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Round-up: COVID-19 November 2020 (Part Two)

Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths, hopes for a vaccine have become more of a reality. Here, we summarise the latest COVID-19 research and news from the past fortnight.


At the time of writing, there have been:

  • 57,453,243 cases
  • 1,369,234 deaths
  • 39,897,504 recoveries


  • A prospective cohort study, using active surveillance, has explored the characteristics and outcomes of neonatal SARS-CoV-2 infection in the UK. The study revealed that vertical transmission is rare and separation of mother and baby should be avoided. (Gale et al, 2020)
  • A recent study, has found that survivors of COVID-19 appear to be at increased risk of psychiatric sequelae. Specifically, reports that one in five people who survived COVID-19 will be diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder within 90 days. (Taquet et al, 2020)
  • Using UK Biobank data, researchers have identified genetic variants that can increase the risk of COVID-19 related mortality. (Zhang et al, 2020)
  • Researchers analysed gene expression patterns of cells obtained from lung biopsies of COVID-19 patients and identified a distinct mechanism of probable virus induced lung damage. (Khan et al, 2020)
  • Researchers have used big data to identify melatonin for COVID-19 repurposing. (Zhou et al, 2020)
  • Using whole genome sequencing of outbreaks, researchers have explored the transmission patterns between minks and humans. (Munnink et al, 2020)
  • Scientists have identified a synthetic nanobody pair that can bind simultaneously to the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein and block ACE2 binding. These bispecific sybodies were found to act as highly potent SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors for potential therapeutic applications. (Walter et al, 2020)
  • An analysis of genomic distributions of SARS-CoV-2 has revealed a dominant strain type with strong allelic associations. (Yang et al, 2020)
  • A study has revealed that age-determined expression of TMPRSS2 may provide a biological rationale for why infants and young children seem to be less likely to get infected or suffer severe symptoms. (Schuler et al, 2020)
  • Findings have highlighted that people of Black and Asian ethnicity are up to twice as likely to be infected with COVID-19 than those of White ethnicity. (Sze et al, 2020)
  • Scientists at Cardiff University have found promising signs that over-the-counter mouthwashes may help destroy the virus. (Stanton et al, 2020)

Other news

  • Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate against COVID-19 has achieved success in the first interim analysis from their Phase 3 study. (Pfizer, 2020)
  • Phase 2 trials of the Oxford and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in healthy older adults is reported to be safe and provoke an immune response. (Ramasamy et al, 2020)
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate meets its primary efficacy endpoints in the first interim analysis of the Phase 3 study. (Moderna, 2020)
  • The UK Government has awarded £12.2 million in funding to the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium to help explore how the virus spreads and evolves through genome sequencing. (UK Department of Health and Social Care, 2020)

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