3 Existing Drugs Fight Coronavirus with ‘almost 100%’ Success

Israeli scientists say they have identified three existing drugs that have good prospects as COVID-19 treatments, reporting that they illustrated high ability to fight the virus in lab tests.

They placed the substances with live SARS‑CoV‑2 and human cells in vitro. The results “showed that the drugs can protect cells from onslaught by the virus with close to 100 percent effectiveness, meaning that almost 100% of the cells lived despite being infected by the virus,” Prof. Isaiah Arkin, the Hebrew University biochemist behind the research, told The Times of Israel.

By contrast, in normal circumstances, around half the cells would have died after two days following contact with the virus.” He added there are strong indications that the drugs will be robust against changing variants.

Arkin, part of a Hebrew University center that specializes in repurposing existing drugs, said that he screened more than 3,000 medicines for suitability, in what he describes as a needle-in-a-haystack search. This approach can provide a fast track to find treatments as the drugs have already been tried and tested, and he hopes to work with a pharmaceutical company to quickly get the medicines he identified clinically tested for COVID-19.

We have the vaccine, but we shouldn’t rest on our laurels, and I would like to see these drugs become part of the arsenal that we use to fight the coronavirus,” he said. When confronting SARS‑CoV‑2, the drugs in question — darapladib, which currently treats atherosclerosis; the cancer drug Flumatinib; and an HIV medicine — don’t target the spike protein. Rather, they target one of two other proteins: the envelope protein and the 3a protein. These proteins — especially the envelope proteinhardly change between variants, and even between diseases from the coronavirus family. As such, drugs that target them are likely to remain effective in spite of mutations, Arkin said.

Source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/

Nearly All COVID Deaths in US Are Now among Unvaccinated

Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine.

An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that “breakthroughinfections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 0.1%. And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.

The AP analyzed figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data.

https://apnews.com/

New Treatment Against Covid-19

The Institut Pasteur de Lille (France) will implement the protocol to perform clinical tests of a promising treatment against Covid-19. An authorization from the National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) which nevertheless comes eight months after the announcement of the discovery of this molecule by the teams of researchers.

On September 29, the Institut Pasteur de Lille confirmed to 20 Minutes have found an effective molecule against Covid-19.

It remains to conduct a clinical trial to definitively validate the antiviral activity of this molecule”, then underlined a member of the research team. This molecule had already received marketing authorization from the ANSM under the name Clofoctol for a pathology other than Covid-19. It was therefore a question of “repositioning” it as a Covid-19 treatment since “the in vitro tests have shown the effectiveness of this molecule in inhibiting the replication of the virus”, assures the Institute.

The file presented by Pasteur was validated by the Committee for the Protection of Persons (CPP) and, on Thursday, it also received the approval of the ANSM.

The clinical trial to test this experimental treatment in the early management of Covid patients, double-blind against placebo” will be able to start, “all the logistics are ready”, continues at Pasteur Lille. This test will take place in Hauts-de-France, in five centers. To be able to be included in this clinical trial, it is necessary to have made “a recent positive test, to be more than 50 years old, to have at least one symptom and not to have been vaccinated”.

If the administration of the drug will be done in the different centers, the patients will not be hospitalized. The follow-up will be provided at home thanks to the collaboration of general practitioners.

Source: https://news.in-24.com/

Hunting for the Coronavirus’s Origin

More than a year after Covid-19 touched off the worst pandemic in more than a century, scientists have yet to determine its origins. The closest related viruses to SARS-CoV-2 were found in bats over 1,000 miles from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease erupted in late 2019. Initially, cases were tied to a fresh food market and possibly the wildlife sold there. An investigation in early 2021 has highlighted the possibility that they acted as a vector, transferring the virus from bats to humans. More politically charged theories allege the virus accidentally escaped from a nearby research laboratory, or entered China from another country via imported frozen food. Amid all the posturing, governments and scientists agree that deciphering the creation story.

Three closely related viruses to SARS-CoV-2 that had been collected during the previous 15 years. The closest, about 96% identical, was isolated from a species of horseshoe bat, Rhinolophus affinis, in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan in 2013. Some researchers have linked that particular virus to a mineshaft in Mojiang county there, where six men contracted a pneumonia-like disease in 2012 that killed three of them. Although they may share a common ancestor, the two are not similar enough to indicate SARS-CoV-2 was derived from the Yunnan virus. Sampling of bats in Hubei province, which includes Wuhan, haven’t found any positive for the pandemic strain. Coronaviruses sharing genetic features with SARS-CoV-2 have been found in other bat species and pangolins, a scaly, ant-eating mammal, elsewhere in Asia, highlighting the broad distribution that may have contributed to its evolution.

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Indian Antiviral Receives Emergency Authorisation for COVID-19 Treatment

Zydus Cadila said that its antiviral Virafin has been given emergency use authorisation by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for treatment against coronavirus. The pharma company said that a single dose of the antiviral administered subcutaneously early on shows significant clinical and virological improvement in patients with moderate coronavirus. It stated that 91.15 per cent of patients who were treated with the antiviral were RT-PCR negative by Day 7. The treatment also reduces hours of supplemental oxygen in patients.

The company said that when administered early on during COVID-19, the Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b (PegIFN) Virafin will help patients recover faster and avoid many complications. The antiviral will be available on the prescription of medical specialists for use in hospital/institutional setups. A multicentric trial was conducted in 20-25 centres across the nation that showed that with Virafin, patients required less supplemental oxygen. The company said that the trials indicate that the antiviral is able to control respiratory distress and failure that has been one of the biggest challenges in treating coronavirus. The drug also showed efficacy against other viral infections.

The fact that we are able to offer a therapy which significantly reduces viral load when given early on can help in better disease management. It comes at a much-needed time for patients and we will continue to provide them access to critical therapies in this battle against COVID-19,“, said Dr. Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare.

During the Phase III clinical trials, patients administered with the drug were RT-PCR negative by Day 7. “The drug ensures faster viral clearance and has several add-on advantages compared to other antiviral agents,” said the company.

Source: https://www.businesstoday.in/

Human Trials for Pill to Cure COVID

Dozens of volunteers have begun participation in initial trials for a pill that pharmaceutical company Pfizer hopes will be a cure for COVID-19 available later this year, the Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

The trial is being held at two Pfizer locations, one in the US and the other in Belgium, and will involve up to 60 volunteers age 18-60. The trial will be split into three phases spread over 145 days, with an extra 28 days tacked on the end for “screening and dosing,” according to the report, and will include several overnight stays for the participants.

If they have moved to this stage, they will be quietly optimistic,” Prof. Penny Ward, a visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, told the Telegraph.

The question will be about how the drug is tolerated,” said Ward, who helped develop Tamil, an antiviral treatment against flu.

The first phase will look at how well the new drug is tolerated and if there are “significant side effects, and how people feel after taking it,” according to Pfizer documents cited by the British news outlet. The next phase will include multiple doses while the third will look into the influence of eating food at the same time.

For that part, participants could receive instructions such as to consume a high-fat breakfast of “two eggs fried in butter, two strips of pork bacon, two slices of toast with butter, 4 oz. of hash brown potatoes, and 8 oz. of whole milk,” all of which must be consumed in 20 minutes.

Volunteers have been warned that the drug has so far only been tested on animals, according to the Pfizer documents.

Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ 
AND
  https://www.timesofisrael.com/

COVID-19 Can Cause Antibodies that Mistakenly Target your Own Tissues

An increasing body of research is pointing toward the possibility that COVID-19 causes the development of autoantibodies linked to other autoimmune diseases — and may be tied to the long-hauler symptoms associated with coronavirus.

In the latest preprint study (which means it has not yet undergone peer review) researchers analyzed the levels of 18 different autoantibodies between four groups:

  • 29 unexposed pre-pandemic individuals from the general population
  • 20 individuals hospitalized with moderate-to-severe COVID-19
  • 9 recovering COVID-19-infected individuals with asymptomatic to mild viral symptoms during the acute phase, with samples collected between 1.8 and 7.3 months after infection
  • 6 unexposed pre-pandemic subjects with lupus (an autoimmune disease that involves different kinds of autoantibodies)
  • Autoantibodies are antibodies that mistakenly target your own tissues or organs and are associated with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Unsurprisingly, the researchers found that autoantibodies were detected in five out of the six lupus subjects, compared to just 11 of 29 non-lupus, pre-pandemic controls.

However, the researchers also found that autoantibodies were detected in seven out of nine patients recovering from SARS-CoV-2 and in 12 out of the 20 hospitalized individuals with moderate to severe COVID-19. In the first group, autoantibodies were detected in all patients with reported persistent symptoms and two of the four without any long-term symptoms.

The autoantibodies that set SARS-CoV-2  infected patients apart from the pre-pandemic subjects are widely associated with myopathies (neuromuscular disorders), vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), and antiphospholipid syndromes (when your body creates antibodies that make your blood much more likely to clot), all of which are conditions that share some similarities with COVID-19. The researchers note that these results underscore the importance of further investigating autoimmunity during a COVID-19 infection, and the role of autoimmunity in lingering symptoms. That said, they do urge caution in interpreting the results, which still need to undergo peer review.

It’s a signal; it is not definitive,” lead researcher Nahid Bhadelia, MD, told the New York Times. We don’t know how prevalent it is, and whether or not it can be linked to long COVID.” (Long COVID is sometimes used to describe the syndrome that causes long-hauler symptoms in those who have recovered from COVID-19.)

Still, as many as one-third of COVID-19 survivors say they still experience symptoms — and determining the role autoimmunity may play after coronavirus infection is critical.

This is a real phenomenon,” Dr. Bhadelia said. “We’re looking at a second pandemic of people with ongoing potential disability who may not be able to return to work, and that’s a huge impact on the health symptoms.”

Source: https://creakyjoints.org/
AND
https://www.medrxiv.org/

A Third of COVID Survivors Suffer Mental or Neurological Problems

A third of coronavirus patients were found to suffer from psychiatric or brain problems within six months of their COVID-19 diagnosis, according to a study published recently.

Researchers analyzed the health records of 236,379 COVID patients, mostly from the US, and found that 34 percent had been diagnosed with neurological or psychiatric disorders six months on.

About one in eight of the patients, or 12.8 percent, were diagnosed for the first time with such an illness, the study showed.

Anxiety, at 17 percent, and depression or mood disorders, at 14 percent, were the most common diagnoses, according to the research.

Instances of post-COVID cases of stroke, dementia and other neurological disorders were rarer, but still significant — especially in people who had been seriously ill with the virus, the scientists said.

https://www.thelancet.com/

Moderna Is Testing new Vaccine Stored in Refrigerators, no More in Freezers

Moderna Inc said it had dosed the first participant in an early-stage study of a new COVID-19 vaccine candidate that could potentially be stored and shipped in refrigerators instead of freezers. The company said its new candidate could make it easier for distribution, especially in developing countries where supply chain issues could hamper vaccination drives.

The early-stage study will assess the safety and immunogenicity of the next-generation vaccine, designated as mRNA-1283, at three dose levels, and will be given to healthy adults either as a single dose or in two doses 28 days apart, the company said. Moderna also plans to evaluate the new vaccine, mRNA-1283, as a potential booster shot in future studies.

Last week, Moderna began dosing the first participants in a study testing COVID-19 booster vaccine candidates targeting the variant, known as B.1.351, that first emerged in South Africa.

The booster vaccine candidates, designated mRNA-1273.351, will be tested in a trial of both a variant-specific shot and a multivalent shot, according to the company’s announcement.

Janssen Vaccine could be Rolled Out in Europe by March 15

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has received an application for conditional marketing authorisation (CMA) for a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen-Cilag International N.V. Janssen is a subsidiary of the giant pharma-company Johnson & Johnson.

EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) will assess the vaccine, known as COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen, under an accelerated timetable. The Committee could issue an opinion by the middle of March 2021, provided the company’s data on the vaccine’s efficacy, safety and quality are sufficiently comprehensive and robust.

Such a short time for evaluation is only possible because EMA has already reviewed some data during a rolling review. During this phase, EMA assessed quality data and data from laboratory studies which looked at how well the vaccine triggers the production of antibodies and immune cells that target SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). The Agency also looked at clinical safety data on the viral vector used in the vaccine.

EMA is now assessing additional data on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine as well as its quality. If EMA concludes that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks, it will recommend granting a CMA. The European Commission will then issue a decision on whether to grant a CMA valid in all EU and EEA Member States within days.

This is the fourth CMA application for a COVID-19 vaccine since the start of the current pandemic. It comes after EMA’s evaluation of vaccines from BioNTech/Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca. These vaccines are now authorised in the EU and are among the tools Member States are using to combat COVID-19.

Source: https://www.ema.europa.eu/