Univadis COVID-19 Weekly Overview 3 April


  • Ben Gallarda
  • Univadis Medical News
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Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Univadis would like to share with you the most impactful and clinically relevant articles across our network from the past week.

Some of these articles are only published in local languages, but we have tried to summarize the key points for you below and link to the original source of each article in case you would like to read more, with languages other than English noted in brackets.

This is a snapshot of emerging best-practices during a rapidly evolving pandemic. Any and all information currently available related to COVID-19 is subject to change as more details become available. Some of the information below may also be contradicted by local or global health authorities. You can find all of the most up-to-date COVID-19 coverage on your local Univadis site or smartphone application.

We hope this information will be useful to your ongoing medical care for all patients, whether directly involved with COVID-19 or not.

  1. Spanish semFYC: role of primary care in COVID-19 patient assessment:
    • Sociedad Española de Medicina de Familia y Comunitaria (semFYC) proposes primary care professionals (PCPs) help determine which suspected COVID-19 patients can be followed at home and who should be referred to a hospital.
    • This requires rapid diagnostic tests and assurance of protection and safety of PCPs.
    • semFYC encourages all PCPs to volunteer through Spain’s health administration to help avoid hospital collapse.
  2. Frequent taste and smell disorders confirmed in a study:
    • Dysgeusia or ageusia and hyposmia or anosmia may precede the onset of clinical disease.
    • Of 59 patients admitted to Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan, 33.9% reported at least one of these symptoms, taste being the most frequent before hospital admission.
    • Younger patients more likely affected.
  3. Lombardy launches contagion monitoring app:
    • AllertaLomb (“Lombardy Alert”): to map the spread of the virus and anticipate new risks.
    • Anonymous participation with included questionnaire on health, symptoms, etc.
  4. German Society for Nephrology [German] warns of risk to patients on dialysis:
    • Disproportionate mortality among dialysis patients, who are also at higher risk of infection in the first place.
    • Risk factors – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension – accumulate, and these patients are required to leave home for dialysis.
    • Data from Wuhan support these tentative conclusions.
  5. German Society for Geriatrics [German] recommendations for the protection of the elderly:
    • Minimise contact with medical practices, including nursing homes, outpatient facilities, and daycare facilities.
    • But avoid forcing complete isolation due to protective measures; implement alternative means of contact, including video.
  6. Exit strategy from the German Society for Hospital Hygiene – press release [German] and strategy paper [German]:
    • Phase 1: social quarantine – current phase to slow down the pandemic and ensure the supply capacity of the healthcare system.
    • Phase 2: transition when phase 1 objectives met; begin to withdraw quarantine, including the general opening of public facilities, while still avoiding contact.
    • Phase 3: lift quarantine while maintaining hygienic conditions; allow larger group meetings.
    • Phase 4: controlled end of the pandemic.
  7. Rapid rate of clinical research:
    • Over 1,700 articles on PubMed; 220 clinical trials with FDA; 381 clinical trials with WHO database.
    • Testing promising viral targets, controlling inflammatory response, and repurposing existing drugs.
    • Several phase I and II vaccine trials ongoing in UK, China, and USA.
  8. Asthma patient treatment, questions answered by Société de Pneumologie de Langue Française [French]:
    • Maintain background treatments, and adapt to fully control asthma.
    • Initiation of biologics still possible.
    • Immediately treat exacerbations.
  9. Rapid guidance from the UK on personal protective equipment (PPE):
    • Avoid unnecessary usage and use equipment appropriate for each situation.
    • Action taken by National Health Service to strengthen PPE supply chain and prioritisation of testing any new supplies.
  10. Detailed drug-drug interactions with experimental COVID-19 therapies:
    • Several groups have produced this reference detailing potential drug-drug interaction with the many therapies now being tested with COVID-19.
    • Lopinavir/ritonavir, in particular, has several contraindications that should be considered in various patients with comorbidities who are taking other medications.
    • This combination could decrease the analgesic effect of codeine and tramadol, and the dosage of antidiabetic drugs may need to be increased.