summer 2020 in Germany

…an outlook into the coming months with SARS-CoV-2

First, we want to point to our recent blog post, where we described how the pandemic is gaining traction worldwide. In several countries, such as the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, India, South Africa, Iran, and Saudi Arabia it is reaching dimensions of human tragedies. Too many politicians in these countries simply ignore the numbers of infection, the facts, and the population.

Chances to impede viral spread by simple means are being missed. In a country with one of the best virologists as an adviser of politicians. Since the 1980s, Anthony Fauci is heading one of the National Institutes of Health. As young scientists we had the chance to see him in action. During his tenure he has given his advice to several U.S. presidents, it is only the current one, who dismisses this expertise. The level of ignorance is mirrored in the daily increasing numbers of new infections, a disaster for the American people.

Here you may see the daily infection numbers: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

The simple measures that can be implemented by everybody include a certain physical distance, the wearing of face masks, and regular hand sanitation. On the level of society, it includes the closing of schools and the ban of mass events. We love to repeat ourselves.

There are some good news in this respect: A Canadian research team has analyzed 172 international studies dealing with the spread of coronaviruses. It turns out that both, physical distancing, and the donning of face masks do indeed significantly reduce viral spread. One surprising finding was the fact that the masks not only protected others but also (albeit to a lesser extent) the wearer.

The combination of distancing and masks exhibited the strongest effect. The authors advice an increase of the distance to 2 meters. These are the facts from a meta-study (1), not a politically motivated estimate.

Less encouraging were the following news: There is more and more evidence for airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission, not just by droplets. This means, virus may stay afloat for a prolonged time in a space without ventilation (2 and 3).

In closed rooms, the risk of infection is higher than out in the open. It all depends on the airflow in the room, on ventilation, and air conditioning. HEPA filters need to be changed regularly. Rooms without airflow may keep aerosols for quite a while. You either avoid such rooms or there are open windows, and face masks.

As suspected from experience with other coronaviruses, immunity after recovery from COVID-19 is not certain. One Munich hospital had treated the first COVID-19 patients in Germany; patients’ immune status was monitored afterwards. Now, news agencies (4) are reporting first results, made public by the head physician. In several patients a strong decline in neutralizing antibodies – which are necessary for protection – was observed. This happened 2 months after disease onset, already. The news are confirming a recent publication in Nature Medicine, which also reported a decline of antibody numbers in recovered patients (5).

Thus, the discussion about the introduction of an immunity passport should be closed. See our blog post (6).

This also has consequences for the currently pushed development of vaccines. Should the immune response decline significantly after a short while, we will have to expect annually recurring epidemics. Such a scenario was mathematically projected in a recent study of the Harvard University (7).

Consequently, everybody may be susceptible to repeated infections.

We are taking the liberty to again advertise SAJO, since the unique SAJO technology is offering the identification and development of broadly acting molecules against viruses and multidrug-resistant bacteria. The technological advantage lies in its speed, saving time and the quality of drugs. These SAJO molecules of a new generation will be available for prophylaxis and acute treatments. (8)

Over the summertime, with many people taking vacations we shall continue the blog based upon demand or necessity, depending on the developments.

Enjoy the summer outdoors and keep the necessary distance. Keep your personal infection risk as low as possible as no one can estimate the long term damage to date.

Should you not be able to keep a distance, do wear a mask. If this reduces your vacation feeling, you might as well consider a less frequented place for vacation.

Yours,

Sabine und Joerg

SAJO – for a healthy and better future!

A heartful thank you to Oliver Hoogvliet for the great cartoon. ollihoo (https://hoogvliet.de)

A heartfelt thank you goes to Michel Kitenge for the amazing background design and the photographs.

Sources:

Since January 2020, scores of studies around COVID-19 have been published, more than 29,000 articles according PubMed (as of July 13, 2020). These include scientific and medical studies as well as comments and opinions. This is making it difficult to separate the relevant ones from the irrelevant. We are focusing on journals that have gained a reputation of prime work. Nevertheless, sometimes we are also grateful for hints.

(1) Chu et al., “Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis”, Lancet 2020 Jun 27;395(10242):1973-1987. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31142-9

(2) Fears SC, Klimstra WB, Duprex P, Hartman A, Weaver SC, Plante KS, et al. Persistence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in aerosol suspensions. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 Sep. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2609.201806

(3) Morawska, L. & Milton, D., Clin. Infect. Dis. 2020 https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa939

(4) several news agencies, DIE ZEIT, Die Süddeutsche Zeitung

(5) Long et al. “Clinical and immunological assessment of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections” Nature Medicine 2020 Jun 18. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0965-6

(6) SAJO Blog Post vom 19. Mai 2020: https://www.sajo-innovation.de/blog/immunity-passport-and-its-impact-on-the-society/

(7) Kissler et al. “Projecting the Transmission Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Through the Postpandemic Period” Science 2020 May 22;368(6493):860-868 https://science.sciencemag.org/content/368/6493/860.long

(8) Informationen zu SAJO finden Sie auf der Homepage und dem Blog: https://www.sajo-innovation.de/blog/sajo-scores-with-high-end-technology/