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Ollencio D’Souza, , Fowzia Akhter, Sam Khadivizand, Erfan Memar
Algorithms for Intelligent Systems pp 241-249; doi:10.1007/978-981-16-3368-3_23

Abstract:
The operational management of a smart city environment using IoT data is a challenge. Resource descriptor framework (RDF) techniques interpret relationships in activity profiles to generate better situationally aware operational information. The data analysis uses a system process approach, to create an effective smart city monitoring and management system. The two-year project uses a LoRaWAN network of sensor nodes across a 127-ha campus, using customised sensors, producing a daily operational record of three important criteria: (a) human traffic count, (b) temperature and (c) humidity, at each of the seventy-one carefully selected locations. An ontology-based semantic framework is used to describe, in process-driven operational terms, campus-related activity, including before, during and in the waning days of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper shows how the technology is used on the Macquarie University Campus and environs, process optimization methods tried, predictive techniques developed to improve operational effectiveness in an evolving smart city environment.
, Maritza García Espinosa
International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics; doi:10.1002/ijgo.13840

Abstract:
Objective To determine the differences in the neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and the platelet/lymphocyte ratio (PLR) in pregnant women with and without COVID-19. Methods Observational, cross-sectional, retrospective, comparative, open, controlled study done from January to April 2021 at the UMAE Hospital de Gineco Obstetricia “Luis Castelazo Ayala” Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. Mexico City, Mexico: Patients were divided into those with a negative test for COVID-19 and those with a positive test, with the latter then being divided according to disease severity into mild, moderate, and severe groups. In all the NLR and PLR were calculated. Symptoms, vital signs, and oxygen saturation were documented. Statistical analysis: Central tendency and dispersion measures, Kruskal-Wallis test, Mann-Whitney U test, and χ2 test were used. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, and odds ratio (OR) were calculated. Results Seventy-seven patients were included, 24 without COVID-19 and 53 with COVID-19. There were 33, 10, and 10 patients in the mild, moderate, and severe disease groups, respectively. There was no difference in NLR between the groups and the PLR was significantly higher in the severe disease group. With a 5.1 NLR cutoff point, between normal and those with severe disease, the sensitivity was 70% and specificity 63%, whilst with a 221 PLR cutoff point, the sensitivity was 90% and the specificity 83% (OR 45, 95% CI 4.40-461.7) Conclusion PLR more than NLR was useful to detect pregnant patients with COVID-19 with severe disease.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Atmosphere, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/atmos12080975

Abstract:
Mosses are one of the best bioindicators in the assessment of atmospheric aerosol pollution by heavy metals. Studies using mosses allow both short- and long-term air quality monitoring. The increasing contamination of the environment (including air) is causing a search for new, cheap and effective methods of monitoring its condition. Once such method is the use of mosses in active biomonitoring. The aim of the study was to assess the atmospheric aerosol pollution with selected heavy metals (Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Hg and Pb) from the smoke of fireworks used during New Year’s Eve in the years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. In studies a biomonitoring moss-bag method with moss Pleurozium schreberi (Willd. ex Brid.) Mitt. genus Pleurozium was used. The research was conducted in the town Prószków (5 km in south direction from Opole, opolskie voivodship, Poland). The moss was exposed 14 days before 31 December (from 17 to 30 of December), on New Year’s Eve (31 December and 1 January) and 2 weeks after the New Year (from 2–15 January). Higher concentrations of analysed elements were determined in samples exposed during New Year’s Eve. Increases in concentrations were demonstrated by analysis of the Relative Accumulation Factor (RAF). The results indicate that the use of fireworks during New Year’s Eve causes an increase in air pollution with heavy metals. In addition, it was shown that the COVID-19 induced restrictions during New Year’s Eve 2020 resulted in a reduction of heavy metal content in moss samples and thus in lower atmospheric aerosol pollution with these analytes. The study confirmed moss usefulness in monitoring of atmospheric aerosol pollution from point sources.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
BioMed, Volume 1, pp 11-40; doi:10.3390/biomed1010002

Abstract:
The tremendously rising numbers of aged populations are associated with a heightened risk for motor and functional declines. Sarcopenia is an active age-related process that involves progressive losses of skeletal muscle mass, muscle strength, and muscle function. Muscle failure is a major cause of frailty, disability, falls, hospitalization, dependency, institutionalization, and low quality of life in older seniors. Therefore, sarcopenia considerably heightens the annual cost of care worldwide. This narrative review elaborates on sarcopenia as a deleterious condition in old age while spotting the light on its association with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It discusses its pathophysiology and the most possible options for preventing and treating sarcopenia. The literature shows that the dynamic of sarcopenia is complex, involving multifaceted physiological alterations relevant to aging, unhealthy behaviors (e.g., undernutrition or inadequate dietary intake and physical inactivity/immobility or sedentary lifestyle), and multiple pathogenic conditions such as metabolic, inflammatory, and endocrinal disorders. Frail individuals express nutritional deficiencies, immune deficit, oxidative stress, metabolic alterations, gut microbial alterations, neurological insult, etc. Such physiological dysfunctions are closely linked to increased vulnerability to COVID-19 among older adults and people with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disorders, and obesity. Available studies report higher occurrence of severe COVID-19 and COVID-19-related complications (ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, and in-hospital mortality) among frail compared with non-frail and prefrail individuals. Effective pharmacological treatments of sarcopenia are not currently available. However, physical activity and nutritional interventions (e.g., fast digestive proteins, vitamin D, and natural products such as bee products) may prevent the development of sarcopenia in early stages of the disease or limit disease progress. Such interventions may also lower vulnerability to COVID-19.
Gil-Jardiné Cédric, Chenais Gabrielle, Pradeau Catherine, Tentillier Eric, Revel Phillipe, Combes Xavier, Galinski Michel, Tellier Eric,
Internal and Emergency Medicine pp 1-6; doi:10.1007/s11739-021-02818-5

Abstract:
During periods such as the COVID-19 crisis, there is a need for responsive public health surveillance indicators related to the epidemic. To determine the performance of keyword-search algorithm in call reports to emergency medical communication centers (EMCC) to describe trends in symptoms during the COVID-19 crisis. We retrospectively retrieved all free text call reports from the EMCC of the Gironde department (SAMU 33), France, between 2005 and 2020 and classified them with a simple keyword-based algorithm to identify symptoms relevant to COVID-19. A validation was performed using a sample of manually coded call reports. The six selected symptoms were fever, cough, muscle soreness, dyspnea, ageusia and anosmia. We retrieved 38,08,243 call reports from January 2005 to October 2020. A total of 8539 reports were manually coded for validation and Cohen’s kappa statistics ranged from 75 (keyword anosmia) to 59% (keyword dyspnea). There was an unprecedented peak in the number of daily calls mentioning fever, cough, muscle soreness, anosmia, ageusia, and dyspnea during the COVID-19 epidemic, compared to the past 15 years. Calls mentioning cough, fever and muscle soreness began to increase from February 21, 2020. The number of daily calls reporting cough reached 208 on March 3, 2020, a level higher than any in the previous 15 years, and peaked on March 15, 2020, 2 days before lockdown. Calls referring to dyspnea, anosmia and ageusia peaked 12 days later and were concomitant with the daily number of emergency room admissions. Trends in symptoms cited in calls to EMCC during the COVID-19 crisis provide insights into the natural history of COVID-19. The content of calls to EMCC is an efficient epidemiological surveillance data source and should be integrated into the national surveillance system.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9080832

Abstract:
In December 2020, the first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine was authorized in the European Union. This study aimed to assess the changes in attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine and the willingness to get vaccinated among adults in Poland between January and April 2021. Secondary data analysis was carried out using data obtained from nationally representative cross-sectional surveys (four consecutive waves: January 2021, n = 1150; February 2021, n = 1179; March 2021, n = 1154; April 2021, n = 1131) carried out by the Public Opinion Research Center. About 31.3% of individuals declared a lack of willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 regardless of the study wave. Significant changes (p< 0.001) were observed by gender and age. The highest percentage of respondents who declared a lack of willingness to vaccinate against COVID-19 was observed in the youngest age group (18–34 years), 48.5% among males and 45.6% among females. Among individuals over 65 years of age, males significantly more often declared their willingness to be vaccinated than females (p< 0.001). The main argument against the COVID-19 vaccine was concern about the potential side effects. Differences in attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccine in respect of gender and age indicate the need to implement personalized communications to encourage different social groups to vaccinate against COVID-19.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Medicina, Volume 57; doi:10.3390/medicina57080775

Abstract:
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, causes acute respiratory disease (coronavirus disease 2019; COVID-19). However, the involvement of other mechanisms is also possible, and neurological complications are being diagnosed more frequently. Here, we would like to present a case of a Polish patient with Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS), after a documented history of COVID-19.: A 50-year-old man, 18 days after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms, had progressive quadriparesis preceded by 1-day sensory disturbances. Based on the clinical picture, the results of diagnostic work-up including a nerve conduction study (ENG) that revealed a demyelinating and axonal sensorimotor polyneuropathy, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis that showed albumin–cytological dissociation, an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy was confirmed, consistent with GBS. Upon a therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE), the patient’s condition improved. The presented case of GBS in a patient after mild COVID-19 is the first case in Poland that has supplemented those already described in the global literature. Attention should be drawn to the possibility of GBS occurring after SARS-CoV-2 infection, even when it has a mild course.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/jcm10153349

Abstract:
Since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, due to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, accumulating evidence indicates that SARS-CoV-2 infection may be associated with various neurological manifestations, including acute cerebrovascular events (i.e., stroke and cerebral venous thrombosis). These events can occur prior to, during and even after the onset of COVID-19’s general symptoms. Although the mechanisms underlying the cerebrovascular complications in patients with COVID-19 are yet to be fully elucidated, the hypercoagulability state, inflammation and altered angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) signaling in association with SARS-CoV-2 may play key roles. ACE-2 plays a critical role in preserving heart and brain homeostasis. In this review, we discuss the current state of knowledge of the possible mechanisms underlying the acute cerebrovascular events in patients with COVID-19, and we review the current epidemiological studies and case reports of neurovascular complications in association with SARS-CoV-2, as well as the relevant therapeutic approaches that have been considered worldwide. As the number of published COVID-19 cases with cerebrovascular events is growing, prospective studies would help gather more valuable insights into the pathophysiology of cerebrovascular events, effective therapies, and the factors predicting poor functional outcomes related to such events in COVID-19 patients.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/jcm10153355

Abstract:
Since all clinical trials conducted during the development of anti-COVID-19 vaccines have adopted among the exclusion criteria the presence of immunodepression or immunomodulating therapy, to date, the effects of vaccination against the new coronavirus 2 in people under such conditions have yet to be clearly defined. The primary objective of the study is to assess the safety of treatment with biotechnological drugs in patients suffering from moderate–severe psoriasis and subjected to the prophylactic vaccination against SARS-Cov-2. Additionally, the secondary objective of the research is to investigate the existence of a possible impact of anti-COVID-19 vaccination on the natural chronic-relapsing course and the severity of the psoriatic disease. The study included 436 patients with moderate–severe psoriasis, both male and female, in treatment with biologics. The data were collected using the direct interview method. A reduction of 74.13% of average Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI )compared to baseline (T0) was found in all subjects; this does not differ significantly from the group that underwent vaccination (73.4%). Moreover; at the end of the study, neither mild nor severe adverse events (ADR) were observed among them. In conclusion, biotechnological drugs used in the management of patients with moderate–severe psoriasis demonstrate a high safety profile also in subjects immunized against SARS-Cov-2.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Brain Sciences, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/brainsci11081001

Abstract:
Despite the high number of studies on mental health among healthcare workers, only a few have attempted to assess the mental health of people with chronic diseases during the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the symptoms of insomnia, anxiety, and depression among people with chronic diseases working in healthcare and in other professions. The study participants were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of 441 healthcare workers, and the second consisted of 572 non-healthcare professionals. Correlation analysis showed a strong correlation between autoimmune diseases and an increase in GAD-7 scale, ISI score, and PHQ-9 scale. Therefore, only autoimmune diseases were included for further analyses as a predictor of insomnia, depression, and anxiety. After adjusting the results for gender, age, smoking, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and profession, the group with autoimmune diseases showed a more than a 2-fold increase in the risk of anxiety symptoms, a more than 2.5-fold increase in the risk of depressive symptoms, and a 4-fold increase in the risk of insomnia symptoms. This study shows that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the incidence of insomnia, anxiety disorders, and depressive disorders may depend on the pre-existent health status of an individual rather than on their profession.
Sarah B. Swetland, Ava N. Rothrock, Halle Andris, Bennett Davis, Linh Nguyen, Phil Davis,
World Medical & Health Policy; doi:10.1002/wmh3.468

Abstract:
This study was performed to analyze the accuracy of health-related information on Twitter during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Authors queried Twitter on three dates for information regarding COVID-19 and five terms (cure, emergency or emergency room, prevent or prevention, treat or treatments, vitamins or supplements) assessing the first 25 results with health-related information. Tweets were authoritative if written by governments, hospitals, or physicians. Two physicians assessed each tweet for accuracy. Metrics were compared between accurate and inaccurate tweets using χ2 analysis and Mann–Whitney U. A total of 25.4% of tweets were inaccurate. Accurate tweets were more likely written by Twitter authenticated authors (49.8% vs. 20.9%, 28.9% difference, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 17.7–38.2) with accurate tweet authors having more followers (19,491 vs. 7346; 3446 difference, 95% CI: 234–14,054) versus inaccurate tweet authors. Likes, retweets, tweet length, botometer scores, writing grade level, and rank order did not differ between accurate and inaccurate tweets. We found 1/4 of health-related COVID-19 tweets inaccurate indicating that the public should not rely on COVID-19 health information written on Twitter. Ideally, improved government regulatory authority, public/private industry oversight, independent fact-checking, and artificial intelligence algorithms are needed to ensure inaccurate information on Twitter is removed.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158035

Abstract:
Background: Tools that assess all three components of 24 h movement guidelines (sleep, physical activity, and screen use) are scarce. Our objective was to use a newly developed Screen Time and Activity Recall (STAR-24) to demonstrate how this tool could be used to illustrate differences in time-use across the day between two independent samples of male adolescents collected before and during the COVID-19 lockdown. Methods: Adolescent boys aged 15–18 years (n = 109) each completed the STAR-24 twice, n = 74 before lockdown and n = 35 during lockdown. Results: During lockdown more than 50% of the sample reported gaming between 10 am and 12 noon, transport was not reported as an activity, and activities of daily living spiked at mealtimes. Gaming and screen time were more prevalent in weekends than weekdays, with the highest prevalence of weekday screen use (before lockdown) occurring between 8 and 9 pm. Differences in estimates of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity prior to and during lockdown (mean difference (95% CI); 21 (−9 to 51) min) and sleep (0.5 (−0.2 to 1.2) h) were small. Total and recreational screen time were higher during lockdown (2 h (0.7 to 3.3 h) and 48 min (−36 to 132 min), respectively). Conclusions: The STAR-24 holds promise as a single tool that assesses compliance with 24 h movement guidelines. This tool also allows clear illustration of how adolescent boys are using their time (instead of only providing summary measures), providing richer data to inform public health initiatives.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/jcm10153361

Abstract:
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), currently one of the immense burdens for global healthcare, is often characterized by rapid progression and the occurrence of symptoms particularly affecting the respiratory system. Continuous refinement of treatment protocols improves prognosis; however, COVID-19 survivors are often left with the symptomatic burden of dyspnea and fatigue. Therefore, it is necessary to continue comprehensive treatment including pulmonary rehabilitation. This study aimed to review the available literature on pulmonary rehabilitation in patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The pulmonary rehabilitation programs implemented various forms, i.e., aerobic exercise, breathing exercises, effective cough exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, and respiratory muscle training. Based on the literature review, it was found that pulmonary rehabilitation programs result in an improvement of respiratory function, reduction of fatigue and dyspnea, and improvement in exercise endurance and quality of life after completing both short-term and long-term programs, but depression and anxiety problems did not improve. Pulmonary rehabilitation combined with psychological therapy is crucial for COVID-19 survivors and plays a substantial role in patients’ recovery.
Gabor Cserep, David Morrow, Karen Latchford, Rachael Jesset, Agnes Dosa,
Clinical and Experimental Nephrology pp 1-5; doi:10.1007/s10157-021-02118-4

Abstract:
In this single-centre retrospective observational study, the 8-week safety and the efficiency of a single dose of BNT162b2 vaccine was studied in 83 HD patients. All clinically stable adult ESRD patients on chronic HD for at least 4 weeks were screened for participation in the study. Exclusion criteria for enrollment in the study included a medical history of COVID-19 infection within the last 12 weeks or delivery of both vaccine doses less than 8 weeks apart from each other. The same patients during the 8-week period that preceded the vaccination served as controls of themselves. The vaccine was administered intramuscularly in the deltoid muscle, on a dialysis day, at least 30 min either pre- or post-dialysis. The primary end-point of the study was severe COVID-19 infection, and/or death due to COVID-19 pneumonitis. Furthermore, all vaccinated patients were scrutinized for any local or systemic reactions within the first 7 days post-vaccination. Amongst 113 adult HD patients in our Unit, in total 83 patients had the first 30 μg dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine and were considered eligible to be included in the study. The 8-week survival rate was 91% for the controls and 100% for the vaccine group. No life-threatening allergic reaction or other side-effect was observed post-vaccination. The BNT162b2 vaccine can be safely used in HD patients and seems to offer significant protection against the infection even after the first vaccine dose.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Journal of Clinical Medicine, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/jcm10153363

Abstract:
Introduction: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has recently dominated scientific literature. Incomplete understanding and a lack of data concerning the pathophysiology, epidemiology, and optimal treatment of the disease has resulted in conflicting recommendations. Adherence to existing guidelines and actual treatment strategies have thus far not been studied systematically. We hypothesized that capturing the variance in care would lead to the discovery of aspects that need further research and—in case of proven benefits of interventions not being performed—better communication to care providers. Methods: This article is based on a quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional mixed-methods online survey among intensive-care physicians in Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic by the CEOsys (COVID-19 Evidence Ecosystem) network, endorsed by the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI) conducted from December 3 to 31 December 2020. Results: We identified several areas of care with an especially high variance in treatment among hospitals in Germany. Crucially, 51.5% of the participating ICUs (n = 205) reported using intubation as a last resort for respiratory failure in COVID-19 patients, while 21.8% used intubation early after admission. Furthermore, 11.5% considered extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) in awake patients. Finally, 72.3% of respondents used the ARDS-network-table to titrate positive end-expiratory-pressure (PEEP) levels, with 36.9% choosing the low-PEEP table and 41.8% the high-PEEP table. Conclusions: We found that significant differences exist between reported treatment strategies and that adherence to published guidelines is variable. We describe necessary steps for future research based on our results highlighting significant clinical variability in care.
, Stephanie Ostir, Jaycee Blair, Emily Yenser, Maryann Chapin, Sydney Lovett, Nicole Pezzino
International Journal of Avian & Wildlife Biology; doi:10.1002/jac5.1507

Abstract:
Introduction The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed healthcare, promoting a shift to remote services. Managing chronic conditions, like hypertension, became increasingly difficult due to limited access to care. During these unprecedented times, two community pharmacies collaborated with a pharmacy school to develop a new remote program to encourage patient management of a chronic disease state. Objectives The primary objective was to describe patient perceptions of participating in a student-led, remote hypertension education program. The secondary objective was to gain insight on perceptions of the program's impact on current lifestyle. Methods Second- and third-year pharmacy students worked with faculty preceptors to develop and remotely deliver an eight-week curriculum. During each call, students educated on a topic and set S.M.A.R.T. (Specific. Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals. After completing the program, participants were interviewed regarding their experience. This study was a qualitative design using semi-structured interviews. Participants in the program were interviewed by trained investigators. All interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically coded to address study outcomes. Results A total of 12 participant interviews were conducted with all participants 50 years of age or older and a majority having a diagnosis of hypertension for greater than 20 years. From the interviews, six dominant themes were identified. Themes were: (1) students were knowledgeable, professional, and engaged; (2) participants felt comfortable communicating with the students and developed a positive relationship; (3) participants expressed having a positive impact on the students’ education; (4) the program was organized; (5) participants reported positive lifestyle changes or reinforced habits that they plan to continue, and (6) the remote nature of the program was convenient, but face-to-face interaction was missed. Conclusion Participants had an overwhelmingly positive experience completing the program. Utilizing students for development and implementation allowed the pharmacies to offer an additional clinical service and was a factor that impacted patient engagement and participation.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9080835

Abstract:
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused largescale morbidity and mortality and a tremendous burden on the healthcare system. Healthcare workers (HCWs) require adequate protection to avoid onward transmission and minimize burden on the healthcare system. Moreover, HCWs can also influence the general public into accepting the COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, determining COVID-19 vaccine intention among HCWs is of paramount importance to plan tailor-made public health strategies to maximize vaccine coverage. A structured questionnaire was administered in February and March 2021 among HCWs in Saudi Arabia using convenience sampling, proceeding the launch of the vaccination campaign. HCWs from all administrative regions of Saudi Arabia were included in the study. In total, 674 out of 1124 HCWs responded and completed the survey (response rate 59.9%). About 65 percent of the HCWs intended to get vaccinated. The intention to vaccinate was significantly higher among HCWs 50 years of age or older, Saudi nationals and those who followed the updates about COVID-19 vaccines (p< 0.05). The high percentage (26 percent) of those who were undecided in getting vaccinated is a positive sign. As the vaccination campaign gathers pace, the attitude is expected to change over time. Emphasis should be on planning healthcare strategies to convince the undecided HCWs into accepting the vaccine in order to achieve the coverage required to achieve herd immunity.
Journal of Risk and Financial Management, Volume 14; doi:10.3390/jrfm14080347

Abstract:
In the marketing mix, promotion is mentioned as using the communication channels available to present and market the product or service at hand. In recent years, social media has risen as an influential marketing communication channel in digital space. Apart from end-to-end direct messengers and video communication in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the social media channel Clubhouse offers an audio-only experience. The current research lacks analysis of the potential influence of the hyped social network. Due to the novelty of the channel and the absence of text messages as well as visual stimuli, questions regarding the impact that usage of this social media channel might have on crowdfunding, a means of rising popularity in alternative financing, have arisen. The study builds upon the media richness theory of Daft and Lengel as well as the channel expansion theory of Carlson and Zmud. Besides literature research, explorative expert interview analyses were applied to answer the research question at hand. The main findings include different approaches to foster the opportunities of Clubhouse for marketing crowdfunding campaigns in line with insights about the user group of Clubhouse as well as development options for the platform.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13081491

Abstract:
Here, we report on the increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 lineage A.27 in Germany during the first months of 2021. Genomic surveillance identified 710 A.27 genomes in Germany as of 2 May 2021, with a vast majority identified in laboratories from a single German state (Baden-Wuerttemberg, n = 572; 80.5%). Baden-Wuerttemberg is located near the border with France, from where most A.27 sequences were entered into public databases until May 2021. The first appearance of this lineage based on sequencing in a laboratory in Baden-Wuerttemberg can be dated to early January ’21. From then on, the relative abundance of A.27 increased until the end of February but has since declined—meanwhile, the abundance of B.1.1.7 increased in the region. The A.27 lineage shows a mutational pattern typical of VOIs/VOCs, including an accumulation of amino acid substitutions in the Spike glycoprotein. Among those, L18F, L452R and N501Y are located in the epitope regions of the N-terminal- (NTD) or receptor binding domain (RBD) and have been suggested to result in immune escape and higher transmissibility. In addition, A.27 does not show the D614G mutation typical for all VOIs/VOCs from the B lineage. Overall, A.27 should continue to be monitored nationally and internationally, even though the observed trend in Germany was initially displaced by B.1.1.7 (Alpha), while now B.1.617.2 (Delta) is on the rise.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Applied Sciences, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/app11157004

Abstract:
The novel SaRS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for the dangerous pneumonia-type disease, COVID-19, has undoubtedly changed the world by killing at least 3,900,000 people as of June 2021 and compromising the health of millions across the globe. Though the vaccination process has started, in developing countries such as India, the process has not been fully developed. Thereby, a diagnosis of COVID-19 can restrict its spreading and level the pestilence curve. As the quickest indicative choice, a computerized identification framework ought to be carried out to hinder COVID-19 from spreading more. Meanwhile, Computed Tomography (CT) imaging reveals that the attributes of these images for COVID-19 infected patients vary from healthy patients with or without other respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia. This study aims to establish an effective COVID-19 prediction model through chest CT images using efficient transfer learning (TL) models. Initially, we used three standard deep learning (DL) models, namely, VGG-16, ResNet50, and Xception, for the prediction of COVID-19. After that, we proposed a mechanism to combine the above-mentioned pre-trained models for the overall improvement of the prediction capability of the system. The proposed model provides 98.79% classification accuracy and a high F1-score of 0.99 on the publicly available SaRS-CoV-2 CT dataset. The model proposed in this study is effective for the accurate screening of COVID-19 CT scans and, hence, can be a promising supplementary diagnostic tool for the forefront clinical specialists.
Laura Núñez-Letamendi, Athena Tsouderou
Resilience / vulnerability of Spanish households in the face of COVID-19. Disparities in the distribution and composition of savings in Europe.; doi:10.5281/zenodo.5144909

Abstract:
The unprecedented global health and economic emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic highlights, now more than ever, the importance of promoting savings and financial planning in every household. Knowing households’ degree of financial resilience (or conversely, their degree of vulnerability) prior to the pandemic is essential in order to be able to anticipate the consequences of the pandemic and better gear economic and social measures. As a result of this situation, the academic community has raised its voice, advocating the urgent need to promote structural policies that foster conscious financial planning in households as a mechanism of resilience to future crises; see Arellano and Cámara (2020). Despite the packages of social and economic measures put in place by the governments of different countries, including Spain, and by the European Union, a great deal of households has experienced, and will continue to experience in the coming months, a deep income reduction. In Spain, the number of workers affected by temporary lay-offs amounted to nearly 3.4 million. In some sectors, more than 80% of social security affiliates has been in this situation. In turn, more than 1 million self-employed workers have been eligible to receive the aid for the cessation of activities. Considering that the employed population in Spain is around 18.5 million people, at least a quarter of the population has suffered a significant income reduction due to the health emergency. In these situations, it is clear that accumulating savings over time (referred to in the literature as ‘wealth’) is an excellent mechanism of precaution and financial stability that citizens can apply to compensate for temporary income reductions. Analysing the state of this accumulation of savings or the level, of wealth that households had prior to the crisis caused by the pandemic, can be used to assess a family’s degree of resilience (and therefore, their degree of vulnerability). Literature does so by estimating the time that households would be able to subsist on their savings in the hypothetical scenario of a total lack of income, a scenario that is unfortunately not so hypothetical, but rather real, for many families in the current circumstances.
Fachgebiet 33 Robert Koch-Institut
Published: 29 July 2021
by Zenodo
Abstract:
Die COVID-19-Impfung kann einen Wendepunkt in der Kontrolle der COVID-19-Pandemie darstellen und erfährt daher hohes Maß an öffentlicher Aufmerksamkeit. Einführung und Umsetzung der COVID-19-Impfung gehen mit besonderen Herausforderungen einher, die bei der Impfdatenerfassung zu berücksichtigen sind. In diesem Kontext ist es Ziel des Projekts 'Digitales Impfquoten-Monitoring' (DIM), tagesaktuell, bundesweit die Impfquote zu erfassen und folgend aufbereitet darzustellen, um zeitnah den Verlauf der COVID-19-Impfkampanne zu analysieren, bei Bedarf nachzusteuern, und logistisch bzw. organisatorische Konsequenzen zu ziehen. Das DIM-Projekt enthält Daten über den Verlauf der COVID-19 Impfungen in Deutschland. Die hier veröffentlichten Impfdaten aggregieren Daten aus drei Datenquellen: Neben dem Meldeweg über die DIM-Anwdung werden zur Erfassung der Impfquote auch Impfdaten niedergelassener Ärzt_innenpraxen durch die Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (KBV) und Minimaldatensätze der Bundesländer (die noch nicht über das DIM melden) erfasst.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158028

Abstract:
(1) The goal of this study was to analyze the prevalence and pattern of alcohol consumption (frequency of consumption, average daily consumption, and risky consumption) before and during confinement due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the adult population and based on gender. (2) Methods: Data from 3779 individuals were collected via a set of online surveys. The AUDIT alcohol consumption questions (AUDIT-C) were used to measure the frequency of consumption, the average daily consumption, intensive consumption, risky consumption, and standard drink units. (3) Results: During confinement, the prevalence of alcohol consumption declined in both males and females, but only intensive consumption showed significant differences, with a greater reduction in males. The number of females who consumed alcohol four or more times per week doubled, whereas the number of males who did so was multiplied by a factor of 1.5; in both females and males, the percentage who presented intensive consumption doubled. The percentage of females with risky consumption was higher than that of males both before and during confinement. In addition to gender, the interaction between age and the employment situation explain consumption before and during confinement. (4) Conclusions: During confinement due to COVID-19, alcohol consumption declined in both sexes, but alcohol-risk consumers increased their frequency of use. The interaction between gender, age, and employment situation was related to these changes. These findings are relevant for guiding public health and health-risk management policies related to alcohol consumption in environmental situations similar to COVID-19.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/su13158464

Abstract:
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Kuwait led to a nationwide curfew between 22 March and August 2020. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 curfew during the pandemic on Kuwaiti citizens and residents. A cross-sectional survey was used to collect data from Kuwaiti residents over the age of 21 through an online questionnaire shared via social media, including WhatsApp and Facebook. Data collection occurred between 18 June and 15 July 2020. Data from 679 respondents (57.9% females and 42.1% males; 67.7% Kuwaiti nationals and 32.3% non-Kuwaiti nationals) were analyzed. Symptoms of depression were reported among 59.8% of females and 51.0% of males, and extremely severe depression among 20.4% of females and 13.6% of males. Approximately 42.0% of females and 37.8% of males were under psychological distress, with 15.1% of females and 9.1% of males experiencing severe or extremely severe psychological distress. Over a third of females (34.9%) reported experiencing tensions or violent behaviors from family members, and 22.1% reported verbal or physical abuse. Among males, 26.4% reported experiencing tensions or violent behaviors, and 12.2% reported verbal or physical abuse. Extremely severe depression was associated with being female (2.00 times), aged 21–29 (4.56 times), experiencing tensions or violent behaviors from family members (4.56 times), being physically inactive (1.64 times), smoking cigarettes (3.02 times), and having poor or very poor quality of sleep (1.75 times). Severe or extremely severe psychological distress was associated with being female (3.09 times), aged 21–49 (3.68 times), having ill-health conditions or diseases (1.83 times), experiencing tension or violent behaviors from family members (3.56 times), smoking cigarettes (3.06 times), and having poor or very poor quality of sleep (2.20 times). Findings indicate that people living in Kuwait experienced negative psychological impacts, such as depression and psychological distress, attributable to the pandemic-related restrictions. Unpartnered females aged 21–49 are more mentally vulnerable than partnered males over the age of 50. Findings support an urgent need for targeted interventions to improve health behaviors and social support, including coping mechanisms specific to COVID-19 related stress, family counseling systems, and the provision of accessible and acceptable services using telehealth.
Social Network Analysis and Mining, Volume 11, pp 1-18; doi:10.1007/s13278-021-00780-w

Abstract:
In this world of information and experience era, microblogging sites have been commonly used to express people feelings including fear, panic, hate and abuse. Monitoring and control of abuse on social media, especially during pandemics such as COVID-19, can help in keeping the public sentiment and morale positive. Developing the fear and hate detection methods based on machine learning requires labelled data. However, obtaining the labelled data in suddenly changed circumstances as a pandemic is expensive and acquiring them in a short time is impractical. Related labelled hate data from other domains or previous incidents may be available. However, the predictive accuracy of these hate detection models decreases significantly if the data distribution of the target domain, where the prediction will be applied, is different. To address this problem, we propose a novel concept of unsupervised progressive domain adaptation based on a deep-learning language model generated through multiple text datasets. We showcase the efficacy of the proposed method in hate speech and fear detection on the tweets collection during COVID-19 where the labelled information is unavailable.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158017

Abstract:
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is having major adverse consequences for the mental health of individuals worldwide. Alongside the direct impact of the virus on individuals, government responses to tackling its spread, such as quarantine, lockdown, and physical distancing measures, have been found to have a profound impact on mental health. This is manifested in an increased prevalence of anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. As older adults are more vulnerable and severely affected by the pandemic, they may be at increased psychological risk when seeking to protect themselves from COVID-19. Methods: Our study aims to quantify the association between the stringency of measures and increased feelings of sadness/depression in a sample of 31,819 Europeans and Israelis aged 65 and above. We hypothesize that more stringent measures make it more likely that individuals will report increased feelings of sadness or depression. Conclusions: We found that more stringent measures across countries in Europe and Israel affect the mental health of older individuals. The prevalence of increased feelings of sadness/depression was higher in Southern European countries, where the measures were more stringent. We therefore recommend paying particular attention to the possible effects of pandemic control measures on the mental health of older people.
, Maliqe Krasniqi, Nadja Ewers, Jaber Fayad, Uta Haeberle
Published: 29 July 2021
Neurological Sciences pp 1-3; doi:10.1007/s10072-021-05496-5

Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Journal of Personalized Medicine, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/jpm11080746

Abstract:
Objectives. The COVID-19 pandemic has had many public health impacts, especially on vulnerable individuals including adults with neurocognitive disorders (NCD). With increasing literature, this systematic literature review aimed to address the mental health effects of COVID-19 on people with NCD in addition to examine the impact of the pandemic on treatments/resources for NCD. Methods. A literature search was conducted in the electronic databases of PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science and Google Scholar. Studies were included so long as they assessed the mental health or therapeutic effects of COVID-19 on NCD. Results. Among the retrieved articles, 59 met eligibility criteria. First, the pandemic and resulting self-isolation led to many detrimental effects on psychological well-being. Exacerbation and relapses of neurocognitive and behavioral symptoms were observed, as well as emergences of new psychological symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety). Second, therapeutic and community services for individuals suffering from NCD, such as social support services and outpatient clinics, were disrupted or reduced leading to postponed appointments and evaluations, as well as reduced access to medications. These issues were somewhat palliated with the growth of telemedicine. Conclusion. This systematic review highlights the extent of the effects of the pandemic, and the topics addressed should be taken into consideration by healthcare practitioners, institutions, and policymakers to ensure that proper measures are employed to protect this population from additional harm.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Healthcare, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/healthcare9080956

Abstract:
In late December 2019, a novel coronavirus (lately referred to as SARS-CoV-2) spread in the city of Wuhan, China, causing an outbreak of unusual viral pneumonia. In many people, the disease is mild and self-limiting, but in a considerable number of patients, the disease may present more severe or even fatal. Therefore, determining which patients are at higher risk of developing a more severe disease is critical. Some studies have been focused on serum and fecal calprotectin to evaluate COVID-19 disease progression and possible complications. Some assumptions can be made: (1) serum calprotectin may efficiently predict the prognosis of COVID-19 patients; (2) fecal calprotectin may appear high in COVID-19 patients due to the double hit mechanism to the intestine (inflammatory and ischemic); (3) a relationship between the complement system and neutrophil activation contributes to the procoagulant status seen in COVID-19 patients; (4) some patients may develop severe gastro-intestinal complications and fecal calprotectin can be used to monitor intestinal disease activity levels.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/su13158482

Abstract:
The fast pace of development of the Internet and the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic have considerably impacted the educative sector, encouraging the constant transformation of the teaching/learning strategies and more in technological areas as Educational Software Engineering. Web programming, a fundamental topic in Software Engineering and Cloud-based applications, deals with various critical challenges in education, such as learning continuous emerging technological tools, plagiarism detection, generating innovative learning environments, among others. Continual change and even more change with the current digitization becomes a challenge for teachers and students who cannot depend on traditional educational methods. The article presents a sustainable teaching/learning methodology for web programming courses in Engineering Education using project-based learning adaptable to the continuous web technological advances. The methodology has been developed and improved during 9 years, 15 groups, and 3 different universities. Our results demonstrate that the methodology is adaptable with new technologies that might arise; it also presents the advantages of avoiding plagiarism in students and a personalized induction for every specific student in the learning process.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Infectious Disease Reports, Volume 13, pp 668-684; doi:10.3390/idr13030063

Abstract:
A simple model for predicting Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic is presented in this study. The prediction model is presented based on the classic Susceptible-Infectious-Recovered (SIR) model, which has been widely used to describe the epidemic time evolution of infectious diseases. The original version of the Kermack and McKendrick model is used in this study. This included the daily rates of infection spread by infected individuals when these individuals interact with a susceptible population, which is denoted by the parameter β, while the recovery rates to determine the number of recovered individuals is expressed by the parameter γ. The parameters estimation of the three-compartment SIR model is determined through using a mathematical sequential reduction process from the logistic growth model equation. As the parameters are the basic characteristics of epidemic time evolution, the model is always tested and applied to the latest actual data of confirmed COVID-19 cases. It seems that this simple model is still reliable enough to describe the dynamics of the COVID-19 epidemic, not only qualitatively but also quantitatively with a high degree of correlation between actual data and prediction results. Therefore, it is possible to apply this model to predict cases of COVID-19 in several countries. In addition, the parameter characteristics of the classic SIR model can provide information on how these parameters reflect the efforts by each country to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is clearly seen from the changes of the parameters shown by the classic SIR model.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Viruses, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13081490

Abstract:
Background: New coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been circulating among humans since November 2019. Multiple studies have assessed the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of virus-specific immunity in COVID-19 convalescents, however, some aspects of the development of memory T-cell responses after natural SARS-CoV-2 infection remain uncovered. Methods: In most of published studies T-cell immunity to the new coronavirus is assessed using peptides corresponding to SARS-CoV-1 or SARS-CoV-2 T-cell epitopes, or with peptide pools covering various parts of the viral proteins. Here, we determined the level of CD4+ and CD8+ memory T-cell responses in COVID-19 convalescents by stimulating PBMCs collected 1 to 6 months after recovery with sucrose gradient-purified live SARS-CoV-2. IFNγ production by the central and effector memory helper and cytotoxic T cells was assessed by intracellular cytokine staining assay and flow cytometry. Results: Stimulation of PBMCs with live SARS-CoV-2 revealed IFNγ-producing T-helper effector memory cells with CD4+CD45RACCR7 phenotype, which persisted in circulation for up to 6 month after COVID-19. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2-specific IFNγ-secreting cytotoxic effector memory T cells were found at significant levels only shortly after the disease, but rapidly decreased over time. Conclusion: The stimulation of immune cells with live SARS-CoV-2 revealed a rapid decline in the pool of effector memory CD8+, but not CD4+, T cells after recovery from COVID-19. These data provide additional information on the development and persistence of cellular immune responses after natural infection, and can inform further development of T cell-based SARS-CoV-2 vaccines.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158023

Abstract:
Since the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide, healthcare workers—resident physicians in particular—have been hugely involved in facing the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing unprecedented challenges in fighting the disease. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence of poor sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and alterations in mood state profiles in this category. This cross-sectional study, conducted in 2020, enrolled 119 subjects from a university hospital in southern Italy. Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaires were administered to physicians divided into four areas: anesthesiology, medicine, service, and surgery. In the overall sample, approximately 45% reported poor sleep quality, although only nine subjects (8%) reported an ESS score that suggested excessive daytime sleepiness. Alterations in mood profiles were also observed; the Vigor and Fatigue factors were the most altered. In particular, anesthesiologists seem to be the most affected category, showing a profound decrease in Vigor with a concomitant increase in Fatigue. Considering the possible consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, preventive measures should be adopted, especially those aimed at facilitating a better turnover of physicians, optimizing the working schedule, and improving the organization of work.
Rahmat Hidayat, , Adam Akbar, Bramantyo Adhilaksono, Fikri Baharuddin
Published: 29 July 2021
by Zenodo
Abstract:
Covid19 Case in Indonesia report data using Linked Open Data
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/su13158470

Abstract:
The Arctic is a remote region that has become increasingly globalized, yet it remains extremely vulnerable to many risks. The COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges to the region. Using the search, appraisal, synthesis and analysis (SALSA) approach to conduct a meta-synthesis of the academic and grey literature on the impacts of the pandemic, an assessment is conducted of the types of risks that have been presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the scales, and the national response strategies for mitigating the risks. Two case studies are explored: Iceland and Greenland, island nations that exemplify the extremes of the Arctic and reliance on tourism, a sector that was nearly entirely suspended by the pandemic. An evaluative matrix is employed which combines five different scales of risk—nano, micro, meso, macro and cosmic—with a sustainability categorization of impacts. The risks of the pandemic cut across the respective scale and categories, with the potential for macro-scale events (systemic risk) to unfold linked to economic spillover effects driven by the curtailment of tourism and various supply chain delays. Both Iceland and Greenland have exemplified risk mitigation strategies that prioritize health over wealth, very strictly in the case of the latter. Strict border controls and domestic restrictions have enabled Iceland and Greenland to have much lower case and death numbers than most nations. In addition, Iceland has led the way, globally, in terms of testing and accumulating scientific knowledge through genetic sequencing of the virus. The academic contribution of the paper concerns its broadening of understanding concerning systemic risk, which extends beyond financial implications to includes sustainability dimensions. For policymakers and practitioners, the paper highlights successful risk mitigation and science-based measures that will be useful for any nation tackling a future pandemic, regardless of whether they are island states, Arctic nations or another country.
Jane Burch, Sera Tort, Christopher Bunt
Published: 29 July 2021
Cochrane Clinical Answers; doi:10.1002/cca.3774

Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Vaccines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/vaccines9080836

Abstract:
As per the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 288 vaccines against COVID-19 are being developed, with an estimated 184 being presently investigated in the pre-clinical phases, while 104 of these vaccine candidates are at various stages of clinical trials. Twelve of these are in the advanced stages of clinical investigation, and promising results in the phase 3 trials have already paved the way for their regulatory approval and subsequent dissemination for global use. Preliminary and interim results of some of these candidate vaccines are being analyzed for public dissemination. Some of these vaccines have already been rolled out to immunize not only the highest risk individuals but also the general population in several countries. Once their safety and efficacy are established, the next limiting step would be their mass manufacturing by the pharmaceutical companies to fulfill the global demand. The challenge of manufacturing billions of doses of high-quality vaccines is under-appreciated at the moment. A massive vaccination drive would be needed to protect people of all ages. The timely and coordinated execution of the vaccination effort would require unprecedented coordination at the national and international levels for generating funds to purchase the required doses of vaccines, fair distribution of doses and managing the mechanics of delivering vaccines throughout the world.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Biomedicines, Volume 9; doi:10.3390/biomedicines9080917

Abstract:
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many studies have been carried out to evaluate different immune system components to search for prognostic biomarkers of the disease. A broad multiparametric antibody panel of cellular and humoral components of the innate and the adaptative immune response in patients with active SARS-CoV-2 infection has been evaluated in this study. A total of 155 patients were studied at admission into our center and were categorized according to the requirement of oxygen therapy as mild or severe (the latter being those with the requirement). The patients with severe disease were older and had high ferritin, D-dimer, C-reactive protein, troponin, interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, and neutrophilia with lymphopenia at admission. Moreover, the patients with mild symptoms had significantly increased circulating non-classical monocytes, innate lymphoid cells, and regulatory NK cells. In contrast, severe patients had a low frequency of Th1 and regulatory T cells with increased activated and exhausted CD8 phenotype (CD8+CD38+HLADR+ and CD8+CD27-CD28-, respectively). The predictive model included age, ferritin, D-dimer, lymph counts, C4, CD8+CD27-CD28-, and non-classical monocytes in the logistic regression analysis. The model predicted severity with an area under the curve of 78%. Both innate and adaptive immune parameters could be considered potential predictive biomarkers of the prognosis of COVID-19 disease.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158064

Abstract:
This paper considers the basis for a ‘community-centred’ response to COVID-19. It highlights the pressures on communities weakened by austerity, growing inequalities, and cuts to social infrastructure. This paper examines the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on low-income communities, whilst highlighting the extent to which they have been excluded from debates about policies to limit the spread of COVID-19. This paper examines four approaches to assist the inclusion of neighbourhoods in strategies to tackle the pandemic: promoting community participation; recruiting advocates for those who are isolated; creating a national initiative for supporting community-centred activity; and developing policies for the long-term. This paper concludes with questions which society and communities will need to address given the potential continuation of measures to promote physical distancing.
Eric J. Rubin, Lindsey R. Baden, Stephen Morrissey
New England Journal of Medicine, Volume 385; doi:10.1056/nejme2112684

Abstract:
The continuing spread of SARS-CoV-2 remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. What physicians need to know about transmission, diagnosis, and treatment of Covid-19 is the subject of ongoing updates from infectious disease experts at the Journal.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158049

Abstract:
During emergencies, areas with higher social vulnerability experience an increased risk for negative health outcomes. However, research has not extrapolated this concept to understand how the workers who respond to these areas may be affected. Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) merged approximately 160,000 emergency response calls received from three fire departments during the COVID-19 pandemic with the CDC’s publicly available Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) to examine the utility of SVI as a leading indicator of occupational health and safety risks. Multiple regressions, binomial logit models, and relative weights analyses were used to answer the research questions. Researchers found that higher social vulnerability on household composition, minority/language, and housing/transportation increase the risk of first responders’ exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Higher socioeconomic, household, and minority vulnerability were significantly associated with response calls that required emergency treatment and transport in comparison to fire-related or other calls that are also managed by fire departments. These results have implications for more strategic emergency response planning during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as improving Total Worker Health® and future of work initiatives at the worker and workplace levels within the fire service industry.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158065

Abstract:
Mask usage is an effective measure to prevent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) infection; however, mask reuse is not recommended. Studies examining the factors associated with mask reuse during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic are limited. This nationwide survey aimed to determine the prevalence and factors associated with mask reuse among Taiwanese citizens during the pandemic. From 18 May through 31 May 2020, a computer-assisted telephone interview system was used to randomly select Taiwanese citizens for interview regarding COVID-19-preventive behaviors and knowledge on mask usage. For a total of 1075 participants, the overall mean age was 57.4 years, and 82.2% of participants reported mask reuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. After controlling for other covariates, participants who had a greater knowledge of mask usage or had a high supply of masks were less likely to reuse masks during the pandemic. Moreover, generalized estimating equations (GEE) analysis showed that, compared with the participants’ mask-wearing behaviors before the COVID-19 pandemic, they were more likely to reuse masks during the pandemic. Thus, it is imperative to educate people on the correct usage of masks. Furthermore, the government should provide sufficient masks to the general population to reduce mask reuse.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Molecules, Volume 26; doi:10.3390/molecules26154583

Abstract:
We recently developed a molecule (GT-73) that blocked leukocyte transendothelial migration from blood to the peripheral tissues, supposedly by affecting the platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule (PECAM-1) function. GT-73 was tested in an LPS-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) mouse model. The rationale for this is based on the finding that the mortality of COVID-19 patients is partly caused by ARDS induced by a massive migration of leukocytes to the lungs. In addition, the role of tert-butyl and methyl ester moieties in the biological effect of GT-73 was investigated. A human leukocyte, transendothelial migration assay was applied to validate the blocking effect of GT-73 derivatives. Finally, a mouse model of LPS-induced ARDS was used to evaluate the histological and biochemical effects of GT-73. The obtained results showed that GT-73 has a unique structure that is responsible for its biological activity; two of its chemical moieties (tert-butyl and a methyl ester) are critical for this effect. GT-73 is a prodrug, and its lipophilic tail covalently binds to PECAM-1 via Lys536. GT-73 significantly decreased the number of infiltrating leukocytes in the lungs and reduced the inflammation level. Finally, GT-73 reduced the levels of IL-1β, IL-6, and MCP-1 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF). In summary, we concluded that GT-73, a blocker of white blood cell transendothelial migration, has a favorable profile as a drug candidate for the treatment of ARDS in COVID-19 patients.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Medicina, Volume 57; doi:10.3390/medicina57080773

Abstract:
Background and Objectives: The COVID-19 pandemic has a considerable influence on public health, either directly or indirectly. We investigated outpatient skin disease diagnoses at the dermatology clinic to determine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on these patients. Materials and Methods: We conducted a retrospective study using the International Codes of Diseases data from the outpatient department of Dermatology clinic, Vajira hospital, Navamindradhiraj University, Bangkok, Thailand from January 2019 to June 2021. Results: A total of 20,915 patients with 34,116 skin diagnoses were included in the study. The average weekly dermatologic clinic visits remained unchanged between the years with and without COVID-19 pandemic. While the percentage of xerosis cutis, other skin infections (syphilis and parasitic infections), hair and nail disorders, pigmentary disorder, benign skin tumors and drug eruptions were significantly decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic years, the percentage of other dermatitis, fungal and viral skin infections, acne, psoriasis, urticaria, vesiculobullous and autoimmune diseases were increased. Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic had a minimal effect on the average weekly skin clinic visits, but the diagnosed skin diseases pattern was affected. Knowing the pattern of skin diseases may help aid hospitals to better prepare for future pandemics in securing appropriate medications and supplies and training the medical teams.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 18; doi:10.3390/ijerph18158032

Abstract:
The process of transferring to online teaching during the pandemic COVID-19 lockdown has been a core issue for teachers around the globe. The main aim of this paper was to investigate the direct and indirect effects of emotional intelligence (EI) and general self-efficacy on the adaptability to online teaching (AOT). A multiple-mediation model was proposed, including the mediating effect via the teacher’s Facilitator role and teacher’s concrete experience learning style (CE-LS), as defined in experiential learning theory (ELT). Methods: Data were collected from a sample of 330 preschool and primary school teachers (84 males, Mage = 38.3, SD = 9.14). Path analysis was performed based on maximum likelihood estimation with the resampling method. Results: The findings showed that the proposed model fit the data well. A serial mediation path between EI and AOT via the teacher’s Facilitator role and CE-LS was obtained. In addition, CE-LS mediated the relationship between general self-efficacy and AOT. Conclusion: To date, this is the first study to analyse the direct and indirect effects of dispositional traits, such as EI and general self-efficacy, on AOT in the framework of Kolb’s ELT. Our results highlight the mediating mechanisms of this relationship, that is, the teacher’s Facilitator role and CE-LS. The current research provides an empirical body based on which new instructional strategies will be developed to improve the quality of online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Antioxidants, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/antiox10081221

Abstract:
Introduction: SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) patients who develop acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) can suffer acute lung injury, or even death. Early identification of severe disease is essential in order to control COVID-19 and improve prognosis. Oxidative stress (OS) appears to play an important role in COVID-19 pathogenesis; we therefore conceived a study of the potential discriminative ability of serum biomarkers in patients with ARDS and those with mild to moderate disease (non-ARDS). Method: 60 subjects were enrolled in a single-centre, prospective cohort study of consecutively admitted patients: 29 ARDS/31 non-ARDS. Blood samples were drawn and marker levels analysed by spectrophotometry and immunoassay techniques. Results: C-reactive protein (CRP), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and ferritin were significantly higher in ARDS versus non-ARDS cases at hospital admission. Leukocytes, LDH, ferritin, interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) were also significantly elevated in ARDS compared to non-ARDS patients during the hospital stay. Total thiol (TT) was found to be significantly lower in ARDS. Conversely, D-dimer, matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) and advanced glycosylated end products (AGE) were elevated. Leukocytes, LDH, CRP, ferritin and IL-6 were found to be significantly higher in non-survivors. However, lymphocyte, tumour necrosis factor beta (TGF-β), and TT were lower. Conclusion: In summary, our results support the potential value of TT, ferritin and LDH as prognostic biomarkers for ARDS development in COVID-19 patients, distinguishing non-ARDS from ARDS (AUCs = 0.92; 0.91; 0.89) in a fast and cost-effective manner. These oxidative/inflammatory parameters appear to play an important role in COVID-19 monitoring and can be used in the clinical management of patients.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Sustainability, Volume 13; doi:10.3390/su13158461

Abstract:
The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in early 2020 prompted a global lockdown from March to July 2020. Due to strict lockdown measures, many countries experienced economic downturns, negatively affecting many industries including energy, manufacturing, agriculture, finance, healthcare, food, education, tourism, and sports. Despite this, the COVID-19 pandemic provided a rare opportunity to observe the impacts of worldwide lockdown on global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and climate change. Being the main greenhouse gas responsible for rising global surface temperature, CO2 is released to the atmosphere primarily by burning fossil fuels. Compared to 2019, CO2 emissions for the world and Malaysia decreased significantly by 4.02% (−1365.83 MtCO2) and 9.7% (−225.97 MtCO2) in 2020. However, this is insufficient to cause long-term impacts on global CO2 levels and climate change. Therefore, in this review, we explored the effects of worldwide lockdown on global CO2 levels, the impacts of national lockdown on Malaysia’s CO2 emissions, and the influence of climate change in Malaysia.
Published: 29 July 2021
by MDPI
Materials, Volume 14; doi:10.3390/ma14154230

Abstract:
Due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, there has been an increase in the search for affordable healthcare devices for mass testing and rapid diagnosis. In this context, this work described a new methodology for SARS-CoV-2 detection based on an impedimetric immunosensor developed using the advantageous immobilization of antibodies in the reduced graphene oxide (rGO). The rGO was obtained by chemical synthesis from the commercial graphene oxide (GO), and the materials were morphologically, electrochemically and visually characterized. The cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) techniques were used to evaluate the fabrication steps of the immunosensor. The electrochemical immunoassay was considered for SARS-CoV-2 spike protein RBD detection using a impedimetric immunosensor and redox couple ([(Fe(CN)6)]3−/4−) as a probe. The immunosensor was effectively developed and applied in the detection of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein RBD in saliva samples.
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