“Stay home” to improve COVID-19 numbers


Infectious Disease Society of America offered a look at the current treatment options for COVID-19 and stressed the need to maintain precautions to keep people safe.

During the week of Thanksgiving, as many Americans travel or host dinners for both small and large groups, the Infectious Disease Society of America issued priority guidance, italicizing the safety measures that have helped people remain safe since the pandemic’s start in the United States: social distance, wash hands, use a mask, and reduce exposure to others.

The webcast, which aired Monday morning, November 23, included discussion of monoclonal antibodies, which have become a hot topic in COVID-19 treatment following the emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for casirivimab and imdevimab over the weekend. Adarsh Bhimraj, MD, FIDSA, associate staff physician in the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, and Rajesh T. Gandhi, MD, FIDSA, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, both highlighted that the data for the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies are still in the early days of study, but the information coming in from the early studies appears to be positive. Gandhi also stressed that as of right now, only dexamethasone has been shown to improve survival.

During the question session of the webcast, Gandhi also spoke about the COVID-19 vaccine news. Earlier that morning, AstraZeneca had announced that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate AZD1222 was 70% effective on average. Unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are mRNA vaccines, AZD1222 uses a virus vector. Gandhi highlighted the fact that the vaccine appeared to reduce asymptomatic infections, which would be a key way to stop the spread of COVID-19, as asymptomatic cases have helped spur the spread.

Both Bhirmaj and Gandhi said that they felt more optimistic now than they did in the early days of the pandemic, thanks to greater understanding of the virus as well as the vaccine news. However, flattening the curve should still be the goal, especially as hospitals deal with the current surge and the country closes in on multiple effective vaccines.

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Tina Tan, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS, editor in chief, Contemporary Pediatrics, professor of pediatrics, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, pediatric infectious diseases attending, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago
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