The World Health Organization issued a scientific brief Thursday saying the possibility that the novel coronavirus is airborne cannot be ruled out, and acknowledging that it might be transmitted through aerosols or tiny air droplets in closed indoor spaces such as restaurants and gyms. The WHO said more research is needed, but respiratory droplets are still thought to be the primary route of transmission.
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The US reported more than 60,500 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the largest single-day spike seen in any country since the pandemic started, with 41 out of 50 states reporting rising infections over the past two weeks. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci urged hard-hit states such as California, Florida, Texas and Arizona -- which account for half of new cases -- to seriously consider halting their reopening process and analyze "what did not work well and try to mitigate that."
Gilead Sciences has begun evaluating an inhalable form of remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment that could be used outside hospital settings, launching early-stage testing in nearly 60 healthy adults. The company also intends to test remdesivir in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs.
The FDA has granted orphan drug designation and priority review status to Astex Pharmaceuticals' Inqovi, or decitabine and cedazuridine, for treating individuals with myelodysplastic syndromes or chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, after a trial showed that Inqovi had a similar safety profile and drug concentration as intravenous decitabine.
The NIH announced the launch of a national clinical trials network, dubbed the COVID-19 Prevention Trials Network, to help perform late-stage clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines and other treatments. A vaccine co-developed by Moderna and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is expected to be tested in the first late-stage trial conducted through COVPN this summer.
The FDA has given emergency use authorization to Assure Tech for its Assure COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Device, which can deliver results within 15 minutes, and to Laboratorio Clinico Toledo for its Laboratorio Clinico Toledo SARS-CoV-2 Assay.
AABB will host an eCast, "The Transfusion Committee: How to be Effective and Sustaining," on Wednesday, July 22, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. In this program, Jim Gorham, MD, PhD, medical director, Blood Bank and Transfusion Services, at the University of Virginia, and Carolyn Burns, MD, patient blood management physician advisor, will describe ways to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of transfusion committees in the current health care climate. Speakers will also describe methods to integrate clinical stakeholders into the facility's transfusion committee, engage members of the committee to fully participate in committee meetings and effectively utilize committee members to aid in realizing the committee's goals.