The coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has by now reached every aspect and even the most remote corner of our daily lives. We therefore have decided to compile a list of relevant news and announcements, developments, and useful links in relation to this viral outbreak on this active “COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2” news page. We will update and add to this page on a regular basis. This page is not a compilation of all relevant information but rather contains some key highlights that we consider to be of importance to share with the community.
- Helpful resources
- The spreading / transmission of COVID-19
- Decoding SARS-CoV-2
- COVID-19 testing
- SARS-CoV-2 treatment development
- SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development
- Coronavirus reading
Feel free to contact us either via email at email@example.com or via twitter at @enlightenbio with additions that we missed and should be included in this compilation.
SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development
Antibodies elicited by mRNA-1273 vaccination bind more broadly to the receptor binding domain than do those from SARS-CoV-2 infection (June 8) – This means single RBD mutations have less impact on neutralization by vaccine sera compared to convalescent sera – based on the results from a COVID-19 patient study who received the Moderna mRNA vaccine.
CureVac’s First-Generation COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate, CVnCoV, Continues Toward Phase 2b/3 Efficacy Readout in Variant-rich Environment Following DSMB Recommendation (May 28) – CureVac announced that the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) has confirmed that the pivotal Phase 2b/3 study (HERALD) for CureVac’s first-generation COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, has passed a first interim analysis at 59 adjudicated COVID-19 cases.
Possible Side Effects of AstraZeneca Vaccine Come Into Sharper Focus (April 6) – Regulators may soon issue their first formal warnings about rare blood clots, threatening to cloud the global rollout of a cheap and easy-to-store vaccine
Interim Estimates of Vaccine Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Health Care Personnel, First Responders, and Other Essential and Frontline Workers – Eight U.S. Locations, December 2020-March 2021
Investigational AstraZeneca vaccine prevents COVID-19 (March 22) – AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, AZD1222, is well-tolerated and protects against symptomatic COVID-19 disease, including severe disease or hospitalization.
People Who Already Had Covid-19 Might Not Need A Second Dose Of The Vaccine, Study Finds (March 10) – The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 109 people with and without previous SARS-CoV-2 immunity. What they found was that those who had already contracted Covid-19 developed antibodies within days of the first dose of vaccine at a rate 10 to 20 times higher than those who were uninfected, and at a more than tenfold rate after the second dose.
Got Questions About Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine? We Have Answers (March 4) – A great article to why we should not disregard the Johnson & Johnson COVID19 vaccine too early.
How Do COVID-19 Vaccines Compare? (March 5) – A side-by-side look at the three vaccines authorized in the U.S.
Merck to Help Produce Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine; BARDA to Provide Merck With Funding to Expand Merck’s Manufacturing Capacity for COVID-19 Vaccines and Medicines (March 2) – The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will provide Merck with funding of up to $268.8 million to adapt and make available a number of existing manufacturing facilities for the production of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccines and medicines.
Early effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination with BNT162b2 mRNA
vaccine and ChAdOx1 adenovirus vector vaccine on symptomatic
disease, hospitalisations and mortality in older adults in the UK: a test
negative case control study (March 2) – British study shows that single doses of the Oxford/ AZ and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines substantially reduced the risk of illness for people 70 and up, still less compared to what is seen with two doses.
South Africa halts rollout of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine after shot falters against variant (February 7) – The news heightens concerns about B.1.351, the variant first seen in South Africa, and will also likely lead to discussions about the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is among the least expensive and most widely available of the Covid-19 vaccines that have so far been developed.
More than third ‘suffer Covid-19 vaccine side effects’ and reaction ‘more likely’ if you have had the virus – study (February 8) – The data from the study suggests people who have previously had Covid-19 are almost twice as likely to experience one or more mild whole body (systemic) side effects, compared to those who have not had the virus (33% vs 19%) from a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine dose.
Could mixing COVID vaccines boost immune response? (February 4) – Researchers in the United Kingdom have launched a study that will mix and match two COVID-19 vaccines in a bid to ease the daunting logistics of immunizing millions of people — and potentially boost immune responses in the process.
The good and the (potentially) bad: What scientists know about variants and Covid-19 vaccines (February 5) – The disparate vaccine results serve as a warning flag that the world needs to step up its and expedite efforts to envision what Covid-19 vaccines 2.0 might look like.
GSK joins forces with CureVac to manufacture its Covid-19 vaccine — and to develop another (February 3) – GSK to partner with German biotech CureVac to help manufacture its messenger RNAvaccine — and jointly develop a separate vaccine to target new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Novavax vaccine shows 89% efficacy in UK trials (January 28) – The Novavax vaccine is the first vaccine to show it is effective against the new variant of the virus discovered in the UK.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine not affected by mutation seen in contagious coronavirus variant, study indicates (January 8) – A mutation found in fast-spreading coronavirus variants does not negate the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.
Stanford single-dose nanoparticle vaccine for COVID-19 (January 5) – Their vaccine, contains nanoparticles studded with the same proteins that comprise the virus’s distinctive surface spikes. In addition to being the reason why these are called coronaviruses – corona is Latin for “crown” – these spikes facilitate infection by fusing to a host cell and creating a passageway for the viral genome to enter and hijack the cell’s machinery to produce more viruses. The spikes can also be used as antigens, which means their presence in the body is what can trigger an immune response.
Phase 3 trial of Novavax investigational COVID-19 vaccine opens (December 28) – The randomized, placebo-controlled trial will enroll approximately 30,000 people at approximately 115 sites in the United States and Mexico.
Rolling Out the Covid Vaccine Is a Huge IT Challenge (December 21) – The current U.S. data infrastructure is not up to the task. This article outlines four broad actions to improve the data infrastructure that can be taken to ensure that the vaccination effort is effective and equitable, protects privacy, and thwarts wrongdoing.
The spreading / transmission / tracking of COVID-19
Community-level evidence for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine protection of unvaccinated individuals (June 10) – The high effectiveness of the widely administered BNT162b vaccine from Pfizer–BioNTech in preventing not only the disease but also infection with SARS-CoV-2 suggests a potential for a population-level effect, which is critical for disease eradication. On average, for each 20 percentage points of individuals who are vaccinated in a given population, the positive test fraction for the unvaccinated population decreased approximately twofold.
New research suggests how genomic surveillance can be an early warning system (May 8) – Genomic surveillance programs have let scientists track the coronavirus over the course of the pandemic. By testing patient samples, researchers are able to diagnose COVID-19. But they’re also able to use genetic changes in the virus to recreate its travel routes and identify the emergence of new viral variants.
Study Demonstrates Saliva Can Spread Novel Coronavirus (April 22) – New study shows that SARS-CoV-2 can actively infect cells that line the mouth and salivary glands which may help explain why COVID-19 can be detected by saliva tests, and why about half of COVID-19 cases include oral symptoms, such as loss of taste, dry mouth, and oral ulcers.
Why US coronavirus tracking can’t keep up with concerning variants (April 7) – The country has an enormous virus-sequencing capacity, but funding and coordination roadblocks are holding it back.
Israeli Study Offers First Real-World Glimpse of COVID-19 Vaccines in Action (March 9) – Large clinical trials study shows that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to be up to 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.
A New Coronavirus Variant Is Spreading in New York, Researchers Report (February 24) – The variant, called B.1.526, contains a mutation thought to help the virus dodge the immune system, scientists said.
NIH experts discuss SARS-CoV-2 viral variants (February 12)
New SARS-CoV-2 Mutations Emerge in Patient with Cancer and COVID-19 (February 8) – This finding raises concerns about whether immune compromised patients should receive antibody-treatments, such as convalescent plasma, and how they will respond to vaccines.
UK finds more coronavirus cases with ‘concerning’ mutations (February 2) – Scientists working with Public Health England found a small number of cases of the UK ‘Kent’ variant with the E484K mutation – it was seen in 11 out of 214,159 samples that they tested, and predominantly from the South West of England.
Coronavirus is in the air — there’s too much focus on surfaces (February 2) – Catching the coronavirus from surfaces is rare. The World Health Organization and national public-health agencies need to clarify their advice.
Sixteen novel lineages of SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa (February 2) – This study analyzed 1,365 near whole genomes and reported the identification of 16 new lineages of SARS-CoV-2 isolated between 6 March and 26 August 2020.
UK to share genomics expertise to identify COVID-19 variants (January 27) – A New Variant Assessment Platform will open up Britain’s genomics
What we now know — and don’t know — about the coronavirus variants (January 19) – It is suggested that the virus variant dubbed B.1.1.7, came from a person who was immunocompromised and had a rare chronic case, essentially providing an incubator for the virus to accrue mutations as it replicated for weeks or months in that person’s body. The virus, the hypothesis goes, then spread from that person to others.
Quest Diagnostics Granted CDC Contract to Sequence COVID-19 Gene Variants to Aid Public Health Response to COVID-19 (January 18) – Large-scale longitudinal genomic survey of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using a random set of samples collected will be performed to understand viral variants and to mobilize an effective response to COVID-19.
COVID reinfections are unusual — but could still help the virus to spread (January 14) – The data suggest that repeat infections are rare — they occurred in fewer than 1% of about 6,600 participants who had already been ill with COVID-19. But the researchers also found that people who become reinfected can carry high levels of the virus in their nose and throat, even when they do not show symptoms. Such viral loads have been associated with a high risk of transmitting the virus to others.
Dynamic View of Spike Protein Reveals Prime Targets for COVID-19 Treatments (May 6) – The new simulations suggest that glycans act as a dynamic shield on the spike protein. They liken them to windshield wipers on a car. Rather than being fixed in space, those glycans sweep back and forth to protect more of the protein surface than initially meets the eye.
7 Virus Variants Found in U.S. Carrying the Same Mutation (February 15) – Scientists don’t know yet whether the mutation makes the variants more contagious, but they are concerned that it might.
How Deadly Is the U.K. Variant? (February 14) – Updated analyses support worse clinical outcomes
Humoral signatures of protective and pathological SARS-CoV-2 infection in children (February 12) – Study shows antibody responses in kids and adults with mild COVID-19 are similar, but complications seen in kids with MIS-C and adults with severe COVID-19 appear to be driven by two distinctly different types of antibodies involved in different aspects of immune response.
NIH launches database to track neurological symptoms associated with COVID-19 (January 26) – The COVID-19 Neuro Databank/Biobank (NeuroCOVID) will be maintained by NYU Langone Health, New York City, and will be a resource of clinical information as well as biospecimens from people of all ages who have experienced neurological problems associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The database is supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
Inside the B.1.1.7 Coronavirus Variant (January 18) – Great visual description (storytelling) of what each new coronavirus mutation does at the molecular level and they impact the virus, its shape, and potential vaccine performance.
Immunological memory to SARS-CoV-2 assessed for up to 8 months after infection (January 6) Data shows that immune memory in at least three immunological compartments was measurable in ~95% of subjects 5 to 8 months PSO, indicating that durable immunity against secondary COVID-19 disease is a possibility in most individuals.
What you need to know about the new variant of coronavirus in the UK
(December 15) – First sequenced in the UK in late September, the virus has now 17 mutations that may affect the shape of the virus, including the outer spike protein – many of these mutations have been found before in other viruses, but to have so many in a single virus is unusual. How these mutations affect the spreading of the virus is unclear, but rapid growth is seen. So far, no mutation has been shown to make any SARS-CoV-2 lineage more transmissible or more dangerous.
Genetic mechanisms of critical illness in Covid-19 (December 11)
FDA accuses company of distributing unapproved Covid test and using falsified data (June 10) – The FDA announced a “Class 1 recall” — its most serious type, indicating that use of the tests may cause serious injuries or death — and fired off a warning letter to Innova Medical Group of Pasadena, Calif., saying an FDA investigation revealed serious problems in the company’s data, but also in its making unapproved rapid tests available to consumers in the United States.
CDC and NIH bring COVID-19 self-testing to residents in two locales (March 31) – As many as 160,000 residents across the two communities will have access to free, rapid antigen tests that they can administer themselves to use three times a week for one month.
FDA Issues Alert Regarding SARS-CoV-2 Viral Mutation to Health Care Providers and Clinical Laboratory Staff (January 8) – The SARS-CoV-2 virus can mutate over time, like all viruses, resulting in genetic variation in the population of circulating viral strains, as seen with the B.1.1.7 variant. The FDA is taking additional actions to ensure authorized tests remain accurate by working with test developers and conducting ongoing data analysis to evaluate all currently authorized molecular tests. The FDA believes the risk that these mutations will impact overall testing accuracy is low.
A rapid at-home covid-19 test — for under $50 — just got FDA approval (November 18) – The California biotechnology company’s (Lucira Health) single-use home test kit, which it expects to sell for less than $50, requires a prescription from a doctor.
New saliva-based antibody test for SARS-CoV-2 highly accurate in initial study (November 13) – This could prove useful for large-scale screening and epidemiological surveys and cuts down on reliance on blood draws.
Stanford engineers have developed a genetic microlab that can detect COVID-19 in minutes (November 4) – By leveraging the “lab on a chip” technology, which is a microfluidic chip just half the size of a credit card containing a complex network of channels smaller than the width of a human hair, researchers can now test for COVID-19 in 30 minutes.
FDA Compares Performance of COVID-19 Diagnostic Tests (September 17) – The FDA revealed comparative performance data for 55 molecular diagnostic COVID-19 tests that the agency approved under an Emergency Use Authorization protocol. Patients, physicians, and laboratories can use the online data to get a better understanding of how each authorized commercial assay compares with a reference panel the FDA developed.
Abbott’s Fast, $5, 15-Minute, Easy-to-Use COVID-19 Antigen Test Receives FDA Emergency Use Authorization (August 26) – Mobile App Displays Test Results to Help Our Return to Daily Life; Ramping Production to 50 Million Tests a Month.
Verily Life Sciences has established a CLIA-certified lab at the South San Francisco headquarters to create additional lab capacity in support of programs in the COVID-19 testing space, including their own return-to-work efforts for their employees (August 10)
COVID-19 treatment development
Clinical trial of therapeutics for severely ill hospitalized COVID-19 patients begins (April 22) – Randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial called ACTIV-3 Critical Care. It will begin by testing Zyesami, a formulation of aviptadil acetate, produced by Neuro Rx, and the antiviral remdesivir (Veklury), developed by Gilead.
Four potential COVID-19 therapeutics enter Phase 2/3 testing in NIH ACTIV-2 trial (February 12) – The new agents entering the randomized, placebo-controlled study are part of ACTIV-2, an adaptive trial designed to test investigational agents in non-hospitalized adult volunteers experiencing mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. ACTIV-2 is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health, and is led by the NIAID-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG).
FDA Shrinks Scope of Convalescent Plasma For COVID-19 (February 5) – According to the updated emergency use authorization (EUA), only high-titer convalescent plasma should be used, and only for a narrower population: hospitalized patients early in disease course and those with impaired humoral immunity who cannot produce an adequate endogenous antibody response. Low-titer convalescent plasma is no longer authorized for use.
Regeneron’s casirivimab and imdevimab antibody cocktail for COVID-19 is first combination therapy to receive FDA emergency use authorization (November 21) – First treatment confirmed statistically significant anti-viral activity against SARS-CoV-2. Initial doses will be made available to approximately 300,000 patients, with no medication out-of-pocket costs, under U.S. government allocation program.
Remdesivir for the Treatment of Covid-19 — Final Report (November 5) – The data shows that remdesivir was superior to placebo in shortening the time to recovery in adults who were hospitalized with Covid-19 and had evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.
Regeneron Antibody Cocktail Cuts COVID-19 Viral Load, ‘Medical Visits’ (October 29) – But number needed to treat is high, and issues of scale-up, cost remain
Vaccines Won’t Protect Millions of Patients With Weakened Immune Systems (April 15) – Many cannot produce enough infection-fighting cells to fend off the coronavirus. But researchers are testing one therapy that may help: monoclonal antibodies.
Making Vaccines Is Straightforward; Getting People to Take Them Isn’t (May Issue) – A great article discussing the vaccine-vaccination paradox which suggests that the truly hard sciences are those that involve human behavior.
Researchers race to develop antiviral weapons to fight the pandemic coronavirus (March 11) – A Science Magazine article: researchers are racing to develop new medicines to combat the coronavirus pandemic. And now, numerous antivirals are showing up for battle in clinical trials.
A Grim Measure of Covid’s Toll: Life Expectancy Drops Sharply in U.S. (February 18) – American life expectancy fell by one year, to 77.8 years, in the first half of 2020. It may rebound as the pandemic’s end approaches.
Why did the world’s pandemic warning system fail when COVID hit? (January 23) – “The biggest issue to me is that for six to eight weeks after the PHEIC declaration, countries, except for in Asia, sat on their hands,” says Joanne Liu, a former president of Médecins Sans Frontiérs (also known as Doctors without Borders), who serves on an independent panel which is assessing the World Health Organization organization and why its warning system failed.
Sweden passes law allowing coronavirus lockdowns, expects to use it soon (January 8) – While public health experts in Sweden have argued that voluntary measures can significantly reduce transmission, the country is now struggling to handle a surge in cases at overstretched hospitals.
‘People are going to die’: Hospitals in half the states are facing a massive staffing shortage as Covid-19 surges (November 19) – 48 states are going through a surge in the wrong direction and they all need help
COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States This interactive CDC portal lets you keep track of the vaccination progress in each state.
Vaccine Tracker Provides key metrics for understanding vaccination progress by U.S. state: doses administered and percentage of people fully vaccinated by population.
COVID-19 risk level dashboard – displays risk levels for each county/state in the U.S.
COVID-19 Module Data Dashboard – Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity Pathway – Statistical methods were used to generate estimates of patient impact and hospital capacity measures that are representative at the state level. The estimates are based on data submitted by acute care hospitals to the NHSN COVID-19 Module. The statistical methods include weighting (to account for non-response), multiple imputation (to account for missing data), and a running 7-day smoothing technique (to account for daily fluctuations and updated responses in reporting to NHSN). This dashboard is automatically updated by 12:00 pm ET on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.
WHO embraces plan for Covid-19 intellectual property pool (May 15) – In response to the global race to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization embraced a proposal to create a voluntary pool to collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for developing drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics.
How we reopen safely – Tracking states as they make progress towards gating criteria.
STAT COVID-19 Drugs & Treatment tracker (April 27) – A guide to some of the most talked-about efforts to treat or prevent coronavirus infection, with details on the science, history, and timeline for each endeavor. This tracker tracks novel medicines, not repurposed drugs.
Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads – The Financial Times analyses of the scale of outbreaks and the number of deaths in countries around the world (free to read).
Corona Daily – Provides you an overview of relevant articles on the COVID-19 pandemic which crosses science, public policy, psychology and philosophy – curated daily.
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) – Statistics and Research – This article covers the developing situation which is updated daily by the Our World in Data team.
Johns Hopkins Covid-19 interactive map – Provides up-to-date counts of total confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases worldwide, country-by-country breakdowns, with death and recovery rates.
COVID-19 in US and Canada – Real time updates with credible sources.
World Health Organization’s COVID-19 information resource – Includes tracking of countries, areas or territories with cases, confirmed cases, and deaths.
COVID-19 U.S. Molecular Equipment Locations by Manufacturer – This map represents national and local hospitals and medical facility locations with installed molecular equipment by manufacturer.
Handbook of COVID-19 Prevention and Resources – This program was established to facilitate online communication and collaboration across borders, as well as to provide frontline medical teams around the world with the necessary communication channels to share practical experience about fighting the pandemic. Provides comprehensive guidelines and best practices by China’s top experts for coping with COVID-19.
COVIDbase – A useful resource with a work-in-progress curated list of projects, news, and data related to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19) – The Allen Institute for AI has partnered with leading research groups to prepare and distribute the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset (CORD-19), a free resource of over 44,000 scholarly articles, including over 29,000 with full text, about COVID-19 and the coronavirus family of viruses for use by the global research community.
Information Collection Platform for COVID-19 Epidemic Prevention – This project aims at collecting and gathering information of hospitals, hotels, factories, logistics, donations, contributions, prevention, treatment and any live information regarding national epidemic prevention from reliable sources to help all affected people, organizations better communicate and coordinate with each other to efficiently and effectively fight against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that started in Wuhan, Hubei, China. All of the code will be open-source and the data collected will be carefully reviewed/validated and available to the public.
The COVID Tracking Project – The COVID Tracking Project collects information from 50 US states, the District of Columbia, and 5 other US territories to provide the most comprehensive testing data we can collect for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. We attempt to include positive and negative results, pending tests, and total people tested for each state or district currently reporting that data.
World Health Organization’s COVID-19 information resource – Includes tracking of countries, areas or territories with cases, confirmed cases, and deaths.
Coronavirus Tracker – The SF Chronicle is compiling an exhaustive list of every coronavirus case in California.
DNAstack Launches COVID-19 Beacon to Accelerate Sharing Genomic Data in the Fight Against Novel Coronavirus – The beacon for SARS-CoV-2 will be available at covid-19.dnastack.com and will enable the scientific and medical communities to share and discover knowledge about the genetics of the virus in real time.
COVID-19 public dataset program: Making data freely accessible for better public outcomes – To aid researchers, data scientists, and analysts in the effort to combat COVID-19, Google Cloudis making a hosted repository of public datasets, like Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE), the Global Health Data from the World Bank, and OpenStreetMap data, free to access and query through the COVID-19 Public Dataset Program.