Inequitable access to the fruits of research during the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgency — and feasibility — of overhauling the R&D system.

8th March 2022 • comment

Español/English/Português Esta Hoja de ruta de investigación de las Naciones Unidas para la recuperación de COVID-19 proporciona un marco para aprovechar el potencial de la Ciencia en apoyo de una recuperación socioeconómica más afectiva, y un futuro más equitativo, resiliente y sostenible. Diseñado para complementar el Marco de la ONU para la respuesta socioeconómica inmediata ante COVID-19 (abril de 2020), esta Hoja de Ruta en Investigación se desarrolló rápidamente, en diez semanas, a través de un proceso participativo global que se basó en los conocimientos de investigadores/as, fuentes de financiación de investigación, legisladores/as gubernamentales, sociedad civil, y personas líderes y/o funcionarios/as de la ONU de todo el mundo. Vea el Diálogo abierto con el Secretario General Adjunto de la ONU sobre Ciencia para el Desarrollo en el contexto de COVID-11 (disponible en inglés). El diálogo fue copatrocinado por los Institutos Canadienses de Investigación en Salud y la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas para las Asociaciones de Colaboración. ¿Cómo puede la Ciencia contribuir a una recuperación más equitativa, resiliente y sostenible de la pandemia de COVID-19? Estrategias para mejorar la colaboración entre los organismos de financiación de la investigación, las instituciones de investigación y las Naciones Unidas del mundo.

4th March 2022 • comment

Both  vaccines  demonstrated  overall  effectiveness  against  severe  COVID-19  up  to  80  years  of age.  Our  results  suggest  that  individuals  aged  90  years or  older  may  benefit from  an expedited  third  booster  dose.  Ongoing  evaluations, including  any  additional  vaccines authorized,  are  crucial  to  monitoring  long-term vaccine  effectiveness.

26th January 2022 • comment

A complete regimen of CoronaVac in pregnant women was effective in preventing symptomatic Covid-19, and highly effective against severe illness in a setting that combines high disease burden and elevated Covid-19 related maternal deaths.

26th January 2022 • comment

We found waning vaccine protection of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 against COVID-19 hospital admissions and deaths in both Scotland and Brazil, this becoming evident within three months of the second vaccine dose. Consideration needs to be given to providing booster vaccine doses for people who have received ChAdOx1 nCoV-19.  

26th January 2022 • comment

Global coalition to accelerate COVID-19 clinical research in resource-limited settings

by Global coalition to accelerate COVID-19 clinical research in resource-limited settings

To address challenges posed by the pandemic and accelerate the research needed in resource-limited settings, we propose an international research coalition that brings together existing multinational, multidisciplinary expertise and clinical trial capacity. The coalition will synergise with existing initiatives, such as the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the SARS-CoV-2 Diagnostic Pipeline. Our objective is to use our existing research capabilities to support, promote, and accelerate multicentre trials of the safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of interventions against COVID-19 in resource-limited settings. For therapeutics, research in such settings should focus primarily on evaluation of affordable repurposed medicines—ie, those already developed and approved for other indications—and implementable supportive measures. If applicable, testing of new diagnostic tools, vaccines, and other potentially beneficial strategies will be added to the trials.

26th January 2022 • comment

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Global Asymmetries and Challenges for the Future of Health

by Nísia Trindade Lima, Carlos Grabois Gadelha

Social  and  economic  inequality  between  countries, territories,  and  population  groups  has  increased  during the  pandemic.  Its  impacts  are  unevenly  distributed, revealing  the  interface  between  the  biological, economic,  and  social  worlds.  There  is  a  threat  of  a humanitarian  crisis  due  to  the  concrete  differences between  those  who  have  full  access  to  products, services,  and  health  and  those  who  can  be  left  behind.

26th January 2022 • comment

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. The pandemic not only induced a public health crisis, but has led to severe economic, social, and educational crises. Across economies and societies, the distributional consequences of the pandemic have been uneven. Among groups living in vulnerable conditions, the pandemic substantially magnified the inequality gaps, with possible negative implications for these individuals' long-term physical, socioeconomic, and mental wellbeing. This Viewpoint proposes priority, programmatic, and policy recommendations that governments, resource partners, and relevant stakeholders should consider in formulating medium-term to long-term strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19, addressing the virus's impacts, and decreasing health inequalities.

26th January 2022 • comment

The objective of the study was to examine whether the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic altered risk of adverse pregnancy-related outcomes and whether there were differences by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection status among pregnant women. Findings suggest that in a geographically diverse U.S. cohort, the frequency of adverse pregnancy-related outcomes did not differ between those delivering before compared with during the pandemic, nor between those classified as positive compared with negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy.

21st September 2021 • 0 comments

Background High rates of virus transmission and the presence of variants of concern can affect vaccine effectiveness (VE). Both conditions occur in low-income countries, which primarily use viral vector or inactivated virus vaccine technologies. Such countries conducted few VE analyses, and most lack the power to evaluate effectiveness in subgroups.

3rd September 2021 • comment

This study aimed to verify the relationship between the maternal mortality ratio and the incidence of COVID-19 in the State of Bahia, Brazil, 2020. The study revealed the increase in maternal mortality, and its temporal relationship with the incidence of COVID-19, in Bahia, Brazil, in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic may be directly and indirectly related to this increase, which needs to be investigated. An urgent public health action is needed to prevent and reduce maternal deaths during this pandemic, in Brazil.

28th June 2021 • comment

This international study sought to identify and measure the associations between pandemic-related information seeking, worries, and prevention behaviors on perinatal mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. An anonymous, online, cross-sectional survey of pregnant and postpartum women was conducted in 64 countries between May 26, 2020 and June 13, 2020. Based on the study findings, public health campaigns and medical care systems need to explicitly address the impact of COVID-19 related stressors on mental health in perinatal women, as prevention of viral exposure itself does not mitigate the pandemic's mental health impact.

11th May 2021 • comment

The objective of this study was to evaluate neonatal outcomes in relation to maternal SARS-CoV-2 test positivity in pregnancy.  In a nationwide cohort of infants in Sweden, maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy was significantly associated with small increases in some neonatal morbidities. Given the small numbers of events for many of the outcomes and the large number of statistical comparisons, the findings should be interpreted as exploratory.

11th May 2021 • 0 comments

The objective of the study was to  evaluate the risks associated with COVID-19 in pregnancy on maternal and neonatal outcomes compared with not-infected, concomitant pregnant individuals. In this multinational cohort study, COVID-19 in pregnancy was associated with consistent and substantial increases in severe maternal morbidity and mortality and neonatal complications when pregnant women with and without COVID-19 diagnosis were compared. The findings should alert pregnant individuals and clinicians to implement strictly all the recommended COVID-19 preventive measures.

11th May 2021 • comment

The objective of this study was to describe disease severity and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infections in pregnancy across Washington State including pregnancy complications and outcomes, hospitalization, and case fatality. Findings suggest that COVID-19 hospitalization and case fatality rates in pregnant patients were significantly higher compared to similarly aged adults in Washington State. This data indicates that pregnant patients are at risk for severe or critical disease and mortality compared to non-pregnant adults, as well as preterm birth.

16th February 2021 • 0 comments

This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of domestic violence and its relationship with quality of life in pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings of this study indicate a high prevalence of domestic violence and its relationship with a low quality of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the findings signify the importance of screening pregnant women in terms of domestic violence in respective centers as well as the necessity of conducting proper interventions to address domestic violence to improve the quality of life in women.

16th February 2021 • 0 comments

The Global Health Network (www.tghn.org) established in January 2020 a community of practice to address research on COVID-19 in low/middle-income countries.

9th February 2021 • comment

The SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.28 has been evolving in Brazil since February 2020, but the recent emergence of sub-lineages with convergent mutations in the spike (S) protein raises concern about the potential impact on viral infectivity and immune escape. The lineage P.1 (alias of B.1.1.28.1) is an emerging variant that harbours several amino acid mutations including S:K417T, S:E484K, and S:N501Y. This report describes the first confirmed case of reinfection with the P.1 lineage in a 29-years-old female resident in the Amazonas state, Brazil, previously infected with a B.1 lineage virus.

9th February 2021 • comment

Here we report a preliminary genomic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.28 lineage circulating in the Brazilian Amazon region and their evolutionary relationship with emerging and potential emerging SARS-CoV-2 Brazilian variants harboring mutations in the RBD of Spike (S) protein. Phylogenetic analysis of 69 B.1.1.28 sequences isolated in the Amazonas state revealed the existence of two major clades that have evolved locally without unusual mutations in the S protein from April to November 2020. 

9th February 2021 • comment

Essential workers have been shown to present a higher prevalence of positive screenings for anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals from countries with socioeconomic inequalities may be at increased risk for mental health disorders.

14th December 2020 • comment

Confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic can influence dietary profiles, especially those of adolescents, who are highly susceptible to acquiring bad eating habits. Adolescents’ poor dietary habits increase their subsequent risk of degenerative diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular pathologies, etc. Our aim was to study nutritional modifications during COVID-19 confinement in adolescents aged 10 to 19 years, compare them with their usual diet and dietary guidelines, and identify variables that may have influenced changes. 

14th December 2020 • comment

In this report, the authors assessed the number of childhood and adolescent vaccinations administered in the months before and after the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado. Findings suggest that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination uptake in children and adolescents has shown a significant decrease in Colorado. While the clinical implications of our observation are not yet known, public health advocates should consider addressing this drop to avoid the potential for vaccine-preventable diseases.

14th December 2020 • comment

Given differences in preterm birth across populations, the authors examined a diverse urban cohort in the US to determine if preterm birth, spontaneous preterm birth, medically indicated preterm birth, and stillbirth rates have changed during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This study did not detect significant changes in preterm or stillbirth rates during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in a racially diverse urban cohort from 2 Philadelphia hospitals. Although these data allow for disaggregation of spontaneous and medically indicated preterm births, no differences in overall rates of these phenotypes were detected.

14th December 2020 • 0 comments

This study assessed the National Health Service hospital admissions in England from April 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, using annual Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data (April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020) and monthly data available as Secondary Uses Service (April 1 to June 30, 2020). Findings suggest that there was no evidence of any increase in stillbirths regionally or nationally during the COVID-19 pandemic in England when compared with the same months in the previous year and despite variable community SARS-CoV-2 incidence rates in different regions.

14th December 2020 • 0 comments

The authors aim to describe the outcomes of severe and critical COVID-19 infection in pregnant versus non-pregnant reproductive aged women. Findings suggest that pregnant women with severe and/or critical COVID-19 are at increased risk for certain morbidities when compared to non-pregnant controls. Despite the higher comorbidities of diabetes and hypertension in the non-pregnant controls, the pregnant cases were at increased risk for composite morbidity, intubation, mechanical ventilation and ICU admission. These findings suggest that pregnancy may be associated with a worse outcome in women with severe and critical COVID-19. The study suggests that similar to other viral infections such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, pregnant women may be at risk for greater morbidity and disease severity.

3rd December 2020 • 0 comments

The authors aimed to describe the incidence, characteristics, transmission, and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in neonates who received inpatient hospital care in the UK. The findings suggest that neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infection is uncommon in babies admitted to hospital. Infection with neonatal admission following birth to a mother with perinatal SARS-CoV-2 infection was unlikely, and possible vertical transmission rare, supporting international guidance to avoid separation of mother and baby. The high proportion of babies from Black, Asian, or minority ethnic groups requires investigation.

16th November 2020 • comment

The study aimed to study the impact of the COVID-19 mitigation measures implemented in the Netherlands in a stepwise fashion on March 9, March 15, and March 23, 2020, on the incidence of preterm birth. In this national quasi-experimental study, initial implementation of COVID-19 mitigation measures was associated with a substantial reduction in the incidence of preterm births in the following months, in agreement with preliminary observations elsewhere. Integration of comparable data from across the globe is needed to further substantiate these findings and start exploring underlying mechanisms.

20th October 2020 • comment

The objective of the study was to understand severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing uptake in the labor and delivery unit and rationales for declining testing, and to institute a process to increase equitable testing uptake. Findings suggest that universal SARS-CoV-2 testing uptake significantly increased through a rapid-cycle improvement initiative. Aligning hospital policy with patient-centered approaches led to nearly universally acceptable testing.

10th September 2020 • comment

The broader goal of this study is to assess any association between individual and demographic characteristics of the COVID-19 patients and the risk and severity of the diseases. This cross-sectional study will synthesize the COVID-19 surveillance data and actively collect data on additional variables. The sample would comprise of all the reported cases irrespective of age and gender of COVID-19 in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan. 

20th August 2020 • comment

The objective of the study was to assess the prevalence and severity of COVID-19 among pregnant U.S. women and determine whether signs and symptoms differ among pregnant and nonpregnant women. Findings suggest that among women of reproductive age with COVID-19, pregnant women are more likely to be hospitalized and at increased risk for ICU admission and receipt of mechanical ventilation compared with nonpregnant women, but their risk for death is similar. To reduce occurrence of severe illness from COVID-19, pregnant women should be counseled about the potential risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and measures to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2 should be emphasized for pregnant women and their families

13th July 2020 • 0 comments

The COVID‐19 epidemic through a gender lens: what if a gender approach had been applied to inform public health measures to fight the COVID‐19 pandemic?

by Cristina Enguita‐Fernàndez, Elena Marbán-Castro, Olivia Manders, Lauren Maxwell, Gustavo Correa Matta
14th June 2020 • comment

The objective of this study was to investigate the clinical evolution of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in hospitalized pregnant women and potential factors associated with severe maternal outcomes. In the study cohort, one in five women hospitalized with COVID-19 infection delivered urgently for respiratory compromise or were admitted to the ICU. None, however, died. Increased pregestational BMI and abnormal heart and respiratory rates on admission were associated with severe disease.

2nd June 2020 • comment

Personal data usage and privacy considerations in the COVID-19 global pandemic

by Bethania Almeida, Danilo Doneda, Maria Yury Ichihara, Manoel Barral-Netto, Gustavo Correa Matta, Elaine Teixeira Rabello, Fabio Castro Gouveia, Mauricio Barreto

Data is becoming ever more critical and valuable for both scientists and health authorities searching for answers to the COVID-19 crisis. Due to difficulties in diagnosing this infection in populations around the world, initiatives supported by digital technologies have been developed by governments or private companies which enable the tracking of the public’s symptoms, contacts and movements. 

28th May 2020 • comment
27th April 2020 • comment

The objective of this study was to evaluate currently reported pediatric cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection. A total of 815 articles were identified. Eighteen studies with 1065 participants (444 patients were younger than 10 years, and 553 were aged 10 to 19 years) with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were included in the final analysis. All articles reflected research performed in China, except for 1 clinical case in Singapore. Children at any age were mostly reported to have mild respiratory symptoms, namely fever, dry cough, and fatigue, or were asymptomatic. Bronchial thickening and ground-glass opacities were the main radiologic features, and these findings were also reported in asymptomatic patients. Among the included articles, there was only 1 case of severe COVID-19 infection, which occurred in a 13-month-old infant. No deaths were reported in children aged 0 to 9 years. Available data about therapies were limited.

26th April 2020 • comment

Facing a Pandemic While Pregnant

by Coral Olazagasti et al

Facing a Pandemic While Pregnant

26th April 2020 • comment

This study aims to observe the clinical features and outcomes of pregnant women who have been confirmed with COVID-19. Findings suggest that the clinical symptoms and laboratory indicators are not obvious for asymptomatic and mild COVID-19 pregnant women. Pulmonary CT scan plus blood routine examination are more suitable for finding pregnancy women with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 infection, and can be used screening COVID-19 pregnant women in the outbreak area of COVID-19 infection.

20th April 2020 • comment