Science papers you should be reading about the coronavirus

Amid the thousands of research publications on COVID-19, here are the ones we’re reading
A health worker directs motorists at a coronavirus (COVID-19) drive-thru testing location
A health worker directs motorists at a COVID-19 drive-thru testing location in Stamford, Connecticut. Photo by John Moore / Getty Images

Editor’s note: This story was first published on March 20. It has since been updated with more papers.
For daily updates, check out the COVID-19 Literature Situation Report produced by the University of Washington's Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an unprecedented wave of research, data sharing, and open science as the scientific world seeks to understand the disease, track its spread, and analyze the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

There is also a trove of existing coronavirus datasets and scholarly literature that could be used to inform efforts to stop COVID-19. A group of organizations including the Allen Institute for AI, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, Microsoft, and the National Library of Medicine released the COVID-19 Open Research Dataset to mobilize researchers to apply natural language processing and generate new insights. The free dataset has more than 29,000 scholarly articles already while new papers specific to the pandemic are being posted each day.

Experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are posting their research related to the disease and tracking the science behind COVID-19. Here are a few of the papers our scientists are reading that you might want to check out, too:

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Epidemiology of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility in King County, Washington — New England Journal of Medicine

Leaders of Public Health — Seattle & King County, along with local physicians and investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, describe the first outbreak in the United States at the Life Care Center of Kirkland (Washington).

First case of 2019 novel coronavirus in the United States — New England Journal of Medicine

The Washington State 2019-nCoV Case Investigation Team and doctors at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington, among others, describe the successful treatment of the first known COVID-19 patient in the United States.

A serological assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion in humans — medRxiv (preprint)

This research, led by Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, outlines efforts to develop blood tests that could be used to screen and identify people for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 as compared with SARS-CoV-1 —
New England Journal of Medicine

This research, led by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-1 in aerosols and on various surfaces, and estimated how long they remained viable and infectious in five environmental conditions (as aerosols and on plastic, stainless steel, copper and cardboard).

Impact on nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID-19 mortality and health care demand —

Imperial College London

This research models how interventions like social distancing could impact infection rates in the U.K. and U.S. The conclusion: “The effectiveness of any one intervention in isolation is likely to be limited, requiring multiple interventions to be combined to have a substantial impact on transmission.” This paper has been credited with prompting policymakers in the U.S. and the U.K. to take more urgent steps at curbing the pandemic.

Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) — Science

This research, led by Columbia University, analyzes data from China and finds that the epidemic there was driven by “undocumented infections” — sicknesses that were so mild they were not recorded as COVID-19 cases. The researchers found that these undocumented infections were the source in nearly 80% of the recorded cases, which explains the rapid geographic spread of the virus and why it will be hard to contain.

Managing cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic: Agility and collaboration toward a common goal —
JNCCN (Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network)

Experts from Fred Hutch and its clinical-care partner, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, share insights and advice on how to provide cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Seattle area was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 U.S. outbreak.

Estimating clinical severity of COVID-19 from the transmission dynamics in Wuhan, China — Nature Medicine

This research, led by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, offered one of the first and most robust analyses of data from Wuhan, where the pandemic began. Researchers estimate that the overall symptomatic case-fatality risk of COVID-19 in Wuhan was 1.4%. That is, people with COVID-19 who develop symptoms have a 1.4% chance of dying.

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