This week in Clipboard Health’s Nursing News round-up …
Convalescent Plasma Approved for Use to Treat COVID-19 by FDA
Over the weekend, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. The plasma was already being used in limited trials to test the treatment, and the data from the tests showed that using the plasma can reduce patient mortality by 35%.
Convalescent plasma used to treat COVID-19 is collected from people who had the coronavirus but recovered. The plasma contains antibodies within it that researchers hoped could be used to help boost hospitalized patients’ immune systems in fighting off the disease.
Some health officials disagreed with the decision, stating that the tests and trials had not been peer-reviewed or done appropriately, and the WHO cautioned use of the convalescent plasma as treatment.
Hong Kong Reports First Documented Case of Coronavirus Reinfection
The University of Hong Kong reported the first documented case of coronavirus reinfection. Researchers performed genome sequencing to confirm that the 30-year-old man had been infected by two “clearly different” strains of coronavirus, with the second infection occurring four and a half months after the first.
Experts caution that reinfections like this are currently considered rare cases.
Study Suggests Doing Yoga Can Improve Symptoms in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation
A study presented by the European Society of Cardiology found that patients with atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder, had improved symptoms after just 16 weeks of participating in yoga. Examples of improved symptoms included a noticeable decrease in average blood pressure and a recognizable decrease in the number of symptomatic episodes.
Researchers Test Use of “Selfies” in Detecting Heart Disease
A new study is the first to test using selfies of patients to detect coronary artery disease (CAD). Researchers tested the use of an algorithm that analyzed four photos of a patient’s face to look for signs of the disease.
More testing and development is still needed, including with patients of different ethnicities, but the hope is to develop the algorithm for eventual use as an effective and cheap diagnostic tool.
Scientists Test New Injectable Drug to Prevent and Treat HIV
Researchers at the University of Utah Health recently published results from a study conducted to test a new injectable drug used to treat and prevent HIV that works by blocking the virus from entering a patient’s cells. The study tested the drug in non-human primates first to see how well it could protect them against exposure to a hybrid simian-human form of HIV known as SHIV. Results showed that the non-human primates never developed any signs of infection from the exposure.
If the new drug works well in humans, it could replace current treatments and would last longer in the body and avoid causing immune reactions that currently happen in patients when they take other drugs to treat HIV.
WHO Recommends Children 12 and Over Follow Adult Recommendations for Masks
The WHO updated its mask recommendations, encouraging children 12 years of age and older to wear masks with the same guidance as adults. For children between the ages of six years old and 11 years old, the organization continued to recommend they wear the mask based on risk assessment.
Race for the Vaccine: Coronavirus Vaccine Updates
The race for the coronavirus vaccine continues.
- Novavax Inc begins enrolling volunteers in the United States and Australia to begin its second phase of clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Last week the company began studies in South Africa.
- China approves human testing phase for a vaccine candidate that is grown within insect cells.
- Moderna, one of the few companies in late-stage testing of a coronavirus vaccine and one of three companies chosen to be funded by the US, finishes negotiations with the European Union on supplying doses of its vaccine.
- Pfizer and BioNTech, another development company in late-stage testing of a vaccine candidate and one of the three companies funded by the US, released a study comparing the side effects of their two vaccines under development. They reported that the second vaccine seemed to have fewer side effects.
- China reported it has been vaccinating high-risk workers with an experimental vaccine since July. The vaccine being used is currently in stage three of clinical testing.