COVID-19 Scientific and Public Health Policy Update – (06 October 2020)

In addition to our Weekly Outbreak Brief on the spread of COVID-19 and the actions that Africa CDC is taking to help African Union Member States. Africa CDC shares a weekly brief detailing the latest developments in scientific knowledge and public health policy from around the world, as well as updates to the latest guidance from WHO and other public health agencies. Contents of this document are not intended to serve as recommendations from the Africa CDC; rather, it is a summary of the scientific information available in the public space to Member States. It is important to note that the outbreak is evolving rapidly and that the nature of this information will continue to change. We will provide regular
updates to ensure Member States are informed of the most critical developments in these areas.

A. Executive summary
• Two preprint studies demonstrated that SARS-CoV2 D614G substitution enhances infectivity, replication fitness, and early transmission in hamsters. Findings indicate the D614G variant exhibited significantly faster droplet transmission between hamsters and clinical evidence that the D614G mutation could enhance viral loads in the upper respiratory tract of COVID-19 patients and may increase transmission. (Pre-print, not peer-reviewed).

• A retrospective, propensity score-matched case-control study reports oxygen requirements on day 14 worsened in 18% of convalescent plasma recipients versus 28% of matched controls hospitalised COVID-19 patients, although survival was improved in plasma recipients. In India, the PLACID trial reports that convalescent plasma was not associated with a reduction in mortality or progression to severe disease; it was associated with resolution of dyspnea and supplemental oxygen requirement and with early elimination of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. (Pre-print, not peer-reviewed).


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