COVID SCIENCE-Drug combination improves COVID-19 pneumonia…
By Nancy Lapid
Dec 11 (Reuters) – The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Two-drug combo improves COVID-19 pneumonia outcomes
For hospitalized COVID-19 patients with pneumonia, treatment with Gildead Sciences Inc’s antiviral remdesivir and the Eli Lilly and Co arthritis drug baricitinib was more effective than remdesivir alone, according to a clinical trial published on Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Overall, the 515 patients who received baricitinib – sold under the brand name Olumiant – along with remdesivir recovered in an average of seven days, compared to eight days for the 518 who got remdesivir alone. People treated with both drugs also had fewer serious adverse events, plus 30% higher odds of showing improved health status after two weeks.
They also had a lower risk of death within four weeks of starting treatment – 5.1% versus 7.8% with just remdesivir. The effect was most pronounced among patients who needed high amounts of extra oxygen but were not sick enough to require ventilators to breathe for them.
In this group, the average time to recovery was 10 days with the two-drug treatment compared to 18 days with remdesivir alone. The study authors note that baricitinib, a pill, is a generally safe drug that does not interact with other medications. website
Five genes linked with severe COVID-19
Scientists have linked the most severe form of COVID-19 with five genes that affect lung inflammation and the body’s ability to fight off viruses.
Their findings, from a study of 2,700 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units across Britain, point to several existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat people who risk becoming critically ill. The genes – called IFNAR2, TYK2, OAS1, DPP9 and CCR2 – partially explain why some people become desperately sick with COVID-19, while others are not affected, said Kenneth Baillie of Edinburgh University, coauthor of the study published on Friday in Nature.
The new information should help scientists design clinical trials of medicines that target specific antiviral and anti-inflammatory pathways. Among those with the most potential, Baillie said, should be a class of anti-inflammatory drugs called JAK inhibitors, including Eli Lilly’s arthritis drug baricitinib, which has been found to help hospitalized pneumonia patients in combination with Gilead’s remdesivir.
Online tool estimates COVID-19 mortality risk
A new online tool helps to estimate individuals’ risk of dying from COVID-19 depending on where they live in the United States, which could provide useful information on which individuals should be prioritized for early vaccinations.
The calculator, developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers, incorporates a variety of factors, including age, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic conditions, underlying medical conditions such as obesity, diabetes or cancer, and local pandemic intensity to produce estimates of adults’ COVID-19 mortality risk.
Currently, it does not incorporate information on occupation, such as whether individuals are frontline workers, which may increase risk, said Nilanjan Chatterjee, whose team developed the calculator. The researchers reported on Friday in Nature Medicine that they found large variations in risk across U.S.
cities and counties. “This information may be helpful for local policy makers to understand the need for vaccine allocations for local communities,” Chatterjee said. The car title loan calculator is available at website website
Open website in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines and treatments in development.
(Reporting by Nancy Lapid and Kate Kelland; Editing by Bill Berkrot)