Deep Learning Technology: Sebastian Arnold, Betty van Aken, Paul Grundmann, Felix A. Gers and Alexander Löser. Learning Contextualized Document Representations for Healthcare Answer Retrieval. The Web Conference 2020 (WWW'20)
Funded by The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Grant: 01MD19013D, Smart-MD Project, Digital Technologies
As of March 2020, it was unknown if past infection provides effective and long-term immunity in people who recover from the disease. Immunity is seen as likely, based on the behaviour of other coronaviruses, but cases in which recovery from COVID-19 have been followed by positive tests for coronavirus at a later date have been reported. These cases are believed to be worsening of a lingering infection rather than re-infection.
The impact of the pandemic and its mortality rate are different for men and women. Mortality is higher in men in studies conducted in China and Italy. The highest risk for men is in their 50s, with the gap between men and women closing only at 90. In China, the death rate was 2.8 percent for men and 1.7 percent for women. The exact reasons for this sex-difference is not known, but genetic and behavioural factors could be a reason. Sex-based immunological differences, lesser prevalence of smoking in women and men developing co-morbid conditions such as hypertension at a younger age than women could have contributed to the higher mortality in men. In Europe, 57% of the infected individuals were men and 72% of those died with COVID-19 were men. As of April 2020, the US government is not tracking sex-related data of COVID-19 infections. Research has shown that viral illnesses like Ebola, HIV, influenza and SARS affect men and women differently. A higher percentage of health workers, particularly nurses, are women, and they have a higher chance of being exposed to the virus. School closures, lockdowns and reduced access to healthcare following the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic may deferentially affect the genders and possibly exaggerate existing gender disparity.
There has been evidence of limited, but not sustained spread of MERS-CoV from person to person, both in households as well as in health care settings like hospitals. Most transmission has occurred "in the circumstances of close contact with severely ill persons in healthcare or household settings" and there is no evidence of transmission from asymptomatic cases. Cluster sizes have ranged from 1 to 26 people, with an average of 2.7.
While the mechanism of spread of MERS-CoV is currently not known, based on experience with prior coronaviruses, such as SARS, the WHO currently recommends that all individuals coming into contact with MERS suspects should (in addition to standard precautions):
- Wear a medical mask
- Wear eye protection (i.e. goggles or a face shield)
- Wear a clean, non sterile, long sleeved gown; and gloves (some procedures may require sterile gloves)
- Perform hand hygiene before and after contact with the person and his or her surroundings and immediately after removal of personal protective equipment (PPE)
For procedures which carry a risk of aerosolization, such as intubation, the WHO recommends that care providers also:
- Wear a particulate respirator and, when putting on a disposable particulate respirator, always check the seal
- Wear eye protection (i.e. goggles or a face shield)
- Wear a clean, non-sterile, long-sleeved gown and gloves (some of these procedures require sterile gloves)
- Wear an impermeable apron for some procedures with expected high fluid volumes that might penetrate the gown
- Perform procedures in an adequately ventilated room; i.e. minimum of 6 to 12 air changes per hour in facilities with a mechanically ventilated room and at least 60 liters/second/patient in facilities with natural ventilation
- Limit the number of persons present in the room to the absolute minimum required for the person’s care and support
- Perform hand hygiene before and after contact with the person and his or her surroundings and after PPE removal.
The duration of infectivity is also unknown so it is unclear how long people must be isolated, but current recommendations are for 24 hours after resolution of symptoms. In the SARS outbreak the virus was not cultured from people after the resolution of their symptoms.
It is believed that the existing SARS research may provide a useful template for developing vaccines and therapeutics against a MERS-CoV infection. Vaccine candidates are currently awaiting clinical trials.
Dogs will typically recover from kennel cough within a few weeks. However, secondary infections could lead to complications that could do more harm than the disease itself. Several opportunistic invaders have been recovered from the respiratory tracts of dogs with kennel cough, including Streptococcus, Pasteurella, Pseudomonas, and various coliforms. These bacteria have the potential to cause pneumonia or sepsis, which drastically increase the severity of the disease. These complications are evident in thoracic radiographic examinations. Findings will be mild in animals affected only by kennel cough, while those with complications may have evidence of segmental atelectasis and other severe side effects.
There is one intra-nasal FIP vaccine available: its use is controversial but in an independent study the authors concluded that vaccination can protect cats with no or low FCoV antibody titres and that in some cats vaccine failure was probably due to pre-existing infection.
Prevention of FCoV infection, and therefore FIP, in kittens
Kittens are protected from infection by maternally derived antibody until it wanes, usually around 5–7 weeks of age, therefore it is possible to prevent infection of kittens by removing them from sources of infection. However, FCoV is a very contagious virus and such prevention does require rigorous hygiene.
In virology, defective interfering particles (DIPs), also known as defective interfering viruses, are spontaneously generated virus mutants in which a critical portion of the particle's genome has been lost due to defective replication. DIPs are derived from and associated with their parent virus, and particles are classed as DIPs if they are rendered non-infectious due to at least one essential gene of the virus being lost or severely damaged as a result of the defection. A DIP can usually still penetrate host cells, but requires another fully functional virus particle (the 'helper' virus) to co-infect a cell with it, in order to provide the lost factors. The existence of DIPs has been known about for decades, and they can occur within nearly every class of both DNA and RNA viruses.
There is no vaccine for SARS to date. Isolation and quarantine remain the most effective means to prevent the spread of SARS. Other preventative measures include:
- Disinfection of surfaces for fomites
- Wearing a surgical mask
- Avoiding contact with bodily fluids
- Washing the personal items of someone with SARS in hot, soapy water (eating utensils, dishes, bedding, etc.)
- Keeping children with symptoms home from school
Many public health interventions were taken to help control the spread of the disease; which is mainly spread through respiratory droplets in the air. These interventions included earlier detection of the disease, isolation of people who are infected, droplet and contact precautions, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE); including masks and isolation gowns. A screening process was also put in place at airports to monitor air travel to and from affected countries. Although no cases have been identified since 2004, the CDC is still working to make federal and local rapid response guidelines and recommendations in the event of a reappearance of the virus.
No specific treatment is available, but antibiotics can be used to prevent secondary infections.
Vaccines are available (ATCvet codes: for the inactivated vaccine, for the live vaccine; plus various combinations).
Biosecurity protocols including adequate isolation, disinfection are important in controlling the spread of the disease.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the virus strain that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory illness. It is colloquially known as the coronavirus, and was previously referred to by its provisional name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). SARS-CoV-2 is a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus. It is contagious in humans, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Because the strain was first discovered in Wuhan, China, it is sometimes referred to as "Wuhan virus" or "Wuhan coronavirus". Since the WHO discourages the use of names based on locations such as MERS, and to avoid confusion with the disease SARS, it sometimes refers to SARS-CoV-2 as "the COVID-19 virus" in public health communications. The general public frequently calls both SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes "coronavirus", but scientists typically use more precise terminology.
Taxonomically, SARS-CoV-2 is a strain of Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV). It is believed to have zoonotic origins and has close genetic similarity to bat coronaviruses, suggesting it emerged from a bat-borne virus. An intermediate animal reservoir such as a pangolin is also thought to be involved in its introduction to humans. The virus shows little genetic diversity, indicating that the spillover event introducing SARS-CoV-2 to humans is likely to have occurred in late 2019.
Epidemiological studies estimate each infection results in 1.4 to 3.9 new ones when no members of the community are immune and no preventive measures taken. The virus is primarily spread between people through close contact and via respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes. It mainly enters human cells by binding to the receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).
Avian infectious bronchitis (IB) is an acute and highly contagious respiratory disease of chickens. The disease is caused by avian infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), a coronavirus, and characterized by respiratory signs including gasping, coughing, sneezing, tracheal rales, and nasal discharge. In young chickens, severe respiratory distress may occur. In layers, respiratory distress, nephritis, decrease in egg production, and loss of internal (watery egg white) and external (fragile, soft, irregular or rough shells, shell-less) egg quality are reported.
Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is the name given to an uncommon, but usually fatal, aberrant immune response to infection with feline coronavirus (FCoV).
Several consequent reports from China on some recovered SARS patients showed severe long-time sequelae exist. The most typical diseases include, among other things, pulmonary fibrosis, osteoporosis, and femoral necrosis, which have led to the complete loss of working ability or even self-care ability of these cases. As a result of quarantine procedures, some of the post-SARS patients have been documented suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder.
To increase their effectiveness, vaccines should be administered as soon as possible after a dog enters a high-risk area, such as a shelter. 10 to 14 days are required for partial immunity to develop. Administration of B. bronchiseptica and canine-parainfluenza vaccines may then be continued routinely, especially during outbreaks of kennel cough. There are several methods of administration, including parenteral and intranasal. However, the intranasal method has been recommended when exposure is imminent, due to a more rapid and localized protection. Several intranasal vaccines have been developed that contain canine adenovirus in addition to B bronchiseptica and canine-parainfluenza virus antigens. Studies have thus far not been able to determine which formula of vaccination is the most efficient. Adverse effects of vaccinations are mild, but the most common effect observed up to 30 days after administration is nasal discharge. Vaccinations are not always effective. In one study it was found that 43.3% of all dogs in the study population with respiratory disease had in fact been vaccinated.
Bronchiolitis typically affects infants and children younger than two years, principally during the fall and winter . Bronchiolitis hospitalization has a peak incidence between two and six months of age and remains a significant cause of respiratory disease during the first two years of life. It is a leading cause of hospitalization in infants and young children.
The best prevention against viral pneumonia is vaccination against influenza, adenovirus, chickenpox, herpes zoster, measles, and rubella.
Recent work has been done by virologists to learn more about the interference in infection of host cells and how DI genomes could potentially work as antiviral agents. The Dimmock & Easton, 2014 article explains that pre-clinical work is being done to test their effectiveness against influenza viruses. DI-RNAs have also been found to aid in the infection of fungi via viruses of the family "Partitiviridae" for the first time, which makes room for more interdisciplinary work.
Viral pneumonia occurs in about 200 million people a year which includes about 100 million children and 100 million adults.
Human-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been confirmed during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Transmission occurs primarily via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes within a range of about 1.8 metres (6 ft). Indirect contact via contaminated surfaces is another possible cause of infection. Preliminary research indicates that the virus may remain viable on plastic and steel for up to three days, but does not survive on cardboard for more than one day or on copper for more than four hours; the virus is inactivated by soap, which destabilises its lipid bilayer. Viral RNA has also been found in stool samples from infected individuals.
The degree to which the virus is infectious during the incubation period is uncertain, but research has indicated that the pharynx reaches peak viral load approximately four days after infection. On 1 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that "transmission from asymptomatic cases is likely not a major driver of transmission". However, an epidemiological model of the beginning of the outbreak in China suggested that "pre-symptomatic shedding may be typical among documented infections" and that subclinical infections may have been the source of a majority of infections.
There is some evidence of human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2, including examples in felids. Some institutions have advised those infected with SARS-CoV-2 to restrict contact with animals.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a journal "Emerging Infectious Diseases" that identifies the following factors contributing to disease emergence:
- Microbial adaption; e.g. genetic drift and genetic shift in Influenza A
- Changing human susceptibility; e.g. mass immunocompromisation with HIV/AIDS
- Climate and weather; e.g. diseases with zoonotic vectors such as West Nile Disease (transmitted by mosquitoes) are moving further from the tropics as the climate warms
- Change in human demographics and trade; e.g. rapid travel enabled SARS to rapidly propagate around the globe
- Economic development; e.g. use of antibiotics to increase meat yield of farmed cows leads to antibiotic resistance
- Breakdown of public health; e.g. the current situation in Zimbabwe
- Poverty and social inequality; e.g. tuberculosis is primarily a problem in low-income areas
- War and famine
- Bioterrorism; e.g. 2001 Anthrax attacks
- Dam and irrigation system construction; e.g. malaria and other mosquito borne diseases
Lower respiratory infectious disease is the fifth-leading cause of death and the combined leading infectious cause of death, being responsible for 2·74 million deaths worldwide. This is generally similar to estimates in the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study.
This total only accounts for "Streptococcus pneumoniae" and "Haemophilus Influenzae" infections and does not account for atypical or nosocomial causes of lower respiratory disease, therefore underestimating total disease burden.
Lower respiratory tract infections place a considerable strain on the health budget and are generally more serious than upper respiratory infections.
The term usually refers to acute viral bronchiolitis, a common disease in infancy. This is most commonly caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, also known as human pneumovirus). Other viruses which may cause this illness include metapneumovirus, influenza, parainfluenza, coronavirus, adenovirus, and rhinovirus.
Children born prematurely (less than 35 weeks), with a low birth weight or who have from congenital heart disease may have higher rates of bronchiolitis and are more likely to require hospital admission. There is evidence that breastfeeding provides some protection against bronchiolitis.
The common cold is the most common human disease and affects people all over the globe. Adults typically have two to five infections annually, and children may have six to ten colds a year (and up to twelve colds a year for school children). Rates of symptomatic infections increase in the elderly due to declining immunity.
Native Americans and Inuit are more likely to be infected with colds and develop complications such as otitis media than Caucasians. This may be explained by issues such as poverty and overcrowding rather than by ethnicity.
The traditional theory is that a cold can be "caught" by prolonged exposure to cold weather such as rain or winter conditions, which is how the disease got its name. Some of the viruses that cause the common colds are seasonal, occurring more frequently during cold or wet weather. The reason for the seasonality has not been conclusively determined. Possible explanations may include cold temperature-induced changes in the respiratory system, decreased immune response, and low humidity causing an increase in viral transmission rates, perhaps due to dry air allowing small viral droplets to disperse farther and stay in the air longer.
The apparent seasonality may also be due to social factors, such as people spending more time indoors, near infected people, and specifically children at school. There is some controversy over the role of low body temperature as a risk factor for the common cold; the majority of the evidence suggests that it may result in greater susceptibility to infection.