Scientists Can Detect COVID Outbreaks in Communities by Testing Sewage Samples

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Scientists have found another way to identify clusters of COVID-19 outbreaks in communities across the country.

According to a new report from CNN, researchers now test sewage for the coronavirus, checking the samples for signs of COVID-19 infections that often show up in human waste before people present symptoms. “It’s a leading indicator,” researcher Rosa Inchausti told the outlet. “The proof is in the poop.”

Mariana Matus, the CEO of Biobot Analytics, told CNN that testing sewage can often indicate a COVID outbreak before hospitals begin to crowd. Plus, the method can identify more infections since it doesn’t rely on individuals to submit to a COVID test — although the sewage method doesn’t flag sick people individually.

“People start shedding virus pretty quickly after they are infected and before they start showing symptoms,” said Matus, who added: “We are seeing an upturn in the wastewater data, which I think broadly matches what we are seeing across the country. It’s been interesting seeing this almost second wave.”

New U.S. infections have increased 41 percent in the last two weeks and hospitals in several states — primarily in the Midwest — are running out of ICU beds.

RELATED: More Than 40 States Have Spiking COVID Cases and Midwestern Hospitals Are ‘Struggling’ to Keep Up

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On Wednesday, the U.S. recorded the second-highest number of new infections in one day with 81,457, just below the all-time record of 85,085, set last Friday.

As of Thursday morning, more than 8.9 million Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 227,697 have died from the virus, according to The New York Times.

The White House’s head of coronavirus testing said that the record-breaking numbers of new infections in the U.S. are “real,” and not because of an increase in testing. Testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir confirmed that U.S. COVID-19 cases are rising.

RELATED: More Than 62,000 Used Masks and Gloves Found in Oceans and on Beach Shorelines: ‘A Significant Threat’

“Testing may be identifying some more cases, I think that’s clearly true, but what we’re seeing is a real increase in the numbers,” he told the Washington Post.

“Compared to the post-Memorial Day surge, even though testing is up, this is a real increase in cases,” he said. “We know that not only because the case numbers are up and we can calculate that, but we know that hospitalizations are going up.”

Giroir urged Americans to keep up hygiene practices, wear masks and social distance as the crisis could get worse. “We really have to reengage the public health measures that we know work or those hospitalizations can go up substantially,” he said.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information

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Early results from DETECT study suggest fitness trackers can predict COVID-19 infections

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IMAGE: The DETECT study uses a mobile app to collect smartwatch and activity tracker data from consenting participants, and also gathers their self-reported symptoms and diagnostic test results. Any adult living…
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Credit: Scripps Research

LA JOLLA, CA–Examining data from the first six weeks of their landmark DETECT study, a team of scientists from the Scripps Research Translational Institute sees encouraging signs that wearable fitness devices can improve public health efforts to control COVID-19.

The DETECT study, launched on March 25, uses a mobile app to collect smartwatch and activity tracker data from consenting participants, and also gathers their self-reported symptoms and diagnostic test results. Any adult living in the United States is eligible to participate in the study by downloading the research app, MyDataHelps.

In a study that appears today in Nature Medicine, the Scripps Research team reports that wearable devices like Fitbit are capable of identifying cases of COVID-19 by evaluating changes in heart rate, sleep and activity levels, along with self-reported symptom data–and can identify cases with greater success than looking at symptoms alone.

“What’s exciting here is that we now have a validated digital signal for COVID-19. The next step is to use this to prevent emerging outbreaks from spreading,” says Eric Topol, MD, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute and executive vice president of Scripps Research. “Roughly 100 million Americans already have a wearable tracker or smartwatch and can help us; all we need is a tiny fraction of them–just 1 percent or 2 percent–to use the app.”

With data from the app, researchers can see when participants fall out of their normal range for sleep, activity level or resting heart rate; deviations from individual norms are a sign of viral illness or infection.

But how do they know if the illness causing those changes is COVID-19? To answer that question, the team reviewed data from those who reported developing symptoms and were tested for the novel coronavirus. Knowing the test results enabled them to pinpoint specific changes indicative of COVID-19 versus other illnesses.

“One of the greatest challenges in stopping COVID-19 from spreading is the ability to quickly identify, trace and isolate infected individuals,” says Giorgio Quer, PhD, director of artificial intelligence at Scripps Research Translational Institute and first author of the study. “Early identification of those who are pre-symptomatic or even asymptomatic would be especially valuable, as people may potentially be even more infectious during this period. That’s the ultimate goal.”

For the study, the team used health data from fitness wearables and other devices to identify–with roughly 80% prediction accuracy–whether a person who reported symptoms was likely to have COVID-19. This is a significant improvement from other models that only evaluated self-reported symptoms.

As of June 7, 30,529 individuals had enrolled in the study, with representation from every U.S. state. Of these, 3,811 reported symptoms, 54 tested positive for the coronavirus and 279 tested negative. More sleep and less activity than an individual’s normal levels were significant

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Vaccine Trials ‘Can’t Detect’ Virus Risk Reduction: Expert

None of the trials of Covid-19 candidate vaccines can detect a reduction in serious outcomes such as hospitalisation or death, a leading public health expert said Thursday.

Writing in the BMJ medical journal, associate editor Peter Doshi warned that not even phase 3 trials under way in the race for a vaccine can prove their product will prevent people contracting Covid-19.

In a sobering essay, Doshi said those hoping for a breakthrough to end the pandemic would be disappointed, with some vaccines likely to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection by only 30 percent.

“None of the trials currently under way are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospital admissions, use of intensive care, or deaths,” he wrote.

“Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 candidate vaccines in clinical trials, ten of which are in the most advanced “phase 3” stage.

This is where a vaccine’s effectiveness is tested on a large scale, generally tens of thousands of people across several continents.

But Doshi, assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, said that even the most advanced trials are evaluating mild rather than severe disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 candidate vaccines in clinical trials, ten of which are in the most advanced "phase 3" stage The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified 42 candidate vaccines in clinical trials, ten of which are in the most advanced “phase 3” stage Photo: AFP / Ludovic MARIN

This may be down to the numbers of people involved in trials, he said, pointing out that the majority of confirmed Covid-19 infections involve mild or no symptoms.

And few if any current trials are designed to find out whether there is a benefit among the elderly, a key at-risk constituency.

Without enrolling frail and elderly volunteers in trials in sufficient numbers, Doshi said “there can be little basis for assuming any benefit against hospitalisation or mortality.

He added that children, immunocompromised people and pregnant women had largely been excluded from trials, making it unlikely that the experiments will address key gaps in our understanding of how Covid-19 develops differently among individuals.

Several trials have already been halted after participants became ill.

Many countries plan to prioritise vulnerable people once a vaccine is available, but Doshi said that those hoping for a miracle end to the pandemic would have to wait.

He said that several pharmaceutical firms had designed their studies “to detect a relative risk reduction of at least 30 percent in participants developing laboratory confirmed Covid-19”.

Recent studies have also confirmed that it is possible for someone to be reinfected with Covid-19, a development that may impact how governments’ form their vaccination plans.

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Todos Medical Receives Notices of Allowance From the European Patent Office Covering Use of TBIA Cancer Platform to Detect Benign Colon Cancer

NEW YORK, NY, REHOVAT, ISRAEL, SINGAPORE, Oct. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — via NewMediaWire  Todos Medical (OTCQB: TOMDF), an in vitro diagnostics company focused on distributing comprehensive solutions for COVID-19 screening and diagnosis, and developing blood tests for the early detection of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, today announced that it has received a notice of allowance from the European Patent Office covering the use of the Company’s Total Biochemical Infrared Analysis (TBIA) platform to detect benign colon cancer in peripheral blood. The TBIA platform uses spectroscopy-based infrared analysis method to analyze immune cells in the blood or order to turn the biological information in the blood into data, and then mines that data using artificial intelligence to develop algorithms that are predictive of cancer and other diseases that impact the immune system, including bacteria and viruses. TBIA’s lead programs are in the detection of breast cancer and colon cancer.

“We are very pleased that we’ve received this notice of allowance for TBIA in benign tumors as it further adds to our market leading position as an AI-based cancer blood screening company,” said Gerald E. Commissiong, President & CEO of Todos Medical. “In particular, the method underlying this IP could be quite complementary to existing screening methods by adding additional information to help physicians distinguish between benign (polyps) and malignant tumors of the colon using a simple blood test. Taken in combination with some of our other patents and patent applications that cover the detection of malignant tumors of the colon, we believe we now have intellectual property that fully supports commercialization of our TBIA cancer platform for colon cancer.”

The global market for in vitro colorectal cancer (CRC) testing is estimated to reach $1.2 Billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 8.7% over the forecast period, driven by higher incidence and prevalence for colon and rectum cancers, colorectal polyps screening and improved treatment over the last few decades. Aging population and rising incidences of colorectal cancer, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, inherited syndrome, obesity, and smoking are some of the factors driving the in vitro CRC testing market. According to the American Cancer Society (2018), an estimated 135,430 people were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society’s estimates number of 95,520 new cases of colon cancer and 39,910 new cases of rectal cancer in the United States for 2017.

For information related to Todos Medical’s COVID-19 testing capabilities, please visit www.todoscovid19.com

For testing and PPE inquiries, please email [email protected]

About Todos Medical Ltd.

Headquartered in Rehovot, Israel, Todos Medical Ltd. (OTCQB: TOMDF) engineers life-saving diagnostic solutions for the early detection of a variety of cancers. The Company’s state-of-the-art and patented Todos Biochemical Infrared Analyses (TBIA) is a proprietary cancer-screening technology using peripheral blood analysis that deploys deep examination into cancer’s influence on the immune system, looking for biochemical changes in blood mononuclear cells and plasma. Todos’ two internally-developed cancer-screening tests, TMB-1 and TMB-2, have received a CE mark in Europe. Todos

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