COVID, Volume 1, Issue 1 (September 2021) – 15 articles

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Article
COVID-19 Related Knowledge, Risk Perceptions, and Practices amongst Irish Residents
COVID 2021, 1(1), 166-185; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010015 (registering DOI) - 31 Jul 2021
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Abstract
The COVID-19 disease was declared a global pandemic by the 11th of February 2020, presenting a major threat to public health worldwide. Success in the battle against COVID-19 depends on public adherence to control measures. Their adherence is greatly affected by their knowledge, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 disease was declared a global pandemic by the 11th of February 2020, presenting a major threat to public health worldwide. Success in the battle against COVID-19 depends on public adherence to control measures. Their adherence is greatly affected by their knowledge, perceptions, and practices; therefore, the aim of this study was to assess and understand the knowledge, perceptions, practices, and trusted information sources of COVID-19 among Irish residents. A quantitative survey was performed by means of an online questionnaire, which comprised five sections to collect data regarding demographics, knowledge, perceptions, practices, and information sources. A total of 1007 participants completed the online survey between February and March 2021. The majority of respondents (69.4% female and 30.3% male) had a correct rate of knowledge (88%) and practices (68.1%), with health organisations being the most trusted information source (70.7%); 87.4% understand good mask etiquette. Only 53.7% agreed that closing schools or mass gathering events are an effective way to reduce the spread of the virus, while 81.3% are aware that COVID-19 is more severe than the flu; 64% of respondents said that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health. It was observed that a higher level of knowledge is positively correlated with good practices. The study concludes that most of the respondents have shown a good level of knowledge and right practices towards the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the higher the level of knowledge of individuals, the better the COVID-19 safety practices are that they perform. It has been observed that the continuous improvement on an individual’s level of knowledge of COVID-19 is essential to maintain good safety practices and reduce the spread. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advancement in the Management of COVID-19)
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Perspective
Disorder in ADHD and ASD Post-COVID-19
COVID 2021, 1(1), 153-165; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010014 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 221
Abstract
A diagnosis of either attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) identifies an individual as unable to attend expectedly and appropriately, particularly in school settings. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, what defined the expected and the appropriate was considerate, close physical [...] Read more.
A diagnosis of either attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or of autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) identifies an individual as unable to attend expectedly and appropriately, particularly in school settings. Until the COVID-19 pandemic, what defined the expected and the appropriate was considerate, close physical contact among people. In understanding that aerosol droplets from vocalization cause the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, what is acceptable contact has now shifted to distancing oneself from people and communicating in a way that eliminates vocal spray. The norms for socialization diametrically changed as a consequence of the pandemic. Yet, there has been no concurrent reassessment of the meaning of “disorder” related to ADHD and ASD within the school setting. A diagnosis of ADHD and/or ASD often brings with it an expectation for special education. Therefore, it is important that changes in social norms be recognized as they define the meaning of “disorder”. Investigated here is in what way each diagnosis demonstrates disorder in response to the imposed COVID-19 restrictions and how this can be anticipated to affect the schooling of those with ADHD and ASD during the pandemic. Full article
Article
Are COVID-19 Data Reliable? A Quantitative Analysis of Pandemic Data from 182 Countries
COVID 2021, 1(1), 137-152; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010013 - 16 Jul 2021
Viewed by 358
Abstract
When it comes to COVID-19, access to reliable data is vital. It is crucial for the scientific community to use data reported by independent territories worldwide. This study evaluates the reliability of the pandemic data disclosed by 182 countries worldwide. We collected and [...] Read more.
When it comes to COVID-19, access to reliable data is vital. It is crucial for the scientific community to use data reported by independent territories worldwide. This study evaluates the reliability of the pandemic data disclosed by 182 countries worldwide. We collected and assessed conformity of COVID-19 daily infections, deaths, tests, and vaccinations with Benford’s law since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. It is commonly accepted that the frequency of leading digits of the pandemic data shall conform to Benford’s law. Our analysis of Benfordness elicits that most countries partially distributed reliable data over the past eighteen months. Notably, the UK, Australia, Spain, Israel, and Germany, followed by 22 different nations, provided the most reliable COVID-19 data within the same period. In contrast, twenty-six nations, including Tajikistan, Belarus, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, published less reliable data on the coronavirus spread. In this context, over 31% of countries worldwide seem to have improved reliability. Our measurement of Benfordness moderately correlates with Johns Hopkin’s Global Health Security Index, suggesting that the quality of data may depend on national healthcare policies and systems. We conclude that economically or politically distressed societies have declined in conformity to the law over time. Our results are particularly relevant for policymakers worldwide. Full article
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Communication
Reasonable Limiting of 7-Day Incidence per Hundred Thousand and Herd Immunization in Germany and Other Countries
COVID 2021, 1(1), 130-136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010012 - 14 Jul 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
Based on hospital capacities, facts from past experience with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus and the number of dark infections during the second wave (DII=2D2), a reasonable limiting value of 140/D2 for the 7-day incidence per 100,000 persons (MSDIHT) and a second wave herd immunization threshold fraction value of 0.26 in Germany were calculated. If the MSDIHT is held below this limiting value, the German hospital system can cope with the number of new seriously infected persons without any triage decisions. On the basis of the SIRV epidemics model, the classical threshold values for herd immunization were calculated for 18 countries. For these countries, the dates regarding when herd immunization against the second COVID-19 wave will be reached were estimated. Full article
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Article
Deactivation of SARS-CoV-2 via Shielding of Spike Glycoprotein Using Carbon Quantum Dots: Bioinformatic Perspective
COVID 2021, 1(1), 120-129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010011 - 13 Jul 2021
Viewed by 301
Abstract
The interaction of the spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) correlates with increased virus transmissibility and disease severity in humans. Two strategies may be considered for preventive or treatment purposes: the blockage of the ACE2 receptors or the shielding [...] Read more.
The interaction of the spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 with angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) correlates with increased virus transmissibility and disease severity in humans. Two strategies may be considered for preventive or treatment purposes: the blockage of the ACE2 receptors or the shielding of receptor-binding domains (RBD) in the Sprotein of COVID-19, as well as the S2 cleavage site that is used by the furin enzyme of the host cells in the late phase of virus activation. Herein, the interaction of carbon quantum dots (CQDs) with the Sprotein of SARS-CoV-2 was investigated using molecular docking and molecular dynamics. CQD molecules were optimized by the HF/3-21G level of theory; the probable interactions between the CQDs with Sprotein were studied by blind docking mode, considering the Sprotein as the receptor and CQDs as ligands. Ethanol, folic acid, Favipiravir, two kinds of functionalized triangular hexagonal graphene, and four kinds of functionalized CQDs were studied on a comparative basis. The results show that OH and amine-functionalized CQDs tend to interact with three branches of Sprotein, especially RBD. The fact that they can block the S2 cleavage site leads to their potential use as a therapeutic agent. Full article
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Case Report
A New Viral Coinfection: SARS-CoV-2 Pneumonia and Cytomegalovirus Pneumonitis in a Renal Transplant Recipient
COVID 2021, 1(1), 115-119; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010010 - 07 Jul 2021
Viewed by 273
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic of an acute respiratory illness known as COVID-19. Patients with solid organ transplants receiving chronic immunosuppressive therapy are at risk of severe disease caused by opportunistic pathogens, including cytomegalovirus (CMV). We present the case of a renal [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic of an acute respiratory illness known as COVID-19. Patients with solid organ transplants receiving chronic immunosuppressive therapy are at risk of severe disease caused by opportunistic pathogens, including cytomegalovirus (CMV). We present the case of a renal transplant recipient presenting with hypoxic respiratory failure because of severe COVID-19, whose course was complicated by ganciclovir-resistant CMV pneumonitis. Full article
Article
Antibody Response against the SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Protein and Its Subdomains—Identification of Pre-Immunization Status by Human Coronaviruses with Multipanel Nucleocapsid Fragment Immunoblotting
COVID 2021, 1(1), 105-114; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010009 - 07 Jul 2021
Viewed by 255
Abstract
A novel beta coronavirus that emerged in late December 2019 triggered a global pandemic. Diagnostic methods for rapid identification of infected individuals were established in new biotechnological approaches. Vaccine production and application to individuals and measurement of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies also began. Serum samples [...] Read more.
A novel beta coronavirus that emerged in late December 2019 triggered a global pandemic. Diagnostic methods for rapid identification of infected individuals were established in new biotechnological approaches. Vaccine production and application to individuals and measurement of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies also began. Serum samples from 240 health care workers were collected at three-month intervals over nine months. Indirect SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid IgG ELISA tests were used to identify humoral immune responses. All seropositive individuals and those with borderline ELISA values were tested with a specifically generated multipanel nucleocapsid fragment immunoblot. Of the 240 individuals, 24 showed seroconversion in ELISA after experiencing COVID-19. All of them showed a positive reaction against the full-length nucleocapsid protein in the immunoblot. The highest reactivity was seen either against fragment N(100–300) or in a minority against the posterior part N(200–419). In general, the staining pattern of COVID-19 patients showed four phenotypes. In contrast, three individuals classified as borderline by ELISA reacted exclusively with fragments N(1–220) and N(100–300) containing the octamer amino acid sequence FYYLGTGP, which is identical in human coronaviruses sharing this sequence with SARS-CoV-2. These represent a unique and thus fifth phenotype. This work suggests the existence of distinct phenotypic patterns of IgG production towards N-protein subdomains. Full article
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Review
Effect of Vitamin D Deficiency on COVID-19 Status: A Systematic Review
COVID 2021, 1(1), 97-104; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010008 - 07 Jul 2021
Viewed by 499
Abstract
One major micronutrient studied for its possible protective effect against the COVID-19 disease is vitamin D. This systematic review sought to identify and synthesize available evidence to aid the understanding of the possible effect of vitamin D deficiency on COVID-19 status and health [...] Read more.
One major micronutrient studied for its possible protective effect against the COVID-19 disease is vitamin D. This systematic review sought to identify and synthesize available evidence to aid the understanding of the possible effect of vitamin D deficiency on COVID-19 status and health outcomes in COVID-19 patients. Three databases (PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar) were systematically used to obtain English language journal articles published between 1 December 2019 and 3 November 2020. The search consisted of the terms (“Vitamin D,” OR “25-Hydroxyvitamin D,” OR “Low vitamin D.”) AND (“COVID-19” OR “2019-nCoV” OR “Coronavirus” OR “SARS-CoV-2”) AND (“disease severity” OR “IMV” OR “ICU admission” OR “mortality” OR “hospitalization” OR “infection”). We followed the recommended PRISMA guidelines in executing this study. After going through the screening of the articles, eleven articles were included in the review. All the included studies reported a positive association between vitamin D sufficiency and improved COVID-19 disease outcomes. On the other hand, vitamin D deficiency was associated with poor COVID-19 disease outcomes. Specifically, two studies found that vitamin D-deficient patients were more likely to die from COVID-19 compared to vitamin D-sufficient patients. Three studies showed that vitamin D-deficient people were more likely to develop severe COVID-19 disease compared to vitamin D-sufficient people. Furthermore, six studies found that vitamin D-deficient people were more likely to be COVID-19 infected compared to vitamin D-sufficient people. Findings from these studies suggest that vitamin D may serve as a mitigating effect for COVID-19 infection, severity, and mortality. The current evidence supports the recommendations for people to eat foods rich in vitamin D such as fish, red meat, liver, and egg yolks. The evidence also supports the provision of vitamin D supplements to individuals with COVID-19 disease and those at risk of COVID-19 infection in order to boost their immunity and improve health outcomes. Full article
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Article
Fit Testing Disposable P2/N95 Respirators during COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia: Fit Check Evaluation, Failure Rates, and a Survey of Healthcare Workers
COVID 2021, 1(1), 83-96; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010007 - 06 Jul 2021
Viewed by 284
Abstract
Quantitative fit testing was utilised to evaluate the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria (DHHS) recommended fit check and determine pass/fail rates for self-selected P2/N95 respirators. Survey experience and training related to P2/N95 respirators were also obtained. This was an observational [...] Read more.
Quantitative fit testing was utilised to evaluate the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria (DHHS) recommended fit check and determine pass/fail rates for self-selected P2/N95 respirators. Survey experience and training related to P2/N95 respirators were also obtained. This was an observational study at a specialist tertiary referral centre, Melbourne, Australia, between 29 May 2020 and 5 June 2020. The primary outcome was quantitative fit test pass/fail results, with fit check reported against fit test as a 2 × 2 contingency table. The secondary outcomes were the number of adjustments needed to pass, as well as the pass rates for available sizes and types of self-selected respirators, survey data for attitudes, experience and training for P2/N95 respirators. The fit check predicts respirator seal poorly (PPV 34.1%, 95% CI 25.0–40.5). In total, 69% (40/58) of respirators failed quantitative fit testing after initial respirator application and is a clinically relevant finding (first-up failure rate for P2/N95 respirators). Only one person failed the fit test for all three respirator fit tests. There was significant variability between each of the seven types of self-selected P2/N95 respirators, although sample sizes were small. Few participants were trained in the use of P2/N95 respirators or the fit check prior to COVID-19, with a high number of participants confident in achieving a P2/95 respirator seal following a fit test. The fit check alone was not a validated method in confirming an adequate seal for P2/N95 respirators. Quantitative fit testing can facilitate education, improve the seal of P2/N95 respirators, and needs to be integrated into a comprehensive Respiratory Protection Program (RPP). Full article
Article
Persistence of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Six Months after Infection in an Outbreak with Five Hundred COVID-19 Cases in Borriana (Spain): A Prospective Cohort Study
COVID 2021, 1(1), 71-82; https://doi.org/10.3390/covid1010006 - 30 Jun 2021
Viewed by 505
Abstract
In March 2020, several mass gathering events were related to the Falles festival in Borriana (Spain), resulting in a 536 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases outbreak among participants. This article estimates anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies persistence six months after and factors associated with antibody response. A prospective [...] Read more.
In March 2020, several mass gathering events were related to the Falles festival in Borriana (Spain), resulting in a 536 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases outbreak among participants. This article estimates anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies persistence six months after and factors associated with antibody response. A prospective population-based cohort study was carried out by the Public Health Centre of Castellon and the Emergency and Clinical Analysis and Microbiology Services of Hospital de la Plana in Vila-real. In October 2020, a seroepidemiologic study was used to estimate the persistence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies against nucleocapsid protein (N) by an electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) was implemented. We enrolled 484 (90.2%) of the 536 members of the initial outbreak cohort and detected persistent antibodies in 479 (99%) without reinfection episodes. Five participants had a negative antibody test. Factors associated with a negative result were a lower body mass index (BMI), and less contact with other COVID-19 cases. Among the 469 participants with two ECLIA tests, 96 (20.5%) had an increase of antibodies and 373 (79.5%) a decline. Increased antibodies were associated with older age, higher BMI, more severe illness, and low current smokers. Our results show that after a COVID-19 infection, a high proportion of cases maintain detectable anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Full article
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Article
Cope or Perish? Managing Tipping Points in Developing Coping Strategies for Emergency Response during the First Wave of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Europe
COVID 2021, 1(1), 39-70; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010005 - 29 Jun 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
When the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic started to manifest itself across the globe at an unprecedented pace and magnitude, the various emergency response strategies pursued by highly affected countries in Europe raised many questions about their supposed effectiveness. To contain the [...] Read more.
When the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic started to manifest itself across the globe at an unprecedented pace and magnitude, the various emergency response strategies pursued by highly affected countries in Europe raised many questions about their supposed effectiveness. To contain the outbreak, a rapid and adequate emergency response was vital to control emergent public health risks, but emergency management was challenged by large uncertainty due to many unknowns about crucial determinants of the outbreak, determining the effectiveness of the response, which was often derived from uncertain information. This paper aims to draw lessons from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and it presents a review of strategies for emergency response pursued in eight European countries, including tipping points that triggered strategy shifts in emergency response. The paper shows that: (i) these countries have a culturally determined preference for policy response style (Mediterranean, continental and liberal style) depending on their relative scores on power distance and uncertainty avoidance, which (ii) is reflected in the initially adopted control paradigm and the associated strategy; (iii) Mediterranean countries (Italy, France, Spain) with high levels of power distance and uncertainty avoidance have a tendency to respond to new unknown situations by deploying strong rule-based regulatory systems which offer mental security and social order, whereas continental (Germany and Austria) and liberal countries (the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden) do this to medium and much lower extents. Full article
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Review
The Role of Serology Testing to Strengthen Vaccination Initiatives and Policies for COVID-19 in Europe
COVID 2021, 1(1), 20-38; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010004 - 26 Jun 2021
Viewed by 386
Abstract
This review explores and positions the value of serology testing to support current immunization policies and the broader policy response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in Europe. We applied an exploratory approach to analysing existing evidence, international recommendations, and national policies [...] Read more.
This review explores and positions the value of serology testing to support current immunization policies and the broader policy response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis in Europe. We applied an exploratory approach to analysing existing evidence, international recommendations, and national policies using desk research from secondary sources, document analysis, and expert information. Regional and country-level resources from five focus countries were included: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Seven experts in the fields of COVID-19 immunization, serology testing, seroepidemiology, and vaccine safety and effectiveness studies contributed to the review and convened in two online panel sessions. The paper includes an overview of (1) the impact of the pandemic to date, (2) testing strategies, (3) COVID-19 vaccination policies, (4) lessons on using serology testing to support immunization, (5) current policies and recommendations on the use of a serology testing strategy, and (6) implementation barriers and challenges. Finally, this paper also provides a set of knowledge-based recommendations to advance the effective and timely inclusion of serology testing and resolve impeding knowledge gaps. The recommendations herein are intended to support timely decision-making, raise awareness, guide advocacy initiatives, and inspire future studies. Full article
Brief Report
What Is the Estimated COVID-19 Reproduction Number and the Proportion of the Population That Needs to Be Immunized to Achieve Herd Immunity in Malaysia? A Mathematical Epidemiology Synthesis
COVID 2021, 1(1), 13-19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010003 - 01 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 800
Abstract
We aimed to determine Malaysia’s COVID-19 reproduction number and herd immunity threshold through a mathematical epidemiology synthesis. Using time-series incidence data, the time-dependent reproduction number (Rt) was yielded over time during the COVID-19 containment measures in Malaysia. The value of R [...] Read more.
We aimed to determine Malaysia’s COVID-19 reproduction number and herd immunity threshold through a mathematical epidemiology synthesis. Using time-series incidence data, the time-dependent reproduction number (Rt) was yielded over time during the COVID-19 containment measures in Malaysia. The value of Rt at the beginning of the epidemic and prior to any interventions in place was used to determine the proportion of the population that needs to be immunized to achieve herd immunity. Rt was strongly influenced by interventions being put in place. We established that at least 74% of the Malaysian population needs to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against COVID-19. This threshold estimate is somewhat influenced by the availability of an efficacious vaccine. A vaccine with 95% efficacy would approximately synthesize a herd immunity threshold of 78%. We conclude that Rt is a valid estimator to determine the effectiveness of control measures and a parameter of use to synthesize herd immunity thresholds in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
Article
Efficacy of a Polyphenolic, Standardized Green Tea Extract for the Treatment of COVID-19 Syndrome: A Proof-of-Principle Study
COVID 2021, 1(1), 2-12; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010002 - 31 May 2021
Viewed by 1583
Abstract
The lack of therapies for moderate COVID-19 syndrome prompted us to use a standardized polyphenolic green tea extract rich in catechins during the lockdown due to the pandemic in Italy (Autumn 2020). Catechins are powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral agents that are safe [...] Read more.
The lack of therapies for moderate COVID-19 syndrome prompted us to use a standardized polyphenolic green tea extract rich in catechins during the lockdown due to the pandemic in Italy (Autumn 2020). Catechins are powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral agents that are safe for human use. While awaiting hospitalization, 10 swab-positive patients, symptomatic for SARS-COV-2, were treated for 15 days at home with two sessions of inhalation plus three capsules per day (total catechins: 840 mg; total EGCG: 595 mg). All patients recovered fully and had no symptoms at a median of 9 days, with a range of 7–15 days. Seven switched to a negative SARS-COV-2 nasopharyngeal swab test at a median of 9 days, with a range of 6–13 days. Among the 3 patients still swab-positive, one had a strong decrease of infection down to a “very low” SARS-COV-2 nucleic acid load at 5 days. All patients exited quarantine at the end of therapy because they were free of symptoms. Inflammation markers α-1 anti-trypsin, C-reactive protein and eosinophils had significantly decreased. The IL-6 and erythrocyte sedimentation rate decreased in 7 out of 10 patients. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of the efficacy of green tea catechin against COVID-19 syndrome. These results may open new perspectives in the fight against the disease. Full article
Editorial
COVID: A New Peer-Reviewed Journal on Coronaviruses and Coronaviruses-Diseases
COVID 2021, 1(1), 1; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/covid1010001 - 13 Feb 2021
Viewed by 2876
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous effect on people around the world [...] Full article
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