News Scan for Aug 11, 2020

COVID-19 monoclonal antibody trials
;
Physical distancing effects
;
Low path H5N2 in Australian turkeys

NIAID enrolling participants in two COVID-19 monoclonal antibody trials

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) yesterday announced that it is enrolling participants for two phase 3 trials of two different monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19.

The trials are enrolling healthy adults at risk for infection due to close contact at work or home; the investigations are part of the COVID-19 Prevention Network recently established by NIAID, the group said in a news release. Anthony Fauci, MD, NIAID's director, said the network is designed to conduct large-scale trials rapidly and efficiently.

One of the trials involves a double monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2 developed by Regeneron and has a goal of enrolling about 2,000 asymptomatic adults who are household contacts of people diagnosed with COVID-19. The trial will also assess safety and whether the drug can prevent symptoms in those who are already infected.

The second trial involves a monoclonal antibody from Eli Lilly based on the antibodies of a recovered COVID-19 patient isolated by scientists at AbCellera in Vancouver, British Columbia. The trial will assess whether the drug can prevent infection in people working in skilled nursing or assisted living facilities. The study will enroll up to 2,400 participants and assess if the medication can prevent symptoms in people with confirmed infections.
Aug 10 NIAID press release

 

Study shows physical distancing in US prevented 600,000 COVID-19 cases

A new modeling study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) shows that within 3 weeks of implementation, physical distancing helped reduce COVID-19 cases by 600,000 across the United States. The study is published today in PLoS Medicine.

"The results show the timing of government-issued orders correlated strongly with reductions in both cases and deaths," co-author Mark J. Siedner, MD, MPH, an infectious diseases physician at MGH, said in a press release. "These measures work, and policy makers should use them as an arrow in their quivers to get on top of local epidemics where they are not responding to containment measures."

To conduct the study, researchers collected data on the first 5 months of the pandemic in the United States, including government-issued orders on statewide physical distancing measures. They then compared changes in COVID-19 cases and COVID-19–attributed deaths in states that implemented physical distancing measures before and after implementation.

The average daily COVID-19 case growth rate began declining 4 days after implementation of the first statewide physical distancing measures, and the epidemic doubling time increased from approximately 4 days to 8 days within 3 weeks of implementation.

"The case growth rate declined by approximately 1% per day beginning 4 days (about 1 incubation period) after statewide social distancing measures were implemented," the authors wrote.
Aug 11 PLOS Medicine study
Aug 11 MGH press release

 

Low path H5N2 outbreaks strike turkey farms in Australia

Animal health officials in Australia reported two low-pathogenic H5N2 outbreaks at turkey farms, marking the country's first detection of the strain in poultry, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported today.

The detections occurred in an area of Victoria state that had been under enhanced surveillance due to recent highly pathogenic H7N7 outbreaks at layer farms. The locations include Lethbridge and Bairnsdale. A Victorian agriculture official said infected turkeys were recently transported from Lethbridge to Bairnsdale. Several thousand turkeys will be destroyed to curb the spread of the virus, and other measures include the placement of a restricted zone around the farms and enhanced control of movement of birds, equipment, and other products within and outside of the affected area.
Aug 11 ABC report

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