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Patients with asthma are less likely to die from the virus; new better test to figure out who is still contagious



By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a rundown of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find cures and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Patients with asthma seem less likely to die from COVID-19

Patients with asthma who become infected with the novel coronavirus appear to have no greater risk of hospitalization or need for mechanical respiratory assistance than COVID-19 patients without asthma – and asthma patients are less likely to die from the disease, a new study suggests. . Researchers from a Boston healthcare system studied 562 asthmatic patients with COVID-19 and 2,686 COVID-19 patients of similar age without asthma. The two groups were hospitalized at similar rates (1

8% to 21%) and needed similar mechanical ventilation (3% in the asthma group vs 4%). But patients with asthma were 70 percent less likely to die from the virus, the researchers reported. None of the 44 patients with severe asthma died. “Although the factors behind these findings are not yet known, important considerations include: possible biological mechanisms … and possible protective effects of asthma medications (such as corticosteroids),” the researchers said in a report released Monday. on medRxiv in advance of peer review. (https://bit.ly/3iAgxXD)

New test to better identify who is still contagious

According to a new study, Becton Dickenson and Co’s BD Veritor system for rapid detection of the novel coronavirus is better than gold standard RT-PCR laboratory tests for distinguishing between infectious and non-infectious viruses in swab samples obtained within a week from the onset of symptoms. A disadvantage of RT-PCR (real-time polymerase chain reaction) is that patients can test positive even after they are no longer infectious, because the tests detect small amounts of viral RNA that most likely represent infected cells that have died. . Newer “antigen-based” tests look for viral proteins instead of RNA. The antigen-based approach could potentially “be used to identify and isolate contagious individuals more effectively than current RNA-based tests (RT-PCR),” co-author Celine Roger-Dalbert of BD Life Sciences told Reuters. . “While it may not replace RNA-based testing, as we have yet to identify whoever has been infected to track the spread of the virus, it should help make isolation more efficient and effective as a public health intervention used to slow the spread of COVID. -19 “, he added. The study results were published Monday in medRxiv before peer review. (https://bit.ly/2SBqkCg)

Intubation may be less risky for doctors than feared

Placing a tube in a patient’s airway, or removing it, is believed to be one of the highest risk procedures for medical personnel due to its proximity to air expelled through a potentially infected person’s mouth. But at least in operating theaters, these procedures could present a lower risk of transmitting the virus than was feared. In OR experiments on anesthetized patients, intubation and extubation produced far fewer potentially virus-carrying aerosols than expected. Overall, 19 tube insertions generated about a thousandth of the aerosol generated by a single cough, the researchers reported Tuesday in the journal Anesthesia. Fourteen tube removals produced more aerosols, but still less than 25% of that produced by a voluntary cough. The same may not be true in an emergency room. Surgical teams currently wear respirators and high-end personal protective equipment to avoid aerosols. After each case, a special cleaning is performed, which reduces the turnover of the operating room and increases the waiting time for operations, the authors say. The findings require “reassessment of what constitutes an aerosol-generating procedure and associated precautions for routine anesthetic airway management,” they said. (https://bit.ly/3jG0usS)

A full beard must not exclude the seal of the face mask

Frontline healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients must wear breathing masks that form a tight seal to the skin, but a full beard can make this impossible. Doctors in the UK have found a solution. The answer, outlined in a report published Saturday in the Journal of Hospital Infection, is to cover the beard on the chin and cheeks with a sheet of elastic rubber under the mask (as used in yoga and pilates) and tie it in a knot the top of the head. The technique was pioneered by a transplant surgeon and adopted by 32 bearded British health workers, 30 of whom passed respirator fit tests, according to the report. “Bearded individuals who are unable to shave may have an innovative new technique for wearing breathing masks,” the authors write. While noting that it has been tested on a small number of people, the authors said, “it provides encouraging results to pave the way for larger scale studies.” (https://bit.ly/2SCQyEB)

Open https://tmsnrt.rs/3a5EyDh in an external browser for a Reuters chart on vaccines and treatments under development.

(Reported by Nancy Lapid; Edited by Bill Berkrot)


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