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D. Carlton Rossi

COVID-19 Treatments

In Astounding Test, Scientists Revive Damaged Lungs for Transplant

Injured and unusable lungs were restored with respirators and pig blood. The procedure one day may increase the supply of organs for transplant.

The New York Times

Gina Kolata

July 13, 2020

They were damaged, swollen and soggy with fluid. Like 80 percent of lungs offered for transplant, these were just too far gone for the operation.

But researchers at Columbia and Vanderbilt saw an opportunity. They had been working for eight years on a system to restore damaged lungs.

They put each lung in a plastic box and attached it to a respirator so it could “breathe.” Then they connected each lung to a large vein in the neck of a live pig, so that its blood flowed through the vessels.

The results, reported on Monday in Nature Medicine, seem like pure science fiction: Within 24 hours, the lungs looked viable, and lab tests confirmed they had been resuscitated.


New syndrome in children thought to be linked to COVID-19 yields surprising test results

Kelly Grant

June 09, 2020

MIS-C, which the Canadian Paediatric Society sometimes calls PIMS-TS, is generally marked by fever, intestinal distress, elevated inflammation levels on laboratory tests and the overlapping symptoms of toxic-shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, a rare childhood illness that inflames the blood vessels, most dangerously in the heart.

“It’s very, very interesting for us, because we continue to think that this is related to SARS-CoV-2,” said Elie Haddad, the head of pediatric immunology at Sainte-Justine. “When they told us that only four patients were positive in serology, we were surprised.”


Researcher identifies link between COVID-19, selenium


April 29, 2020

Using cumulative COVID-19 outcome data from Feb. 18, the study found that in the city of Enshi, which has the highest selenium intake in China, the cure rate (percentage of COVID-19 patients declared “cured” by that date) was almost triple that of the average for all the other cities in Hubei province. In contrast, in Heilongjiang province, where Keshan is located and selenium intakes are among the lowest in the world, the death rate from COVID-19 was almost 5 times as high as the average of all the other provinces and municipalities outside of Hubei.

“A role for selenium may also help explain phenomena such as the recently reported blood clotting in COVID-19, because selenium is known to have an anti-clotting effect. There have also been reports of heart problems like myocarditis, which is reminiscent of Keshan disease, which was a viral myocarditis,” said Ethan W. Taylor.



The recommended dietry allowance (RDA) of selenium is 55 milligrams daily. Brazil nuts contain a high level of selenium so that one can meet the RDA with only two nuts per day. One wonders though if selenium helps boost the immune system and prevent blood clotting then why are there so many deaths from COVID-19 in Brazil. By the way, don't gulp down a handful of Brazil nuts as selenium can be toxic.


'This is going to produce cognitive deficits': Famed neuroscientist Adrian Owen launches COVID-19 brain study

Sharon Kirkey

June 23, 2020

The online COVID-19 Brain Study aims to recruit 50,000 people with a confirmed, positive diagnosis of the virus. Using questionnaires and pop down menus, Owen and his collaborators will collect information, “completely anonymized and secure,” asking participants about their medical history, any underlying heart, lung or other health issues, the extent of their COVID-19 diagnosis and what happened to them.

However, a recent review article raised the question of whether SARS-CoV-2, the pandemic virus that has killed nearly half a million globally and sent millions of other lives into free fall, is neurotropic, meaning toxic to brain tissue and to what extent it’s capable of damaging the central nervous system.

High doses of some sedatives in the ICU can contribute to delirium, a kind of brain dysfunction that can lead to a serious state of confusion and even paranoid delusions that the brain lays down as “real” memories. Early evidence suggests that one-third of COVID-19 patients of all ages, and two-thirds of those with severe disease, show signs of delirium, according to Harvard Medical School researchers.



Coronavirus: 'Baffling' observations from the front line

Chris Morris BBC Reality Check

May 23, 2020

Inflammation and blood clots

Everyone agrees that unprecedented levels of inflammation in the lungs make this a very different disease. When the lining of blood vessels gets inflamed, the blood is more likely to clot. And Covid-19 creates incredibly thick sticky blood in seriously ill patients.

"We find small clots in the small arteries of the lungs but also big clots in the big arteries of the lungs," says Hugh Montgomery. "More than 25% of patients have significant clots and this is a real problem." And the stickier the blood, the bigger the problem.

"You're much more prone to having deep vein thrombosis," explains Beverley Hunt, which usually means a blood clot in your leg. "And pulmonary embolism, when one of the deep vein thromboses travels around the body and blocks the blood supply to the lungs, adding to the problem of the pneumonia."



Could a simple gas produced by our bodies be used to treat COVID-19? Canadian trials underway

Avis Favaro

CTV National News

June 1, 2020

In the race to find an effective, low-cost treatment for COVID-19, a powerful molecule that has long captured the attention of medical researchers is gaining popularity.

Nitric oxide, a two-part nanomolecule made in the cells that line the blood vessels, is being examined as an experimental treatment for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Studies show it plays a role in helping to relax blood vessels and open the airways in the lung -- critical in treating those with advanced cases.

SaNOtize's nasal spray is designed to “disinfect” your upper airway using nitric oxide. Initial tests of the company's product suggest that the spray inactivated more than 99.9 per cent of SARs-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within two minutes during laboratory tests.

One of the studies suggesting it may have potential as a tool against COVID-19 is a report by Dr. Roham Zamanian, a pulmonologist at Stanford Health Care in California. His team gave nitric oxide to a woman suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension who had also developed COVID-19.



More evidence emerges on why COVID-19 is so much worse than the flu

Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post

Updated: 40 minutes ago

In larger blood vessels of the lungs, the number of blood clots was similar among COVID-19 and flu patients, the researchers wrote. But in COVID-19 patients, they found nine times as many micro-clots in the tiny capillaries of the small air sacs that allow oxygen to pass into the blood stream and carbon dioxide to move out. The virus may have damaged the walls of those capillaries and blocked the movement of those gases, the researchers wrote.

They also found inflamed and damaged cells in the lining of blood vessels in the COVID-19 patients.

Most surprising was evidence that the lungs of people attacked by the SARS-CoV-2 virus grew new blood vessels.

"The lungs from patients with COVID-19 had significant new vessel growth," a discovery the researchers described as "unexpected." In an interview, Mentzer speculated that may have been an attempt by the lungs to pass more oxygen to hypoxic tissue.



Relief for the COVID Kidney Threat?

Stockhouse Editorial

55 minutes ago

As hospitals across the United States continue to bring in waves of new patients with the COVID-19 coronavirus that has infected 1.9 million people in the country to date, the public remains focused on the damage the disease causes to our lungs, but a new study has found that more than a third of patients treated in a large New York medical system also developed severe and acute kidney injury.

This is where a biopharmaceutical company like XORTX Therapeutics Inc. (CSE: XRX, OTCQB: XRTXF, Forum) comes in to play, as it falls right under the criteria where its team is specializing.

With solid intellectual property rights, along with established proof of concept through independent clinical studies, XORTX is Click to enlargeworking to advance its clinical development stage products that target xanthine oxidase to inhibit production of uric acid. The Company has three very relevant products to this need in clinical development.



Halifax Companies Developing a Face Mask That Can Detect COVID-19

Omri Wallach


1 hour ago

But the immediate need and urgency for COVID-19 testing solutions meant that the Company could look at expanding the use of the virus detection technology. On Apr. 17, Sixth Wave (SIXW) announced it had filed for a second virus detection patent application to encompass a broad spectrum of devices, delivery systems and appliances. Where the first patent focused on the virus-detecting Accelerated Detection MIPs (“AMIPS”) platform, the second combines the sensor with practical devices to significantly alter the virus-detection landscape.



China's new outbreak shows signs the virus could be changing

Bloomberg News

May 20, 2020

Chinese doctors are seeing the coronavirus manifest differently among patients in its new cluster of cases in the northeast region compared to the original outbreak in Wuhan, suggesting that the pathogen may be changing in unknown ways and complicating efforts to stamp it out.

Patients in the northeast also appear to be taking longer than the one to two weeks observed in Wuhan to develop symptoms after infection, and this delayed onset is making it harder for authorities to catch cases before they spread, said Qiu, who is now in the northern region treating patients.

Qiu said that doctors have also noticed patients in the northeast cluster seem to have damage mostly in their lungs, whereas patients in Wuhan suffered multi-organ damage across the heart, kidney and gut.




May 20, 2020

DNA vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 in rhesus macaques Jingyou Yu et al.

Research Article | Science Date: 20-May-2020 DOI: 10.1126/science.abc6284

SARS-CoV-2 infection protects against rechallenge in rhesus macaques Abishek Chandrashekar et al.

Research Article | Science Date: 20-May-2020 DOI: 10.1126/science.abc4776


2 hours ago

Two studies in monkeys provide some of the first scientific evidence that surviving COVID-19 may result in immunity from reinfection

In a positive signal for vaccine development, two peer-reviewed studies published in @ScienceMagazine on Wednesday showed that rhesus macaque monkeys who recovered from COVID-19 were later immune when they were re-exposed to the virus. More research is needed to determine if immunity also applies to humans. Lead author of the studies, Dr Dan Barouch, said: “These data increase our optimism that natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity can be achieved in humans.”


Coronavirus: Hong Kong researchers find three-drug combination suppresses virus nearly twice as fast as drug held up as major hope against pandemic

Elizabeth Cheung

Updated: 11:24pm, May 9, 2020

The findings of the research, led by University of Hong Kong academics and published in The Lancet on Saturday, could signal progress in the search for a standard form of therapy for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease .

It discovered that using the antiviral drugs interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir and ribavirin together was “safe and more effective” in reducing the duration of viral shedding – when the coronavirus is detectable and potentially transmissible – for patients with mild to moderate symptoms, while accelerating their recovery.



Scientists Create Antibody That Defeats Coronavirus in Lab

Tim Loh

May 4, 2020, 10:01 AM EDT Updated on May 4, 2020

The antibody known as 47D11 targets the spike protein that gives the new coronavirus a crown-like shape and lets it enter human cells. In the Utrecht experiments, it didn’t just defeat the virus responsible for Covid-19 but also a cousin equipped with similar spike proteins, which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

Monoclonal antibodies are lab-created proteins that resemble naturally occurring versions the body raises to fight off bacteria and viruses. Highly potent, they target exactly one site on a virus.

Two such antibody therapies show promise against Ebola. Companies such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are also working on possible antibody treatments for the coronavirus.




The groundbreaking way to search lungs for signs of Covid-19

Chris Baraniuk

May 5, 2020

When Covid-19 was at its height in China, doctors in the city of Wuhan were able to use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to scan the lungs of thousands of patients.

The algorithm in question, developed by Axial AI, analyses CT imagery in seconds. It declares, for example, whether a patient has a high risk of viral pneumonia from coronavirus or not.

A consortium of firms developed the AI in response to the coronavirus outbreak. They say it can show whether a patient's lungs have improved or worsened over time, when more CT scans are done for comparison.


Coronavirus Causes Damaging Blood Clots From Brain to Toes

Jason Gale

Updated on May 5, 2020,

Viruses including HIV, dengue and Ebola are all known to make blood cells prone to clumping. The pro-clotting effect may be even more pronounced in patients with the coronavirus.

The problem is visible in clots -- doctors call them thrombi -- that form in patients’ arterial catheters and filters used to support failing kidneys. More pernicious are the clots that impede blood flow in the lungs, causing difficulty breathing.

Clotting disorders in Covid-19 patients were noted by researchers in China in February, but their gravity has since become clearer. While doctors had thought the vast majority of lung damage was due to viral pneumonia, they’re now looking more closely at clotting.

In Italy, the first European country gripped by the pandemic, it was after Covid-19 patients died from acute pulmonary emboli and other clotting-related events that doctors moved to inflammation-blocking treatments, such as tocilizumab, sold by Roche Holding AG as Actemra, said Frank Rasulo, a head of neuro critical care at Spedali Civili University Hospital in Brescia.

Some doctors are starting to see Covid as less of a typical respiratory disease, and more of one that involves dangerous clotting, said Rasulo, who is also an associate professor of anesthesia and intensive care. “That’s quite frightening when you think of it, because we didn’t know what we’re up against until we were in a later stage.”