SciCombinator

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1317

Prolonged symptom duration and disability are common in adults hospitalized with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Characterizing return to baseline health among outpatients with milder COVID-19 illness is important for understanding the full spectrum of COVID-19-associated illness and tailoring public health messaging, interventions, and policy. During April 15-June 25, 2020, telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of adults aged ≥18 years who had a first positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at an outpatient visit at one of 14 U.S. academic health care systems in 13 states. Interviews were conducted 14-21 days after the test date. Respondents were asked about demographic characteristics, baseline chronic medical conditions, symptoms present at the time of testing, whether those symptoms had resolved by the interview date, and whether they had returned to their usual state of health at the time of interview. Among 292 respondents, 94% (274) reported experiencing one or more symptoms at the time of testing; 35% of these symptomatic respondents reported not having returned to their usual state of health by the date of the interview (median = 16 days from testing date), including 26% among those aged 18-34 years, 32% among those aged 35-49 years, and 47% among those aged ≥50 years. Among respondents reporting cough, fatigue, or shortness of breath at the time of testing, 43%, 35%, and 29%, respectively, continued to experience these symptoms at the time of the interview. These findings indicate that COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness even among persons with milder outpatient illness, including young adults. Effective public health messaging targeting these groups is warranted. Preventative measures, including social distancing, frequent handwashing, and the consistent and correct use of face coverings in public, should be strongly encouraged to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

491

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, early, ideally real-time, identification of SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals is pivotal in interrupting infection chains. Volatile organic compounds produced during respiratory infections can cause specific scent imprints, which can be detected by trained dogs with a high rate of precision.

347

Body odour is a characteristic trait of Homo sapiens, however its role in human behaviour and evolution is poorly understood. Remarkably, body odour is linked to the presence of a few species of commensal microbes. Herein we discover a bacterial enzyme, limited to odour-forming staphylococci that are able to cleave odourless precursors of thioalcohols, the most pungent components of body odour. We demonstrated using phylogenetics, biochemistry and structural biology that this cysteine-thiol lyase (C-T lyase) is a PLP-dependent enzyme that moved horizontally into a unique monophyletic group of odour-forming staphylococci about 60 million years ago, and has subsequently tailored its enzymatic function to human-derived thioalcohol precursors. Significantly, transfer of this enzyme alone to non-odour producing staphylococci confers odour production, demonstrating that this C-T lyase is both necessary and sufficient for thioalcohol formation. The structure of the C-T lyase compared to that of other related enzymes reveals how the adaptation to thioalcohol precursors has evolved through changes in the binding site to create a constrained hydrophobic pocket that is selective for branched aliphatic thioalcohol ligands. The ancestral acquisition of this enzyme, and the subsequent evolution of the specificity for thioalcohol precursors implies that body odour production in humans is an ancient process.

309

A question central to the Covid-19 pandemic is why the Covid-19 mortality rate varies so greatly across countries. This study aims to investigate factors associated with cross-country variation in Covid-19 mortality. Covid-19 mortality rate was calculated as number of deaths per 100 Covid-19 cases. To identify factors associated with Covid-19 mortality rate, linear regressions were applied to a cross-sectional dataset comprising 169 countries. We retrieved data from the Worldometer website, the Worldwide Governance Indicators, World Development Indicators, and Logistics Performance Indicators databases. Covid-19 mortality rate was negatively associated with Covid-19 test number per 100 people (RR = 0.92, P = 0.001), government effectiveness score (RR = 0.96, P = 0.017), and number of hospital beds (RR = 0.85, P < 0.001). Covid-19 mortality rate was positively associated with proportion of population aged 65 or older (RR = 1.12, P < 0.001) and transport infrastructure quality score (RR = 1.08, P = 0.002). Furthermore, the negative association between Covid-19 mortality and test number was stronger among low-income countries and countries with lower government effectiveness scores, younger populations and fewer hospital beds. Predicted mortality rates were highly associated with observed mortality rates (r = 0.77; P < 0.001). Increasing Covid-19 testing, improving government effectiveness and increasing hospital beds may have the potential to attenuate Covid-19 mortality.

266

Hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin have been used to treat patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). However, evidence on the safety and efficacy of these therapies is limited.

256

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to cause considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. Case reports of hospitalized patients suggest that COVID-19 prominently affects the cardiovascular system, but the overall impact remains unknown.

232

The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) originated in Wuhan, China in late 2019, and its resulting coronavirus disease, COVID-19, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The rapid global spread of COVID-19 represents perhaps the most significant public health emergency in a century. As the pandemic progressed, a continued paucity of evidence on routes of SARS-CoV-2 transmission has resulted in shifting infection prevention and control guidelines between classically-defined airborne and droplet precautions. During the initial isolation of 13 individuals with COVID-19 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, we collected air and surface samples to examine viral shedding from isolated individuals. We detected viral contamination among all samples, supporting the use of airborne isolation precautions when caring for COVID-19 patients.

232

Scores on an optimistic-pessimistic personality scale have been associated with mortality, but optimism and pessimism scores are separable traits and it is unclear which has effects on health or longevity. The Life Orientation Test (LOT), containing items for optimism and pessimism, was included in a twin study on health of Australians aged over 50 in 1993-1995. After a mean of 20 years, participants were matched against death information from the Australian National Death Index. 1,068 out of 2,978 participants with useable LOT scores had died. Survival analysis tested for associations between separate optimism and pessimism scores and mortality from any cause, and from cancers, cardiovascular diseases or other known causes. Age-adjusted scores on the pessimism scale were associated with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality (Hazard Ratios per 1 standard deviation unit, 95% confidence intervals and p-values 1.134, 1.065-1.207, 8.85 × 10-5 and 1.196, 1.045-1.368, 0.0093, respectively) but not with cancer deaths. Optimism scores, which were only weakly correlated with pessimism scores (age-adjusted rank correlation = - 0.176), did not show significant associations with overall or cause-specific mortality. Reverse causation (disease causing pessimism) is unlikely because in that case both cardiovascular diseases and cancers would be expected to lead to pessimism.

211

Risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-associated illness (illness requiring hospitalization, intensive care unit [ICU] admission, mechanical ventilation, or resulting in death) increases with increasing age as well as presence of underlying medical conditions that have shown strong and consistent evidence, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and obesity (1-4). Identifying and describing the prevalence of these conditions at the local level can help guide decision-making and efforts to prevent or control severe COVID-19-associated illness. Below state-level estimates, there is a lack of standardized publicly available data on underlying medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19-associated illness. A small area estimation approach was used to estimate county-level prevalence of selected conditions associated with severe COVID-19 disease among U.S. adults aged ≥18 years (5,6) using self-reported data from the 2018 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and U.S. Census population data. The median prevalence of any underlying medical condition in residents among 3,142 counties in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) was 47.2% (range = 22.0%-66.2%); counties with the highest prevalence were concentrated in the Southeast and Appalachian region. Whereas the estimated number of persons with any underlying medical condition was higher in population-dense metropolitan areas, overall prevalence was higher in rural nonmetropolitan areas. These data can provide important local-level information about the estimated number and proportion of persons with certain underlying medical conditions to help guide decisions regarding additional resource investment, and mitigation and prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

206

The majority of mosquito-borne illness is spread by a few mosquito species that have evolved to specialize in biting humans, yet the precise causes of this behavioral shift are poorly understood. We address this gap in the arboviral vector Aedes aegypti. We first collect and characterize the behavior of mosquitoes from 27 sites scattered across the species' ancestral range in sub-Saharan Africa, revealing previously unrecognized variation in preference for human versus animal odor. We then use modeling to show that over 80% of this variation can be predicted by two ecological factors-dry season intensity and human population density. Finally, we integrate this information with whole-genome sequence data from 375 individual mosquitoes to identify a single underlying ancestry component linked to human preference. Genetic changes associated with human specialist ancestry were concentrated in a few chromosomal regions. Our findings suggest that human-biting in this important disease vector originally evolved as a by-product of breeding in human-stored water in areas where doing so provided the only means to survive the long, hot dry season. Our model also predicts that the rapid urbanization currently taking place in Africa will drive further mosquito evolution, causing a shift toward human-biting in many large cities by 2050.