The COVID-19 pandemic (the pandemic) continues to affect the world, research teams in different countries/places have been working relentlessly to combat the pandemic. In the previous issues of our newsletters, we shared articles on the roles of and also analysis by different scientific fields, such as "Epidemiological Study on Coronavirus 2019 at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University" in the May 2020 issue, "Beyond Vaccines" by Prof Ping-Chung Leung in the September 2020 issue and "Clinical Management of Coronavirus Disease 2019" by Dr. Wu Tak Chiu in the last issue. Besides epidemiological study, vaccines development, and clinical management which are fields that are directly related to the combat of the pandemic, some areas of medicine where COVID-19 also has an important impact on patient care are being studied by Hong Kong medical teams. In the current issue, we have two articles by Prof Gary Wong and Prof Vincent Mok, both of the Faculty of Medicine of The Chinese University of Hong Kong on this aspect.
Having noted that children have been less likely to contract COVID-19, and less likely to get sick when they do, Prof Gary Wong of the Department of Paediatrics headed the first study team to examine how the disease was affecting infected children.
The Chinese Paediatric Novel Coronavirus study team led by Prof Wong looked at the epidemiologic characteristics, clinical features and radiologic findings of infected children at the early stages of the pandemic.
The epidemiology of juvenile cases of COVID-19 helped deliver insights into the underlying immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its severity. In contrast with adults, most infected children have a milder clinical course typified by cough, fatigue, muscle pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Fever is only found in about half of the infected children. Check out Prof Wong’s publication in The New England Journal of Medicine here to learn more.
On another aspect, people with dementia are particularly vulnerable to infection from SARS-CoV-2. Not only are they directly at high risk of contracting COVID-19, they are also hurt by the physical distancing necessary and isolation often created when implementing countermeasures against this infectious disease.
Prof Vincent Mok, Head of Division of Neurology in the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics led an international team to devise strategies for the elderly and patients with dementia so that they can receive appropriate treatment during the pandemic. The team advocates measures such as the use of telemedicine to ensure delivery of care, with online consultations and remote medical advice. Other measures applied first and foremost to group-living facilities for people with dementia, but could in many cases be applied to the care of older people in general.
The team brought together experts from 29 universities in 16 countries around the world, including the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the Vrije University of Amsterdam, Harvard University, and the Karolinska Institute. Check out the team’s publication and recommendations in Alzheimer’s & Dementia here to learn more.