COVID-19 Pandemic World Updates

deaddirty

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And some genuine good news for once!


Steroid found to help prevent deaths of sickest coronavirus patients

A cheap steroid has become the first life-saving treatment in the Covid-19 pandemic, described by scientists as “a major breakthrough” and raising hopes for the survival of thousands of the most seriously ill.
Dexamethasone is available from any pharmacy, and easily obtainable anywhere in the world. Investigators said the drug was responsible for the survival of one in eight of the sickest patients – those who were on ventilators – in the Recovery trial, the biggest randomised, controlled trial of coronavirus treatments in the world.
The government announced immediate approval for the use of the drug in Covid-19 patients. The UK was leading the way, said the health secretary, Matt Hancock. “This astounding breakthrough is testament to the incredible work being done by our scientists behind the scenes.
“From today the standard treatment for Covid-19 will include dexamethasone, helping save thousands of lives while we deal with this terrible virus.”
Boris Johnson hailed the successful trial at Tuesday’s Downing Street press conference. “Today, there is genuine cause to celebrate a remarkable British scientific achievement, and the benefits it will bring, not just in this country but around the world,” the prime minister said.
“This drug, dexamethasone, can now be made available across the NHS, and we’ve taken steps to ensure we have enough supplies, even in the event of a second peak.”
However, he said death rates from the disease remained “far too high: so we must redouble our research efforts, and we certainly will.”
Hancock spoke within hours of the Oxford University investigators announcing their findings, which they said were definitive. Dexamethasone reduced deaths among patients on ventilators by up to one-third and among those on other oxygen support by one-fifth.
“It is the only drug so far shown to reduce mortality and it reduces it significantly,” said Peter Horby, a professor of emerging infectious diseases in the Nuffield department of medicine at the University of Oxford, and one of the chief investigators of the trial. “It is a major breakthrough, I think.”
Prof Martin Landray, his co-chief investigator, said the sickest patients could begin to be treated with the drug immediately, anywhere in the world. “The search has been on for a treatment that actually reduces the risk of dying. There hasn’t been one until today.
“This is a drug that is globally available. This is not an expensive drug. That is immensely important.”
Dexamethasone was one of the first drugs to be included in Recovery, the biggest randomised controlled study of drugs against Covid-19 in the world, which has now recruited more than 11,500 patients from 176 hospitals across the whole of the UK. It was chosen because it works against inflammation, including in the lungs, and is cheap, known to be safe in low doses and widely available.
A total of 2,104 patients were chosen at random to receive 6mg of dexamethasone once a day (either by mouth or by intravenous injection) for 10 days. Their outcomes were compared with 4,321 patients chosen at random to continue with normal care alone.
Without the drug, death rates at 28 days were highest in those who needed to be put on a ventilator (41%), intermediate in those who required oxygen only (25%), and lowest among those whose lungs were working sufficiently well (13%).
Dexamethasone reduced deaths by one-third in ventilated patients and by one-fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only. There was no benefit among those patients who did not need help to breathe.
Landray said there was no room for doubt. “This is not the play of chance. This is a completely compelling result,” he said. “If one treated around eight ventilated patients, one patient would survive because of that treatment who would not have survived if you hadn’t given that treatment.”
Among those needing oxygen, one life would be saved for every 25 patients treated, he said. “If you put that in the scale of the UK epidemic over the last few months, the difference dexamethasone [would have made] is around 4,000 or 5,000 lives and clearly the epidemic is an international issue.
“This is a result of instant global importance because this drug is readily available. It’s been around for probably 60 years, it costs in the order of £5 for a complete course of treatment in the NHS and substantially less – probably less than $1 – in other parts of the world, for example in India.”
Last week, the Recovery team, who have been trialling seven drugs and will add more, concluded that hydroxychloroquine did not benefit patients in hospital with Covid-19. That result has also had global impact, with first the US regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, revoking the drug’s emergency authorisation and then its UK counterpart, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority, suspending any further patient trials.
Other scientists agreed the dexamethasone result was a breakthrough. Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said: “This is tremendous news today from the Recovery trial showing that dexamethasone is the first drug to reduce mortality from Covid-19. It is particularly exciting as this is an inexpensive, widely available medicine.
“This is a groundbreaking development in our fight against the disease, and the speed at which researchers have progressed finding an effective treatment is truly remarkable. It shows the importance of doing high-quality clinical trials and basing decisions on the results of those trials.”
The NHS chief executive for England, Simon Stevens, said: “NHS hospitals, researchers and clinicians have worked together at breakneck speed to test new treatments for Covid-19, and it is amazing to see work that would normally take years bear fruit in just a matter of months.”
Prof Stephen Powis, NHS medical director for England, said it was “a huge breakthrough in our search for new ways to successfully treat patients with covid, both in the UK and across the world.
“It is thanks to NHS staff and patients who participated in the trial that from now, we are able to use this drug to dramatically improve Covid-19 survival for people in hospital who require oxygen or ventilation.”
 

deaddirty

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Meatpie

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Great updates as always DD, many thanks for posting.

I personally don't see any good news the pandemic is worsening and the virus is now rapidly spreading in China again. In recent days there has been an explosion of COVID-19 cases in Bulgaria as well and in all Balkan countries just days after lockdowns and restrictions were eased.
 

deaddirty

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Thanks Meatpie.

Dexamethasone is genuinely good news - it's no cure but it reduces the death rate, it's cheap, and it's widely available - tell your doctors about it if they don't already know.
Sorry to hear about the explosion of cases in Bulgaria, I thought you'd missed the worst of it. Here in the UK, so far my fears of a rebound of the virus as they eased the restrictions haven't come to pass - but the graphs are flattening off and some of the experts are worried, so I'm keeping a very close eye on the daily updates.
 

phyzzique

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HANDSOME MEDICAL STUDENT
Today UNP medical student Vital Avelino Maia Neto, 23, died of the coronavirus. He had been hospitalized for a few days, this week had a substantial improvement, he even sent a message to a group of friends, but unfortunately he succumbed


 

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COVID-19 party in Bulgarian disco. Dancers dressed in hazmat suits spray liquid nitrogen among the audience as fake disinfectant.

 

Frazeeme

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In the Middle Ages this would be called a 'ship of fools'.
 

phyzzique

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Anti-Vaxxer Novak Djokovic Contracts Coronavirus After Hosting Tennis Exhibition
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic (L) and Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov (R)

 

Meatpie

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Clowns. Grigor is often made fun of and there are plenty of jokes about him in Bulgaria.

He is super rich but because of COVID-19 he had nothing to do and no income he rushed back to the court like a child ignoring mask wearing and social distance.
 

Meatpie

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Djokovic, Zverev, Thiem, Dimitrov and Bikovic in Belgrade night life

 

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COVID-19 was Already in Spain in March 2019, Wastewater Study Finds

 

Frazeeme

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Some American response to safe behavior (bet he's got a room full of toilet paper) -

 

deaddirty

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Yes, some people here have been behaving very stupidly - though in the open air in bright sunshine the risk may genuinely be quite low. The graphs here (UK) have flattened right off and are possibly drifting upwards, though my impression is that the epidemic is increasingly 'granular' , with local spikes in some places and continued fall in others, rather than a general increase. But if we, and many European countries too, don't act sensible we won't have to wait until autumn for the second wave.
 

deaddirty

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Some American response to safe behavior (bet he's got a room full of toilet paper) -

But what's to worry about - if the virus gets anywhere near him he can just shoot it, and anyway provided his state stops testing there won't be any virus - Donald told us that, so it must be true :-|
 
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