WHO warns against remdesivir for Covid-19 treatment
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday warned that the antiviral drug remdesivir should not be used to treat Covid-19 patients no matter how ill they are as there is no evidence it works.
 
"The panel found a lack of evidence that remdesivir improved outcomes that matter to patients such as reduced mortality, need for mechanical ventilation, time to clinical improvement, and others," Xinhua news agency quoted the WHO's Guideline Development Group (GDG) panel ass aying in a sattement.
 
"Any beneficial effects of remdesivir, if they do exist, are likely to be small and the possibility of important harm remains," the panel added.
 
The WHO recommendation, published in the British Medical Journal, was based on an evidence review that included data from four international randomised trials among more than 7,000 hospitalised patients.
 
After reviewing the evidence, the panel concluded that remdesivir has no meaningful effect on death rates or other important outcomes for patients.
 
"Especially given the costs and resource implications associated with remdesivir... The panel felt the responsibility should be on demonstrating evidence of efficacy, which is not established by the currently available data," it said.
 
The antiviral is one of only two medicines currently authorized to treat Covid-19 patients across the world.
 
It has been approval for use in the US, the European Union and other countries after initial research found it may shorten recovery time in some Covid-19 patients.
 
Made by the US company Gilead, remdesivir is extremely expensive and has to be given intravenously.
 
Gilead said last month that the drug had boosted its third quarter sales by about $900 million.
 
The WHO's warning comes as the overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 56.8 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.35 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
 
In its latest update on Friday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 56,817,667 and 1,358,489, respectively.
 
The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 11,710,084 and 252,484, respectively, according to the CSSE.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Rapid Testing Is Less Accurate Than the US Government Wants to Admit
    Rapid antigen testing is a mess. The federal government pushed it out without a plan, and then spent weeks denying problems with false positives.
     
    The promise of antigen tests emerged like a miracle this summer. With repeated use, the theory went, these rapid and cheap coronavirus tests would identify highly infectious people while giving healthy Americans a green light to return to offices, schools and restaurants. The idea of on-the-spot tests with near-instant results was an appealing alternative to the slow, lab-based testing that couldn’t meet public demand.
     
    By September, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services had purchased more than 150 million tests for nursing homes and schools, spending more than $760 million. But it soon became clear that antigen testing — named for the viral proteins, or antigens, that the test detects — posed a new set of problems. Unlike lab-based, molecular PCR tests, which detect snippets of the virus’s genetic material, antigen tests are less sensitive because they can only detect samples with a higher viral load. The tests were prone to more false negatives and false positives. As problems emerged, officials were slow to acknowledge the evidence.
     
    With the benefit of hindsight, experts said the Trump administration should have released antigen tests primarily to communities with outbreaks instead of expecting them to work just as well in large groups of asymptomatic people. Understanding they can produce false results, the government could have ensured that clinics had enough for repeat testing to reduce false negatives and access to more precise PCR tests to weed out false positives. Government agencies, which were aware of the tests’ limitations, could have built up trust by being more transparent about them and how to interpret results, scientists said.
     
    When health care workers in Nevada and Vermont reported false positives, HHS defended the tests and threatened Nevada with unspecified sanctions until state officials agreed to continue using them in nursing homes. It took several more weeks for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue an alert on Nov. 3 that confirmed what Nevada had experienced: Antigen tests were prone to giving false positives, the FDA warned.
     
    “Part of the problem is this administration has continuously played catch-up,” said Dr. Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School. It was criticized for not ensuring enough PCR tests at the beginning, and when antigen tests became available, it shoved them at the states without a coordinated plan, he said.
     
    If you tested the same group of people once a week without fail, with adequate double-checking, then a positive test could be the canary in the coal mine, said Dr. Mark Levine, commissioner of Vermont’s Health Department. “Unfortunately the government didn’t really advertise it that way or prescribe it” with much clarity, so some people lost faith.
     
    HHS and the FDA did not respond to requests for comment.
     
    The scientific community remains divided on the potential of antigen tests.
     
    Epidemic control is the main argument for antigen testing. A string of studies show that antigen tests reliably detect high viral loads. Because people are most infectious when they have high viral loads, the tests will flag those most likely to infect others. Modeling also shows how frequent, repeated antigen testing may be better at preventing outbreaks than highly sensitive PCR tests, if those tests are used infrequently and require long wait times for results. So far, there are no large scale, peer-reviewed studies showing how the antigen approach has curbed outbreaks on the ground.
     
    People need to realize that without rapid testing, we’re living in a world where many people are unknowingly becoming superspreaders… Continue Reading…
     
    Courtesy: ProPublica.org
     
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    A Positive Outlook on Life Helps with Better Cognitive Function
    When you have a positive outlook on life, there is a lower chance that you would experience cognitive decline in your older years, a new study has found. 
     
    Published in the journal Psychological Science, the study reports that people who feel enthusiastic and cheerful, what psychologists call having ‘positive affect’, are less likely to experience memory decline as they age. These findings add to a growing body of research on positive affects’ role in healthy ageing. 
     
    To arrive at this conclusion, the research team from Northwestern University considered a large data set drawn from 991 middle-aged and older US adults who were members of a US-based national study. For this study, specific data points were selected across three time periods: 1995 to 1996, 2004 to 2006 and 2013 to 2014.
     
    At each time point, the participants were asked to assess themselves in terms of a set of positive emotions. The emotional responses were drawn from different things that each person had experienced over the most recent 30-day period. For the last two assessments, each individual was asked to undertake different tests into memory performance. These tests required the participants to recall an array of words immediately after an instructor had presented them and also after 15 minutes had elapsed.
     
    The large amount of data across the two-decade period enabled researchers to explore the association between having a positive outlook and any signs of memory decline among the participants. During the analysis, the data was normalised to take into account factors of age, gender, education, depression, negative affect and extraversion.
     
    The results indicated that memory declined in participants who generally did not have a positive outlook, while it was observed to have a slower rate of decline in participants who had a more positive outlook on life. This higher rate of cognition was observed to be consistent over a period of 10 years. 
     
    "Our findings showed that memory declined with age," said Prof Claudia Haase, one of the researchers from Northwestern University. "However, individuals with higher levels of positive affect had a less steep memory decline over the course of almost a decade," added Dr Emily Hittner, of Northwestern University and the study’s lead author.
     
    The researchers are hoping to take these findings forward for a further study to understand the pathways that could connect positive affect and memory, such as physical health or social relationships. 
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    COMMENTS

    saharaaj

    3 weeks ago

    In pandemic times Govt edging out senior citizens from medical and other care research has least relevance

    Ramesh Popat

    3 weeks ago

    True!

    We are listening!

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