Sniffer Dogs May Detect SARS-CoV-2 in Humans, Study Suggests

Researchers at the National Veterinary School in Alfort, France, recently made available an un-refereed pre-print of a proof-of-concept study that suggests that the axillary perspiration (i.e., underarm sweat) of humans infected with SARS-CoV-2 emits an odor that detection dogs can be trained to detect.  The work has not yet been peer-reviewed, but it offers some interesting results.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris partner John Simpson, please visit the Duane Morris Animal Law Developments Blog.

Maryland Governor Announces Three-Stage Plan for Reopening the State

By Robert B. Hopkins, Carla N. Murphy and Allison M. Midei 

On Friday afternoon, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a three-stage plan to reopen the State called “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery,” which will gradually ease the current restrictions on businesses, congregate settings and social interactions. The plan is based on the recovery plans issued by the federal government, the National Governors Association, Johns Hopkins and the American Enterprise Institute. Continue reading “Maryland Governor Announces Three-Stage Plan for Reopening the State”

EEOC: Employers Can Screen for COVID-19

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its guidance on April 23 on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and coronavirus, explaining that employers may screen employees for COVID-19. Any mandatory medical test must be job-related and consistent with business necessity, the EEOC explained. […]

Questions about testing are “increasingly on the minds of employers,” said Christopher Durham, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia. […]

In an April 17 update to the same guidance, the EEOC clarified what constitutes an undue hardship preventing an employer from reasonably accommodating an individual with a disability in a pandemic. The agency stated that “it may be significantly more difficult in this pandemic to conduct a needs assessment or to acquire certain items, and delivery may be impacted, particularly for employees who may be telecommuting.” […]

The factors impacting what constitutes an undue hardship are going to be motivated by a vastly different operational and financial reality for some businesses than was the case prior to the pandemic, said Linda Hollinshead, an attorney with Duane Morris in Philadelphia.

To read the full text of the article, including further commentary by Mr. Durham and Ms. Hollinshead, please visit the SHRM website.

What Companies Are Looking for Before You Can Come Back to Work

At some point, the biggest American companies are going to tell their employees it’s time to leave home and return to work.

That decision will be fraught with risk without widespread testing for the COVID-19 virus. For some industries, such as Wall Street banks, ubiquitous testing is essential to bringing back their workforce to offices around the globe. For other industries, such as automakers, plans are already being made to open factories as early as May.

The tension between getting up and running as soon as possible versus taking chances with the health of employees is both a moral and a legal quandry. Employers have a relatively low legal risk, but a high reputational one, if they rush people back to the office, said Jonathan Segal, an employment attorney at law firm Duane Morris who specializes in human resources and minimizing companies’ legal and business risks.

To read more of Mr. Segal’s comments, please visit the firm website. To read the full text of the article, please visit the CNBC website.

FDA Virtual Town Hall for Laboratories and Manufacturers Developing Diagnostics Tests for COVID-19

FDA is hosting a virtual town hall April 1, 2020, at 12:15 p.m. Eastern for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers developing diagnostic tests for the COVID-19 virus. FDA intends to help answer technical questions about validation and development of tests and FDA’s recently issued Guidance from March 16, 2020 outlining FDA policy for development of diagnostic tests during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  FDA will host subsequent virtual town halls for clinical laboratories and commercial manufacturers each Wednesday of April at 12:15 p.m. Eastern. Registration not required. Details to join the call are available on the event page.

For additional information, please contact Dana J. AshFrederick R. BallPatrick C. Gallagher, Ph.D.Jonathan LourieVicki G. Norton, Ph.D., or Sandra G. Stoneman of Duane Morris’ LIfe Sciences Industry Group.

COVID-19 Prompting Significant Action by State and Federal Prison Authorities

This past week, federal and state correctional facilities across the country have confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19 infections among inmates and staff.  New York City’s primary jail, Riker’s Island, currently has the most confirmed cases, with 52 inmates and 30 employees testing positive.  As this blog and other outlets have reported, crowded conditions, limited access to healthcare, and a high-risk population mean those incarcerated are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

To read the full text of this post by Duane Morris attorney Jovalin Dedaj, please visit the Duane Morris White-Collar Criminal Law Blog.