The following is an overview of some of the latest scientific studies on the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, a disease caused by the virus.
Antiviral remdesivir appears to be safe for children
The antiviral drug remdesivir appears to be just as safe and effective for use in children with COVID-19 as in adults, according to the largest study to date of children with severe COVID-19 who received the drug. Remdesivir, which is sold by Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD.O) under the Veklury brand, shortens recovery time in adults with COVID-19. Not yet approved for children under 12 years of age. In March 2020, Gilead began accepting physicians ’requests for compassionate use of remdesivir in critically ill children with COVID-19. In a new study on 77 children in the United States, Britain, Italy and Spain, “remdesivir was well tolerated, with a low incidence of serious drug-related adverse events,” researchers reported in Pediatrics on Wednesday. Within four weeks of starting treatment, 88% of children reduced their need for oxygen support, 83% recovered, and 73% were discharged. Among those in need of mechanical ventilation, 90% could be removed from the fan. A randomized controlled trial is underway to confirm that the high level of recovery is due to the effects of remdesivir, the researchers said. An editorial published alongside the study says, “Although morbidity and mortality rates vary, children hospitalized with acute COVID-19 often have a similar course of the disease as adults. Children are also likely to have a similar response to remdesivir as adults.” (https://bit.ly/3eeoGRy, https://bit.ly/3enAnoW)
Patients may not pose the greatest risk for COVID-19 to hospital staff
U.S. health workers at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic are more likely to be infected in the community than by patient care, new research suggests. At a large medical center in Wisconsin, researchers investigated probable sources of infection by analyzing the gene sequences of the virus obtained on swab samples from 95 healthcare workers and their patients. Only 11% of participants ’infections could be followed up to a colleague, and only 4% of a patient, researchers from Clinical Infectious Diseases reported. They said their observations coincided with recent studies assessing health-related infections in the Netherlands and the UK, and with another recent study that found that the most important risk factor for COVID-19 was the rate of disease in surrounding communities, not workplace factors. place. “Healthcare professionals appear to be most commonly infected with SARS-CoV-2 through community exposure,” the researchers conclude. “This underscores the continuing importance of wearing masks, physical removal, robust testing programs and rapid vaccine distribution.” (https://bit.ly/3xausMz)
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