COMPOSITE FROM © ERIN LEMIEUX
Updated Sept 1
Follow the Coronavirus Outbreak
COMPOSITE FROM © ERIN LEMIEUX
Updated Sept 1
Follow the Coronavirus Outbreak

Follow the Coronavirus Outbreak

Saliva tests screen staff and students at University of Illinois; Study ranks species most susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection; COVID-19 clinical trials test drugs that inhibit kinin system

The Scientist Staff
Feb 20, 2020


LATEST NEWS
Last updated September 24

Algorithm Spots COVID-19 Cases from Eye Images: Preprint

A small study shows artificial intelligence can pick out individuals with coronavirus infections, but ophthalmologists and AI experts say the approach is far from proven to be capable of distinguishing infections with SARS-CoV-2 from other ills.


The Lancet Alters Editorial Practices After Surgisphere Scandal

The changes, which affect the declarations authors have to sign and the peer-review process, have received a mixed response from the scientific community.


Antibody-Based Drug May Reduce COVID-19 Hospitalizations: Study

Eli Lilly reports a 72 percent reduction in hospitalization risk among patients who received its monoclonal antibody compared to those who received a placebo.


The Immune Hallmarks of Severe COVID-19

Researchers are trying to make sense of immune systems gone haywire and develop biomarkers to predict who will become the sickest from a coronavirus infection.


University of Michigan Grad Students Strike over COVID-19 Policy

Student workers have cited a lack of transparency and a failure to implement rapid and widespread testing among their many concerns regarding the school’s response to the pandemic.


Indian Study Shows No Survival Benefit of Plasma in COVID-19

A randomized controlled trial on the use of convalescent plasma therapy to treat coronavirus infections—the first in the world to be completed—yields disappointing results, but some doctors are not discouraged.


College Athletes Experienced Heart Damage After COVID-19: Study

Images of the players’ hearts showed signs of inflammation consistent with myocarditis, a rare but potentially fatal condition.


Scientists Voice Concerns over Russian COVID-19 Vaccine Study

Almost 40 scientists have signed an open letter, citing odd patterns in the data and a lack of transparency after authors withheld the full data.


COVID-19 Vaccine Trial Pauses After Adverse Reaction

The hold will likely delay trial results, and scientists say the pause is proof that safety protocols in clinical trials are working as they should.


Vector-Based Vaccines Come to the Fore in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Adenovirus vectors deliver the genetic instructions for SARS-CoV-2 antigens directly into patients’ cells, provoking a robust immune response. But will pre-existing immunity from common colds take them down?


COVID-19 Symptoms in Kids Most Often Headache, Fever: App Data

The COVID Symptom Study app aims to help patients and healthcare providers identify patterns in user-reported data.


Steroid Drugs Are an Effective Treatment for Severe COVID-19: WHO

A meta-analysis of seven randomized controlled trials concludes that dexamethasone and other corticosteroids reduce 28-day mortality in seriously ill patients.


COVID-19 Antibodies Last for at Least Four Months After Recovery

The results from a study in Iceland can’t say if a recovered patient’s antibodies can protect them from subsequent reinfection.


Toward COVID-19 Testing Any Time, Anywhere

Researchers are adapting CRISPR, synthetic biology, and other creative approaches to detect SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids outside of the lab or doctors’ offices, in the hopes of making diagnostics more affordable and accessible.


No, the CDC Has Not “Quietly Updated” COVID-19 Death Estimates

An online conspiracy theory retweeted by President Donald Trump misconstrued data regarding the number of people who have died from the coronavirus.


Researchers from All Over the World Pitch In to Fight COVID-19

1. LOW-COST VENTILATORS: Many hospitals in low- and middle-income countries lack adequate supplies of ventilators for severe COVID-19 cases but can’t afford buy more of the machines, which cost tens of thousands of dollars each. Engineers in Colombia have designed low-cost equivalents, and will soon be testing their performance in coronavirus patients.

2. WASTEWATER SCREENING TOOLS: Wastewater epidemiology—specifically, the idea of looking to sewage to detect and quantify infections in local populations—has become a popular approach for tracking the pandemic. A team in the UK is working on a simple, paper-based device that could be used onsite at wastewater treatment plants. 

3. VOLUNTEER NETWORK: As businesses and universities across Europe began shutting down in a bid to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, three animal behavior researchers talked about how they wished they could do something to combat the disease. Their online initiative, Crowdfight COVID-19, has since matched hundreds of SARS-CoV-2 projects with people who can help.

4. HOMEGROWN COVID-19 TEST: On March 18, hours before giving birth to a baby girl, virologist Minal Dakhave Bhosale submitted her team’s COVID-19 diagnostic test for validation by India’s National Institute of Virology. The country can now produce hundreds of thousands of those tests every week, and is also exporting them to neighboring countries.

The Scientist’s investigation into Surgisphere 

Surgisphere Sows Confusion About Another Unproven COVID-19 Drug

June 16, 2020

The company behind a now-discredited study on hydroxychloroquine also posted a report that has been cited by Latin American governments recommending ivermectin as a possible coronavirus treatment. Clinicians there say the effects have been extremely damaging.

Surgisphere Fallout Hits African Nonprofit’s COVID-19 Efforts

June 7, 2020

The company had helped develop a tool to aid decision-making in distributing limited medical equipment among coronavirus patients, but two high-profile retractions call into question the validity of Surgisphere’s work in toto.

Lancet, NEJM Retract Surgisphere’s Studies on COVID-19 Patients

June 4, 2020

All authors other than company founder and CEO Sapan Desai were “unable to complete an independent audit of the data,” The Lancet states.

Concerns Build Over Surgisphere’s COVID-19 Dataset

June 2, 2020

NEJM and The Lancet issue expressions of concern as researchers question where the company got its data on thousands of coronavirus patients.

Disputed Hydroxychloroquine Study Brings Scrutiny to Surgisphere

May 30, 2020

Scientists have raised questions about the dataset published in The Lancet last week that triggered the suspension of clinical trials around the world—and about Surgisphere Corporation, the company behind the study.

WHO Halts Hydroxychloroquine Testing Over Safety Concerns

May 27, 2020

A paper published in The Lancet reported that hospitalized COVID-19 patients taking the drug had a higher risk of death, although some researchers have raised questions about the data.

Our maps and charts, updated regularly, offer a striking view of the global move of the novel coronavirus. See the full suite of visuals.
CATHERINE OFFORD, SOURCE DATA: ECDC
FEATURED REPORTS

Trials Seek to Answer if Vitamin D Could Help in COVID-19

© ISTOCK.COM,
HELIN LOIK-TOMSON 

In clinical studies worldwide, researchers are testing the possibility that supplements of the vitamin could prevent or decrease the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections. An immune role for vitamin D has been confirmed in clinical studies demonstrating that people with lower levels of vitamin D are more prone to infections, both bacterial and viral, and by lab-based findings demonstrating that vitamin D upregulates the expression of immune-related genes.

Research Slated for Fall Will Stumble Without Undergraduates

COREY GARZA/CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, MONTEREY BAY 

While many universities weigh a return to in-person classes this fall, research progress in the fall could be stymied if students continue to shelter in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic or if labs remain shuttered even when campuses reopen. Undergraduates in particular are important contributors to ongoing research, scientists say, but their return hinges on the virus’s progression over the summer. “If my students aren’t in lab, the research just can’t happen,” says Annaliese Franz, a chemist at University of California, Davis.

Seeking an Early COVID-19 Drug, Researchers Look to Interferons

BENJAMIN NILSSON-PAYANT (BENJAMIN TENOEVER LABORATORY)  

There are no drugs approved yet to be given early in a SARS-CoV-2 infection or preventively to those at high risk. In such a bleak therapeutic scenario, mounting evidence from laboratory studies and a couple of clinical trials on IFNs, either alone or in combination with other antivirals, suggests that synthetic IFNs might be able to fill in this gap. While IFN specialists posit that type I and III IFN drugs are attractive therapeutic options in COVID-19, they disagree about which of the two would be most suitable in COVID-19, and experimental evidence indicates that both types have potential.

Could COVID-19 Trigger Chronic Disease in Some People?

© ISTOCK.COM, PONOMARIOVA_MARIA 

“Long-haulers” point to the possibility that COVID-19 is not just a transient respiratory disease, but could manifest as neurological and physical symptoms that persist even months after people fall ill. Although many of them may yet recover in the coming months, some scientists are becoming increasingly worried that some may end up with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a debilitating and poorly understood condition associated with some viral infections.  

Saliva Tests: How They Work and What They Bring to COVID-19

COURTESY OF ZEV WILLIAMS/COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 

The first spit tests are already being sold to consumers, with more poised to apply for emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration soon. While saliva can be a crude sample for diagnosing disease using traditional PCR, it pairs well with a cheap PCR alternative known as loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), previously used to detect outbreaks of Zika and Ebola in resource-poor countries. Propelled by a global pandemic, researchers in the US and the UK are now modifying LAMP and assessing its utility as a diagnostic tool for COVID-19.

Download our poster of coronavirus milestones


U of Illinois Returns to School with 20,000 Saliva Tests Per Day

The school requires each student, faculty, and staff member to be tested twice per week and sends the results straight to their cell phones.


Modeling Study Flags Species Susceptible to SARS-CoV-2

Some critically endangered animals are on the list.


Is a Bradykinin Storm Brewing in COVID-19?

Excess of the inflammatory molecule bradykinin may explain the fluid build-up in the lungs of patients with coronavirus infections. Clinical trials of inhibitors are putting this hypothesis to the test.


Infographic: SARS-CoV-2 Interferes with Bradykinin Regulation

The leaky blood vessels and lung fluid build-up in some COVID-19 patients might be explained by the virus’s corruption of an inflammation safeguard.


Thousands of Coronavirus Infections Stemmed from a Biotech Event

Officials had initially linked 97 cases to a single conference held by Biogen in February in Boston, but a new study tracking viral genomes suggests the number may be as high as 20,000.


Patients Reinfected with Coronavirus in Hong Kong, Europe

So far, there are three patients known to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 twice, and in at least one case the second time around was asymptomatic.


Some COVID-19 Patients Lack Key Structures for Antibody Creation

An absence of germinal centers—which arise during infections to produce long-lived antibody-generating cells—might explain rapidly waning antibody levels in the disease.


FDA Gives Plasma Go-Ahead to Treat COVID-19, Experts Skeptical

White House officials hail convalescent plasma as a major breakthrough, but scientists say evidence supporting its effectiveness is still lacking.


How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Affected Field Research

Unable to travel to international or remote sites, some researchers are losing critical data.


Immune Biomarkers Tied to Severe COVID-19: Study

Increases in the levels of three cytokines are among the features linked to poor outcomes.


Differences in Antibody Responses Linked to COVID-19 Outcomes

In a small study of patients hospitalized due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, researchers report distinct early differences between the antibody responses of patients who recovered and those who died, possibly paving the way for a tool to predict disease prognosis.


The Push to Deploy At-Home Antigen Tests for COVID-19

These rapid tests could allow people to find out quickly and easily if they have the disease—if they get regulatory approval for the consumer market.

Cold-Causing Coronaviruses Don’t Seem to Confer Lasting Immunity

Studies on SARS-CoV-2’s milder cousins hint that our immune systems are quick to forget the viruses, but it’s unclear whether the same is true for the agent that causes COVID-19.


COVID-19 Outbreaks Occur as Students Return to Campus

Following a string of outbreaks, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will move to an online-only semester.


Does the Common Cold Protect You from COVID-19?

There are emerging signs that some people might have heightened protection against SARS-CoV-2, perhaps thanks to recent infection by other coronaviruses.


FDA Approves New Saliva-Based COVID-19 Test

SalivaDirect, an open-source protocol, avoids many of the supply bottlenecks of other tools and could be offered for as little as $10 a test.


Characteristics that Give Viruses Pandemic Potential

A handful of factors tip the scales in making a virus more likely to trigger a disruptive global outbreak. Right now, scientists tend to rank influenza, coronaviruses, and Nipah virus as the biggest threats.


Doctors Forge Ahead with Plasma for COVID-19, Benefits Uncertain

Researchers say the popularity of convalescent plasma makes it more difficult to gather high-quality data on its efficacy.


How Face Masks Can Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

As communities and businesses reopen amidst the pandemic, masks—in addition to other social distancing measures—are crucial for preventing new outbreaks.


Counting the Lives Saved by Lockdowns—and Lost to Slow Action

Social distancing measures prevented millions of COVID-19–related deaths around the world, according to a handful of studies, but it’s hard to quantify the effects with certainty.


Coronavirus Found on Food Packaging, but Likely of Little Concern

China recently reported the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus on the outside of frozen food items imported from other countries, but experts stress the risk of transmission is extremely low.


Simple Tool Evaluates Mask Performance at Blocking Droplets

A proof-of-concept study finds some commonly used facial coverings may perform worse than no mask at all.


Gilead Urged to Explore Remdesivir Relative as COVID-19 Drug

Citizen advocates push the pharmaceutical company to examine a compound that has been used to treat certain coronavirus infections in cats.


Russia Approves World’s First Coronavirus Vaccine

Some researchers express skepticism given the lack of data about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, and the country plans to vaccinate healthcare workers, teachers, and others even before testing is complete.


COVID-19 Lockdowns Will Have Negligible Effect on Climate Change

A new study finds reductions in greenhouse gases are insufficient to substantially slow warming, and the authors argue that to continue the benefits of reduced emissions, policymakers will need to adopt green economic recovery strategies.


Self-Experimentation in the Time of COVID-19

Scientists are taking their own vaccines, an ethically murky practice that has a long and sometimes celebrated history in medicine.


DNA Could Thwart Trade of the World’s Most Trafficked Mammal

Pangolins are poached for their scales and meat, leading researchers to develop a set of molecular tools to help track and mitigate the trade.


In COVID-19–Hit Africa, Agricultural Research Feels the Pinch

The pandemic and accompanying lockdowns have meant missing growing seasons and losing out on key data. As restrictions are partially lifted, researchers are adjusting to the new normal.


Study: Test College Students for Coronavirus Every Two Days

A model scenario concludes that frequent testing with fast turnaround is key to avoiding campus outbreaks of COVID-19, even if the tests are imperfect.


Children Often Carry More Coronavirus than Adults Do: Study

It’s not clear if their high viral load makes kids more likely to infect others.


How Our Exhalations Help Spread Pathogens Such as SARS-CoV-2

Lydia Bourouiba, an expert in fluid dynamics and disease transmission at MIT, explains how the physics of sneezes and coughs leads to the spread of respiratory pathogens such as COVID-19.


Masks Lower Wearers’ Exposure to Viruses, Experts Propose

Face coverings prevent wearers from spreading pathogens, and might also limit the number of viral particles that enter the body, staving off severe infection, including COVID-19, research indicates.


The Search for Immune Responses that Stop COVID-19

Scientists are examining the role of T cells, which are likely crucial for long-term protection against SARS-CoV-2.


Study: Mask-Wearing Moms with COVID-19 Can Safely Nurse Babies

None of the breastfed infants in the study tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 within the first two weeks of life.


Largest Seroprevalence Study in US Shows Vast COVID-19 Undercount

Actual cases may be as much as 6 to 24 times higher than reported, but we’re still a long way off from herd immunity.


Big Data and Collaboration Seek to Fight COVID-19

Researchers try unprecedented data sharing and cooperation to understand COVID-19—and develop a model for diseases beyond the coronavirus pandemic.


Coronavirus Vaccine Data Are Targets for Foreign Hackers

Intelligence officials from the US, UK, and Canada point the finger at Cozy Bear, a group with links to the Russian government.


Two Genetic Regions Linked with Severe COVID-19

In a genome-wide association study, variants in both the ABO blood group locus and a cluster of genes on human chromosome 3 are more common among COVID-19 patients with respiratory failure than in the general population.


As the Pandemic Hits Campus Finances, Faculty Face Layoffs

Many colleges and universities across the US have lost millions of dollars in revenue due to COVID-19.


Spike Structure Gives Insight into SARS-CoV-2 Evolution

Researchers demonstrate that the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is more stable and binds the human ACE2 receptor with much higher affinity than the spike protein of its closest known relative, bat coronavirus RaTG13.


CDC Bypassed Under New COVID-19 Reporting Guidelines

The Trump administration suggests deploying the National Guard to ensure timely data sharing into a new, centralized database.


Analysis Links Poor Air Quality to Increased COVID-19 Deaths

In the Netherlands, researchers identify a correlation between pollution and COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions, and deaths.


Autopsies Indicate Blood Clots Are Lethal in COVID-19

A pathologist describes his observations from examining the bodies of those who succumbed to the coronavirus.


SARS-CoV-2 Can Infect Human Brain Organoids

The results are a proof-of-concept that the novel coronavirus can replicate in neurons, but it’s too soon to say whether this occurs in people with COVID-19.


A Brief History of Human Coronaviruses

Milder, cold-causing members of this pathogenic viral family long remained under the radar, although they aren’t entirely harmless.


Neutrophil Extracellular Traps May Augur Severe COVID-19

These webs of chromatin and proteins, released by immune cells to control microbial infections, could serve as a therapeutic target in coronavirus infections.


SARS-CoV-2-Reactive T Cells Found in Patients with Severe COVID-19

A small subset of uninfected people also had SARS-CoV-2-fighting T cells, a finding that scientists are still trying to figure out.


Dozens More Cases of Neurological Problems in COVID-19 Reported

SARS-CoV-2 generally attacks the lungs, but researchers are also stressing its effects on the brain in a fraction of patients.


Scientists Urge Consideration of Airborne SARS-CoV-2 Transmission

An open letter points to outbreaks that cannot be explained by large droplets and contact with surfaces alone.


FDA to Require 50 Percent Efficacy for COVID-19 Vaccines

Vaccine experts divided on whether that level of protection is too low or too demanding.


Study Identifies Abnormal Surge of Flu-like Illnesses in March

Modelers try a new approach to gauge the true number of COVID-19 cases in the US by using surveillance data for flu-like illnesses.


Coronavirus-Infected Cells Grow Filopodia

SARS-CoV-2 causes cells to put out projections that spread the virus, a study finds.


Opinion: Use the Pandemic to Expand the Lab to the Home

Researchers have been forced to reckon with restrictions on lab access. Now is the time to figure out how to make science portable and widely accessible.


Severe Neurological Ailments Reported in COVID-19 Patients

A survey of hospitalized patients finds some suffer fatigue, ischemic stroke, delirium, and other symptoms.


New Journal to Publish Reviews of COVID-19 Preprints

The open access publication will use AI to identify the most pressing manuscripts in need of peer review.


Gender Gap in Research Output Widens During Pandemic

Experts identify childcare, which tends to fall to women, as one likely cause for the relative decrease in women’s scientific productivity compared with men’s.


Virtual Lab Tours for Recruitment and Outreach

In the face of campus closures around the world, scientific laboratories are offering tours via video. We asked experts for their tips.


Acceleration in New COVID-19 Cases in Some US States Causes Alarm

Arizona, Florida, California and others have seen record numbers of daily new coronavirus positives in the last couple of weeks, and that’s not just a reflection of more testing. Hospitalizations are up too.


Could Statins Reduce the Severity of COVID-19?

The cholesterol-lowering drugs quell inflammation and reverse endothelial tissue damage, hints that they might curb the body’s excessive immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Opinion: Don’t Disparage the Pace of COVID-19 Research

Fast science—with all its warts—is making unprecedented progress in the fight against COVID-19.


Opinion: Scientists in the US and China Collaborating on COVID-19

Despite high-profile political tensions between the two countries, researchers in the US and China are working together now more than ever, according to our bibliometric study.


Studies Report Rapid Loss of COVID-19 Antibodies

The results, while preliminary, suggest that survivors of SARS-CoV-2 infection may be susceptible to reinfection within weeks or months.


Insight into Dexamethasone’s Benefits in Severe COVID-19

The steroid’s exceptional performance in early results from the RECOVERY clinical trial in the United Kingdom is a rational outcome of the drug’s anti-inflammatory effects, experts say.


Biologist Lynika Strozier Dies

The Field Museum researcher and biology instructor, who died of complications associated with COVID-19, used DNA sequencing to identify new species of plants and birds.


Estimates Vary Widely for Number of Wuhan COVID-19 Cases in January

Lacking many diagnostic test results from the first major outbreak, researchers have been left to scour other sources for clues about what happened in the early days of the pandemic.


FDA Pulls Emergency Use Authorization for Antimalarial Drugs

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, once thought to be promising COVID-19 treatments, come with serious heart risks.


COVID-19 Is “Very Different” in Young Kids Versus Adults

A study of 34 children hospitalized with a coronavirus infection in China reveals that fever and coughing were common, but the type of lesions typically seen in the lungs of adults with COVID-19 were rare.


Coronavirus Precautions Stall Antarctic Field Research

The upcoming summer research season has been suspended amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


Opinion: Look to Cholera Vaccine Campaigns for COVID-19 Guidance

Accounting for a limited stockpile of cholera vaccine can provide insight into the most effective way to distribute future COVID-19 vaccines.


In South Africa, COVID-19 Breath Test Trial Set for June

If proven successful, the five-minute test could be a good temporary indicator before a confirmatory PCR test

Opinion: Surgisphere Fiasco Highlights Need for Proper QA

Our handbook on best practices for quality assurance in biomedicine can help funding agencies shore up research integrity—which is especially needed at a time when mistakes can have outsize effects.


WHO Comments Breed Confusion Over Asymptomatic Spread of COVID-19

After stating that asymptomatic individuals are unlikely to transmit the novel coronavirus, World Health Organization officials clarify that this is very much an open question.


AI Learns from Lung CT Scans to Diagnose COVID-19

Lesions in the lungs of patients with pneumonia caused by a SARS-CoV-2 infection are distinct from those caused by bacteria.


Losing Touch: Another Drawback of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Affectionate touches tap into the nervous system’s rest and digest mode, reducing the release of stress hormones, bolstering the immune system, and stimulating brainwaves linked with relaxation.


It’s So Hard to Know Who’s Dying of COVID-19—and When

It can take days for each death to be recorded in official statistics. “Nowcasting” estimates the actual occurrence of deaths, and the true peak of the pandemic.


Countries Begin Large-Scale Screening for SARS-CoV-2 in Sewage

Researchers have found traces of the coronavirus at wastewater treatment plants in various locations around the world.


Researchers in Brazil Struggle to Get Solid COVID-19 Death Counts

After combing through data on public death notices in Minas Gerais state, scientists say the coronavirus death toll in the country is worse than reported.


SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Shares Sequence with a Human Protein

Eight amino acids are identical to part of the human epithelial sodium channel, leading researchers to suspect the virus might interfere with the channel’s function.


Researchers Applaud Spanish COVID-19 Serological Survey

After initial setbacks, the country’s recent antibody screen estimates that 5 percent of the population has been exposed to SARS-CoV-2.


Paleobotanist Brian Axsmith Dies

The University of South Alabama professor, who died of complications related to COVID-19, reconstructed the historic range of plants that once grew in the southeastern US.


Bat Ecologist Thomas Kunz Dies

The Boston University professor, who died of complications related to COVID-19, spent more than 40 years researching the lives of bats.


First US Outbreak of COVID-19 Seeded in Mid-February: Preprint

A modeling study counters initial interpretations that the cluster began with someone who flew to Seattle in mid-January.


COVID-19 Vaccine Researchers Mindful of Immune Enhancement

There is no evidence that any of the coronavirus vaccines in development worsen a coronavirus infection rather than confer immunity to it, but the phenomenon is something scientists are closely monitoring.


SARS-CoV-2 Protein Hampers Innate Immune Reaction In Vitro

The viral protein known as ORF3b limits the induction of the type I interferon response, which typically alerts other immune system components to the presence of a virus, in cultured cells.


Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, Some Scientists Bring the Bench Home

PCR moves into the laundry room, while insect colonies take up residence in the shower.


Alzheimer’s Gene Linked to Higher Risk of Severe COVID-19

Two copies of the APOE4 variant, which confers a higher risk of dementia, doubles the risk of severe symptoms as a result of infection with SARS-CoV-2, according to a study.

Why the Accuracy of SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Tests Varies So Much

The FDA cracks down on test makers as independent evaluations of their products’ performance show a need for improvement.


An Old TB Vaccine Finds New Life in Coronavirus Trials

Studies are underway to test whether giving a shot of BCG vaccine could protect doctors and nurses against COVID-19.


Receptors for SARS-CoV-2 Present in Wide Variety of Human Cells

Analyses from single-cell sequencing datasets support the idea that COVID-19 is not just a respiratory disease but an illness that can affect multiple organs.


Biogen Uses its Own Superspreader Event to Aid COVID-19 Research

A blood biobank allows scientists to study the immune responses to the coronavirus among infected Biogen employees and their contacts.


Opinion: The Isolated Scientist

Among the disruptions and pain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers are dealing with a sudden halt in in-person interactions.


How (Not) to Do an Antibody Survey for SARS-CoV-2

Preprints from the first round of seroprevalence studies indicate that many more people have been infected with the virus than previously reported. Some of these studies also have serious design flaws.


What Do Antibody Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Tell Us About Immunity?

Studies from serum samples could transform our understanding of the spread of COVID-19, but what antibodies alone say about immunity is not yet clear.


Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Spurs Immune Response: Early Data

A clinical trial of the shot in eight volunteers suggests that it is safe and that it generates antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2, but further testing is needed, scientists say.


SARS-CoV-2–Fighting T Cells Found in Recovered Patients

While the finding doesn’t prove people become immune to the virus after infection, it is good news for vaccine development.


Droplets from Speech Can Float in Air for Eight Minutes: Study

The experiments did not involve SARS-CoV-2, but researchers say the results support precautions to avoid possibly spreading COVID-19 by talking.


Cal State University to Conduct Most Classes Online this Fall

The public university system in California joins a number of colleges planning a virtual semester to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19.


Loss of Smell, Taste May Be Reliable Predictor of COVID-19: Study

Data from a crowdsourcing smartphone app is helping to track the spread of the disease in real time and reveals the symptom as the number one indicator of infection.


Support for Vaccine Challenge Trials Gains Momentum

The idea of deliberately infecting volunteers with SARS-CoV-2 has garnered significant attention as a potential avenue to speedier development, as the World Health Organization weighs in with recommendations.


The Unusual Symptoms of COVID-19

Scientists document a growing list of atypical coronavirus infection symptoms, giving doctors more insight into the emerging disease.


AI Is Screening Billions of Molecules for Coronavirus Treatments

Machine learning has pegged existing drugs to repurpose for COVID-19 clinical trials.


Scientists Clone SARS-CoV-2 Genome with Quick Yeast-Based Method

The use of yeast artificial chromosomes has enabled the rapid genetic reconstruction of the novel coronavirus.


UK Launches Trial of Contact Tracing App on Isle of Wight

Bluetooth-enabled technology will attempt to track people’s interactions on the British island—and potentially elsewhere in the UK—as lockdowns are lifted.


Could Curbing Runaway Immune Responses Treat COVID-19?

Drugs targeting patients’ immune systems, rather than the virus itself, could be key to recovery from severe cases of the disease, some researchers suggest.


DNA Could Hold Clues to Varying Severity of COVID-19

Hundreds of scientists around the globe are launching studies in search of genes that could explain why some people fall victim to coronavirus infection while others escape relatively unscathed.


Doctors Date First COVID-19 Case in France to Late December

A retrospective analysis of stored respiratory samples shows one patient could have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 weeks before the coronavirus was thought to have arrived in France, but a critic of the result questions whether the sample was contaminated.


The Pandemic’s Effects on Recruiting International STEM Trainees

The closure of visa offices, travel and immigration restrictions, and general anxiety create barriers for the international graduate students and postdocs who play a huge role in research in the United States.


Scientists Scan for Weaknesses in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein

The virus’s tool for prying open host cells is coated in a protective armor of sugar—but gaps may offer vulnerability to disruption by antibodies.


Blood Pressure Meds Point the Way to Possible COVID-19 Treatment

There is little evidence that antihypertensive drugs worsen COVID-19, and scientists are instead exploring the idea that such medications—or their downstream effects—may actually alleviate symptoms.


Students Stand Up for Sub-contracted Workers Amid COVID-19 Crisis

At universities across the US, student-led efforts to achieve protection for custodial, food service, and other vendors’ employees have been met with mixed levels of success.


Remdesivir Shows Promise in Largest of Several Clinical Trials

Gilead’s experimental antiviral drug shortened the average time it took COVID-19 patients to recover in a NIAID-sponsored trial. There was weak evidence that it also helped reduce deaths.


NIH Cancels Funding for Bat Coronavirus Research Project

The abrupt termination comes after the research drew President Trump’s attention for its ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.


Strokes Reported Among Some Middle-Aged COVID-19 Patients

Early reports from hospitals document a spike in large vessel blockages, especially among people in their 30s and 40s who tested positive for the coronavirus.


Nearly All NYC-Area COVID-19 Hospitalizations Had Comorbidities

The most common preexisting conditions among the patients were diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.


Robert Carroll, Who Studied Amphibian Evolution, Dies

The McGill University paleontologist, who died from COVID-19, was known for using multidisciplinary methods to explore the origins of amphibians, birds, and mammals.


Neurobiologist and Former Stanford President Donald Kennedy Dies

Kennedy, who succumbed to COVID-19, served as commissioner of the FDA and editor-in-chief of Science, and is credited with helping to transform Stanford into a top research university.


First US COVID-19 Deaths Happened Weeks Earlier than Thought

Autopsies recently carried out in California show that one person died of the disease on February 6—three weeks before the nation recorded its first fatality.


Are Mesenchymal Stem Cells a Promising Treatment for COVID-19?

As the first clinical data become available on treating coronavirus patients with the cells, scientists are equivocal about the rationale for the intervention.


The Effects of Physical Isolation on the Pandemic Quantified

Social distancing measures are based on limited data. As much of the world remains stuck in lockdown, researchers are trying to measure the benefits.


BARDA Director Departs Post Overseeing COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Rick Bright will no longer head the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and will instead work at the National Institutes of Health on diagnostics for SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Microbiologist Who Studied Deadly Bacteria in Public Places Dies

Paul Matewele, who died from COVID-19, was known for discovering dangerous microbes on surfaces people touch every day.


False Negatives in Quick COVID-19 Test Near 15 Percent: Study

Abbott’s ID NOW test missed the most positive samples among five products given the green light by the FDA to use during the pandemic.


Furloughs and Paycuts Announced for U of Arizona Employees

The measures are an attempt to mitigate an “extreme financial crisis” during the COVID-19 pandemic, the university says.


CDC Lab Contamination Delayed Coronavirus Testing

Assembling the first COVID-19 test kits in the same room as coronavirus material, along with other practices that didn’t follow protocol, made the tests unusable, officials say.


N95 Respirators Can Be Decontaminated from SARS-CoV-2

Vaporized hydrogen peroxide is the most effective decontamination method for masks that had been exposed to the coronavirus in a recent study.


With Humans Indoors, Animals Go Wild

Across the globe, wildlife is exploring empty places usually occupied by people.


How Scientists Can Volunteer to Help Fight COVID-19

Researchers are offering tools, equipment, time, and expertise to help alleviate COVID-19 suffering. Here’s how you can chip in.


COVID-19 Vaccine Frontrunners

Several vaccine candidates have been approved for early testing in people. Many more are close on their heels.


Some Coronavirus Researchers Are Running Low on Masks

A large-scale shortage of respirators and face shields threatens progress in some labs that are currently trying to ramp up their studies of SARS-CoV-2.


Lost Smell and Taste Hint COVID-19 Can Target the Nervous System

The symptoms suggest SARS-CoV-2 might infect neurons, raising questions about whether there could be effects on the brain that play a role in patients’ deaths, but the data are preliminary.


Chloroquine for COVID-19: Cutting Through the Hype

President Donald Trump has touted the drug as a treatment but scientists still don’t know for sure that it is effective in patients. A number of clinical trials aim to find out.


Opinion: Public Health Trumps Privacy in a Pandemic

If governments were to use SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests to manage who can re-enter the workplace, society must accept a sacrifice of privacy.


Opinion: Redefining Productivity in the Age of COVID-19

We mourned the closing of our lab. But then we got back to work—finding the balance between scholarly relevance and adapting to life in a world of new social norms.


Why Some COVID-19 Cases Are Worse than Others

Emerging data as well as knowledge from the SARS and MERS coronavirus outbreaks yield some clues as to why SARS-CoV-2 affects some people worse than others.


Trump Suspends WHO Funds, Alleges a Poor COVID-19 Response

President Donald Trump claims the World Health Organization failed to investigate early reports of the coronavirus, while public health experts argue that stripping the agency of its funding endangers us all.


Crowdsourced Protein Simulation Exceeds Supercomputers’ Power

Folding@Home, currently focused on deciphering the workings of SARS-CoV-2, is the first project to have exascale-level computational muscle.


First Saliva Test for COVID-19 Approved for Emergency Use by FDA

The search for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 60 saliva samples yielded the same results as conventional nasal swab tests taken from the same patients.


Logistical Hurdles Leave COVID-19 Test Kits Unused

Scientists at academic labs equipped to test for SARS-CoV-2 report that multiple barriers are preventing from them from operating at full capacity.


Journal Publisher Concerned over Hydroxychloroquine Study

The report by Didier Raoult and colleagues that examined the use of the anti-malarial drug in a small number of COVID-19 patients receives criticism from the very society that published it.


Remdesivir Works Against Coronaviruses in the Lab

The antiviral disables RNA replication machinery in MERS and SARS viruses. Can it beat back SARS-CoV-2?


Opinion: Lab Work Under Isolation

Here’s how my group put our research on pause and how we’ve continued our work from home.


Opinion: Ethically Accessible Experimental Therapies for COVID-19

In the midst of a pandemic, individual patients are not always the focus of the ethics discussions.


European Research Council President Resigns

Mauro Ferrari says the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is inadequate, but ERC members claim his proposals didn’t align with the mission of the council.


Lipid Expert and Babraham Institute Director Michael Wakelam Dies

Wakelam, who died of a suspected COVID-19 infection, is remembered for his research on the physiological function of lipids.


Study Questions if School Closures Limit the Spread of COVID-19

School shutdowns might have a relatively small effect on preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, a new meta-analysis suggests, though the preliminary data point to the need for more studies.


Scientists Around the Globe Pivot Their Research to SARS-CoV-2

Researchers have rapidly identified ways to apply their expertise to help end the pandemic.


The COVID-19 Coronavirus May Travel in Aerosols

Several studies have indicated that SARS-CoV-2 might be spread through air, but not all experts are convinced.


Cats, Ferrets Susceptible to SARS-CoV-2: Study

Researchers report that dogs, pigs, chickens, and ducks did not easily become infected.


US Selects Two COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates for Huge Investments

The government is assisting Johnson & Johnson and Moderna with expediting clinical testing while at the same time prepping for large-scale manufacturing.


HIV Researcher Gita Ramjee Dies of Complications Tied to COVID-19

The South African scientist fought for women’s access to healthcare in disadvantaged communities.


Journals, Peer Reviewers Cope with Surge in COVID-19 Publications

Coronavirus experts are swamped with reading submissions, which they’re working through as quickly as possible.


Cells’ Response to SARS-CoV-2 Different from Flu, RSV

The host transcriptional signature elicited by the coronavirus appears to be less robust and lacks the induction of key antiviral genes.


FDA Gives Abbott Emergency Use of Five-Minute Coronavirus Test

The machine can be run in doctor’s offices and other point-of-care settings to give rapid results.


Africa Contributes SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing to COVID-19 Tracking

In recent years, laboratories on the continent have ramped up genomic sequencing capabilities, offering in-country analyses rather than outsourcing the job.


COVID-19 Vaccine Developers Gain Enhanced Access to Supercomputers

Federal agencies, academic institutions, and industrial partners are joining forces to combat COVID-19 using artificial intelligence.


Animal Facilities Make Tough Decisions as Pandemic Closes Labs

Many researchers have stopped breeding mice, reduced the size of colonies, and established contingency plans in case animal care staff get sick.


Universities Issue Hiring Freezes in Response to COVID-19

Graduate students and postdocs are left wondering about the implications for their academic careers.


FDA to Allow for Plasma Therapy for COVID-19 Patients

Under emergency protocols, doctors can request to use survivors’ plasma to treat some critically ill COVID-19 patients.


Locally Made COVID-19 Tests Help Meet Demands

Hospitals and commercial companies are testing thousands of patients for COVID-19 daily, but face reagent and supply shortages.


Relatively Stable SARS-CoV-2 Genome Is Good News for a Vaccine

The small number of genetic differences between the original strain of the novel coronavirus from Wuhan and those currently circulating in the US population indicates that a vaccine may likely offer lasting immunity.


Modelers Struggle to Predict the Future of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Disease experts have largely focused on how we got to where we are now with coronavirus infections. Improved data collection and sharing can enhance projections of what’s to come.


After Conference Cancellations, Some Scientists Find a Way

As scores of academic meetings get upended due to COVID-19, researchers are turning to virtual replacements.


US Primate Centers Work to Protect Animals from COVID-19

Rhesus macaques can be infected with SARS-CoV-2, leading primate center scientists to try to prevent outbreaks in their colonies, especially as experiments on coronavirus start.


Monkeys Develop Protective Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2

A small study of macaques finds they don’t develop a coronavirus infection the second time they are exposed, supporting the idea of using plasma from recovered patients as a treatment for COVID-19.


Opinion: Stop Private Speculation in COVID-19 Research

We present an economic plan for a collective sharing of scientific knowledge on the pandemic.


Border Closing Strands Professors, Students in Peru

Under lockdown in a hotel, members of a plant ecology course continue to work and study as they seek a way to return home.


Opinion: Grad Students Face Uncertainty During the Pandemic

With mounting feelings of isolation, research projects derailed, and financial futures cast into doubt, grad students are anxious in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.


Possible Biological Explanations for Kids’ Escape from COVID-19

Infected children may harbor SARS-CoV-2 while showing less-severe symptoms than adults. Their young immune systems, ACE2 receptor levels, and even exposure to other coronaviruses might play a role in their resilience.


University of Washington Pathology Professor Dies of COVID-19

Stephen Schwartz, known for his work on the vascular system, is the first person associated with the university to succumb to infection with SARS-CoV-2.


Opinion: Making Online Teaching a Success

Here are the lessons we’ve learned so far about the keys to virtual science education—including what to do about lab classes.


Governments Must Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing, Says WHO

The World Health Organization warns that a lack of data on how many people have the disease could undermine containment and mitigation efforts in many countries.


Coronavirus’s Effects on Autism Research May Have Lasting Effects

Labs are trying to figure out who will care for animals and organoids and some clinical trials are put on hold.


Bay Area Researchers Close Labs Under New Restrictions

Under an area-wide “shelter in place” order, scientists at some of the world’s leading universities scramble to continue working while confined to their homes.


How COVID-19 Is Spread

Scientists’ latest understanding of the facts, the suspicions, and the discounted rumors of SARS-CoV-2’s transmission from person to person


Life Science Conference Disruptions Due to Coronavirus

Find out which meetings have been canceled, postponed, or are going ahead as planned.


How SARS-CoV-2 Tests Work and What's Next in COVID-19 Diagnostics

Current methods to detect infections of the novel coronavirus rely on identifying particular genetic sequences, but new assays are being developed to meet the growing demand for rapid answers.


Which Species Transmit COVID-19 to Humans? We’re Still Not Sure.

Preliminary modeling studies provide a shortlist of potential coronavirus intermediate host species.


Clinical Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine Begins in Seattle

The first volunteer will receive a shot of the synthetic RNA vaccine today.


Where Coronaviruses Come From

EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak speaks with The Scientist about how pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 jump species, and how to head off the next pandemic.


Newer Vaccine Technologies Deployed to Develop COVID-19 Shot

Researchers look to messenger RNA encased in nanoparticles, DNA plasmids, molecular clamps, and other approaches as they rush to design a vaccine against the new coronavirus.


Chinese Officials Blame US Army for Coronavirus

There is no evidence backing the idea that SARS-CoV-2 originated from US servicemembers visiting Wuhan.


Modelers Struggle to Predict the Future of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Disease experts have largely focused on how we got to where we are now with coronavirus infections. Improved data collection and sharing can enhance projections of what’s to come.


SARS-CoV-2 Can Live on Plastic and Steel for 2–3 Days

A preprint indicates that coronavirus transmission from surfaces is possible, but does not provide evidence that this has occurred in the COVID-19 pandemic.


RNA Extraction Kits for COVID-19 Tests Are in Short Supply in US

Manufacturing sites are ramping up production of reagents needed to isolate SARS-CoV-2’s genetic material—a key step in testing for the virus.


Studies Estimate Incubation Time, Infectious Period of SARS-CoV-2

It takes a median of five days after infection to get sick, and patients shed the most coronavirus particles early in the illness, according to two new reports.


College Class Cancellations Skyrocket Amid Coronavirus Concerns

Dozens of schools across 11 states have announced emergency policies to help curb the spread of COVID-19.


Coronavirus’s Genetics Hint at Its Cryptic Spread in Communities

Contact tracing and genetic testing reveal how SARS-CoV-2 circulated among individuals for weeks, especially in the US, before being detected.


Scientists Use Online Game to Research COVID-19 Treatment

The creativity of citizen scientists could help researchers design proteins that may be able to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Global COVID-19 Cases Top 100,000

The WHO chief calls for swift action as universities in multiple countries shut down and researchers report kids can become infected.


Theory that Coronavirus Escaped from a Lab Lacks Evidence

The pathogen appears to have come from wild animals, virologists say, and there are no signs of genetic manipulation in the SARS-CoV-2 genome.


Indian Authorities Promote Use of Homeopathy to Prevent Coronavirus

Critics of the practice say the guidance is irresponsible and could give users a false sense of security.


Second US Coronavirus Death Confirmed in Washington State

More cases emerge across the country as the global death toll from COVID-19 surpasses 3,000.


Government’s Mixed Messages on Coronavirus Are Dangerous: Experts

Administration officials have given contradictory statements about how COVID-19 will affect the US, and it is not clear who is leading the infectious disease response effort, critics say.


Coronavirus Precautions Stifle Research

Organizers have cancelled conferences, COVID-19 quarantines have prevented some scientists in China from visiting their labs, and travel restrictions have left researchers stranded.


Coronavirus’s Genetics Reveal Its Global Travels

Random mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen’s genome help researchers track the spread and transmission of COVID-19, the disease it causes.


As Global Coronavirus Cases Climb, More Areas on Lockdown

An increase in confirmed infections, particularly in Italy, Iran, and South Korea, has led to heightened measures to prevent the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2.


Journals Open Access to Coronavirus Resources

Nearly 100 academic journals, societies, institutes, and companies sign a commitment to make research and data on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 freely available, at least for the duration of the outbreak.


Scientists Compare Novel Coronavirus to SARS and MERS

Researchers find 380 amino acid substitutions between 2019-nCoV and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-related coronaviruses.


Senior Doctor in Wuhan Outbreak Dies from Coronavirus

Liu Zhiming is the eighth frontline health-care worker to die from COVID-19, and hundreds more have been infected.


The Latest Drugs Trials for Coronavirus

Under careful watch of the World Health Organization, doctors will test a range of COVID-19 therapies, including HIV and flu antivirals, blood plasma infusions, and traditional Chinese medicines.


Image of the Day: Coronavirus Under the Scope

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases releases a series of images that offer a close up look at the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.


Opinion: Scientists’ Obligations During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Scientists can provide essential information to educate the public about the coronavirus.


Coronavirus Test Kits May Yield Inconclusive Results

Some US states are waiting for the CDC to send replacement enzymes necessary for carrying out SARS-CoV-2 assays.


Outrage and Grief Follow Death of Coronavirus Whistleblower

Authorities had silenced Li Wenliang after he spoke out about the virus, now known as SARS-CoV-2 in the early days of the epidemic.


Test for Novel Coronavirus Approved for Wide Deployment

The US Food and Drug Administration authorizes the distribution of the SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic to state health departments and other facilities.


Report of Asymptomatic Transmission of 2019-nCoV Inaccurate

Claims that a woman spread the virus to a colleague in Germany before she had symptoms conflict with health officials’ interview with the patient herself.


Going Viral for the Wrong Reasons

What is a publication to do when readers misuse its content?


Scientists Scrutinize New Coronavirus Genome for Answers

Researchers are trying to figure out where it came from, whether it’s evolving, and just how big a threat it will be.