CategoryItaly

Promising treatments for COVID-19 advanced by Canadian scientists

P

When most people think of Canadian medical innovation, the first thing that typically comes to mind is insulin. And while Banting and Best’s discovery was a breakthrough in the treatment of diabetes, it also took place almost a century ago.

“We always go there, don’t we?” says Pamela Fralick, president of Ottawa-based Innovative Medicines Canada, an association representing the Canadian pharmaceutical industry. But we should also recognize the accomplishments of James Till and Ernest McCulloch, who discovered stem cells; Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, who identified the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis; Dr. Chil-Yong Kang, whose HIV prevention vaccine is currently in clinical trials. And many, many more.

From the first whispers last year about the emergence of a deadly respiratory coronavirus in China, Canadian scientists have been researching and developing possible treatments, cures and vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19.

Already, a promising discovery has come out of Vancouver-based biotech company AbCellera Biologics Inc. – a potential treatment for the virus developed in record time. In partnership with U.S. drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. and with $175-million in funding from the Canadian government, the lab-produced treatment that mimics antibodies isolated from a recovered patient has already entered into human testing.

University of Toronto molecular engineer Dr. Sachdev Sidhu and his team are designing synthetic therapeutic antibodies.

Already there are good results in trials in which antibodies collected from someone who has recovered are transferred to someone who is sick, Dr. Sidhu says. For many, this could be a successful treatment, he explains, keeping sicker patients off ventilators and, in less dire cases, alleviating symptoms and kickstarting patients’ own immune systems.

Dr. Sidhu says his engineered antibodies work in a similar way – except that they are more potent and targeted than naturally occurring antibodies and, because they are engineered, can be produced in massive quantities.

Dr. Sidhu says his treatment is ready to scale up, but after an initial $500,000 research grant from the federal government, no further funds have been advanced for clinical trials. Fortunately, he says, a $7.6-million commitment from Italy means his team will be doing clinical trials there. There is also interest from the Indian government to do the same.

“That’s good news for us; our drug will advance,” Dr. Sidhu says. But without additional funding from the Canadian government, he adds, it will be made and tested elsewhere and then brought back to Canada eventually as an approved treatment.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/featured-reports/article-promising-treatments-for-covid-19-advanced-by-canadian-scientists/HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

The Intensive Care section of the hospital of Bergamo, Italy, which has been the most COVID-battered city in the world, is now COVID free

T

Intensive care at the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo no longer has patients infected with the coronavirus, after 137 days from the first hospitalization on Sunday 23 February. This is what the hospital itself reports.

Some patients affected by the virus remain hospitalized in the Bergamo hospital, but are now negative.

Intensive covid-free therapy to Pope John was symbolically celebrated by the general manager Maria Beatrice Stasi, with the health director Fabio Pezzoli and the director of the Emergency Department of urgency and critical area Luca Lorini, in the presence of a representation of the operators of intensive care . In memory of the victims, a few moments of silence were respected and then applause for the result achieved by the approximately 400 operators working in Pope John’s intensive care, including doctors, nurses, support workers and cleaning staff.

https://www.ansa.it/sito/notizie/topnews/2020/07/08/intensiva-ospedale-bergamo-e-covid-free_75328b17-223d-466b-ad06-b43819ddf29a.htmlHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

Once the Epicenters For COVID-19, New York and Italy Reach Single Digit Numbers

O

They were the epicenters of disease in America and Europe, but now New York and Italy have both reached single-digit daily numbers for fatalities attributed to COVID-19 and plummeting hospitalization rates after valiant efforts to stop the spread.

The Ministero della Salute in Italy reported last week transmissions of just 5.86 per 100,000 inhabitants, while some news sources place the nationwide death rate as low as 6 on June 29th, down by 22 from just the day before.

While some clusters—particularly in the north where the virus has been the worst, and the south, where many Italians go on vacation—have appeared recently, the country is still recording the lowest numbers since mid-February.

Similarly, New York has achieved a complete turnaround, recording 5 deaths last Saturday, according to AP, the lowest since March 15th—down from 13 the day before.

https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/new-york-and-italy-reach-single-digit-daily-case-numbers/HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

More covid-19 patients are surviving ventilators in the ICU

M

An increasing number of U.S. covid-19 patients are surviving after they are placed on mechanical ventilators, a last-resort measure that was perceived as a signal of impending death during the terrifying early days of the pandemic.

Early reports out of Wuhan, China, and Italy cemented the impression that the vast majority of patients who required the breathing devices ultimately succumbed to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

But as the pandemic has continued, U.S. hospitals are reporting much lower mortality rates, results on par with death rates for patients with similar severe lung problems caused by other diseases.

Experts say that’s because clinicians have become more skilled and are deploying new tactics as they learn more about the course of covid-19; some are using ventilators more selectively; many hospitals are less overwhelmed than when the virus first inundated Wuhan, parts of Italy and New York City; and early data on ventilation and death did not present a true picture.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/more-covid-19-patients-are-surviving-ventilators-in-the-icu/2020/07/03/2e3c3534-bbca-11ea-8cf5-9c1b8d7f84c6_story.htmlHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

Study By Italian Doctors: The Virus Has Become Less Lethal At Our Hospital Over Time

S

If you were admitted to the ICU at San Raffaele with COVID-19 in the first half of March, you had a one in four chance of dying. If you were admitted in the first half of May, you had a one in 50 chance. Something has changed. But is that something related to the virus itself or to better care by the hospital as doctors came to recognize which treatments worked and which didn’t? The authors mention that as one possible explanation along with several others, ranging from the social distancing effect of the lockdowns to the fact that that distancing also limited co-infections by the flu to even the possibility that lower air pollution due to the reduced traffic has improved patients’ health. The flu theory is especially interesting: What if COVID is especially lethal in colder weather because it weakens the body and makes it susceptible to failure from ordinary everyday flu that we’d otherwise shake off? That’s a possibility worth exploring further.

Whatever the explanation, we’re now a month on from the claim that the virus “no longer exists clinically” in Italy. And that claim is looking stronger than we might have guessed a month ago:

There’s no hard evidence I’m aware of that the virus has mutated into something less lethal, although there is evidence that it’s mutated into something more contagious. I flagged this WaPo story yesterday in posing a question: Is it possible that the new, more infectious strain of SARS-CoV-2 that doctors think is taking over the world might also be less deadly than the original version? Americans are watching in horror as the case counts here climb each day, only to be left scratching their heads at the fact that deaths aren’t similarly rising. A more infectious yet less deadly strain of the disease would explain that.

https://hotair.com/archives/allahpundit/2020/07/01/study-italian-doctors-virus-become-less-lethal-hospital-time/HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

Immunity may be more widespread than tests suggest

I

People testing negative for coronavirus antibodies may still have some immunity, a study has suggested.

For every person testing positive for antibodies, two were found to have specific T-cells which identify and destroy infected cells.

This was seen even in people who had mild or symptomless cases of Covid-19.

But it’s not yet clear whether this just protects that individual, or if it might also stop them from passing on the infection to others.

Researchers at the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden tested 200 people for both antibodies and T-cells.

Some were blood donors while others were tracked down from the group of people first infected in Sweden, mainly returning from earlier affected areas like northern Italy.

This could mean a wider group have some level of immunity to Covid-19 than antibody testing figures, like those published as part of the UK Office for National Statistics Infection Survey, suggest.

It’s likely those people did mount an antibody response, but either it had faded or was not detectable by the current tests.

And these people should be protected if they are exposed to the virus for a second time.

Prof Danny Altmann at Imperial College London described the study as “robust, impressive and thorough” and said it added to a growing body of evidence that “antibody testing alone underestimates immunity”.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-53248660HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

Italy reports lowest COVID-19 death increase since early March

I

Italy, the onetime global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, reported its lowest increase in deaths from the virus since the pandemic began in March.

The latest data from Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, issues Sunday, showed 24 new deaths in the preceding 24 hours, the lowest number since March 2. The national death toll overall currently stands at 34,634, while the total active cases throughout the country stand at 20,972 as of Sunday, according to CNN. Despite the recent improvements, the county still has the world’s fourth-highest death toll, after the U.S., Brazil and Britain.

The number of people in intensive care is also down, falling from 152 on Saturday to 148 on Sunday, according to Reuters. A total of 182,893 of people have been confirmed to have recovered from the virus, Reuters reported.

https://thehill.com/policy/international/europe/503807-italy-reports-lowest-covid-19-death-increase-since-early-marchHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

Italy’s hard-hit region nears ‘herd immunity’ as more than half of people tested show coronavirus antibodies

I

The northern Italy region hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic seems well on the path to so-called “herd immunity” after more than half of its residents tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

Citing a sample survey, health authorities said this week that of the nearly 10,000 residents in the city of Bergamo who had blood tests done between April 23 and June 3, about 57 percent had antibodies, indicating they had come into contact with the virus. Medical staff comprised about 30 percent of those cases.

The new study, conducted by Italy’s National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), suggests that the province may be heading toward “herd immunity.”

https://www.foxnews.com/world/bergamo-italy-herd-immunity-coronavirus-antibodiesHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.

Covid-19: ‘We have to assume the virus has attenuated’

C

Covid-19 has likely become less potent as it mutates over time, and hopefully one day will become a common cold virus, a New Zealand, London-based professor says. 

New Zealander Gary McLean, a professor in molecular immunology at London Metropolitan University, told Sunday Morning he was inclined to believe Zangrillo, whose claim was backed up by a second doctor from northern Italy who said he was also seeing the coronavirus weaken.

“They’ve experienced the full gamut of this virus and the effects and I think we have to believe what they’re saying, the clinical picture that is. If they’re seeing reduced severity there must be something to it. 

“It’s really difficult to know why exactly at this point, because there’s a lot of reasons why it could be and there’s no scientific literature, peer-reviewed papers that really document this, but if the clinicians are saying that I have to think it’s probably real.”

The virus may well have changed or attenuated causing a change in the clinical picture, McLean said. 

“I would probably favour that in some way the virus is attenuating itself, just by accumulating mutations over time…and these little mutations accumulate and eventually the virus has had long enough in that host, in humans, it will drift and change slightly,” McLean said. 

Gary McLean said there were 40 known coronaviruses, including seven which have infected humans, including four which are endemic cold viruses which cause relatively mild symptoms. 

“One could argue originally those four might have been similar to SARS1, MERS and SARS2, and they attenuated themselves and became just a mild common cold.”

One of the endemic strains, OC43, has been mapped back in time and the common ancestor is a cow coronavirus thought to have jumped into humans in 1890, McLean said. 

“And coincidentally in 1890 there was a world-wide pandemic of a respiratory disease that killed one million people. And you can put one and one together and assume OC43 may have come from a pandemic and over the next 130 years it’s evolved into a very mild, common cold virus,” McLean said. 

“And I’m hoping it doesn’t take 130 years for this one to get that mild, but let’s say it might take a year or so and we’re going to have another common cold coronavirus. 

“So I’d like to predict that but I don’t know for sure if that will happen.”

https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/2018749596/covid-19-we-have-to-assume-the-virus-has-attenuatedHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

I run this site in my spare time and thoroughly enjoy giving you all positive news!  If you’ve enjoyed the site we’d love for you to help me share the good news far and wide, share us on Reddit, your Facebook or your Twitter and spread a little positivity around.