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Can Cell Phones Carry COVID-19?

spray disinfecting phone from germs and viruses

It’s long been known that cell phones can carry a multitude of germs, bacteria, and different forms of fungi. With the arrival of the COVID-19 virus, it begs the question if it too can live on the surface of a phone and subsequently be transmitted to another person. 

A compilation of studies from across 24 countries over the past 13 years indicates that it is a very likely possibility. 

Although COVID-19 was not included in any of these original studies, the rapid rate at which it has spread throughout the world, and the increased and ever-growing physical attachment that people have to their cell phones, leads researchers to believe that phones could in fact harbor the virus. 

Our co-founder, Dr. Stephen Berger, who is double board-certified in infectious disease and microbiology, recently commented on this topic for an article in HealthDay

“Cellular phones are ideal vehicles for the virus of COVID-19,” he agreed. “They are repeatedly exposed to material exhaled from our mouth and nose and spend literally hours in our rather filthy hands. Viruses of this type are known to survive on plastics and stainless steel for two to three hours; on aluminum for two to eight hours, on cardboard and paper for up to 24 hours, and ceramic or glass for up to five days.”

While many experts suggest wiping down your phone frequently with a disinfectant and abstaining from sharing your phone with others, Dr. Berger says that it is our hands and not the phones that merit the extra attention when it comes to disinfecting. 

“Whenever these and other objects in our daily life are examined in the laboratory, a veritable ‘zoo’ of bacteria, parasites, fungi, and viruses are discovered. But the common denominator for all of these is the human hand that touches them, and then goes to our mouth or nose.”

Keeping your phone clean may help limit exposure to the virus, but even more helpful is to keep your hands clean with frequent washing and then away from your face as much as possible. 

You can read the entire article here

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates about our new interface!

Why Some Countries Have Fared Better in Fighting COVID-19

World map with an outbreak marker indicating COVID-19

There are more than 1.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States right now with nearly 80,000 related deaths on record. This number is greater than a quarter of the total deaths suffered worldwide. 

What has America gotten wrong in its response to the deadly virus, and what have other countries done right?  

New Zealand, South Africa, and Vietnam—even sharing a border with China where the virus originated —all have experienced relatively few cases and minimal deaths from COVID-19. 

Our co-founder and infectious disease expert, Dr. Stephen Berger shared his thoughts for a recent article in Healthline as to why these countries might be faring better than others.

“All three countries have a coordinated, nationwide, centrally planned response as well as travel restrictions, both domestic and international,” said Dr. Berger.  

Elements of each country’s response that likely have contributed to their success in keeping the virus at bay include:

  • Speed: rapid response to the situation in closing borders immediately, implementing full lockdowns, and requiring that masks be worn right away
  • Aggressive enforcement: all three countries have been stern in enforcing these regulations with government assistance and even military intervention 
  • Testing: meticulous attention devoted to testing and then contact tracing as to following where someone infected has traveled  

Additionally, South Africa and Vietnam have been able to draw on their past experiences with such deadly diseases such as HIV infection, Tuberculosis, and SARS.

Experts agree that early and swift action is key to a country’s success in fighting any deadly virus. “Trying to play catch-up is always more difficult than heading things off early on,” says Dr. Berger.

You can read the entire article here

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates about our new interface!

Antibody vs antigen testing

Coronavirus testing. Hand holding a tube with 'coronavirus' written on it.

Our co-founder and infectious disease expert, Dr. Stephen Berger, recently explained the differences between diagnostic, antibody, and antigen testing for the virus in Business Insider

  • Diagnostic test: conducted via a nasal or throat swab; best suited for someone with severe symptoms; results may take several days or even weeks to become available. 
  • Antibody test: taken via a blood sample; confirms if you had a previous infection of the virus, but may not detect if it is still in your system as it generally takes 14 days following symptoms for antibodies to appear; does not determine if you will get the virus again; can help track where the virus has spread and monitor fatality rates if conducted over a widespread area. 
  • Antigen test: quickly registers antigens to the virus (or certain molecules that help evoke an immune response to something foreign in the body, such as a virus); results are ready in a shorter time; may potentially become a more efficient and affordable option for testing in the future.

“The presence of COVID-19 and many other viruses in patient specimens can be confirmed using these antigen tests, usually within minutes to hours,” Dr. Berger told Business Insider. 

Although these antigen tests are not yet currently on the market, they are in development right now. The speed at which they can detect the virus, as well as the possibility of at-home antigen test kits, making them an attractive option as we continue to face COVID-19. 

You can read the entire article here

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates about our new interface!

Is it Safe to Go Back to the Gym? Dr. Berger talks to Shape.com

Illustration of two females exercising in a gym

Many states are relaxing their stay-at-home guidelines, which includes opening up fitness facilities to the public again.  Most must operate under a limited capacity, enhanced cleaning and sanitation practices, and use signs and floor markers to ensure social distancing. But the big question is whether it’s safe to go back? Experts warn social distancing may not be so easy at a gym.

“A gym is just another venue in which disease can be passed from person to person, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 might increase there, where group sports and games require close personal contact,” our co-founder and infectious disease specialist, Dr. Stephen Berger explained to Shape.com

“The fact that you might be young and healthy won’t affect your chance of becoming infected; it will really only increase your chances of surviving an infection without severe or fatal consequences.”

Similarly, if you’re in a region where local officials are mandating or strongly urging residents to wear face masks or other facial coverings in public, the gym is not exempt from those guidelines, notes Dr. Berger.

You can read the entire article here.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates about our new interface!

PEOPLE shares Dr. Berger’s advice about how to correctly and safely wear a face mask

Wearing face masks is now a part of our everyday life. In early April, the CDC made the official recommendation that everyone should wear one to help slow the spread of COVID-19 after new research showed that 50% of people who get it don’t show symptoms. So they will likely be around for quite some time, but unfortunately, many people aren’t wearing them correctly and could be exposing themselves unnecessarily. 

Our founder, Dr. Stephen Berger, who is double board-certified in infectious disease and microbiology, provided important tips to People.

“Masks should be as closely fitted to the skin as possible,” Dr. Berger told PEOPLE. He added there shouldn’t be any gaps on the side of the masks and it should cover everything from your nose to your chin. 

Dr. Berger added, “The nose must be covered. Note that when people are tested for the virus, a swab is inserted into the nose — because that is where the virus is!”

Dr. Berger also provided tips for people who wear glasses and how they can avoid fogging up their lenses. 

You can read the entire article here

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates on our new interface!

LA Times: Dr. Berger Answers Questions About Food and COVID-19

LA Times Cooking Editor, Genevieve Ko, turned to GIDEON founder, Dr. Stephen Berger, to get an expert opinion about COVID-19 and food transmission. Dr. Berger provided answers to some common questions people are asking such as:

  • Can COVID-19 be transmitted through food? If so, how?

Dr. Berger: There have been no cases of COVID-19 associated with the ingestion of food, but the question is well-founded. COVID-19 is, after all, caused by a virus that enters the body through the nose or mouth. Food items are, after all, objects which may be contaminated with the virus and placed in the mouth — but like many other viruses, bacteria, and parasites, these will be swallowed and most likely destroyed by stomach acids. Should the virus survive into the intestine, no pathway will carry it to the lungs.

  • Can COVID-19 be transmitted in the process of consuming food or only through the respiratory system?

Dr. Berger: The virus of COVID-19 must enter the respiratory system to produce disease. There is the possibility that material could travel from the mouth through the larynx and into the lungs. It is thought that acquisition of COVID-19 through this route rarely, if ever, occurs.

  • If COVID-19 is on food, can it be killed by cooking? If so, at what temperatures?

Dr. Berger: SARS virus, a close relative of the virus of COVID-19, is inactivated at temperatures of 56 to 65 degrees Celsius (132.8 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • Can you acquire COVID-19 from food?

Dr. Berger: The bottom line answer is … no.

 

You can read the entire article here. 

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates on our new interface!

HealthDay talks to Dr. Berger about ‘best practices’ for disinfecting

If you are one of those people who think you need to scrub down everything after an outing, here’s some good news…you can save some of that disinfectant. GIDEON’s co-founder Dr. Stephen Berger provided practical advice about what items should be disinfected in your home. [Spoiler alert: It’s not your keys, money, or credit cards!] 

Here’s what Dr. Berger had to say to HealthDay

“We are all swimming through an invisible swamp of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Those bookshelves and those pictures on the wall are teeming with ugly microbes. Not to mention your cellular phone, wristwatch, eyeglasses, and everything else in your world.”

But he did explain that there’s no need to scrub everything down once you return from outside. 

“The good news is that you are in no danger from most of this,” Dr. Berger said. “And you have no reason to compulsively avoid, or even clean, every object in your personal world. With one exception: your own hands!”

Proper handwashing is what the experts have been stressing from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and a message that Dr. Berger, who is double board-certified in infectious diseases and clinical microbiology, reinforces.

You can read the entire article here

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We’ve got exciting updates on our new interface!

GIDEON’s Dr. Stephen Berger offers up important coronavirus safety tips in Parade.com article

Besides consistent hand washing, self-quarantining, and social distancing, people want to know the best ways to remain healthy and reduce their risk of getting COVID-19. 

Parade.com wrote about ‘14 Ways to Stay Safe During the Coronavirus Pandemic’, which included everything from maintaining good support systems to consistent exercise to covering your face and how that can and can’t protect you. GIDEON co-founder Dr. Stephen Berger discussed important information to remember when it comes to wearing face masks.

Here’s what was covered in the article:

Realize that covering up your face is not an excuse to not social distance.

In early April, the CDC made the recommendation that Americans should wear masks and cloth face coverings whenever going out in public. But experts want you to know that this is not a reason to now get together with friends or to forgo the social distancing recommendations of keeping 6-feet away. While face masks can help to reduce the amount of viral respiratory droplets released into an environment, they are not 100% effective at keeping you safe from the coronavirus.

“Extremely small particles, including the virus itself, might pass through the spaces that allow air to pass,” Dr. Berger, told Parade. He added that facial coverings do not cover the eyes, which is another channel in which the virus can be transmitted.
“And face masks do not protect our hands, clothing, objects that we may be carrying. All of these are exposed to contaminated secretions and might infect us at some later time.”

You can read the entire article here

Dr. Stephen Berger on why COVID-19 is different for men than women in Healthline article

GIDEON founder, Dr. Stephen Berger was recently interviewed about gender disparities and COVID-19. Experts have been watching the data in Europe and have found that 68% of the COVID-19 deaths have been among men. And in New York City, men have been dying at twice the rate of women, according to the city’s health department.
Dr. Berger says genetics, preexisting conditions, and bad habits may be to blame.

“Some of the underlying reasons why COVID-19 may be more deadly for men than women may include the fact that heart disease is more common in elderly men than in elderly women,” Dr. Berger told Healthline. “Studies also find that high blood pressure and liver disease are more prevalent in men and these all contribute to more negative outcomes with COVID-19.”

Dr. Berger also explained that habits, like smoking, can negatively affect lung health, which may play a key role in COVID-19’s impact on men. He said that in China, for example, smoking is more popular among men, which could result in chronic lung disease. This puts them at a much greater disadvantage should they contract coronavirus. 

You can read the entire article here

 

Filgen distributes GIDEON in Japan

Filgen logoWe are pleased to announce that Filgen (フィルジェン株式会社) will be selling GIDEON in Japan.

Filgen, Inc. was founded in 2004 at Nagoya, Japan.
Filgen is a leading company of life science in Japan and offers various and cutting-edge analysis services by utilizing many technologies such as microarray, mass spectrometer, and next generation sequencing. The company also provides many biological reagents, instruments, and bioinformatics software. In addition, the company manufactures and provides machines for the nano-scientific field.

More information from Filgen about GIDEON

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