SciCombinator

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To determine the association between recommended physical activity according to the 2018 physical activity guidelines for Americans and all cause and cause specific mortality using a nationally representative sample of US adults.

206

COVID-19 poses one of the most profound public health crises for a hundred years. As of mid-May 2020, across the world, almost 300,000 deaths and over 4 million confirmed cases were registered. Reaching over 30,000 deaths by early May, the UK had the highest number of recorded deaths in Europe, second in the world only to the USA. Hospitalization and death from COVID-19 have been linked to demographic and socioeconomic variation. Since this varies strongly by location, there is an urgent need to analyse the mismatch between health care demand and supply at the local level. As lockdown measures ease, reinfection may vary by area, necessitating a real-time tool for local and regional authorities to anticipate demand.

198

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented strain on health-care systems. Frailty is being used in clinical decision making for patients with COVID-19, yet the prevalence and effect of frailty in people with COVID-19 is not known. In the COVID-19 in Older PEople (COPE) study we aimed to establish the prevalence of frailty in patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to hospital and investigate its association with mortality and duration of hospital stay.

196

It has been estimated that at least 3% of the USA population consumes unpasteurized (raw) milk from animal sources, and the demand to legalize raw milk sales continues to increase. However, consumption of raw milk can cause foodborne illness and be a source of bacteria containing transferrable antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs). To obtain a comprehensive understanding of the microbiome and antibiotic resistome in both raw and processed milk, we systematically analyzed 2034 retail milk samples including unpasteurized milk and pasteurized milk via vat pasteurization, high-temperature-short-time pasteurization, and ultra-pasteurization from the United States using complementary culture-based, 16S rRNA gene, and metagenomic sequencing techniques.

191

This report elaborates on adaptations of the eyes of the whale shark Rhincodon typus (Elasmobranchii, Rhincodontidae), including the discovery that they are covered with dermal denticles, which is a novel mechanism of eye protection in vertebrates. The eye denticle differs in morphology from that of the dermal denticles distributed over the rest of the body, consistent with a different function (abrasion resistance). We also demonstrate that the whale shark has a strong ability to retract the eyeball into the eye socket. The retraction distance was calculated to be approximately half the diameter of the eye, which is comparable to those of other vertebrates that are known to have highly retractable eyes. These highly protective features of the whale shark eye seem to emphasize the importance of vision for environmental perception, which contradicts the general, though poorly established, notion of low reliance on vision in this species.

190

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a public health crisis. Because SARS-CoV-2 can spread from individuals with pre-symptomatic, symptomatic, and asymptomatic infections, the re-opening of societies and the control of virus spread will be facilitated by robust surveillance, for which virus testing will often be central. After infection, individuals undergo a period of incubation during which viral titers are usually too low to detect, followed by an exponential growth of virus, leading to a peak viral load and infectiousness, and ending with declining viral levels and clearance. Given the pattern of viral load kinetics, we model surveillance effectiveness considering test sensitivities, frequency, and sample-to-answer reporting time. These results demonstrate that effective surveillance, including time to first detection and outbreak control, depends largely on frequency of testing and the speed of reporting, and is only marginally improved by high test sensitivity. We therefore conclude that surveillance should prioritize accessibility, frequency, and sample-to-answer time; analytical limits of detection should be secondary.

185

The respiratory Influenza A Viruses (IAVs) and emerging zoonotic viruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pose a significant threat to human health. To accelerate our understanding of the host-pathogen response to respiratory viruses, the use of more complex in vitro systems such as normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cell culture models has gained prominence as an alternative to animal models. NHBE cells were differentiated under air-liquid interface (ALI) conditions to form an in vitro pseudostratified epithelium. The responses of well-differentiated (wd) NHBE cells were examined following infection with the 2009 pandemic Influenza A/H1N1pdm09 strain or following challenge with the dsRNA mimic, poly(I:C). At 30 h postinfection with H1N1pdm09, the integrity of the airway epithelium was severely impaired and apical junction complex damage was exhibited by the disassembly of zona occludens-1 (ZO-1) from the cell cytoskeleton. wdNHBE cells produced an innate immune response to IAV-infection with increased transcription of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and the antiviral viperin but reduced expression of the mucin-encoding MUC5B, which may impair mucociliary clearance. Poly(I:C) produced similar responses to IAV, with the exception of MUC5B expression which was more than 3-fold higher than for control cells. This study demonstrates that wdNHBE cells are an appropriate ex-vivo model system to investigate the pathogenesis of respiratory viruses.

180

Estimation of the effective reproductive number, R t , is important for detecting changes in disease transmission over time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers and public health officials are using R t to assess the effectiveness of interventions and to inform policy. However, estimation of R t from available data presents several challenges, with critical implications for the interpretation of the course of the pandemic. The purpose of this document is to summarize these challenges, illustrate them with examples from synthetic data, and, where possible, make methodological recommendations. For near real-time estimation of R t , we recommend the approach of Cori et al. (2013), which uses data from before time t and empirical estimates of the distribution of time between infections. Methods that require data from after time t , such as Wallinga and Teunis (2004), are conceptually and methodologically less suited for near real-time estimation, but may be appropriate for some retrospective analyses. We advise against using methods derived from Bettencourt and Ribeiro (2008), as the resulting R t estimates may be biased if the underlying structural assumptions are not met. A challenge common to all approaches is reconstruction of the time series of new infections from observations occurring long after the moment of transmission. Naive approaches for dealing with observation delays, such as subtracting delays sampled from a distribution, can introduce bias. We provide suggestions for how to mitigate this and other technical challenges and highlight open problems in R t estimation.

180

SARS-CoV-2 has been identified as the causative agent of a global outbreak of respiratory tract disease (COVID-19). In some patients the infection results in moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), requiring invasive mechanical ventilation. High serum levels of IL-6, IL-10 and an immune hyperresponsiveness referred to as a ‘cytokine storm’ have been associated with poor clinical outcome. Despite the large numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, information on the phenotype and kinetics of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells is limited. Here, we studied 10 COVID-19 patients who required admission to an intensive care unit and detected SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in 10 out of 10 and 8 out of 10 patients, respectively. We also detected low levels of SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in 2 out of 10 healthy controls not previously exposed to SARS-CoV-2, which is indicative of cross-reactivity due to past infection with ‘common cold’ coronaviruses. The strongest T-cell responses were directed to the spike (S) surface glycoprotein, and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells predominantly produced effector and Th1 cytokines, although Th2 and Th17 cytokines were also detected. Furthermore, we studied T-cell kinetics and showed that SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells are present relatively early and increase over time. Collectively, these data shed light on the potential variations in T-cell responses as a function of disease severity, an issue that is key to understanding the potential role of immunopathology in the disease, and also inform vaccine design and evaluation.

178

We describe the partial cranium and skeleton of a new diprotodontian marsupial from the late Oligocene (~26-25 Ma) Namba Formation of South Australia. This is one of the oldest Australian marsupial fossils known from an associated skeleton and it reveals previously unsuspected morphological diversity within Vombatiformes, the clade that includes wombats (Vombatidae), koalas (Phascolarctidae) and several extinct families. Several aspects of the skull and teeth of the new taxon, which we refer to a new family, are intermediate between members of the fossil family Wynyardiidae and wombats. Its postcranial skeleton exhibits features associated with scratch-digging, but it is unlikely to have been a true burrower. Body mass estimates based on postcranial dimensions range between 143 and 171 kg, suggesting that it was ~5 times larger than living wombats. Phylogenetic analysis based on 79 craniodental and 20 postcranial characters places the new taxon as sister to vombatids, with which it forms the superfamily Vombatoidea as defined here. It suggests that the highly derived vombatids evolved from wynyardiid-like ancestors, and that scratch-digging adaptations evolved in vombatoids prior to the appearance of the ever-growing (hypselodont) molars that are a characteristic feature of all post-Miocene vombatids. Ancestral state reconstructions on our preferred phylogeny suggest that bunolophodont molars are plesiomorphic for vombatiforms, with full lophodonty (characteristic of diprotodontoids) evolving from a selenodont morphology that was retained by phascolarctids and ilariids, and wynyardiids and vombatoids retaining an intermediate selenolophodont condition. There appear to have been at least six independent acquisitions of very large (>100 kg) body size within Vombatiformes, several having already occurred by the late Oligocene.