Montana nursing home sued for negligence in COVID-19 deaths

Montana nursing home sued for negligence in COVID-19 deaths

  • October 22, 2020

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A long-term care facility in Montana has been sued after health officials said its staff was negligent and allowed the coronavirus to spread through the facility in Whitefish earlier this year.

The Missoulian reported that the lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the estates of three residents at Whitefish Care and Rehabilitation who died from complications caused by COVID-19.

The lawsuit argued that at least 13 people died at the facility.

The county had 23 coronavirus-related deaths.

The lawsuit named the 100-bed long-term care facility and its administrator Reid Crickmore.

Crickmore did not respond to email or phone messages on Wednesday seeking comment.

 

CCMB-incubated Hyderabad startup supplement claims to boost immunity against Covid-19

CCMB-incubated Hyderabad startup supplement claims to boost immunity against Covid-19

  • October 22, 2020

A startup incubated at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad has developed ‘CoronAid’ a novel nutraceutical claimed to boost immunity against Covid-19.

The food supplement is made from a mushroom type, Cordyceps militaris, which grows in the Himalayan region and is known for immune boosting and anti-oxidant components.

Read | Risk of catching Covid-19 on flights low, not zero: WHO

Clone Deals, a start-up incubated at the Atal Incubation Centre-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (AIC-CCMB), has collaborated with another Hyderabad-based company, Ambrosia Food Company, to develop a combination of the mushroom powder with curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, to make CoronAid Anti-Viral Immunity Booster Oral Suspension, a statement from CCMB said on Thursday.

Cordycepin in the mushroom powder is known to prevent the formation of new DNA and RNA strands.

Also Read | What we know so far about how Covid-19 affects the nervous system

Clone Deals has collaborated with scientists from CCMB to establish the potency of cordycepin in stopping the growth of the Covid-19-causing coronavirus in a cell-culture system. The studies show that cordycepin inhibits the multiplication of coronavirus.

Clone Deals has expertise in large-scale production of the mushroom in a controlled environment for its medicinal use. Currently, the team has obtained the FSSAI approval for marketing and submitted proposals to the government of India for conducting clinical trials at three All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Bhopal, to establish the safety of their formulation, the CCMB said.

With satisfactory results of the clinical trials, the product is expected to be available from December 2020 in most cities and towns, adding considerable protection against the virus.

“We are delighted to  support a start-up focused on developing indigenous natural products and adding value by establishing its scientific basis,”   Dr Rakesh Mishra, director CCMB said.

TN stands first in country in attracting foreign investments in 2020 : CM

Clone Deals launches ‘CoronAid’ to boost immunity against COVID-19

  • October 22, 2020
More News

22 Oct 2020 | 5:06 PM

Thoothukudi, Oct 22 (UNI) Vilathikulam police in this district on Thursday registered cases against two MLAs belonging to the ruling AIADMK and opposition DMK, besides 600 cadres of both parties in connection with a scuffle over hoisting party flag.

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22 Oct 2020 | 5:02 PM

Hyderabad, Oct 22 (UNI) In a record breaking feat on South Central Railway (SCR), the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) has completed and commissioned doubling of 69 kms Railway line between Uppaluru-Gudivada-Moturu and Gudivada-Machilipatnam sections in Andhra Pradesh, on Thursday.

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22 Oct 2020 | 4:53 PM

Puducherry, Oct 22 (UNI) Former Lok Sabha member from Puducherry Prof M.Ramadass on Thursday urged Lt.Governor Kiran Bedi and Chief Minister V Narayanasamy to take steps to hold the local body election in the Union Territory.

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22 Oct 2020 | 4:28 PM

Visakhapatnam, Oct 22 (UNI) The Indigenously built INS Kavaratti (P31), an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under Project 28 (Kamorta Class) was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane at a ceremony held at Naval Dockyard here on Thursday.

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TN stands first in country in attracting foreign investments in 2020 : CM22 Oct 2020 | 4:24 PM

Pudukottai, Oct 22 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday said the state stood first in the country in attracting foreign investments in 2020.

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Why you can’t escape the flu and COVID-19 just by ‘boosting’ your immunity

  • October 20, 2020

Article content continued

“Even the effectiveness of multivitamins is disputable because they contain a lot of things you don’t actually need,” Lager says. “If you need to supplement something because you aren’t getting it in your diet, then take the actual supplement you need rather than a multivitamin.”

Taking excessive amounts of vitamins and minerals can also be pointless and sometimes harmful.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

“Vitamin C deficiency in North America is extremely rare and because it’s water soluble, taking excessive amounts of it just means it will be excreted in your urine,” Cross says. “While Zinc has shown to have some beneficial properties, taking too much of it will cause deficiencies in other trace minerals, so you should really only be doing that based on a doctor’s recommendation.”

The one exception to the rule is vitamin D, where deficiencies in this protein are linked to an increased risk of infection. The problem is, not many foods are rich in vitamin D, which means taking this supplement is recommended — at the appropriate dose, of course.

Cross also says she takes an omega-3 supplement because she doesn’t get enough of it in her daily diet.

“Remember that if there was one supplement that truly optimized your immune system, then it wouldn’t be available only via multi-level marketing or in health food stores — it would be properly regulated,” Langer says.

At the end of the day, living a healthy lifestyle — a balanced diet, exercise and lots of sleep — is what will give you the best chance of keeping the flu and other illnesses at bay.

Can Supplements Help Fight COVID-19? Here’s What We Know

Can Supplements Help Fight COVID-19? Here’s What We Know

  • October 19, 2020

By Laura Beil

Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream “This supplement could save you from coronavirus.


It also helps to have celebrity enthusiasts. When President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, his pill arsenal included Vitamin D and zinc. And in an Instagram chat with actress Jennifer Garner in September, infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci touted vitamins C and D as ways that might generally boost the immune system. “If you’re deficient in vitamin D,” he noted, “that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.”

But whether over-the-counter supplements can actually prevent, or even treat, COVID-19, is not clear. Since the disease is so new, researchers haven’t had much time for the kind of large experiments that provide the best answers. Instead, scientists have mostly relied on fresh takes on old data. Some studies have looked at outcomes of patients who routinely take certain supplements — and found some promising hints. But so far there’s little data from the kinds of scientifically rigorous experiments that give doctors confidence when recommending supplements.

Here’s what we know today about three supplements getting plenty of attention around COVID-19.

Vitamin D

What it is: Called “the sunshine vitamin” because the body makes it naturally in the presence of ultraviolet light, Vitamin D is one of the most heavily studied supplements (SN: 1/27/19). Certain foods, including fish and fortified milk products, are also high in the vitamin.

Why it might help: Vitamin D is a hormone building block that helps strengthen the immune system.

How it works for other infections: In 2017, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis that suggested a daily vitamin D supplement might help prevent respiratory infections, particularly in people who are deficient in the vitamin.

But one key word here is deficient. That risk is highest during dark winters at high latitudes and among people with more color in their skin (melanin, a pigment that’s higher in darker skin, inhibits the production of vitamin D).

“If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn’t stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference,” says Susan Lanham-New, head of the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Surrey in England.

And taking too much can create new health problems, stressing certain internal organs and leading to a dangerously high calcium buildup in the blood. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 to 800 International Units per day, and the upper limit is considered to be 4,000 IUs per day.

What we know about Vitamin D and COVID-19: Few studies have looked directly at whether vitamin D makes a difference in COVID.

In May, in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, Lanham-New and her colleagues published a summary of existing evidence and concluded that there’s only enough to recommend vitamin D to help with COVID-19 prevention for people who are deficient. That paper made inferences from how vitamin D works against other respiratory tract infections and immune health.

More than a dozen studies are now testing vitamin D directly for prevention and treatment, including a large one led by JoAnn Manson, a leading expert on vitamin D. An epidemiologist and preventive medicine physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. That study will analyze if vitamin D can affect the course of a COVID-19 infection. The trial aims to recruit 2,700 people across the United States with newly diagnosed infections, along with their close household contacts.

The goal is to determine whether newly diagnosed people given high doses of vitamin D — 3,200 IU per day — are less likely than people who get a placebo to experience severe symptoms and need hospitalization. “The biological plausibility for a benefit in COVID is compelling,” she says, given the nutrient’s theoretical ability to impede the severe inflammatory reaction that can follow coronavirus infection. “However the evidence is not conclusive at this time.”

Zinc

What it is: Zinc, a mineral found in cells all over the body, is found naturally in certain meats, beans and oysters.

Why it might help: It plays several supportive roles in the immune system, which is why zinc lozenges are always hot sellers in cold and flu season. Zinc also helps with cell division and growth.

How it works for other infections: Studies of using zinc for colds — which are frequently caused by coronaviruses — suggest that using a supplement right after symptoms start might make them go away quicker. That said, a clinical trial from researchers in Finland and the United Kingdom, published in January in BMJ Open did not find any value for zinc lozenges for the treatment of colds. Some researchers have theorized that inconsistencies in data for colds may be explained by varying amounts of zinc released in different lozenges.

What we know about zinc and COVID-19: The mineral is promising enough that it was added to some early studies of hydroxychloroquine, a drug tested early in the pandemic. (Studies have since shown that hydroxychloroquine can’t prevent or treat COVID-19 (SN: 8/2/20).)

In July, researchers from Aachen University in Germany wrote in Frontiers of Immunology that current evidence “strongly suggests great benefits of zinc supplementation” based on looking at similar infections including SARS, another disease caused by a coronavirus. For example, studies suggest that giving zinc reduces the risk for death from a pneumonia infection. The researchers cite evidence that zinc might help prevent the virus from entering the body, and help slow the virus’s replication when it does.

Another review — also based on indirect evidence — published August 1 in Advances in Integrative Medicine also concluded that zinc might be helpful in people who are deficient.

In September, researchers from Hospital Del Marin Barcelona reported that among 249 patients studied, those who survived COVID had higher zinc levels in their plasma (an average of 63.1 mcg/dl) than those who died (43mcg/dl).

Overall, though, the jury is still out, says Suma Thomas, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who in June led a team that reviewed the evidence for popular supplements in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Given what’s already known, zinc could possibly decrease the duration of infection but not the severity of symptoms, she said, particularly among people who are deficient. About a dozen studies are now looking at zinc for COVID treatment, often with other drugs or supplements.

Thomas and her colleagues are comparing symptom severity and future hospitalization in COVID-19 patients who take zinc with and without high doses of vitamin C with those who receive ordinary care without the supplement. Results are expected soon, she says.

Vitamin C

What it is: Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C has a long list of roles in the body. It’s found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, peppers and tomatoes.

Why it might help: It’s a potent antioxidant that’s important for a healthy immune system and preventing inflammation.

How it works for other infections: Thomas cautions that the data on vitamin C are often contradictory. One review from Chinese researchers, published in February in the Journal of Medical Virology, looked at what is already known about vitamin C and other supplements that might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Among other encouraging signs, human studies find a lower incidence of pneumonia among people taking vitamin C, “suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions.”

But for preventing colds, a 2013 Cochrane review of 29 studies didn’t support the idea that vitamin C supplements could help in the general population. However, the authors wrote, given that vitamin C is cheap and safe, “it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial.”

What we know about Vitamin C and COVID-19: About a dozen studies are under way or planned to examine whether vitamin C added to coronavirus treatment helps with symptoms or survival, including Thomas’ study at the Cleveland Clinic.

In a review published online in July in Nutrition, researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium concluded that the vitamin may help prevent infection and tamp down the dangerous inflammatory reaction that can cause severe symptoms, based on what is known about how the nutrient works in the body.

Melissa Badowski, a pharmacist who specializes in viral infections at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy and colleague Sarah Michienzi published an extensive look at all supplements that might be useful in the coronavirus epidemic. There’s still not enough evidence to know whether they are helpful, the pair concluded in July in Drugs in Context. “It’s not really clear if it’s going to benefit patients,” Badowski says.

And while supplements are generally safe, she adds that nothing is risk free. The best way to avoid infection, she says, is still to follow the advice of epidemiologists and public health experts: “Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart.”

This story was originally published by Science News, a nonprofit independent news organization.

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What can vitamin D and zinc do to fight COVID-19?

What can vitamin D and zinc do to fight COVID-19?

  • October 16, 2020

Several recent studies have looked at the impact of vitamin D and zinc on COVID-19.

One study of 489 people found that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for the virus.

Another study found that of 50 people with COVID-19 in the hospital, only one needed ICU treatment after being given high doses of vitamin D.

By this point, we’ve all seen patients in the hospital receive these supplements.

The most notable, President Trump, received a mixture of vitamin D and zinc along with a number of other experimental drugs.

Does it work?

According to the National Institutes of Health, because of the suspected benefits, availability and cheap cost, they’d like to find something this simple can cure or prevent coronavirus, but the truth is, it’s not proven yet.

Registered dietitian Erin Gussler explains the possible benefits, “They can help the immune system identify pathogens in the body, so helping the immune system recognize the virus in the body and they also are part of the immune system and the mechanism that blocks the viruses from being able to get into the cells.”

How much vitamin D do I need?

Unfortunately, between working inside and wearing sunscreen, Americans generally don’t soak up enough sun to produce vitamin D.

“You can find it naturally in liver, egg yolks, butter, oily fish,” Gussler said.

Ask your doctor for a blood test to determine how much vitamin D you may need with an over-the-counter pill. Gussler said needs can vary from 1,00 IUs to 50,000 IUs.

Should I take zinc?

“Research is really supporting that zinc supplementation does reduce the severity, the frequency and the duration of the common cold,” Gussler said. “Obviously the research isn’t quite out there on COVID but we can extrapolate that it does have a lot of immune benefits.”

If you’re sick, you may notice a boost of zinc can help you feel better. Both zinc and vitamin D are the main ingredients in many over-the-counter cold medicines.

If you’re not sick, Gussler recommends only taking zinc through a multi-vitamin, typically not large amounts by itself.

“Zinc and copper compete for the same receptor site in the body,” Gussler said. “So, if you do a lot of zinc and not supplementing copper and making sure you’re getting enough copper, you can actually create a copper deficiency which can cause anemia for some people.”

There are some zinc tablets that also contain copper, which you can ask your doctor if that’s a good option for you.

The foods which contain Zinc also contain copper, which naturally helps to balance each other: Meat, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.

Isn’t vitamin D deficiency common in the US?

It sure is!

Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common among Hispanic and black people, two groups who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Vitamin D deficiency is also more common in people who are older, and those who are obese or have high blood pressure. Again, these factors also increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

Here’s what we know about using supplements to fight COVID-19

Here’s what we know about using supplements to fight COVID-19

  • October 16, 2020

Consumers have long turned to vitamins and herbs to try to protect themselves from disease. This pandemic is no different — especially with headlines that scream “This supplement could save you from coronavirus.”

It also helps to have celebrity enthusiasts. When President Donald Trump was diagnosed with COVID-19, his pill arsenal included Vitamin D and zinc. And in an Instagram chat with actress Jennifer Garner in September, infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci touted vitamins C and D as ways that might generally boost the immune system. “If you’re deficient in vitamin D,” he noted, “that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.”

But whether over-the-counter supplements can actually prevent, or even treat, COVID-19, is not clear. Since the disease is so new, researchers haven’t had much time for the kind of large experiments that provide the best answers. Instead, scientists have mostly relied on fresh takes on old data. Some studies have looked at outcomes of patients who routinely take certain supplements — and found some promising hints. But so far there’s little data from the kinds of scientifically rigorous experiments that give doctors confidence when recommending supplements.

Here’s what we know today about three supplements getting plenty of attention around COVID-19.

Vitamin D

What it is: Called “the sunshine vitamin” because the body makes it naturally in the presence of ultraviolet light, Vitamin D is one of the most heavily studied supplements (SN: 1/27/19). Certain foods, including fish and fortified milk products, are also high in the vitamin. 

Why it might help: Vitamin D is a hormone building block that helps strengthen the immune system.

How it works for other infections: In 2017, the British Medical Journal published a meta-analysis that suggested a daily vitamin D supplement might help prevent respiratory infections, particularly in people who are deficient in the vitamin.

But one key word here is deficient. That risk is highest during dark winters at high latitudes and among people with more color in their skin (melanin, a pigment that’s higher in darker skin, inhibits the production of vitamin D).

“If you have enough vitamin D in your body, the evidence doesn’t stack up to say that giving you more will make a real difference,” says Susan Lanham-New, head of the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Surrey in England.

And taking too much can create new health problems, stressing certain internal organs and leading to a dangerously high calcium buildup in the blood. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 to 800 International Units per day, and the upper limit is considered to be 4,000 IUs per day.

What we know about Vitamin D and COVID-19: Few studies have looked directly at whether vitamin D makes a difference in COVID.

In May, in the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, Lanham-New and her colleagues published a summary of existing evidence and concluded that there’s only enough to recommend vitamin D to help with COVID-19 prevention for people who are deficient. That paper made inferences from how vitamin D works against other respiratory tract infections and immune health.

More than a dozen studies are now testing vitamin D directly for prevention and treatment, including a large one led by JoAnn Manson, a leading expert on vitamin D. An epidemiologist and preventive medicine physician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. That study will analyze if vitamin D can affect the course of a COVID-19 infection. The trial aims to recruit 2,700 people across the United States with newly diagnosed infections, along with their close household contacts.

The goal is to determine whether newly diagnosed people given high doses of vitamin D — 3,200 IU per day — are less likely than people who get a placebo to experience severe symptoms and need hospitalization. “The biological plausibility for a benefit in COVID is compelling,” she says, given the nutrient’s theoretical ability to impede the severe inflammatory reaction that can follow coronavirus infection. “However the evidence is not conclusive at this time.”

Zinc

What it is: Zinc, a mineral found in cells all over the body, is found naturally in certain meats, beans and oysters.

Why it might help: It plays several supportive roles in the immune system, which is why zinc lozenges are always hot sellers in cold and flu season. Zinc also helps with cell division and growth.

How it works for other infections:  Studies of using zinc for colds — which are frequently caused by coronaviruses — suggest that using a supplement right after symptoms start might make them go away quicker. That said, a clinical trial from researchers in Finland and the United Kingdom, published in January in BMJ Open did not find any value for zinc lozenges for the treatment of colds. Some researchers have theorized that inconsistences in data for colds may be explained by varying amounts of zinc released in different lozenges.

What we know about zinc and COVID-19: The mineral is promising enough that it was added to some early studies of hydroxychloroquine, a drug tested early in the pandemic. (Studies have since shown that hydroxychloroquine can’t prevent or treat COVID-19 (SN: 8/2/20).)

In July, researchers from Aachen University in Germany wrote in Frontiers of Immunology that current evidence “strongly suggests great benefits of zinc supplementation” based on looking at similar infections including SARS, another disease caused by a coronavirus. For example, studies suggest that giving zinc reduces the risk for death from a pneumonia infection. The researchers cite evidence that zinc might help prevent the virus from entering the body, and help slow the virus’s replication when it does.

Another review — also based on indirect evidence — published August 1 in Advances in Integrative Medicine also concluded that zinc might be helpful in people who are deficient.

In September, researchers from Hospital Del Marin Barcelona reported that among 249 patients studied, those who survived COVID had higher zinc levels in their plasma (an average of 63.1 mcg/dl) than those who died (43mcg/dl).

Overall, though, the jury is still out, says Suma Thomas, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who in June led a team that reviewed the evidence for popular supplements in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. Given what’s already known, zinc could possibly decrease the duration of infection but not the severity of symptoms, she said, particularly among people who are deficient. About a dozen studies are now looking at zinc for COVID treatment, often with other drugs or supplements.

Thomas and her colleagues are comparing symptom severity and future hospitalization in COVID-19 patients who take zinc with and without high doses of vitamin C with those who receive ordinary care without the supplement. Results are expected soon, she says.

Vitamin C

What it is: Also called L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C has a long list of roles in the body. It’s found naturally in fruits and vegetables, especially citrus, peppers and tomatoes.

Why it might help: It’s a potent antioxidant that’s important for a healthy immune system and preventing inflammation.

How it works for other infections: Thomas cautions that the data on vitamin C are often contradictory. One review from Chinese researchers, published in February in the Journal of Medical Virology, looked at what is already known about vitamin C and other supplements that might have a role in COVID-19 treatment. Among other encouraging signs, human studies find a lower incidence of pneumonia among people taking vitamin C, “suggesting that vitamin C might prevent the susceptibility to lower respiratory tract infections under certain conditions.”

But for preventing colds, a 2013 Cochrane review of 29 studies didn’t support the idea that vitamin C supplements could help in the general population. However, the authors wrote, given that vitamin C is cheap and safe, “it may be worthwhile for common cold patients to test on an individual basis whether therapeutic vitamin C is beneficial.”

What we know about Vitamin C and COVID-19: About a dozen studies are under way or planned to examine whether vitamin C added to coronavirus treatment helps with symptoms or survival, including Thomas’ study at the Cleveland Clinic.

In a review published online in July in Nutrition, researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium concluded that the vitamin may help prevent infection and tamp down the dangerous inflammatory reaction that can cause severe symptoms, based on what is known about how the nutrient works in the body.

Melissa Badowski, a pharmacist who specializes in viral infections at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy and colleague Sarah Michienzi published an extensive look at all supplements that might be useful in the coronavirus epidemic. There’s still not enough evidence to know whether they are helpful, the pair concluded in July in Drugs in Context. “It’s not really clear if it’s going to benefit patients,” Badowski says.

And while supplements are generally safe, she adds that nothing is risk free. The best way to avoid infection, she says, is still to follow the advice of epidemiologists and public health experts: “Wash your hands, wear a mask, stay six feet apart.”

Bonn Group launches ''immunity-boosting'' herb and seeds bread

Chinese COVID-19 vaccine candidate shows promise in human trial: Study

  • October 16, 2020
Beijing, Oct 16 (PTI) One of China”s leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates, called BBIBP-CorV, was shown to be safe and elicited immune response in a small early-phase human trial, researchers said on Friday.

A previous clinical trial reported similar results for a different vaccine that is also based on inactivated whole SARS-CoV-2 virus, but in that study the vaccine was only tested in people aged under 60 years.

The latest study, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, included participants aged between 18 and 80 years, and found that antibody responses were induced in all recipients.

Participants aged 60 and over were slower to respond, taking 42 days before antibodies were detected in all recipients compared with 28 days for participants aged 18-59, the researchers said.

Antibody levels were also lower in those aged 60-80 years compared with those aged 18-59, they said.

The BBIBP-CorV vaccine used in the study is based on a sample of the virus that was isolated from a patient in China.

Stocks of the virus were grown in the lab using cell lines and then inactivated using a chemical called beta-proprionolactone.

BBIBP-CorV includes the killed virus mixed with another component, aluminium hydroxide, which is called an adjuvant because it is known to boost immune responses.

The trial was not designed to assess efficacy of the vaccine, so it is not possible to say whether the antibody responses induced by the vaccine, called BBIBP-CorV, are sufficient to protect from SARS-CoV-2 infection, according to the researchers.

“Protecting older people is a key aim of a successful COVID-19 vaccine as this age group is at greater risk of severe illness from the disease,” said Professor Xiaoming Yang, one of the authors of the study, from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products Company Limited.

“However, vaccines are sometimes less effective in this group because the immune system weakens with age. It is therefore encouraging to see that BBIBP-CorV induces antibody responses in people aged 60 and older, and we believe this justifies further investigation,” said Yang.

There are currently 42 vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials, the researchers noted.

These vary in type and include DNA plasmid vaccines, inactivated virus vaccines, adenovirus-vectored vaccines, RNA vaccines, protein subunit vaccines and virus-like particle vaccines, they said.

Some of these have already been shown to be safe and to elicit immune responses in early phase clinical trials.

The first phase of the study involved 96 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 59 years and a second group of 96 participants aged between 60 years and 80 years.

Within each group, the vaccine was tested at three different dose levels, with two vaccinations administered on day 0 and 28.

A fourth group within each age group were given two doses of a placebo vaccine.

In the second phase of the study, 448 participants aged between 18 and 59 years were randomly assigned to receive either one 8 microgramme shot of vaccine or placebo, or two shots of 4 microgramme vaccine or placebo.

No serious adverse events were reported within 28 days of the final vaccination, and the most common side effect was pain at the injection site, the researchers said.

There were no instances of clinically significant changes in organ functions detected in laboratory tests in any of the groups, they said.

The greatest antibody responses were elicited by two 4 microgramme doses of the vaccine at either days 0 and 21 or 0 and 28, according to the resaerchers.

“Our findings indicate that a booster shot is necessary to achieve the greatest antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 and could be important for protection. This provides useful information for a phase 3 trial,” Yang said.

The researchers noted some limitations with the study, including the short duration of follow up at just 42 days.

They also highlighted that the study did not include children and adolescents aged under 18.

” More studies are needed to establish whether the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are capable of inducing and maintaining virus-specific T-cell responses,” said Professor Larisa Rudenko from the Institute of Experimental Medicine, Russia, who was not involved in the study.

This is because CD4-positive T-cell help is important for optimal antibody responses, as well as for cytotoxic CD8-positive T-cell activation, which, in turn, are crucial for viral clearance if neutralising antibody-mediated protection is incomplete, Rudenko said. PTI SAR
SAR



Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI


More from Outlook Magazine

Everything You Need to Know About Herd Immunity And COVID-19

Everything You Need to Know About Herd Immunity And COVID-19

  • October 15, 2020

Q&A

Experts weigh in on the often misconstrued form of resistance to the spread of infectious disease and explain why it might not be the best way to bring the COVID-19 pandemic to an end.


herd immunity

Demonstrators protested Governor Wolf’s shutdown orders in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on May 15th. Photograph by Nicholas Kamm

As COVID-19 infections continue to rise, nearly everyone is seeking answers as to what might bring the pandemic to an end. One popular theory is that if enough people get infected with the virus it will go away on its own. This theory, known as herd immunity, has recently been pushed by the Trump administration. In response, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci called the approach “total nonsense.”

To help us get a better grip on what exactly herd immunity is and what it can and cannot do in the face of a global pandemic, we turned to Michael LeVasseur, visiting assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health, and Thomas Fekete, chair of the Department of Medicine at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine. Below, they explain what it truly means to achieve herd immunity and what it might take to get there.

NextHealth PHL: What is herd immunity?
Fekete: What herd immunity means is that, when you go out into the world, you will not acquire a disease because it’s not there to acquire. You will be protected, even if you are potentially at risk, because no one else will be able to convey it to you. So what that means is that your chance of getting ill is really tiny or zero because the illness is not circulating in your community because everyone has either been protected because they previously acquired the disease, they’ve been immunized, or that the disease just burned itself out. When so few people are being infected, over six months or a year or two years, a disease burns out because there are not enough new people getting it to pass it along.

But if I put on my epidemiologist hat and say, currently, every person with COVID on average infects 1.3 new people, but in six months, each person will only infect 0.7 new people, you could say that change from 1.3 to 0.7 is the result of herd immunity, meaning there are just fewer people to be infected because more people have already been infected. It doesn’t mean no one is getting infected, it just means that your risk would be lower.

LeVasseur: Right, and we can’t really talk about herd immunity until we talk about what immunity means. And I think that there are some popular understandings of what immunity means as well. Most people think that once you’re exposed to a virus, you can’t get it again because your immune system has a memory of it and you’re good. But it depends on the pathogen, and in a lot of ways, it depends on the original immune response that occurs. There may be some people who don’t have a durable immune response and by durable, I mean a long-lasting, effective immune response.

Can you give me an example of a situation where a person might not have a durable immune response?
LeVasseur: So, for example, with chickenpox, when I was growing up, you got exposed to chickenpox as a child and then you were immune for it the rest of your life. But when I was a child, I had a very mild case of chickenpox and it gave me immunity for a certain period of time. But then when I turned 16, I was exposed to chickenpox again by my little cousin and I got a really bad case of it. So, I’ve had chickenpox twice. So, it’s not always a guarantee.

And how does this apply to COVID-19?
LeVasseur: There are a lot of questions about the immune response as it pertains to COVID-19. We are seeing cases of people who had an infection early on, for example, in March, who no longer have antibodies to it. So, I have a friend in New York who had an infection in late March and he just got tested again for antibodies last week and didn’t have anywhere what he did a month ago. So how long that antibody response lasts is a question mark. In the event that there is lifelong immunity after exposure to this virus, then we can talk about herd immunity and we can say that after a certain number of people become infected, the chances that any infected person are going to come in contact with a susceptible person are low because you’ll have fewer people who are susceptible to the infection. So, by random chance alone, people are unlikely to get infected, and that’s the idea behind herd immunity.

I’m guessing part of the misconception about herd immunity is due to the fact that it appears so many people — over 7.9 million people in the U.S. — have already been infected. Are these numbers deceiving or being taken out of context?
Fekete: Even though 7.9 million people have gotten it, that still leaves at least 300 million other people that haven’t gotten it. So, that’s not super encouraging. I think it’s a big number, and we know it’s probably an underestimate because not everyone got tested. But I do think that people are naïve if they believe that we’re anywhere near herd immunity because plenty of people are still getting it. That’s the proof that we’re not there yet.

So, should we even be discussing herd immunity at this point in the pandemic?
LeVasseur: No, we shouldn’t. Because there’s a lot of reasons to believe that there isn’t going to be lifelong immunity to COVID-19. We’re already seeing cases of reinfection. How common are those? It’s still unclear. But when we look at the other viruses that circulate naturally — that we’d normally call the common cold — there’s an immune response that lasts somewhere between four months and two years, depending on the person.  So, you do see these seasonal patterns between all these different types of coronaviruses that I sort of expect this virus to follow, just because they’re similar viruses. But there are a lot of reasons why this infection is different from what we call the common cold. So, maybe because there is a stronger immune response, there will be a more long-lasting immunity, but there are so many questions that we don’t have the answer to yet. And to rely on something like herd immunity as some sort of public health measure that we just don’t have the information on, I think it’s way too soon to be doing that. I think we’ll wind up doing more harm than good.

One path to herd immunity is just having enough people get infected naturally; the other is this path of developing a vaccine and getting as many people to take it as possible. Can a vaccine help us reach herd immunity?
LeVasseur: With a vaccine, you aim to actually boost the immune response, so you have long-lasting, more durable immunity. So, one of the things that we’ll be looking at when this vaccine comes out is not just the strength of the immune response, but also how long it lasts. The problem is we will have no idea how long it lasts until that amount of time has passed. So, if the vaccine lasts for two years, we’ll have no idea that it only lasts two years until two years have passed.

Which path to herd immunity is most likely to be achieved soonest?
LeVasseur: Well, if you look at some of the estimates out of New York City, which was obviously hit the hardest so far in America, they’re only estimating that about 23 percent of the population had an infection. So, to achieve any kind of herd immunity, it would have to be somewhere around 70 percent. So, we’re not even there in the hardest-hit parts of the country. So, imagine what it would take; imagine what our hospitals and our healthcare systems would look like. It would be a nightmare.

And then with a vaccine, considering the fact that it’s not likely to be 100 percent effective, it’s also unlikely that just because you get the vaccine that you are absolutely going to be protected from the virus. It’s possible that you will have a milder infection, but you can still pass that on to other people. So, we’d need to make sure that more than 70 percent of the population is vaccinated. And what’s the likelihood of that in America? There’s so much anti-vaccine sentiment here that even getting to 50 percent, I think, is going to be a big struggle.

New COVID-19 Antibody Trial Underway at University of Minnesota

New COVID-19 Antibody Trial Underway at University of Minnesota

  • October 15, 2020

(TNS) – The University of Minnesota is leading recruitment for a federally funded COVID-19 trial to find out if purified virus-fighting antibodies from as many as 10 donors can effectively treat one severe case of the infectious disease.

 

The trial is an extension of the plasma therapies that have received federal emergency use authorization to treat COVID-19 but with uneven results because antibody levels vary in the plasma donated by people who have recovered from the disease.

 

“If you’re a lucky person to get enough of the antibodies in the plasma infusion you receive, it may work,” said James Neaton, who directs the U’s INSIGHT network that will enroll patients worldwide for the new trial. “But a very high percentage of the plasma infusions that were done had levels that did not seem to achieve the benefit that you would like.”

 

The study treatment is called anti-coronavirus hyperimmune intravenous immunoglobulin, or hIVIG, and is being developed for the trial through a partnership of four pharmaceutical companies.

 

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIAD) formally launched the trial last week, seeking 500 patients through the U’s recruitment. Half will receive hIVIG and the remainder will receive a placebo saline solution for comparison. All patients must be hospitalized and also receive remdesivir, an approved antiviral drug for COVID-19.

 

NAIAD’s director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said in a statement that the treatment will hopefully “give the immune system a needed boost to suppress SARS-CoV-2 early in the course of illness, nipping the infection in the bud.”

 

Better oxygen management and two proven drugs have reduced COVID-19 mortality and the average length of hospital stays, but there is still pressure to come up with improved treatments in the absence of a vaccine and amid a new wave of infections.

 

The Minnesota Department of Health on Wednesday reported a total of more than 115,000 infections with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and 2,180 deaths. The total included 29 deaths newly reported Wednesday, the highest single-day total since June 4.

 

The 487 Minnesotans admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 in the seven-day period ending Oct. 11 was the highest total since the first peak of the pandemic in May.

 

“There’s a lot of pressure to find treatments particularly for hospitalized patients,” Neaton said. “We feel that pressure. It’s taken longer to get this trial going actually because of the difficulty of getting enough plasma and enough treatments to begin the study.”

 

Antibody therapies have been hot topics of late, spurred by President Donald Trump’s claim last week that an experimental antibody cocktail made by Regeneron was a “cure” for his recent COVID-19 illness.

 

A synthetic antibody therapy made by Eli Lilly is part of a federally funded COVID-19 trial that paused its recruiting on Tuesday because of unspecified safety concerns found by the data safety and monitoring board that is overseeing it.

 

The U’s INSIGHT also was leading recruiting of hospitalized patients for that trial based on its track record of success in enrolling patients for studies of drugs to fight other infections such as influenza and HIV.

 

Pauses in trials are common as enrollees’ health issues are evaluated to determine if they are due to the experimental therapies they received.

 

“It could be that everything will be just fine and things will resume in two weeks,” Neaton said. “If not, then we’ll be able to see some data that currently we’re not privy to see” to explain what went wrong.

 

Intravenous immunoglobulin infusions are already used to treat infections such as cytomegalovirus, but nonetheless present risks for COVID-19 patients, Neaton said.

 

The goal is to use a purified and measurable dosage of antibodies from multiple donors and to give it to patients early enough to stop the virus from wreaking havoc in the lungs and other organs. However, many COVID-19 deaths are not due to the virus, but rather the overreaction by the human immune system to infection.

 

Neaton said the study will assess whether the hIVIG avoids or exacerbates that immune system response.

 

“That is a potential risk of therapies like this,” he said.

 

Four enrollees have already joined the study, which will recruit at more than 50 sites worldwide — including at HCMC and the Minneapolis VA Medical Center.

 

Minnesota has been antibody central when it comes to the study of COVID-19 diagnostics and therapies. The U and Mayo Clinic were among the first in the nation to develop and deploy highly accurate tests for COVID-19 antibodies — proteins produced in response to infection with the coronavirus.

 

Mayo coordinated a national expanded access program in which donor plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients was administered to newly infected patients. Enrollment halted in August after the program gained more than 105,000 participants and provided enough evidence to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorization for the therapy.

 

Mayo researchers are now conducting a methodical review of the recipients and their outcomes over time to assess the effectiveness of the single-donor plasma therapies, said Dr. R. Scott Wright, who coordinated the national program. Initial data to the FDA had suggested plasma reduced COVID-19 mortality, but conclusions were hampered by the lack of a control group who received standard care for comparison.

 

“We are honored to have been a part of this and humbled by the response from so many patients and hospitals,” Wright said.

 

Neaton said the U-led network hopes to have recruited enough hospitalized COVID-19 patients in December. Analysis after that will determine if antibodies refined from multiple plasma donors were more effective than from single donors.

 

Neaton noted that the U had led a prior study of intravenous immunoglobulin against seasonal influenza, but it failed to show a benefit. There had been some evidence it worked against illnesses caused by B strains of influenza, and the U was preparing a follow-up study earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged and the research agenda changed.

 

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744

 

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©2020 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

 

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