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Round-up: COVID-19 October 2020 (Part One)

President Donald Trump caught “a blessing from God” (COVID-19) and the UK is on the verge of another national lockdown – a lot can happen in the space of two weeks. But don’t worry! Here at Front Line Genomics, we know how difficult it is to keep on top of all the information about COVID-19, so we have provided you with a quick round-up of the ‘need-to-know’ from the past fortnight.


At the time of writing, there have been:

  • 36,881,977 cases
  • 1,068,559 deaths
  • 27,736,893 recoveries


  • Researchers have found that numerous animals may be vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 and could serve as reservoirs of the virus. (Lam et al, 2020)
  • Harbouring pre-existing immune responses against previous endemic human coronaviruses can mitigate disease manifestations from SARS-CoV-2 infection. (Sagar et al, 2020)
  • Findings show that IL6R variants, mimicking therapeutic inhibition of IL-6 receptor, associate with lower risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation. This suggests that pharmacological blockade of IL-6 receptor may lead to reduced COVID-19 severity. (Bovijn et al, 2020)
  • Presence of auto-antibodies against type I IFNs in patients with life-threatening COVID-19 may explain clinical variability in some patients with COVID-19. (Bastard et al, 2020)
  • Inborn errors of TLR3- and IRF7-dependent type I IFN immunity can underlie life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia. (Zhang et al, 2020)
  • Researchers have found that a genomic segment inherited from Neanderthals confers a major risk factor for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalisation. (Zeberg et al, 2020)
  • Researchers have engineered RNA-targeting compounds that can disable the SARS-CoV-2 frameshifting element that enables it to replicate. (Haniff et al, 2020)
  • Despite evidence that older adults are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, recent findings indicate that older adults are likely to be excluded from over 50% of COVID-19 clinical trials and 100% of vaccine trials. (Helfand et al, 2020)
  • A study of over half a million people exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in India suggests that only a small percentage of those infected drive continued viral spread. Importantly, they found that children and young adult were potentially much more important in transmitting the virus. (Laxminarayan et al, 2020)
  • A recent study has identified two distinct immunopathological reaction patterns of lethal COVID-19. Patients with high local expression of interferon stimulated genes were found to die significantly earlier. (Neinhold et al, 2020)

Other news

  • In the USA, an immediate and significant reversal in SARS-CoV-2 epidemic suppression was found after relaxation of social distancing measures. (Tsai et al, 2020)
  • The FDA has issued formal guidelines for emergency use authorisation of a coronavirus vaccine, despite efforts by the White House to block the guidelines.
  • Estimates suggest that the case-fatality ratio (CFR) for COVID-19 in Africa is lower than the global CFR.

 Image credit: By starline –

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covid-19 / Round-up