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

Press release:

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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Direct-acting antiviral to treat COVID-19

Press release:

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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Why is COVID-19 so hard to treat? Growing evidence points to unique infectious profile

Press release:

A comprehensive review into what we know about COVID-19 and the way it functions suggests the virus has a unique infectious profile, which explains why it can be so hard to treat and why some people experience so-called “long-COVID”, struggling with significant health issues months after infection.

There is growing evidence that the virus infects both the upper and lower respiratory tracts – unlike “low pathogenic” human coronavirus sub-species, which typically settle in the upper respiratory tract and cause cold-like symptoms, or “high pathogenic” viruses such as those that cause SARS and ARDS, which typically settle in the lower respiratory tract.

Additionally, more frequent multi-organ impacts, and blood clots, and an unusual immune-inflammatory response not commonly associated with other, similar viruses, mean that COVID-19 has evolved a uniquely challenging set of characteristics.

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Aspirin use may decrease ventilation, ICU admission and death in COVID-19 patients

George Washington University researchers found low dose aspirin may reduce the need for mechanical ventilation, ICU admission and in-hospital mortality in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Final results indicating the lung protective effects of aspirin were published today in Anesthesia & Analgesia.

“As we learned about the connection between blood clots and COVID-19, we knew that aspirin – used to prevent stroke and heart attack – could be important for COVID-19 patients,” Jonathan Chow, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and director of the Critical Care Anesthesiology Fellowship at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said. “Our research found an association between low dose aspirin and decreased severity of COVID-19 and death.”

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New trial finds arthritis drug no better than standard care for severe covid-19

Adding the arthritis drug tocilizumab to standard care for patients in hospital with severe or critical covid-19 is no better than standard care alone in improving clinical outcomes at 15 days, finds a new trial published by The BMJ today.

There was an increased number of deaths at 15 days in patients receiving tocilizumab, resulting in the trial being stopped early.

Today’s results contradict earlier observational studies suggesting a benefit of tocilizumab. However, observational effects are limited by a high risk that they may be due to other unknown (confounding) factors – and some studies have not yet been peer reviewed or published in a medical journal.

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Smoking associated with increased risk of COVID-19 symptoms

Press release:

Smoking is associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 symptoms and smokers are more likely to attend hospital than non-smokers, a study has found.

The study published today in Thorax, by researchers from King’s College London, investigates the association between smoking and the severity of the COVID-19.

Researchers analysed data from the ZOE COVID Symptom Study App. Of the participants of the app, 11% were smokers. This is a lower proportion than the overall UK population of 14.7%, however, it reflects the demographics of the self-selected sample of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study.

While more than a third of users reported not feeling physically well during the period of study (24th March and April 2020), current smokers were 14% more likely to develop the classic triad of symptoms suggesting diagnosis of COVID-19: fever, persistent cough and shortness of breath – compared to non-smokers.

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New virtual screening strategy identifies existing drug that inhibits Covid-19 virus

Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (pink) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (green), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

Press Release:

A novel computational drug screening strategy combined with lab experiments suggest that pralatrexate, a chemotherapy medication originally developed to treat lymphoma, could potentially be repurposed to treat Covid-19. Haiping Zhang of the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology in Shenzhen, China, and colleagues present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS Computational Biology.

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing illness and death worldwide, better treatments are urgently needed. One shortcut could be to repurpose existing drugs that were originally developed to treat other conditions. Computational methods can help identify such drugs by simulating how different drugs would interact with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

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New clinical trial to test whether structured exercise benefits ‘long Covid’ patients

Researchers at the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust in the UK to investigate whether a tailored online exercise and support programme would benefit those experiencing long-term symptoms of Covid-19

Press Release:

  • One of the first clinical trials to investigate treatment for the long-term symptoms of Covid-19 to be led by University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
  • Researchers are to pioneer a tailored and supervised online exercise and support programme for those experiencing what has been dubbed ‘long Covid’
  • Previous research on similar diseases such as SARS has shown some benefit of exercise rehabilitation for patients

Researchers at the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust in the UK are to investigate whether a tailored online exercise and support programme would benefit those experiencing long-term symptoms of Covid-19 – what has been dubbed ‘long Covid’.

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Baricitinib plus Remdesivir shows promise for treating COVID-19

This colorized transmission electron micrograph shows a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle, isolated from a patient.

Press release:

The combination of baricitinib, an anti-inflammatory drug, and remdesivir, an antiviral, reduced time to recovery for people hospitalized with COVID-19, according to clinical trial results published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The clinical trial is the second iteration of the NIH Adaptive COVID-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT-2), a study protocol to evaluate therapeutics for people hospitalized with COVID-19. Remdesivir is a broad-spectrum antiviral treatment developed by Gilead Sciences, Inc. Baricitinib was discovered by Incyte and licensed to Eli Lilly and Company, and marketed under the brand name Olumiant. It is approved in more than 70 countries as a treatment for adults with moderately-to-severely active rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers hypothesized that because many severe symptoms of COVID-19 are caused by a poorly regulated inflammatory response, a therapeutic designed to target inflammation could be helpful for patients. The primary results of this study were first announced in September.

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