CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster: COVID-19 at Geneva Headquarters |
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CMAAO Coronavirus Facts and Myth Buster: COVID-19 at Geneva Headquarters
Dr KK Aggarwal,  23 November 2020
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With input from Dr Monica Vasudev

1152: When lab personnel process COVID-19 tests, there is a slight risk that the paper forms accompanying the specimens can be contaminated with the virus. Researchers at the Birmingham Public Health Laboratory in the UK assessed randomly selected paper forms and specimen packaging when the team was processing nearly 700 COVID-19 tests daily.

Of the 37 items tested, one piece of paperwork was found to carry genetic material from the coronavirus. The form had come from a low-risk hospital ward, and the specimen from the patient was negative for the coronavirus, thus pointing to contamination, the researchers wrote in the Journal of Hospital Infection, calling for strict laboratory practices, including hand hygiene, appropriate personal protective equipment as well as the use of electronic test requesting wherever possible.

[Source: Reuters; Journal of Hospital Infection, online November 11, 2020.]


1153: Baricitinib tied to reduced mortality in COVID-19

A study published in Science Advances has shown the ability of baricitinib, a JAK/STAT pathway inhibitor, to inhibit viral entry and limit inflammatory markers in COVID-19 patients, thus decreasing the mortality risk by 71% among patients with moderate-severe COVID-19 pneumonia. The study also revealed that baricitinib prevents type-1 interferon (IFN) mediated rise in the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the receptor for SARS-CoV-2. [Source: DG Alerts]


1154: Internal email shows 65 virus cases among WHO Geneva staff

GENEVA (AP) — The World Health Organization has recorded 65 cases of COVID-19 among staff at its headquarters, including five individuals who worked on the premises and were in contact with one another, revealed an internal email obtained by The Associated Press. The WHO has said that it is looking into how and where the five people became infected. It further stated that it has not determined if the transmission happened at its offices. WHO’s confirmation on Monday in the email was the first time that the agency publicly provided such a count.

The email stated that nearly half of the infections recorded thus far were among individuals who had been working from home. Thirty two cases were in staff who had been working on premises at the headquarters building, where over 2,000 people usually work. The agency added that it has strict hygiene, screening and other prevention measures in place.

In the email sent to staff on Friday, Raul Thomas, head of business operations at WHO, noted that five people, four of the same team and one who had contact with them, had tested positive for COVID-19. This might suggest that basic infection control and social distancing measures in place may have been broken. [Source: AP News]


Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

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