Researchers have identified 16 new genes and confirmed 7 previously identified genes that they say significantly predispose people to critical COVID-19 disease, some of which could provide targets for treatments, according to a study published in Nature. The researchers compared whole genome sequences of 7,491 COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) with those of 1,630 people who experienced mild COVID-19 as well as 48,400 people who never had COVID-19 and who were part of the UK government’s 100,000 Genomes Project. In addition to helping to identify new or existing drugs to treat COVID-19, the research could be used to help predict which patients are at risk of severe disease and which might need intensive care.
A report written by nearly 2 dozen experts charts a course for living with COVID-19, outlining recommendations to reach a “new normal.” The report, titled Getting to and Sustaining the Next Normal: A Roadmap for Living with COVID, describes 12 core elements fundamental to the roadmap, principally shifting focus from COVID-19 to major viral respiratory illnesses like influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV); creating a dashboard to serve as an infectious diseases information hub for the introduction, modification, and lifting of public health measures; issuing guidance for therapeutics and additional protective measures; and increasing surveillance, testing, and data infrastructure. The report includes three scenarios in which the COVID-19 pandemic will continue, dependent on vaccine- or infection-derived immunity and the characteristics of new variants. Other key recommendations of the report include developing indoor air quality standards to protect from inhalation exposure; conducting additional long COVID research; and supporting the development of new therapeutics to be distributed in an accessible, equitable test-to-treat platform. Strategies to rebuild trust and credibility among public agencies like the CDC include building in more transparency in how guidance is set and overhauling the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which relies on self-reported data and has been exploited by anti-vaccine groups to spread misinformation. The group consulted with the White House earlier this year, and some of the recommendations are similar to those included in the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, albeit with much more detail. The 136-page report contains more than 250 discrete recommendations that go beyond the current and proposed changes.
CSSE is reporting 79,360,294 positive cases in the U.S. and 961,542 deaths. DOH reported for the week ending March 3, 5,814,517 confirmed cases in Florida with 70,997 deaths.