Understanding COVID-19 Origins First Step to Treating Cases, Stopping Spread

Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO)

Newswise — “The new virus originating from Wuhan is the third coronavirus that has made the ‘jump’ from animals to humans,” explains Enrico Bucci, Ph.D., professor and research scientist at the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), at Temple University in Philadelphia. “We witnessed SARS, which infected 8,000 people between 2002 and 2003 and killed 775; and then the Middle East coronavirus, MERS, which from 2012 to 2019 counted 2,500 cases and 858 deaths, mainly in the Arabian Peninsula,” says Bucci. 

Bucci is part of an international team of clinicians that has published an editorial in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, titled “Coronaviruses: Facts, Myths and Hypotheses.” The editorial focuses on several challenges for the international public health community attempting to halt the spread of the disease. 

The novel coronavirus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. The disease it causes is called COVID-19 (“CO” corona, “VI” viruses, “D” disease and “19” indicates the year in which it occurred). The most common symptoms include fever, cough, breathing difficulties, and is therefore very similar to those of a seasonal flu; however, they are caused by different viruses, and in case of suspicion of Coronavirus, it is necessary to carry out laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis.

Transmission occurs through direct contact or through respiratory droplets. The symptoms, similar to the flu, include fever and cough in less severe cases, and in more severe cases progress to pneumonia, acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and potentially, death. 

“The worrying element of COVID-19 is the severity of the involvement of the lower respiratory tract, causing the cases of pneumonia that lead to the majority of deaths so far,” Bucci says.

“The goal of this article is to further advance medicine’s understanding of the origin, spread, and diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19," says Bucci. "In the end, the outcome of the study will benefit medicine and patients throughout the world, underscoring the value of team-work and international collaborations in medical research," concludes Bucci.

Virus incubation is defined as the period between the first infection and the development of clinical symptoms which is currently estimated between 2 and 11 days, up to a maximum of 14 days. These types of infections are more easily transmitted in closed areas and through close contacts, less than two meters away and the incidence of death is higher among patients over sixty-five and patients with chronic diseases, due to their lower ability to fight the infection. At present, more than 93,000 coronavirus positive cases have been confirmed worldwide, more than 50,000 of which have recovered. The virus spread quickly in China and on almost all continents. For comparison to other pandemics, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, worldwide, the influenza virus affects between 5 and 15% of the adult population every year (i.e. from 350 million to 1 billion people), characterized by an incidence range rises to 20-30% in children. These annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290,000 to 650,000 respiratory deaths. To date the coronavirus mortality represents 3-4% (according to data derived from China). The Middle Eastern Coronavirus Epidemic, “Mers”, registered 2494 cases with 858 deaths, with a lethality rate of 34.4%. The Ebola virus, which is still ongoing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at present represents a public health emergency correlated to a lethality rate of around 50%. 

The coronavirus influenza treatment is similar to serious cases of flu, but specific drugs or vaccines do not yet exist. In addition, as well as for the flu, treatment does not include antibiotics because these drugs are only useful for bacterial complications.

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit www.shro.org

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Released: 10-Jul-2020 3:05 PM EDT
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University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

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Released: 10-Jul-2020 12:25 PM EDT
Pandemic Inspires Framework for Enhanced Care in Nursing Homes
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

As of May 2020, nursing home residents account for a staggering one-third of the more than 80,000 deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. This pandemic has resulted in unprecedented threats—like reduced access to resources needed to contain and eliminate the spread of the virus—to achieving and sustaining care quality even in the best nursing homes. Active engagement of nursing home leaders in developing solutions responsive to the unprecedented threats to quality standards of care delivery is required.

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Evaluate First-of-its-kind Imaging System
Released: 10-Jul-2020 12:15 PM EDT
General Electric Healthcare Chooses UH to Clinically Evaluate First-of-its-kind Imaging System
University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center physicians completed evaluation for the GE Healthcare Critical Care Suite, and the technology is now in daily clinical practice – flagging between seven to 15 collapsed lungs per day within the hospital. No one on the team could have predicted the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this technology and future research with GEHC may enhance the capability to improve care for COVID-19 patients in the ICU. Critical Care Suite is now assisting in COVID and non-COVID patient care as the AMX 240 travels to intensive care units within the hospital.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 11:50 AM EDT
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Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins

A baby girl in Texas – born prematurely to a mother with COVID-19 – is the strongest evidence to date that intrauterine (in the womb) transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can occur, reports The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, the official journal of The European Society for Paediatric Infectious Diseases. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Released: 10-Jul-2020 9:45 AM EDT
How COVID-19 Shifted Inpatient Imaging Utilization
Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute

As medical resources shifted away from elective and non-urgent procedures toward emergent and critical care of COVID-19 patients, departments were forced to reconfigure their personnel and resources. In particular, many Radiology practices rescheduled non-urgent and routine imaging according to recommendations from the American College of Radiology (ACR). This new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute study, published online in the Journal of American College of Radiology (JACR), evaluates the change in the inpatient imaging volumes and composition mix during the COVID-19 pandemic within a large healthcare system.

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Released: 10-Jul-2020 9:00 AM EDT
Team is first in Texas to investigate convalescent plasma for prevention of COVID-19 onset and progression
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

A research team is the first in Texas to investigate whether plasma from COVID-19 survivors can be used in outpatient settings to prevent the onset and progression of the virus in two new clinical trials at UTHealth.

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