Top 10: October 9

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By Christian Hoffmann &
Bernd S. Kamps


This version will undergo additional copyediting, typesetting and review before it is published in its final form, but we are providing the text to give it early visibility.

9 October


Rudberg A, Havervall S, Månberg A, et al. SARS-CoV-2 exposure, symptoms and seroprevalence in healthcare workers in Sweden. Nat Commun 11, 5064 (2020).

High transmission rate among Swedish healthcare workers. Among 2,149 individuals recruited between April 14th and May 8th, the seroprevalence of IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 was 19.1%. Seroprevalence was associated with patient contact (OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.9–4.5) and COVID-19 patient contact (OR 3.3, 95% CI 2.2–5.3). The majority of study participants were women (85%) and the mean age was 44 (SD 12) years. Fifty-three healthcare workers (13%) reported severe symptoms.



Sagar M, Reifler K, Rossi M, et al. Recent endemic coronavirus infection is associated with less severe COVID-19. J Clin Invest. 2020 Sep 30:143380. PubMed: Full-text:

The four endemic coronaviruses (eCoV: HCoV-OC43, -HKU1, -NL63, and -229E), the most common etiologic agents for the seasonal “common cold”, share sequence homology with SARS-CoV-2. Here, Joseph Mizgerd, Manish Sagar and colleagues show that individuals with a previously detected eCoV infection had less severe COVID-19 illness. They report the analysis of 15,928 patients who had at least one CRP-PCR (comprehensive respiratory panel polymerase chain-reaction) test. A positive test was previously detected in 875 of these patients (termed eCoV+), and the remaining 15,053 individuals (classified as eCoV-) never had a documented eCoV infection. The authors suggest that pre-existing immune responses against endemic human coronaviruses can mitigate disease manifestations from SARS-CoV-2 infection.


  eCoV- eCoV+
SARS-CoV-2 tested
(% of total)
1,679 (11.2) 133 (15.2)
SARS-CoV-2+, no.
(% of tested)
437 (26.0) 33 (24.8)
Hospitalized, no.
(% of SARS-CoV-2+)
231 (52.9) 21 (63.6)
Intensive care unit, no.
(% of hospitalized)
65 (28.1) 1 (4.8)
Mechanical ventilation, no.
(% of hospitalized)
38 (16.4) 0 (0)



Yuan S, Wang R, Chan JF, et al. Metallodrug ranitidine bismuth citrate suppresses SARS-CoV-2 replication and relieves virus-associated pneumonia in Syrian hamsters. Nat Microbiol (2020). Full-text:

Metal compounds have sometimes been used as antimicrobial agents. Here, Hongzhe Sun, Shuofeng Yang and colleagues explore their antiviral activities by testing a set of metallodrugs and related compounds. The authors identify the viral helicase as a druggable target and ranitidine bismuth citrate, a commonly used drug for the treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection, as a potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agent, both in vitro and in vivo.


No article 4-10 today. Four hour session at the dentist’s.



If you read French, read Herzberg N. Le Covid-19, une maladie socialement inégalitaire. Le Monde 2020, published 9 October. Full-text:

La première publication de l’enquête EpiCov, lancée par l’Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale (Inserm), avec le concours de la direction de la recherche, des études, de l’évaluation et des statistiques (Drees), de l’Insee et de l’agence de sécurité sanitaire Santé publique France (SpF). Résultat : « un effet cumulatif des inégalités sociales ». Ainsi, « les groupes sociaux les plus concernés par le risque d’exposition, qui adoptent tout autant les gestes barrières, sont aussi ceux qui ont été les plus contaminés par le virus », insiste l’enquête dans sa conclusion. Eux qui enregistrent, par ailleurs, le plus de pathologies associées, « au risque de développer des formes graves de la maladie ». Eux enfin qui ont « connu une dégradation particulièrement marquée de leur situation financière » pendant le confinement.