Some supplements might be able to help prevent illness, but doctors say patients should do research

Some supplements might be able to help prevent illness, but doctors say patients should do research

  • January 19, 2021

“People are at a heightened level of anxiety because of COVID,” she said. “But, you should be careful what you spend your money on.”

Certain foods also may help prevent illness, Wilkerson Riddiford said. Pumpkin seeds, for instance, have a high amount of zinc, which is known to help boost the immune system, she said.

The most beneficial thing people can do to prevent falling ill is to wash their hands, get plenty of sleep and abide by COVID-19 recommendations such as wearing masks in public and keeping a safe distance, said Dr. Seuli Brill, a pediatrician and internal medicine doctor at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

While Brill said there’s some benefit to taking vitamins and supplements, they also can cause problems.

St. John’s Wort, which has been used to treat a variety of conditions including poor sleep or appetite, can interfere with antidepressants, Brill said. Another supplement called Ginkgo biloba, which is used sometimes used by people with dizziness or memory loss, can cause an upset stomach or skin irritation.

Although supplements aren’t drugs, patients should treat them similarly, Brill said. Anyone looking to try a new vitamin or supplement for any reason should first talk to their doctor, Brill said.

Brill said she’s had patients who all of a sudden start having some unusual health problems.

“There’s absolutely danger in that,” Brill said. “I’ve definitely had patients with lab abnormalities, liver enzymes and things being off, and it turns out that patient is taking a supplement.”

Red Cross Issues Call for More Blood Plasma to Treat COVID-19 Patients - Consumer Health News

Red Cross Issues Call for More Blood Plasma to Treat COVID-19 Patients – Consumer Health News

  • January 7, 2021

THURSDAY, Jan. 7, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The American Red Cross is urging COVID-19 survivors to donate blood plasma for hospital patients who need it to recover.

As an incentive to help boost the national convalescent plasma shortage, the Red Cross has teamed up with the National Football League and is offering donors a chance to win two tickets to next year’s Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. The Red Cross is especially asking those who have recovered from COVID-19 to give blood because more donors are needed to help hospital patients.

People can schedule an appointment to give blood by visiting redcrossblood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.

“While winter is historically a challenging time to collect blood due to the holidays and inclement weather, this year, COVID-19 has added a new challenge,” Pampee Young, M.D., chief medical officer of the American Red Cross, said in a news release. “Last month, the Red Cross distributed the greatest number of convalescent plasma products than any other month during the pandemic. With hospital distributions for this product increasing about 250 percent since October, it is vital that those who have recovered from COVID-19 donate blood or plasma so that we can continue to treat those critically ill with the virus.”

COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to make a difference in the lives of COVID-19 patients, according to the Red Cross. People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have antibodies in their plasma that could give a patient’s immune system the boost it needs to beat the virus.

More Information

Red Cross Calls for Blood Plasma for COVID Patients

Red Cross Calls for Blood Plasma for COVID Patients

  • January 6, 2021

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter


WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The American Red Cross is urging COVID-19 survivors to donate blood plasma for hospital patients who need it to recover.

As an incentive to help boost the national convalescent plasma shortage, the Red Cross has teamed up with the National Football League and is offering donors a chance to win two tickets to next year’s Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles.

The Red Cross is especially asking those who have recovered from COVID-19 to give blood because more donors are needed to help hospital patients.

Those who donate between Jan. 1 and 20 will be automatically entered to win the “Big Game at Home” package for viewing at home, with a 65-inch television and a $500 gift card.

People can schedule an appointment to give blood by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or activating the Blood Scheduling Skill for Amazon Alexa.

“While winter is historically a challenging time to collect blood due to the holidays and inclement weather, this year, COVID-19 has added a new challenge,” Dr. Pampee Young, chief medical officer of the American Red Cross, said in a news release.

“Last month, the Red Cross distributed the greatest number of convalescent plasma products than any other month during the pandemic. With hospital distributions for this product increasing about 250% since October, it is vital that those who have recovered from COVID-19 donate blood or plasma so that we can continue to treat those critically ill with the virus,” Young added.

COVID-19 survivors have a unique ability to make a difference in the lives of COVID-19 patients, according to the Red Cross. People who have recovered from COVID-19 may have antibodies in their plasma that could give a patient’s immune system the boost it needs to beat the virus.


More information

For more on donating blood, head to the American Red Cross.


SOURCE: American Red Cross, news release, Jan. 5, 2021



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PPE art brings a smile to Moscow's COVID patients

PPE art brings a smile to Moscow’s COVID patients

  • December 23, 2020

Volunteer Leonid Krasner poses for a photo outside the City Clinical Hospital No. 52 treating COVID-19 patients in Moscow, Russia December 10, 2020. Leonid Krasner, aged 59, draws cheerful pictures on his personal protective equipment (PPE) and wears such suits and masks in the red zone of a Moscow hospital while taking care of people suffering from the coronavirus disease to support and cheer them up during this challenging time. Picture taken December 10, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – With medics and helpers covered in masks, medical glasses and protective suits, it is sometimes hard to convey festive cheer to the patients on Moscow’s COVID-19 wards.

But Leonid Krasner, who has been volunteering at a hospital since the first wave, has found a way with the colourful pictures he draws on the back of his overalls to help patients recognise him and bring a smile to those being treated.

Krasner, 59, decorates his single-use suits before entering the wards every time he is in the hospital. He once drew a cartoonish plane for a sick pilot and a congratulations card for a mother on Mother’s Day.

“This is to boost your mood and your immune system,” he told an old lady with an oxygen mask, charmed by the Christmas tree daubed on his back.

During the outbreak’s second wave, Moscow has registered around 6,000-7,000 new infections every day, about a quarter of Russia’s nationwide caseload, and it has had to open several temporary hospitals, including one on an ice rink.

Krasner and some of his fellow volunteers are tasked with looking after the weak patients discharged from intensive care units to regular wards. They help them with every day things like combing their hair, brushing their teeth and shaving.

A former businessman, Krasner was one of dozens of Muscovites with no prior medical experience who volunteered to help at coronavirus hospital number 52 in spring when the outbreak hit the Russian capital.

He ended up catching the virus himself shortly after his first shifts and it took him two weeks to recover at home before he could get back to his patients.

“Even if a person is in a bad way and is sick, they still need emotions … This cheers people up,” said Krasner outside a ward where he had been massaging the legs of a recovering patient.

Editing by Tom Balmforth and Alison Williams

New combo therapy reduces pain, enhances immunity of arthritis patients

New combo therapy reduces pain, enhances immunity of arthritis patients

  • December 9, 2020

A research team said Wednesday that the combined use of lactobacillus acidophilus LA-1 (L. acido), vitamin B complex, and curcumin has suppressed joint pain and boost immunity.


Researchers, led by Professors Park Sung-hwan and Cho Mi-ra at the Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine and Yang Chul-woo of the Department of Nephrology at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, set up two groups using animal models and administered the three drugs and rheumatoid arthritis therapy celecoxib.


From left, Professors Park Sung-hwan and Cho Mi-ra at the Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine Rheumatism Research Center and Yang Chul-woo of the Department of Nephrology at Seoul St. Mary's Hospital
From left, Professors Park Sung-hwan and Cho Mi-ra at the Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine Rheumatism Research Center and Yang Chul-woo of the Department of Nephrology at Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital


They found that pain control, cartilage protection, and anti-inflammatory activity significantly improved in the combo therapy group.


The expression of cytokines, such as interleukin 1 beta (IL-1B) and 17 (IL-17), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha decreased (TNF-a), fell in the triple-drug group. Cytokines induce inflammation of joint tissues and act as a major cause of cartilage destruction.


Animal subjects administered with L. acido, vitamin B complex, and curcumin also showed an ideal immune regulation of inhibiting IL-17 production while inducing regulatory T cells (Treg) expression.


The increased regulatory T cell expression results in more production of IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine, and balance out the immunity system.


The chance of bacterial infection has increased in patients with immunity disorders as they often receive long-term immunosuppressants. However, the research team discovered an optimal combination of drugs enhances immunity while treating rheumatoid arthritis.


“The complex functions of the vitamin B complex, curcumin, and L. acido help restore immune function through anti-aging, mitochondrial function preservation, and immunity regulation,” Professor Cho said. “Taking these three drugs would be effective in preventing various senile immune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.”


The research, “Combination treatment with Lactobacillus acidophilus LA-1, vitamin B, and curcumin ameliorates the progression of osteoarthritis by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory mediators,” was published in the November issue of Immunology Letters.

10 Tips for Cancer Patients for a Holiday Immune System Boost - Mesothelioma Center

10 Tips for Cancer Patients for a Holiday Immune System Boost – Mesothelioma Center

  • December 8, 2020
plant-based foods

The holidays are an exciting time filled with family, friends and delicious foods. With extra shopping, gatherings and the current COVID-19 pandemic to think about, they can also be very stressful.

When our immune systems are weakened our bodies become more susceptible to illness. Avoiding all viruses and sources of stress are particularly important for those with mesothelioma.

If you are receiving treatment at this time it is vital to stay as healthy as possible. The following tips will give you some ways to do just that.

1. Eat More Plant-Based Foods

Plant-based foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes. They are loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals.

Such compounds give these foods their taste, color and smell. Don’t forget to add some herbs and spices to the mix for an extra boost of nature’s bodyguards.

2. Vitamin D

Exposure to sunlight has been used for centuries to treat diseases. However, it wasn’t known until modern day that vitamin D is what gives the sun its protective effect.

Our bodies make vitamin D through the sunlight we receive, but for most of us, it is not enough to generate a sufficient amount.

Recent studies show that people with lower levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to infections. A simple test through your physician will determine if you require a supplement.

3. Sleep

During busy or stressful times, sleep can often be disrupted. This may be intentional (parties or gatherings) or it could be unintentional (staying awake with worry and anxiety from treatment).

We have all heard that sleep is important for wellness, but studies have actually proven that prolonged lack of sleep can affect our immune systems.

To help maintain good sleeping habits, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same times each day. Keeping to a routine during this time also helps to minimize stress.

If you are invited to gatherings, limit the number of late nights each week to perhaps no more than one, bearing in mind that social distancing is of paramount importance for those with mesothelioma.

4. Meditation

If times seem stressful, meditation can be a great way to calm the mind and divert some of the “busyness” that can often be going on in our brains.

Meditation can take on different forms, from something as simple as listening to classical music to partaking in a mindful meditation program. Apps such as Headspace provide free sessions that you can try out to see if you enjoy the tranquility that they aim to provide.

For others, though, something as simple as reading poems, holy scripts or praying are ways to calm the mind and reduce the stress that can seem overwhelming.

5. Limit Social Activities

With the current pandemic, limiting exposure to people is highly recommended. With the winter season in full swing, other viruses are at play too, and caution should be taken when out and about.

During the holiday season you may receive invitations to parties and shopping trips as well as dinner out. Some socializing with immediate family may be just what you need, but it’s also perfectly OK to say, “No thank you.”

It may feel like you are being antisocial or rude, but you are in charge of looking after yourself. Limiting activities outside of your home is one of the best ways to keep a healthy immune system.

6. Drink Up

The winter months generally don’t leave us feeling very thirsty, but staying hydrated is extremely important to staying healthy, especially if you are receiving treatment.

Dehydration can cause low energy levels, low blood pressure and a delay in treatment if you get too dehydrated.

Drink plenty of water and other caffeine-free and alcohol-free beverages. Add a splash of lemon or lime or use ginger and turmeric to add some immune-boosting foods to your drink. Sports drinks, sherbet and soups can also be used.

7. Exercise

Being active has always been recommended for maintaining good health because it helps control excess body weight, builds muscle and reduces inflammation.

Most recently, studies have determined that exercise can help strengthen the immune system and provide protection against COVID-19.

Any type of exercise is beneficial, from walking to running to dancing. If you are feeling fatigued, exercise can actually help boost energy levels. Try 10 minutes of walking every day and work your way up to 30 minutes at least five days a week.

Swimming, cycling and strength training are also great ways to get your heart rate going and keep those joints limber. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise program to ensure safety. If you are feeling sick or running a fever, don’t exercise on those days.

8. Wash Hands Often and Wear a Mask

People with mesothelioma are at increased risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Because this virus is spread through droplets in the air, wearing a mask when around other people is imperative.

Recommendations include washing hands frequently, especially before eating, before touching your face and after leaving a public place. If you cannot wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

For more information on COVID-19 and other viruses, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 facts page.

9. Food Safety

Holiday parties often involve buffets where food is left out for long periods of time. If your immune system is compromised due to mesothelioma, you need to be particularly careful of certain foods.

Avoid raw or uncooked meat, fish and eggs. Try to eat your meal within 30 minutes of the food being put out and avoid eating food that has been sitting out longer than two hours.

If you are undergoing chemotherapy and your white blood cell counts are low, your medical team will advise you to avoid social interactions until your counts return to normal.

For more information about food safety and other nutrition questions, visit the nutrition section of our website and request a free nutrition guide to mesothelioma.

10. Avoid Alcohol

Current recommendations for general cancer prevention include limiting alcohol intake to no more than two drinks for men and one drink for women per day.

Alcohol reduces our body’s immunity and its ability to fight diseases, so we want to watch how much we drink this holiday season.

If you feel like drinking an alcoholic beverage, limit yourself to the above recommendations. Drink slowly and follow your drink with something non-alcoholic like an unsweetened iced tea or sparkling water.

Just remember, the holidays can be a fun time when everything is enjoyed in moderation.

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Immune-Boosting Drug Shows Promise in Patients With Aggressive Multiple Myeloma

Immune-Boosting Drug Shows Promise in Patients With Aggressive Multiple Myeloma

  • December 7, 2020

A subcutaneous injection of the immune-boosting drug teclistamab was found to be safe and elicit responses in a majority of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, according to findings from a multi-institutional phase I study being presented by Alfred L. Garfall, MD, an assistant professor of Medicine in the division of Hematology-Oncology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, at the annual American Society of Hematology & Exposition Meeting on Dec. 5 (abstract #180).

Of 22 patients treated with the injection dose of teclistamab, who were also chosen for the phase II study, 74 percent experienced a partial response or better.

Teclistamab is a bispecific antibody that activates T cells to attack multiple myeloma cells expressing BCMA, or B cell maturation antigen. These updated results from the phase I show, for the first time, the safety and efficacy of the more convenient injection form of the drug — which was previously reported to be safe and elicit responses when administered intravenously in May 2020.

“These are exciting results for multiple myeloma patients,” Garfall said. “To have a single, subcutaneous-injectable drug that is effective in patients whose disease had become resistant to so many prior therapies, is well tolerated, and often yields long-lasting responses is a promising achievement.”

Patients who received both the injection (n=65) and infusion (n=84) experienced side effects commonly associated with immune-boosting drugs. Grade 1-2 cytokine release syndrome occurred in 54 percent and 57 percent of patients with intravenous and subcutaneous dosing, respectively, and typically occurred one to two days after the drugs were administered. Other side effects included anemia (55 percent), neutropenia (57 percent), thrombocytopenia (40 percent), and leukopenia (28 percent). Side effects, the authors reported, significantly subsided after the first two weeks. All events were considered within a manageable safety profile.

The overall response rate among the 68 patients treated with the most active intravenous and subcutaneous doses was 69 percent, including 59 percent with very good partial responses or better and 26 percent with complete responses or better.

Penn serves as the leading participant in the global study, enrolling more than 35 patients out of the 149 participants for the trial.

The results offer up promise for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma patients, who tend to have poor prognoses once they’ve exhausted other treatment avenues, with a median overall survival of about eight months.

Among 47 patients who responded to teclistamab at the most active dose levels, 94 percent remain on teclistamab after a median follow-up 6.5 months, with some ongoing responses up to 21 months in duration.

“Teclistamab takes a similar approach to cellular therapies, which genetically engineer a patient’s T cells to find and destroy cancer cells,” Garfall said. “Except, this is jumpstarting the immune system with a single, off-the-shelf drug that takes 15 minutes to administer, in contrast to cellular therapies that take several weeks to manufacture for each patient.”

Reference:
Garfall AL, Usmani SZ, Mateos MV, et al. Abstract 180: Updated phase 1 results of teclistamab, a b-cell maturation antigen (BCMA) x CD3 bispecific antibody, in relapsed and/or refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). 62nd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition. https://ash.confex.com/ash/2020/webprogram/Paper138831.html

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.


Study: COVID-19: is there a role for immunonutrition, particularly in the over 65s?  Image Credit: Ekaterina Markelova / Shutterstock

Immunonutrition may improve COVID-19 patients’ recovery

  • November 27, 2020

Researchers duo Emma Derbyshire and Joanne Delange from the Nutritional Insight, Surrey, United Kingdom, explore the role of immunonutrition – nutrition that boosts or influences the immune system for those over 65 years of age in COVID-19. Their study titled, “COVID-19: is there a role for immunonutrition, particularly in the over 65s?,” was released in the latest issue of the BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health.

Study: COVID-19: is there a role for immunonutrition, particularly in the over 65s?  Image Credit: Ekaterina Markelova / Shutterstock

Background

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), since its emergence in late December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, has infected over 60 million people worldwide, with over 1.43 million succumbing to severe COVID-19 disease. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic on the 11th of March this year, and since then, the pandemic remains one of the most significant public health problems in recent human memory.

Public health strategies to prevent the spread of this highly infective virus include social distancing, prevention of gatherings, wearing masks, and hand hygiene. The focus has not been on the immune system and foods that could help boost the immune system, write the researchers.

This review attempted to gather the present evidence in favor of immune-nutrition or nutrition and diet that helps boost the immune system, especially among the elderly who are more susceptible to the SARS CoV-2 infection and its complications.

The researchers call immunonutrition a form of prevention of disease or “prehabilitation,” which could help the “body to cope with potentially lethal viruses such as coronavirus.”

Prehabilitation

The researchers explain that the definition of prehabilitation in scientific literature says these are “interventions that can help improve patient’s health in advanced of being exposed to a physiological stressor, so they are then better able to cope with that stress.”

Nutrition and disease

The researchers say that there is ample evidence that poor nutrition, protein-energy malnutrition as well as deficiencies of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals are part of “related lifestyle factors” which can contribute to a suboptimally functioning immune system.

Certain components of the diet, including fruit, vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics, are termed as immunonutrition that could help boost immunity and have a possible role in “resisting respiratory viruses and diseases,” write the researchers.

SARS CoV-2 and immune system

The COVID-19 pandemic raging around the world is caused by the SARS-CoV-2, which is part of the coronavirus family. At present, there are no safe and effective treatments against this virus nor vaccines to prevent infection. SARS-CoV-2, in some vulnerable individuals, especially the elderly, may lead to atypical viral pneumonia. Some may even need oxygen or artificial ventilation and ICU care. Elderly with other health problems such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc., may have a greater risk of developing complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), leading to multiple organ failure and even deaths.

The immune system has four components – T cells, B cells, the complement system, and phagocytes. There are two arms of the immune system – innate and adaptive immunity. These protect the body against infections. A healthy diet and nutrition boost the immune system.

The team writes that Professor Philip Calder, an expert on immune nutrition, says in his paper, “Feeding the Immune System,” that the immune system functions by acting as a barrier against incoming infections.

Age and immune system

With age, the immune function declines. This is called ‘immunosenescence.’ Both innate and acquired immune systems decline with age. The reasons for this decline include:

  • Reducing functions of the T cells due to involution of the thymus gland and also reduced production of new naïve T cells
  • “Inflammaging” or inflammation associated with aging processes
  • Poor nutritional status associated with age. There is typically micronutrient deficiencies seen in the elderly
  • Menopause and andropause can also contribute to nutritional deficiencies

Immunonutrition and COVID-19

Some of the main findings from the scientific literature search by the researchers were:

  • A healthy immune system requires vitamins A, D, C, E, B6, B12, folate, copper, iron, zinc, and selenium. There is an interplay of these nutrients in a healthy immune system
  • Immunonutrients of considerable importance are vitamin C, D, and zinc.
  • Vitamin C helps in the development of the epithelial barrier functions of the respiratory system that prevents invasion by pathogens. It can help prevent pneumonia.
  • Vitamin D is a powerful immunoregulator. B and T lymphocytes, macrophages, and monocytes are some of the immune cells that have vitamin D receptors on their surface. Vitamin D has a protective role in respiratory infections
  • Authors write, “Zinc is regarded as a ‘gatekeeper’ of immune function.”

Recommendations

The researchers wrote, “The general public and indeed the aging population should be encouraged to follow guidance from Public Health England and continue taking supplements containing 10 μg of vitamin D daily…”. They recommend foods rich in vitamin C (broccoli (60 mg/100 g), blackcurrants (130 mg/100 g), fortified breakfast cereals (up to 134 mg/100 g) and oranges (37–52 mg/100 g). They recommend foods rich in natural zinc such as “canned crab (5.7 mg/100 g), canned shrimps (3.7 mg/100 g), canned adzuki beans (≈2.3 mg/100 g) and boiled eggs (1.3 mg/100 g)”. The recommendations are for vitamin D supplementation with an upper limit of 50 µg/day and an upper limit of daily zinc at 25 mg/day.

Future directions

There is a dearth of studies that examine the effects of immune nutrients on “vulnerable groups such as those aged >65, with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, and heart disease, or who are immunosuppressed”.

The research duo feels that public health strategies should also focus on immunonutrition as a form of prehabilitation to prevent the spread of the infection, boost recoveries and reduce the burden on the healthcare systems due to an increase in hospital admissions.

Journal reference:

  • Derbyshire E, Delange JCOVID-19: is there a role for immunonutrition, particularly in the over 65s? BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health 2020;3, doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000071, https://nutrition.bmj.com/content/3/1/100
Drug boosts outcomes among sickest patients

Drug boosts outcomes among sickest patients

  • November 19, 2020
Ventilator monitor ,given oxygen by intubation tube to patient, setting in ICU/Emergency room
Intravenously administering a rheumatoid arthritis drug has shown promise among the sickest coronavirus patients. (Posed by a model, Getty Images)

An arthritis drug has shown promise among critically-ill coronavirus patients, research suggests.

The NHS began administering the steroid dexamethasone after a study in June suggested the low-cost drug cut the risk of death among patients on ventilation by a third.

Believing it was “unlikely any single drug will work on its own”, scientists from Imperial College London set out to uncover the best treatment regimen for the sickest coronavirus patients.

Early results suggest intravenously administering the rheumatoid arthritis drug tocilizumab improved intensive care patient outcomes by 87%. This is compared to those who received “no immune modulator” but were on standard of care medication, like steroids.

Tocilizumab is thought to dampen inflammation by suppressing the immune system, which can go into overdrive when it encounters an infection. Research has shown the sickest coronavirus patients have a substantial amount of inflammation in their lungs.

Read more: Oxford’s coronavirus vaccine produces immune response among elderly

The scientists defined outcome improvement by how dependent the patients were on organ support, like a breathing machine, as well as whether they survived hospital admission.

It is unclear whether tocilizumab boosts overall survival or reduces the time a patient requires organ support, with further data being expected in the coming weeks and months.

Unable to marshal the right cells and molecules to fight off the invader, the bodies of the infected instead launch an entire arsenal of weapons — a misguided barrage that can wreak havoc on healthy tissues, experts said. (Getty Images)
The coronavirus triggers an immune response, which can go into overdrive in some patients. Immune-suppressing drugs work to dampen this, reducing inflammation. (Stock, Getty Images)

The preliminary results are yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

They were released early “due to the clinical implications for patients”, with the scientists “working to analyse and publish the full results as soon as possible”.

Read more: Dog walkers 78% more likely to catch coronavirus

“These early findings show treatment with this immune-modulating drug is effective for critically ill COVID-19 [the disease caused by the coronavirus] patients in intensive care units,” said study author Professor Anthony Gordon.

“When we have the results available from all participants, we hope our findings will offer clear guidance to clinicians for improving the outcomes of the sickest COVID-19 patients.”

Watch: How is severe coronavirus treated?

The scientists began investigating coronavirus treatments in March, enrolling hospitalised patients with moderate or severe – defined as requiring intensive care – coronavirus.

The first 303 patients were randomised to receive an immune-modulating drug, like tocilizumab, on top of their standard of care or just standard of care.

Tocilizumab is thought to block certain immune-fighting proteins called cytokines. This is a more targeted approach than steroids, which suppress inflammatory genes activated in diseases like asthma.

Results suggest those who took tocilizumab were 87% more likely to have a better outcome than those who were just on standard of care. It is unclear how tocilizumab compared to other immune-modulating treatments.

Read more: Pandemic anxiety leading to rise in jaw-clenching

The ongoing study is continuing to test different potential therapies, with more than 2,000 patients at 260 hospitals worldwide having been enrolled.

Earlier this year, the team found the steroid hydrocortisone improved recovery among critically-ill coronavirus patients.

“This is an absolutely amazing result,” said co-author Dr Lennie Derde, from the University Medical Center in Utrecht in the Netherlands.

“To have a second effective therapy for critically-ill patients within months of the start of the pandemic is unprecedented.

“Specific targeting of the immune response is theoretically attractive and now we have shown it works.”

Previous coronavirus studies into tocilizumab have thrown up mixed results. None have yet shown the drug improves death rates up to 30 deaths after its administration.

“Some of the other trials studied patients on the ward, who may be less sick,” said Professor Gordon.

“We think severely-ill patients have the most severe inflammation.

“We studied patients within the first day of them becoming unwell in the intensive care unit, which is important to prevent further inflammation before the patients became too sick.”

Tocilizumab was used in China – where the coronavirus emerged – in January, as well as in Italy – Europe’s former outbreak epicentre – in March.

Professor Athimalaipet Ramanan from the University of Bristol said: “It is likely tocilizumab will benefit some patients.

“What is still not clear is how we identify the patient population with COVID-19 which is likely to benefit from tocilizumab.”

Although it is unclear if or when tocilizumab may be recommended for critically-ill coronavirus patients, the scientists are said to be in discussions with guideline groups and drug regulators.

While full data is pending, the drug is known to be safe for other diseases.

“It does suppress the immune system, so there’s always caution it could cause secondary infections,” said Professor Gordon.

“Our data safety monitoring board hasn’t raised any concerns.”

Watch: Can you catch coronavirus twice?

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

Inhalation of immune system protein may help hospitalised COVID-19 patients recover: Study

  • November 13, 2020
London, Nov 13 (PTI) Hospitalised COVID-19 patients who received an inhaled form of an immune system protein were less likely to develop severe symptoms, according to a new study which may lead to a new treatment strategy against the disease.

The results from a clinical trial, conducted at nine UK hospitals and published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal, noted that inhaled form of the protein interferon beta-1a could lessen the clinical consequences of COVID-19.

According to the scientists, including those from the University of Southampton in the UK, the findings serve as proof-of-concept that this treatment could help hospitalised patients recover, but they added that further research is required.

They explained that the molecule interferon beta is a naturally occurring protein that coordinates the body”s immune response to viral infections.

Previous studies had found that the novel coronavirus directly suppresses the release of interferon beta and clinical trials demonstrated decreased activity of this protein in COVID-19 patients.

In the new study a formulation of interferon beta called SNG001 was directly delivered to the lungs via inhalation and its safety and efficacy to treat hospitalised COVID-19 patients was evaluated.

It compared the effects of SNG001 and placebo given to patients once daily for up to 14 days, and followed up patients for a maximum of 28 days after starting the treatment.

The researchers said patients were recruited from March 30 to May 30, and were randomly assigned to receive the treatment or a placebo.

Of the 101 patients enrolled in the study, they said 98 were given the treatment in the trial — 48 received SNG001 and 50 received a placebo.

At the outset of the trial 66 patients required oxygen supplementation at baseline, the scientists said.

According to the study, patients who received SNG001 were twice as likely to show an improvement in their clinical condition at day 15 or 16, compared with the placebo group.

In the placebo group, the researchers said 11 of 50 patients developed severe disease or died between the first dose and day 15 or 16, compared with six of 48 patients who received SNG001.

Over the 14-day treatment period, patients who received SNG001 were more than twice as likely to recover, compared to those in the placebo group — with 21 patients in the SNG001 group recovering compared with 11 in the placebo group, they said.

According to the study, SNG001 patients were over three times more likely to recover than patients receiving placebo at 28 days.

“The results confirm our belief that interferon beta, a widely known drug approved for use in its injectable form for other indications, may have the potential as an inhaled drug to restore the lung”s immune response and accelerate recovery from COVID-19,” said study lead author, Tom Wilkinson from the University of Southampton in the UK.

“Inhaled interferon beta-1a provides high, local concentrations of the immune protein, which boosts lung defences rather than targeting specific viral mechanisms,” Wilkinson said.

The researchers said fewer patients in the SNG001 group had serious adverse events, compared with the placebo group.

Citing the limitations of the study, the scientists said the sample size was small, adding that the findings cannot be generalised to wider populations and healthcare settings.

They believe larger trials with more varied groups should be conducted to address the limitations. PTI VIS
VIS



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


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