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COVID-19 Update
October 30, 2020
IowaBio wants to provide our members useful information during the COVID-19 pandemic. This newsletter compiles information on state, federal and industry action to combat the virus and its impacts.

If your company is helping respond to COVID-19, IowaBio wants to know about it. Please, send any information about what your biotechnology company or organization is doing to help, to Jessica Hyland at Jessica@iowabio.org.

If IowaBio can assist you in getting information out, connecting with public officials, or support your company in another way, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Past IowaBio COVID-19 Update newsletters are now available at www.iowabio.org/COVID19 and can be found under the Industry News tab on the IowaBio website.

Iowa Update

Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 124,358 Iowans have tested positive, up 2,616 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 963,686 tested. 14 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1,705 deaths. Now 92,261 Iowans have recovered. The overall positivity rate is 12.9% and the total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 12.5%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here. There are currently 606 hospitalized patients.

School district statistics including positivity rates by county can be found here. According to guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Education, schools may petition to go to hybrid or online learning with less than 50 percent in-person instruction when the per county percentage positivity rates are above 15 percent in a county on average over the past 14 days (rolling average) AND 10% absenteeism among students is expected for in-person learning.

Currently 30 counties are above 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days:

O’Brien 23.2%
Cass 22.7%
Harrison 21.4%
Delaware 21.3%
Jackson 21.3%
Osceola 21.1%
Plymouth 20.7%
Sioux 20.3%
Carroll 18.7%
Taylor 18.6%
Fremont 18.6%
Winnebago 17.6%
Lyon 17.3%
Clayton 17.3%
Woodbury 17.1%
Humboldt 17.6%
Hancock 16.6%
Dubuque 16.5%
Webster 15.9%
Henry 15.9%
Dickinson 15.9%
Cedar 15.7%
Adair 15.4%
Wright 15.3%
Adams 15.3%
Mitchell 15.1%
Mahaska 15.1%
Jones 15.1%
Jasper 15.0%
Des Moines 15.0%

As the State continues its plans to relocate or transition Test Iowa sites in preparation for the winter months, the Test Iowa site in Scott County, currently located at North Park Mall in Davenport (360 W. Kimberly Road), will move from the mall’s parking lot into the former Sears Auto Center building at the same location when testing concludes on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m.  

The enclosed site will protect Test Iowa staff and others from winter weather conditions and allow drive-thru testing to continue. The site will open for testing as normal on Friday, Oct. 30 at 8 a.m.  

Plans are also underway to transition the three remaining sites in Black Hawk, Linn and Pottawattamie counties. 

Additionally, hours of operation will change beginning Monday, Nov. 2 at six state-managed Test Iowa sites in Black Hawk, Linn, Polk, Pottawattamie and Scott counties due to Daylight Savings Time. Sites will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

The state continues to work with local and regional health care providers to increase access to testing through Test Iowa clinic sites. The state provides testing supplies and resources, and processes tests through the State Hygienic Lab, while local hospitals or clinics operate and staff the sites. 

Individuals who wish to be tested at any site must first complete an online assessment at testiowa.com, and schedule an appointment.  

Test Iowa is a statewide initiative to expand COVID-19 testing. Locations and hours of operation for all test sites can be found at testiowa.com or coronavirus.iowa.gov. 

The following information on vaccine distribution in Iowa was kindly provided by the Iowa Medical Society:

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has convened a stakeholder workgroup, comprised of IMS and other leaders within the provider and public health community, to assist with planning and distribution of an anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. IMS has prepared this update to quickly convey the latest updates and will continue to provide these regular updates as they become available. Please note, this information is rapidly evolving and may change.

The workgroup met October 28, 2020 to discuss ongoing provider enrollment efforts as the state seeks to finalize the initial list of providers authorized to administer the anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. State officials provided updates on recently-announced federal programs to utilize chain pharmacies to administer the vaccine to long-term care patients and provided additional detail on some of the plans outlined in Iowa’s COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy Interim Plan.

To date, 873 Organizational COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreements have been submitted to the state. State officials are processing 50-60 agreements daily, reconciling information such as on-sight cold storage capacity and professional licensing information for individual practitioners within each practice that submits an application. 712 provider agreements have been approved as of this morning. State officials are in the process of mapping out approved providers, administration capacity, and distribution of priority patient populations to begin identifying where gaps exist in provider capacity. IDPH will not be closing the provider enrollment process throughout the COVID-19 vaccination campaign and practices will have the ability to enroll at any time.

HHS recently announced a new federal agreement with Walgreens and CVS to allow individual branches of the chain pharmacies to partner with local long-term care (LTC) facilities to handle administration of the anticipated vaccine to this priority patient population. Enrollment for the program, which is being facilitates on the federal level, has been extended through November 6. Shortly thereafter, IDPH will receive a list of participating pharmacies and LTC facilities in Iowa that will be participating in this program.

All patients who receive a COVID-19 vaccine will have this noted in their IRIS record within 24 hours, which will then be fed into patients’ medical records if your practice has established bidirectional communication between IRIS and your EHR system. Approximately 80% of IRIS-enrolled providers have established bidirectional functionality; state officials will be reaching out to the remaining providers to discuss establishing this functionality to ensure sufficient patient tracking regardless of where they receive their COVID-19 vaccine.

State officials have identified 18 locations across the state that have on-site ultra-cold capabilities to store those anticipated vaccines, which will require lower temperature storage. Federal officials are finalizing further cold storage guidance, but have indicated that vaccine doses will be able to be properly stored in their shipping containers for a period of a few days. Initial indications are that the Pfizer vaccine candidate, which is among those requiring ultra-cold storage and expected to be the first candidate ready for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), will be shipped in containers whose storage capabilities can be recharged utilizing approximately 50 pounds of dry ice. These containers will be outfitted with temperature monitoring equipment, contain trays of serum that are approximately the size of a personal pan pizza box, and in total weigh 70-80 pounds. State officials are investigating additional dry ice purchasing options to aid statewide efforts.

Pfizer anticipates it will be in a position to apply for an EUA on its vaccine candidate in early December. Federal officials are determining final distribution plans, but have indicated that they may allow states to preposition vaccine doses so they are already on-site or en route to clinics before the EUA has been formally approved.

The state is in the process of finalizing a number of legal documents including the statewide standing order they plan to issue to allow for more widespread provider administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. IDPH officials are not planning to dramatically expand the provider types authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine via this order. They instead plan to utilize the order to streamline administration by existing immunization providers such as pharmacists and are considering imposing restrictions such as limiting administration of the anticipated vaccine to children by only a traditional vaccine provider.

Federal officials are currently working to establish an administration rate for the COVID-19 vaccine. They have indicated that the rate may be in line with the $19.68 administration cap allowed under the Vaccines for Children program. Administration of the vaccine will be covered under Medicare and Medicaid, and it is anticipated that it will also be a covered benefit under commercial insurance.

As we have noted, IRIS will be utilized to track dose administration and ensure providers receive notifications when it is time to recall patients to receive their second dose if they are receiving one of the vaccines that requires dual dosing. IDPH is assembling more information on options for IRIS to automatically issue patient reminders for practices. In addition, patients will be issued brand-specific vaccine tracking cards so they ensure they receive a second dose of the same vaccine type as the initial vaccines will not be interchangeable. While federal guidance is still very fluid, state officials have indicated that at this time they do not anticipate that individual practices will be responsible for holding back a stock of vaccines to ensure sufficient supply of second doses for their patients. Federal officials expect sufficient supply will be in manufacturing to ensure that clinics are able to receive additional doses of the same type in time to administer their patients’ second doses on schedule.

IowaBio Member Highlights

Governor Kim Reynolds announced yesterday she has set aside $2 million in CARES Act funding to support the development of a next-generation COVID-19 vaccine through a partnership between Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.  
 
The funding and collaboration with Iowa industry partners, including IowaBio member startups, will help ISU and the U of I leverage their patented technology to advance a COVID-19 nanovaccine candidate that will address the limitations of vaccines already under development.  
 
“Through this important partnership, Iowa is supporting those on the frontlines of nanovaccine development,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said. “Iowa’s COVID19 nanovaccine candidate will not require needles or refrigeration, and could provide long-term immunity from just a single dose. I am proud of the role Iowa State University and the University of Iowa are playing in this cutting-edge development.”  

This approach draws on ISU’s strengths in nanovaccine research and development, nanovaccine platform technology and animal health, as well as the U of I’s expertise in SARS virology, immunity, and unique animal models.  

“The Nanovaccine Institute based at Iowa State was established in 2013 with this kind of global health challenge in mind,” said Iowa State’s Balaji Narasimhan, the project leader, director of the Nanovaccine Institute and an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering. “We’ve created a team that can innovate and move our ideas beyond the lab. We’re ready to meet the urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine.” 

Michael Wannemuehler, associate director of the Nanovaccine Institute and a professor of veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine, is also leading the project at Iowa State.  

The UI effort is being led by Kevin L. Legge, Ph.D., professor of pathology and director of the Pathology Research Flow Cytometry Core in the UI Carver College of Medicine, along with co-investigators Stanley Perlman, Ph.D., MD, professor of microbiology and immunology,  and of pediatrics, in the UI Carver College of Medicine, and Thomas Waldschmidt, Ph.D., Clement T. and Sylvia H. Hanson Chair in Immunology in the Department of Pathology.

“This important funding will build on our existing successful partnership between the University of Iowa and Iowa State University and greatly aid in our efforts to bring safe, effective, mucosal-based nanoparticle vaccines against respiratory virus infections to the community,” Legge said.  “Our prior work using these nanovaccines against influenza virus has shown that we are able to induce a broader and more sustained protective response which positions one’s immunity at the sites of viral entry, therein speeding up the response time versus what occurs with current influenza vaccines. These funds will allow us to transfer the lessons learned on influenza vaccines toward the creation of a safe, effective and long-lasting mucosal vaccine against SARS-CoV2/COVID-19.”

The collaboration between the two universities and industry partners also will further cement the state’s reputation as a biosciences epicenter. A 2017 report identified Iowa’s competitive advantages in the biosciences, including vaccines and immunotherapeutics.  

Federal Actions
  • HRSA announced it will distribute approximately $333 million in first round performance payments to over 10,000 nursing homes. These nursing homes are being recognized for demonstrating significant reductions in COVID-19 related infections and deaths between August and September.
  • NIH Researchers have discovered a biological pathway that the coronavirus appears to use to hijack and exit cells as it spreads through the body. The scientists say a better understanding of this pathway may provide important insight in stopping the transmission of the virus.
  • Tuesday, the FDA updated an immediately in effect guidance, Enforcement Policy for Non-Invasive Remote Monitoring Devices Used to Support Patient Monitoring During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency. This update expands the scope of the guidance to include an additional device type: Gaseous-Phase Carbon-Dioxide Gas Analyzer (product code CCK), which includes capnographs and devices with a capnography feature.
  • The FDA issued three warning letters jointly with the Federal Trade Commission to Peterson Research Laboratories dba CovercologyPredator Nutrition, and Beepothecary for selling unapproved and misbranded products with fraudulent COVID-19 claims.
  • 285 tests are authorized by FDA under EUAs; these include 222 molecular tests, 56 antibody tests, and 7 antigen tests.
  • The FDA's Dr. Peter Marks published an opinion piece pledging to make sure a COVID-19 is safe and efficacious. 
  • The CDC has published and updated a significant number of COVID-19 materials and resources on their dashboard. To point to just a few:
  • The CDC is asking states to be prepared for vaccine distribution at key locations throughout the country. Officials want to move quickly once the FDA authorizes a vaccine and a CDC advisory panel issues recommendations on which populations should be vaccinated, according to a letter the CDC sent earlier this week to state preparedness and immunization officials. As part of that effort, the CDC wants states to provide important information, such as a list of each jurisdiction’s top five sites capable of receiving and administering a vaccine that must be stored at ultracold temperatures of minus-70 Celsius, by next Tuesday. 
  • CMS released a comprehensive plan with proactive measures to remove regulatory barriers and ensure consistent coverage and payment for the administration of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. CMS released a set of toolkits for providers, states, and insurers to help the health care system prepare to swiftly administer the vaccine once it is available. These resources are designed to increase the number of providers that can administer the vaccine and ensure adequate reimbursement for administering the vaccine in Medicare, while making it clear to private insurers and Medicaid programs their responsibility to cover the vaccine at no charge to beneficiaries. In addition, CMS is taking action to increase reimbursement for any new COVID-19 treatments that are approved or authorized by the FDA.
  • OSHA is facing a law suit by unions representing hundreds of thousands of nurses and health care workers who are alleging that the agency is violating its duties to keep workers safe by failing to issue an infectious disease standard to protect health care workers during the pandemic.
  • Following an early morning letter to Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin about a response to remaining negotiation items, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday that she wants to reach a deal on an economic relief bill during Congress’s lame-duck session after the election. Full text of the letter can be viewed here
Updates from the States
  • Out of the cases under investigation detected by U.S. surveillance, there are 8,834,393 total cases and 227,045 deaths. The CDC data closes out the day before reporting. It is assumed the U.S. has now surpassed the 9 million marker for total cases. 
  • Twenty-one states added more cases in the seven-day period ending Wednesday than in any other seven-day stretch of the pandemic.
  • In North Dakota, more than 5 percent of the population has now tested positive — the biggest share of any state — as reports of new cases continue to soar. The state has temporarily suspended its contact tracing program and encourages residents who test positive to do their own contact tracing. The exception is for health care settings and K-12 schools and university systems where contact tracing will continue as usual.
  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said his state is facing an “urgent crisis.” Wisconsin is home to eight of the country’s 15 metro areas with the highest rates of recent cases. More than 200 coronavirus deaths have been announced over the last week in Wisconsin, and as case numbers explode, hospitals have been put under increasing strain. 
  • Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said yesterday that city employees would get one paid hour off every two weeks, during normal work shifts, to get tested for COVID-19. The share of coronavirus tests coming back positive in Boston increased to 7.8 percent, from 6.2 percent last week.
  • Doctors, nurses, health care practitioners, and providers from across New Mexico this week signed an open letter urging New Mexicans to double down on safe practices and personal caution to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the state’s health care and hospital resources. More than 350 health care workers signed the letter.
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a stay-at-home order for Lāna‘i island. Gov. Ige also announced that Japan will be added to Hawai‘i’s pre-travel testing program.
  • Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 11 (Chicago), Region 4 (Metro East), and Region 10 (Suburban Cook County) beginning at 12:01 AM on Friday.
  • Gov. Pritzker also announced updated guidance for youth and adult recreational sports, such as school-based sports, travel clubs, private leagues and clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. Collegiate sports and professional leagues are not impacted by these restrictions.
  • Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that community, long-term care, and school leaders and administrators, as well as Kentucky families in red-zone counties, should prepare a weekly COVID-19 reduction plan based on each Thursday’s incidence rate map.
  • In Idaho, Gov. Brad Little (R) on Monday signed a health order that limits indoor and outdoor gatherings, requires bars and nightclubs to offer seating-only service and mandates masks at long-term-care facilities.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) issued a proclamation and guidance memo clarifying the application of COVID-19 requirements for voters and for voting service operations, including county elections offices, county voting centers, and student engagement HUBs throughout the state.
  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), and Gov. Inslee Joined California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which will independently review the safety and efficacy of any vaccine approved by the FDA for distribution.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said Wednesday he plans to extend Tennessee's State of Emergency at the end of the month due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases and urged Tennesseans to follow COVID-19 safety protocols.
  • Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) announced a substantial list of community testing sites this week. Testing locations include pop-up and Curative trailer sites.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will begin a voluntary COVID-19 screening program for frontline employees. Under this new initiative, free COVID testing for MTA workers will be offered at rotating field locations and medical assessment and occupational health services centers.
  • Gov. Cuomo and his daughter Mariah Kennedy Cuomo announced New York State is partnering with The RealReal and dozens of New York fashion designers to launch "Mask Up", a campaign to benefit COVID-19 relief efforts and remind the public of the need to wear masks.
  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed an EO that makes slight revisions to the previously enacted travel advisory, most notably the creation of an exemption for the nearby states of New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island from appearing on the list of affected states from which travelers are required to self-quarantine.
  • Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York’s regional travel advisory was updated. California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania have been added to the list of impacted locations that meet the metrics to qualify.
  • Arkansas Surgeon General Greg Bledsoe said Wednesday he tested positive for COVID-19. Seven GOP state legislators have also tested positive.
  • Los Angeles city and county officials on Tuesday unveiled a rapid COVID-19 testing pilot project aimed at helping first responders and schoolchildren limit coronavirus spread. The pilot will be conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California in conjunction with the city and county. It will make Los Angeles one of the first regions in the country to conduct a large-scale study on both symptomatic and asymptomatic residents using inexpensive antigen tests, which can produce results in minutes rather than days.
  • Useful state data:
    • Use Johns Hopkins University’s COVID-19 U.S. map as a resource for media, policymakers, and communities to view a collection of critical public health data in one online destination and better understand and track the COVID-19 pandemic in populations both large and small across the country.
    • NASHP has developed a COVID-19 State Action Center which serves as a state-level policy dashboard. Governing is also keeping a running tally of coronavirus news and impacts at the intersection of the health and economic crises in the states and localities.
    • This site from the Kaiser Family Foundation provides state-level information on cases/deaths, social distancing measures, health policy actions, and more.
    • This series of maps shows how states are responding to COVID-19, and this tracker, created and maintained by MultiState Associates, has an up-to-date list of executive orders and various travel restrictions.
International Affairs
  • Here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Update and here is the most recent edition of the WHO's Weekly Operational Update.
  • The pandemic in Europe is nearing crisis level. All 20 countries with the highest rates of new cases over the last week are in Europe. Britain, France, Italy, and Spain were among the countries that recorded their highest death tolls in months.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron instituted a new nationwide lockdown yesterday. In France, 2,000 new patients are being hospitalized every day, the highest numbers in the country since mid-April.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced new lockdown measures on Wednesday, including closing bars and restaurants, as she vowed to avoid “situations that are extremely difficult.” Hospitalizations in Germany have doubled in the past 10 days and nearly 1,500 patients are in intensive care.
  • Fourteen regions across the U.K. will be moved to Tier 2 restrictions, which ban household mixing indoors. The COVID-19 pandemic has reached a critical stage in England, officials said, with case numbers doubling since last month.
  • In Belgium, all nonessential hospital work has been postponed to deal with an influx of new COVID-19 patients, whose numbers have nearly doubled in the past week, matching levels seen in the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.
  • Croatia has asked former doctors to come out of retirement to help in hospitals, while National Guard troops have flown from the U.S. to the Czech Republic to assist overwhelmed health care professionals there.
  • Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday that he would announce a one-month action of “targeted restrictions” on Friday aimed at averting a second nationwide lockdown.
  • On Thursday, Switzerland imposed tighter controls on social gatherings, closing nightclubs and imposing an 11 PM closing time for bars. Public gatherings are now limited to 50 people, sports and cultural activities to 15 people, and private family gatherings to 10 people. The new measures came as Switzerland recorded its highest number of daily cases since the start of the pandemic.
  • Spain’s congress of deputies has voted in favor of a six-month extension of the state of emergency that was declared last Sunday. Most regions announced travel restrictions that would prevent about 80 percent of the country’s 47 million residents from visiting other parts of the country.
  • E.U. leaders have agreed to fairly distribute a COVID-19 vaccine, once such a vaccine becomes available.
  • Indian prime minister Narendra Modi promised to provide any successful vaccine to each of India’s 1.3 billion people, and the country is preparing a database of all government and private health personnel to speed up vaccinations once they become available.
  • Singapore is easing restrictions on hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have largely been confined to their dormitories since last spring. Under the new policy, which has been in trials for the past two months, workers who test negative for the coronavirus will be allowed to visit designated recreation centers on their days off starting Saturday. There must also be no active cases in their dorms.
  • Finland’s government said on Thursday it would lift its restrictions on opening hours for restaurants serving mainly food but kept stricter rules on bars and nightclubs in place.
  • After months of restrictions, international travelers from any country will be allowed into Costa Rica starting Nov. 1, as long as they are not displaying symptoms and have insurance to cover costs of any COVID-19 treatment or quarantine lodging during their stay.
  • Saudi Arabia will open the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca for Muslims from other countries beginning Nov. 1.
  • Taiwan has gone 200 days without a locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, far longer than anywhere else in the world. A handful of countries, including New Zealand, Thailand, and Vietnam, have come close to or surpassed 100 days without any local cases, only to experience new outbreaks.
  • Scotland will issue official cards for those exempt from mandatory face-covering rules to make them feel safer and confident in public and when accessing and using public spaces and services. The cards will be issued amid concerns that people with disabilities could be discriminated against if they are unable to wear a mask.
  • President Vladimir Putin vowed to avoid a nationwide lockdown on Thursday, despite warnings from Russian officials of a rapidly deteriorating coronavirus situation in parts of the country.
  • Global Cases: 45,126,200               Total Deaths: 1,182,368
Lifestyle, Science, and Economy
  • NIH scientists have discovered a rare and deadly inflammatory disease affecting men called the VEXAS syndrome. The results from a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine may lead to effective therapies for the disease, which has killed 40 percent of known patients. Those afflicted have an autoinflammatory condition, with symptoms including unexplained fevers, blood clots and inflammation of the cartilage, lung tissue and blood vessels.
  • Kroger announced yesterday that they will soon sell rapid COVID-19 antibody tests at all of their pharmacies. The FDA-authorized tests can detect if a person has coronavirus antibodies but not if a person is currently infected with COVID-19. Kroger said the tests cost $25 and typically provide results within 15 minutes. The tests will be done by a licensed health professional and involve a fingerstick blood sample.
  • Regeneron said this week that its antibody drug reduced coronavirus-related medical visits in a large trial of people who have not been hospitalized. The company said the antibody, which is derived from people who have recovered from the coronavirus, cut medical visits among coronavirus patients by 57 percent when compared with standard care in a trial of about 800 participants. The effect was larger in people with one or more risk factors for COVID-19, reducing medical visits for that group by 72 percent, the company said.
  • Five Yale law, medicine and public health professors, along with a national team of scientists, signed an open letter last week addressed to HHS Sec. Alex Azar calling for greater transparency in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. The letter, which was written in collaboration with Yale Law School’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic, urges Azar to release information to the public about ongoing COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial designs and data collection. Given the remarkable speed at which public and private sector scientists have been working on COVID-19 vaccines, the authors argued that more openness will improve public confidence in the safety and efficacy of the vaccines once they become available, while also protecting the long-term reputation of public health agencies in the U.S.
  • MMWR published multiple new articles this for this week's edition, some of which are summarized here:
  • A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases showed that individuals who are HIV-positive and are hospitalized with COVID-19 had an age-adjusted 47 percent higher risk of 28-day mortality compared with HIV-negative individuals. In addition, among people aged <60 years, HIV-positive status more than doubled the risk of mortality after adjusting for sex, ethnicity, age, baseline date, comorbidities, and disease severity at presentation.
  • CIDRAP's “Ensuring a Resilient US Prescription Drug Supply,” the sixth report in a multipart series titled, "COVID-19: The CIDRAP Viewpoint," identifies the pressing issues facing the U.S. drug supply chain. It also proposes several recommendations, which if implemented, will provide a new national entity focused on better understanding the complex reasons for drug shortages and will establish a systematic approach for analyzing, predicting, preventing and mitigating drug shortages. 
  • Beginning in November, United Airlines will test passengers over the age of 2 for the coronavirus on select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport to Heathrow Airport in London, in a month-long trial intended to help convince government officials that testing could be a crucial part of reopening international travel.
  • State University of New York students must now test negative for COVID-19 in the 10 days before leaving campus for Thanksgiving break. Campuses must work with local health officials on how to quarantine or isolate students who test positive.
  • The Houston Texans closed their facility Wednesday after a player tested positive for COVID-19.
  • L.A. Dodgers player Justin Turner joined his teammates on the field to celebrate their World Series win shortly after learning he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Pope Francis will return to holding his weekly general audiences virtually from the library of his Apostolic Palace, the Holy See announced on Thursday. The decision came after a participant in last week’s audience tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • Do you have questions about vaccines? Try this article
  • The WHO keeps a running list of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, which you can view here. STAT News also has a resource tracking COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. The New York Times has a very helpful vaccine tracker as well, which you can view here
  • BIO’s coronavirus pipeline tracker for vaccines, treatments, and antivirals is here.
  • The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security has an extensive list of commercial and lab-developed tests. 
  • The NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis’s (OPA) expert-curated portfolio of COVID-19 publications and preprints includes peer-reviewed articles from PubMed and preprints from medRxiv, bioRxiv, ChemRxiv, and arXiv. It is updated daily with the latest available data and enables users to explore and analyze the rapidly growing set of advances in COVID-19 research.
Helpful Articles/Media
Sincerely,
Jessica

Jessica Hyland, J.D.
Executive Director
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Cell: (515) 822-1315
Office: (515) 327-9156
Fax: (515) 327-1407
jessica@iowabio.org
www.iowabio.org
Copyright © 2020 Iowa Biotechnology Association, All rights reserved.


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