Race against the new coronavirus: Scientists have designed a new method to track COVID-19
In a perfect scenario, the individual COVID-19 test will be widely and easily accessible. In fact, testing is still in short supply, and the number of possible cases far exceeds the testing capacity, making the epidemic and development trajectory of the disease difficult to measure.
But researchers at Yale University are developing creative methods to track the spread of viruses, i.e. through algorithms, environmental sampling, genome sequencing, and a method called serology for measuring antibodies in the blood.
The researchers hope that these efforts (many of which are still in their early stages) will provide valuable information about the spread of the virus and allow them to estimate when life may recover, as we have known in the past.
Corona Virus a New Virus, says Foxman
Dr. Ellen Foxman, assistant professor of laboratory medicine and immunobiology at the Yale School of Medicine, said:
"This is a new virus that has never been seen in humans a few months ago. We are fighting it. It will take two to three months.
Time to develop the test, we are working hard to develop it within two to three weeks."
Foxman is the deputy director of two clinical laboratories-the clinical virology laboratory led by Dr. Marie-Louise Landry, which developed the COVID-19 test, which is used by the Yale New Haven Hospital to test 200 people daily.
Also, there are clinical immunology laboratories, and they are developing serological tests. She is also a member of the Yale COVID-19 laboratory working group.
Other members include Landry, epidemiologist Nathan Grubaugh, immunobiologist Akiko Iwasaki, and director and professor Albert Ko of the Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Yale University.
COVID-19 a completely new pathogen
"Now, we are laying the foundation to build a cohort study," Ko said. "This is a completely new pathogen. We need to know how it infects people and why they get sick. If they get immunity, will they be infected again."
In February of this year, as American concerns about the virus intensified, professors and experts from Yale University were invited to predict the local spread of the disease.
Saad Omer, director of Yale University’s Institute of Global Health, is a member of Yale University’s president Peter Salovey’s COVID-19 advisory group.
He developed an algorithm to assess the possible spread of the virus locally. This work helped university leaders decide to move the course online during the spring semester and develop an agreement to work from home.
Omer, associate dean of global health research at Yale University School of Medicine and professor of medicine (infectious diseases), and Susan Dwight Bliss, professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, said:
"We have to figure out-where did this information trigger decision-making?"
Omer has studied respiratory diseases and vaccines on a global scale. He designed this algorithm based on the travel and commuting locations of teachers, students, and employees, and used it to estimate the possible spread within the Yale community.
Omer said: "I saw the outbreak. In responding to the outbreak, it is important to be ahead of the trend."
Researching another method for assessing the spread of the virus
With the emergence of confirmed cases, Jordan Peccia, an environmental engineer at Yale University, began researching another method for assessing the spread of the virus in the New Haven community. That method is, environmental sampling of local wastewater, which contains a large amount of evidence of pathogens and toxins.
Peccia said this method has even been used to reveal information about drug use in a city.
"Even if there are no confirmed cases in the state, we can see this in the wastewater," said Professor Peccia, Thomas E. GoldenJr, Chemical and Environmental Engineering.
Study of Samples from the sewage treatment plant in New Haven
He and his team collected samples from the sewage treatment plant in New Haven every day, transferred the samples to a refrigerator at minus 80 degrees in the laboratory, and extracted RNA to determine the concentration of coronavirus in the sewage.
With the help of epidemiologists, they will compare these concentration data with the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to estimate the possible number of actual cases in the wider New Haven population.
Peccia said: "We hope to use these data to help point out where we are in the epidemic. We are also trying to find an innovative way to develop an early warning system for the spread of disease in the population." He hopes that their work can Lasts all summer.
"This is a long game," Omer said. "We don't know how many people are infected. We don't know how many people will get this disease."
Genomic Analysis to understand how the Coronavirus came
Researchers at Yale University have found that local COVID-19 cases can provide important clues to the route of virus transmission. The Yale University COVID-19 laboratory working group is using genomic analysis to understand how the coronavirus came to New Haven.
Petrone and Joseph Fauver, a postdoctoral assistant, co-authored a related study. Published without peer review, in order to quickly obtain the results of the study, the study showed that nine cases of COVID-19 in early Connecticut were from domestic, not foreign, and seven of them were from Washington State.
"Uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreaks in one state can trigger outbreaks in another state,"
Petrone said, "Before the US epidemic is under control, every outbreak nationwide must be controlled."
Population-based serology studies for COVID-19
In order to better understand how many people have COVID-19, including those who have no symptoms, Yale researchers are also conducting population-based serology studies.
Foxman's laboratory studies the body's response to infection. She said that taking blood samples from the general population and looking for viral antibodies can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the spread of the disease than on-site inspections.
She and other clinicians and researchers at Yale University are working to develop serological tests to measure antibodies and determine whether these antibodies will prevent future infections.
Foxman said this "can help scientists predict when the epidemic will end."
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