Is there a connection between ABO histo-blood group phenotypes and COVID-19?
One study set out to investigate the possible connection between blood type and COVID-19 susceptibility. The study was focused on 397 patients with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses who were admitted to a center, in addition, 500 others were used as a control group. The results show that ABO histo-blood phenotypes are correlated with a patients susceptibility to COVID-19 infection. A higher rate of infection was observed among those with AB type, while those with O type have shown lower rates of infection. The Rh factor was not noted to be significant in determining vulnerability.
Immune response against SARSCoV-2 in healthcare workers: Immunity after infection & herd immunity
One of the great questions during the COVID-19 pandemic has been surrounding the immunity after infection and the reliability of a herd immunity when others have built antibodies to the virus.
This study followed 166 health care workers from a University Care Center for up to 12 weeks to determine if a serologic response was documented in those who had previously tested positive for the presence of COVID-19. Of the 166 subjects, 27 had been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 by PCR testing methods, and two were tested independently using other available methods. The results show that 77% of the COVID-19 subjects developed a specific IgG response over the 12-week period while none of the contact groups developed a detectable IgG response. Among the COVID patients, the values of detectable IgGI-responses significantly increased over time, while that of a positive IgA response decreased over time. There was no correlation between the number of reported symptoms and antibody responses in the positive patients, and no new cases of seroconversion were identified in the asymptomatic coworkers with negative tests during the outbreak. The results show that an immune response after COVID-19 increases significantly over time, but approximately 22% of the positive patients did not mount an active serologic immune response within 60 days. Exposed coworkers did not develop any relevant antibodies at all. The authors conclude that immunity after infection increases over time, but the antibody response does not develop reliably in all people who are infected. As such, maintaining protective measures seems to be the safest route for both employees and patients, and should be continued during an outbreak as neither immunity after infection nor herd immunity are reliable.
To mask or not to mask
Since we currently lack effective drugs, vaccine, or medical resources to effectively combat the COVID-19 virus, masks have been implemented to serve as a non-pharmaceutical intervention that may reduce the spread of the virus. More countries have been moving forward with mask mandates and/or recommendations to wear masks in public. This study combined mathematical modeling and existing scientific data to evaluate the potential impact of masks in public to combat the COVID-19 virus. The authors considered three key factors: mask aerosol reduction rate, mask population coverage, and mask availability that contribute to effectiveness of wearing a mask to reduce transmission of COVID-19. The authors also used models to simulate the impact of these factors on virus replication and infection rate in a general population. The study concludes that wearing a face mask can be effectively combined with social distancing to flatten the epidemic curve, however, the authors do note that further validation studies may be needed as further data becomes available.
How does e-cigarette use among adolescents’ impact COVID-19 diagnosis?
This study in the Journal of Adolescent Health aimed to determine the association between youth cigarette and electronic cigarette smoking with coronavirus symptoms, testing, and diagnosis. Using an online national survey of adolescents and young adults (n=4,351) aged 13-24 years, multivariable logistic regression determined relationships between COVID symptoms, testing and diagnostics in those who used cigarettes only, e-cigarettes only, and dual use, socioeconomic factors, obesity, and complying with shelter-in-place recommendations. The authors concluded that COVID-19 diagnosis was five times more likely among e-cigarette users, seven times more likely in dual users (cigarettes and e-cigarettes). Testing was nine times more likely among dual-users who had used within the previous 30 days, and 2.6 times more likely when participants used only e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days. Symptoms were 4.7 times more likely among those who used both in the previous 30 days. The conclusion of this study indicates that COVID-19 is associated with usage of e-cigarettes and cigarettes among youth and adolescent populations, suggesting a need for greater education and screening.
Could nasal irrigation and oral rinsing reduce the risk of COVID-19?
In this letter to the editor, the authors seek to advocate for the inclusion of saline nasal irrigations and ethanol oral rinses as additional public health measures to prevent and control the transmission of any respiratory infectious disease, including COVID-19. The authors note specific studies that have shown that SNI’s can reduce the viral load in the nasal cavities. They note three studies that have found a positive correlation between the use of SNI’s as a preventive strategy to reduce upper respiratory tract infections. They argue that SNI’s improve the antiviral immunity of the nasal mucosa when used as directed. With SNI’s being affordable, and without adverse effects, this method could be used as a preventive measure. In addition, the authors evaluate studies where oral rinse, such as, Listerine, have reduced viral loads in the oral cavity. The authors propose that the implementation of nasal irrigation and oral rinsing should be commonplace and urge that RCT’s are needed to evaluate the efficacy of SNI’s and oral rinses to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Although there are studies available which may support these claims, much investigation and research would be needed to make this a clinical recommendation.