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Pandemic

Forecasting the pandemic’s evolution using PCR testing

Following the trajectory of the pandemic and forecasting its evolution is of vital importance to plan public health measures. The key epidemiological parameters are estimated by using figures of case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths.qPCR tests, although generally interpreted as simply positive or negative, give a semi-quantitative result in the form of number of amplification cycles […]

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Possible scenarios of the end of the pandemic

Vaccinations are our main hope of ending this pandemic. However, that does not mean that we will be finished withnSARS-CoV-2. There will still be many unvaccinated people, either because supplies in their country are limited, or because they refuse vaccination. In addition, vaccines do not always prevent transmission of the virus, and the length of […]

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Falling life expectancy in Brazil

By the 9 th of June 2021, COVID-19 had officially caused more than 3,7 million deaths across the globe. The United States and Brazil alone represent 28% of deaths worldwide and 59% of deaths across North and South America. In these 2 countries, the number of deaths varies between states, depending on which public health […]

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Can we afford to relax measures during the summer?

After the 1st wave of infections in springtime 2020, Europe had to deal with an upsurge in the COVID-19 epidemic at the end of the summer. The number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections rose rapidly, causing a 2nd wave at the end of October. This wave led governments to once again impose drastic public health measures. […]

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Integrating social interaction into epidemiological modelling

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the kind of threat that infectious disease presents, and the necessity of scientific knowledge to understand, quantify and predict the risk that such pathologies pose. During the various waves of the epidemic, public health measures have been put in place, varying from country to country, and with different levels of […]

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Modelising humans in the context of a pandemic

The most recent large-scale epidemics (flu, Zika, Ebola, COVID-19) have underlined the importance of developing models to predict the spread of illness. In particular, they help in the implementation of appropriate public health measures. The first such model, dating from 1927, focussed principally on population density. But in order to be effective, these models need […]

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Do masks protect?

Airborne transmission is the main pathway for spreading infection in respiratory viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Masks reduce contamination, both for infected people and those who risk infection. While type N95 or FFP2 masks only allow 5% of particles through, with surgical or similar masks the figure is between 30% and 70%. It is therefore understandable […]

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Will we one day understand the pandemic’s origin?

Could the COVID-19 pandemic be the consequence of a laboratory leak in the virology institute in Wuhan? The question was raised soon after the start of the epidemic. Even though the majority of scientists affirm that SARS-CoV-2 was probably naturally transmitted from animals to humans, the possibility of a laboratory leak cannot be wholly excluded. […]

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Mortality rates in serious cases in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested health systems worldwide. Serious cases of the illness have often overwhelmed care services, especially in intensive care units. The average mortality rate is 3%, but large disparities exist between, for example, elderly people with pre-existing medical conditions and young people, and between different countries. It would seem likely that […]

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Does having a child at school increase risks for families?

The risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in young people and the merits of closing schools have been amongst the most controversial issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is general agreement on the desirability of keeping schools open with appropriate health measures, but little analysis has been done on what those measures are that are necessary to […]

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