Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Nov. 9, 2020 – Nov. 13, 2020.
The New York Times (11/8, Kolata) reports that recent studies, two published in JAMA Internal Medicine and one published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have questioned the notion that some people with COVID-19 die from cytokine storms, specifically caused by interleukin-6 (IL-6). Earlier this year, scientists hypothesized that some patients with COVID-19 died from an overreactive immune system that successfully eliminated the virus, as evidenced by the relative lack of SARS-CoV-2 in these patients, but then remained active fatally damaging tissues and organs. However, recent studies suggest that IL-6 levels are not elevated in patients with COVID-19 and drugs (e.g. tocilizumab) aimed at blocking IL-6 are not effective in treating such patients, which raises questions about the notion that IL-6 cytokine storms are causing the deaths of patients with COVID-19. To view the studies, click here, here and here.
Reuters (11/9, Beasley) reports the Food and Drug Administration authorized on Monday emergency use of Eli Lilly’s “COVID-19 antibody treatment for non-hospitalized patients older than 65 or who have certain chronic medical conditions.” The FDA found that clinical trials indicated the treatment, bamlanivimab, “reduced the need for hospitalization or emergency room visits in high-risk COVID-19 patients.”
The AP (11/9, Perrone) reports the FDA “cleared the experimental drug from Eli Lilly for people 12 and older with mild or moderate COVID-19 not requiring hospitalization.” The treatment is administered once by means of an IV.
CNN (11/9, Fox, Christensen) reports the treatment “must be infused in a hospital or other health care setting” and “is the first monoclonal antibody to be authorized for use in treating coronavirus.”
NBC News (11/10, Edwards) reports that Eli Lilly “has already begun manufacturing the drug, and it said it could have as many as 1 million doses available by the end of the year.”
The Washington Post (11/10, Guarino, Achenbach) reports, “Restaurants, gyms and coffee shops rank high among locations where the coronavirus is most likely to spread outside the home,” according to a study published in Nature. The study’s authors analyzed “data from millions of Americans, tracked by their phones as they went about daily life during the pandemic’s first wave.”
Bloomberg (11/10, Brown) reports the study’s authors from Stanford University and Northwestern University “used mobile phone data from 98 million people to model the risks of infection at different locations.” Using the data, the study’s authors predicted the impact of reopening certain establishments on coronavirus transmission. For example, the researchers predicted that if Chicago’s “restaurants were reopened at full capacity, they would generate almost 600,000 new infections, three times as many as with other categories.”
The New York Times (11/11, Carey) reports, “Young, healthy people who contract the coronavirus are often asymptomatic, very rarely need hospital care and can transmit the virus to a roommate unwittingly even when following strict quarantine orders, according to two new studies” published in the New England Journal of Medicine. These “findings support the need for strong measures, like daily testing, that go beyond the temperature checks and symptom reporting now commonly deployed to prevent transmission in offices, dormitories and other group settings, the authors said.”
CNN (11/12, Maxouris, Yan, Vera) reports that the CDC “predicts there will be 260,000 to 282,000 coronavirus deaths by December 5, according to a forecast published Thursday.” There “are currently at least 10.5 million cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and more than 242,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data.” Unlike some individual models, the CDC’s “ensemble forecast is based on a group of forecasts the CDC received and only offers projections a few weeks into the future.”
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Table of Contents
- New studies raise questions about whether cytokine storms are responsible for the deaths of patients with COVID-19
- FDA authorizes emergency use for Eli Lilly COVID-19 antibody treatment
- Study says restaurants, gyms, and coffee shops rank high as locations for coronavirus transmission outside the home
- Young, healthy people with coronavirus often asymptomatic but can still transmit virus unwittingly, studies suggest
- CDC forecast predicts as many as 282,000 COVID-19 deaths by early December