The 106 injury claims for vaccines, hydroxychloroquine and other COVID-19 treatments remained under medical review as of March 15. In other covid research news, pre-symptomatic covid cases are linked to virus spreading, an experimental drug from Humanigen helped keep patients off ventilators, and a decades-old antidepressant may hold covid treatment promise.
COVID-19 Vaccines, Hydroxychloroquine Generate Dozens Of Injury Claims
A federal program charged with compensating people for serious side effects from COVID-19 drugs and vaccines did not pay or reject any claims during the first year of the pandemic. The 106 injury claims for vaccines, hydroxychloroquine and other COVID-19 treatments remained under medical review as of March 15, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Resources and Services Administration, the agency within HHS that runs the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, provided data to USA TODAY showing injury claims for 20 types of COVID-19 treatments. (Alltucker, 3/28)
COVID-19 Antibodies Appear To Ward Off B117 Better Than B1351
COVID-19 survivors and those vaccinated against coronavirus appear able to fight off infection with the B117 SARS-CoV-2 variant but may not have the same level of protection against the B1351 variant, according to two new studies. In the first study, published late last week in Nature Medicine, researchers at Institut Pasteur in Paris isolated infectious B117, the variant first identified in the United Kingdom, and B1351, first discovered in South Africa, from the nasal swabs of symptomatic COVID-19 patients. Like some other emerging variants, B117 and B1351 are more infectious than previously dominant varieties, leading to fears that they could evade natural and vaccine-induced immunity. (Van Beusekom, 3/29)
Health News Florida:
Scientists Seek COVID Treatment Answers In Cheap, Older Drugs
Could a decades-old antidepressant be a secret weapon against COVID? A few scientists think so, after two small studies showed that fluvoxamine, typically prescribed for obsessive-compulsive disorder, prevented serious illness in all participants who took the pills soon after developing symptoms. (Landhuis, 3/29)
Pre-Symptomatic Cases Tied To Substantial Portion Of COVID-19 Spread
Close contacts of symptomatic COVID-19 index cases have a 3.8-fold greater likelihood of getting infected with COVID-19 than if they were exposed to an asymptomatic index case, but pre-symptomatic transmissions accounted for almost 40% of secondary cases, according to a study published late last week in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The researchers looked at four provinces and one municipality in China, collecting information on transmission events for lab-confirmed cases. From Jan 5 to Apr 7, 2020, 393 symptomatic index cases led to 128 out of 3,136 infections among close contacts (4.1%), while the 185 asymptomatic index cases led to 12 infections out of 1,078 close contacts (1.1%). A shared household and meal sharing were associated with 8.27 and 2.90 increased risks of transmission, respectively, regardless of whether the index case-patient had symptoms. (3/29)
Amazon Gets FDA Nod On Its Coronavirus Test
Amazon has received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its SARS-CoV-2 assay. The Amazon RT-PCR test is designed to detect the virus in anterior nasal swab specimens self-collected either under the supervision of a healthcare provider or unsupervised at home. The test may be used with either individual samples or up to five pooled samples. (3/29)
IBM, Cleveland Clinic Partner On Next-Gen Computing For Health R&D
IBM and the Cleveland Clinic are launching a 10-year partnership to apply advances in AI, high performance computing in the cloud and quantum computing to research on viral pathogens and drug development. The effort aims to ease bottlenecks in collecting, storing and analyzing data and speed research on viruses and cancers caused by them. (Snyder, 3/30)
Humanigen Drug Kept Covid Patients Off Ventilators. But Are Data Missing?
A small biotech firm, Humanigen, said Monday that its experimental drug reduced the risk of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 being put on ventilators. Shares in the company rose 86% on the news, and Humanigen said it would ask the Food and Drug Administration to grant an emergency use authorization based on the results. But whether or not the drug becomes a new tool to help patients with severe Covid-19 may depend on data and details that Humanigen has not shared, including data from 33 trial subjects who were in the 517-patient study, but were not included in the analysis of the drug’s efficacy. (Herper, 3/29)
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