Daniel Bausch (UK-PHRST, PHE, London, UK) and colleagues discuss how they idetnified four persons with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection who had traveled on the same flight from Boston, Massachusetts, USA, to Hong Kong, China, and their virus genetic sequences are identical, unique, and belong to a clade not previously identified in Hong Kong. This study strongly suggests that the virus can be transmitted during air travel.
Transmission risk of respiratory viruses in natural and mechanical ventilation environments: implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Africa
This review by Emilio Hornsey (UK-PHRST, PHE, London, UK) and colleagues explores the association between ventilation and the transmission of respiratory viruses like SAR-CoV-2. When used appropriately, both natural and mechanical ventilation can decrease the concentration of viral aerosols, thereby reducing transmission. Although mechanical ventilation systems are more efficient, installation and maintenance costs limit their use in resource-limited settings, whereas the prevailing climate conditions make natural ventilation less desirable. Cost-effective hybrid systems of natural and mechanical ventilation may overcome these limitations.
Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC) is a public-private partnership between various organisations, including Africa CDC and the UK-PHRST (Hana Rohan, UK-PHRST, LSHTM, London, UK). PERC supports evidence-based measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on African Union Member States and collects social, economic, epidemiological, population movement, and security data to help determine the acceptability, impact and effectiveness of public health and social measures for COVID-19. The latest PERC report highlights there is high support for public health and social measures (PHSMs). However, the report also details there is discord on reopening the economy and concerns on how this can affect peoples' health.
Kankasha in Kassala: a prospective observational cohort study of the clinical characteristics, epidemiology, genetic origin, and chronic impact of the 2018 epidemic of Chikungunya virus infection in Kassala, Sudan [Preprint paper]
Hilary Bower (UK-PHRST, LSHTM, London, UK) and colleagues report the findings of a multidisciplinary Sudanese/UK-PHRST collaborative study carried out in Kassala at the height of the epidemic, capturing clinical, epidemiological and genetic characteristics which assisted State and Federal government interventions at the time. In addition to insight into the nature of this outbreak, this paper reports the first use of MinIon sequencing technology in Sudan.
David Kennedy, Daniel Bausch and Anna Seale (UK-PHRST, LSHTM/PHE, London, UK) worked with colleagues at Gates Ventures and Our World In Data to develop a process to identify countries with experience of COVID-19, and evidence of success in response.
Hana Rohan (UK-PHRST, LSTHM, London, UK) & Gillian McKay (LSHTM, London, UK) discuss the factors that have made the ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo so complex.
Dan Bausch (UK-PHRST, LSHTM/PHE, London, UK) and colleagues consider the challenges responding to COVID-19 in Africa, and what can be done. This includes community ownership, physical distancing, enhanced hygiene, laboratory testing, supply chain, enhanced patient care and risk communication, modelling, maintenance of services for non-COVID-19 diseases, therapeutics, vaccines, equitable access, research and addressing the economic impact.
James Rubin (King’s College London & UK-PHRST, UK) and colleagues discuss fear and anxiety in the context of quarantine for COVID-19. They suggest that there are “side effects that must be weighed in the balance and alternatives that must be considered. Voluntary quarantine, for example, may be associated with good compliance and less psychological impact, particularly when explained well and promoted as altruistic.”