COVID-19 Patients’ Invaluable Legacy

Doctors in Pune, India remember colleagues who died treating Covid-19 patients. September 11, 2020. Image: Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times via Getty
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Doctors in Pune, India remember colleagues who died treating Covid-19 patients. September 11, 2020. Image: Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times via Getty

The nearly 1 million people lost to COVID-19 represent an immense tragedy—but they left the world an incredible gift: life-saving insights into treatments, writes Marilynn Marchione in the AP.

Even as cases continue to rise, death rates appear to be on declining—thanks in part to better treatments and patient care strategies.

“Some of the reason we’re doing better is because of the advances,” says Francis Collins, director of the NIH, adding that “We’re in the ‘stormy adolescence’ phase of learning what treatments work.”

The latest patient-based research:

  • Only 10% of US adults showed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in a study of patients undergoing dialysis—considered a “sentinel population”; the findings show how far the country is from herd immunity. The Lancet

  • Genomic analysis revealed that reinfections in 2 hospital workers in India—who had silent, asymptomatic infections—were genetically different strains, suggesting they were infected anew, and that asymptomatic reinfections are underreported. Nature

  • Why children fare better: Children have a swifter, stronger “innate” immune response to unfamiliar pathogens than adults, rapidly vanquishing the virus before it causes damage according a Science Translational Medicine study published last week. The New York Times
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