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1.
PLoS One ; 16(1): e0241190, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1013205

ABSTRACT

Multiple national and international trends and drivers are radically changing what biological security means for the United Kingdom (UK). New technologies present novel opportunities and challenges, and globalisation has created new pathways and increased the speed, volume and routes by which organisms can spread. The UK Biological Security Strategy (2018) acknowledges the importance of research on biological security in the UK. Given the breadth of potential research, a targeted agenda identifying the questions most critical to effective and coordinated progress in different disciplines of biological security is required. We used expert elicitation to generate 80 policy-relevant research questions considered by participants to have the greatest impact on UK biological security. Drawing on a collaboratively-developed set of 450 questions, proposed by 41 experts from academia, industry and the UK government (consulting 168 additional experts) we subdivided the final 80 questions into six categories: bioengineering; communication and behaviour; disease threats (including pandemics); governance and policy; invasive alien species; and securing biological materials and securing against misuse. Initially, the questions were ranked through a voting process and then reduced and refined to 80 during a one-day workshop with 35 participants from a variety of disciplines. Consistently emerging themes included: the nature of current and potential biological security threats, the efficacy of existing management actions, and the most appropriate future options. The resulting questions offer a research agenda for biological security in the UK that can assist the targeting of research resources and inform the implementation of the UK Biological Security Strategy. These questions include research that could aid with the mitigation of Covid-19, and preparation for the next pandemic. We hope that our structured and rigorous approach to creating a biological security research agenda will be replicated in other countries and regions. The world, not just the UK, is in need of a thoughtful approach to directing biological security research to tackle the emerging issues.


Subject(s)
Pandemics/prevention & control , Security Measures/trends , Bioterrorism/prevention & control , Clinical Governance/trends , Communication , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Policy , Security Measures/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom/epidemiology
2.
Pan Afr Med J ; 35(Suppl 2): 147, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-946297

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2-a new single-stranded RNA virus with respiratory system proclivity and epithelial cell- is a novel infectious disease that originated in Wuhan, China in December, 2019 and has spread to many countries with the total number of confirmed cases put at 20,259,579 cases as of 12th August, 2020. It is transmitted from human-to-human via droplets. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, these droplets find their way into the mouth or nostrils of another person that is within a close range. Alternatively it can be contracted by touching infected hard surfaces and using the same hands to touch the mouth, nose and eye(s). COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11th March, 2020. There is currently no therapeutic substance accepted as a panacea for the prophylaxis of this infectious disease. As a result of this back drop, many nations have instituted fourteen (14) days quarantine for suspected cases, social distancing and border closure in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. There has been several conspirary theories that emanated since the disease was declared a pandemic. This paper provides useful information to serve as reference to those who seek proper understanding of COVID-19 and its deleterious effects in the body, by distiguishing between the factsand the conspiracy theoriesof coronavirus disease.


Subject(s)
Attitude to Health , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Delusions , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Aerosols , Air Microbiology , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Bioterrorism , Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Deception , Fomites , Genocide , Government Agencies , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Politics , Quarantine , Research Personnel , Social Media
4.
Psychiatr Q ; 91(4): 1121-1133, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-716348

ABSTRACT

As cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to rise, psychological endurance is a challenge many people will face. For mental health, heightened stress responses to the pandemic, is likely to manifest in three ways: 1) development of a new episode of a disorder in those with a predisposition to a major psychiatric disorder or an acute exacerbation in those who already have such a disorder, 2) development of a trauma or stressor related disorder, such as acute stress disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or adjustment disorders, and 3) development of a symptomatic stress response that does not meet the diagnostic criteria of a psychiatric disorder. The authors reviewed existing literature on past epidemics, natural disasters, and COVID-19 with a focus on psychiatry and mental health. Psychological effects of past epidemics (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoV-1, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the Anthrax threat), past natural disasters, and current COVID-19 data suggest numerous psychological effects following the pandemic. Alcohol use, PTSD, anxiety, anger, fear of contagion, perceived risk, uncertainty, and distrust are a few of the immediate and long-term effects that are likely to result from the COVID-19 pandemic. Identifying people in need of mental health care and determining the appropriate psychiatric services and therapy needed will be important. Increasing the use and availability of telehealth, group meetings, and online resources are some ways that health care workers can prepare for the increasing demand of psychiatric services during and following the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Adjustment Disorders/psychology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Epidemics/history , Mental Health , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Stress Disorders, Traumatic/psychology , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Alcohol Drinking/psychology , Anthrax , Betacoronavirus , Bioterrorism/psychology , Disease Progression , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola/epidemiology , History, 21st Century , Humans , Mental Disorders/psychology , Natural Disasters , Pandemics , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/epidemiology , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/psychology , Stress Disorders, Traumatic, Acute/psychology
5.
mBio ; 11(4)2020 08 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-705638

ABSTRACT

Proponents of the use of gain-of-function (GOF) experiments with pathogens with pandemic potential (PPP) have argued that such experiments are necessary because they reveal important facets of pathogenesis and can be performed safely. Opponents of GOF experiments with PPP have argued that the risks outweigh the knowledge gained. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the vulnerability of human societies to a new PPP, while also validating some arguments of both camps, questioning others, and suggesting the need to rethink how we approach this class of experiments.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Gain of Function Mutation , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Biomedical Research/ethics , Biomedical Research/standards , Bioterrorism , Containment of Biohazards/ethics , Containment of Biohazards/standards , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype/genetics , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/virology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control
7.
Risk Anal ; 40(5): 915-925, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-8362

ABSTRACT

The Grunow-Finke assessment tool (GFT) is an accepted scoring system for determining likelihood of an outbreak being unnatural in origin. Considering its high specificity but low sensitivity, a modified Grunow-Finke tool (mGFT) has been developed with improved sensitivity. The mGFT has been validated against some past disease outbreaks, but it has not been applied to ongoing outbreaks. This study is aimed to score the outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia using both the original GFT and mGFT. The publicly available data on human cases of MERS-CoV infections reported in Saudi Arabia (2012-2018) were sourced from the FluTrackers, World Health Organization, Saudi Ministry of Health, and published literature associated with MERS outbreaks investigations. The risk assessment of MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia was analyzed using the original GFT and mGFT criteria, algorithms, and thresholds. The scoring points for each criterion were determined by three researchers to minimize the subjectivity. The results showed 40 points of total possible 54 points using the original GFT (likelihood: 74%), and 40 points of a total possible 60 points (likelihood: 67%) using the mGFT, both tools indicating a high likelihood that human MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia is unnatural in origin. The findings simply flag unusual patterns in this outbreak, but do not prove unnatural etiology. Proof of bioattacks can only be obtained by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. This study demonstrated the value and flexibility of the mGFT in assessing and predicting the risk for an ongoing outbreak with simple criteria.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Risk Assessment/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Algorithms , Bioterrorism/statistics & numerical data , Child , Child, Preschool , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Data Collection , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Risk Assessment/statistics & numerical data , Saudi Arabia/epidemiology , Young Adult
8.
Virus Genes ; 56(2): 150-167, 2020 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1327

ABSTRACT

The viruses historically implicated or currently considered as candidates for misuse in bioterrorist events are poxviruses, filoviruses, bunyaviruses, orthomyxoviruses, paramyxoviruses and a number of arboviruses causing encephalitis, including alpha- and flaviviruses. All these viruses are of concern for public health services when they occur in natural outbreaks or emerge in unvaccinated populations. Recent events and intelligence reports point to a growing risk of dangerous biological agents being used for nefarious purposes. Public health responses effective in natural outbreaks of infectious disease may not be sufficient to deal with the severe consequences of a deliberate release of such agents. One important aspect of countermeasures against viral biothreat agents are the antiviral treatment options available for use in post-exposure prophylaxis. These issues were adressed by the organizers of the 16th Medical Biodefense Conference, held in Munich in 2018, in a special session on the development of drugs to treat infections with viruses currently perceived as a threat to societies or associated with a potential for misuse as biothreat agents. This review will outline the state-of-the-art methods in antivirals research discussed and provide an overview of antiviral compounds in the pipeline that are already approved for use or still under development.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Arboviruses/drug effects , Bioterrorism/prevention & control , Virus Diseases/drug therapy , Arboviruses/pathogenicity , Filoviridae/drug effects , Filoviridae/pathogenicity , Humans , Orthobunyavirus/drug effects , Orthobunyavirus/pathogenicity , Orthomyxoviridae/drug effects , Orthomyxoviridae/pathogenicity , Paramyxovirinae/drug effects , Paramyxovirinae/pathogenicity , Poxviridae/drug effects , Poxviridae/pathogenicity , Virus Diseases/virology
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