Researchers at the University of Minnesota report that for early treatment of mild COVID-19, the malaria drug performs no better than placebos
Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School have published the results from the first randomized clinical trial testing hydroxychloroquine for the early treatment of mild COVID-19 among persons who are not hospitalized.
Hydroxychloroquine did not decrease the severity of COVID-19 symptoms over 14 days any better than a placebo, the trial results show. In addition, there was no benefit in faster resolution of symptom severity among those who also took zinc or vitamin C with either hydroxychloroquine or placebo.
“The partners in this endeavor — University of Wisconsin researchers, a biotech startup, and an international vaccine developer — are moving forward with a sense of urgency and integrity incumbent upon us as scientists and world citizens.” – Erik Iverson
An international collaboration of virologists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the vaccine companies FluGen and Bharat Biotech has begun the development and testing of a unique vaccine against COVID-19 called CoroFlu.
CoroFlu will build on the backbone of FluGen’s flu vaccine candidate known as M2SR. Based on an invention by UW–Madison virologists and FluGen co-founders Yoshihiro Kawaoka and Gabriele Neumann, M2SR is a self-limiting version of the influenza virus that induces an immune response against the flu. Kawaoka’s lab will insert gene sequences from SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19, into M2SR so that the new vaccine will also induce immunity against the coronavirus.
Refinement of the CoroFlu vaccine concept and testing in laboratory animal models at UW–Madison is expected to take three to six months. Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad, India will then begin production scale-up for safety and efficacy testing in humans. CoroFlu could be in human clinical trials by the fall of 2020.
“If proven effective in decreasing the symptoms of COVID-19, this treatment would be a safe and affordable option for fighting the pandemic.”
An antidepressant medication is being tested as a potential treatment for COVID-19 after University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers determined it may prevent dangerous overreactions by the immune system.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis are launching a clinical trial to determine if the drug fluvoxamine can prevent “cytokine storms,” in which the body is flooded with immune cells called cytokines. This frenzied immune response can lead to life-threatening organ failure and has been a major concern in patients with severe COVID-19 infections.
UVA researchers Alban Gaultier and Dorian A. Rosen found last year that fluvoxamine may stop the deadly inflammation known as sepsis, in which the immune response spirals out of control. The drug, they determined, reduced the production of cytokines. It proved effective in mice as a preventative treatment for sepsis, and now it will be tested as a protective measure for patients with COVID-19.
Canine surveillance by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania could play key role as United States reopens and anticipates possible second wave amid virus fears.
A pilot training program utilizing scent detection dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients is the focus of a new research initiative at the School of Veterinary Medicine.
With up to 300 million smell receptors—compared to six million in humans—dogs are uniquely positioned to aid in disease detection. This pioneering study—that will explore the sensitivity and specificity of scent—sets the stage for dogs to be a force multiplier in the mission to detect COVID-19, particularly among asymptomatic patients, or hospital or business environments where testing is most challenging. Preliminary screening of live humans by trained dogs could begin as early as July.
Researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) join the quest
With COVID-19’s spread across the globe meeting a strong front of resistance from the world’s governments, the supercomputing community increasingly seems united in a single goal: stopping the pandemic. The latest player to highlight their role in the fight is the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP),where researchers have leveraged supercomputing in their quest to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), where researchers have leveraged supercomputing in their quest to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus. The research is led by Suman Sirimulla, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences at UTEP. Like many others, Sirimulla is attacking COVID-19’s spike protein: the crucial, invasive protein that allows COVID-19 to hijack human cells and reproduce itself within them. The UTEP team is hunting both for small molecules that could serve to inhibit the spike protein and for inhibitors of COVID-19’s primary protease.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are working on treatment and prevention of COVID-19
While some researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are part of a global effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine, others say research to develop antibodies to the virus show even more promise for quick relief.
Vaccines take time to be effective and they don’t work in everyone, said Dr. Mike Cohen, director of the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Disease, “so an alternative is, if you know the target the virus is seeking, you might make a weapon.”
That weapon is monoclonal antibodies, and he said human trials for virus antibodies could start at UNC as early as June.
Study Shows Low-cost Steroid Treatment Reduces Death by Up to 1/3 for Ventilated Hospital Patients With Covid-19
“Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide.”- Peter Horby, Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford
A study by the University of Oxford shows 1 death out of 8 ventilated patients could be prevented by treatment using a readily available and inexpensive steroid.
In March 2020, the RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy) trial was established by the University of Oxford as a randomized clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19, including low-dose dexamethasone (a steroid treatment).
Peter Horby, Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, and one of the Chief Investigators for the trial, said: ‘Dexamethasone is the first drug to be shown to improve survival in COVID-19. The survival benefit is clear and large in those patients who are sick enough to require oxygen treatment, so dexamethasone should now become standard of care in these patients.’
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati hope to discover novel plasma biomarkers in order to minimize heart damage seen in minority populations hardest hit by coronavirus
Researchers are finding about half of all patients with COVID-19 admitted to an intensive care unit have heart damage. The troubling trend of heart injury for COVID-19 patients is why a team of UC researchers is trying to understand how the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the pathogen of COVID-19, impacts heart cells. Sakthivel Sadayappan, PhD, the grant’s principal investigator, Richard Becker, MD and Donald Lynch, MD, are leading this effort.
Lynch, an assistant professor in the UC College of Medicine and a UC Health cardiologist, says the research will hopefully lead to the discovery of novel plasma biomarkers that can predict early signs of severe cardiac injury, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.
He says COVID-19 is affecting patients in ways that exacerbate pre- existing racial and health inequalities in the United States. Reports of African-Americans being disproportionately hit by COVID-19 deaths are linked to other health concerns including cardiovascular well-being.
“This may be the first diagnostic test specific for COVID-19 related heart injury.”
U-m Researchers Advance Antibody Test Development to Aid in the International Fight Against Covid-19
Scientists in the Life Sciences Institute’s Center for Structural Biology are now optimizing production…
ANN ARBOR—Scientists at the University of Michigan are advancing new antibody tests to identify people who have been infected with the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The tests, being validated now, could accelerate selection of patient plasma for use in treating new COVID-19 infections.
Antibody tests, also called serological tests, search blood serum for evidence that an individual has been infected with a virus. If a person is infected by a virus, their immune system produces specialized antibody proteins that are uniquely equipped to fight off that specific virus—in this case, the SARS-CoV-2 virus. When the serum from a person who was infected with COVID-19 is applied to a small portion or fragment of viral protein immobilized on a solid surface, the serological test will reveal these specialized antibodies.
If accurate and widely available, COVID-19 antibody tests could not only aid in selecting serum for patient treatments, but also help determine the true rate of infection and measure the spread of the virus and disease.