By Amy Orciari Herman
NEJM Journal Watch
Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM
Check out some of the latest COVID-19 news:
Pooling patient samples: A modeling study in JAMA Network Open supports the feasibility of pool testing for COVID-19. With pool testing, samples from several patients are combined and tested at once for SARS-CoV-2. If the result is negative, all patients in the pool are deemed not infected. If it’s positive, patient samples need to be tested individually. Using simulation modeling, researchers found that pool testing was better than individual testing (e.g., in terms of efficiency, cost savings) when the population prevalence of COVID-19 was under 30%. In a real-world setting — for example, a test sensitivity of 70% and disease prevalence of 1% — some 13 patients would be optimal per pool, and pool testing would require only 16% as many tests as would individual testing. The researchers conclude that “pool testing may be considered as an alternative, especially in circumstances of limited SARS-CoV-2 test availability and a COVID-19 prevalence less [than] 30%.”
Antibody testing: A group of experts from the federal government, industry, and academia have published their recommendations on antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2. The group called for additional research into whether the presence of antibodies protects against reinfection and stressed that, for now, antibody tests “should not be used as a stand-alone tool to make decisions about personal safety related to SARS-CoV-2 exposure.” Details are available at the second link below.
Surges around the U.S.: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress on Tuesday that the U.S. is experiencing a “disturbing surge” in COVID-19 cases, the New York Times reports. “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states,” he said. Dr. Fauci did acknowledge that some states, like New York, are “doing very well.”