Ivermectin treatment in humans for COVID-19

Press release:

Researchers from the CEOsys project(link is external) collaborated with the LSTM-based Cochrane Infectious Disease Group (CIDG(link is external)) to carry out a systematic review, published today in the Cochrane Library(link is external), to explore the effects of ivermectin in preventing and treating COVID-19 infection.

The review authors included 14 randomized controlled trials with 1678 participants. Treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 patients was investigated in 13 studies comparing ivermectin with placebo or with no treatment in addition to comparable usual care in the study arms. Only one study investigated prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection and compared ivermectin to no treatment. The review looked at the effects of ivermectin on the number of deaths, whether the patient’s condition worsened or improved, and unwanted effects.

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Merck and Ridgeback’s Investigational Oral Antiviral Molnupiravir Reduced the Risk of Hospitalization or Death by Approximately 50 Percent Compared to Placebo for Patients with Mild or Moderate COVID-19 in Positive Interim Analysis of Phase 3 Study

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KENILWORTH, N.J. & MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics today announced that molnupiravir (MK-4482, EIDD-2801), an investigational oral antiviral medicine, significantly reduced the risk of hospitalization or death at a planned interim analysis of the Phase 3 MOVe-OUT trial in at risk, non-hospitalized adult patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. At the interim analysis, molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50%; 7.3% of patients who received molnupiravir were either hospitalized or died through Day 29 following randomization (28/385), compared with 14.1% of placebo-treated patients (53/377); p=0.0012. Through Day 29, no deaths were reported in patients who received molnupiravir, as compared to 8 deaths in patients who received placebo. At the recommendation of an independent Data Monitoring Committee and in consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recruitment into the study is being stopped early due to these positive results. Merck plans to submit an application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to the U.S. FDA as soon as possible based on these findings and plans to submit marketing applications to other regulatory bodies worldwide.

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No serious health effects linked to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

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Federal and Kaiser Permanente researchers combing the health records of 6.2 million patients found no serious health effects that could be linked to the 2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

The study published September 2 in JAMA reports the first comprehensive findings of the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), which studies patient records for 12 million people in 5 Kaiser Permanente service regions along with HealthPartners in Minneapolis, the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and Denver Health. The work is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“These results from our safety surveillance are reassuring,” said lead author Nicola Klein, MD, PhD, director of the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center and principal investigator of the Vaccine Safety Datalink’s COVID-19 rapid cycle analysis.

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One shot of the Sputnik V vaccine triggers strong antibody responses

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A single dose of the Sputnik V vaccine may elicit significant antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2, finds a study published July 13 in the journal Cell Reports Medicine.

“Due to limited vaccine supply and uneven vaccine distribution in many regions of the world, health authorities urgently need data on the immune response to vaccines to optimize vaccination strategies,” says senior author Andrea Gamarnik (@GamarnikLab) of the Fundación Instituto Leloir-CONICET in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “The peer-reviewed data we present provide information for guiding public health decisions in light of the current global health emergency.”

Past research has shown that two doses of Sputnik V results in 92% efficacy against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by SARS-CoV-2. An important question is whether a single dose would achieve greater public health benefit than two doses by allowing protection of a larger population more quickly.

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Blood clots related to AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine can be mitigated with early detection

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New research has shown that early testing for blood clots in patients who had received the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine led to them being treated successfully, highlighting the need for heightened awareness of the risk among doctors.

The work, led by researchers from RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences and the National Coagulation Centre at St James’s Hospital, is published in the British Journal of Haematology.

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Long COVID symptoms likely caused by Epstein-Barr virus reactivation

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Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation resulting from the inflammatory response to coronavirus infection may be the cause of previously unexplained long COVID symptoms — such as fatigue, brain fog, and rashes — that occur in approximately 30% of patients after recovery from initial COVID-19 infection. The first evidence linking EBV reactivation to long COVID, as well as an analysis of long COVID prevalence, is outlined in a new long COVID study published in the journal Pathogens.

“We ran EBV antibody tests on recovered COVID-19 patients, comparing EBV reactivation rates of those with long COVID symptoms to those without long COVID symptoms,” said lead study author Jeffrey E. Gold of World Organization. “The majority of those with long COVID symptoms were positive for EBV reactivation, yet only 10% of controls indicated reactivation.”

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COVID-19 reinfection rate less than 1% for those with severe illness

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A review of more than 9,000 U.S. patients with severe COVID-19 infection showed less than 1% contracted the illness again, with an average reinfection time of 3.5 months after an initial positive test. Those are the findings from a study conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care.

The researchers teamed up with the MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics and the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation to review data from 62 U.S. health care facilities. They found 63 of the 9,119 patients (0.7%) with severe COVID-19 infection contracted the virus a second time, with a mean reinfection period of 116 days. Of the 63 who were reinfected, two (3.2%) died. Patients categorized as non-white were at greater risk of reinfection than white patients.

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Vitamin D may not protect against COVID-19, as previously suggested

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While previous research early in the pandemic suggested that vitamin D cuts the risk of contracting COVID-19, a new study from McGill University finds there is no genetic evidence that the vitamin works as a protective measure against the coronavirus.

“Vitamin D supplementation as a public health measure to improve outcomes is not supported by this study. Most importantly, our results suggest that investment in other therapeutic or preventative avenues should be prioritized for COVID-19 randomized clinical trials,” say the authors.

To assess the relationship between vitamin D levels and COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, the researchers conducted a Mendelian randomization study using genetic variants strongly associated with increased vitamin D levels. They looked at genetic variants of 14,134 individuals with COVID-19 and over 1.2 million individuals without the disease from 11 countries.

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Researchers uncover mechanism related to severe post-COVID-19 disease in children

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A multidisciplinary team from MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), Brigham and Women’s Hospital and other institutions have identified the mechanism of how an extremely rare but serious post-COVID-19 complication develops in children and adolescents. Led by MGHfC pediatric pulmonologist Lael Yonker, MD, researchers determined that viral particles remaining in the gut long after an initial COVID-19 infection can travel into the bloodstream, instigating the condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).

The syndrome can occur several weeks after an initial infection; symptoms include high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and extreme fatigue. The hyperinflammatory response and “cytokine storm” seen in MIS-C can lead to extensive damage in the heart, liver and other organs.

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Direct-acting antiviral to treat COVID-19

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An international team of scientists from the Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ) at Griffith University and from City of Hope, a research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases in the U.S., have developed an experimental direct-acting antiviral therapy to treat COVID-19.

Traditional antivirals reduce symptoms and help people recover earlier. Examples include Tamiflu®, zanamivir and remdesivir.

This next-generation antiviral approach used gene-silencing RNA technology called siRNA (small-interfering RNA) to attack the virus’ genome directly, which stops the virus from replicating, as well as lipid nanoparticles designed at Griffith University and City of Hope to deliver the siRNA to the lungs, the critical site of infection.

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