(Reuters) – The following is a brief summary of some of the latest scientific studies on the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Small bottles labeled with a "COVID-19 vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe are seen in this illustration taken on April 10, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / Archive photo
Coronavirus vaccine appears safe in first human trial
A coronavirus vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics Inc appears to be safe and induced a rapid immune response in its first human test, Chinese researchers reported on Friday in the medical journal The Lancet. The first human studies, known as phase I trials, were designed primarily to test safety. This vaccine did not cause any serious adverse effects, say the researchers, despite reporting some side effects, such as fever. In addition, blood samples from the 108 vaccinated adults showed so-called neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses against the new coronavirus, a sign of possible effectiveness. "These results represent an important milestone," said co-author Wei Chen, of the Beijing Biotechnology Institute. "The ability to elicit these immune responses does not necessarily indicate that the vaccine will protect humans from COVID-19. We are still a long way from this vaccine being available to everyone," added the researcher. Further studies are needed to confirm whether the vaccine protects against infections. The first of these trials is underway in Wuhan, China. (; reut.rs/36lvRD0; bit.ly/3cX8h1X)
Hydroxychloroquine associated with increased risk of death in hospitalized patients
In an observational study of more than 96,000 patients with COVID-19 in 671 hospitals on six continents, the hydroxychloroquine malaria drug was associated with an increased risk of death, researchers reported on Friday. It was not clear whether the use of the drug provided any benefit to patients, according to their article in The Lancet. In total, 14,888 patients received hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, with or without antibiotics, and 81,144 did not receive these drugs. Randomized, placebo-controlled studies are needed to clarify the risks and benefits of the drug from decades in the treatment of COVID-19, the researchers said. Many of these tests are in progress. The University of Minnesota may have some results next week, from two studies that test whether hydroxychloroquine is useful in preventing infections in people exposed to the virus and in relieving the symptoms of COVID-19. Further results from placebo-controlled trials are expected from the end of this summer. (; reut.rs/2WXnbQp; bit.ly/2ynpT86)
Blood vessel damage may explain clots in COVID-19 patients
A study published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine helps explain why blood clots develop more frequently in patients with COVID-19. It appears that the virus can severely damage patients' blood vessels, causing blood to clot as it passes. In studies with the lungs of seven patients who died of COVID-19, the researchers found damage to small air sacs in the lung called alveoli. They also found serious injuries to blood vessel linings, which were associated with the virus in blood vessel cells and ruptured cell membranes. Compared to the lungs of patients who died of influenza, the lungs of COVID-19 had much more extensive injuries. In addition, the healing reaction – a process of new vessel growth called intussusceptive angiogenesis – was 30 times greater than normal in the lungs of COVID-19, said study co-author Dr. William Li, medical director at Angiogenesis Foundation. All of these factors contribute to blood clots, reports his team. "One of the great mysteries of COVID-19 was why blood clots, or thrombosis, form in some patients," said Li. "These clots can become lethal because they severely compromise blood flow not only in the lungs, but also in other organs, such as the brain and heart, among other tissues. Our research is the first to show that these clots are associated with damaged blood vessels. "(bit.ly/36pzsAg)
Simulated sunlight inactivates coronavirus on surfaces
Simulated sunlight quickly inactivates the new coronavirus on non-porous surfaces, such as stainless steel, according to researchers at the National Center for Analysis and Countermeasures of the Directorate of Science and Technology of the Department of Homeland Security (NBACC). "These results suggest that natural sunlight can be effective in significantly reducing the amount of viruses on exposed surfaces, such as mailboxes, playground equipment and shopping carts left outdoors in the sunlight," said a spokesman. researchers' voice to Reuters. Although significant reductions in the virus have been seen after only a few minutes of simulated sunlight, the risk of exposure to contact with surfaces may not be entirely eliminated, the researchers warned in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. More research is needed on the amount of virus spilled on the surfaces of infected individuals, the ease with which the virus is transferred from the surfaces and how much is needed to cause the infection. (bit.ly/3e4cxNg)
Postpone general DNR orders for critically ill COVID patients
In the desperate beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic, there are reports from China that few seriously ill patients with COVID-19 could be revived after a cardiac arrest, prompting doctors in some countries to consider issuing general "Do not resuscitate" orders. But for patients with US COVID-19, at least, that would not be appropriate, the researchers said. Adequate data on survival rates in the U.S. for hospital resuscitation of patients with COVID-19 are not yet available and Chinese data may not be applicable, the researchers wrote in an article published on Friday in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association magazine. "The initial experience of the pandemic in the US reveals that about a quarter of patients with COVID-19 are under 50 years old and are healthy. Cardiac arrest in these patients is likely to have a different prognosis" than in older patients, researchers said. The study authors are members of the American Heart Association's resuscitation research panel "Get With The Guidelines". (bit.ly/3gaxBDI)
Reporting by Nancy Lapid, Deena Beasley, Ankur Banerjee and Michael Erman; Edition by Bill Berkrot
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