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Expert opinion: COVID-19 vaccine rollout unlikely before fall 2021: But many experts surveyed also believe vaccine development will take place at an accelerated rate – Science Daily

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Experts working in the field of vaccine development tend to believe that an effective vaccine is not likely to be available for the general public before the fall of 2021. In a paper published this week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, a McGill-led team published the results of a recent survey of 28 experts working in vaccinology.

The survey was carried out in late June 2020. The majority of those surveyed were mostly Canadian or American academics with an average of 25 years of experience working in the field.

“Experts in our survey offered forecasts on vaccine development that were generally less optimistic than the timeline of early 2021 offered by US public officials. In general they seem to believe that a publicly available vaccine next summer is the best-case scenario with the possibility that it may take until 2022,” said Jonathan Kimmelman, a James McGill professor and the director of the Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill University and the senior author on the paper.

Many experts also believe that there may be some false starts before an effective vaccine is available. “The experts we surveyed believe that there is a 1 in 3 chance that the vaccine will receive a safety warning label after approval, and a 4 in 10 chance that the first large field study will not report efficacy,” added Patrick Kane, the lead author, who is a decision scientist and postdoctoral fellow at McGill University.

Predicting timelines for vaccine development

Experts were asked to make timeline forecasts for three milestones in vaccine development. More specifically, experts were asked for their best, soonest, and latest estimates for when each of the following milestone would occur:

1. Question: When will a vaccine be available to the general public in the USA and/or Canada?

Answers:

  • best guess = September/October 2021 (average)
  • soonest = June 2021 (average)
  • latest = July 2022 (average)

2. Question: When will a field study with at least 5000 participants report results?

Answers:

  • best guess = March 2021 (average)
  • soonest = December 2020 (average)
  • latest = July 2021 (average)

3. Question: When will a vaccine be available to those at highest risk from the virus in the USA and/or Canada?

Answers:

  • best guess = March/April 2021 (average)
  • soonest = February 2021 (average)
  • latest = December 2021 (average)

The researchers believe that this kind of approach, where people are asked to suggest a range of responses provides a more complete picture of the range of expert belief than media quotes from individuals.

Likelihood of setbacks

The study also showed that about 1/3 of those surveyed believe that vaccine development is likely to face may face the following setbacks:

1. that the first vaccine widely deployed in the USA and/or Canada will receive a boxed warning from the FDA to highlight serious or life-threatening adverse reactions; or

2. that the first large field trial in the USA and/or Canada will report a null or negative result in terms of efficacy.

“Our study finds that experts are largely in agreement about the timeline for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine,” says Stephen Broomell, an associate professor at the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Carnegie Mellon University. “While this does not track with many overly optimistic government projections, it reflects a belief that researchers are indeed on a faster pace to development compared to previous vaccines.”

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Materials provided by McGill University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Coronavirus: About 20% of grocery store workers in Boston had COVID-19, and most were asymptomatic, study found – WABC-TV

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Grocery store work in Boston puts employees at serious risk for infection, a new study found, particularly those who have to interact with customers.

These workers likely became a “significant transmission source” for COVID-19 without even knowing it because most in the study were asymptomatic.

The analysis, published Thursday in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, is the first to demonstrate the significant asymptomatic infection rate, exposure risks and psychological distress grocery workers have felt during the pandemic.

In the study, 20% of the 104 grocery workers tested at a store in Boston in May had positive nasal swab tests.

This was a significantly higher rate of infection than what was seen in the surrounding communities, the researchers said. Workers who dealt with customers were five times as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as colleagues in other positions.

Myths about COVID-19 busted: Masks, indoor transmission, cold weather, and more

But three out of four of those who tested positive had no symptoms.

“We were definitely surprised to see that there were that many people that were asymptomatic,” said Dr. Justin Yang, an assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine and a researcher at Harvard School of Public Health who worked on the study. “This is definitely very alarming as it means that retail grocery store employees are exposed to customers and sort of serve as a middleman for the virus – like a super spreader almost.”

Workers in the study had tried to take precautions. Nearly all, 91%, said they wore a face mask at work and 77% said they also wore masks outside of work. Yet only about 66% said they were able to practice social distancing consistently on the job.

This inability to social distance had an emotional, as well as a physical impact. Nearly a quarter of the people in customer service jobs said they had problems with anxiety and depression compared to 8% of workers who did not have to interact with customers. Employees who commuted to work by bike, car or by walking were less likely to experience depression than those who used public transportation, the study found.

“If you are in an environment when you’re literally in front of a customer, you can’t be more than six feet and that is really stressful for essential employees,” Yang said.

At least 108 grocery workers have died and more than 16,300 have been infected or exposed to Covid-19, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, or UFCW, said Thursday. The union represents 1.3 million employees.

The rates of infection among the workers in this study do seem high, Yang said. By comparison, an earlier study of Covid-19 infections among Dutch health care workers found the infection rate was about 10%.

Yang said he hopes this study prompts the government and store owners to provide better guidance, routine testing and protection for grocery store workers.

There has been a national movement to designate grocery workers as first responders which would give them priority access to testing and personal protective equipment.

In an editorial for CNN in August, Marc Perrone, the President of UFCW and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris argued that grocery workers should also get hazard pay.

Non-union grocery workers often have little to no healthcare coverage, meaning they could potentially face expensive health care bills if they contracted COVID-19.

Some states have increased support for grocery workers by increasing access to childcare and requiring shoppers to wear masks. Three states offer free testing for these workers and four offer worker’s compensation, according to UFCW, but none of the states provide the full first responder status to grocery workers, and rules are inconsistent from state-to-state.

“We spend a lot of time talking about healthcare workers, and they are important, but we’re missing a lot of the pieces of the puzzle if we don’t look at non-health care workers exposure,” Yang said. “Their voices are really not being heard. I thought it was important to get this published so government agencies and store owners could take note of this and see that they should be protecting their employees more.”

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This Weird COVID Symptom Could Last Five Months, Study Shows – Yahoo Canada Shine On

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This Weird COVID Symptom Could Last Five Months, Study Shows

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A new analysis of COVID "long haulers" has found that they may have skin symptoms for months—including the strange phenomenon "COVID toes," which one man had for almost six months. The analysis looked at nearly 1,000 COVID patients from 39 countries. Patients reported a number of skin-related symptoms, and the average duration was 12 days. But some conditions lasted much longer. Read on to learn more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.” data-reactid=”19″>A new analysis of COVID “long haulers” has found that they may have skin symptoms for months—including the strange phenomenon “COVID toes,” which one man had for almost six months. The analysis looked at nearly 1,000 COVID patients from 39 countries. Patients reported a number of skin-related symptoms, and the average duration was 12 days. But some conditions lasted much longer. Read on to learn more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.

COVID Toes Could Last For Months

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""When we started looking at symptom duration, some of these patients are having really incredibly long-lasting symptoms," Dr. Esther Freeman, the principal investigator of the registry and the director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told NBC News. "In particular, we saw that with chilblains, also known as COVID toes, where they’ve been having skin symptoms for more than 60 days."” data-reactid=”21″>“When we started looking at symptom duration, some of these patients are having really incredibly long-lasting symptoms,” Dr. Esther Freeman, the principal investigator of the registry and the director of Global Health Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, told NBC News. “In particular, we saw that with chilblains, also known as COVID toes, where they’ve been having skin symptoms for more than 60 days.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="One patient had COVID toes for 130 days, and another had the condition for more than 150 days, the study said.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”22″>One patient had COVID toes for 130 days, and another had the condition for more than 150 days, the study said. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""They’ve had toe swelling and toe discoloration and toe pain for many months," said Freeman. "They’ve had this really kind of persistent inflammation."&nbsp;” data-reactid=”23″>“They’ve had toe swelling and toe discoloration and toe pain for many months,” said Freeman. “They’ve had this really kind of persistent inflammation.” 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get” data-reactid=”24″>RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get

Skin Symptoms a Common Sign of COVID

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Other studies have shown that up to 20% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 report skin changes as part of their illness, including a rash, hives or breakouts resembling chicken pox or the scaly plaques of psoriasis. When doctors noticed several patients reported a rash on their feet, "COVID toes" became a common term and a source of curiosity.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”26″>Other studies have shown that up to 20% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 report skin changes as part of their illness, including a rash, hives or breakouts resembling chicken pox or the scaly plaques of psoriasis. When doctors noticed several patients reported a rash on their feet, “COVID toes” became a common term and a source of curiosity. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Overall, COVID-related skin changes are so common that researchers behind the COVID Symptom Study say they should be considered a fourth key sign of COVID-19, along with fever, cough and loss of smell or taste.” data-reactid=”27″>Overall, COVID-related skin changes are so common that researchers behind the COVID Symptom Study say they should be considered a fourth key sign of COVID-19, along with fever, cough and loss of smell or taste.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The coronavirus has been observed to cause inflammation throughout the body, including in the lungs, heart and brain. COVID toes seem to be connected to this inflammatory process. "This data adds to our knowledge about how COVID-19 can affect multiple different organ systems, even after patients have recovered from their acute infection," said Freeman in a press release about the new study. "The skin can provide a visual window into inflammation that may be going on elsewhere in the body."” data-reactid=”28″>The coronavirus has been observed to cause inflammation throughout the body, including in the lungs, heart and brain. COVID toes seem to be connected to this inflammatory process. “This data adds to our knowledge about how COVID-19 can affect multiple different organ systems, even after patients have recovered from their acute infection,” said Freeman in a press release about the new study. “The skin can provide a visual window into inflammation that may be going on elsewhere in the body.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says You Don’t Have to Do This Anymore to Avoid COVID” data-reactid=”29″>RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says You Don’t Have to Do This Anymore to Avoid COVID

What to Do About COVID Toes

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to the American Academy of Dermatology, children, teenagers, and young adults are most likely to develop COVID toes. Many never develop other symptoms of COVID-19, and when they do, symptoms tend to be mild. Applying a hydrocortisone cream to the affected area can reduce pain or itching.” data-reactid=”31″>According to the American Academy of Dermatology, children, teenagers, and young adults are most likely to develop COVID toes. Many never develop other symptoms of COVID-19, and when they do, symptoms tend to be mild. Applying a hydrocortisone cream to the affected area can reduce pain or itching.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, including an unexplained skin rash, it’s best to contact your doctor for advice.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”32″>If you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, including an unexplained skin rash, it’s best to contact your doctor for advice. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="And do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.” data-reactid=”33″>And do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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AI can detect COVID-19 by listening to your coughs – Engadget

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It’s easy to be worried when you cough these days — is it COVID-19, or are you just clearing your throat? You might get a clearer answer soon. MIT researchers have developed AI that can recognize forced coughing from people who have COVID-19, even if they’re otherwise asymptomatic. The trick was to develop a slew of neural networks that can distinguish subtle changes indicative of the novel coronavirus’ effects.

One neural network detects sounds associated with vocal strength. Another listens for emotional states that reflect a neurological decline, such as increased frustration or a “flat affect.” A third network, meanwhile, gauges changes in respiratory performance. Throw in an algorithm that checks for muscular degradation (that is, weaker coughs) and it provides a more complete picture of someone’s health.

The AI is highly accurate in early tests. After the team trained its model on tens of thousands of cough and dialog samples, the technology recognized 98.5 percent of coughs from people with confirmed COVID-19 cases. It identified 100 percent of people who were ostensibly asymptomatic, too.

There are clear limits. The technology isn’t meant to diagnose symptomatic people, as they might have other conditions that produce similar behavior. And while it’s quite capable, you wouldn’t want to use this for a definitive verdict on whether or not you’re infected.

This isn’t a theoretical exercise, though. The scientists are developing a “user-friendly” app that could be used as a prescreening tool for the virus. You might only have to cough into your phone each day to determine if it’s safe for you to head outside. The researchers even suggest this could put an end to pandemics if the tool was always listening in the background, although that’s a big “if” when it would likely raise privacy issues.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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