CategoryTreatment

Covid patient’s own blood cells could treat lung scarring

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A therapy made from a Covid patient’s own blood is being trialled to treat lung scarring that’s left after hospitalisation.

Doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London have begun a small trial using patients’ white blood cells.

The Monocytes as an Anti-fibrotic treatment after COVID-19 (MONACO) cell therapy study is the world’s first Phase 1 trial for the condition that has advanced to a stage where it has been given to patients.

Early estimates indicate that 2% of all patients who had COVID-19, including those who were not hospitalised, will have suffered a degree of fibrotic lung scarring as a result of the infection. This estimate is even higher in patients who were admitted to intensive care. These statistics indicate that globally over 3.5 million people may have a degree of post COVID-19 lung scarring to date.

Lung scarring causes a significant decline in lung function, a long term debilitating reduction in exercise capacity and reduced quality of life in these patients.

The development of the MONACO Cell Therapy Study and production of the treatment were supported by the world class infrastructure and facilities of the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). The novel cell therapy used in this study was manufactured within the cutting edge facilities, and with the expert support of highly trained staff within the NIHR BRC’s Advanced Therapies Manufacturing platform at Guy’s Hospital.

Five patients with fibrotic lung disease following recovery from COVID-19, were the first people in the world to receive the experimental cell therapy treatment within the NIHR Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Guy’s Hospital.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-57837432

Anti-viral nasal spray found effective against COVID

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An anti-viral nasal spray called Enovid that was developed in Canada and tested in the UK can reduce the viral loads in confirmed COVID-19 cases by 95% in 24 hours and 99% in 72 hours, a press release said on Sunday.

The Israeli-manufactured spray can be used up to five times a day after coming in contact with viruses, according to the release. It’s suitable for children as young as 12 years old, and the Ministry of Health approved it in January this year. It will go on sale in the coming week.

“The spray we developed has been proven not only as a virus blocker that causes Covid-19 but also as a killer,” Dr. Gili Regev, CEO and founder of SaNotize (the company that developed the spray) said.

Since most COVID-19 infections are nasal, SaNotize believes this is an effective way to reduce the spread and infection of COVID-19. It has been able to suppress the SARS-CoV-2 virus within two minutes, including the Alpha and Gamma variants, according to the release. It is currently being tested against the Delta variant.

The spray is also effective against other respiratory viruses such as those that cause flu.

https://www.jpost.com/health-science/anti-viral-nasal-spray-effective-against-covid-19-673481?_ga=2.161149693.1913950314.1625920055-33032907.1595161945

US to spend $3.2B on treatments for COVID-19, other viruses

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The United States is devoting $3.2 billion to speed development of antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses that could turn into pandemics.

The new program will invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for COVID-19 but also would work to come up with treatments for other viruses, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He announced the investment Thursday at a White House briefing.

“There are few treatments that exist for many of the viruses that have pandemic potential,” he said, including Ebola, dengue, West Nile and Middle East respiratory syndrome.

But he added, “vaccines clearly remain the centerpiece of our arsenal.

The U.S. has approved one antiviral drug, remdesivir, specifically for COVID-19, and allowed emergency use of three antibody combinations that help the immune system fight the virus. But all the drugs have to given by IV at hospitals or medical clinics, and demand has been low due to these logistical hurdles.

Health experts have increasingly called for a convenient pill that patients could take themselves when symptoms first appear. Some drugmakers are testing such medications, but initial results aren’t expected for several more months. The new funds will speed those tests and support private sector research, development and manufacturing.

Last week, the U.S. said it would purchase 1.7 million doses of an experimental antiviral pill from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, if it is shown to be safe and effective. Results from a large study of the drug, molnupiravir, are expected this fall. Early research suggests the drug may reduce the risk of hospitalization if used shortly after infection by stopping the coronavirus from quickly reproducing. It did not benefit patients who were already hospitalized with severe disease.

https://apnews.com/article/anthony-fauci-united-states-infectious-diseases-coronavirus-pandemic-health-d9cfa18e561f3e58b2ae39e77353ab01

Regeneron antibody ‘cocktail’ can save lives in hospitalized Covid patients, study finds

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Another potentially life-saving treatment for hospitalized Covid-19 patients has been discovered by researchers at the University of Oxford.

The British study — part of the wider Recovery trial investigating various possible treatments for people hospitalized with coronavirus — found that an antibody combination made by Regeneron reduces the risk of death when given to patients with severe Covid who have not mounted a natural antibody response of their own.

The treatment uses a “cocktail” of two monoclonal antibodies (casirivimab and imdevimab, known as Regen-Cov in the U.S.) that bind specifically to two different sites on the coronavirus spike protein, neutralizing the ability of the virus to infect cells.

But in a small trial in hospitalized patients, preliminary evidence suggested a clinical benefit for patients who had not mounted a natural antibody response of their own (that is, they were seronegative) when they entered the trial.

This latest study is the first trial large enough to determine definitively whether this treatment reduces mortality in patients hospitalized with severe Covid.

The trial, which took place between September and May, involved 9,785 patients hospitalized with Covid.

For patients who were seronegative at the start of the study, the antibody combination significantly reduced their chances of dying by one-fifth compared with those receiving usual care alone (that is, 24% of patients in the antibody combination group died versus 30% of patients in the usual care group).

Thus, for every 100 such patients treated with the antibody combination, there would be six fewer deaths.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/16/regeneron-antibody-cocktail-can-save-lives-in-hospitalized-covid-patients.html

U.S. researchers find drug blocks severe COVID-19 symptoms in mice, including variants

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U.S. researchers have discovered a drug that could potentially be a game-changing tool in treating COVID-19 patients, including variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Researchers affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania have found that the drug diABZI was highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 symptoms in mice that were infected with multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, as described in their paper published in Science Immunology on May 18.

The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 hides to avoid the activation of interferons, which are proteins that signal the presence of a virus, in the respiratory tract’s epithelial cells. This results in a delayed immune response, which allows the virus to infect the respiratory tract.

A total of 129 mice with COVID-19 were treated with diABZI. When measured against a control group, the mice that had been treated with the drug saw less weight loss and a lower viral load.

“Few drugs have been identified as game-changers in blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection. This paper is the first to show that activating an early immune response therapeutically with a single dose is a promising strategy for controlling the virus, including the South African variant B.1.351,” said senior author Dr. Sara Cherry, a pathology and laboratory medicine professor at the University of Pennsylvania, in a news release.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/u-s-researchers-find-drug-blocks-severe-covid-19-symptoms-in-mice-including-variants-1.5448069

How a single pill home cure for Covid could be available this year

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At two anonymous Pfizer buildings, one in the US and one in Belgium, a remarkable experiment is under way. Up to 60 volunteers, all clean-living adults aged between 18 and 60, are being given the first pill specifically designed to stop SARS-CoV-2.

If the trial is successful, it is just possible that a home cure for Covid-19 will become available later this year. The Prime Minister, who announced the formation of a UK Antivirals Taskforce last week specifically to invest in such products, will no doubt be scanning his text messages for early updates.

The molecule being tested is a bespoke antiviral codenamed PF 07321332. Classed as a “protease inhibitor”, it has been formulated to attack the “spine” of the SARS-Cov-2 virus and stop it replicating in our noses, throats and lungs. It was protease inhibitors that turned the tide on the spread of HIV in the UK and around the world. Now researchers hope they may be on the brink of a similar pandemic-busting breakthrough.

“If they have moved to this stage, they will be quietly optimistic,” said Prof Penny Ward, visiting professor in pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London and a pioneer in the development of Tamiflu, an antiviral that combats seasonal and pandemic flu. “The question will be about how the drug is tolerated… They will be going like the clappers.”

The anti-viral pill was developed from scratch during the current pandemic, Dafydd Owen, the director of medicinal chemistry at Pfizer, told a private symposium of the Division of Medicinal Chemistry last month.

Pfizer is keeping schtum about the detail of the lab tests it has completed but says it has demonstrated “potent in vitro antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2” as well as activity against other coronaviruses, raising the prospect of cure to the common cold as well as future pandemic threats.

“We have designed PF-07321332 as a potential oral therapy that could be prescribed at the first sign of infection, without requiring that patients are hospitalized or in critical care,”said Mikael Dolsten, chief scientific officer and president, worldwide research, development and medical of Pfizer in an official statement released last month.

According to Prof Ward, Pfizer’s scientists will have most likely established the drug’s “potent”” action against SARS-CoV-2 by deploying it against infected human tissue cultures, including lung tissue, in a laboratory. “Once you know it works in vitro, it’s all about establishing its tolerance in animals and then humans,” she said.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/global-health/science-and-disease/revealed-home-cure-covid-could-available-year/

Britons who test positive for coronavirus could be sent antiviral tablets to take at home

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Britons who test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus could be sent antiviral tablets to take at home – as the prime minister aims to bolster the UK’s defences against another wave of infections this year.

Boris Johnson on Tuesday launched a government taskforce – modelled on the group that secured UK access to COVID vaccines – to identify the most promising new antiviral medicines.

The taskforce will be charged with supporting the development of new antiviral treatments through clinical trials to ensure they can be rolled out to patients as early as the autumn.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, the prime minister said the action was intended as a “further line of medical defence” against coronavirus.

“This means, for example, that if you test positive there might be a tablet you could take at home to stop the virus in its tracks and significantly reduce the chance of infection turning into more severe disease,” he added.

“Or if you’re living with someone who has tested positive, there might be a pill you could take for a few days to stop you getting the disease yourself.”

The government’s aim is to have at least two effective treatments this year – either in a tablet or capsule form – that the public can take at home following a positive COVID test or exposure to someone with the virus.

It is hoped the drugs could help combat any future rise in infections and limit the impact of new COVID variants, especially over the winter flu season.

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-britons-who-test-positive-for-coronavirus-could-be-sent-antiviral-tablets-to-take-at-home-12281366

Asthma drug ‘speeds up recovery at home’

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A cheap drug, commonly used to treat asthma, can help people at home recover more quickly from Covid-19, a UK trial has found.

Two puffs of budesonide twice a day could benefit many over-50s with early symptoms around the world, said the University of Oxford research team.

There are also early signs the drug could reduce hospital admissions.

The NHS says it can now be prescribed by GPs to treat Covid on a case-by-case basis from today.

At present, there are few options for treating people with Covid who are not in hospital, apart from paracetamol.

This widely-available asthma drug works in the lungs, where coronavirus can do serious damage, and could improve the recovery of at-risk patients who are unwell with Covid at home.

Prof Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said he was “delighted” by the trial results so far and he said GPs could prescribe it after “a shared decision conversation” with patients.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-56717486

Study bolsters the case that antibody drugs can protect against Covid-19

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A monoclonal antibody cocktail developed by the drug maker Regeneron offered strong protection against Covid-19 when given to people living with someone infected with the coronavirus, according to clinical trial results announced on Monday. The drug, if authorized, could offer another line of defense against the disease for people who are not protected by vaccination.

The findings are the latest evidence that such lab-made drugs not only prevent the worst outcomes of the disease when given early enough, but also help prevent people from getting sick in the first place.

Using the cumbersome drugs preventively on a large scale won’t be necessary: Vaccines are sufficient for the vast majority of people and are increasingly available.

Still, antibody drugs like Regeneron’s could give doctors a new way to protect high-risk people who haven’t been inoculated or who may not respond well to vaccination, such as those taking drugs that weaken their immune system. That could be an important tool as rising coronavirus cases and dangerous virus variants threaten to outpace vaccinations.

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/04/12/world/covid-vaccine-coronavirus-cases#regeneron-antibody-drug-covid-19

Eli Lilly’s combo therapy for COVID-19 cuts serious illness and death in large study

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Eli Lilly and Co said on Wednesday that its combination antibody therapy to fight COVID-19 reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 87% in a study of more than 750 high-risk COVID-19 patients.

It is the second large, late-stage study to show that combination therapy of two antibodies, bamlanivimab and etesevimab, is effective at treating mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

The previous study, which published data in January, used a higher dose of the drugs and reduced risk of hospitalization by 70%.

“I expect this data to continue to drive more utilization” of the antibodies,” said Daniel Skovronsky, chief scientific officer at Eli Lilly.

“We have few other diseases where we have drugs that can offer this magnitude of benefit.”

U.S. regulators authorized the combination therapy in February for use in COVID-19 patients 12 and over with a high risk of developing serious complications. European regulators greenlighted its use in March.

The United States agreed in February to purchase a minimum of 100,000 doses of the combination treatment.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-lilly/eli-lillys-combo-therapy-for-covid-19-cuts-serious-illness-and-death-in-large-study-idUSKBN2B21C0