Statement

In the age of fake news and miracle cures information about COVID-19 abounds. As scientists, it is our duty to sift through this sea of (mis)information and correctly inform the public about the challenges and advances made in understanding the virus, how it affects us and the quest for obtaining a vaccine or drug against it. This page aims to aggregate useful resources that primarily concern SARS-CoV-2 research and official information provided by the Wolrd Health Organization (WHO) or the Government of Canada.

Page last updated: May 22, 2020

Official Information Websites

  • COVID-19 General Information: Government of Canada
  • COVID-19 General Information: World Health Organization
  • COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins University
  • COVID-19 Tracker for Montreal and Quebec - developed @ McGill
  • Anatomy of a Coronavirus

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    Small-molecule drugs currently being repurposed for COVID-19 (those with available structures). Compiled by Sharon Pinus and Mihai Burai Patrascu.

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    3D animation of SARS-CoV-2 courtesy of https://www.scientificanimations.com / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0). The image offers a description of SARS-CoV-2 and its common features.

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    Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, United States. The image depicts SARS-CoV-2 and its corona-like appearance.

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    Symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the disease seen in the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak, and is caused by the Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). By Mikael Häggström, used with permission.

    Resources

    Table 1. Information about possible SARS-CoV-2 drugs, clinical trials, vaccines as well as general SARS-CoV-2 research and relevant press releases and articles (for the description of commonly used terms in this table click here)
    Source Resource Type Resource Peer-Reviewed Date of Publication Summary
    Moderna Therapeutics Press Release Moderna Announces Positive Interim Phase 1 Data for its mRNA Vaccine (mRNA-1273) Against Novel Coronavirus

    Vaccine
    No May 18, 2020 Encouraging news for vaccine development
    • After two doses all participants evaluated to date across the 25 µg and 100 µg dose cohorts seroconverted with binding antibody levels at or above levels seen in convalescent sera.
    • mRNA-1273 elicited neutralizing antibody titer levels in all eight initial participants across the 25 µg and 100 µg dose cohorts, reaching or exceeding neutralizing antibody titers generally seen in convalescent sera.
    • mRNA-1273 was generally safe and well tolerated.
    • mRNA-1273 provided full protection against viral replication in the lungs in a mouse challenge model.
    • Anticipated dose for Phase 3 study between 25 µg and 100 µg; expected to start in July.
    • CONCERNS 1. “It’s a bit of a concern that they haven’t published the results of any of their ongoing trials that they mention in their press release. They have not published any of that,” Johns Hopkins University vaccine researcher Anna Durbin told Stat. 2. “When a company like Moderna with such incredibly vast resources says they have generated SARS-2 neutralizing antibodies in a human trial, I would really like to see numbers from whatever assay they are using,” John “Jack” Rose, a vaccine researcher from Yale University, told Stat.
    New England Journal of Medicine Journal Article Pulmonary Vascular Endothelialitis, Thrombosis, and Angiogenesis in Covid-19

    General Research
    Yes May 21, 2020 SARS-CoV-2 is responsible for blood clots in the lungs
    • The lungs from the patients with Covid-19 and the patients with influenza shared a common morphologic pattern of diffuse alveolar damage and infiltrating perivascular lymphocytes.
    • There were three distinctive angiocentric features of Covid-19: 1. severe endothelial injury associated with intracellular SARS-CoV-2 virus and disrupted endothelial cell membranes; 2. the lungs from patients with Covid-19 had widespread vascular thrombosis with microangiopathy and occlusion of alveolar capillaries; 3. the lungs from patients with Covid-19 had significant new vessel growth through a mechanism of intussusceptive angiogenesis.
    EU Clinical Trials Register Press Release Ramdomised clinical trial of ivermectin for treatment and prophylaxis of COVID-19

    Drug
    Yes May 08, 2020 A clinical trial to demonstrate the effectiveness of Ivermectin in the prophylaxis and treatment of COVID-19
    • Study 1: Demonstrate the Efficacy of Ivermectin in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. Objectives: Compare the viral clearance in SARS-CoV-2 patients treated with Ivermectin and placebo and compare the clinical evolution and complications between COVID-19 patients receiving Ivermectin and placebo.
    • Study 2: Demonstrate Ivermectin efficacy in contact prophylaxis. Objectives: Compare the contagion rate between home contacts of patients with COVID-19 + receiving prophylaxis with Ivermectin and placebo and compare the clinical evolution and complications between home contacts of COVID-19 + patients receiving Ivermectin and Placebo prophylaxis.
    The Lancet Journal Article Safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine: a dose-escalation, open-label, non-randomised, first-in-human trial

    Vaccine
    Yes May 22, 2020 Phase I trial for of a recombinant adenovirus type-5 (Ad5) vectored COVID-19 vaccine expressing the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 is successful
    • Healthy adults aged between 18 and 60 years were sequentially enrolled and allocated to one of three dose groups (low, medium or high) to receive an intramuscular injection of vaccine.
    • 108 participants (51% male, 49% female; mean age 36.3 years) were recruited and received the low dose (n=36), middle dose (n=36), or high dose (n=36) of the vaccine. All enrolled participants were included in the analysis.
    • At least one adverse reaction within the first 7 days after the vaccination was reported in 30 (83%) participants in the low dose group, 30 (83%) participants in the middle dose group, and 27 (75%) participants in the high dose group.
    • The most common injection site adverse reaction was pain, which was reported in 58 (54%) vaccine recipients, and the most commonly reported systematic adverse reactions were fever (50 [46%]), fatigue (47 [44%]), headache (42 [39%]), and muscle pain (18 [17%]. No serious adverse event was noted within 28 days post-vaccination.
    • ELISA antibodies and neutralising antibodies increased significantly at day 14, and peaked 28 days post-vaccination. Specific T-cell response peaked at day 14 post-vaccination.
    • The Ad5 vectored COVID-19 vaccine is tolerable and immunogenic at 28 days post-vaccination. Further investigations are required.
    The Lancet Journal Article Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis.

    Drug
    Yes May 22, 2020 Further evidence that HCQ/CQ is not a miracle treatment for COVID-19
    • Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, often in combination with a second-generation macrolide, are being widely used for treatment of COVID-19, despite no conclusive evidence of their benefit.
    • Although generally safe when used for approved indications such as autoimmune disease or malaria, the safety and benefit of these treatment regimens are poorly evaluated in COVID-19.
    • 96,032 patients (mean age 53.8 years, 46.3% women) with COVID-19 were hospitalised during the study period and met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 14,888 patients were in the treatment groups (1868 received chloroquine, 3783 received chloroquine with a macrolide, 3016 received hydroxychloroquine, and 6221 received hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide) and 81,144 patients were in the control group. 10,698 (11·1%) patients died in hospital.
    • [The authors] were unable to confirm a benefit of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, when used alone or with a macrolide, on in-hospital outcomes for COVID-19.
    • Each of these drug regimens was associated with decreased in-hospital survival and an increased frequency of ventricular arrhythmias when used for treatment of COVID-19.
    Oxford University Press Release Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to begin phase II/III human trials

    Vaccine
    No May 22, 2020 Inching closer to a COVID-19 vaccine
    • The phase I trial in healthy adult volunteers began in April. More than 1,000 immunisations have been completed and follow-up is currently ongoing.The next study will enrol up to 10,260 adults and children and will involve a number of partner institutions across the country [England].
    • The phase II part of the study involves expanding the age range of people the vaccine is assessed in, to include a small number of older adults and children: • Aged 56-69 • Aged over 70 • Aged between 5-12 years.
    • The phase III part of the study involves assessing how the vaccine works in a large number of people over the age of 18. This group will assess how well the vaccine works to prevent people from becoming infected and unwell with COVID-19.
    • Adult participants in both the Phase II and Phase III groups will be randomised to receive one or two doses of either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine or a licensed vaccine (MenACWY) that will be used as a "control" for comparison.
    • ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 is made from a virus (ChAdOx1), which is a weakened version of a common cold virus (adenovirus) that causes infections in chimpanzees, that has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to replicate in humans.
    Nature Journal Article Cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by a human monoclonal SARS-CoV antibody

    Drug General Research
    Yes May 18, 2020 A SARS antibody could be important in the fight against COVID-19
    • [The authors] describe multiple monoclonal antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 S identified from memory B cells of an individual who was infected with SARS-CoV in 2003.
    • One antibody, named S309, potently neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV pseudoviruses as well as authentic SARS-CoV-2 by engaging the S receptor-binding domain.
    • Antibody cocktails including S309 along with other antibodies identified [in the study] further enhanced SARS-CoV-2 neutralization and may limit the emergence of neutralization-escape mutants.
    New England Journal of Medicine Journal Article Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Preliminary Report

    Drug General Research
    Yes May 22, 2020 Encouraging news about Remdesivir
    • [The authors] conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of intravenous remdesivir in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 with evidence of lower respiratory tract involvement.
    • Patients were randomly assigned to receive either remdesivir (200 mg loading dose on day 1, followed by 100 mg daily for up to 9 additional days) or placebo for up to 10 days. The primary outcome was the time to recovery, defined by either discharge from the hospital or hospitalization for infection-control purposes only.
    • Preliminary results from the 1059 patients (538 assigned to remdesivir and 521 to placebo) with data available after randomization indicated that those who received remdesivir had a median recovery time of 11 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 9 to 12), as compared with 15 days (95% CI, 13 to 19) in those who received placebo (rate ratio for recovery, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.55; P<0.001).
    • The Kaplan-Meier estimates of mortality by 14 days were 7.1% with remdesivir and 11.9% with placebo (hazard ratio for death, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.47 to 1.04).
    • Remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults hospitalized with Covid-19 and evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.
    New England Journal of Medicine Journal Article Multiorgan and Renal Tropism of SARS-CoV-2

    General Research
    Yes May 13, 2020 COVID-19 wreaks havoc on a multitude of organs
    • Autopsies have found that SARS-CoV-2 not only resides in the lungs, but also in the kidneys, heart, brain and other organs.
    • [The authors] conducted autopsies on 27 patients who had died of COVID-19 and found that the virus was most abundant in the lungs, but was also present at lower levels in the kidneys, liver, heart, brain and blood .
    • The team found that three genes - ACE2, TMPRSS2 and CTSL - known to encourage SARS-CoV-2 infection are highly active in kidney cells.
    • The vaccinated monkeys were then given doses of COVID-19. Following this administration, the monkeys developed only mild illness and lower viral replication than the unvaccinated control group.
    Science Journal Article DNA vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques

    Vaccine


    General Research
    Yes May 20, 2020 DNA vaccine candidates show promising results in monkeys
    • [The authors] developed a series of DNA vaccine candidates expressing different forms of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein and evaluated them in 35 rhesus macaques.
    • This type of vaccine prompts the recipient’s cells to make a pathogen or its components, which, in turn, stimulates the immune system.
    • The animals mounted an antibody response similar to the response seen in macaques and humans who had recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
    • The vaccinated monkeys were then given doses of SARS-CoV-2. Following this administration, the monkeys developed only mild illness and lower viral replication than the unvaccinated control group.
    The Lancet Journal Article Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human breastmilk

    General Research
    Yes May 21, 2020 Can SARS-CoV-2 be transmitted through breastfeeding?
    • [The authors] examined milk from two nursing mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2. Both mothers were informed about the study and gave informed consent.
    • Following admission and delivery (day 0), four samples from Mother 1 tested negative. By contrast, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in milk from Mother 2 at days 10 (left and right breast), 12, and 13.
    • Detection of viral RNA in milk from Mother 2 coincided with mild COVID-19 symptoms and a SARS-CoV-2 positive diagnostic test of the newborn (Newborn 2).
    • Whether Newborn 2 was infected by breastfeeding or other modes of transmission remains unclear. Further studies of milk samples from lactating women and possible virus transmission via breastfeeding are needed to develop recommendations on whether mothers with COVID-19 should breastfeed.
    American Journal of Clinical Pathology Journal Article Placental Pathology in COVID-19

    General Research
    Yes May 22, 2020 The impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women
    • Placentas from 16 women who tested positive for COVID-19 while pregnant showed evidence of injury.
    • The type of injury seen in the placentas shows abnormal blood flow between the mothers and their babies in utero, pointing to a new complication of COVID-19.
    • “It doesn’t appear to be inducing negative outcomes in live-born infants, based on our limited data, but it does validate the idea that women with COVID should be monitored more closely.” - senior author Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein, assistant professor of pathology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine pathologist.
    Science Journal Article Against pandemic research exceptionalism

    General Research
    Yes May 01, 2020 The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on research
    • The perception that core methodological components of high-quality research are dispensable [in a pandemic] is underpinned by three problematic assumptions.
    • First: some evidence now, even if flawed, seems preferable to expending greater resources on more-demanding studies whose benefits only materialize later. Because the window for learning in pandemics is often short, the need to “balance scientific rigor against speed” seems inevitable.
    • Second: the view that key features of rigorous research, like randomization or placebo comparators, conflict with clinicians' care obligations.
    • Third: the expectation that researchers and sponsors are generally free to exercise broad discretion over the organization and design of research.
    • To enable stakeholders to fulfill their social responsibilities, research should embody five conditions of informativeness and social value: 1) importance; 2) rigorous design; 3) analytical integrity; 4) trials should be reported completely, promptly, and consistently with prespecified analyses; 5) feasibility.
    The Lancet Journal Article Epidemiology and transmission of COVID-19 in 391 cases and 1286 of their close contacts in Shenzhen, China: a retrospective cohort study

    General Research
    Yes April 30, 2020 Children are as likely as adults to become infected with SARS-CoV-2 after close contact with an infected person
    • Analysis of nearly 400 cases of COVID-19 and 1,300 people who were ‘close contacts’ of the infected people shows that 7% of close contacts younger than age 10 became infected — roughly the same as in the population overall.
    • The researchers also found that just 9% of original cases were responsible for 80% of infections detected in close contacts.
    • Such ‘superspreading’ events could lead to “large COVID-19 clusters” the authors conclude.
    Cell Journal Article Imbalanced host response to SARS-CoV-2 drives development of COVID-19

    General Research
    Yes May 01, 2020 The immune response to SARS-CoV-2 differs from the response prompted by other respiratory viruses
    • Cell and animal models of SARS-CoV-2 infections, in addition to transcriptional and serum profiling of COVID-19 patients, consistently revealed a unique and inappropriate inflammatory response.
    • This response is defined by low levels of Type I and III interferons juxtaposed to elevated chemokines and high expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6).
    • The results suggest an immune imbalance: low levels of interferons reduce a cell’s ability to limit viral replication, and the activation of less-specific immune responses promotes inflammation.
    AstraZeneca Press Release AstraZeneca and Oxford University announce landmark agreement for COVID-19 vaccine

    Vaccine
    No April 30, 2020 Collaboration will enable global development,manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine
    • The collaboration aims to bring to patients the potential vaccine known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, being developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group, at the University of Oxford.
    • Under the agreement, AstraZeneca would be responsible for development and worldwide manufacturing and distribution of the vaccine.
    • ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 uses a viral vector based on a weakened version of the common cold (adenovirus) containing the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
    • ChAdOx1 was chosen to generate a strong immune response from a single dose and it is not replicating, so cannot cause an ongoing infection in the vaccinated individual.
    • Vaccines made from the ChAdOx1 virus have been given to more than 320 people to date and have been shown to be safe and well tolerated, although they can cause temporary side effects such as a temperature, flu-like symptoms, headache or sore arm.
    The Lancet Journal Article Remdesivir in adults with severe COVID-19: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial

    Drug General Research
    Yes April 29, 2020 Remdesivir not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits
    • Between Feb 6, 2020, and March 12, 2020, 237 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to a treatment group (158 to remdesivir and 79 to placebo).
    • Remdesivir use was not associated with a difference in time to clinical improvement (hazard ratio 1·23 [95% CI 0·87–1·75]).
    • Although not statistically significant, patients receiving remdesivir had a numerically faster time to clinical improvement than those receiving placebo among patients with symptom duration of 10 days or less (hazard ratio 1·52 [0·95–2·43]).
    • Adverse events were reported in 102 (66%) of 155 remdesivir recipients versus 50 (64%) of 78 placebo recipients.
    • Remdesivir was stopped early because of adverse events in 18 (12%) patients versus four (5%) patients who stopped placebo early.
    Science Magazine Journal Article Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period

    General Research
    Yes April 14, 2020 How long do we need to keep up the current pandemic measures?
    • [The authors] used estimates of seasonality, immunity, and cross-immunity for betacoronaviruses OC43 and HKU1 from time series data from the USA to inform a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
    • [The authors] projected that recurrent wintertime outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 will probably occur after the initial, most severe pandemic wave.
    • Absent other interventions, a key metric for the success of social distancing is whether critical care capacities are exceeded. To avoid this, prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022.
    • Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024.
    Nature Medicine Journal Article The QT interval in patients with COVID-19 treated with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin

    General Research
    Yes April 24, 2020 Can a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin (HY/AZ) lead to sudden cardiac arrest?
    • Both medications have been independently shown to increase the risk in other populations for QT-interval prolongation, drug-induced torsades de pointes (a form of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia) and drug-induced sudden cardiac death.
    • In [the authors'] work, [the authors] found that in patients with COVID-19 who were treated with HY/AZ, the QTc (QT-corrected intervals) was significantly prolonged.
    • [The authors] therefore suggest that the QTc should be followed repeatedly in patients with COVID-19 who are treated with HY/AZ, particularly in those with co-morbidities and in those who are treated with other QT-prolonging medications.
    Science Magazine News Article New York clinical trial quietly tests heartburn remedy against coronavirus

    Drug
    No April 26, 2020 Famotidine - a potential COVID-19 treatment.
    • Famotidine is an over-the-counter drug for treating heartburn.
    • On 7 April, the first COVID-19 patients at Northwell Health in the New York City area began receiving famotidine intravenously, at nine times the heartburn dose.
    • Northwell kept the famotidine study under wraps to secure a research stockpile before other hospitals, or even the federal government, started buying it.
    • As of Saturday, 187 COVID-19 patients in critical status, including many on ventilators, have been enrolled in the trial, which aims for a total of 1174 people.
    GenEngNews News Article Novartis Plans Phase III Trial of Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19

    Drug
    No April 20, 2020 Hydroxychloroquine to enter Phase 3 clinical trials for COVID-19.
    • Novartis said it reached agreement with the FDA to launch a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study.
    • The study will recruit approximately 440 patients and use a supply of hydroxychloroquine to be donated by Novartis’ Sandoz generics and biosimilars division.
    • The trial will be conducted at more than a dozen sites in the United States.
    • Novartis also committed to making available any intellectual property within its control related to the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat or prevent COVID-19 widely available “through non-exclusive voluntary licenses, appropriate waivers, or similar mechanisms.”
    World Health Organization Scientific Brief The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in patients with COVID-19

    General Research
    No April 19, 2020 Can NSAIDs pose a threat to COVID-19 patients?
    • A rapid systematic review was carried out on 20 March 2020 on NSAIDs and viral respiratory infections using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and WHO Global Database.
    • The review included studies conducted in humans of any age with viral respiratory infections exposed to systemic NSAIDs of any kind. All studies on COVID-19, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) were included irrespective of their sample size.
    • No direct evidence from patients with COVID-19, SARS, or MERS was available. Therefore, all evidence included should be considered indirect evidence with respect to the use of NSAIDs prior to or during the management of COVID-19.
    • Conclusion: At present there is no evidence of severe adverse events, acute health care utilization, long-term survival, or quality of life in patients with COVID-19, as a result of the use of NSAIDs.
    The Lancet Respiratory Medicine Comment Do chronic respiratory diseases or their treatment affect the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection?

    General Research
    No April 03, 2020 What happens to people with previous respiratory illnesses when they contract COVID-19?
    • One might anticipate that patients with chronic respiratory diseases, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, would be at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and more severe presentations of COVID-19.
    • It is striking that both diseases appear to be under-represented in the comorbidities reported for patients with COVID-19, compared with the global burden of disease estimates of the prevalence of these conditions in the general population; a similar pattern was seen with SARS.
    • By contrast, the prevalence of diabetes in patients with COVID-19 or SARS is as high as or higher than the estimated national prevalence, as might be expected.
    • Possibilities include: 1) in contrast to the diagnosis of diabetes, there was substantial underdiagnosis or poor recognition of chronic respiratory disease in patients with COVID-19, particularly in China; 2) having a chronic respiratory disease protects against COVID-19, perhaps through a different immune response elicited by the chronic disease itself. However, this theory is not supported by the finding that among those with COVID-19 who have COPD as a comorbidity, mortality is increased; 3) therapies used by patients with chronic respiratory diseases (especially inhaled steroids) can reduce the risk of infection or of developing symptoms leading to diagnosis.
    Nature Biotechnology Journal Article CRISPR–Cas12-based detection of SARS-CoV-2

    Detection Test


    General Research
    Yes April 16, 2020 A rapid, easy-to-implement detection test of SARS-CoV-2
    • The authors report the development of a rapid ( less than 40 min), easy-to-implement and accurate CRISPR–Cas12-based lateral flow assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 from respiratory swab RNA extracts.
    • The method was validated using contrived reference samples and clinical samples from patients in the United States, including 36 patients with COVID-19 infection and 42 patients with other viral respiratory infections.
    • The CRISPR-based assay provides a visual and faster alternative to the US CDC SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT–PCR assay, with 95% positive predictive agreement and 100% negative predictive agreement.
    New England Journal of Medicine Journal Article The Untold Toll — The Pandemic’s Effects on Patients without Covid-19

    General Research
    Yes April 17, 2020 “I think the toll on non-Covid patients will be much greater than Covid deaths.” - Zoran Lasic, interventional cardiologist
    • This article by Lisa Rosenbaum, MD, provides a chilling account of how the pandemic is affecting patients with cardiovascular disease or cancer that have not tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Michael Grossbard, chief of hematology at New York University’s Langone Hospital, told Lisa Rosenbaum that “Our practice of medicine has changed more in 1 week than in my previous 28 years combined.”
    • David Ryan, chief of oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), emailed Lisa Rosenbaum to tell her that “There’s no question that clinical research in cancer will be set back by at least a year as we all drop what we’re doing to take care of the surge of patients.”
    • People with chronic afflictions are afraid to seek help in hospitals due to the increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and also because they would be turned down due to lack of space. Rosenbaum asks herself: "Perhaps the greatest challenge, then, is an invisible one: How do we help people who are afraid to seek care to begin with? To date, much public health messaging regarding Covid has focused on social distancing, hand hygiene, PPE for health care workers, and the need for increased testing. Yet as we begin to observe fewer admissions for common emergencies such as heart attack and stroke, the need for vigilance about viral transmission need not detract from an equally important message: Covid or no Covid, we are still here to care for you."
    Journal of Biological Chemistry Journal Article Remdesivir is a direct-acting antiviral that inhibits RNA-dependent RNA polymerase from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 with high potency

    Drug General Research
    No April 13, 2020 Further promise for remdesivir as COVID-19 treatment
    • Remdesivir (RDV) shows broad-spectrum antiviral activity against RNA viruses, and previous studies with RNA-dependent RNA polymerases(RdRps) from Ebola virus (EBOV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have revealed that delayed chain-termination is RDV’s plausible mechanism of action.
    • Enzyme kinetics indicated that this RdRp efficiently incorporates the active triphosphate form of RDV (RDV-TP) into RNA.
    • Incorporation of RDV-TP at position i caused termination of RNA synthesis at position i+3.
    • Almost identical results were obtained with SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2 RdRps.
    • A unique property of RDV-TP is its high selectivity over incorporation of its natural nucleotide counterpart ATP.
    • These results collectively provide a unifying, refined mechanism of RDV-mediated RNA synthesis inhibition in coronaviruses and define this nucleotide analogue as a direct-acting antiviral (DAA).
    Science Magazine News Article Ending coronavirus lockdowns will be a dangerous process of trial and error

    General Research
    No April 14, 2020 When will life go back to normal?
    • “We’ve managed to get to the life raft,” says epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). “But I’m really unclear how we will get to the shore.”
    • “How to relax the lockdown is not something around which there is a scientific consensus,” says Caroline Buckee, an epidemiologist at HSPH.
    • “It’s going to have to be something that we’re going to have to take baby steps with,” says Megan Coffee, an infectious disease researcher at New York University.
    • The goal of the current lockdowns is to push R [effective reproduction number which denotes how many people the average infected person infects] in turn well below 1. Once the pandemic is tamed, countries can try to loosen restrictions while keeping R hovering around 1, when each infected person on average infects one other person, keeping the number of new cases steady.
    • “Because we don’t have really strong evidence,” she says, “it’s quite hard to make evidence-based policy decisions about how to go back.” But Lipsitch says that as authorities around the world choose different paths forward, comparisons could be revealing. “I think there’s going to be a lot of experimentation, not on purpose, but because of politics and local situations,” he says. “Hopefully the world will learn from that.”
    New England Journal of Medicine Journal Article Compassionate Use of Remdesivir for Patients with Severe COVID-19

    Drug
    Yes April 10, 2020 Remdesivir shows promise in patients with severe COVID-19
    • Remdesivir, a nucleotide analogue prodrug that inhibits viral RNA polymerases, has shown in vitro activity against SARS-CoV-2.
    • 61 patients (between January 25 - March 7, 2020) received a 10-day course of Remdesivir, consisting of 200 mg administered intravenously on day 1, followed by 100 mg daily for the remaining 9 days of treatment.
    • Data from 8 patients could not be analyzed (including 7 patients with no post-treatment data and 1 with a dosing error). Of the 53 patients whose data were analyzed, 22 were in the United States, 22 in Europe or Canada, and 9 in Japan. At baseline, 30 patients (57%) were receiving mechanical ventilation and 4 (8%) were receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.
    • During a median follow-up of 18 days, 36 patients (68%) had an improvement in oxygen-support class, including 17 of 30 patients (57%) receiving mechanical ventilation who were extubated. A total of 25 patients (47%) were discharged, and 7 patients (13%) died; mortality was 18% (6 of 34) among patients receiving invasive ventilation and 5% (1 of 19) among those not receiving invasive ventilation.
    • This report is supported by Gilead Sciences, manufacturer of Remdesivir.
    Houston Chronicle News Article Texas A&M pandemic expert: Coronavirus will have 5 stages. We’re in stage 2.

    News Article
    No April 10, 2020 COVID-19 - The New Reality
    • Gerald Parker (Texas A&M) directs the Bush School of Government Service biosecurity and pandemic public policy program and is associate dean of Global One Health.
    • Gerald Parker was part of the Department of Health and Human Services as a deputy assistant secretary for preparedness and response under the Bush administration, where he worked on developing and implementing a national strategy and plan in case of a pandemic.
    • According to Parker, COVID-19 has 5 stages: 1) Containment; 2) Mitigation; 3) a second stage of containment before a vaccine can be deployed; 4) a third stage of containment after a vaccine has reached the market; 5) making preparation for the next pandemic a national security priority.
    • Parker believes that COVID-19 will not go away and that we will have to become adapted to a "new normal" with improved public hygiene and disinfection. Moreover, Parker believes we should all be prepared for a second wave of COVID-19 in the fall.
    Eli Lilly Press Release Lilly Begins Clinical Testing of Therapies for COVID-19

    Drug Press Release
    No April 09, 2020 Eli Lilly Starts Trial With Baricitinib in COVID-19
    • Eli Lilly announced it will start testing Baricitinib as an arm in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)'s Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial.
    • Barcitinib is approved in more than 65 countries and carries a risk of developing serious infections.
    • The study involving baricitinib will investigate its efficacy and safety as a potential treatment for hospitalized patients diagnosed with COVID-19, beginning this month in the U.S. with a planned expansion to additional sites including Europe and Asia.
    • Results are expected within the next two months.
    • Lilly is also announcing that it will advance LY3127804, an investigational selective monoclonal antibody against Angiopoietin 2 (Ang2), to Phase 2 testing in pneumonia patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who are at a higher risk of progressing to acute respiratory distress syndrome.
    Pfizer Press Release Pfizer and BioNTech announce further details on collaboration to accelerate global COVID-19 vaccine development

    Vaccine Press Release
    No April 09, 2020 Pfizer and BioNTech to jointly develop COVID-19 vaccine, initially in the United States and Europe, and scale-up manufacturing capacity to support global supply
    • BioNTech will contribute multiple mRNA vaccine candidates as part of its BNT162 COVID-19 vaccine program, which are expected to enter human testing in April 2020.
    • Pfizer will contribute its leading global vaccine clinical research and development, regulatory, manufacturing and distribution infrastructure and capabilities.
    • BioNTech will receive an upfront payment of $185 million, including an equity investment of approximately $113 million, and be eligible to receive future milestone payments of up to $563 million for a potential total consideration of $748 million.
    Journal of Virus Eradication Journal Article Minimum costs to manufacture new treatments for COVID-19

    Drug


    General Research
    Yes April 09, 2020 How much does it cost to manufacture COVID-19-fighting drugs?
    • ‘Repurposing’ existing drugs to treat COVID-19 is vital to reducing mortality and controlling the pandemic. Several promising drugs have been identified and are in various stages of clinical trials globally. If efficacy of these drugs is demonstrated, rapid, mass availability at an affordable cost would be essential to ensuring equity and access especially amongst low- and middle-income economies.
    • Minimum costs of production were estimated from the costs of active pharmaceutical ingredients using established methodology, which had good predictive accuracy for medicines for hepatitis C and HIV amongst others. Data were extracted from global export shipment records or analysis of the route of chemical synthesis. The estimated costs were compared with list prices from a range of countries where pricing data were available.
    • Minimum estimated costs of production were US $0.93/day for remdesivir, $1.45/day for favipiravir, $0.08/day for hydroxychloroquine, $0.02/day for chloroquine, $0.10/day for azithromycin, $0.28/day for lopinavir/ritonavir, $0.39/day for sofosbuvir/daclatasvir and $1.09/day for pirfenidone. Costs of production ranged between $0.30 and $31 per treatment course (10–28 days). Current prices of these drugs were far higher than the costs of production, particularly in the US.
    • Should repurposed drugs demonstrate efficacy against COVID-19, they could be manufactured profitably at very low costs, for much less than current list prices.
    Laurent Pharmaceuticals Press Release Laurent Pharmaceuticals Joins Battle Against COVID-19

    Drug Press Release
    No April 09, 2020 Montreal-based company joins fight against COVID-19
    • Laurent Pharmaceuticals announces that it is planning to test its lead drug LAU-7b in patients with COVID-19 disease, as part of a Phase 2 clinical trial.
    • LAU-7b is a novel once-a-day oral form of fenretinide, an investigational drug under development by Laurent Pharmaceuticals for its ability to help control inflammation in the lungs.
    • LAU-7b is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 clinical trial in Canada, US and Australia, involving adult patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and aiming to treat the exaggerated inflammatory response that leads to irreversible lung damage.
    • The study will involve approximatively 200 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 and at risk to develop lung complications, for a treatment duration of 14 days.
    Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism - Oxford University Social Study Types, sources, and claims of COVID-19 misinformation

    General Research
    No April 07, 2020 Fake news in the age of a pandemic
    • In terms of scale, independent fact-checkers have moved quickly to respond to the growing amount of misinformation around COVID-19; the number of English-language fact-checks rose more than 900% from January to March.
    • Most (59%) of the misinformation in [the authors'] sample (225 pieces of misinformation) involves various forms of reconfiguration, where existing and often true information is spun, twisted, recontextualised, or reworked.
    • Less misinformation (38%) was completely fabricated.
    • Top-down misinformation from politicians, celebrities, and other prominent public figures made up just 20% of the claims in our sample but accounted for 69% of total social media engagement.
    • Misleading or false claims about the actions or policies of public authorities, including government and international bodies like the WHO or the UN, are the single largest category of claims identified, appearing in 39% of [the authors'] sample.
    • On Twitter, 59% of posts rated as false in [the authors'] sample by fact-checkers remain up. On YouTube, 27% remain up, and on Facebook, 24% of false-rated content in [the authors'] sample remains up without warning labels.
    INOVIO Pharmaceuticals Press Release INOVIO Initiates Phase 1 Clinical Trial Of Its COVID-19 Vaccine and Plans First Dose Today

    Vaccine Press Release
    No April 06, 2020 A novel DNA vaccine to prevent COVID-19
    • INOVIO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that the FDA has accepted the company's application for INO-4800, its DNA vaccine candidate designed to prevent COVID-19 infection.
    • This approval paves the way for Phase 1 clinical testing of INO-4800 in healthy volunteers beginning this week. The first dosing is planned for today.
    • The Phase 1 study of INO-4800 will enroll up to 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, where screening of potential participants has already begun.
    • Each participant will receive two doses of INO-4800 four weeks apart, and the initial immune responses and safety data from the study are expected by late summer.
    Science Translational Medicine Journal Article An orally bioavailable broad-spectrum antiviral inhibits SARS-CoV-2 in human airway epithelial cell cultures and multiple coronaviruses in mice


    Drug General Research
    Yes April 06, 2020 EIDD-2801 - a drug against COVID-19
    • An orally bioavailable NHC-prodrug EIDD-2801 developed at Emory University (Atlanta, US) improved pulmonary function, and reduced virus titer and body weight loss in mice.
    • Decreased MERS-CoV yields in vitro and in vivo were associated with increased transition mutation frequency in viral but not host cell RNA, supporting a mechanism of lethal mutagenesis in CoV.
    • The potency of NHC/EIDD-2801 against multiple coronaviruses and oral bioavailability highlight its potential utility as an effective antiviral against SARS-CoV-2 and other future zoonotic coronaviruses.
    • Update[April 7, 2020] - FDA approves clinical trials for EIDD-2801. More here
    AP News News Article First Two Patients Enrolled in Randomized Phase 2, COVID-19 Trial with Leronlimab


    Drug News Article
    No April 06, 2020 Leronlimab - an experimental HIV drug with potential for multiple therapeutic indications, including COVID-19
    • The first two COVID-19 patients have been treated with Leronlimab under CytoDyn's Phase 2 randomized clinical trial, which is for patients with mild-to-moderate indications.
    • In addition, Leronlimab, has now been administered to 15 severely ill COVID-19 patients at four hospitals, 10 patients treated at a leading medical center in the New York City area and five patients at three other hospitals.
    • CytoDyn also anticipates initiating its other COVID-19 trial - Phase 2b/3 for severely ill COVID-19 patients and is for 342 patients, double-blinded with a 2:1 ratio (drug to placebo ratio). Patients enrolled in this trial are expected to be administered Leronlimab for two weeks, with the primary endpoint being the mortality rate at 14 days.
    MedRxiv Journal Article Evaluating COVID-19 Public Health Messaging in Italy: Self-Reported Compliance and Growing Mental Health Concerns


    General Research
    No April 06, 2020 Quarantine Effects on Mental Health - A Case Study in Italy
    • [The authors] evaluate public understanding of Italian government public health messaging about the crisis. This is done via a nationally representative survey of 3,452 Italian adults between March 18th 2020 and March 20th 2020.
    • First, most demographic groups, especially the elderly, believe in and follow health measures.
    • Second, even skeptics about the seriousness of the disease and of the government’s messaging, truthfulness, and abilities, still largely believe the messaging and report being in compliance with it.
    • Third, most people, especially the elderly and infirm, leave home only for reasons deemed “essential” (groceries, medication).
    • Fourth, the population is experiencing high levels of anxiety, especially vulnerable groups.
    BioRxiv Journal Article In vitro screening of a FDA approved chemical library reveals potential inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2 replication


    Drug General Research
    No April 05, 2020 FDA-approved drugs that can inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication
    • In this study, [the authors] screened the Prestwick Chemical Library composed of 1,520 approved drugs in an infected cell-based assay.
    • 90 compounds were identified.
    • The robustness of the screen was assessed by the identification of drugs, such as chloroquine derivatives and protease inhibitors, already in clinical trials.
    • The hits were sorted according to their chemical composition and their known therapeutic effect, then EC50 and CC50 were determined for a subset of compounds.
    • Several drugs, such as Azithromycine, Opipramol, Quinidine or Omeprazol present antiviral potency with EC50 between 2-20uM.
    The New York Times News Article Can an Old Vaccine Stop the New Coronavirus?


    Vaccine News Article
    No April 04, 2020 A tuberculosis vaccine invented a century ago is cheap and safe, and seems to bolster the body’s immune system.
    • The Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine is widely used in the developing world, where scientists have found that it does more than prevent tuberculosis (TB). The vaccine prevents infant deaths from a variety of causes, and sharply reduces the incidence of respiratory infections.
    • On [March 30], scientists in Melbourne, Australia, started administering the BCG vaccine or a placebo to thousands of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care workers — the first of several randomized controlled trials intended to test the vaccine’s effectiveness against the coronavirus.
    • A clinical trial of 1,000 health care workers began [on March 24] in the Netherlands, said Dr. Mihai G. Netea, an infectious disease specialist at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen.
    • An epidemiological study published on March 28 shows the correlation between universal BCG vaccination policy and reduced morbidity and mortality for COVID-19.
    VetRecord Journal Article Can companion animals become infected with Covid-19?


    General Research
    Yes April 04, 2020 Pets and COVID-19
    • Following previous reports of COVID-19 infection in two dogs in Hong Kong earlier in February and March.
    • Serological tests initially came back negative (even though the RT-PCR test was positive).
    • Further serological tests were reported positive in late March (antibodies can take 14 days or more before they can be detected which is why they were not initially identified).
    • This latest report of seroconversion means the dog created antibodies against the virus, suggesting that the weak infection would have caused an immune response from the dog and further supports a true infection caused by human-to-animal transmission.
    • No virus was isolated during culture testing, implying an inability of the virus to grow in an ideal medium.
    • The consensus remains at this time that there is no evidence that infected pets are a source of infection for people or other pets.
    FEBSLetters Journal Article/Interview Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: filtering out fact from fiction in the infodemic Q&A with virologist Prof. Urs Greber


    Journal/News Article
    Yes April 04, 2020 COVID-19 - Facts and Fiction
    • The article aims to answer some common questions and misconceptions regarding SARS-CoV-2, including virus origin, why SARS-CoV-2 is more infectious than other coronaviruses, stability of the virus on different surfaces and more!
    Journal of Sleep Research Journal Article Dealing with sleep problems during home confinement due to the COVID-19 outbreak: practical recommendations from a task force of the European CBT-I Academy


    General Research
    Yes April 04, 2020 Improving Sleep While Quarantined
    • During this global confinement most individuals are exposed to an unprecedented stressful situation of unknown duration. This may have significant effects on sleep.
    • The paper addresses possible consequences of this home confinement situation on sleep, and gives practical advice on how to handle sleep problems (see below).
    • Try to keep a regular nighttime and wake up time schedule: always get up at more or less the same time, bring some structure to the day, in particular for children.
    • Limit the amount of time you are exposed to news about the COVID-19.
    • Schedule brief (e.g. 15 minute) times during the day to stress and reflect upon the situation: write thoughts down, talk about stress, etc.
    • Choose familiar relaxing activities before bed- or naptime: reading a book, yoga, etc.
    Antiviral Research Journal Article The FDA-approved Drug Ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro


    Drug General Research
    Yes April 03, 2020 FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in cells
    • Researchers at Monash University in collaboration with the Royal Melbourne Hospital showed that ivermectin, an FDA-approved anti-parasitic drug, inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cell cultures.
    • A single treatment was able to effect a ~5000-fold reduction in virus at 48h in cell cultures.
    • Ivermectin is widely available, due to its inclusion on the WHO model list of essential medicines.
    Flinders University, South Australia Press Release Flinders targets COVID-19 vaccine


    Vaccine
    No April 03, 2020 Closing in on a COVID-19 vaccine
    • Researchers at Flinders University in collaboration with Oracle Cloud and VVaxine Pty Ltd are testing a vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2.
    • “The vaccine has progressed into animal testing in the US and, once we confirm it is safe and effective, will then be advanced into human trials,” says Professor Petrovsky – stressing expectations shouldn’t be elevated until all testing is completed.
    • “We used computer models of the spike protein and its human receptor, ACE2, to identify how the virus was infecting human cells, and then were able to design a vaccine to block this process,” Professor Petrovsky says.
    Biospace News Article FDA Approves 1st COVID-19 Antibody Test


    Tests News Article
    No April 03, 2020 Cellex Inc. has antibody test approved by the FDA
    • Cellex Inc. developed an antibody test to determine if a person was exposed to the virus, had COVID-19 and recovered.
    • Part of the reason these antibody tests would be valuable is it can provide guidance on people potentially returning to work and continuing quarantine.
    • "Cellex’s labeling notes that test results from this serology test should not be used as the sole basis for diagnosis and can only aid in the diagnosis of patients in conjunction with a medical review of symptoms and results of other laboratory tests," the FDA wrote.
    • Results are ready between 15-20 minutes.
    Nature Medicine Journal Article Respiratory virus shedding in exhaled breath and efficacy of face masks


    General Research
    Yes April 03, 2020 Can surgical face masks prevent virus transmission?
    • [The authors'] results indicate that aerosol transmission is a potential mode of transmission for coronaviruses as well as influenza viruses and rhinoviruses.
    • The findings indicate that surgical masks can efficaciously reduce the emission of influenza virus particles into the environment in respiratory droplets, but not in aerosols.
    • The study also demonstrated the efficacy of surgical masks to reduce coronavirus detection and viral copies in large respiratory droplets and in aerosols.
    • The major limitation of our study was the large proportion of participants with undetectable viral shedding in exhaled breath for each of the viruses studied.
    Cell Journal Article Inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 infections in engineered human tissues using clinical-grade soluble human ACE2


    Drug General Research
    Yes April 02, 2020 Using genetic engineering to block SARS-CoV-2 infections
    • Using a genetically modified variant of ACE2, called human recombinant soluble ACE2(hrsACE2), the researchers wanted to verify whether the virus could be stopped from infecting the cells by tricking the virus into attaching itself to this decoy protein as opposed to ACE2.
    • Using hrsACE2 reduced viral growth of SARS-CoV-2 by a factor of 1,000 to 5,000 in cell cultures.
    • Apeiron Biologics is en route to conduct a clinical study in China using hrsACE2.
    Novartis Press Release Novartis announces plan to initiate clinical study of Jakavi® in severe COVID-19 patients and establish international compassionate use program


    Drug Press Release
    No April 02, 2020 Jakavi - tackling the cytokine storm
    • Cytokine storm is a type of severe immune overreaction that can result from coronavirus infection and may contribute to respiratory compromise in patients with COVID-19.
    • Pre-clinical and preliminary clinical evidence suggests Jakavi, a well-established JAK inhibitor, could reduce the number of patients requiring intensive care and mechanical ventilation.
    • Novartis to establish compassionate use program for COVID-19 patient access and undertake steps to ensure uninterrupted supply of Jakavi for currently licensed indications.
    • Jakavi will be tested in Phase 3 clinical trials for the treatment of cytokine storm.
    Nutrients Journal Article Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths


    General Research
    Yes April 02, 2020 Can Vitamin D influence COVID-19 infections and deaths?
    • The COVID-19 outbreak occurred in winter, a time when 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are lowest and the number of cases in the Southern Hemisphere near the end of summer are low.
    • Vitamin D deficiency has been found to contribute to acute respiratory distress syndrome.
    • Case-fatality rates increase with age and with chronic disease comorbidity, both of which are associated with lower 25(OH)D concentration.
    • To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d.
    • Randomized controlled trials and large population studies should be conducted to evaluate these recommendations.
    EBioMedicine - The Lancet Journal Article Microneedle array delivered recombinant coronavirus vaccines: Immunogenicity and rapid translational development


    Vaccine
    Yes April 01, 2020 PittCoVacc - Pittsburgh Coronavirus Vaccine
    • This vaccine targets the spike protein part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
    • The authors used microneedle arrays (MNAs) to deliver the vaccine to mice. These MNAs are entirely made of sugars and viral protein pieces and they get applied like a patch on the skin where they dissolve.
    • PittCoVacc generated a surge of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 within two weeks of the MNA application in mice.
    • PittCoVacc maintains its potency even after being thoroughly sterilized with gamma radiation - a paramount step toward ensuring that the vaccine is safe for usage in humans.
    • The authors of the study expect that Phase I clinical trials will start within the next few months. The vaccine could reach the market within 1 year.
    Drug Target Review News Article Nafamostat inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection, preventing COVID-19 transmission


    Drug News Article
    No March 31, 2020 Nafamostat - a game changer?
    • Nafamostat (brand name: Fusan) is a short-acting anticoagulant.
    • According to University of Tokyo researchers, Nafamostat can prevent the fusion of the envelope of the virus with the host cell surface proteins, the first step in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
    • Nafamostat can be used at one tenth of the concentration required by Camostat mesylate (Foypan), which was recently identified by a German group as an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
    • Nafamostat is administered intravenously.
    • The University of Tokyo plans to launch clinical trials in April 2020 evaluating the effectiveness of Nafamostat and Camostat for treating COVID-19.
    Annals of Internal Medicine Journal Article Use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and Chloroquine (CQ) During the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Every Clinician Should Know


    General Research
    Yes March 31, 2020 HCQ and CQ - antimalarial drugs
    • Data to support the use of HCQ and CQ for COVID-19 are limited and inconclusive.
    • Antimalarial drugs can cause ventricular arrhythmias, QT prolongation, and other cardiac toxicity.
    • 10 well-performed randomized trials are underway to establish whether antimalarials have any effect on COVID-19.
    • [Clinicians] should avoid misuse of HCQ and CQ for the prophylaxis of COVID-19, because there are absolutely no data to support this.
    Imperial College London Status Report Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 11 European countries


    General Research
    No March 30, 2020 How effective have been the drastic non-pharmaceutical measures taken by European countries?
    • Statistical modeling was used to infer the impact of these interventions across 11 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
    • Current interventions (such as lockdowns, social distancing etc.) remaining in place to at least the end of March will have averted 59,000 deaths up to 31 March [95% credible interval 21,000-120,000]. Many more deaths will be averted through ensuring that interventions remain in place until transmission drops to low levels.
    • It is also estimated that across all 11 countries between 7 and 43 million individuals have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 up to 28th March, representing between 1.88% and 11.43% of the population.
    MedRxiv Journal Article Causal empirical estimates suggest COVID-19 transmission rates are highly seasonal


    General Research
    No March 30, 2020 Is COVID-19 seasonal?
    • It's been hypothesized that COVID-19 exhibits seasonality. Transmission patterns will most likely shift around the world in the coming months.
    • Statistical evidence shows that a 1°C increase in local temperature reduces transmission by 13%.
    • The authors project that changing temperatures between March 2020 and July 2020 will cause COVID-19 transmission to fall by 43% on average for Northern Hemisphere countries and to rise by 71% on average for Southern Hemisphere countries.
    • These patterns reverse as the boreal winter approaches, with seasonal temperatures in January 2021 increasing average COVID-19 transmission by 59% relative to March 2020 in northern countries and lowering transmission by 2% in southern countries.
    Clinical Trials Arena News Article Coronavirus treatment: Vaccines/drugs in the pipeline for COVID-19


    Drug News Article


    Vaccine
    No March 30, 2020 Vaccines currently under development for COVID-19
    Fierce Pharma News Article Sanofi, Regeneron hustle Kevzara into second pivotal coronavirus study


    Drug News Article
    No March 30, 2020 Kevzara - developed by Sanofi/Regeneron
    • Kevzara is a human monoclonal antibody acting against the interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor.
    • Approved in 2017 by the FDA for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
    • IL-6 has been shown to play a major role in patients developing viral pneumonia.
    • Phase 2/3 clinical trials have started in the US, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Canada and Russia.
    Nikkei Asia Review News Article [Japanese PM] Abe says Japan aims to approve Avigan as coronavirus treatment


    Drug News Article
    No March 28, 2020 Avigan (favipiravir) - developed by Toyama Chemical.
    • Japanese govt. to begin trial procedures aimed at winning approval for the anti-flu drug Avigan (favipiravir)
    • Favipiravir is a prodrug that is metabolized to its active form, favipiravir-ribofuranosyl-5'-triphosphate.
    • The mechanism of action is thought to be related to the selective inhibition of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.
    • UPDATE: April 1: Toyama commences Phase III clinical trials of Avigan for Covid-19 - More here.
    c&en News Article What can initial remdesivir data tell us about tackling COVID-19?


    Drug News Article
    No March 27, 2020 Remdesivir - developed by Gilead Sciences.
    • The adenosine mimic Remdesivir was discovered in 2014 as a treatment for the Ebola and Marburg viruses.
    • Remdesivir is thought to inhibit the virus' ability to replicate.
    • One drawback of Remdesivir is that it can only be given intravenously.
    • At the moment, five Phase 3 studies are testing the drug against COVID-19: 2 in China (moderate and severe cases), 1 in the US (anyone hospitalized with evidence of lung involvement) and 2 Gilead-led studies (moderate and severe cases).
    Journal of the American Medical Association Editorial Convalescent Plasma to Treat COVID-19: Possibilities and Challenges


    General Research
    No March 27, 2020 A closer look at how convalescent plasma can be used to treat COVID-19
    • 5 severely ill patients with COVID-19 were treated in Shenzhen Third People's Hospital, China, using plasma from recovered individuals.
    • The donor plasma had demonstrable IgG and IgM anti SARS-CoV2 antibodies and neutralized the virus in in vitro cultures.
    • Although patients continued to receive antiviral treatment, the use of convalescent plasma may have contributed to their recovery as they all showed improvement within approximately 1 week.
    • The results in this trial are compelling, however this investigation does have important limitations as this was not a randomized trial, there was no control group, and patients continued to be treated with anti-viral drugs.
    DrugBank White Paper COVID-19: Finding the Right Fit - Identifying Potential Treatments Using a Data-Driven Approach


    General Research


    Vaccine
    No March 26, 2020 Vaccines under development for COVID-19
    • Vaccine development requires a strong understanding of the virus’ properties, virulence and our body’s immune response. Work on the SARS-CoV-2 is primarily based on the previous SARS-CoV-1 and the MERS-CoV.
    • mRNA-1273, developed by Moderna Therapeutics, is an mRNA vaccine encoding a modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. This vaccine is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials to access the safety of the vaccine.
    • INO-4800, developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, is still in pre-clinical trials. It is a viral protein based vaccine.
    Journal of Medical Virology Journal Article Stability Issues of RT-PCR Testing of SARS-CoV-2 for Hospitalized Patients Clinically Diagnosed with COVID-19


    General Research
    Yes March 26, 2020 How accurate are RT-PCR tests in detecting COVID-19?
    • Potentially high false negative rate for RT-PCR testing in 610 hospitalized patients clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 in Wuhan.
    • Results from several tests on the same patients were variable at different points during the course of diagnosis and treatment.
    • In addition to emphasis on RT-PCR testing, clinical indicators such as CT images should also be used, not only for diagnosis but also for isolation, recovery/discharge and transferring of patients.
    • Results suggest an urgent need for standard of procedures of sampling from different anatomic sites, transportation, optimization RT-PCR, serology diagnosis/screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection, and distinct diagnosis from other respiratory diseases such as influenza infections as well.
    Medicine in Drug Discovery Journal Article Can early and high intravenous dose of vitamin C prevent and treat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)?


    General Research
    Yes March 26, 2020 Oxidative stress in patients with COVID-19-related pneumonias
    • In a report of 29 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, 27 showed increased hsCRP, a marker of inflammation and oxidative stress.
    • Since the prevention and management of oxidative stress could be realized by large dose of antioxidants, this approach may be applicable to COVID-19 with intravenous high-dose Vitamin C (VC).
    • High-dose intravenous VC administration has been successfully used in the treatment of 50 moderate to severe COVID-19 patients in China.
    Journal of the American Medical Association Journal Article Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions - Potential Implications for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19


    General Research
    Yes March 26, 2020 The CDC recommends a 6-foot (2-m) separation - is it enough?
    • Given the turbulent puff cloud dynamic model, a separation of 1-2m may underestimate the distance, timescale, and persistence over which the cloud and its pathogenic payload travel.
    • Peak exhalation speeds can reach up to 33 to 100 feet per second (10-30 m/s), creating a cloud that can span approximately 23 to 27 feet (7-8 m). Currently used surgical and N95 masks are not tested for these potential characteristics of respiratory emissions.
    Wired News Article A South Korean Covid-19 Czar Has Some Advice for Trump


    News Article
    No March 26, 2020 “We need global cooperation,” says Min Pok-kee, who heads the response in the hard-hit city of Daegu [South Korea]. “Top government leaders don’t seem to get that yet."
    • "In Daegu, we had more than 10,000 members of Shincheonji [a Christian movement]. When we tested those who were symptomatic, 87.5% turned out to be positive. When we tested a sample of people who weren’t symptomatic, it was 74.4%. So we had to quarantine this group, and we did. We call this our “divine maneuver.” If we hadn’t done it from the very beginning, we’d be where the US is now, where Italy is now."
    • "Also, it’s an RNA virus, which means it tends to mutate—it’s very difficult to stop. That’s why I keep saying that it’s not enough for Korea to do a good job. If Korea stops it but Japan doesn’t, then an infected visitor can come in from Japan. This is a global virus. We need global cooperation. Top government leaders don’t seem to get that yet."
    Acta Paediatricae Journal Article Why is COVID-19 so mild in children?


    General Research
    Yes March 25, 2020 Potential hypotheses on why children suffer from mild COVID-19 symptoms
    • A general pattern has been reported from multiple countries and that is that children who test positive for COVID-19 experience a mild form of the disease.
    • Different immune system composition and functional responsiveness in children (even between young children, preschoolers and teenagers) – possible that children have a qualitatively different response to the virus compared to adults.
    • Simultaneous viruses in the mucosa of lungs and airways (common among children), could limit the SARS-CoV2 growth by direct virus to virus interaction or competition. This fits with data indicating a link between viral copies and severity.
    • Difference in expression of the receptor necessary for SARS-CoV2 binding and infection (ACE2).
    PMLive News Article FDA approves Roche’s Actemra COVID-19 trial


    Drug News Article
    No March 24, 2020 Actemra (tocilizumab) - developed by Roche
    • Actemra is a human monoclonal antibody acting against the interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor.
    • FDA has formally approved the Phase 3 trial of Actemra in severely ill COVID-19 patients, who have been hospitalised with pneumonia.
    • Already approved in China for the treatment of patients infected with COVID-19, who have developed serious lung damage and also have elevated levels of IL-6 in the blood.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Journal Article Time Kinetics of Viral Clearance and Resolution of Symptoms in Novel Coronavirus Infection


    General Research
    Yes March 23, 2020 Patients can be viral positive as long as 8 days after symptom resolution
    • Study performed on 16 patients treated in Beijing, China.
    • Half of the patients with COVID-19 were viral positive even after resolution of their symptoms (median 2.5 days, range 1 to 8 days).
    • Patients could be contagious for as long as 8 days after symptom resolution.
    • The study is limited by the number of patients as there have been limited cases outside the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak that has been successfully treated so far to be released from the hospital.
    Journal of Proteome Research Journal Article Identifying the intermediate host of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from bats to humans


    General Research
    Yes March 22, 2020 Bats - ? - Humans
    • The pangolin is the most likely intermediate host.
    • Further searching for other potential intermediate hosts should be continued.
    Open Forum Infectious Diseases Journal Article High-dose intravenous immunoglobulin as a therapeutic option for deteriorating patients with COVID-19


    Drug General Research
    Yes March 21, 2020
    • Immunoglobulin (IVIg) shows potential in treating patients with COVID-19
    • Three patients with severe COVID-19 who received high-dose intravenous IVIg have had satisfactory recovery.
    • Based on these observations, randomized studies of high-dose IVIg should be considered in deteriorating patients infected with COVID-19.
    The Lancet - Respiratory Medicine Journal Article Rational use of face masks in the COVID-19 pandemic


    General Research
    Yes March 20, 2020 Should everybody wear face masks to prevent COVID-19 transmission?
    • Universal face mask wearing should be considered if supplies permit.
    Science Journal Article Crystal structure of SARS-CoV-2 main protease provides a basis for design of improved α-ketoamide inhibitors


    General Research
    Yes March 20, 2020 Developing potent SARS-CoV-2 main protease inhibitors.
    • Crystal structure(2.2Å resolution) of SARS-CoV-2 main protease in complex with a covalent inhibitor was reported.
    • Inhalation was tolerated well and mice did not show any adverse effects, suggesting that this way, direct administration of the compound to the lungs would be possible.
    New England Journal of Medicine Journal Article A Trial of Lopinavir–Ritonavir in Adults Hospitalized with Severe Covid-19


    Drug General Research
    Yes March 18, 2020 Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) treatment - how effective is it?
    • In hospitalized adult patients with severe Covid-19, no benefit was observed with Kaletra treatment beyond standard care.
    • Future trials in patients with severe illness may help to confirm or exclude the possibility of a treatment benefit.
    • This trial has several limitations and the results must be interpreted with caution.
    Science Insider News Article COVID-19 - Video Breakdown


    News Article
    No March 18, 2020 What Coronavirus Looks Like, Day By Day
    Nature Medicine Journal Article The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2


    General Research
    Yes March 17, 2020 Did SARS-CoV-2 originate in nature or in a laboratory?
    • In the midst of the global COVID-19 public-health emergency, it is reasonable to wonder why the origins of the pandemic matter.
    • For example, if SARS-CoV-2 pre-adapted in another animal species, then there is the risk of future re-emergence events. In addition, identifying the closest viral relatives of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in animals will greatly assist studies of viral function.
    • The evidence [presented in the paper] shows that SARS-CoV-2 is not a purposefully manipulated virus.
    • The authors assess that the existence of all notable SARS-CoV-2 features in related coronaviruses in nature, they do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible.
    New England Journal of Medicine Journal Article Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1


    General Research
    Yes March 17, 2020 SARS-CoV-2 - where can we find it?
    • Viable in aerosols for 3 hours and more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on copper and cardboard.
    • Viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to these surfaces.
    • On copper, no viable virus was measured after 4 hours. On cardboard, no viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours.
    ACS Chemical Neuroscience Journal Article Evidence of the COVID-19 Virus Targeting the Central Nervous System


    General Research
    Yes March 03, 2020 Does COVID-19 attack the Central Nervous System?
    • Although the cerebral damage may complicate a COVID-19 infection, it appears that it is the dysregulation of homeostasis caused by widespread organ damage that proves fatal in COVID-19 patients.
    • Detailed neurological investigation, and attempts to isolate SARS-CoV-2 from the endothelium of cerebral microcirculation, cerebrospinal fluid, glial cells, and neuronal tissue can clarify the role played by this novel COVID-19 in the ongoing mortalities.
    The Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal Article An interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time


    General Research
    Yes February 19, 2020 Tracking COVID-19 in real time across the world
    • The dashboard, first shared publicly on Jan 22, illustrates the location and number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, and recoveries for all affected countries.
    • Developed to provide researchers, public health authorities, and the general public with a user-friendly tool to track the outbreak as it unfolds.
    The Lancet Journal Article Baricitinib as potential treatment for 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease


    Drug General Research
    Yes February 15, 2020 Baricitinib - a potential treatment against COVID-19
    • The authors suggest Baricitinib could be trialled, using an appropriate patient population with COVID-19 acute respiratory disease, to reduce both the viral entry and the inflammation in patients.
    Cell Research Journal Article Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro


    Drug General Research
    Yes February 04, 2020 Remdesivir and chloroquine as potential COVID-19 treatments.
    • Highly effective in the control of COVID-19 infection in vitro.
    • Since these compounds have been used in human patients with a safety track record and shown to be effective against various ailments, they should be assessed in human patients suffering from the novel coronavirus disease.

    A major thank you to everyone who contributed to assembling the resources in Table 1

  • Sharon Pinus, PhD Candidate in the Chemistry department at McGill University
  • Anne Labarre, PhD Candidate in the Chemistry department at McGill University
  • Caitlin Miron, Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Chemistry department at McGill University
  • Nicolas Moitessier, Professor in the Chemistry department at McGill University
  • Patrick Outhwaite, PhD Candidate in the English department at McGill University
  • Gavin Currie, PhD Candidate in the English department at McGill University
  • Laurene Petitjean, PhD Candidate in the Chemistry department at Yale University
  • Jennifer Mancini
  • Goksenin Cakir, MS in Applied Computer Science, The University of Gottingen

  • If you have any questions, feedback or would like to contribute, please email Mihai: mihai.buraipatrascu@mail.mcgill.ca

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