Leicester academic questions lockdown approach for BAME groups – BBC News

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PA wire

Image caption

The number of coronavirus cases among BAME groups in Leicester continued to rise after lockdown

A “one-size-fits-all” approach to lockdown may not have been as effective in black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, scientists claim.

A study of Covid-19 in Leicester found cases continued to rise in BAME groups in the city in the three weeks that followed the 23 March lockdown.

In contrast, rates in white groups “dropped off very sharply”.

Researchers said the findings raise “serious questions” on whether lockdown is effective for a diverse population.

Dr Manish Pareek – a professor in infectious diseases at the University of Leicester – studied patients admitted to the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

He and his team found the proportion of people from BAME groups who tested positive for coronavirus continued to rise, peaking at 50.9% in the initial weeks of the full restrictions.

The figure for people from white backgrounds remained between 24% and 26%.

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PA Media

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Dr Pareek suggests thinking about a more nuanced approach than lockdown

Dr Pareek said there were a number of factors that could potentially explain their findings.

These include working in front-facing roles, living arrangements and difficulties communicating public health messages when there is a language and cultural barrier.

Dr Pareek said: “At the moment, there is perhaps a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Obviously, lockdown has had a huge impact in reducing infection rates but the question is, is it enough for certain parts of the country?”

He suggests preparing for future waves with a tailored public health messaging aimed at specific BAME groups.

Leicester is currently the only city in England following stricter lockdown measures.

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Australian university develops new blood test to trace coronavirus in 20 minutes – Times of India

MELBOURNE: Researchers at the prestigious Monash University here have developed a new blood test that they say can detect positive Covid-19 cases in just about 20 minutes and identify if someone has contracted the novel virus, a finding that could assist the world to mitigate the virus spread through robust
contact tracing.

Researchers at the university developed the simple agglutination assay, an analysis to determine the presence and amount of a substance in blood to detect the presence of antibodies raised in response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

As part of the research, the team of researchers were able to identify recent Covid-19 cases using 25 microlitres of plasma from blood samples, the university said in a statement.

“Positive Covid-19 cases caused an agglutination or a clustering of red blood cells, which was easily identifiable to the naked eye. Researchers were able to retrieve positive or negative readings in about 20 minutes,” according to the statement.

While the current swab/PCR tests are used to identify people who are currently positive with Covid-19, the agglutination assay can determine whether someone had been recently infected once the infection is resolved – and could potentially be used to detect antibodies raised in response to vaccination to aid clinical trials, the researchers said.

Using a simple lab setup, this discovery could see medical practitioners across the world testing up to 200 blood samples an hour, they said.

At some hospitals with high-grade diagnostic machines, more than 700 blood samples could be tested hourly – about 16,800 each day.

The study findings could help high-risk countries with population screening, case identification, contact tracing, confirming
vaccine efficacy during clinical trials, and vaccine distribution, the statement said.

A patent for the innovation has been filed and the researchers are seeking commercial and government support to scale up production, it said.

Simon Corrie, a senior lecturer of chemical engineering at Monash University, said the findings were exciting for governments and health care teams across the world in the race to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Currently, there are over 14,124,000 confirmed cases of
coronavirus across the world and more than 600,000 deaths, according to
Johns Hopkins University.

Corrie said this practice has the potential to become upscaled immediately for serological testing.

An e-book for families provides answers to important questions about covid-19 – The Washington Post

The free, downloadable e-book answers all sorts of questions about covid-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, from “Why has my life changed?” to “What are the long-term effects?”

Written in a Q&A format, the book contains a section specific to children’s questions and a much longer portion devoted to answering adults’ queries. It also has a long list of resources to help those who want to know more about antibody testing or the effectiveness of gloves.

“My friends and colleagues know I am plainspoken, and I don’t pull my punches when I see truth,” Haseltine writes.

In response to a child’s question about whether doctors can save people who are sick, he writes, “Doctors can save most people if they can get to a hospital in time, just like with other diseases. It is sad they can’t save everyone.”

Haseltine acknowledges that he doesn’t have all the answers — we’re still learning basics about the disease and that answers, and even questions, will be changing as we learn more. To that end, he’ll be regularly updating the book.

“A Family Guide to Covid” can be read or printed on demand at accessh.org/covidfamilyguide. It’s also available on Kindle at Amazon. (Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, is the owner of The Washington Post.)

Coronavirus: Dexaméthasone not for patients in early stages of the illness – The Brussels Times

Dexamethasone, the first drug proven to have saved the lives of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, probably should not be given to people in the initial stages of the illness, when they do not need help to breathe, the final results of an extensive clinical test show.

Dexamethasone is the only medication, along with the antiviral remdesivir, that has proved to be effective against COVID-19 following rigorous clinical tests that compared their effects with those of other treatments. Remdesivir reduces hospitalisation time but not mortality. Other drugs, like hydrochloroquine, have failed to show any effect.

As a result, dexamethasone and remdesivir have been adopted in international therapeutic recommendations and their production has been stepped up. The low cost of dexamethasone, a corticoid (anti-inflammatory drug) that has been around for a long time now, should facilitate its use worldwide.

Recovery Clinical Trials in the United Kingdom had announced in a press release on 16 June that, compared to the standard treatments, dexamethasone reduced deaths by a third in patients on mechanical ventilation, and by a fifth in patients receiving oxygen without being attached to artificial respiratory machines.

The complete results of the clinical test, done on 15% of patients hospitalised for COVID-19 in Britain, were published on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine. They confirm and expand on the results that had been announced in June.

The tests show that 29.3% of patients on ventilation to whom a daily dose of 6 mg of dexamethasone was administered intravenously died within 28 days, as against a death rate of 41% for patients of a comparable age receiving standard COVID care.

The reduction was less for people receiving oxygen in a non-invasive manner (23.3% versus 26.2%).

The results were best in people who had shown symptoms for seven days or more.

The data confirms that dexamethasone should not be administered to patients in the early stages of the illness, which seems logical since steroids reduce the body’s immune response. It is only when the illness progresses that hyperactivity of the immune system becomes apparent in the patient, causing severe inflammation in various organs, which is often the cause of death.

The Brussels Times

Australian varsity develops blood test to trace coronavirus in 20 minutes – Business Standard

Researchers at the prestigious Monash University here have developed a new blood test that they say can detect positive COVID-19 cases in just about 20 minutes and identify if someone has contracted the novel virus, a finding that could assist the world to mitigate the virus spread through robust contact tracing.

Researchers at the university developed the simple agglutination assay, an analysis to determine the presence and amount of a substance in blood to detect the presence of antibodies raised in response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection.

As part of the research, the team of researchers were able to identify recent COVID-19 cases using 25 microlitres of plasma from blood samples, the university said in a statement.

Positive COVID-19 cases caused an agglutination or a clustering of red blood cells, which was easily identifiable to the naked eye. Researchers were able to retrieve positive or negative readings in about 20 minutes, according to the statement.

While the current swab/PCR tests are used to identify people who are currently positive with COVID-19, the agglutination assay can determine whether someone had been recently infected once the infection is resolved and could potentially be used to detect antibodies raised in response to vaccination to aid clinical trials, the researchers said.

Using a simple lab setup, this discovery could see medical practitioners across the world testing up to 200 blood samples an hour, they said.

At some hospitals with high-grade diagnostic machines, more than 700 blood samples could be tested hourly about 16,800 each day.

The study findings could help high-risk countries with population screening, case identification, contact tracing, confirming vaccine efficacy during clinical trials, and vaccine distribution, the statement said.

A patent for the innovation has been filed and the researchers are seeking commercial and government support to scale up production, it said.

Simon Corrie, a senior lecturer of chemical engineering at Monash University, said the findings were exciting for governments and health care teams across the world in the race to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Currently, there are over 14,124,000 confirmed cases of across the world and more than 600,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Corrie said this practice has the potential to become upscaled immediately for serological testing.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Scientists Identify 6 Distinct Symptom Clusters In COVID-19 Patients – NDTV

Scientists Identify 6 Distinct Symptom Clusters In COVID-19 Patients

The research can help doctors predict who is most at risk, the scientists said (Representational)

London:

Scientists have claimed that there are six distinct “types” of COVID-19, each distinguished by a particular cluster of symptoms in patients, findings, if validated, can help physicians better diagnose and monitor those infected with the novel coronavirus.

The yet-to-be peer reviewed study, published in the medRxiv preprint platform, used a machine learning algorithm to analyse data from a subset of around 1,600 users in the UK and US with confirmed cases of COVID-19, who had regularly logged their symptoms using the app in March and April.

It analysed that if particular symptoms appeared together, and how this was related to the progression of the disease.

According to the scientists, led by those from King’s College London in the UK, the findings have major implications for the clinical management of COVID-19 patients.

“These findings have important implications for care and monitoring of people who are most vulnerable to severe COVID-19,” said Claire Steves, a co-author of the study from King’s College London.

They said the research can also help doctors predict who is most at risk and likely to need hospital care in a second wave of coronavirus infections.

The study noted that patient symptoms can fall under one of the six following categories: ‘flu-like’ with no fever, ‘flu-like’ with fever, gastrointestinal, severe level one with fatigue, severe level two with confusion, and severe level three accompanied by abdominal and respiratory pain.

In the first category of patients who reported ‘flu-like’ symptoms with no fever, the scientists said the manifestations included loss of smell, muscle pains, cough, sore throat, chest pain, but no fever.

According to their analysis, those in the second category had headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, fever, and loss of appetite, and those in the gastrointestinal symptoms cluster had a combination of headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, diarrhea, sore throat, chest pain, but no cough.

Under the ‘severe level one with fatigue’ category, the scientists said patients reported loss of smell, cough, headache, fever, hoarseness, chest pain, and fatigue, and those with the level two of severity expressed these same symptoms with the addition of loss of appetite, sore throat, confusion, and muscle pain.

In the most severe category, the study noted that patients experienced headache, loss of smell, loss of appetite, cough, fever, hoarseness, sore throat, chest pain, fatigue, confusion, muscle pain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

According to the research, all people reporting symptoms experienced headache and loss of smell, with varying combinations of additional symptoms at various times.

It said some of the manifestations, such as confusion, abdominal pain and shortness of breath, are not widely known as COVID-19 symptoms, yet are hallmarks of the most severe forms of the disease.

The scientists also analysed if people experiencing particular symptom clusters were more likely to require breathing support in the form of ventilation or additional oxygen.

Nearly half of the patients in cluster six, according to the study, ended up in hospital, compared with just 16 per cent of those in cluster one.

People with cluster four, five or six symptoms tended to be older and frailer, and were more likely to be overweight, the scientists said, adding that these patients had pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or lung disease than those in the other types.

For first time, world records 1 million coronavirus cases in 100 hours – The Indian Express

By:
Reuters |

Published: July 18, 2020 9:47:40 am

coronavirus news, 1 million, coronavirus cases, coronavirus vaccine, indian expresscoronavirus news, 1 million, coronavirus cases, coronavirus vaccine, indian express A wall in painted at Sukhamoy HS School in Agartala. (Express Photo: Abhishek Saha)

Global coronavirus infections passed 14 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, marking the first time there has been a surge of 1 million cases in under 100 hours.

The first case was reported in China in early January and it took three months to reach 1 million cases. It has taken just four days to climb to 14 million cases from 13 million recorded on July 13.

The United States, with more than 3.6 million confirmed cases, is still seeing huge daily jumps in its first wave of COVID-19 infections. The United States reported a daily global record of more than 77,000 new infections on Thursday, while Sweden has reported 77,281 total cases since the pandemic began.

Despite the surging cases, a cultural divide is growing in the country over wearing masks to slow the spread of the virus, a precaution routinely taken in many other nations. US President Donald Trump and his followers have resisted a full-throated endorsement of masks and have been calling for a return to normal economic activity and reopening schools despite the surging cases.

Other hard-hit countries have “flattened the curve” and are easing lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus while others, such as the cities of Barcelona and Melbourne, are implementing a second round of local shutdowns.

The number of cases globally is around triple that of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization.

The pandemic has now killed more than 590,000 people in almost seven months, edging towards the upper range of yearly influenza deaths reported worldwide. The first death was reported on Jan. 10 in Wuhan, China before infections and fatalities then surged in Europe and later in the United States.

The Reuters tally, which is based on government reports, shows the disease is accelerating the fastest in the Americas, which account for more than half the world’s infections and half its deaths.

In Brazil, more than 2 million people have tested positive including President Jair Bolsonaro, and more than 76,000 people have died.

India, the only other country with more than 1 million cases, has been grappling with an average of almost 30,000 new infections each day for the last week.

Those countries were the main drivers behind the World Health Organization on Friday reporting a record one-day increase in global coronavirus cases of 237,743.In countries with limited testing capacity, case numbers reflect only a proportion of total infections. Experts say official data likely under-represents both infections and deaths.

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Coronavirus may attack the central nervous system of patients – Yahoo India News

Ohio [USA], July 18 (ANI): Anxious behaviour or depressed mood in COVID-19 patients may be a sign that the virus affects the central nervous system, suggests an international study led by a University of Cincinnati College of Medicine researcher.

These two psychological symptoms were most closely associated with a loss of smell and taste rather than the more severe indicators of the novel coronavirus such as shortness of breath, cough or fever, according to the study.

“If you had asked me why would I be depressed or anxious when I am COVID positive, I would say it is because my symptoms are severe and I have shortness of breath or I can’t breathe or I have symptoms such as cough or high fever,” said Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, PhD, an associate professor and director of rhinology, allergy and anterior skull base surgery, in the UC College of Medicine’s Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

“None of these symptoms that portended morbidity or mortality was associated with how depressed or anxious these patients were,” said Sedaghat, also a UC Health physician specializing in diseases of the nose and sinuses.

“The only element of COVID-19 that was associated with depressed mood and anxiety was the severity of patients’ loss of smell and taste. This is an unexpected and shocking result,” added Sedaghat.

Sedaghat conducted a prospective, cross-sectional telephone questionnaire study which examined characteristics and symptoms of 114 patients who were diagnosed with COVID-19 over a six-week period at Kantonsspital Aarau in Aarau, Switzerland.

Severity of the loss of smell or taste, nasal obstruction, excessive mucus production, fever, cough and shortness of breath during COVID-19 were assessed. The findings of the study are available online in The Laryngoscope.

First author of the study is Marlene M. Speth, MD, and other co-authors include Thirza Singer-Cornelius, MD; Michael Oberle, PhD; Isabelle Gengler, MD; and Steffi Brockmeier, MD.

At the time of enrollment in the study, when participants were experiencing COVID-19, 47.4 percent of participants reported at least several days of depressed mood per week while 21.1 percent reported depressed mood nearly every day. In terms of severity, 44.7 percent of participants reported expressing mild anxiety while 10.5 percent reported severe anxiety.

“The unexpected finding that the potentially least worrisome symptoms of COVID-19 may be causing the greatest degree of psychological distress could potentially tell us something about the disease,” said Sedaghat.

“We think our findings suggest the possibility that psychological distress in the form of depressed mood or anxiety may reflect the penetration of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, into the central nervous system,” added Sedaghat.

Sedaghat says researchers have long thought that the olfactory tract may be the primary way that coronaviruses enter the central nervous system. There was evidence of this with SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, a viral illness that first emerged in China in November 2002 and spread through international travel to 29 countries.

Studies using mouse models of that virus have shown that the olfactory tract, or the pathway for communication of odors from the nose to the brain, was a gateway into the central nervous system and infection of the brain.

“These symptoms of psychological distress, such as depressed mood and anxiety are central nervous system symptoms if they are associated only with how diminished is your sense of smell,” said Sedaghat.

“This may indicate that the virus is infecting olfactory neurons, decreasing the sense of smell, and then using the olfactory tract to enter the central nervous symptom,” added Sedaghat.

Infrequent but severe central nervous system symptoms of COVID-19 such as seizures or altered mental status have been described, but depressed mood and anxiety may be the considerably more common but milder central nervous symptom of COVID-19, explains Sedaghat.

“There may be more central nervous system penetration of the virus than we think based on the prevalence of olfaction-associated depressed mood and anxiety and this really opens up doors for future investigations to look at how the virus may interact with the central nervous system,” said Sedaghat. (ANI)