Top 10: January 22

Copy-editor: Rob Camp


Somekh I, Shohat T, Boker LK, Simões EAF, Somekh E. Reopening Schools and the Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Infections in Israel: A Nationwide Study. Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Jan 18:ciab035. PubMed: Full-text:

This analysis does not support that school reopening played a major role in the resurgence of the COVID-19 curve (between March and July 2020) in Israel. Easing restrictions on large scale gatherings was the major influence on this resurgence.


Lewis D. What new COVID variants mean for schools is not yet clear. Nature 21 January 2021,

Read the title out loud. Dyani Lewis summarizes current knowledge. Children are no more susceptible to these lineages than adults are — and closing schools on the basis of incomplete information could have serious repercussions. The debate continues.


Priesemann V, Balling R, Brinkmann MM, et al. An action plan for pan-European defence against new SARS-CoV-2 variants. Lancet January 21, 2021. Full-text:

According to Viola Priesemann and colleagues, core measures to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe are:

  1. Achieve and maintain low case numbers with a clear prevention strategy
  2. Monitor the spread of the virus and of individual variants
  3. Stop the virus before it crosses borders
  4. Protect the vulnerable
  5. Increase the pace of administration of vaccines

The core principles of action are to avoid importing new variants, to prevent their spread, and to improve molecular surveillance. The earlier and more effectively countries act, the earlier the restrictions can be relaxed. All types of measures ought to be coordinated and synchronized across Europe. Every additional reduction of contagion counts, as it reduces the necessary duration of strict measures more than 1:1.


Bartsch M, Bohr F, von Bredow R, et al. Can We Stop a Super Coronavirus? Der Spiegel 2021, published 19 January. Full-text:

The new variants of the coronavirus are even more dangerous than those known so far. Researchers and politicians fear a sharp increase in the number of infections, with dramatic consequences like those seen in Britain. Can Germany still stop the new killers?



Klass P, Ratner AJ. Vaccinating Children against Covid-19 — The Lessons of Measles. NEJM January 20, 2021. Full-text:

Perri Klass and Adam Ratner argue that we need to consider lessons from recent measles epidemics — not only about the power of legislative mandates, but also about their potential for sowing distrust if delivered without careful, sensitive, accurate public health messaging. Communication, people!


Connors M, Graham BS, Lane HC, Fauci AS. SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines: Much Accomplished, Much to Learn. Ann Intern Med. 2021 Jan 19. PubMed: Full-text:

Progress toward effective vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 has proceeded at an unprecedented pace and it is highly likely that vaccination and its subsequent ability to prevent disease will provide critical and life-saving benefit in the coming months and may be one of our surest ways to emerge from this pandemic to a more normal society. However, acknowledging that there is still much to learn while strongly encouraging vaccination is a critical challenge facing health care today.



Khamsi R. Rogue antibodies could be driving severe COVID-19. Nature NEWS FEATURE 19 January 2021. Full-text:

Roxanne Khamsi summarizes the growing evidence that self-attacking ‘autoantibodies’ could be the key to understanding some of the worst cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection.



Goh YS, Chavatte JM, Jieling AL, et al. Sensitive detection of total anti-Spike antibodies and isotype switching in asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Cell Reports January 16, 2021. Full-text:

This flow cytometry assay based on the full-length SARS-CoV-2 S protein (SFB assay) allows the detection of a wider repertoire of antibodies such as antibodies binding to various domains and conformational epitopes of the S protein. Of note, the SFB assay was able to detect 97% of the pre-/asymptomatic infections.


Prince-Guerra JL, Almendares O, Nolen LD, et al. Evaluation of Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid Antigen Test for SARS-CoV-2 Infection at Two Community-Based Testing Sites — Pima County, Arizona, November 3–17, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 19 January 2021. Full-text:

Sensitivity of the BinaxNOW antigen test, compared with polymerase chain reaction testing, was lower when used to test specimens from asymptomatic (35,8%) than from symptomatic (64,2%) persons, but specificity was high. Sensitivity was higher for culture-positive specimens (92,6% and 78,6% for those from symptomatic and asymptomatic persons, respectively); however, some antigen test-negative specimens had culturable virus.



Cohen MS. Monoclonal antibodies to disrupt progression of early Covid-19 infection. NEJM January 21, 2021; 384: 289-91.

Editorial, summarizing the two trials on the REGN-CoV-2 cocktail (casirivimab and imdevimab) and Lilly’s mAb bamlanivimab. Both trials were done in outpatients with early infection and showed “some” clinical benefit. However, Myron S. Cohen from Chapel Hill considers the findings from these trials “provocative and promising”. Read why.

Weinreich DM, Sivapalasingam S, Norton T, et al. REGN-COV2, a Neutralizing Antibody Cocktail, in Outpatients with Covid-19. NEJM December 17, 2020, Full-text:

Chen P, Nirula A, Heller B, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody LY-CoV555 in Outpatients with Covid-19. N Engl J Med 2020, published 28 October. Full-text:


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