COVID-19 has taught us that a pandemic can significantly increase biometric risk and at the same time trigger crashes of the stock market. Taking these potential co-movements of financial and non-financial risks into account, we study the portfolio problem of an agent who is aware that a future pandemic can affect her health and personal finances. To model the financial and non-financial aspects of a pandemic, our framework involves a Markov chain capturing the pandemic state of the society and a state-dependent jump-diffusion model of the stock market. In particular, we allow for pandemic-induced stock market crashes similar to the crash that we witnessed at the beginning of March, 2020. The corresponding stochastic dynamic optimization problem is complex: It is characterized by a system of Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman equations which are coupled with optimality conditions that are only implicitly given. We prove that the agent's value function and optimal policies are determined by the unique global solution to a system of non-linear ordinary differential equations. From an economic point of view, we show that the optimal portfolio strategy is significantly affected by the mere threat of a potential pandemic.
Molecular testing of SARS-CoV-2 RNA is essential during the pandemic. Here, we compared the results of different respiratory specimens including anterior nasal swabs, pharyngeal swabs, saliva swabs, and gargle lavage samples to nasopharyngeal swabs on two automated SARS-CoV-2 test systems. Samples were collected and tested simultaneously from a total of 36 hospitalized symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 was performed on cobas®6800 (Roche) and NeuMoDx™ (Qiagen) systems. Both assays showed reliable detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, with nasopharyngeal swabs showing the highest sensitivity. SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in other respiratory specimens were lower (mean 2.5 log10 copies/ml) or even undetectable in up to 20%. These data clearly indicate that not all respiratory materials are equally suitable for the management of hospitalized patients, especially, in the late phase of COVID-19, when the viral phase subsides and inflammation becomes the predominant factor, making detection of even lower viral loads increasingly important.
Aufgrund SARS-CoV-2 ist eine Rechtsvorlesung für Betriebswirte im Bachelorstudiengang an zwei verschiedenen Standorten der Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg mit über 300 Studierenden unter Anwendung des Inverted Classroom Ansatzes zum Sommersemester 2020 vollständig digitalisiert worden. Durch die von außen vorgegebene Lernstrategie mit wöchentlichen Arbeitspaketen und die Nutzung einer asynchronen Kommunikationsplattform auf Basis eines Instant Messengers mit adressatenadäquater Ansprache gelang es, Synchronformate auf ein notwendiges Minimum zu reduzieren. Die Ergebnisse der empirischen Begleitung zeigen, dass das neue didaktische Konzept für eine digitale Lehre die unterschiedlichsten Bedürfnisse der Studierenden befriedigte. Insbesondere konnte eine »digitale Lernatmosphäre« geschaffen werden, die von den Studierenden als sehr förderlich für ihren Lernprozess erachtet wurde. Die induzierte Lernstrategie führte zu signifikanten Leistungsverbesserungen. Es wird diskutiert, welche Maßnahmen sich auch für postpandemische Lehre empfehlen.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyday living and social practices, prompting questions of whether more sustainable consumption patterns are emerging and the likelihood of their long-term retention. To examine these questions, we apply a practice-based approach to a quantitative study of COVID-driven practice changes in the domains of food, material consumption, housing, and mobility conducted in four global North countries (Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States). We discuss the trends emerging from our analysis from a sustainability perspective and address the role of social practice elements – materials, meanings, competences – in the establishment and discontinuation of sustainable consumption practices. Observed sustainability gains in specific practices and domains (such as a decrease in material consumption and more sustainable food practices and diets), may be offset by other practices, particularly a renewed desire for air travel and larger housing. The uptake and lock-in of sustainable practices are driven by a combination of meaning and material-related practice elements such as the alignment with interests and personal values; the availability of labor, energy, or time; and the ability to routinize practices. However, new policies to support emerging lifestyle shifts, as well as the development of businesses catering to and encouraging low-impact practices, may ultimately determine the formation of a more sustainable “new normal.” We also reflect on the strengths and limitations of using quantitative research methods in studies of sustainable consumption informed by social practice theories.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has set off a global pandemic. There is an urgent unmet need for safe, affordable, and effective therapeutics against COVID-19. In this regard, drug repurposing is considered as a promising approach. We assessed the compounds that affect the endosomal acidic environment by applying human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2)- expressing cells infected with a SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein-pseudotyped HIV reporter virus and identified that obatoclax resulted in the strongest inhibition of S protein-mediated virus entry. The potent antiviral activity of obatoclax at nanomolar concentrations was confirmed in different human lung and intestinal cells infected with the SARS-CoV-2 pseudotype system as well as clinical virus isolates. Furthermore, we uncovered that obatoclax executes a double-strike against SARS-CoV-2. It prevented SARS-CoV-2 entry by blocking endocytosis of virions through diminished endosomal acidification and the corresponding inhibition of the enzymatic activity of the endosomal cysteine protease cathepsin L. Additionally, obatoclax impaired the SARS-CoV-2 S-mediated membrane fusion by targeting the MCL-1 protein and reducing furin protease activity. In accordance with these overarching mechanisms, obatoclax blocked the virus entry mediated by different S proteins derived from several SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern such as, Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Delta (B.1.617.2). Taken together, our results identified obatoclax as a novel effective antiviral compound that keeps SARS-CoV-2 at bay by blocking both endocytosis and membrane fusion. Our data suggested that obatoclax should be further explored as a clinical drug for the treatment of COVID-19. CA Huang und CA Trilling
Marine pollution with personal protective equipment (PPE) has recently gained major attention. Multiple studies reported the release of microplastics (MPs) and chemical contaminants from face masks, the most used PPE type. However, not much is known concerning the release of phthalate esters (PAEs) in aquatic media, as well as the hazard posed by other types of PPE. In the present study, we investigated the release of MPs and PAEs from face masks and gloves recovered from the environment. The results indicated that both PPEs release MPs comparable to the literature, but higher concentrations were presented by face masks. In turn, the total concentration of six PAEs was higher in gloves than in face masks. The release of these contaminants is exacerbated over time. The present study allows researchers to understand the contribution of PPE to marine pollution while accounting for gloves, a generally overlooked source of contaminants.
The sudden and dramatic advent of the COVID-19 pandemic led to urgent demands for timely, relevant, yet rigorous research. This paper discusses the origin, design, and execution of the SolPan research commons, a large-scale, international, comparative, qualitative research project that sought to respond to the need for knowledge among researchers and policymakers in times of crisis. The form of organization as a research commons is characterized by an underlying solidaristic attitude of its members and its intrinsic organizational features in which research data and knowledge in the study is shared and jointly owned. As such, the project is peer-governed, rooted in (idealist) social values of academia, and aims at providing tools and benefits for its members. In this paper, we discuss challenges and solutions for qualitative studies that seek to operate as research commons. ispartof: SSM - Qualitative Research in Health vol:2 ispartof: location:England status: published