SciCombinator

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1779

SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells will likely prove critical for long-term immune protection against COVID-19. Here, we systematically mapped the functional and phenotypic landscape of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses in unexposed individuals, exposed family members, and individuals with acute or convalescent COVID-19. Acute-phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells displayed a highly activated cytotoxic phenotype that correlated with various clinical markers of disease severity, whereas convalescent-phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were polyfunctional and displayed a stem-like memory phenotype. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detectable in antibody-seronegative exposed family members and convalescent individuals with a history of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19. Our collective dataset shows that SARS-CoV-2 elicits broadly directed and functionally replete memory T cell responses, suggesting that natural exposure or infection may prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19.

1754

Reports suggest that children aged ≥10 years can efficiently transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (1,2). However, limited data are available on SARS-CoV-2 transmission from young children, particularly in child care settings (3). To better understand transmission from young children, contact tracing data collected from three COVID-19 outbreaks in child care facilities in Salt Lake County, Utah, during April 1-July 10, 2020, were retrospectively reviewed to explore attack rates and transmission patterns. A total of 184 persons, including 110 (60%) children had a known epidemiologic link to one of these three facilities. Among these persons, 31 confirmed COVID-19 cases occurred; 13 (42%) in children. Among pediatric patients with facility-associated confirmed COVID-19, all had mild or no symptoms. Twelve children acquired COVID-19 in child care facilities. Transmission was documented from these children to at least 12 (26%) of 46 nonfacility contacts (confirmed or probable cases). One parent was hospitalized. Transmission was observed from two of three children with confirmed, asymptomatic COVID-19. Detailed contact tracing data show that children can play a role in transmission from child care settings to household contacts. Having SARS-CoV-2 testing available, timely results, and testing of contacts of persons with COVID-19 in child care settings regardless of symptoms can help prevent transmission. CDC guidance for child care programs recommends the use of face masks, particularly among staff members, especially when children are too young to wear masks, along with hand hygiene, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, and staying home when ill to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission (4).

1506

Large indoor gatherings pose a high risk for transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and have the potential to be super-spreading events (1,2). Such events are associated with explosive growth, followed by sustained transmission (3). During August 7-September 14, 2020, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (MeCDC) investigated a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a wedding reception attended by 55 persons in a rural Maine town. In addition to the community outbreak, secondary and tertiary transmission led to outbreaks at a long-term care facility 100 miles away and at a correctional facility approximately 200 miles away. Overall, 177 COVID-19 cases were epidemiologically linked to the event, including seven hospitalizations and seven deaths (four in hospitalized persons). Investigation revealed noncompliance with CDC’s recommended mitigation measures. To reduce transmission, persons should avoid large gatherings, practice physical distancing, wear masks, stay home when ill, and self-quarantine after exposure to a person with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Persons can work with local health officials to increase COVID-19 awareness and determine the best policies for organizing social events to prevent outbreaks in their communities.

1483

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiology of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is readily transmitted person to person. Optimal control of COVID-19 depends on directing resources and health messaging to mitigation efforts that are most likely to prevent transmission, but the relative importance of such measures has been disputed.

1445

Wearing masks is a CDC-recommended* approach to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by reducing the spread of respiratory droplets into the air when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks and by reducing the inhalation of these droplets by the wearer. On July 2, 2020, the governor of Kansas issued an executive order† (state mandate), effective July 3, requiring masks or other face coverings in public spaces. CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment analyzed trends in county-level COVID-19 incidence before (June 1-July 2) and after (July 3-August 23) the governor’s executive order among counties that ultimately had a mask mandate in place and those that did not. As of August 11, 24 of Kansas’s 105 counties did not opt out of the state mandate§ or adopted their own mask mandate shortly before or after the state mandate was issued; 81 counties opted out of the state mandate, as permitted by state law, and did not adopt their own mask mandate. After the governor’s executive order, COVID-19 incidence (calculated as the 7-day rolling average number of new daily cases per 100,000 population) decreased (mean decrease of 0.08 cases per 100,000 per day; net decrease of 6%) among counties with a mask mandate (mandated counties) but continued to increase (mean increase of 0.11 cases per 100,000 per day; net increase of 100%) among counties without a mask mandate (nonmandated counties). The decrease in cases among mandated counties and the continued increase in cases in nonmandated counties adds to the evidence supporting the importance of wearing masks and implementing policies requiring their use to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (1-6). Community-level mitigation strategies emphasizing wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, staying at home when ill, and enhancing hygiene practices can help reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

1364

To assess the role of in-flight transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), we investigated a cluster of cases among passengers on a 10-hour commercial flight. Affected persons were passengers, crew, and their close contacts. We traced 217 passengers and crew to their final destinations and interviewed, tested, and quarantined them. Among the 16 persons in whom SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected, 12 (75%) were passengers seated in business class along with the only symptomatic person (attack rate 62%). Seating proximity was strongly associated with increased infection risk (risk ratio 7.3, 95% CI 1.2-46.2). We found no strong evidence supporting alternative transmission scenarios. In-flight transmission that probably originated from 1 symptomatic passenger caused a large cluster of cases during a long flight. Guidelines for preventing SARS-CoV-2 infection among air passengers should consider individual passengers' risk for infection, the number of passengers traveling, and flight duration.

1338

Vaccines are needed to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and to protect persons who are at high risk for complications. The mRNA-1273 vaccine is a lipid nanoparticle-encapsulated mRNA-based vaccine that encodes the prefusion stabilized full-length spike protein of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes Covid-19.

1206

The transmission mode of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is primarily known as droplet transmission. However, a recent argument has emerged about the possibility of airborne transmission. On June 17, there was a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Korea associated with long distance droplet transmission.

1150

Guidelines from the CDC and the WHO recommend the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19); however, the protective efficiency of such masks against airborne transmission of infectious severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2) droplets/aerosols is unknown. Here, we developed an airborne transmission simulator of infectious SARS-CoV-2-containing droplets/aerosols produced by human respiration and coughs and assessed the transmissibility of the infectious droplets/aerosols and the ability of various types of face masks to block the transmission. We found that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks all have a protective effect with respect to the transmission of infective droplets/aerosols of SARS-CoV-2 and that the protective efficiency was higher when masks were worn by a virus spreader. Importantly, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) were not able to completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when completely sealed. Our data will help medical workers understand the proper use and performance of masks and determine whether they need additional equipment to protect themselves from infected patients.IMPORTANCE Airborne simulation experiments showed that cotton masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks provide some protection from the transmission of infective SARS-CoV-2 droplets/aerosols; however, medical masks (surgical masks and even N95 masks) could not completely block the transmission of virus droplets/aerosols even when sealed.

1063

Following its emergence in late 2019, SARS-CoV-2 has caused a global pandemic resulting in unprecedented efforts to reduce transmission and develop therapies and vaccines (WHO Emergency Committee, 2020; Zhu et al ., 2020). Rapidly generated viral genome sequences have allowed the spread of the virus to be tracked via phylogenetic analysis (Hadfield et al ., 2018; Pybus et al ., 2020; Worobey et al ., 2020). While the virus spread globally in early 2020 before borders closed, intercontinental travel has since been greatly reduced, allowing continent-specific variants to emerge. However, within Europe travel resumed in the summer of 2020, and the impact of this travel on the epidemic is not well understood. Here we report on a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant, 20A.EU1, that emerged in Spain in early summer, and subsequently spread to multiple locations in Europe, accounting for the majority of sequences by autumn. We find no evidence of increased transmissibility of this variant, but instead demonstrate how rising incidence in Spain, resumption of travel across Europe, and lack of effective screening and containment may explain the variant’s success. Despite travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, we estimate 20A.EU1 was introduced hundreds of times to countries across Europe by summertime travellers, likely undermining local efforts to keep SARS-CoV-2 cases low. Our results demonstrate how genomic surveillance is critical to understanding how travel can impact SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and thus for informing future containment strategies as travel resumes.