Best of COVID-19 Research Papers

We Live In A Pandemic; Question Everything

One prong in the CIO mission is to promote the world’s understanding of COVID and SARS-CoV-2. We do this through our own primary research (surveys, polls etc), and by reviewing and promoting good science, over fake news (see our fake news detective), outrageous claims and junk science. Over the months we have seen the infodemic rage as strong as the pandemic. So here, we have compiled a ‘playlist’ of some of the most important papers that we think have helped move the conversation forward in our collective understanding of the pandemic and the virus. If you would like to add anything to this list, send us a link at and a note as to how it has helped the global fight. Click on the categories below to view them.


Subunit Vaccines Against Emerging Pathogenic Human Coronaviruses

A detailed study on the structure and function of key proteins of emerging human CoVs, the current vaccine types to be developed against SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, and recent advances in subunit vaccines against these two CoVs that can be helpful for the development of vaccines against SARS-CoV2, and any future CoVs with pandemic potential.

SARS and MERS: Insights into Emerging Coronaviruses

An in depth article that emphasizes the pandemic and epidemic potential of emerging human coronaviruses and discusses the biology of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, including their structure, replication, transmission, their pathogenesis, and the development of possible therapy/treatment options.

Genomic Characterization and Epidemiology of 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Implications for Virus Origins and Receptor Binding

Phylogenetic analysis of genome sequences obtained from nine patients affected with 2019 nCoV and the genome sequences of other coronaviruses were carried on to determine the evolutionary history of the virus and help infer its likely origin. The analysis suggested that bats might be the original host of this virus, however, the animals sold at the seafood market in Wuhan might represent an intermediate host facilitating the emergence of the virus in humans. The structural analysis suggested that 2019-nCoV might be able to bind to the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE 2) receptor in humans.

A Structural Analysis of M Protein in CoronaVirus

The M protein of coronavirus plays a vital role in virus assembly, turning cellular membranes into workshops where virus and host factors come together to make new virus particles. The findings of the study, “A Structural Analysis of M Protein in CoronaVirus” provide insight into how M protein functions to promote virus assembly.

Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein

Coronavirus spike (S) glycoproteins promote entry into cells and are the main target of antibodies. The findings of the study “Structure, Function, and Antigenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Glycoprotein” provides a blueprint for the design of vaccines and inhibitors of viral entry.

The D614G Mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Reduces S1 Shedding and Increases Infectivity

A comparative study of the functional properties of the S proteins with aspartic acid (SD614) and glycine (SG614) at residue 614 suggested that the D614G virus strain transmits more efficiently, increasing the infectivity of the disease.

COVID-19: Viral–Host Interactome Analyzed by Network Based-approach Model to Study Pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 Infection

In this study, a network-based model was developed with an aim to define molecular aspects of pathogenic phenotypes in human coronavirus infections. A better understanding of the pathophysiology associated with COVID-19 is very important to improve treatment modalities and to develop effective prevention strategies. The resulting pattern from this study might facilitate the process of structure-guided pharmaceutical and diagnostic research with the prospect to identify potential new biological targets.

Two Linear Epitopes on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein that Elicit Neutralizing Antibodies in COVID-19 Patients

A detailed study was done to identify the immunogenic targets against the coronavirus spike glycoprotein which will provide crucial advances towards the development of sensitive diagnostic tools and potential vaccine candidate targets.

Will Coronavirus Disease 2019 Become Seasonal?

A detailed study exploring the question of the seasonality of SARS CoV2 by reviewing 4 lines of evidence related to viral viability, transmission, ecological patterns, and observed epidemiology of COVID-19 in the Southern Hemispheres’ summer and early fall.

A Systematic Review of Antibody Mediated Immunity to Coronaviruses

A systematic review of the antibody immunity to coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 as well as the related SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV and other human endemic coronaviruses.

Projecting the Transmission Dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 Through the Post Pandemic Period

A detailed Science article discussing the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in the post COVID world.

The Hallmarks of COVID-19 Disease

A detailed study in understanding the epidemiological, virological, and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 and a discussion of the potential targets with existing drugs for the treatment of this emerging zoonotic disease.

Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1

An analysis and comparison of the aerosol and surface stability of SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV-1.

A Mechanistic Model and Therapeutic Interventions for COVID-19 Involving a RAS-mediated Bradykinin Storm

This study presented a novel molecular mechanism for COVID-19 that provides therapeutic interventions that can be addressed with existing FDA-approved drugs. A new analysis on gene expression data from cells in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) from COVID-19 patients was performed and found that SARS-CoV-2 caused the levels of ACE in the lung cells to decrease, while the levels of ACE2 increased, which in turn increased the levels of a molecule known as bradykinin in the cells (referred to as a ‘Bradykinin Storm’). The findings of this study suggested that the Bradykinin Storm may be responsible for the more severe symptoms of COVID-19.


Remdesivir in Adults with Severe COVID-19: A Randomised, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled, Multicentre Trial

The study conducted with adult patients of severe COVID-19 showed that remdesivir was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits. However, patients receiving remdesivir had a numerically faster time to clinical improvement than those receiving placebo among patients with symptom duration of 10 days or less.

Treatment Options for COVID-19: The Reality and Challenges

The reality and the challenges of potential treatment options for COVID-19 such as Remdesivir, Favipiravir, Ribavirin, Interferons, Lopinavir/ritonavir, Chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and azithromycin, Teicoplanin and other glycopeptides, Monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies, Convalescent plasma, and Herbal medications are explained in this study.

Low-cost Dexamethasone Reduces Death by up to One Third in Hospitalized Patients with Severe Respiratory Complications of COVID-19

The Recovery trial (a large, randomized controlled trial of possible treatments for patients) revealed low-cost Dexamethasone reduced the 28-day mortality rate by 17%. Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients (rate ratio 0.65 [95% confidence interval 0.48 to 0.88]; p=0.0003) and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only (0.80 [0.67 to 0.96]; p=0.0021). There was no benefit among those patients who did not require respiratory support (1.22 [0.86 to 1.75]; p=0.14).

Imperial COVID-19 Vaccine Trial

A detailed overview of the “Imperial COVID-19 Vaccine – COVAC 1 Trial” explaining how the trial and the vaccine works.

Effectiveness of Convalescent Plasma Therapy in Severe COVID-19 Patients

A detailed study on the feasibility and effectiveness of convalescent plasma therapy in severe COVID-19 patients indicated that the plasma therapy can be a promising treatment option while the randomized clinical trial is warranted.

Clinical Studies

Clinical Features of Patients Infected with 2019 Novel Coronavirus in Wuhan, China

This study reported the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics, treatment, and clinical outcomes of 41 laboratory-confirmed cases infected with 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China. The main findings of this study were 2019-nCoV caused severe respiratory illness similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus and was associated with ICU admission and high-mortality

Epidemiological and Clinical Characteristics of 99 Cases of 2019 nCoV Pneumonia in Wuhan, China

A descriptive study was conducted to analyze the epidemiological, demographic, clinical, and radiological features and laboratory data of 99 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The analysis revealed that older males with existing medical conditions were more prone to 2019-nCoV infection and this could result in severe and even fatal respiratory diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Predictors of Fatality Including Radiographic Findings in Adults with COVID-19

A retrospective review of the records of all confirmed COVID-19 patients admitted to a quarantine unit at Wuhan, China revealed that older age, elevated LDH levels, and higher severity score of CT images within the first week are potential predictors of fatality in adults with COVID-19. These predictors could help the physicians identify patients with a poor prognosis at an early stage.

Clinical and Immunological Assessment of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infections

An in-depth immunologic profile of asymptomatic COVID19 patients (N=37) study suggested that the asymptomatic patients had a weaker immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Loss of Taste and Smell as Distinguishing Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019

A study conducted with 90 participants from 26 households revealed that loss of taste and/or smell was the fourth most reported symptom (26/42 [62%]) among COVID-19 patients and suggested that loss of taste and smell should be considered for COVID-19 case identification and testing prioritization.

Coronavirus Disease 2019: Associated Multiple Organ Damage

A detailed study of a confirmed COVID-19 case with multiple organ damage. The insights from this study might be helpful to feed the discussion about therapeutic options in this type of multiple organ damage related to SARS-CoV-2.

Cluster Analysis of Epidemiological Characteristic Features of Confirmed Cases with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outside China: A Descriptive Study

A cluster analysis of epidemiological characteristic features of COVID-19 confirmed cases outside China suggested that the COVID-19 situational reports of each country should be more detailed mentioning the transmission routes with keeping contact tracing of the unknown cases to increase the control of the disease.

Clinical Course and Risk Factors for Mortality of Adult Inpatients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: A Retrospective Cohort Study

A retrospective cohort analysis of the clinical course and risk factors for mortality of COVID-19 adult inpatients in Wuhan, China.

Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020

A CDC report of severe outcomes among COVID-19 patients in the U.S. from Feb 12 to Mar 16, 2020 indicated that fatality was highest in persons aged ≥85, ranging from 10% to 27%, followed by 3% to 11% among persons aged 65–84 years, 1% to 3% among persons aged 55-64 years, <1% among persons aged 20–54 years, and no fatalities among persons aged ≤19 years. This study concluded that COVID-19 can result in severe disease especially among older adults. So, everyone should take actions, such as social distancing, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect older adults from severe illness.

Estimating Clinical Severity of COVID-19 from the Transmission Dynamics in Wuhan, China

A detailed study estimating the clinical severity of COVID-19 patients from the transmission dynamics in Wuhan, China which is a key public health priority during the emergence of a novel virus.

Epidemiological Studies

Bats, Coronaviruses, and Deforestation: Toward the Emergence of Novel Infectious Diseases?

A 2018 review paper that predicted the Coronavirus outbreak in China.

Bat Coronaviruses in China

A 2019 study predicted that there will be a SARS or MERS like Coronavirus outbreak in China and it will originate from bats.

Communities of Color at Higher Risk for Health and Economic Challenges due to COVID-19

An analysis of underlying health conditions, health coverage and health care access, and social and economic factors by race and ethnicity to provide insight into how the health and financial impacts of COVID-19 may vary across racial/ethnic groups.

Disease Management

Will Healthcare Workers Improve Infection Prevention and Control Behaviors as COVID-19 Risk Emerges and Increases, in China?

This study aimed to measure the level of healthcare workers’ self-reported Infection prevention and control behaviors with the risk of COVID-19 emerging and increasing. The results of this study revealed that the self-reported infection prevention and control behaviors of healthcare workers significantly improved after the COVID-19 outbreak. HCWs who were in the affected area and in high-risk departments reported IPC behavior better. But the contact with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients did not promote self-reported IPC behaviors, which may be a result of higher workload and lack of resources such as gowns. The preparedness system including the storage of human resources and PPE in the hospitals, and the purchase flow should be improved to better combat COVID-19 pandemic.

Detection Dogs as a Help in the Detection of COVID-19; Can the Dog Alert on COVID-19 Positive Persons by Sniffing Axillary Sweat Samples? Proof-of-concept Study

A study was conducted to evaluate if the sweat produced by COVID positive patients had a different odor than the sweat produced by COVID negative persons. The results of the study revealed that there is high evidence that the armpits sweat odour of COVID-19 positive patients is different, and that dogs can detect a person infected by SARS Cov2.

Global Supply-chain Effects of COVID-19 Control Measures

A detailed study on the global supply-chain effects of COVID-19 control measures.

Social Network-based Distancing Strategies to Flatten the COVID-19 Curve in a Post-lockdown World

Practising social distancing and self-isolating if sick are the most important preventive measures to stop or reduce the spread of COVID-19. A detailed study is done to evaluate the effectiveness of three distancing strategies designed to keep the curve flat and aid compliance in a post-lockdown world.

Face Masks Considerably Reduce Covid-19 Cases in Germany

An analysis on the effect of face masks on the spread of COVID-19 in Germany revealed that face masks reduce the daily growth rate of reported infections by around 40%.

Potential Implications for Reducing Transmission of COVID-19

A detailed study of understanding the respiratory infectious disease transmission which can provide some insights for the development of best approaches to improve protection of front-line workers and prevent disease from spreading to the most vulnerable members of the population.