The most interesting news overnight was that of a viable treatment for severe cases of auto-immune reactions to a covid-19 infection. This treatment has a significiant effect in reducing the bodies over-reactions to the disease. From the BBC world…
The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.
The drug is part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.
It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.
Had the drug had been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives could have been saved, researchers say.
Chief Medical Officer for England Prof Chris Whitty said it would save lives around the world.
About 19 out of 20 patients with coronavirus recover without being admitted to hospital.
Of those who are admitted, most also recover but some may need oxygen or mechanical ventilation.
And these are the high-risk patients dexamethasone appears to help.
The drug is already used to reduce inflammation in a range of other conditions, including arthritis, asthma and skin some conditions.
And it appears to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the body’s immune system goes into overdrive as it tries to fight off coronavirus.
This over-reaction, a cytokine storm, can be deadly.
The drug has been used for a variety of treatments since the 1960s, so the issues about side effects will be well-known. The course of treatment during the period of effectiveness will be about NZD 68.
As importantly this is the exact type of treatment drug that is required. Where it is effective is for people who require exhibit breathing difficulties and who would need admission to hospital. That means that as well as reducing the chance of patients from getting really sick, it also reduces the impacts on the healthcare systems.
It is well within the means of countries with less developed hospital systems. Which is a good thing bearing in mind that outside of the disaster area that is the US response to covid-19 outside of the main urban centres, these appear to be the main growth regions world wide. As well as the current hotspots in South America, mainly in Brazil, there have been new and revived outbreaks throughout several regions. For instance Africa is now accelerating in reported cases – from a WHO press release 5 days ago..
COVID-19 is accelerating in Africa, with more than 200,000 cases and more than 5,600 deaths, the regional office for the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday.
Africa recorded its first case of the new disease in mid-February. While it took nearly 100 days to reach 100,000 cases, the jump to 200,000 cases occurred in less than 20.
“For now, Africa still only accounts for a small fraction of cases worldwide”, said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “But the pace of the spread is quickening. Swift and early action by African countries has helped to keep numbers low but constant vigilance is needed to stop COVID-19 from overwhelming health facilities.”
However, now that the medical search for effective treatments is starting to yield some results to help actual physicians, hopefully this will reduce the incidence of people selling dangerous quack cures. Like this guy in the Waikato. RNZ on “Covid-19 bleach ‘cure’ sold by New Zealand man rusts steel“. Just reading that article made me cringe.
A separate website called Miracle Mineral NZ, which was linked to Blake’s Ngatea address, encouraged people to buy the chemicals – sodium chlorite and hydrochloric acid – combine them, then inhale the gas emitted.
Alternatively, the website advised people to dilute a small amount of the chemical with water and drink it eight times a day for a week.
Forensic scientist Dr Ian Calhaem, who tested the product for RNZ, found that when prepared as instructed on the Miracle Mineral website, the substance was acidic enough to rust a steel bar within two hours of being immersed in the liquid.
The promoter in an e-mail sent to potential customers claimed…
A recent email sent to customers of his online business claimed, “whether it be Coronavirus, Hepatitis, Ebola, Zika; it is a scientific fact that NO virus can withstand chlorine dioxide; and it has already been tested effective against Coronavirus.”
Of course what he doesn’t appear to have been mentioned was that there are few species, including humans, who can handle even quite dilute doses of chlorine dioxide. It is used in water treatment plants at a maximum dose of 0.8 ppm, the does according to instructions is 150x as much and well within the region that will cause significiant damage to human digestive systems – and bar steel.