The SMW articles published 2020 sorted by number of citations are listed here.
Articles from our partner journals are listed here.
Klasen JM, Bingisser R, Meienberg A, Bogie B
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20480
As countries experience subsequent pandemic waves and identified variants of SARS-CoV-2, the lessons learned from the current interventions may help guide medical education leaders across the globe in their decisions concerning how to promote medical student engagement in frontline care during a continuing public health crisis.
Thiabaud A, Iten A, Balmelli C, Senn L, Troillet N, Widmer A, et al.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20475
In cooperation with the Federal Office of Public Health, a surveillance database was set up in February 2020 to monitor hospitalised patients with COVID-19, in addition to their mandatory reporting system. The surveillance system has been successfully initiated and provides a robust set of data for Switzerland by including about 80% (compared with official statistics) of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 hospitalised patients, with similar age and comorbidity distributions. It adds detailed information on the epidemiology, risk factors and clinical course of these cases and, therefore, is a valuable addition to the existing mandatory reporting.
Gonçalves LC, Baggio S, Weber M, Gétaz L, Wolff H, Singh J, et al.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20471
Although medical doctors make evaluations of COVID-19 mortality risk in certain custodial settings, there is no available tool to quantify prisoners’ vulnerability and classify them into risk categories. To address this gap and assist custodial staff taking early measures to protect detained persons, the present study collected data from the two largest prisons in Switzerland to develop a screening tool to identify prisoners at increased mortality risk and to classify them in risk categories and to test its validity when compared with national recommendations and clinical evaluation of COVID-19 vulnerability.
Baggio S, Samer C, Agoristas T, Calmy A, Jacquerioz F, Gayet-Ageron A, et al.
From the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, the off-label use of hydroxychloroquine to treat severe COVID-19 has been widely debated.
The very sharp decrease in the average lifespan observed in two regions reflects an unfavourable health situation. The life expectancy at the age of 65 years observed at the end of March 2020 in Ticino corresponded to the average life expectancy observed in Switzerland forty years ago.
Seiler K, Tschan MPP
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20468
Many of the more promising compounds currently investigated in clinical trials are autophagy modulators, thus substantiating the need for an understanding of how coronaviruses interact with and utilise components of the autophagy pathway.
Delaloye JR, Vernez D, Suarez G, de Courten D, Zingg W, Perret V, et al.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2021;151:w20459
The demand for FFP respirators exceeded the supply capacity from established suppliers of the Swiss market. New production and import channels emerged, as did the number of poor-quality FFP respirators. FFP respirators remaining in stocks should be checked for conformity before being used, or eliminated and replaced if quality does not meet standards.
Eberli FR, Kurz D
In this review, findings and debates relating to the diverse aspects of cardiovascular involvement of COVID-19 are summarised and put into perspective. The authors review evidence for the role of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), the risk of pre-existing cardiovascular disease in COVID-19 susceptibility and course, and the mechanism of acute and long-term myocardial injury.
Tessitore E, Meyer P
As of 10 December, 82,127 citations were found in PubMed on COVID-19 and 5285 when “COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease” were used as search words. Many cardiovascular societies have also released statements regarding COVID-19. What have we learned from this incredible scientific excitement?
Vernaz N, Agoritsas T, Calmy A, Gayet-Ageron A, Gold G, Perrier A, Picard F, Prendki V, Reny JL, Samer C, Stirnemann J, Vetter P, Zanella MC, Zekry D, Baggio S
Prescribing experimental therapies for COVID-19 was not associated with a reduced length of hospital stay and might have increased the pressure put on healthcare systems.
Immer F, Benden C, Elmer A, Krügel N, Nyfeler S, Nebiker M, Wilhlem M, Hirzel C, National Committee for Organ Donation (CNDO), Medical Committee (CM) and Swisstransplant Infectious Diseases Working Group (STAI)
Benden C, Haile S, Kruegel N, Beyeler F, Aubert JD, Binet I, Golshayan D, Hadaya K, Mueller T, Parvex P, Immer F
The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on patients listed for solid organ transplantation has not been systematically investigated to date. The authors of this study assessed occurrence and effects of infections with SARS-CoV-2 on patients on the Swiss national waiting list for solid organ transplantation.
Perrin N, Iglesias JF, Rey F, Benzakour L, Cimci M, Noble S, Degrauwe S, Tessitore E, Mach F, Roffi M
Prolonged delays from symptom onset to first medical contact and a decline in overall ACS incidence were observed during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a higher threshold to call for help among ACS patients.
Salathé M, Althaus C, Anderegg N, Antonioli D, Ballouz T, Bugnon E, Čapkun S, Jackson D, Kim SI, Larus J, Low N, Lueks W, Menges D, Moullet C, Payer M, Riou J, Stadler T, Troncoso C, Vayena E, von Wyl V
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20457
Digital contact tracing is an effective complementary tool for controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Continued technical improvement and international compatibility can further increase the efficacy, particularly also across country borders.
Chatzimanolakis M, Weber P, Arampatzis G, Wälchli D, Kičić I, Karnakov P, Papadimitriou C, Koumoutsakos P
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20445
The proposed methodology can lead to vastly less uncertain predictions for the spread of the disease, thus improving estimates of the effective reproduction number and the future number of unreported infections. This information can provide timely and systematic guidance for the effective identification of infectious individuals and for decision-making regarding lockdown measures and the distribution of vaccines.
Haag C, Höglinger M, Moser A, Hämmig O, Puhan M, von Wyl V
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20416
Although many elderly persons continued to follow the recommended preventive measures during the transitional phase between the two pandemic waves, social mixing with younger persons constitutes a way for transmission of infections across age groups. Pandemic containment among all age groups thus remains essential to protect vulnerable populations, including the elderly.
Manríquez Roa T, Biller-Andorno N
The potential role of self-experimentation in the search for a vaccine is in urgent need of further clarification.
Nordmann P, Poirel L, Frey J
Like to the COVID crisis, control of emerging antibiotic resistance genes requires early detection, rapid diagnosis, early intervention and development of novel antimicrobial agents. Epidemiological surveillance at the local level for emerging resistance at the molecular and biochemical levels is required.
Staub K, Rühli F, loris J
Communication is a crucial element in preparedness for and control of health emergencies and includes communication not only with particular stakeholder groups but also with the general public. Both points call for more active science communication and for the active establishment of communication channels between science and authorities at different levels.
Nehme M, Stringhini S, Guessous I, SEROCoV-POP study team
The information from this study is important, especially the differences based on context and the socio-demographic variations, and should be taken into account if COVID-19-related certificates are to be implemented.
Forni R, Besana T, Amitrano A, Voinea C, Ogna A
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20397
The experience presented here, although limited, allows us to draw some important conclusions which may become useful in the current context of increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients needing hospitalisation.
Suter P, Pargger H
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20407
The revised Swiss guidelines bring not only a useful framework for delicate discussions and decisions at the bedside, but hopefully also progress in public awareness of some limits of the best health systems in the world, appearing much faster in a time of scarcity of resources. Based on what we learned from the crisis of this year, several aspects of our and other health systems could benefit from a revision or an update, in line with a recognised truism.
Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20401
Given the development of the pandemic in October, the guidelines issued by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) and the Swiss Society of Intensive Care Medicine (SSICM) needed to be revised and updated in the light of the experience accumulated since March. There has been no change in the guiding principle that uniform criteria for intensive-care unit (ICU) admission and continued occupancy should be applied throughout Switzerland. The present guidelines provide the necessary basis.
Othenin-Girard A, Regamey J, Lamoth F, Horisberger A, Glampedakis E, Epiney JB, et al.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20387
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with SARS-CoV-2 can occur in adults. The clinical presentation can include severe organ damage with features of incomplete or complete Kawasaki disease, including coronary aneurysm, as well as myocarditis-associated cardiogenic shock and also mononeuritis multiplex.
Thiel SL, Weber MC, Risch L, Wohlwend N, Lung T, Hillmann D, et al.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20361
The close collaboration of all relevant stakeholders allowed for the complete workup of all COVID-19 patients nationwide. A multitude of factors led to the early containment of the first wave of the pandemic, with a very low rate of serious outcomes. Antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2 revealed a substantial proportion of undiagnosed COVID-19 cases among close contacts of the patients.
Quanadli SD, Rotzinger DC
It is time to focus on non-COVID-19 patients who have been at least partially overlooked, to avoid a massive increase in the non-COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality.
The most recent statistics from the United States and France highlight an important risk factor for the development of severe forms of COVID-19: obesity. We know the reason for this: obesity generates a chronic asymptomatic inflammatory state that favours an exaggerated inflammatory response of the immune system to the virus, which is the basis of the severe forms of COVID-19.
Hautz WE, Sauter TC, Exadakytlos AK, Krummrey G, Schauber S, Müller M
Barriers to seeking emergency care during the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to higher morbidity and mortality. Healthcare authorities and hospitals must ensure low barriers to treatment and business as usual for patients with chronic or acute on chronic illnesses.
Ashcroft P, Huisman JS, Lehtinen S, Bouman JA, Althaus CL, Regoes RR, Bonhoeffer S
Infectiousness begins significantly earlier than thought, although the proportion of presymptomatic infections remains unchanged. Thus presymptomatic infections are spread over a longer time period before symptom onset than previously thought, which can have significant ramifications for contact tracing efforts.
Karnakov P, Arampatzis G, Kičić I, Wermelinger F, Wälchli D, Papadimitriou C, Koumoutsakos P
The authors present an online tool for the data-driven inference and quantification of uncertainties for the reproduction number, as well as the time points of interventions for 51 European countries. The results quantify the rate of the disease’s spread before and after interventions and provide a metric for the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions in different countries.
von Wyl V, Bonhoeffer S, Bugnion E, Puhan MA, Salathé M, Stadler T, Troncoso C, Vayena E, Low N
It is likely that there is only a limited time window for the optimisation of the proximity tracing app and promotion of substantial population uptake. It will be all the more important that research programmes allow data-driven, evidence-based optimisations, and information for the public about the benefits, harms and costs of proximity tracing apps.
Gregoriano C, Koch D, Haubitz S, Conen A, Fux CA, Mueller B, Bernasconi L, Hammerer-Lercher A, Oberle M, Burgermeister S, Reiter H, Kutz A, Schuetz P
This analysis provides insights into the first consecutively hospitalised patients with confirmed COVID-19 at a Swiss tertiary care hospital during the initial period of the pandemic. Markers of disease progression such as inflammatory markers, markers for shock and impaired respiratory function provided the most prognostic information regarding severe COVID-19 progression in this sample.
Pellaud C, Grandmaison G, Hoa Phong PHT, Baumberger M, Carrel G, Ksouri H, Erard V, Chuard C, Hayoz D, Sridharan G
The authors report the first cohort of Swiss patients hospitalised with COVID-19. Thirty days after onset of the symptoms, 60% had returned home. Among them, 63% still presented symptoms.
Petermann M, Wyler D
The effective reproductive number Rt of COVID-19 is determined indirectly from data that are only incompletely known. Approaches based on reconstructing these data by sampling time lags from suitable distributions introduce noise effects that can result in distorted estimates of Rt. This, in turn, may lead to misleading interpretations of the efficacy of the various measures taken to limit COVID-19 transmission.
Rigamonti E, Salera D, Gheorghiu AC, Fratila C, Gianella P
The importance of differential diagnostics in clinical practice should be a given, especially during times of pandemic. The novel coronavirus infection introduced new guidelines for and approaches to the investigation of immunocompromised patients, so it is especially important not to forget the basis of differential diagnosis, to and adopt a thorough approach when assessing these complex patients.
Researchers in Italy have not only identified new unexpected liaisons between old cytokines and the new coronavirus that open the way to the use in COVID-19 of drugs already approved for other diseases, but they have also provided valuable indications on how to better prepare ourselves to face a possible second wave of infection.
Rosca A, Krones T, Biller-Andorno N
Shared decision making is a key concept in the process of working towards high-quality, patient-centred care for all patient populations. It is relevant not only for current care decisions, but also for advance care planning, and it is needed particularly during times of crisis such as we are seeing currently with COVID-19.
Fontana P, Casini A, Robert-Ebadi H, Glauser F, Righini M, Blondon M
Venous thromboembolism very commonly complicates the clinical course of inpatients with COVID-19, despite thromboprophylaxis. The risk appears highest among critically ill inpatients. Many questions remain unresolved, as delineated by the heterogeneity of national and international guidelines.
Fechner C, Strobel K, Treumann T, Sonderegger B, Azzola A, Fornaro J, Schrading S, Roos JE
The authors describe the first clinical experiences with 55 COVID-19 patients in Central Switzerland. They provide an illustrative and schematic description of typical COVID-19 imaging features and suggest that imaging plays an important role in the clinical work-up of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Çınar HU, İnce Ö, Çelik B, Saltabaş F, Özbek M
The case presented here represents an “incidental” sampling of a lung infected with SARS-CoV-2, as a result of surgery for lung cancer at a time when the lung infection did not produce symptoms. This gave the opportunity to examine the pathology of COVID-19 pneumonia during the incubation period.
Lemaitre JC, Perez-Saez J, Azman AS, Rinaldo A, Fellay J
Current estimates of time-varying R0 in Switzerland well below one are promising. However, as of 24 April 2020, at least 96% of the Swiss population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. These results warrant a cautious relaxation of social distance practices and close monitoring of changes in both the basic and effective reproduction numbers.
Breakey N, Escher R
The authors present the case of a patient who was diagnosed with a pulmonary thrombotic complication during inpatient care for COVID-19. The haemostasis parameters, including increased levels of von Willebrand factor and factor VIII, point towards a relevant involvement of endothelial cells in patients with severe COVID-19.
Vokinger KN, Nittas V, Witt CM, Fabrikant SI, von Wyl V
Building on an existing trustworthiness checklist for digital health applications, the authors searched the literature and developed a framework to guide the assessment of smartphone and web-based applications that aim to contribute to controlling the current epidemic or mitigating its effects.
Nittas V, von Wyl V
Disrupted healthcare systems and the need for physical distancing seem to open a window of opportunity for a broader exposure to telehealth solutions, many of which might have the potential to improve care long after the pandemic passes.
Roth JA, Ballouz T, Kouyos RD, Battegay M
Decisions for or against off-label treatment need to be based on clearly defined selection and treatment criteria, a strong biological rationale, a critical appraisal of prior evidence, and the estimated harm-benefit ratio.
Zhao C, Tepekule B, Criscuolo NG, Wendel Garcia PD, Hilty MP, RISC-19-ICU consortium Investigators in Switzerland, Fumeaux T, Van Boeckel T
In Switzerland, the COVID-19 epidemic is progressively slowing down owing to “social distancing” measures introduced by the Federal Council on 16 March 2020. However, the gradual ease of these measures may initiate a second epidemic wave, the length and intensity of which are difficult to anticipate. The authors introduce icumonitoring.ch, a platform providing hospital-level projections for ICU occupancy.
Scire J, Nadeau S, Vaughan T, Brupbacher G, Fuchs S, Sommer J, Koch KN, Misteli R, Mundorff L, Götz T, Eichenberger T, Quinto C, Savic M, Meienberg A, Burkard T, Mayr M, Meier CA, Widmer A, Kuehl R, Egli A, Hirsch HH, Bassetti S, Nickel CH, Rentsch KS, Kübler W, Bingisser R, Battegay M, Tschudin-Sutter S, Stadler T
The reproductive number in Switzerland was between 1.5 and 2 during the first third of March, and has consistently decreased to around 1. After the announcement of the latest strict measure on 20 March 2020, namely that gatherings of more than five people in public spaces are prohibited, the reproductive number dropped significantly below 1; the authors of this study estimate the reproductive number to be between 0.6 and 0.8 in the first third of April.
Although pre-clinical data are still scarce and results from clinical trials currently underway are awaited, remdesivir has been and is still used in many patients for the treatment of forms of COVID-19 of differing severity, as part of compassionate use or expanded access programmes. Despite these premises, the recent publication in a prestigious journal of the first case-series of COVID-19 patients treated with remdesivir under a compassionate use programme has been welcomed with considerable scepticism, if not open hostility.
Nickel CH, Rueegg M, Pargger H, Bingisser R
Three aspects are of utmost importance: first, determination of frailty status (and not just the patient’s age), second, balancing of benefits and harms while considering the most likely outcome taking comorbidity into account, and third, shared decision-making focusing on the individual’s goals of care.
Intson K, Kumar S, Botta A, Neckles R, Leung C, Jawaid A
A recent open-label study claimed that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin represent promising new options for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2. This re-analysis reveals severe limitations in the methodology of this study, including ambiguous inclusion/exclusion of participant data and inconsistent analysis techniques, and yielded nonsignificant differences between control and treatment groups across any treatment days.
Marando M, Tamburello A
During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic different treatments are being explored and tested, in the absence of official management protocols. Some show initial promise, many have been tried out without sound biological bases. Plasma and H-IVIG of recovered patients are a tried and tested approach that could prove helpful in the short term.
Brandenberger JR, Baauw A, Kruse A, Ritz N
Self-isolation in refugee camps is impossible: you cannot stay at home if you have no home. It is now crucial that the unique needs of the refugee and migrant population are included in the global response to COVID-19.
Conventional coronaviruses have circulated in humans since the mid-1960s. They must be differentiated from the new coronavirus COVID-19.
Canova V, Lederer Schläpfer H, Piso RJ, Droll A, Fenner L, Hoffmann T, Hoffmann M
The current protective measures for healthcare workers, including strict adherence to basic standard hygiene and facemasks, offer considerable protection during short periods of contact with symptomatic COVID-19 cases by diminishing the risk of direct and indirect transmission.
Qanadli SD, Zech CJ, Monnard E, Binkert C, Denys A, Pfammater T
Given the importance of continuum in providing services and exigence of protecting health care professionals during this period, the Swiss Society of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (SSVIR) is releasing guidance for interventional radiologists as preparedness to manage COVID-19 patients, the workflow of non-COVID-19 patients and optimize interactions with other healthcare professionals.
The pathogenesis of COVID-19 is currently believed to proceed via both directly cytotoxic and immune-mediated mechanisms. An additional mechanism facilitating viral cell entry and subsequent damage may involve the so-called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE).
Little is known at the moment about specific immune mechanisms that would work against SARS-CoV-2, although such knowledge is expected to play a vital role. In this context, a particular focus has to be given to the human leucocyte antigen system that governs our adaptive immunity.
Spezzani V, Piunno A, Iselin HU
The findings presented here suggest that the course of COVID-19 is not necessarily ominous in the presence of a compromised immune response and tend to reinforce the emerging therapeutic concepts of a controlled mitigation of the immune cascade following SARS CoV-2 infection.
Casini A, Alberio L, Angelillo-Scherrer A, Fontana P, Gerber B, Graf L, Hegemann I, Korte W, Kremer Hovinga J, Lecompte T, Martinez M, Nagler M, Studt JD, Tsakiris D, Wuillemin W, Asmis L
Based on the available literature and published recommendations from international societies, the Working Party on Hemostasis (Swiss Society of Hematology) has prepared recommendations for pharmacological thromboprophylaxis in COVID-19 patients in the acute setting.
Peloso A, Moeckli B, Oldani G, Triponez F, Toso C
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20241
At first sight, surgery appears to be only peripherally affected by the COVID.19 pandemic. However, the surgical department plays a key role in the response to this crisis. This article aims to provide a blueprint for a general surgery department’s response to this current pandemic crisis and also future events of similar magnitude.
An association between vitamin D level and COVID-19, particularly among senior adults, should be studied.
Gharebaghi R, Heidary F
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20242
Like many other countries around the world, Iran is contending with the COVID-19 epidemic, but with the additional burden of international sanctions on supplies of medicines and medical equipment.
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20230
A set of guidelines concerning ethical, medical and social aspects of triage decisions, as well as of other related problems of the COVID-19 pandemic: In all cases, decisions must be based on sound, transparent and understandable rules.
Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20229
If insufficient resources are available, rationing decisions will become necessary, placing considerable burdens on medical staff. This makes it all the more important that uniform criteria for ICU admission and continued occupancy should be applied throughout Switzerland.
Swiss Society of Intensive Care Medicine
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20227
The Swiss Society of Intensive Care Medicine (SSIM) has elaborated detailed and coherent guidelines defining the criteria for admission to the ICU in situations of bed shortage.
Borasio GD, Gamondi C, Obrist M, Jox R, for the COVID-19 task force of palliative ch
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20233
Due to the current development around the COVID-19 pandemic, palliative ch has created a Task Force to provide recommendations for health professionals on the treatment of palliative care patients in the various settings ‒ inpatient and outpatient.
Kunz R, Minder M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20235
The current pandemic and the publication of the SAMS Guidelines “COVID-19 pandemic: triage for intensive-care treatment under resource scarcity” have prompted the Association for Geriatric Palliative Medicine to prepare these recommendations for practice.
Nickel CH, Bingisser R
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20231
To understand the new and sometimes puzzling clinical presentations emerging in the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to have at hand concepts such as “mimics and chameleons”.
Salathé M, Althaus CL, Neher R, Stringhini S, Hodcroft E, Fellay J, Zwahlen M, Senti G, Battegay M, Wilder-Smith A, Eckerle I, Egger M, Low N
A liberal approach to testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Switzerland is needed as part of the package of control measures.
Neher RA, Dyrdak R, Druelle V, Hodcroft EB, Albert J
The authors explore how seasonal variation in transmissibility could modulate a SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The likely aggregated effect of seasonal variation, infection control measures, and transmission rate variation is a prolonged pandemic wave with lower prevalence at any given time, thereby providing a window of opportunity for better preparation of health care systems.
Bischof E, Chen G, Ferretti MT
The change in diagnostic criteria for COVID-19 diagnosis in Hubei province caused a shift in the numbers of total cases overnight. The aim of this article is to explain the rationale for the choice of the new criteria and the meaning of the new data, from the perspective of the authors based in Shanghai, China, struck by the level of panic and emotional distress in many people that has been generated by the new data.
In this article all publicly available information about the primarily UK/France cluster is consolidated, providing a complete and accessible summary of the cases and their connections.
Battegay M, Kuehl R, Tschudin-Sutter S, Hirsch HH, Widmer AF, Neher RA
It is tempting to estimate the case fatality rate by dividing the number of known deaths by the number of confirmed cases. The resulting number, however, does not represent the true case fatality rate and might be off by orders of magnitude.