Recent quotes:

Why Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Thinks the Home Is the Future of Travel - The Atlantic

The most compelling statistic for me is the number of people who are using Airbnb for long-term stays. Twenty percent of our nights booked now are for 28 days or longer. Half of our stays are for a week or longer. These are big increases from before the pandemic, and I think it’s related to the fact that people don’t have to go back to the office. Another data point we’re seeing is an increase in people traveling with pets, as people are staying longer. Use of the Wi-Fi filter on Airbnb has increased by 55 percent since before the pandemic, so people obviously care more about their Wi-Fi connection, and they want to verify the speed of the internet if they’re doing Zooms. Another data point is that Mondays and Tuesday are the fastest-growing days of the week for travel. More people are treating ordinary weekends like long holiday weekends. This is also part of the flexibility afforded by remote work.

Prescribed blood thinners can help reduce hospitalizations related to COVID-19, study finds -- ScienceDaily

Published in Lancet's Open Access EClinical Medicine, the study found that: patients on blood thinners before having COVID-19 were admitted less often to the hospital, despite being older and having more chronic medical conditions than their peers; blood thinners -- regardless of if they are being used before being infected with COVID-19 or started when admitted to the hospital for treatment of COVID-19 -- reduce deaths by almost half; and, hospitalized COVID-19 patients benefit from blood thinners regardless of the type or dose of the medication used.

New findings on ambient UVB radiation, vitamin D, and protection against severe COVID-19 -- ScienceDaily

Researchers found that ambient UVB radiation at an individual's place of residence preceding COVID-19 infection was strongly and inversely associated with hospitalisation and death. This suggests that vitamin D may protect against severe COVID-19 disease and death.

A Misleading C.D.C. Number - The New York Times

That benchmark “seems to be a huge exaggeration,” as Dr. Muge Cevik, a virologist at the University of St. Andrews, said. In truth, the share of transmission that has occurred outdoors seems to be below 1 percent and may be below 0.1 percent, multiple epidemiologists told me. The rare outdoor transmission that has happened almost all seems to have involved crowded places or close conversation. Saying that less than 10 percent of Covid transmission occurs outdoors is akin to saying that sharks attack fewer than 20,000 swimmers a year. (The actual worldwide number is around 150.) It’s both true and deceiving.

COVID-19 vaccine is associated with fewer asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections, study finds -- ScienceDaily

Overall, vaccination reduced the risk of asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection by 79% in vaccinated employees compared with their unvaccinated colleagues. An analysis of asymptomatic infections alone found vaccination reduced the risk by 72%. Protection was even greater for employees who completed two doses. A week or more after receiving the second dose, vaccinated employees were 96% less likely than unvaccinated workers to become infected with SARS-CoV-2. When researchers looked just at asymptomatic infections, vaccination reduced the risk by 90%.

A new treatment that might keep COVID-19 patients off the ventilator: In mice, therapy based on natural molecules improves lung function -- ScienceDaily

The experimental treatment consists of molecules known as liponucleotides, which are essential for making surfactant in the lungs. Davis analyzed lung cells from flu-infected mice and determined that the pathway to surfactant production was disrupted, with one of the two necessary liponucleotides completely undetectable. "The thinking before was that the reason there was less surfactant in mice with flu-related ARDS was because cells are dying. This defect is in some ways better -- if cells are dying, there's not much you can do, but if there's a problem with the cell's metabolism, maybe you can fix it," Davis said.

Only one in four people experience mild systemic side effects from COVID-19 vaccines, study finds -- ScienceDaily

The data comes from 627,383 users of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app who self-reported systemic and local effects within eight days of receiving one or two doses of the Pfizer vaccine or one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine between December 8 and March 10.

Associations between body-mass index and COVID-19 severity in 6·9 million people in England: a prospective, community-based, cohort study - The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology

At a BMI of more than 23 kg/m2, we found a linear increase in risk of severe COVID-19 leading to admission to hospital and death, and a linear increase in admission to an ICU across the whole BMI range, which is not attributable to excess risks of related diseases. The relative risk due to increasing BMI is particularly notable people younger than 40 years and of Black ethnicity.

Among COVID-19 survivors, an increased risk of death, serious illness: Major study details numerous long-term effects of COVID-19, pointing to massive health burden -- ScienceDaily

The investigators showed that, after surviving the initial infection (beyond the first 30 days of illness), COVID-19 survivors had an almost 60% increased risk of death over the following six months compared with the general population. At the six-month mark, excess deaths among all COVID-19 survivors were estimated at eight people per 1,000 patients. Among patients who were ill enough to be hospitalized with COVID-19 and who survived beyond the first 30 days of illness, there were 29 excess deaths per 1,000 patients over the following six months.

Those who had COVID-19 may only need one vaccine dose, study suggests: Second vaccine important for those who have not had COVID-19 to reach strong immunity -- ScienceDaily

These findings were also reflected in an analysis of antibodies against the D614G mutation and the B.1.351 South African variant of COVID-19. For those who did not have COVID-19, it took a second dose to get a robust enough immunity level against the mutation and variant, whereas those recovered from COVID-19 had a strong enough antibody response after one dose.

Without these lipid shells, there would be no mRNA vaccines for COVID-19

But details on how Moderna arrived at its optimal formulation in the first place are scant. The company did not grant an interview to talk about its nanoparticle development, and neither did Pfizer or BioNTech. For its COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna ultimately used an ionizable lipid that it calls SM-102, which it first described in a 2018 study on alternatives to MC3. Pfizer and BioNTech licensed an ionizable lipid called ALC-0315 from Acuitas.

Without these lipid shells, there would be no mRNA vaccines for COVID-19

LNPs that looked good in the lab often floundered in the clinic, however. The first versions of ionizable lipids were still toxic. And early formulations of the nanoparticles didn’t degrade fast enough, causing them to accumulate after repeated injections. Protiva found that one of its experimental LNP therapies caused a more severe immune reaction in humans than it had in the lab, and the company pinned pegylated lipids as a major factor.

Copper foam as a highly efficient, durable filter for reusable masks and air cleaners -- ScienceDaily

The researchers fabricated metal foams by harvesting electrodeposited copper nanowires and casting them into a free-standing 3D network, which was solidified with heat to form strong bonds. A second copper layer was added to further strengthen the material. In tests, the copper foam held its form when pressurized and at high air speeds, suggesting it's durable for reusable facemasks or air filters and could be cleaned with washing or compressed air. The team found the metal foams had excellent filtration efficiency for particles within the 0.1-1.6 µm size range, which is relevant for filtering out SARS-CoV-2. Their most effective material was a 2.5 mm-thick version, with copper taking up 15% of the volume. This foam had a large surface area and trapped 97% of 0.1-0.4 µm aerosolized salt particles, which are commonly used in facemask tests.

New evidence COVID-19 antibodies, vaccines less effective against variants: Worrisome new coronavirus variants can evade antibodies that neutralize original virus -- ScienceDaily

"We don't exactly know what the consequences of these new variants are going to be yet," said Diamond, also a professor of molecular microbiology and of pathology & immunology. "Antibodies are not the only measure of protection; other elements of the immune system may be able to compensate for increased resistance to antibodies. That's going to be determined over time, epidemiologically, as we see what happens as these variants spread. Will we see reinfections? Will we see vaccines lose efficacy and drug resistance emerge? I hope not. But it's clear that we will need to continually screen antibodies to make sure they're still working as new variants arise and spread and potentially adjust our vaccine and antibody-treatment strategies."

Goldman CEO Warns Remote Work Is Aberration, Not the New Normal - Bloomberg

“This is not ideal for us and it’s not a new normal,” Solomon said at a Credit Suisse Group AG conference. “It’s an aberration that we are going to correct as quickly as possible.”

Internet search patterns reveal clinical course of COVID-19 disease progression and pandemic spread across 32 countries | npj Digital Medicine

Temporal correlation analyses were conducted to characterize the relationships between a range of COVID-19 symptom-specific search terms and reported COVID-19 cases and deaths for each country from January 1 through April 20, 2020. Increases in COVID-19 symptom-related searches preceded increases in reported COVID-19 cases and deaths by an average of 18.53 days (95% CI 15.98–21.08) and 22.16 days (20.33–23.99), respectively.

Introducing Working From Anywhere | HR Blog

A flexible working culture is built on trust, communication, collaboration, and connection and acknowledging that we’re all individuals, with different needs and rituals gives us the right frame of mind to let go of a few chosen truths and instead find what’s right for our business and our people. We have considered labour law, tax and insurance readiness for our workforce to be ‘working from anywhere’ – whether that’s working from home, in a café, hotel lounge or a co-working space. And, not forgetting the investment required to make sure the safety and growth of our people. Part of our DNA has always been controlled chaos. So, in the spirit of this, we’re trying this out knowing that there are likely to be some adjustments to make along the way. By experimenting and unlocking all talent we also enable diversity and inclusion, and making new jobs and markets available.

Preventive blood thinning drugs linked to reduced risk of death in COVID-19 patients: Strong evidence that prompt anti-clotting therapy may prevent deaths in hospital patients -- ScienceDaily

Some covid deaths are believed to be due to blood clots developing in major veins and arteries. Anticoagulants prevent blood clots forming and have antiviral and potentially anti-inflammatory properties, so might be particularly effective in patients with covid-19, but results from previous studies have been inconclusive. To explore this further, a team of UK and US researchers set out to estimate the effect of prophylactic anticoagulants when given promptly after admission to hospital on risk of death and severe bleeding among patients with covid-19.

Common asthma drug cuts COVID-19 hospitalization risk, recovery time - Oxford study | Reuters

The 28-day study of 146 patients suggested that inhaled budesonide reduced the risk of urgent care or hospitalization by 90% when compared with usual care, Oxford University said.

Wearable devices can detect COVID-19 symptoms and predict diagnosis, study finds -- ScienceDaily

The Warrior Watch Study found that subtle changes in a participant's heart rate variability (HRV) measured by an Apple Watch were able to signal the onset of COVID-19 up to seven days before the individual was diagnosed with the infection via nasal swab, and also to identify those who have symptoms.

Denmark's coronavirus sequencing shows U.K. variant cases exploding - The Washington Post

In a long Facebook post this month, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told people to imagine sitting in the top row of Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium, a soccer arena with a capacity of 38,000 people. A dripping tap is filling it up, one drop the first minute, two drops the second, four drops the third. At that rate, Frederiksen said, the park will be filled in 44 minutes. But it will seem almost empty for the first 42 minutes, she said.

Vaccinology in the post−COVID-19 era | PNAS

Reverse vaccinology, structural vaccinology, synthetic biology, and vaccine adjuvants, that so far had been used independently to develop vaccines, were combined in an unprecedented worldwide effort to design and develop COVID-19 vaccines.

Post-COVID lungs worse than the worst smokers' lungs, surgeon says - CBS News

She says patients who've had COVID-19 symptoms show a severe chest X-ray every time, and those who were asymptomatic show a severe chest X-ray 70% to 80% of the time.

Protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 could last eight months or more: Why declining antibodies don't spell disaster for long-lasting immunity -- ScienceDaily

"It is possible that immune memory will be similarly long lasting similar following vaccination, but we will have to wait until the data come in to be able to tell for sure," says Weiskopf. "Several months ago, our studies showed that natural infection induced a strong response, and this study now shows that the responses lasts. The vaccine studies are at the initial stages, and so far have been associated with strong protection. We are hopeful that a similar pattern of responses lasting over time will also emerge for the vaccine-induced responses."

France Accelerating Covid-19 Vaccinations, Parisien Reports - Bloomberg

France’s government is under pressure after a much slower debut of the vaccination campaign than most other European countries. As of Dec. 31, only 352 people had gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, versus 131,626 in Germany and 944,539 in the U.K., according to data cited by Le Parisien.

Study finds evidence of lasting immunity after mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection

Dr. Corinna Pade, a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at Queen Mary, said: "Our study in asymptomatic and mild cases gives a positive insight into the durability of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 after four months of infection. A remarkable number of around 90 percent of individuals have a joint force of strong antibodies that prevent the virus from entering, coupled with T cell responses to various parts of the virus to interfere with its survival. This is an important find as mild or even no symptoms of COVID-19 are very common and representative of most infections in the community. Such abundant immune responses also give hope for the long-lasting efficacy of vaccines."