Top 10: February 11

Copy-editor: Rob Camp


Paper of the Day

Anderson EM, Goodwin EC, Verma A, et al. Seasonal human coronavirus antibodies are boosted upon SARS-CoV-2 infection but not associated with protection. Cell 2021, published 9 February. Full-text:

The authors show that ~20% of humans possess non-neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. They measured antibodies in a unique cohort: individuals who had donated samples prior to the pandemic and who subsequently became infected with SARS-CoV-2. These antibodies were not associated with protection against SARS-CoV-2 infections or hospitalizations, but they were boosted upon SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Tan AT, Linster M, Tan CW, et al. Early induction of functional SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells associates with rapid viral clearance and mild disease in COVID-19 patients. Cell Rep. 2021 Jan 21:108728. PubMed: Full-text:

Peak viral load is correlated with disease severity – and there is a positive relation between early detection of IFN-γ-secreting SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells and early control of infection. These are the key messages of a study that longitudinally tracked both viral loads and virus-specific T cells. Early antibody responses alone did not distinguish control of virus or disease severity.



Grubaugh ND, Hodcroft EB, Fauber JR, Phelan AL, Cevik M. Public health actions to control new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Cell 2021, published 29 January. Full-text:

The emergence of more transmissible variants will exacerbate the pandemic and reduce the efficacy of some vaccines. Nathan D. Grubaugh and colleagues provide public health guidance for increased surveillance and measures to reduce community transmission. Much of this article uses the B117 variant as an example, but similar principles can be applied to other SARS-CoV-2 variants, including B1351 and P1.


Chen YH, Glymour M, Riley A, et al. Excess mortality associated with the COVID-19 pandemic among Californians 18–65 years of age, by occupational sector and occupation: March through October 2020. MedRxiv 2021, posted 22 January. Full-text:

Risk ratios for mortality comparing pandemic time to non-pandemic time were highest among cooks (RR=1.60), packaging and filling machine operators (RR=1.59), miscellaneous agricultural workers (RR=1.55), bakers (RR=1.50), and construction laborers (RR=1.49).



Lachassinne E, de Pontual L, Caseris M, et al. SARS-CoV-2 transmission among children and staff in daycare centres during a nationwide lockdown in France: a cross-sectional, multicentre, seroprevalence study. Lancet Child Adolesc Health, published 8 February. Full-text:

During a nationwide lockdown in France in June 2020, the authors enrolled 327 children (mean age 1,9 [SD 0,9] years; range 5 months to 4,4 years), 197 daycare center staff (mean age 40 [12] years), and 164 adults in a comparator group. An exploratory analysis suggested that seropositive children were more likely than seronegative children to have been exposed to an adult household member with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. Intra-family transmission seemed more plausible than transmission within daycare centers.


Liu H, He S, Shen L, Hong J. Simulation-based study of COVID-19 outbreak associated with air-conditioning in a restaurant featured. Physics of Fluids 33, 023301 (2021). Full-text:

COVID-19 is transmitted via droplets and virus-carrying aerosols. Here, Han Liu et al. conducted a systematic computational fluid dynamics (CFD)-based investigation of indoor airflow and the associated aerosol transport in a restaurant setting. They provide a spatial map of the airborne infection risk in the restaurant under different air conditioning and thermal settings.



Reddy S. Double Face Masks? N95? Protect Yourself Against New Covid-19 Variants With These Mask Upgrades. WSJ 2021, published 4 February. Full-text:

As new, more-contagious coronavirus variants circulate, doctors say it’s important to improve the effectiveness of your mask practices—such as by “double masking”, to wear two at once. Numerous studies have found that masks help protect the wearers as well as those around them from the virus that causes COVID-19.


Tan IB, Tan C, Hsu LY, et al. Prevalence and Outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Migrant Workers in Singapore. JAMA. 2021 Feb 9;325(6):584-585. PubMed: Full-text:

Singapore 2020: 200.000 migrant workers exposed to SARS-CoV-2, 111.000 confirmed infections, 20 ICU patients, 1 death. How did they acheive that? Mass testing and isolation.


Severe COVID

Liu L, Xie J, Wu W, et al. A simple nomogram for predicting failure of non-invasive respiratory strategies in adults with COVID-19: a retrospective multicentre study. Lancet Digital Health 2021, published 8 February. Full-text:

The authors developed and validated a nomogram and online calculator for the early prediction of non-invasive respiratory strategies (NIRS) failure in patients with COVID-19. These patients might benefit from early triage and more intensive monitoring. The nomogram, based on age, number of co-morbidities, ROX index, Glasgow coma scale score, and use of vasopressors on day 1 of NIRS, had a discriminatory ability (C-statistic) of 0,84 (95% CI: 0,81–0,87) in predicting NIRS failure. Patients in whom NIRS fails have a high risk of death.



Williams R. Coronavirus Brain Breach. Biomedical Picture of the Day, posted 8 January. Link:

This image shows the virus responsible for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 (red), in the act of infecting and killing human brain cells, with dead cells shown in green. The cells aren’t those of a patient’s brain of course, which would be impossible… | Continue reading at


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