March 30, 2021

Background: COVID-19 vaccination is ramping up both in the US as well as throughout the world. Randomized clinical trials looking at the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines demonstrated 94% to 95% reductions in symptomatic cases (Polack 2020). Randomized clinical trials are considered the gold standard when evaluating therapies. However, they are not without limitations. Mass vaccination rollouts do not mirror the settings we see in the highly controlled environments of a randomized clinical trial. It will be important to note if suboptimal adherence to vaccination scheduling and handling logistics will affect the vaccines’ effectiveness. As we continue to vaccinate, we need to further assess the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines.

March 28, 2021

Background: Israel has succeeded in ramping up its vaccination program faster than any nation in the world. In December 2020, Israel began a national immunization campaign prioritizing health-care workers. In the original clinical trial data, the Pfizer vaccine was estimated to prevent 52.4% of COVID-19 before dose two and 90.5% on days 2 – 7 after dose two. However, it is important to study the effectiveness of the vaccines in a real world setting.

March 20, 2021

Background: A major challenge during the COVID pandemic is balancing personal protection and communication. Being heard while wearing a surgical mask or N95 isn't too much of a challenge, communication can be significantly impaired while wearing a respirator mask. There are a number of fixes to this problem. Here, we share one simple, inexpensive option via Whit Fisher, MD (https://www.procedurettes.com/)

March 17, 2021

Background: Medicine by press release has been an unfortunate reality of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This is not the standard many physicians would use for medical decision making, but one many of us have had to face; what do I do with the information that is presented with no transparency in the data behind the statements? Despite all the debate and controversy only two treatments for hospitalized patients, have been shown to improve mortality: corticosteroids and IL-6 receptor antagonists (when combined with steroids). Two more treatment options that have been debated throughout the pandemic include convalescent plasma therapy and anticoagulation.  We now have two pre-prints that shed some more light on both of these topics.

March 7, 2021

Background: Early observational studies led to the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) in the US in August 2020 for the treatment of COVID-19. Data from the RECOVERY trial, the largest clinical trial on COVID-19 treatments was halted early and was communicated as a press release [2] in January 2021.  The preliminary report was based on data from ≈10,000 patients and indicated no significant association of benefit with CPT in reducing all-cause mortality compared with standard of care. Due to this press release the authors of this paper decided to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the current literature on the topic.
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