COVID-19 Scientific and Public Health Policy Update – (08 September 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
● Results from two open non-randomised phase I/II studies with 76 participants assessed the safety and immunogenicity of rAd26 and rAd5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine in Russia. Findings suggest that the heterologous rAd26 and rAd5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine has a good safety profile and induced strong humoral and cellular immune responses in participants. Further investigation is needed for the effectiveness of this vaccine for prevention of COVID-19.
● The study presents a phylogenetic analysis suggesting a likely origin for SARS-CoV-2 in Rhinolophus spp. bats. Findings suggest that host-switching occurs more frequently and across more distantly related host taxa in alpha- than beta-CoVs, and is more highly constrained by phylogenetic distance for beta-CoVs.
● An open-label, randomised clinical trial in Brazil assessed whether adding azithromycin to the standard of care, which included hydroxychloroquine, would improve clinical outcomes of patients admitted to the hospital with severe COVID-19. Findings do not support the routine use of azithromycin in combination with hydroxychloroquine in patients with severe COVID-19.
● A prospective meta-analysis with pooled data from seven randomized clinical trials evaluated the efficacy of corticosteroids (systemic dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, or methylprednisolone) in 1,703 critically ill COVID-19 patients across 12 countries. Findings suggest the administration of systemic corticosteroids, compared with usual care or placebo, was associated with lower 28-day all-cause mortality.
● Reports of COVID-19 reinfections have been reported, two infections in each person were separate events, the Hong Kong and Nevada teams each sequenced the viral genomes from the first and second infections.