guidance of public response to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, unlike during SARS. An investigation of cognitive bias regarding the psychological and societal implications related to this migration from resilience to fear regarding public responses to novel bat-originating coronavirus pandemics elicits recommendations concerning future quarantine dictates. These recommendations are dependent on appropriate encouragement of hopeful resilience through evidence based practice with respect to one extreme of the postmodern thought continuum.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-22
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100096
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1329-1340: Subjective Reasons for COVID-19 Vaccine
           Hesitancy and Sociodemographic Predictors of Vaccination in Nigeria: An
           Online Survey

    • Authors: Muhammad Chutiyami, Umar Muhammad Bello, Dauda Salihu, Mustapha Adam Kolo, Abdalkarem Fedgash Alsharari, Hadiza Sabo, Mohammed Bukar, Usman Shehu, Haruna Adamu, Hafsat Ibrahim Alkali, Amina Abdullahi Gambo, Fatima Ado Mahmud, Abdullahi Salisu Muhammad, Ibrahim Ali Bukar
      First page: 1329
      Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the subjective reasons for hesitancy to receive COVID-19 vaccination and the sociodemographic factors associated with vaccination uptake. An online social media survey was conducted among the general Nigerian population using a self-developed questionnaire. Data were analyzed using binary logistic regression with crude and adjusted odds ratios (AOR) at a 95% confidence interval (CI) and a p value of less than 0.05. A total of 576 participants with a mean age of 31.86 years participated in the study. 28% (n = 158) received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Teachers were significantly less likely than health professionals to be vaccinated (AOR = 0.33, 95% CI 0.16–0.69). In addition, unemployed people (AOR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.15–0.89) were less likely to be vaccinated than government employees, and those of intermediate socioeconomic status (AOR = 0.47 95% CI 0.26–0.88) were less likely to be vaccinated than were those of high socioeconomic status. Five main themes emerged regarding participants’ subjective reasons for hesitating to receive the COVID-19 vaccine: fear related to vaccine content (e.g., efficacy), negative effects on the body (e.g., blood clots), distrust of the system/government (e.g., politics), psychological concerns (e.g., anxiety), and misconceptions. Sociodemographic variables and vaccine misconceptions were found to play an important role in COVID-19 vaccination coverage in Nigeria.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-25
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100097
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1341-1378: Application of Artificial Intelligence
           Methods Depending on the Tasks Solved during COVID-19 Pandemic

    • Authors: Ivan Tolmachev, Irina Kaverina, Denis Vrazhnov, Iurii Starikov, Elena Starikova, Evgeny Kostuchenko
      First page: 1341
      Abstract: Health systems challenges that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as a lack of resources and medical staff, are forcing solutions which optimize healthcare performance. One of the solutions is the development of clinical decision support systems (CDSS) based on artificial intelligence (AI). We classified AI-based clinical decision-supporting systems used during the pandemic and evaluated the mathematical algorithms present in these systems. Materials and methods: we searched for articles relevant to the aim of the study in the Scopus publication database. Results: depending on the purpose of the development a clinical decision support system based on artificial intelligence during pandemic, we identified three groups of tasks: organizational, scientific and diagnostic. Tasks such as predicting of pandemic parameters, searching of analogies in pandemic progression, prioritization of patients, use of telemedicine are solved for the purposes of healthcare organization. Artificial intelligence in drugs and vaccine development, alongside personalized treatment programs, apply to new scientific knowledge acquisition. Diagnostic tasks include the development of mathematical models for assessing COVID-19 outcomes, prediction of disease severity, analysis of factors influencing COVID-19 complications. Conclusion: artificial intelligence methods can be effectively implemented for decision support systems in solving tasks that face healthcare during pandemic.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-28
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100098
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1379-1395: Appropriate Human Serum Albumin Fluid
           Therapy and the Alleviation of COVID-19 Vulnerabilities: An Explanation of
           the HSA Lymphatic Nutrient Pump

    • Authors: Andrew S. Johnson, Gianluca Polese, Max Johnson, William Winlow
      First page: 1379
      Abstract: COVID-19 and long COVID-19 vulnerabilities may be caused indirectly by albumin binding deficiency (ABD), which can be corrected by the correct administration of human serum albumin (HSA). The liver is the primary site of nutrient regulation and fluid volume maintenance; control of both is by changes to albumin concentration. In healthy subjects, the HSA lymphatic nutrient pump (HSALNP) ensures continual pumping of nutrients from the liver and that nutrients are appropriately distributed to organs. Nutrients are delivered to cells according to the availability of binding to HSA. The HSALNP, therefore, maintains the correct nutrient and colloidal pressure balance in all tissues independently. In unhealthy tissues, following COVID-19 infection, the passage of HSA/nutrients through the interstitial spaces and lymph will be impeded. Fluid therapy into the periphery leads to the dilution of essential nutrients attached to the protein carriers such as albumin. The levels of albumin being charged by the liver with nutrients is critical in maintaining immune stability by maintaining nutrient support and colloidal pressure of the cellular structures. The site of HSA binding by the liver is of great importance, and direct infusion of albumin into the hepatic portal vein is the most appropriate method of maintaining colloid pressure and cellular nutrient levels.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-30
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100099
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1396-1404: Effect of Cold Atmospheric Plasma on
           SARS-CoV-2 Inactivation: A Pilot Study in the Hospital Environment

    • Authors: Constantinos Loizou, Volha Kniazeva, Theofylaktos Apostolou, Alexander Kornev, Serhei Kostevitch, Evgeny Roslyakov, Costas Constantinou, Linos Hadjihannas
      First page: 1396
      Abstract: The spread of the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has substantial social, health, and economic impacts. High viral load in the air in hospitals poses a risk to medical personnel. Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) is a new technology based on the emission in the air of reactive species, neutral particles, UV radiation, and electromagnetic field. CAP has the potential as an antiviral agent. In this study, an 80-day clinical trial took place at Nicosia General Hospital to evaluate the application of CAP devices for lowering the viral load in the COVID rooms. A total of 284 indoor environment samples were tested by RT-PCR, for which 9 were positive (~3% Positive Rate). After analyzing the initial results, an ion emitter was paired with each patient, and the results showed that the method could eliminate the virus from the COVID wards up to 100%. The number of patients discharged from the hospital in the ionizer group was 4.8% higher than in the non-ionizer group, and 45% fewer patients in the ionizer group who remained in the rooms required oxygen support. The clinical trial shows evidence that composite CAP can decrease coronavirus spread in hospital environments and potentially prevent virus transmission.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-09-30
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100100
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1405-1416: A Review of Telework in the COVID-19
           Pandemic: Lessons Learned for Work-Life Balance'

    • Authors: Christopher L. Atkinson
      First page: 1405
      Abstract: The rationale for this review paper is to take stock of the current knowledge in the literature on the intersection of telework and work–life balance—an area that has grown in importance due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The review also considers the context of the government’s role in pursuing policies to reduce the impacts of the pandemic in order to improve societal if not personal resilience, as these policies sometimes had unintended adverse impacts. After a section on the literature search method, sections follow on the literature considering telework/working from home, stress, and gender; work–life balance figures prominently in the papers reviewed. An additional category for the government and its role in concerns related to this topic follows. For future research, the differences between groups in responding to the demands of telework and work–life balance, particularly in regard to gender, are worth further investigation, as the COVID-19 pandemic has offered great challenges but also immense opportunities to learn and prepare organizations for future crises.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-04
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100101
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1417-1434: Changes over Time in Association Patterns
           between Estimated COVID-19 Case Fatality Rates and Demographic,

    • Authors: Mansi Joshi, Yanming Di, Sharmodeep Bhattacharyya, Shirshendu Chatterjee
      First page: 1417
      Abstract: The United States struggled exceptionally during the COVID-19 pandemic. For researchers and policymakers, it is of great interest to understand the risk factors associated with COVID-19 when examining data aggregated at a regional level. We examined the county-level association between the reported COVID-19 case fatality rate (CFR) and various demographic, socioeconomic and health factors in two hard-hit US states: New York and Florida. In particular, we examined the changes over time in the association patterns. For each state, we divided the data into three seasonal phases based on observed waves of the COVID-19 outbreak. For each phase, we used tests of correlations to explore the marginal association between each potential covariate and the reported CFR. We used graphical models to further clarify direct or indirect associations in a multivariate setting. We found that during the early phase of the pandemic, the association patterns were complex: the reported CFRs were high, with great variation among counties. As pandemics progressed, especially during the winter phase, socioeconomic factors such as median household income and health-related factors such as the prevalence of adult smokers and mortality rate of respiratory diseases became more significantly associated with the CFR. It is remarkable that common risk factors were identified for both states.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-06
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100102
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1435-1448: The Safe Campus Project— Resilience
           of Academic Institutions during the COVID-19 Crisis

    • Authors: Matthias F. Schneider, Lukas Dohmen, Daniel T. Hanisch, Gregor Haider, Andreas Gruhn
      First page: 1435
      Abstract: In this study, we describe how to keep a campus safe and “open” by implementing a proactive, as opposed to reactive, strategy (the Green Zone strategy). The pillars are leadership, clear communication, clean air, vaccination campaigns, and intense efforts in mass testing. Over a period of 12 months, about 277,000 pooled real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) samples and lateral flow tests (LFTs) were collected, and 201 people were identified as COVID-19-positive. For the PCRs, we use the Lollipop technique, combined with nose swabs and gargle samples, to minimize sample-collection efforts. Importantly, not only staff, students, and contractors, but also their family members, friends, and partners; daycare centers; and local sports and arts teams, etc., were invited and participated. This outreach made it possible to propagate the tests more widely and monitor a larger network. At times of larger social gatherings—most prominently, on 23 December 2021 before Christmas (during the rise of the Omicron wave)—testing capacities were increased. The results not only demonstrate the great power of mass testing in providing an open-but-safe work environment, even if the surroundings are highly infectious (red zone), but also the strength and resilience of a university. It shows how the unique pillars of science, infrastructure, students, and independency make it possible to maneuver a community, even through unpredictable times.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-10
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100103
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1449-1459: Expression and Purification of Recombinant
           SARS-CoV-2 Accessory Protein ORF7a and Functional Analysis of Its Role in
           Up-Regulating Cytokine Production

    • Authors: Dan Chen, Zhenhua Zheng, Zhenggang Han
      First page: 1449
      Abstract: The severity of coronavirus disease 2019 is closely linked to dysregulated immune responses. The search for viral proteins associated with immune regulation in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is critical to reveal the pathogenicity of the virus. In this study, accessory proteins ORF7a (referred to as ORF7a-1 and ORF7a-2, respectively) from two SARS-related coronaviruses, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and SARS-CoV-2, were produced through the denaturing and refolding of inclusion body proteins. The recombinant protein was incubated with alveolar epithelial cells, and the transcription and expression levels of major cytokines were determined by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. SARS-related coronavirus ORF7a can up-regulate the transcription and expression of interleukin-6, C-C motif chemokine ligand 8, interferon α, and interferon β. The results also indicated that the two highly conserved ORF7a had certain differences in promoting the transcription and expression of cytokines. The study showed that ORF7a is a virus-encoded immune regulator by alveolar epithelial cells that plays an important role in the pathogenicity of SARS-related coronaviruses.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-12
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100104
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1460-1476: The Burden of Omicron Variant in Pakistan:
           An Updated Review

    • Authors: Sarmir Khan, Samra Hayat Khan, Fatima Haider, Jaweria Malik, Feroz Khan, Ikram Khan, Ihsan Ullah, Muhammad Amir Zia, Shazia Kousar
      First page: 1460
      Abstract: A new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has emerged from South Africa, indicating that the pandemic will not be over anytime soon. An unimaginable amount of economic damage has resulted from the pandemic. Omicron and its economic implications are discussed in detail in this review article. It also includes statistics on occurrence, mortality, and recuperation in Pakistan and data on the country’s immunization coverage. Developing countries with unstable economies, such as Pakistan, have experienced increased economic difficulties. As a result, all developed and underdeveloped countries should strictly adhere to preventive measures and improvements in diagnostic tests and vaccine development to bring the pandemic under control.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-14
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100105
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1477-1490: First Scientific Evidence about the
           Estimation of the Odds Ratio in Vaccinated Individuals and Determination
           of Vaccine Efficacy against SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Angola—Part I

    • Authors: Santland Sebastião Alberto de Lemos, Belchior da Silva, Carlos Alberto Pinto de Sousa
      First page: 1477
      Abstract: Introduction: Studies conducted in real-life scenarios on vaccine protection against COVID-19 constitute an important global priority, but one that is currently mostly neglected in low- and middle-income countries such as Angola. Here, we analyze for the first-time vaccine protection against COVID-19 in a real-life scenario after 6 months of implementing a multi-vaccination plan in Angola. Methods: 4232 vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals with the result of a rapid antigen diagnostic test against SARS-CoV-2 performed from 27 to 28 December 2021 were included in the study. The general and sex-adjusted and age-adjusted odds ratios were evaluated by comparing the chances of vaccination between cases and controls, and their associated 95% CI, which were calculated using the Mantel–Haenszel stratification method. Vaccine efficacy was calculated using the odds ratio applying the accepted statistical vaccine efficacy formula: (1 − odds ratio) × 100. For all estimates, a p-value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The odds of SARS-CoV-2 infection were 0.85 (95% CI 0.70–1.03)-times lower in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated individuals, with p = 0.09. The overall vaccine efficacy (VE) was 15% (95% CI −3–30). Conclusion: There was no statistically significant decrease in the chances of SARS-CoV-2 infection in vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-15
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100106
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1491-1508: COVID-19 Knowledge, Attitudes and
           Practices and Vaccine Acceptability in Rural Western Kenya and an Urban
           Informal Settlement in Nairobi, Kenya: A Cross-Sectional Survey

    • Authors: Carolyne Nasimiyu, Allan Audi, Clifford Oduor, Cynthia Ombok, Dismas Oketch, George Aol, Alice Ouma, Eric Osoro, Isaac Ngere, Ruth Njoroge, Peninah Munyua, Terrence Lo, Amy Herman-Roloff, Godfrey Bigogo, Patrick K. Munywoki
      First page: 1491
      Abstract: An important step towards COVID-19 pandemic control is adequate knowledge and adherence to mitigation measures, including vaccination. We assessed the level of COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) among residents from an urban informal settlement in the City of Nairobi (Kibera), and a rural community in western Kenya (Asembo). A cross-sectional survey was implemented from April to May 2021 among randomly selected adult residents from a population-based infectious diseases surveillance (PBIDS) cohort in Nairobi and Siaya Counties. KAP questions were adopted from previous studies. Factors associated with the level of COVID-19 KAP, were assessed using multivariable regression methods. COVID-19 vaccine acceptance was 83.6% for the participants from Asembo and 59.8% in Kibera. The reasons cited for vaccine hesitancy in Kibera were safety concerns (34%), insufficient information available to decide (18%), and a lack of belief in the vaccine (21%), while the reasons in Asembo were safety concerns (55%), insufficient information to decide (26%) and lack of belief in the vaccine (11%). Our study findings suggest the need for continued public education to enhance COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes, and practices to ensure adherence to mitigation measures. Urban informal settlements require targeted messaging to improve vaccine awareness, acceptability, and uptake.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-18
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100107
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
  • COVID, Vol. 2, Pages 1509-1517: Institut Pasteur Dakar Mobile Lab: Part of

    • Authors: Amary Fall, Idrissa Dieng, Cheikh Talibouya Touré, Moufid Mhamadi, Bacary Djilocalisse Sadio, Marie Henriette Dior Ndione, Moussa Moise Diagne, Mignane Ndiaye, Mamadou Aliou Barry, Yague Diaw, Allé Baba Dieng, Ndeye Maguette Diop, Safietou Sankhe, Boly Diop, Mamadou Ndiaye, Amadou Diallo, Mamadou Diop, Mamadou Dieng, Aurélie Cappuyns, Steven Pauwels, Babacar Gning, Gamou Fall, Manfred Weidmann, Cheikh Loucoubar, Rudi Pauwels, Amadou Alpha Sall, Ndongo Dia, Ousmane Faye, Oumar Faye
      First page: 1509
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic required massive testing of potential patients in resource-constrained areas in Senegal. The first case of COVID-19 was reported on 2 March 2020 in Dakar city and on 10 March, the first cases were reported in Touba city, the second most populous city in Senegal. Following the scale of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Touba city, the Institut Pasteur de Dakar mobile laboratory truck (MLT) was deployed on March 13 to bring diagnostics to the point of need for better management of patient and outbreak control. The MLT deployed is a 6 × 6 truck equipped with an isolator for sample inactivation, a generator and batteries to ensure energy autonomy, and a molecular platform for pathogens detection. Nasal and oropharyngeal swabs were collected from suspected COVID-19 cases and sent to the MLT located at the Touba primary healthcare center. Samples were extracted and RNA amplified by real time qRT-PCR. A total of 11,693 samples were collected from 14 regions of Senegal and tested between March to August 2021. Within the samples tested, 10.6% (1240/1693) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, the MLT allowed the confirmation of the first cases of COVID-19 in 25 out of 79 health districts of Senegal. Thereby, the MLT deployment during the first 6 months of COVID-19 in Senegal allowed rapid processing of suspected case samples collected in Touba and other surrounding areas and, thus, significantly contributed to the outbreak response and early case management in Senegal.
      Citation: COVID
      PubDate: 2022-10-20
      DOI: 10.3390/covid2100108
      Issue No: Vol. 2, No. 10 (2022)
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Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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