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Weekly Digest: CDDEP forecasts COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in India; Physical distancing measures to reduce COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, China; DRC needs $20 million to prevent re-emergence of Ebola.

Weekly Digest: CDDEP forecasts COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in India; Physical distancing measures to reduce COVID-19 cases in Wuhan, China; DRC needs $20 million to prevent re-emergence of Ebola.

 CDDEP forecasts COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in India. In India, community transmission of COVID-19 most likely began in early March, CDDEP researchers found using IndiaSIM, a model based on India’s population. Without interventions between 300 and 400 million Indians will likely be infected with the virus by July, the model also found. Most of these cases will be mild, but at the peak (somewhere between April and May 2020), 100 million individuals may be infected. Ten million of those cases will be severe and about 2-4 million will require hospitalization. Generalized social distancing can, in theory, reduce this peak caseload by as much as 75 percent although this may be difficult to enforce in India. Key model parameters included force of infection, age- and gender-specific infection rates, severe infection and case-fatality rates. [CDDEP]

Physical distancing measures to significantly reduce COVID-19 infections in Wuhan, China. In a modeling study, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that maintaining physical distancing measures until April in Wuhan, China, would reduce the median number of COVID-19 infections by 92 percent in mid-2020. Maintaining control measures including workplace and school closures until April would also likely delay the peak of the epidemic. Authors noted that gradually lifting restrictions over time would reduce the burden of a secondary epidemic peak. [The Lancet Public Health]

Study finds 1.4 percent case-fatality rate among symptomatic COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, China. Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health estimated that as of February 29, 2020, the case fatality rate of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China was 1.4 percent (0.9-2.1 percent) among symptomatic patients. Patients over 59 years of age were more than five times more likely to die of the virus compared to patients aged 30-59 years. The study also found that the risk of acquiring symptomatic COVID-19 increased by approximately 4 percent per year among individuals 30-60 years old. [nature]

Novel coronavirus infects children of all ages, more severe among infants than teens. In a retrospective analysis of over 2,000 pediatric COVID-19 patients in China, researchers found that children of all ages are susceptible to the virus, although 90 percent of cases were not severe, and were instead classified as asymptomatic, mild, or moderate. Infants accounted for the highest proportion of severe and critical COVID-19 cases (10.6 percent), followed by children 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, and 16+ years old (7.3, 4.2, 4.1, and 3.0 percent, respectively). [Pediatrics]

COVID-19-related hospitalizations, deaths increase with age in the United States. In a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), researchers analyzed COVID-19 cases in the United States between February 12 and March 16, 2020 and found that novel coronavirus-related hospitalizations, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, and deaths increase with age. The percentage of hospitalizations among individuals with the disease ranged from 2-3 percent among individuals 19 years and younger to 31+ percent among individuals 85 and older. ICU admissions ranged from 3-4 to 11-31 percent among individuals 20-44 and 75-84 years old respectively, and COVID-19-associated deaths ranged from zer0 among those 19 years and younger to 10-27 percent among those 85 and older. [CDC MMWR]

DRC needs $20 million to prevent re-emergence of Ebola. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not reported a new case of Ebola virus disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in six weeks. Although the outbreak is slowing, the WHO recommends maintaining outbreak response for at least 42 days (the equivalent of two incubation periods) before officially declaring the end of the outbreak. The WHO notes that $20 million is urgently needed to fund Ebola response efforts through May, as the DRC has not received new funding for the efforts since December 2019. [WHO]

Antibiotic allergies common among nursing home residents in Australia. Results from a point-prevalence survey of nearly 1,500 nursing home residents identified a high prevalence of antibiotic allergy labels (24 percent) in Australian aged-care facilities. Allergy labels for penicillin were the most common, at 28.3 percent, followed by amoxicillin/ amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, cefalexin, and trimethoprim (10.5, 7.2, and 7.0 percent, respectively). Antibiotic allergy labels were linked to significant decreases in penicillin prescribing as well as significant increases in lincosamide, macrolide, and tetracycline prescribing (p<0.05). Alarmingly, nearly two percent of residents were prescribed an antibiotic that they were allergic to, according to health records. [Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology]

CARB-X funds Microbiotix to develop new antibiotic for resistant gonorrhea. Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Biopharmaceutical Accelerator (CARB-X)is funding nearly three million dollars to Microbiotix, a US-based biopharmaceutical company, to develop a novel antibiotic for the treatment of multidrug-resistant gonorrhea. Upon successful completion of various milestones in the antibiotic development process, CARB-X may fund an additional $16 million to the developer. [CARB-X]

Dengue vaccine proves safe and immunogenic among children in phase 2 trial. A tetravalent dengue vaccine proved safe and immunogenic in a phase two trial of 1800 children living in dengue-endemic countries. After 48 months, dengue was detected in two percent of children randomly assigned to receive the vaccine compared to seven7 percent of children assigned to placebo (relative risk: 0.35 [0.19, 0.65]). No vaccine-related serious adverse events occurred, which provides evidence to support the ongoing phase 3 trial of the dengue vaccine. [The Lancet]

Hospital visitation identified as significant risk factor for measles among adults in China. In a multi-site case-control study between 2012 and 2013, researchers identified healthcare facility exposure as a significant risk factor for measles virus infection among adults in China (calculated attributable fraction of measles cases from hospital visitation: 28.6 percent). The study also identified travel and vaccine hesitancy as risk factors for measles infection and measles susceptibility, respectively. [Vaccine]