27 research outputs found

    Alternative Dispute Resolution and Confidence in the Judiciary: Chief Judge Bell\u27s Culture of Conflict Resolution

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    Chief Judge Robert M. Bell has been a visionary leader in the development of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). His innovations have made Maryland a model state for conflict resolution programs in the courts and, uniquely, beyond the courthouse doors in a broad range of arenas. This article provides an overview of the “culture of conflict resolution” he ignited in the judiciary and in communities

    Tributes to Professor Roger Wolf

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    Predictors of SARS-CoV-2 RNA From Nasopharyngeal Swabs and Concordance With Other Compartments in Nonhospitalized Adults With Mild to Moderate COVID-19

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    Background Identifying characteristics associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA shedding may be useful to understand viral compartmentalization, disease pathogenesis, and risks for viral transmission. Methods Participants were enrolled August 2020 to February 2021 in ACTIV-2/A5401, a placebo-controlled platform trial evaluating investigational therapies for mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and underwent quantitative SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing on nasopharyngeal and anterior nasal swabs, oral wash/saliva, and plasma at entry (day 0, pretreatment) and days 3, 7, 14, and 28. Concordance of RNA levels (copies/mL) across compartments and predictors of nasopharyngeal RNA levels were assessed at entry (n = 537). Predictors of changes over time were evaluated among placebo recipients (n = 265) with censored linear regression models. Results Nasopharyngeal and anterior nasal RNA levels at study entry were highly correlated (r = 0.84); higher levels of both were associated with greater detection of RNA in plasma and oral wash/saliva. Older age, White non-Hispanic race/ethnicity, lower body mass index (BMI), SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G seronegativity, and shorter prior symptom duration were associated with higher nasopharyngeal RNA at entry. In adjusted models, body mass index and race/ethnicity associations were attenuated, but the association with age remained (for every 10 years older, mean nasopharyngeal RNA was 0.27 log10 copies/mL higher; P < .001). Examining longitudinal viral RNA levels among placebo recipients, women had faster declines in nasopharyngeal RNA than men (mean change, −2.0 vs −1.3 log10 copies/mL, entry to day 3; P < .001). Conclusions SARS-CoV-2 RNA shedding was concordant across compartments. Age was strongly associated with viral shedding, and men had slower viral clearance than women, which could explain sex differences in acute COVID-19 outcomes

    Hydroxychloroquine for treatment of non-hospitalized adults with COVID-19: A meta-analysis of individual participant data of randomized trials

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    Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) was initially promoted as an oral therapy for early treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Conventional meta-analyses cannot fully address the heterogeneity of different designs and outcomes of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the efficacy of HCQ in outpatients with mild COVID-19. We conducted a pooled analysis of individual participant data from RCTs that evaluated the effect of HCQ on hospitalization and viral load reduction in outpatients with confirmed COVID-19. We evaluated the overall treatment group effect by log-likelihood ratio test (−2LL) from a generalized linear mixed model to accommodate correlated longitudinal binary data. The analysis included data from 11 RCTs. The outcome of virological effect, assessed in 1560 participants (N = 795 HCQ, N = 765 control), did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups (−2LL = 7.66; p = 0.18) when adjusting for cohort, duration of symptoms, and comorbidities. The decline in polymerase chain reaction positive tests from day 1 to 7 was 42.0 and 41.6 percentage points in the HCQ and control groups, respectively. Among the 2037 participants evaluable for hospitalization (N = 1058 HCQ, N = 979 control), we found no significant differences in hospitalization rate between participants receiving HCQ and controls (odds ratio 0.995; 95% confidence interval 0.614–1.610; −2LL = 0.0; p = 0.98) when adjusting for cohort, duration of symptoms, and comorbidities. This individual participant data meta-analysis of 11 HCQ trials that evaluated severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 viral clearance and COVID-19 hospitalization did not show a clinical benefit of HCQ. Our meta-analysis provides evidence to support the interruption in the use of HCQ in mild COVID-19 outpatients to reduce progression to severe disease

    Ebola virus epidemiology, transmission, and evolution during seven months in Sierra Leone

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    The 2013-2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic is caused by the Makona variant of Ebola virus (EBOV). Early in the epidemic, genome sequencing provided insights into virus evolution and transmission and offered important information for outbreak response. Here, we analyze sequences from 232 patients sampled over 7 months in Sierra Leone, along with 86 previously released genomes from earlier in the epidemic. We confirm sustained human-to-human transmission within Sierra Leone and find no evidence for import or export of EBOV across national borders after its initial introduction. Using high-depth replicate sequencing, we observe both host-to-host transmission and recurrent emergence of intrahost genetic variants. We trace the increasing impact of purifying selection in suppressing the accumulation of nonsynonymous mutations over time. Finally, we note changes in the mucin-like domain of EBOV glycoprotein that merit further investigation. These findings clarify the movement of EBOV within the region and describe viral evolution during prolonged human-to-human transmission

    Virus genomes reveal factors that spread and sustained the Ebola epidemic.

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    The 2013-2016 West African epidemic caused by the Ebola virus was of unprecedented magnitude, duration and impact. Here we reconstruct the dispersal, proliferation and decline of Ebola virus throughout the region by analysing 1,610 Ebola virus genomes, which represent over 5% of the known cases. We test the association of geography, climate and demography with viral movement among administrative regions, inferring a classic 'gravity' model, with intense dispersal between larger and closer populations. Despite attenuation of international dispersal after border closures, cross-border transmission had already sown the seeds for an international epidemic, rendering these measures ineffective at curbing the epidemic. We address why the epidemic did not spread into neighbouring countries, showing that these countries were susceptible to substantial outbreaks but at lower risk of introductions. Finally, we reveal that this large epidemic was a heterogeneous and spatially dissociated collection of transmission clusters of varying size, duration and connectivity. These insights will help to inform interventions in future epidemics

    The evolving SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Africa: Insights from rapidly expanding genomic surveillance

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    INTRODUCTION Investment in Africa over the past year with regard to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) sequencing has led to a massive increase in the number of sequences, which, to date, exceeds 100,000 sequences generated to track the pandemic on the continent. These sequences have profoundly affected how public health officials in Africa have navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. RATIONALE We demonstrate how the first 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 sequences from Africa have helped monitor the epidemic on the continent, how genomic surveillance expanded over the course of the pandemic, and how we adapted our sequencing methods to deal with an evolving virus. Finally, we also examine how viral lineages have spread across the continent in a phylogeographic framework to gain insights into the underlying temporal and spatial transmission dynamics for several variants of concern (VOCs). RESULTS Our results indicate that the number of countries in Africa that can sequence the virus within their own borders is growing and that this is coupled with a shorter turnaround time from the time of sampling to sequence submission. Ongoing evolution necessitated the continual updating of primer sets, and, as a result, eight primer sets were designed in tandem with viral evolution and used to ensure effective sequencing of the virus. The pandemic unfolded through multiple waves of infection that were each driven by distinct genetic lineages, with B.1-like ancestral strains associated with the first pandemic wave of infections in 2020. Successive waves on the continent were fueled by different VOCs, with Alpha and Beta cocirculating in distinct spatial patterns during the second wave and Delta and Omicron affecting the whole continent during the third and fourth waves, respectively. Phylogeographic reconstruction points toward distinct differences in viral importation and exportation patterns associated with the Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants and subvariants, when considering both Africa versus the rest of the world and viral dissemination within the continent. Our epidemiological and phylogenetic inferences therefore underscore the heterogeneous nature of the pandemic on the continent and highlight key insights and challenges, for instance, recognizing the limitations of low testing proportions. We also highlight the early warning capacity that genomic surveillance in Africa has had for the rest of the world with the detection of new lineages and variants, the most recent being the characterization of various Omicron subvariants. CONCLUSION Sustained investment for diagnostics and genomic surveillance in Africa is needed as the virus continues to evolve. This is important not only to help combat SARS-CoV-2 on the continent but also because it can be used as a platform to help address the many emerging and reemerging infectious disease threats in Africa. In particular, capacity building for local sequencing within countries or within the continent should be prioritized because this is generally associated with shorter turnaround times, providing the most benefit to local public health authorities tasked with pandemic response and mitigation and allowing for the fastest reaction to localized outbreaks. These investments are crucial for pandemic preparedness and response and will serve the health of the continent well into the 21st century

    Alternative Dispute Resolution and Public Confidence in the Judiciary: Chief Judge Bell\u27s Culture of Conflict Resolution

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    Chief Judge Robert M. Bell has been a visionary leader in the development of alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”). His innovations have made Maryland a model state for conflict resolution programs in the courts and, uniquely, beyond the courthouse doors in a broad range of arenas. This article provides an overview of the “culture of conflict resolution” he ignited in the judiciary and in communities

    Evaluation of the Potential Impact of Ebola Virus Genomic Drift on the Efficacy of Sequence-Based Candidate Therapeutics

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    ABSTRACT Until recently, Ebola virus (EBOV) was a rarely encountered human pathogen that caused disease among small populations with extraordinarily high lethality. At the end of 2013, EBOV initiated an unprecedented disease outbreak in West Africa that is still ongoing and has already caused thousands of deaths. Recent studies revealed the genomic changes this particular EBOV variant undergoes over time during human-to-human transmission. Here we highlight the genomic changes that might negatively impact the efficacy of currently available EBOV sequence-based candidate therapeutics, such as small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomers (PMOs), and antibodies. Ten of the observed mutations modify the sequence of the binding sites of monoclonal antibody (MAb) 13F6, MAb 1H3, MAb 6D8, MAb 13C6, and siRNA EK-1, VP24, and VP35 targets and might influence the binding efficacy of the sequence-based therapeutics, suggesting that their efficacy should be reevaluated against the currently circulating strain
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