Virus Susceptibility Age Independent, Low Risk for Newborns with COVID-19 Positive Mom, Immune Cell Activation Resembles Lupus Flare: COVID-19 Updates

October 16, 2020 I Group of 80 researchers warns against herd immunity approach, UK case of sudden hearing loss linked to COVID-19, 1 in 7 experience neurological injuries, blood type O may have lowest risk, significant percentage of mothers report increased insomnia and anxiety, 20% of young patients hospitalized require intensive care, NIH launches SeroNet to increase antibody testing capacity, MMR vaccine may offer trained immunity, and international open-access database aims to reduce duplication of research. Plus, over 200 molecules identified that impact severity of virus, UC Davis Health testing REGN-COV2 antibody ‘cocktail’, increase in US death rate unexplained by COVID-19 related deaths and more.

 

Research News

Two retrospective studies published in Blood Advances, reveal that people with blood type O may have the lowest risk of infection from COVID-19, and blood types A and AB are associated with an increased risk of severe clinical outcomes. Researchers from the first study compared Danish health registry data from more than 473,000 SARS-CoV-2 positive individuals to data from a control group of more than 2.2 million people in the general population. They found fewer people with blood type O among those who were COVID-19 positive. The second study examined data from 95 critically ill COVID-19 patients in Vancouver, Canada and found that the patients with blood groups A or AB were more likely to require mechanical ventilation and dialysis for kidney failure. DOI: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002657

A research team working in Mexico City tested a concept called “trained immunity” by observing 255 individuals vaccinated with the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine since the beginning of the pandemic. Among the 255 vaccinated subjects, there were 24 confirmed cases and 12 highly probable cases of COVID-19. They found that, in general, the cases were less severe than expected and none of the 36 cases required supplementary oxygen. This study is published in Allergy. DOI: 10.1111/all.14584

Lymphocytes may play a critical role in asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, according to a retrospective study published in mSphere. Researchers studied throat swabs and blood samples from patients at Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, including 27 admitted with COVID-19 related complications and 25 asymptomatic patients who were admitted for other reasons but tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. They found that asymptomatic patients hosted viral loads that were similar to symptomatic patients, but those showing no symptoms had higher levels of lymphocytes. The authors noted that these findings suggest an important role for lymphocytes, particularly T cells, in controlling virus shedding and reflects the importance of considering transmission from asymptomatic individuals in efforts to control the pandemic. DOI: 10.1128/mSphere.00922-20

A new study published in the Journal of American Heart Association found that people with congenital heart disease (CHD) have a low risk of moderate to severe COVID-19 infection. Researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City followed 53 of their CHD patients who tested positive for COVID-19 (out of more than 7,000 adult and pediatric patients) between March and July 2020. Only 9 patients (17%) had moderate to severe infections and 3 patients (6%) died. They note that limitations to these findings are the small sample size, possibility that their CHD patients adhered to stricter social distancing efforts, and median age (34 years old) was considerably low when compared to all COVID-19 hospitalized patients in NYC. DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.120.017580

Obesity increases risk of severe COVID-19 infection regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, and presence of co-morbidities based on an analysis of nine clinical studies involving 6,577 COVID-19 patients across five countries. The study by Brazilian researchers and published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, explains that several factors account for this increased risk. These factors include limited ability to produce interferons and antibodies, excess adipose tissue serves as a reservoir for the virus, and chronic low-grade inflammation related to obesity makes cytokine storm triggered by SARS-CoV-2 even more damaging to the lungs. In the nine studies analyzed, 9.4% of obese patients treated in the ICU resulted in death. DOI: 10.1016/j.orcp.2020.07.007

In an open letter referred to as the John Snow Memorandum, published in The Lancet, a group of 80 international researchers warn against the herd immunity approach to COVID-19 management. The authors present their collective scientific consensus on our understanding of COVID-19 and best practices to be put in place to protect societal and economic health. They go on to explain that uncontrolled transmission in younger populations poses significant risks to the entire population, with evidence of this from many countries showing that it is not feasible to restrict uncontrolled outbreaks to certain sections of society. They also warn that the herd immunity approach risks impacting the workforce as a whole and overwhelming healthcare systems. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32153-X

Researchers from the University of Bergen have found that patients with severe COVID-19 infection have antibodies that are blocking an important defense mechanism, interferons. They compared young patients with severe infection to patients suffering from APS1, a rare immune disease, who have a high level of antibodies that block interferons. This finding suggests possible treatment by supplying extra interferons to patients with a serious COVID-19 case. The study also notes that deaths from severe COVID-19 are higher in men than in women, and their findings revealed that men have more of these interferon-blocking antibodies. DOI: 10.1126/science.abd4585

University of Southampton researchers have demonstrated a blood test for five cytokines that could predict those COVID-19 patients at risk for cytokine storm. The researchers analyzed blood samples from 100 COVID-19 patients admitted to the University Hospital Southampton during the first phase of the pandemic and found that high levels of cytokines in the patients’ blood upon admission were linked to an increased chance of needing intensive care, mechanical ventilation and death. The team hopes that by accurately identifying which cytokines drive hyperinflammation in each individual patient, treatment can be tailored to target these specific cytokines and yield better patient outcomes. These findings are published in Respiratory Research. DOI: 10.1186/s12931-020-01511-z

A research team, including researchers from the U.S. Army Futures Command, has collaborated to test alternative ways to measure COVID-19 antibody levels that would enable testing on a large scale. Specifically, this team looked to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) as they can be performed in almost any laboratory, which is important in emergency care centers treating critically ill patients. The researchers found that the ELISA test had an 80% or greater probability of predicting virus neutralization (VN) titers at or above the FDA recommended levels for COVID-19 convalescent plasma, thus could be used as a surrogate for screening. Another interesting finding was that the convalescent donors in their testing maintained high levels of immunity over several weeks, and that frequent plasma donations did not cause a significant decrease in antibody or VN levels. This study is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. DOI: 10.1172/JCI141206

A collaborative study, published in Cell Systems, has identified 219 molecules and genes that impact COVID-19 severity. Researchers analyzed 102 blood samples from SARs-CoV-2 positive patients and 26 samples from patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) that were negative for COVID-19 as their control group. The team used mass spectrometry, RNA sequencing, machine learning, and then also explored a database of more than 17,000 different proteins, metabolites, lipids, and RNA transcripts associated with clinical outcomes. Pinpointing several specific molecules, they uncovered the strong interplay between hypercoagulation, leading to thrombotic events, and inflammatory response in severe COVID-19 cases. DOI: 10.1016/j.cels.2020.10.003

COVID-19 causes neurological injuries, ranging from temporary confusion to stroke and seizures, in about one in seven infected. The study, led at NYU Grossman of Medicine, monitored 606 COVID-19 adult patients diagnosed with brain or nerve-related medical conditions across four NYU Langone hospitals. They found that although SARS-CoV-2 does not directly attack the nervous system, the virus causes neurological complications through secondary effects of being critically ill, which results in low oxygen levels in the body for a long period of time. This research, published in Neurology, also found that half of those neurologically affected were over the age of 71, significantly older than the median age of the other COVID-19 patients, and most were white males (63% and 66% respectively). Authors suggest a more aggressive approach at stabilizing oxygen levels to avoid neurological damage. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010979

A new report, published in Vaccines, reveals that 68% of respondents are in support of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine but many have concerns about potential side effects, sufficient testing and effectiveness. The study survey was given to participants across the United States reflecting the national census data on diversity of age, race and sex. Structural Equation Modeling was used to analyze the responses and attitudes toward a potential vaccine. This model found that, in general, those who are pro-vaccine or believe that the pandemic is a severe problem for the US are much more likely to accept a vaccine. The researchers noted that no casual relationship was found between political ideology and attitudes toward a vaccine. DOI: 10.3390/vaccines8040582

The first UK case of sudden and permanent hearing loss linked to COVID-19 infection has been reported in the journal BMJ Case Reports. The patient, a 45-year-old male who was admitted to intensive care and required mechanical ventilation for 30 days, developed tinnitus following his discharge from the hospital and then reported sudden hearing loss in that ear. After ruling out several possible causes, his doctor concluded that his hearing loss was associated with COVID-19 infection. SARS-CoV-2 has recently been discovered on cells lining the middle ear that are similar to cells lining the lungs where the virus typically invades. Only a handful of other cases associated with COVID-19 have been reported, including this first one in the UK. DOI: 10.1136/bcr-2020-238419

Autopsy, airway suctioning and cardiopulmonary resuscitation are among medical procedures that pose an increased risk of patient to health-care provider transmission of COVID-19 through aerosols. A systematic review of international public health guidelines, research papers and policy documents assisted the team of researchers on which procedures are classified as aerosol-generating, and therefore posing the greatest risk. The author recommended more research on a short list of procedures that they found no consensus on, for example throat swabs, and aims to support policy-making decisions and guideline development through this risk assessment. This research is published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research. DOI: 10.1136/bmjresp-2020-000730

New research provides insight into COVID-19 immune response, specifically as the degree of severity and age of the patient increases, through a serology study published in Clinical and Translational Immunology. Serum samples were collected from 32 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and from 17 asymptomatic individuals who had antibodies for SARS-CoV-2, and researchers found that the level of antibodies correlated with severity of the viral infection. The patients requiring long-term ICU care had antibody levels that increased as their length of stay in the ICU increased. In addition, those patients requiring hospitalization in general had higher antibody levels compared to those who had exposure or with mild infection not requiring hospitalization. The study also noted that through serological testing, they discovered that many elderly patients (80 years and older) produced just as strong of an antibody response as the 40-year-olds in the study. DOI: 10.1002/cti2.1189

A retrospective study of 452 patients who received care at the Emergency Department at Cedars-Sinai for COVID-19 symptoms, shows that the majority of those who were treated and sent home recovered within a week. None of the patients died from the virus and less than 1% required intensive care. The study was done to assess if an appropriate level of care was received during the beginning of the pandemic when there was minimal evidence to guide physicians on which patients should be hospitalized for monitoring. The study notes that 61% of the patient sample had no comorbidities, 13% of the patients sent home did return to the ED for additional care, and the inpatient admission rate at 30 days was 4% (less than 1% needed intensive care). DOI: 10.1002/emp2.12230

A team of scientists have modeled data from Japan, Spain, and Italy to show that age is an independent factor related to COVID-19 susceptibility. They did find, however, that the occurrence of symptomatic COVID-19, severe cases and mortality from the virus is likely age dependent. Although age distribution of mortality was similar between the three countries, the model indicated the age should not influence susceptibility but only negatively influence severity and mortality to explain this. The results from this mathematical model are published in Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-73777-8

COVID-19 related disturbances in health care data pose unique challenges on multiple levels. Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine explores possible approaches to data disruptions during the pandemic, such as excluding the period, using an analytical approach that can adjust for the multi-layered disruption, or rely on carefully designed randomized trials. The authors note that simply excluding the period has its own challenges as COVID-19 may become seasonal. They caution researchers, reviewers and readers alike to understand the uniqueness of the data generated during the pandemic and evaluate subsequent studies accordingly. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.5542

Mothers are reporting increased insomnia and mild to high levels of acute anxiety related to COVID-19, a new study finds that is published in the Journal of Sleep Research. Mothers were asked to complete a questionnaire with reference to two points in time: one to two months before the COVID-19 pandemic in Israel and during confinement at home. Researchers used this self-reported data to compute a score representing the mother’s perception of change in sleep quality. Results showed that maternal insomnia during home confinement more than doubled to 23%, compared to 11% prior to the pandemic. Roughly 80% of the mothers also reported mild to high anxiety levels related to COVID-19. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13201

New data, published in JAMA, reveals that deaths between March 1 and August 1 increased by 20% compared to previous years, but deaths attributed to COVID-19 only accounted for 67% of those deaths. The study, led by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), also suggests that states that opened sooner in April and May, like Texas, Arizona and Florida, sparked summer surges of the virus. This dramatic rise in deaths, not accounted for by COVID-19 death, may be explained by delays in reporting SARS-CoV-2 deaths or disruptions caused by the pandemic. The study showed that the entire country experienced significant increases in deaths from dementia and heart disease and built upon another VCU researcher’s data showing a surge in opioid overdoses at VCU Medical Center during the pandemic. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.19545

Mothers with COVID-19 rarely transmit the virus to their newborn when basic infection-control measures are practiced—such as wearing a mask and engaging in breast and hand hygiene while holding and breastfeeding the newborn. Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital looked at the outcomes of the first 101 newborns born to SARS-CoV-2 positive mothers that all practiced these basic infection-control measures. Infants were also placed in protective cribs six feet away from the mother’s bed when resting. Only two of the newborns tested positive for COVID-19 but were asymptomatic. This study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, suggests that extensive measures, like separating COVID-19 positive mothers and their babies, may not be necessary. DOI:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.4298

Emory researchers have been observing immune cell activations resembling acute flares of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in severe cases of COVID-19. The study, published in Nature Immunology, compared 10 critically ill patients with COVID-19 admitted to the ICU at Emory hospitals to 7 people with the virus who were treated as outpatients and 37 healthy controls. The critically ill patients tended to have higher levels of antibody-secreting cells early in their infection and the B cells and the antibodies they made displayed characteristics that suggest the cells were being activated in an extrafollicular pathway, which looks very similar to observations in SLE patients. These findings could have implications on which patients should receive immunomodulatory treatments, like dexamethasone and anti-IL-6 drugs. DOI: 10.1038/s41590-020-00814-z

A new study from Stockholm University, published in Nature Communications, finds that being male, having a lower income and lower level of education, being unmarried, and being born abroad in a low or middle income country are all related to an increased risk of dying from COVID-19 in Sweden. These factors appear to be independent of one another. The study is based on data from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare on all registered deaths from SARS-CoV-2 in Sweden for adults 20 years and older, and combined with register data from Statistics Sweden looking at all of these independent factors. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18926-3

Blacks patients have an increased risk of requiring hospital admission from COVID-19 while Asian patients have an increased risk of dying in the hospital from the virus when compared to White patients, a new study led by researchers at King’s College London has found. This data analysis published in EClinicalMedicine, looked at 1,827 adult patients admitted to King’s College Hospital in southeastern London with the primary diagnosis of COVID-10 between March 1 and June 2, 2020. Their analysis showed that Black and mixed-ethnicity patients had a three times higher risk of requiring hospital admission once infected, however, in-hospital survival was not significantly different when compared to White patients. In contrast, Asian patients did not have a higher risk of requiring hospital admission than White patients, but their in-hospital death rate and need for ICU admission was higher than the other groups. Researchers also noted that this study indicates the worse effects of COVID-19 are present even after comorbidities and socioeconomic factors are accounted for. DOI: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100574

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed records from 419 hospitals to study outcomes of 3,222 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 between the ages 18-34. They found that more than 1 in 5 (21%) required intensive care, 10% required mechanical ventilation and 2.7% died. Of these young patients, many had comorbidities and were therefore more likely to experience adverse outcomes. 36.8% and 24.5% of the patients had obesity and morbid obesity, respectively. 18.2% had diabetes and 16.1% has hypertension. Patients with morbid obesity comprised 41% of the hospitalized young adults who died or required mechanical ventilation from COVID-19 infection. The researchers also noted another striking observation that 57% of this patient population studied were Black or Hispanic, highlighting the disproportionate burden that SARS-CoV-2 has had on these demographics. This research letter is published in JAMA Internal Medicine. DOI: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.5313

Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 are similar in COVID-19 patients with and without diabetes, therefore unlikely to be responsible for higher death rates in diabetic patients. This new research published in Diabetologia, additionally found that a particular antibody response related to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus is strongly associated with higher survival rates, boosting hopes that vaccines involving this same protein will be as effective in vulnerable patients with diabetes. The authors of this study analyzed the IgG, IgM and IgA response against multiple antigens of SARS-CoV-2 in a cohort of 509 patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis (27.3% had diabetes). Of the measured antibody responses, positivity for IgG against SARS-CoV-2 spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) was predictive of survival rate, both in the presence or absence of diabetes. Overall, the presence of these particular antibodies was associated with a 60% reduction in death rate: 63% reduction of death risk in patients with diabetes and a 57% reduction in those without. DOI: 10.1007/s00125-020-05284-4

A research team from Penn State College of Medicine analyzed data from more than 65,000 patients from 25 studies worldwide to examine 11 chronic conditions and how they may increase a COVID-19 patient’s risk of death. The study confirmed that patients with diabetes and cancer are 1.5 times more likely to die when hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2. Those patients with hypertension and congestive heart failure were twice as likely to die, and patients with chronic kidney disease had an increased risk of three times. These findings are published in PLOS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0238215

Pregnant women with severe COVID-19 and their unborn infant have increased health risks, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The researchers looked at 183 pregnant women who delivered both at term and prematurely between March and June 2020, comparing 61 who were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 and 122 who were uninfected. They found that Black and Hispanic women, women who were obese, over the age of 35, and those with medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure were at the greatest risk of having severe COVID-19. These women were at risk for delivering prematurely, having preeclampsia, and requiring oxygen or mechanical ventilation. Neonatal risks were mainly caused by premature birth. Of those women with only a mild case of COVID-19, 60 percent were asymptomatic, the rest had a cough, fever and muscle aches. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.09.043

 

Industry News

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London are launching the CORONAVIT trial to test whether higher doses of vitamin D will offer protection against COVID-19 and other winter respiratory infections. Sunshine in the UK is too weak for the body to produce enough vitamin D in the skin between October and April, and the UK government already recommends that people take a low-dose supplement over the winter months. CORONAVIT will run for six months with more than 5,000 participants who have low levels of vitamin D in their blood and will be given either 800 or 3,200 IU a day. The research team will track incidence of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, to determine if supplementation has any effect on their risk and severity of infection. Press Release

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) has launched a study to determine which approved therapies and investigational drugs in late-stage clinical development show promise against COVID-19 and warrant larger clinical trials. In collaboration with NIH’s Accelerating COVID-19 Therapeutic Innovations and Vaccines (ACTIV) program, the ACTIV-5 Big Effect Trial will recruit adults hospitalized with COVID-19 at up to 40 US sites. The Phase 2 adaptive, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will compare different investigation therapies to a common control arm to determine which ones have promising effects. The trial will test risankizumab (a monoclonal antibody) in conjunction with remdesivir and lenzilumab (an investigational monoclonal antibody) with remdesivir, comparing both to placebo and remdesivir. The primary purpose of the ACTIV-5/BET study is to evaluate efficacy of these investigational therapies and their efficacy as assessed by the amount of time it takes for each volunteer to recover. Press Release

Experts in Computer Science and Medicine at the University of Birmingham have partnered with the Institute for Global Innovation to launch an international open-access database for ongoing research activity (COVID CORPUS) that aims to encourage collaboration and reduce duplication of COVID-19 research. This platform is curated by experts across the globe, and users will have the ability to upload their own contributions to COVID-19 research, network with other researchers to create new partnerships, and search for ongoing research across all academic disciplines. Press Release

In a new clinical trial, UC Davis Health will test the monoclonal antibody cocktail, REGN-COV2, for its effectiveness and safety in preventing COVID-19. This antibody combination, which was recently administered to President Donald Trump as part of his treatment for SARS-CoV-2 infection, will be tested on people who have been in close contact with an infected person for no more than 96 hours before receiving it and compared to a group given a placebo in a double-blind study. The trial seeks to determine whether it can prevent infection for one month following the drug administration. Press Release

A large global trial will begin to test the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine, used to protect against tuberculosis, in hopes that it will offer protection against COVID-19 for healthcare workers. The University of Exeter will be head of the UK arm of the trial, called the ‘BCG vaccination to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in healthcare workers’ (BRACE) Trial. This trial will recruit more than 10,000 healthcare workers from Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Brazil, along with the UK. Participants will be given either the BCG vaccine or a placebo injection and asked to document daily symptoms, be tested for COVID-19 when they have symptoms, complete regular questionnaires and provide blood samples. These samples will help scientists better understand how blood cells respond differently to COVID-19 exposure and other viruses, with and without the BCG vaccine. Researchers hypothesize that this vaccine will offer some protection against SARS-CoV-2 based on previous studies suggesting that it can reduce susceptibility to a range of viruses similar to the novel coronavirus. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded more than $10 million for this trial. Press Release

Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute are leading a new study, named COVID PROFILE study, to help determine immune responses to COVID-19—specifically how people are protected and for how long from a future reinfection of the virus. The study will recruit 300 adult volunteers in Melbourne who have had COVID-19 and those who have been in close contact with someone who has. The participants will then be following for 12 months after their exposure, whether contracting the virus or not, through collecting blood samples and nasal and throat swab testing. They aim to advance vaccine development through their findings and determine risk of reinfection. Press Release

A new clinical trial is underway to test the effectiveness and safety of hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobin (hIVIG) plus remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment. This Phase 3 trial, called Inpatient Treatment with Anti-Coronavirus Immunoglobin (ITAC), that is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will enroll 500 hospitalized adults with SARS-CoV-2 across the US, Mexico and 16 other countries in a double-blind study. Study participants will be assigned at random to receive infusions of either hIVIG plus redesivir or a placebo and remdesivir. The antibodies in this anti-coronavirus hIVIG will come from donations of healthy people who have recovered from COVID-19. The antibodies are highly purified and concentrated, containing several times more neutralizing antibodies than typically found in the plasma of people who have recovered. ITAC investigators hypothesize that giving people hIVIG at the onset of symptoms could augment the natural antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, reducing the risk of serious illness or death. Press Release

Six University of Ottawa projects focusing on COVID-19’s impact on mental health have received over $1 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The Government of Canada’s Knowledge Synthesis Grant: Rapid Research Funding Opportunity in Mental Health and Substance Use has invested $10.2 million on 55 selected projects across the country from a multi-million dollar fund dedicated to COVID-19 and mental health. Press Release

Cedars-Sinai has been awarded a five-year, $8.3 million grant by the National Cancer Institution (NCI) to study the unequal impact of COVID-19 on minorities, focusing on the ethnically and racially diverse population served by the Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles. They will be joining one of the largest coordinated efforts to advance knowledge of immunology and COVID-19 in the US, known as Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet)—a major part of the NCI’s response to the pandemic. Cedars-Sinai will conduct a Coronavirus Risk Associations and Longitudinal Evaluation (CORALE) study to (1) examine the natural history and longitudinal trajectories that represent the diversity of COVID-19 exposure, infection, recovery, and clinical immunity patterns across populations at risk and (2) to investigate the determinants of SARS-CoV-2 response among individuals who have altered immune function related to either chronic disease or their therapies. Press Release

The NCI, part of NIH, has been granted $306 million to develop, validate, improve, and implement serological testing and associated technologies. This initiative, called SeroNet, aims to quickly increase the nation’s antibody testing capacity and engage the US research community to understand the immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Seronet will engage more than 25 of the nation’s top academic, government and private sector biomedical research institutions. Press Release

PerkinElmer announced that the first Turnkey Lighthouse lab in Newport, South Wales, is now processing COVID-19 samples as part of the company’s collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in support of the UK Government’s Test and Trace strategy. The Newport lab is the first facility to be brought online by PerkinElmer with the DHSC, and the two are collaborating to create an additional testing facility at Charnwood in Leicestershire as well as supplying testing capabilities, equipment and reagents to NHS Trusts across the UK. The Newport facility is expected to deliver up to 20,000 samples daily by the end of October, and the Charnwood lab is expected to be in operation by the end of November and process up to 50,000 tests daily upon reaching full capacity in January 2021. Press Release

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