Publications by authors named "Megan Wallace"

104 Publications

Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Persons Aged ≥16 Years: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices - United States, September 2021.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021 Sep 24;70(38):1344-1348. Epub 2021 Sep 24.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) is a lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside mRNA vaccine encoding the prefusion spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine consists of 2 intramuscular doses (30 μg, 0.3 mL each) administered 3 weeks apart. In December 2020, the vaccine was granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as an interim recommendation for use among persons aged ≥16 years by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) (1). In May 2021, the EUA and interim ACIP recommendations for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were extended to adolescents aged 12-15 years (2). During December 14, 2020-September 1, 2021, approximately 211 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the United States.* On August 23, 2021, FDA approved a Biologics License Application for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty (Pfizer, Inc.), in persons aged ≥16 years (3). The ACIP COVID-19 Vaccines Work Group's conclusions regarding the evidence for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were presented to ACIP at a public meeting on August 30, 2021. To guide its deliberations regarding the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, ACIP used the Evidence to Recommendation (EtR) Framework, and incorporated a Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. In addition to initial clinical trial data, ACIP considered new information gathered in the 8 months since issuance of the interim recommendation for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, including additional follow-up time in the clinical trial, real-world vaccine effectiveness studies, and postauthorization vaccine safety monitoring. The additional information increased certainty that benefits from prevention of asymptomatic infection, COVID-19, and associated hospitalization and death outweighs vaccine-associated risks. On August 30, 2021, ACIP issued a recommendation for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥16 years for the prevention of COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7038e2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8459897PMC
September 2021

The discovery, distribution, and diversity of DNA viruses associated with in Europe.

Virus Evol 2021 Jan 1;7(1):veab031. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

The European Drosophila Population Genomics Consortium (DrosEU).

is an important model for antiviral immunity in arthropods, but very few DNA viruses have been described from the family Drosophilidae. This deficiency limits our opportunity to use natural host-pathogen combinations in experimental studies, and may bias our understanding of the virome. Here, we report fourteen DNA viruses detected in a metagenomic analysis of 6668 pool-sequenced , sampled from forty-seven European locations between 2014 and 2016. These include three new nudiviruses, a new and divergent entomopoxvirus, a virus related to Leptopilina boulardi filamentous virus, and a virus related to Musca domestica salivary gland hypertrophy virus. We also find an endogenous genomic copy of galbut virus, a double-stranded RNA partitivirus, segregating at very low frequency. Remarkably, we find that Drosophila Vesanto virus, a small DNA virus previously described as a bidnavirus, may be composed of up to twelve segments and thus represent a new lineage of segmented DNA viruses. Two of the DNA viruses, Drosophila Kallithea nudivirus and Drosophila Vesanto virus are relatively common, found in 2 per cent or more of wild flies. The others are rare, with many likely to be represented by a single infected fly. We find that virus prevalence in Europe reflects the prevalence seen in publicly available datasets, with Drosophila Kallithea nudivirus and Drosophila Vesanto virus the only ones commonly detectable in public data from wild-caught flies and large population cages, and the other viruses being rare or absent. These analyses suggest that DNA viruses are at lower prevalence than RNA viruses in , and may be less likely to persist in laboratory cultures. Our findings go some way to redressing an earlier bias toward RNA virus studies in , and lay the foundation needed to harness the power of as a model system for the study of DNA viruses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ve/veab031DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8363768PMC
January 2021

Increased end-expiratory pressures improve lung function in near-term newborn rabbits with elevated airway liquid volume at birth.

J Appl Physiol (1985) 2021 Sep 5;131(3):997-1008. Epub 2021 Aug 5.

School of Physics and Astronomy, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Approximately 53% of near-term newborns admitted to intensive care experience respiratory distress. These newborns are commonly delivered by cesarean section and have elevated airway liquid volumes at birth, which can cause respiratory morbidity. We investigated the effect of providing respiratory support with a positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 8 cmHO on lung function in newborn rabbit kittens with elevated airway liquid volumes at birth. Near-term rabbits (30 days; term = 32 days) with airway liquid volumes that corresponded to vaginal delivery (∼7 mL/kg, control, = 11) or cesarean section [∼37 mL/kg; elevated liquid (EL), = 11] were mechanically ventilated (tidal volume = 8 mL/kg). The PEEP was changed after lung aeration from 0 to 8 to 0 cmHO (control, = 6; EL, = 6), and in a separate group of kittens, PEEP was changed after lung aeration from 8 to 0 to 8 cmHO (control, = 5; EL, = 5). Lung function (ventilator parameters, compliance, lung gas volumes, and distribution of gas within the lung) was evaluated using plethysmography and synchrotron-based phase-contrast X-ray imaging. EL kittens initially receiving 0 cmHO PEEP had reduced functional residual capacities and lung compliance, requiring higher inflation pressures to aerate the lung compared with control kittens. Commencing ventilation with 8 cmHO PEEP mitigated the adverse effects of EL, increasing lung compliance, functional residual capacity, and the uniformity and distribution of lung aeration, but did not normalize aeration of the distal airways. Respiratory support with PEEP supports lung function in near-term newborn rabbits with elevated airway liquid volumes at birth who are at a greater risk of suffering respiratory distress. Term babies born by cesarean section have elevated airway liquid volumes, which predisposes them to respiratory distress. Treatments targeting molecular mechanisms to clear lung liquid are ineffective for term newborn respiratory distress. We showed that respiratory support with an end-expiratory pressure supports lung function in near-term rabbits with elevated airway liquid volumes at birth. This study provides further physiological understanding of lung function in newborns with elevated airway liquid volumes at risk of respiratory distress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00918.2020DOI Listing
September 2021

Postnatal inflammation in ApoE-/- mice is associated with immune training and atherosclerosis.

Clin Sci (Lond) 2021 Aug;135(15):1859-1871

School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia Queensland 4072, Australia.

Background And Aims: Preterm birth is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This may reflect a legacy of inflammatory exposures such as chorioamnionitis which complicate pregnancies delivering preterm, or recurrent early-life infections, which are common in preterm infants. We previously reported that experimental chorioamnionitis followed by postnatal inflammation has additive and deleterious effects on atherosclerosis in ApoE-/- mice. Here, we aimed to investigate whether innate immune training is a contributory inflammatory mechanism in this murine model of atherosclerosis.

Methods: Bone marrow-derived macrophages and peritoneal macrophages were isolated from 13-week-old ApoE-/- mice, previously exposed to prenatal intra-amniotic (experimental choriomanionitis) and/or repeated postnatal (peritoneal) lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Innate immune responses were assessed by cytokine responses following ex vivo stimulation with toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists (LPS, Pam3Cys) and RPMI for 24-h. Bone marrow progenitor populations were studied using flow cytometric analysis.

Results: Following postnatal LPS exposure, bone marrow-derived macrophages and peritoneal macrophages produced more pro-inflammatory cytokines following TLR stimulation than those from saline-treated controls, characteristic of a trained phenotype. Cytokine production ex vivo correlated with atherosclerosis severity in vivo. Prenatal LPS did not affect cytokine production capacity. Combined prenatal and postnatal LPS exposure was associated with a reduction in populations of myeloid progenitor cells in the bone marrow.

Conclusions: Postnatal inflammation results in a trained phenotype in atherosclerosis-prone mice that is not enhanced by prenatal inflammation. If analogous mechanisms occur in humans, then there may be novel early life opportunities to reduce CVD risk in infants with early life infections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/CS20210496DOI Listing
August 2021

Higher CPAP levels improve functional residual capacity at birth in preterm rabbits.

Pediatr Res 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Background: Preterm infants are commonly supported with 4-8 cm HO continuous positive airway pressures (CPAP), although higher CPAP levels may improve functional residual capacity (FRC).

Methods: Preterm rabbits delivered at 29/32 days (~26-28 weeks human) gestation received 0, 5, 8, 12, 15 cm HO of CPAP or variable CPAP of 15 to 5 or 15 to 8 cm HO (decreasing ~2 cm HO/min) for up to 10 min after birth.

Results: FRC was lower in the 0 (6.8 (1.0-11.2) mL/kg) and 5 (10.1 (1.1-16.8) mL/kg) compared to the 15 (18.8 (10.9-22.4) mL/kg) cm HO groups (p = 0.003). Fewer kittens achieved FRC > 15 mL/kg in the 0 (20%), compared to 8 (36%), 12 (60%) and 15 (73%) cm HO groups (p = 0.008). While breathing rates were not different (p = 0.096), apnoea tended to occur more often with CPAP < 8 cm HO (p = 0.185). CPAP belly and lung bulging rates were similar whereas pneumothoraces were rare. Lowering CPAP from 15 to 5, but not 15 to 8 cm HO, decreased FRC and breathing rates.

Conclusion: In all, 15 cm HO of CPAP improved lung aeration and reduced apnoea, but did not increase the risk of lung over-expansion, pneumothorax or CPAP belly immediately after birth. FRC and breathing rates were maintained when CPAP was decreased to 8 cm HO.

Impact: Although preterm infants are commonly supported with 4-8 cm HO CPAP at birth, preclinical studies have shown that higher PEEP levels improve lung aeration. In this study, CPAP levels of 15 cm HO improved lung aeration and reduced apnoea in preterm rabbit kittens immediately after birth. In all, 15 cm HO CPAP did not increase the risk of lung over-expansion (indicated by bulging between the ribs), pneumothorax, or CPAP belly. These results can be used when designing future studies on CPAP strategies for preterm infants in the delivery room.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41390-021-01647-8DOI Listing
July 2021

Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine After Reports of Myocarditis Among Vaccine Recipients: Update from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices - United States, June 2021.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021 Jul 9;70(27):977-982. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

In December 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (BNT162b2) vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 (mRNA-1273) vaccine, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued interim recommendations for their use in persons aged ≥16 years and ≥18 years, respectively. In May 2021, FDA expanded the EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents aged 12-15 years; ACIP recommends that all persons aged ≥12 years receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines encoding the stabilized prefusion spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Both mRNA vaccines were authorized and recommended as a 2-dose schedule, with second doses administered 21 days (Pfizer-BioNTech) or 28 days (Moderna) after the first dose. After reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in mRNA vaccine recipients, which predominantly occurred in young males after the second dose, an ACIP meeting was rapidly convened to review reported cases of myocarditis and pericarditis and discuss the benefits and risks of mRNA COVID-19 vaccination in the United States. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle; if it is accompanied by pericarditis, an inflammation of the thin tissue surrounding the heart (the pericardium), it is referred to as myopericarditis. Hereafter, myocarditis is used to refer to myocarditis, pericarditis, or myopericarditis. On June 23, 2021, after reviewing available evidence including that for risks of myocarditis, ACIP determined that the benefits of using mRNA COVID-19 vaccines under the FDA's EUA clearly outweigh the risks in all populations, including adolescents and young adults. The EUA has been modified to include information on myocarditis after receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The EUA fact sheets should be provided before vaccination; in addition, CDC has developed patient and provider education materials about the possibility of myocarditis and symptoms of concern, to ensure prompt recognition and management of myocarditis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7027e2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8312754PMC
July 2021

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Interim Recommendation for Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in Adolescents Aged 12-15 Years - United States, May 2021.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021 May 21;70(20):749-752. Epub 2021 May 21.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (BNT162b2) vaccine is a lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine encoding the prefusion spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine consists of 2 intramuscular doses (30 μg, 0.3 mL each) administered 3 weeks apart. On December 11, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer, Inc; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) in persons aged ≥16 years (1); on December 12, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued an interim recommendation for use of the vaccine in the same age group (2). As of May 12, 2021, approximately 141.6 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to persons aged ≥16 years.* On May 10, 2021, FDA expanded the EUA for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents aged 12-15 years (1). On May 12, 2021, ACIP issued an interim recommendation for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents aged 12-15 years for the prevention of COVID-19. To guide its deliberations regarding the vaccine, ACIP used the Evidence to Recommendation (EtR) Framework, using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. The ACIP recommendation for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥12 years under an EUA is interim and will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7020e1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8136423PMC
May 2021

The experiences, attitudes and understanding of research amongst medical students at an Australian medical school.

BMC Med Educ 2021 May 10;21(1):267. Epub 2021 May 10.

School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Research engagement plays an integral role in developing clinicians that practice effective, evidence-based medicine. Research participation by clinicians, however, is declining. Given the link between research during medical school and future research output, promotion of medical student research is one avenue by which this shortage can be addressed. Student research attitudes and participation in Australia are not well-documented in the literature. This study therefore aims to investigate research practices, motivators, and barriers amongst Australian medical students in order to determine whether there is a need for further integration of research within Australian medical school curriculums.

Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to explore research experience and attitudes, as well as the enablers and barriers to research amongst students enrolled in all years of the five-year medical course at Monash University. A questionnaire was created by combining questions from several surveys on medical student research and comprised Likert scales, multiple choice options and free-text responses assessing research experience, attitudes, motivators, and barriers.

Results: Seven hundred and four respondents (69.4% female; survey response rate 36.7%) reported variable research experience and interest. Less than half of the cohort (n = 296; 44.9%) had contributed to a research project. Increasing employability for specialty training programs was the primary motivating factor (n = 345; 51.9%) for pursuing research, with only 20.5% (n = 136) citing an interest in academia as a motivator. Time constraints (n = 460; 65.3%) and uncertainty surrounding how to find research opportunities (n = 449; 63.8%) were the most common barriers to research.

Conclusions: Medical students at Monash University are interested in but have limited experience with research. Students are, however, primarily motivated by the prospect of increasing employability for specialist training; medical schools should therefore focus on encouraging intrinsic motivation for pursuing research. Greater integration of research education and opportunities within medical school curricula may also be required to provide students with the skills necessary to both pursue research and practice evidence-based medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12909-021-02713-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8108334PMC
May 2021

Updated Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for Use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine After Reports of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Among Vaccine Recipients - United States, April 2021.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021 Apr 30;70(17):651-656. Epub 2021 Apr 30.

On February 27, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Janssen COVID-19 (Ad.26.COV2.S) vaccine (Janssen Biotech, Inc., a Janssen Pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson; New Brunswick, New Jersey), and on February 28, 2021, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued interim recommendations for its use in persons aged ≥18 years (1,2). On April 13, 2021, CDC and FDA recommended a pause in the use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine after reports of six U.S. cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) with thrombocytopenia, a rare thromboembolic syndrome, among Janssen COVID-19 vaccine recipients (3). Two emergency ACIP meetings were rapidly convened to review reported cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) and to consider updated recommendations for use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. On April 23, 2021, after a discussion of the benefits and risks of resuming vaccination, ACIP reaffirmed its interim recommendation for use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in all persons aged ≥18 years under the FDA's EUA, which now includes a warning that rare clotting events might occur after vaccination, primarily among women aged 18-49 years. Patient and provider education about the risk for TTS with the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, especially among women aged <50 years, as well as the availability of alternative COVID-19 vaccines, is required to guide vaccine decision-making and ensure early recognition and clinical management of TTS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7017e4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8084127PMC
April 2021

Identification of placental androgen receptor isoforms in a sheep model of maternal allergic asthma.

Placenta 2021 01 6;104:232-235. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Pregnancy and Development Group, Mater Research Institute-University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Electronic address:

Maternal asthma is known to impact intrauterine growth outcomes, which may be mediated, in part, by altered androgen signalling. Our aim was to explore whether the sheep placenta expresses androgen receptor (AR) isoforms and determine if the differential expression of AR protein isoforms is altered by maternal asthma. Four known AR isoforms were detected (AR-FL, AR-v1, AR-v7, and AR-45), and their expression and subcellular distribution was altered in the presence of maternal allergic asthma. These findings underscore the importance for in vivo models of maternal asthma to delineate molecular patterns that may contribute to feto-placental growth and development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.placenta.2021.01.003DOI Listing
January 2021

Rapid Transmission of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Detention Facility, Louisiana, USA, May-June, 2020.

Emerg Infect Dis 2021 Feb 4;27(2):421-429. Epub 2021 Jan 4.

To assess transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in a detention facility experiencing a coronavirus disease outbreak and evaluate testing strategies, we conducted a prospective cohort investigation in a facility in Louisiana, USA. We conducted SARS-CoV-2 testing for detained persons in 6 quarantined dormitories at various time points. Of 143 persons, 53 were positive at the initial test, and an additional 58 persons were positive at later time points (cumulative incidence 78%). In 1 dormitory, all 45 detained persons initially were negative; 18 days later, 40 (89%) were positive. Among persons who were SARS-CoV-2 positive, 47% (52/111) were asymptomatic at the time of specimen collection; 14 had replication-competent virus isolated. Serial SARS-CoV-2 testing might help interrupt transmission through medical isolation and quarantine. Testing in correctional and detention facilities will be most effective when initiated early in an outbreak, inclusive of all exposed persons, and paired with infection prevention and control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid2702.204158DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7853536PMC
February 2021

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Interim Recommendation for Use of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine - United States, December 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021 Jan 1;69(5152):1653-1656. Epub 2021 Jan 1.

On December 18, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna COVID-19 (mRNA-1273) vaccine (ModernaTX, Inc; Cambridge, Massachusetts), a lipid nanoparticle-encapsulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine encoding the stabilized prefusion spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (1). This vaccine is the second COVID-19 vaccine authorized under an EUA for the prevention of COVID-19 in the United States (2). Vaccination with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine consists of 2 doses (100 μg, 0.5 mL each) administered intramuscularly, 1 month (4 weeks) apart. On December 19, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued an interim recommendation* for use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥18 years for the prevention of COVID-19. To guide its deliberations regarding the vaccine, ACIP employed the Evidence to Recommendation (EtR) Framework, using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Use of all COVID-19 vaccines authorized under an EUA, including the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, should be implemented in conjunction with ACIP's interim recommendations for allocating initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccines (3). The ACIP recommendation for the use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine under EUA is interim and will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm695152e1DOI Listing
January 2021

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Updated Interim Recommendation for Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine - United States, December 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021 Jan 1;69(5152):1657-1660. Epub 2021 Jan 1.

The first vaccines for prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States were authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (1) and recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in December 2020.* However, demand for COVID-19 vaccines is expected to exceed supply during the first months of the national COVID-19 vaccination program. ACIP advises CDC on population groups and circumstances for vaccine use. On December 1, ACIP recommended that 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities be offered COVID-19 vaccination first, in Phase 1a of the vaccination program (2). On December 20, 2020, ACIP recommended that in Phase 1b, vaccine should be offered to persons aged ≥75 years and frontline essential workers (non-health care workers), and that in Phase 1c, persons aged 65-74 years, persons aged 16-64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and essential workers not recommended for vaccination in Phase 1b should be offered vaccine.** These recommendations for phased allocation provide guidance for federal, state, and local jurisdictions while vaccine supply is limited. In its deliberations, ACIP considered scientific evidence regarding COVID-19 epidemiology, ethical principles, and vaccination program implementation considerations. ACIP's recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine allocation are interim and might be updated based on changes in conditions of FDA Emergency Use Authorization, FDA authorization for new COVID-19 vaccines, changes in vaccine supply, or changes in COVID-19 epidemiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm695152e2DOI Listing
January 2021

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Interim Recommendation for Use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine - United States, December 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Dec 18;69(50):1922-1924. Epub 2020 Dec 18.

On December 11, 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 (BNT162b2) vaccine (Pfizer, Inc; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), a lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine encoding the prefusion spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (1). Vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine consists of 2 doses (30 μg, 0.3 mL each) administered intramuscularly, 3 weeks apart. On December 12, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued an interim recommendation* for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥16 years for the prevention of COVID-19. To guide its deliberations regarding the vaccine, ACIP employed the Evidence to Recommendation (EtR) Framework, using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. The recommendation for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be implemented in conjunction with ACIP's interim recommendation for allocating initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccines (2). The ACIP recommendation for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine under EUA is interim and will be updated as additional information becomes available.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6950e2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745957PMC
December 2020

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine - United States, 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Dec 11;69(49):1857-1859. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has led to a global pandemic that has disrupted all sectors of society. Less than 1 year after the SARS-CoV-2 genome was first sequenced, an application* for Emergency Use Authorization for a candidate vaccine has been filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, even if one or more vaccine candidates receive authorization for emergency use, demand for COVID-19 vaccine is expected to exceed supply during the first months of the national vaccination program. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) advises CDC on population groups and circumstances for vaccine use. ACIP convened on December 1, 2020, in advance of the completion of FDA's review of the Emergency Use Authorization application, to provide interim guidance to federal, state, and local jurisdictions on allocation of initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine. ACIP recommended that, when a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by FDA and recommended by ACIP, both 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) be offered vaccination in the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program (Phase 1a**). In its deliberations, ACIP considered scientific evidence of SARS-CoV-2 epidemiology, vaccination program implementation, and ethical principles. The interim recommendation might be updated over the coming weeks based on additional safety and efficacy data from phase III clinical trials and conditions of FDA Emergency Use Authorization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6949e1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7737687PMC
December 2020

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' Ethical Principles for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine - United States, 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Nov 27;69(47):1782-1786. Epub 2020 Nov 27.

To reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its associated impacts on health and society, COVID-19 vaccines are essential. The U.S. government is working to produce and deliver safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the entire U.S. population. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)* has broadly outlined its approach for developing recommendations for the use of each COVID-19 vaccine authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization or licensure (1). ACIP's recommendation process includes an explicit and transparent evidence-based method for assessing a vaccine's safety and efficacy as well as consideration of other factors, including implementation (2). Because the initial supply of vaccine will likely be limited, ACIP will also recommend which groups should receive the earliest allocations of vaccine. The ACIP COVID-19 Vaccines Work Group and consultants with expertise in ethics and health equity considered external expert committee reports and published literature and deliberated the ethical issues associated with COVID-19 vaccine allocation decisions. The purpose of this report is to describe the four ethical principles that will assist ACIP in formulating recommendations for the allocation of COVID-19 vaccine while supply is limited, in addition to scientific data and implementation feasibility: 1) maximize benefits and minimize harms; 2) promote justice; 3) mitigate health inequities; and 4) promote transparency. These principles can also aid state, tribal, local, and territorial public health authorities as they develop vaccine implementation strategies within their own communities based on ACIP recommendations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6947e3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7727606PMC
November 2020

Lack of Serologic Evidence of Infection Among Health Care Personnel and Other Contacts of First 2 Confirmed Patients With COVID-19 in Illinois, 2020.

Public Health Rep 2021 Jan/Feb;136(1):88-96. Epub 2020 Oct 27.

1242 National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Objectives: Widespread global transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), continues. Many questions remain about asymptomatic or atypical infections and transmission dynamics. We used comprehensive contact tracing of the first 2 confirmed patients in Illinois with COVID-19 and serologic SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing to determine whether contacts had evidence of undetected COVID-19.

Methods: Contacts were eligible for serologic follow-up if previously tested for COVID-19 during an initial investigation or had greater-risk exposures. Contacts completed a standardized questionnaire during the initial investigation. We classified exposure risk as high, medium, or low based on interactions with 2 index patients and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Serologic testing used a SARS-CoV-2 spike enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay on serum specimens collected from participants approximately 6 weeks after initial exposure to either index patient. The 2 index patients provided serum specimens throughout their illness. We collected data on demographic, exposure, and epidemiologic characteristics.

Results: Of 347 contacts, 110 were eligible for serologic follow-up; 59 (17% of all contacts) enrolled. Of these, 53 (90%) were health care personnel and 6 (10%) were community contacts. Seventeen (29%) reported high-risk exposures, 15 (25%) medium-risk, and 27 (46%) low-risk. No participant had evidence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The 2 index patients had antibodies detected at dilutions >1:6400 within 4 weeks after symptom onset.

Conclusions: In serologic follow-up of the first 2 known patients in Illinois with COVID-19, we found no secondary transmission among tested contacts. Lack of seroconversion among these contacts adds to our understanding of conditions (ie, use of PPE) under which SARS-CoV-2 infections might not result in transmission and demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing is a useful tool to verify epidemiologic findings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0033354920966064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7856379PMC
December 2020

A realist review of scholarly experiences in medical education.

Med Educ 2021 02 22;55(2):159-166. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

School of Rural Health, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Monash University, Bendigo, VIC, Australia.

Context: Scholarly experiences have been increasingly employed to support the development of scholarly skills for medical students. How the characteristics of the various scholarly experiences contributes to scholarly outcomes or the complexities of how the experiences build skills warrants further exploration.

Objectives: To identify how medical students' scholarly experiences lead to scholarly outcomes under what circumstances.

Methods: A realist review was conducted with a search of Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, Scopus and ERIC databases using the terms "medical student" and "scholarly experience" and related synonyms. Studies involving the engagement of medical students in a range of compulsory scholarly experiences including quality improvement projects, literature reviews and research projects were included. Key data were extracted from studies, and realist analysis was used to identify how contexts and mechanisms led to different outcomes.

Results: From an initial 4590 titles, 28 studies of 22 scholarly experiences were identified. All were primarily focused on research-related scholarly experiences. Organisational research culture that valued research, dedicated time, autonomy and choice of experience were found to be key contexts. Adequately supported and structured experiences where students can see the value of research and quality supervision that builds student's self-efficacy were identified as mechanisms leading to outcomes. Outcomes included increased research skills and attitudes, scholarly outputs (eg publications) and future interest in research or other scholarly endeavours.

Conclusions: The design of scholarly experiences for medical students needs to ensure protected time, adequate supervision and autonomy, to achieve scholarly outcomes. Much of the focus is on research and traditional outcomes with little known about the role or outcomes associated with other scholarly work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/medu.14362DOI Listing
February 2021

Enhanced contact investigations for nine early travel-related cases of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States.

PLoS One 2020 2;15(9):e0238342. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

The COVID-19 Close Contact Investigation Team, United States of America.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the respiratory disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was first identified in Wuhan, China and has since become pandemic. In response to the first cases identified in the United States, close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases were investigated to enable early identification and isolation of additional cases and to learn more about risk factors for transmission. Close contacts of nine early travel-related cases in the United States were identified and monitored daily for development of symptoms (active monitoring). Selected close contacts (including those with exposures categorized as higher risk) were targeted for collection of additional exposure information and respiratory samples. Respiratory samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Four hundred four close contacts were actively monitored in the jurisdictions that managed the travel-related cases. Three hundred thirty-eight of the 404 close contacts provided at least basic exposure information, of whom 159 close contacts had ≥1 set of respiratory samples collected and tested. Across all actively monitored close contacts, two additional symptomatic COVID-19 cases (i.e., secondary cases) were identified; both secondary cases were in spouses of travel-associated case patients. When considering only household members, all of whom had ≥1 respiratory sample tested for SARS-CoV-2, the secondary attack rate (i.e., the number of secondary cases as a proportion of total close contacts) was 13% (95% CI: 4-38%). The results from these contact tracing investigations suggest that household members, especially significant others, of COVID-19 cases are at highest risk of becoming infected. The importance of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers is also underlined. Isolation of persons with COVID-19, in combination with quarantine of exposed close contacts and practice of everyday preventive behaviors, is important to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0238342PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7467265PMC
September 2020

Improving lung aeration in ventilated newborn preterm rabbits with a partially aerated lung.

J Appl Physiol (1985) 2020 10 20;129(4):891-900. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

The Ritchie Centre, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Preterm newborns commonly receive intermittent positive pressure ventilation (iPPV) at birth, but the optimal approach that facilitates uniform lung aeration is unknown, particularly in a partially aerated lung. As both inflation time and exogenous surfactant facilitate uniform lung aeration, we investigated whether they can improve lung aeration and lung mechanics in a partially aerated lung immediately after birth. Preterm rabbit kittens (29 days of gestation, term ~32 days) were delivered by caesarean section and partial lung aeration was created by intubating and mechanically ventilating the right lung. The tube was then withdrawn to ventilate both lungs using inflation times of 0.2 s or 1.0 s, with or without exogenous surfactant (200 mg/kg; Curosurf) and a tidal volume (Vt) of 8 mL/kg. Simultaneous phase contrast X-ray imaging and plethysmography were used to measure lung aeration and mechanics. Kittens ventilated with longer inflation times (1.0 s) reached their target Vt with fewer inflations, required lower inflation pressures (28.5 ± 1.1 vs. 33.5 ± 1.3 cmHO, = 0.01) and had higher dynamic lung compliances (0.54 ± 0.3 vs. 0.40 ± 0.3 cmHO·mL·kg, = 0.003). Surfactant increased functional residual capacity (FRC; 31.9 ± 3.2 vs. 18.0 ± 3.9 mL/kg, = 0.02) and the proportion of the Vt entering the previously unaerated lung but had no effect on dynamic lung compliance. Combining early surfactant treatment with longer inflation times increases FRC levels, improves dynamic lung compliance, reduces inflation pressures and markedly increases the proportion of the lungs being ventilated during iPPV in preterm kittens with a partially aerated lung. Preterm newborns commonly receive intermittent positive pressure ventilation (iPPV) at birth, but the optimal approach that facilitates uniform lung aeration is unknown, particularly in a partially aerated lung. Using phase contrast X-ray imaging, we showed that combining a long inflation time (1.0 s) with surfactant improved lung mechanics and aeration in the immediate newborn period. The current clinical practice of using short inflation times during iPPV might be suboptimal and a different approach is needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00426.2020DOI Listing
October 2020

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Americans Aboard the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship.

Clin Infect Dis 2021 05;72(10):e448-e457

All authors are part of the COVID-19 Cruise Ship Task Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Background: The Diamond Princess cruise ship was the site of a large outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Of 437 Americans and their travel companions on the ship, 114 (26%) tested positive for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

Methods: We interviewed 229 American passengers and crew after disembarkation following a ship-based quarantine to identify risk factors for infection and characterize transmission onboard the ship.

Results: The attack rate for passengers in single-person cabins or without infected cabinmates was 18% (58/329), compared with 63% (27/43) for those sharing a cabin with an asymptomatic infected cabinmate, and 81% (25/31) for those with a symptomatic infected cabinmate. Whole genome sequences from specimens from passengers who shared cabins clustered together. Of 66 SARS-CoV-2-positive American travelers with complete symptom information, 14 (21%) were asymptomatic while on the ship. Among SARS-CoV-2-positive Americans, 10 (9%) required intensive care, of whom 7 were ≥70 years.

Conclusions: Our findings highlight the high risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission on cruise ships. High rates of SARS-CoV-2 positivity in cabinmates of individuals with asymptomatic infections suggest that triage by symptom status in shared quarters is insufficient to halt transmission. A high rate of intensive care unit admission among older individuals complicates the prospect of future cruise travel during the pandemic, given typical cruise passenger demographics. The magnitude and severe outcomes of this outbreak were major factors contributing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's decision to halt cruise ship travel in US waters in March 2020.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciaa1180DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7454359PMC
May 2021

Serial Laboratory Testing for SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Incarcerated and Detained Persons in a Correctional and Detention Facility - Louisiana, April-May 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Jul 3;69(26):836-840. Epub 2020 Jul 3.

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by asymptomatic and presymptomatic persons poses important challenges to controlling spread of the disease, particularly in congregate settings such as correctional and detention facilities (1). On March 29, 2020, a staff member in a correctional and detention facility in Louisiana developed symptoms and later had a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2. During April 2-May 7, two additional cases were detected among staff members, and 36 cases were detected among incarcerated and detained persons at the facility; these persons were removed from dormitories and isolated, and the five dormitories that they had resided in before diagnosis were quarantined. On May 7, CDC and the Louisiana Department of Health initiated an investigation to assess the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among incarcerated and detained persons residing in quarantined dormitories. Goals of this investigation included evaluating COVID-19 symptoms in this setting and assessing the effectiveness of serial testing to identify additional persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection as part of efforts to mitigate transmission. During May 7-21, testing of 98 incarcerated and detained persons residing in the five quarantined dormitories (A-E) identified an additional 71 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection; 32 (45%) were among persons who reported no symptoms at the time of testing, including three who were presymptomatic. Eighteen cases (25%) were identified in persons who had received negative test results during previous testing rounds. Serial testing of contacts from shared living quarters identified persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection who would not have been detected by symptom screening alone or by testing at a single time point. Prompt identification and isolation of infected persons is important to reduce further transmission in congregate settings such as correctional and detention facilities and the communities to which persons return when released.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6926e2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7332096PMC
July 2020

Public Health Response to COVID-19 Cases in Correctional and Detention Facilities - Louisiana, March-April 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 May 15;69(19):594-598. Epub 2020 May 15.

Correctional and detention facilities face unique challenges in the control of infectious diseases, including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (1-3). Among >10 million annual admissions to U.S. jails, approximately 55% of detainees are released back into their communities each week (4); in addition, staff members at correctional and detention facilities are members of their local communities. Thus, high rates of COVID-19 in correctional and detention facilities also have the potential to influence broader community transmission. In March 2020, the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) began implementing surveillance for COVID-19 among correctional and detention facilities in Louisiana and identified cases and outbreaks in many facilities. In response, LDH and CDC developed and deployed the COVID-19 Management Assessment and Response (CMAR) tool to guide technical assistance focused on infection prevention and control policies and case management with correctional and detention facilities. This report describes COVID-19 prevalence in correctional and detention facilities detected through surveillance and findings of the CMAR assessment. During March 25-April 22, 489 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 37 (7.6%) hospitalizations and 10 (2.0%) deaths among incarcerated or detained persons, and 253 cases, including 19 (7.5%) hospitalizations and four (1.6%) deaths among staff members were reported. During April 8-22, CMAR telephone-based assessments were conducted with 13 of 31 (42%) facilities with laboratory-confirmed cases and 11 of 113 (10%) facilities without known cases. Administrators had awareness and overall understanding of CDC guidance for prevention of transmission in these facilities but reported challenges in implementation, related to limited space to quarantine close contacts of COVID-19 patients and inability of incarcerated and detained persons to engage in social distancing, particularly in dormitory-style housing. CMAR was a useful tool that helped state and federal public health officials assist multiple correctional and detention facilities to better manage COVID-19 patients and guide control activities to prevent or mitigate transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919e3DOI Listing
May 2020

COVID-19 in Correctional and Detention Facilities - United States, February-April 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 May 15;69(19):587-590. Epub 2020 May 15.

An estimated 2.1 million U.S. adults are housed within approximately 5,000 correctional and detention facilities on any given day (1). Many facilities face significant challenges in controlling the spread of highly infectious pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Such challenges include crowded dormitories, shared lavatories, limited medical and isolation resources, daily entry and exit of staff members and visitors, continual introduction of newly incarcerated or detained persons, and transport of incarcerated or detained persons in multiperson vehicles for court-related, medical, or security reasons (2,3). During April 22-28, 2020, aggregate data on COVID-19 cases were reported to CDC by 37 of 54 state and territorial health department jurisdictions. Thirty-two (86%) jurisdictions reported at least one laboratory-confirmed case from a total of 420 correctional and detention facilities. Among these facilities, COVID-19 was diagnosed in 4,893 incarcerated or detained persons and 2,778 facility staff members, resulting in 88 deaths in incarcerated or detained persons and 15 deaths among staff members. Prompt identification of COVID-19 cases and consistent application of prevention measures, such as symptom screening and quarantine, are critical to protecting incarcerated and detained persons and staff members.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919e1DOI Listing
May 2020

First known person-to-person transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the USA.

Lancet 2020 04 13;395(10230):1137-1144. Epub 2020 Mar 13.

Illinois Department of Public Health, Springfield, IL, USA.

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), first detected in China in December, 2019. In January, 2020, state, local, and federal public health agencies investigated the first case of COVID-19 in Illinois, USA.

Methods: Patients with confirmed COVID-19 were defined as those with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test. Contacts were people with exposure to a patient with COVID-19 on or after the patient's symptom onset date. Contacts underwent active symptom monitoring for 14 days following their last exposure. Contacts who developed fever, cough, or shortness of breath became persons under investigation and were tested for SARS-CoV-2. A convenience sample of 32 asymptomatic health-care personnel contacts were also tested.

Findings: Patient 1-a woman in her 60s-returned from China in mid-January, 2020. One week later, she was hospitalised with pneumonia and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Her husband (Patient 2) did not travel but had frequent close contact with his wife. He was admitted 8 days later and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Overall, 372 contacts of both cases were identified; 347 underwent active symptom monitoring, including 152 community contacts and 195 health-care personnel. Of monitored contacts, 43 became persons under investigation, in addition to Patient 2. These 43 persons under investigation and all 32 asymptomatic health-care personnel tested negative for SARS-CoV-2.

Interpretation: Person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 occurred between two people with prolonged, unprotected exposure while Patient 1 was symptomatic. Despite active symptom monitoring and testing of symptomatic and some asymptomatic contacts, no further transmission was detected.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30607-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7158585PMC
April 2020

Update: Characteristics of a Nationwide Outbreak of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury - United States, August 2019-January 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Jan 24;69(3):90-94. Epub 2020 Jan 24.

Since August 2019, CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and public health and clinical stakeholders have been investigating a nationwide outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) (1). This report updates patient demographic characteristics, self-reported substance use, and hospitalization dates for EVALI patients reported to CDC by states, as well as the distribution of emergency department (ED) visits related to e-cigarette, or vaping, products analyzed through the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP). As of January 14, 2020, a total of 2,668 hospitalized EVALI cases had been reported to CDC. Median patient age was 24 years, and 66% were male. Overall, 82% of EVALI patients reported using any tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, product (including 33% with exclusive THC-containing product use), and 57% of EVALI patients reported using any nicotine-containing product (including 14% with exclusive nicotine-containing product use). Syndromic surveillance indicates that ED visits related to e-cigarette, or vaping, products continue to decline after sharply increasing in August 2019 and peaking in September 2019. Clinicians and public health practitioners should remain vigilant for new EVALI cases. CDC recommends that persons not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, especially those acquired from informal sources such as friends, family members, or from in-person or online dealers. Vitamin E acetate is strongly linked to the EVALI outbreak and should not be added to any e-cigarette, or vaping, products (2). However, evidence is not sufficient to rule out the contribution of other chemicals of concern, including chemicals in either THC- or non-THC-containing products, in some reported EVALI cases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6903e2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7367698PMC
January 2020

Glucocorticoid signalling drives reduced versican levels in the fetal mouse lung.

J Mol Endocrinol 2020 04;64(3):155-164

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Melbourne, Vicoria, Australia.

Glucocorticoid (GC) signaling via the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is essential for lung maturation in mammals. Previous studies using global or conditional mouse model knockouts of the GR gene have established that GR-mediated signaling in the interstitial mesenchyme of the fetal lung is critical for normal lung development. Screens for downstream GC-targets in conditional mesenchymal GR deficient mouse lung (GRmesKO) identified Versican (Vcan), an important extracellular matrix component and cell proliferation regulator, as a potential GR-regulated target. We show that, of the five major VCAN isoforms, the VCAN-V1 isoform containing the GAGβ domain is the predominant VCAN isoform in the fetal mouse lung distal mesenchyme at both E16.5 and E18.5, whereas the GAGα-specific VCAN-V2 isoform was only localized to the smooth muscle surrounding proximal airways. Both Vcan-V1 mRNA and protein levels were strongly overexpressed in the GRmesKO lung at E18.5. Finally, we investigated the GC regulation of the ECM protease ADAMTS 12 and showed that Adamts 12 mRNA levels were markedly reduced at E18.5 in GRmesKO fetal mouse lung and were strongly induced by both cortisol and betamethasone in cultures of primary rat fetal lung fibroblasts. ADAMTS12 protein immunoreactivity was also strongly increased in the distal lung at E18.5, after dexamethasone treatment in utero. In summary, glucocorticoid signaling via GR represses GAGβ domain-containing VCAN isoforms in distal lung mesenchyme in vivo by repressing Vcan gene expression and, in part, by inducing the ECM protease ADAMTS12, thereby contributing to the control of ECM remodelling and lung cell proliferation prior to birth.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1530/JME-19-0235DOI Listing
April 2020

Update: Product, Substance-Use, and Demographic Characteristics of Hospitalized Patients in a Nationwide Outbreak of E-cigarette, or Vaping, Product Use-Associated Lung Injury - United States, August 2019-January 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 Jan 17;69(2):44-49. Epub 2020 Jan 17.

CDC, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and public health and clinical stakeholders continue to investigate a nationwide outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) (1). EVALI patients in Illinois, Utah, and Wisconsin acquired tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products primarily from informal sources (2,3). This report updates demographic characteristics and self-reported sources of THC- and nicotine-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products derived from EVALI patient data reported to CDC by state health departments. As of January 7, 2020, among 1,979 (76%) patients with available data on substance use, a total of 1,620 (82%) reported using any THC-containing products, including 665 (34%) who reported exclusive THC-containing product use. Use of any nicotine-containing products was reported by 1,128 (57%) patients, including 264 (13%) who reported exclusive nicotine-containing product use. Among 809 (50%) patients reporting data on the source of THC-containing products, 131 (16%) reported acquiring their products from only commercial sources (i.e., recreational dispensaries, medical dispensaries, or both; vape or smoke shops; stores; and pop-up shops), 627 (78%) from only informal sources (i.e., friends, family, in-person or online dealers, or other sources), and 51 (6%) from both types of sources. Among 613 (54%) EVALI patients reporting nicotine-containing product use with available data on product source, 421 (69%) reported acquiring their products from only commercial sources, 103 (17%) from only informal sources, and 89 (15%) from both types of sources. Adolescents aged 13-17 years were more likely to acquire both THC- and nicotine-containing products from informal sources than were persons in older age groups. The high prevalence of acquisition of THC-containing products from informal sources by EVALI patients reinforces CDC's recommendation to not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC, especially those acquired from informal sources. Although acquisition of nicotine-containing products through informal sources was not common overall, it was common among persons aged <18 years. While the investigation continues, CDC recommends that the best way for persons to ensure that they are not at risk is to consider refraining from the use of all e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6902e2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6973348PMC
January 2020
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