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biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.10.04.325662


With an increasing number of SARS-CoV-2 sequences available day by day, new genomic information is getting revealed to us. As SARS-CoV-2 sequences highlight wide changes across the samples, we aim to explore whether these changes reveal the geographical origin of the corresponding samples. The k-mer distributions, denoting normalized frequency counts of all possible combinations of nucleotide of size upto k, are often helpful to explore sequence level patterns. Given the SARS-CoV-2 sequences are highly imbalanced by its geographical origin (relatively with a higher number samples collected from the USA), we observe that with proper under-sampling k-mer distributions in the SARS-CoV-2 sequences predict its geographical origin with more than 90% accuracy. The experiments are performed on the samples collected from six countries with maximum number of sequences available till July 07, 2020. This comprises SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Australia, USA, China, India, Greece and France. Moreover, we demonstrate that the changes of genomic sequences characterize the continents as a whole. We also highlight that the network motifs present in the sequence similarity networks have a significant difference across the said countries. This, as a whole, is capable of predicting the geographical shift of SARS-CoV-2.

medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.10.02.20204578


Objective: To evaluate if the number of admitted extremely preterm (EP) infants (born before 28weeks of gestational age) has changed in the neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) of the SafeBoosC-III consortium during the global lockdown when compared to the corresponding time period in 2019. Design: This is a retrospective, observational study. Forty-six out of 79 NICUs (58%) from 17 countries participated. Principal investigators were asked to report the following information: 1) Total number of EP infant admissions to their NICU in the three months where the lockdown restrictions were most rigorous during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2) Similar EP infant admissions in the corresponding three months of 2019, 3) the level of local restrictions during the lockdown period and 4) the local impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the everyday life of a pregnant woman. Results: There was no significant difference between the number of EP infant admissions during the three most rigorous lockdown months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the corresponding three months in 2019 (n=428 versus n=457 respectively, p=0.33). There were no significant changes within individual geographic regions and no significant association between the level of lockdown restrictions and change in the number of EP infant admissions (p=0.334). Conclusion: This larger ad hoc study did not confirm previous studies report of a major reduction in the number of extremely preterm births during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

researchsquare; 2020.


BackgroundNewly mothers are at higher risk of experiencing higher levels of anxiety and stress, especially during a pandemic event. Mothers’ mental health can negatively impact breastfeeding rates and the dyad’s overall health. Aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of anxiety symptoms in newly mothers throughout hospital stay during the COVID-19 pandemic and its association with perceived postpartum support and breastfeeding outcomes at discharge.MethodsA cross-sectional survey study was conducted in a neonatal tertiary referral center, in northern Italy between April and May 2020 during Italy’s lockdown, including a sample of 117 mothers with a negative naso-pharyngeal swab for SARS-CoV-2.Maternal anxiety levels were assessed through State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Form Y, with TRAIT-A and STATE-A scores indicating personality trait and current emotional state, respectively. Maternal perception of staff’s support was evaluated by the Nurse Parent Support Tool (NPST). Breastfeeding rates at discharge and sociodemographic information were also collected.  A STATE-A score >=40 was considered indicative of clinically significant symptoms of anxiety. Binary logistic regression models were used to examine correlations between anxiety levels and variables of interest.ResultsA total of 109 mothers completed the study. Mean STATE-A score was >=40 in 42% of mothers and median NPST score was 4.23. A TRAIT-A score>=40, a NPST score <=4.23, father’s absence during hospital stay and  primiparity were independently associated with a STATE-A score >=40 (OR 3.45 (95%CI 1.27; 9.35), 4.72 (1.91; 11.64), 2.73 (1.06; 7.07), 3.74 (1.35; 10.37), respectively). Exclusive breastfeeding rates at discharge were 80% and were not affected by neither mothers’ anxiety level nor changes in hospital policies.Conclusions Our study describes the short-term effects on newly-mothers of hospital policies and preventive measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the positive impact of fathers’ presence and high perceived support during hospital stay on maternal mental health, particularly primiparas’. Breastfeeding rates at discharge were not affected by the pandemic.

Anxiety Disorders , COVID-19