COVID-19 Bulletin
An RSB communication on the bioscience behind the outbreak and response
Published by the Royal Society of Biology#

6 April 2020


An excerpt from the Royal Society of Biology COVID-19 Bulletin (6 April 2020)#

Academia Europaea would like to share the April COVID-19 Bulletin of the Royal Society of Biology.

"The RSB COVID-19 bulletin draws together current bioscience research and knowledge to help facilitate community understanding and response. It includes links to published news articles, publications, webpages and other resources. The material presented is not intended to be comprehensive and is up to date as of the date of publication, giving just a glimpse of the huge efforts worldwide to understand SARS-CoV-2 and its effects."

Royal Society of Biology

This bulletin is divided into the following sections [excerpt]:#

Research updates: collating relevant research news and outputs under topic headings.
How else can the bioscience community help?: Listing current calls for resource and expertise.
Positive community news: some examples of community impact aiding response to the pandemic.
Other regularly updated information sources: providing a collection of links to useful online information hubs.
A note on personal and community wellbeing: linking to advice on maintaining good mentalhealth through self-isolation and social distancing.

Research updates#

SARS-CoV-2 is a virus in the zoonotic coronavirus family. This novel virus, discovered in 2019,was previously unidentified in humans and causes the disease COVID-19, which has reachedpandemic proportions in the global human population.

Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE): Coronavirus (COVID-19) response
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific and technical advice to support government decision makers during emergencies. Here you can find a range of its statements and supporting evidence. The page is updated on a regular basis with the latest available evidence provided to SAGE.

UK Parliament POST: Covid-19
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has produced a series of 'rapidresponse' articles on topics including potential COVID-19 vaccines and school closures.

COVID-19: 100 Questions of Peter Piot, LSHTM Director
Professor Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, answers 100 questions - from the basics of virology to more complex issues arising during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SARS-CoV-2 virus characteristics

Soluble angiotensin-converting enzyme 2: a potential approach for coronavirus infection therapy?
A recent correspondence piece published in Clinical Science relates to ACE2. The ACE2 receptoris known to be critical for SARS-CoV entry into host cells. Read more about the rationale forsoluble ACE2 as a potential therapy.

(SMC) Expert reaction to correspondence looking at air and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2

COVID-19 pathophysiology

SARS-CoV-2 Viral Load in Upper Respiratory Specimens of Infected Patients
The viral load of asymptomatic patients appears similar to that of symptomatic patients, inconcordance with reports that transmission may occur early in the course of infection.

Clinical characteristics of refractory COVID-19 pneumonia in Wuhan, China

Characteristics and Outcomes of 21 Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19 in Washington State

Epidemiology and public health response

(SMC) expert reaction to a study about facemask effectiveness A study, published in Nature Medicine, reports on the effectiveness of facemasks.

Estimating the number of infections and the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in 11 European countries

Coronavirus latest: confirmed cases cross the one-million mark
Updates on the respiratory illness that has infected hundreds of thousands of people and killed several thousand.

'We need to be alert': Scientists fear second coronavirus wave as China's lockdowns ease
Other countries on lockdown will be watching for a resurgence of infections in Hubei province now that travel restrictions are lifting.

Social Contacts and Mixing Patterns Relevant to the Spread of Infectious Diseases

Reproduction number of COVID-19 could be below one in UK lockdown
Preliminary estimates provide motivation for us all to keep following UK government instructions.

Surveillance to improve evidence for community control decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic – Opening the animal epidemic toolbox for Public Health

Interventions to mitigate early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Singapore: a modelling study

What China's coronavirus response can teach the rest of the world
Researchers are studying the effects of China's lockdowns to glean insights about controlling the viral pandemic.

The British Society for Genetic Medicine (BSGM) General advice for patients with rare orundiagnosed genetic disorders re Covid-19

Updated PHE guidance for infection prevention and control in healthcare settings (DHSC, PHW,PHA, HPS, PHE)

Testing and ongoing surveillance

(SMC) expert reaction to the latest COVID-19 press conference
The No 10 press conference, on Thursday 2nd April, featured Matt Hancock, Stephen Powis and John Newton. Testing for COVID-19 was one of the main topics covered

(SMC) expert reaction to 1 million confirmed cases of COVID as reported by John Hopkins University
The Coronavirus Resource Centre, put together by John Hopkins University, shows that global COVID-19 cases now exceed 1 million.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Risk Assessments
Rapid risk/outbreaks assessment aim at supporting the countries and the European Commissionin their preparedness and response to a public health threat.

The UK Clinical Virology Network Journal Watch: Supplementing PCR tests with antibody tests for SARS-CoV-2

Real estimates of mortality following COVID-19 infection

Dogs could join the fight against COVID-19
A team at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is looking at whether dogs could be trained to provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis of COVID-19.

Leading Veterinary Diagnostic Company Sees No COVID-19 Cases in Pets
Thousands of canine and feline specimens tested surfaced no positive results to date.

Coronavirus can infect cats — dogs, not so much
But scientists say it's unclear whether felines can spread the virus to people, so pet owners need not panic yet.

Prophylaxis and treatment

NICE publishes first rapid COVID-19 guidelines
New guidelines cover the management of patients in critical care, the management of patientswho are having kidney dialysis and the management of patients who are receiving systemicanticancer treatments.

Update on treatments and vaccines against COVID-19 under development

Coronavirus Information - IUPHAR/BPS Guide to Pharmacology
Given the novelty of SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19), and the lack of proven therapies, a widevariety of strategies are being employed to combat this worldwide epidemic.

How blood from coronavirus survivors might save lives
New York City researchers hope antibody-rich plasma can keep people out of intensive care.

(WHO) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) technical guidance: Patient management

How else can the bioscience community help?#

How you can help with COVID-19
An RSB webpage collating routes through which individuals can offer their help to support thenational effort to respond to the spread of COVID-19.

Urgent funding gaps in the global response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
At least $8 billion of new funding is needed for the global response to coronavirus (COVID-19),according to the Wellcome Trust.

Research and Innovation ideas to address COVID-19
MRC is funding new research projects as part of the UK Research and Innovation response to the current COVID-19 pandemic through the DHSC/UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative. MRC expects all applications which will deliver public health impact within the next twelve months to be submitted to the joint DHSC/UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative NIHR single portal site.

New briefing: Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic - ethical considerations
The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has published a new policy briefing setting out the key ethicalconsiderations relevant to public health measures being introduced to manage the COVID-19pandemic in the UK.

Ethics in the research response to COVID-19 - a Nuffield Council on Bioethics webinar

A global code of conduct to counter ethics dumping
An EU-funded project is leading far-reaching efforts to improve adherence to high ethicalstandards in scientific research around the world. It is implementing a global code of conduct thataims to ensure communities, research participants and local resources in scientific studies aretreated with fairness, respect, care and honesty.

UN Governance Lab Call for Action: COVID-19 living repository for Data Collaboratives
This website provides a space for the global statistical community to share guidance, actions,tools and best practices during the global COVID-19 crisis.

Use of Open Government Data to address COVID-19 Outbreak
Call for evidence: The OECD Secretariat, through the Digital Government and Data Unit, is callingfor evidence on the release and use of Open Government Data (OGD) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We would like to hear from you about what data are being released and howdifferent actors (such as entrepreneurs, media, researchers, CSOs, and the public sector) areinnovating with them to support countries' policies and actions.

Inquiry: UK Science, Research and Technology Capability and Influence in Global Disease Outbreaks
The UK's Science and Technology Committee has announced it will inquire formally into the place of UK research, science and technology in the national and global response, and what lessonsshould be learned for the future.

(The Physiological Society) Coronavirus resources
The Society has a wealth of experts working in areas related to coronavirus (COVID-19). Our communications team is working on delivering reliable, evidenced scientific insight on this diseasethrough social media, video and our media work. This page hosts all of our coronavirus relatedcontent, and will be regularly updated as the situation develops.

Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, the journal co-owned by the Biochemical Society and the Royal Society of Biology will be having an issue devoted to emerging pandemics/viral epidemiology. If anyone would like to contribute a short review article or perspectives piece for consideration in theissue, please contact the Managing Editor of the journal via email ( the 30 April.

British Society of Immunology (BSI) Connect on Coronavirus: a list of funding opportunities thathave been specifically launched to assist efforts to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus

Contact RSB to discuss bioscience community issues or actions via

Positive community news#

Francis Crick Institute and UCLH develop COVID-19 testing service for patients and NHS staff

Wellcome joins the UK government, industry and universities in a step-change to COVID-19testing

COVID-19 vaccine & therapy research boosted by six new projects in rapid response
Six new studies into the novel coronavirus have been funded by the UK government, includingtesting a vaccine, developing therapies and improving understanding of how to treat COVID-19.

Biochemical Society and Portland Press sign joint statement on sharing research data relating tothe novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak
The Biochemical Society/Portland Press (along with a number of other societies and publishers)are making all content related to the coronavirus pandemic free-to-read/open access. The collection of content is updated on a regular basis as new articles are being published across theportfolio.

University fast-tracks innovation to battle Covid-19
Edinburgh researchers are joining forces with commercial companies to quickly develop newtechnologies to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Global MediXchange for Combating COVID-19 (GMCC)

Tens of thousands of scientists are redeploying to fight coronavirus
As labs shut down around the world, researchers are finding creative ways to donate their time,supplies and expertise.

The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is funding clinical trials that will answer whether the anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can be used to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

LSHTM teams up with UK Government and Unilever to reach a billion people in globalhandwashing campaign
New £100 million campaign will help stop the spread of coronavirus.

Other regularly updated information sources#

(NHS) Overview - Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus (COVID-19): UK government response

Public Health England (PHE) Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice

(BBC) Live updates of the coronavirus pandemic

(BBC) Coronavirus: A visual guide to the pandemic

WHO information page

WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Situation Dashboard

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

OECD Country policy tracker
What are countries doing to contain the spread of the coronavirus? How are countries helping people, small businesses and the economy to weather the crisis and beyond? This Country PolicyTracker helps you to navigate the global response.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics • COVID-19 response
This website provides a space for the global statistical community to share guidance, actions,tools and best practices to ensure the operational continuity of data programmes by NationalStatistical Offices, and to address issues of open and timely access to critical data needed bygovernments and all sectors of society to respond to the global COVID-19 crisis.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Q & A on COVID-19

Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

US Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation COVID-19 projections

MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis

UKRI Coronavirus: the science explained

The Lancet COVID-19 resource centre

Science Media Centre Covid -19 output page

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine COVID-19 information page

LSHTM Viral Podcast

COVID-19 activity across Edinburgh Infectious Diseases group
News stories and other information about the efforts in Edinburgh to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

Usher Institute COVID-19 webinars

University of Glasgow CVR Research Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 research at UCL

The UK Clinical Virology Network: Journal Watch

British Society for Immunology (BSI) Connect on coronavirus

Infection Prevention Society COVID-19 Advice and Guidance

The Microbiology Society collection of free to access research on Coronaviruses

British Society for Haematology COVID-19 updates

FEMS Expert update on the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus causing the COVID-19 outbreak

British Infection Association COVID-19 updates

The Academy of Medical Sciences Coronavirus information hub

(Royal Society) Sharing research data and findings relevant to the novel coronavirus (nCoV)outbreak
Updated collection of research papers curated by the Royal Society.

Keep up with the latest coronavirus research. LitCovid is a curated literature hub for tracking up-to-date scientific information about the 2019 novel Coronavirus.

Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker
Governments are taking a wide range of measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT) aims to track and comparegovernment responses to the coronavirus outbreak worldwide rigorously and consistently.

(NEJM) Coronavirus (Covid-19)
A collection of articles and other resources on the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, includingclinical reports, management guidelines, and commentary.

(JAMA) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Check back here for updates on COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment

IDSA COVID-19 resource centre

(Nature) Coronavirus latest: confirmed cases cross the one-million mark
Updates on the respiratory illness that has infected tens of thousands of people and killed severalthousand.

(AAAS Science Magazine) Coronavirus: Research, Commentary, and News

RCVS Knowledge COVID-19 Resources

Full Fact: Facts on Coronavirus
Get the facts you need straight to your inbox.

COVID-19 #CoronaVirus Infographic Datapack: Infographics describing different aspects of thepandemic

Download the document(info).
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