In a week when the coronavirus closures and quarantines hit like falling dominoes – the lockdown in Italy, the empty workplaces and college campuses in the U.S., suspended sports seasons, canceled festivals – far less attention fell on the global scientific community’s drive to find treatments for the new virus.
But researchers are already suggesting strategies to help patients suffering from the virus, which is marked by fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. One treatment could be just weeks away.
With no vaccine expected anytime soon, treatments are crucial to saving the lives of thousands of the infected, especially high-risk patients – the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease.
“I’m very hopeful and very positive. We’ll get through this,” said Robert Kruse, a doctor in the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. “I’ve been shocked this week at the measures that have been taken (to alter daily life). They were probably the correct ones, given that they have worked in other countries.”
‘Time is of the essence’
Kruse has been pursuing two treatment strategies, one of which has a long history and could be available within weeks rather than months. The quickest option is likely to be the use of antibodies from recovered COVID-19 patients. As of Saturday, there were almost 72,000 such patients worldwide. The virus has infected about 150,000, killing more than 5,500.
The use of survivor antibodies, serum therapy, dates back to 1891 when it was used successfully to treat a child with diphtheria. Since then, serum from recovered patients has been used “to stem outbreaks of viral diseases such as poliomyelitis, measles, mumps and influenza,” according to a paper Friday in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Read more
China’s claims of how it’s handling coronavirus recovery should be taken with more than a few grains of salt.
Even before COVID-19 became a global crisis, Chinese leaders had been criticized for their handling of the situation and lack of transparency about the disease’s progression. Things now look like they’re on the upswing, and businesses even appear to be headed back to work — but whistleblowers and local officials tell Caixan that’s just a carefully crafted ruse.
Beijing has spent much of the outbreak pushing districts to carry on business as usual, with some local governments subsidizing electricity costs and even installing mandatory productivity quotas. Zhejiang, an province east of the epicenter city of Wuhan, claimed as of Feb. 24 it had restored 98.6 percent of its pre-coronavirus work capacity.
But civil servants tell Caixan that businesses are actually faking these numbers. Beijing had started checking Zhejiang businesses’ electricity consumption levels, so district officials ordered the companies to start leaving their lights and machinery on all day to drive the numbers up, one civil servant said. Businesses have reportedly falsified staff attendance logs as well — they “would rather waste a small amount of money on power than irritate local officials,” Caixan writes.
In Wuhan, officials have tried to make it appear that recovery efforts are going smoothly. But when “central leaders” personally survey disinfecting regimens and food delivery, local officials “make a special effort” for them and them alone, one resident told Caixan. And in a video circulating on social media, residents can be seen shouting at visiting leaders from the apartments where they’re being quarantined — “Fake, it’s all fake.” Read more
China has banned funerals, burials and other related activities involving the corpses of deceased victims of the novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China, according to new trial regulations issued Saturday to slow the spread. China’s National Health Commission (NHC), together with the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the Ministry of Public Security, issued new regulations Saturday stating that all victims who succumb to the virus must be cremated at the nearest facility. “No farewell ceremonies or other funeral activities involving the corpse shall be held,” the NHC announcement reads.
The new regulations come as the death toll for the novel coronavirus (nCoV-2019) continues to rise.
The NHC reported in a separate update that as of the end of Saturday, 304 people have died and 14,380 people have been infected by the virus, which has spread across all of China and to around two dozen other countries. read more
President Trump has warned the US is “targeting” 52 Iranian sites and will strike “very fast and very hard” if Tehran attacks Americans or US assets.
The president’s remarks followed the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general, in a drone strike.
Soleimani’s killing was a major escalation between the two nations, and Iran vowed to take “severe revenge”.
Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump accused Iran of “talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets”.
He said the US had identified 52 Iranian sites, some “at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture”, and warned they would be “HIT VERY FAST AND HARD” if Tehran struck at the US.
(UNITED NATIONS) — The United States changed its mind and is now refusing to sign a letter that would have authorized the U.N. Security Council to hold a meeting on the human rights situation in North Korea, diplomats said Monday. Read more…
5. Here comes Mike…: With his campaign’s TV ad spending soaring above $100 million, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is starting to see some return on his investment.A Fox News poll released Sunday put Bloomberg at 5% nationally, putting him behind only the presumed top tier of former Vice President Joe Biden (30%), Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (20%), Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (13%) and South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg (7%). (Bloomberg is tied with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.) Read more…
After initially saying the Monday shootings that left six dead in Jersey City, N.J., were a random act, officials now disclose that one of the two attackers had published anti-Semitic posts online and had, in fact, targeted the site, the New York Times reports.
Democrats are obsessed with impeachment, and no wonder — they would rather not draw attention to President Trump’s economic success, nor their plan to upend it.
Friday’s stellar jobs report was yet another indication that the country is experiencing something that was missing during eight years of the Barack Obama presidency: an economic boom that has spread wealth beyond shareholders and the super-rich. Read more…
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — Addressing an audience of Jewish Americans on Saturday, President Donald Trump clearly relished the chants of “four more years” and the peppering of red “Make America Great Again” hats throughout the crowded ballroom.
“The Jewish state has never had a better friend in the White House than your president, Donald J. Trump,” he proudly told thousands gathered at the Israeli-American Council National Summit before lashing Hillary Clinton, Democrats and the previous administration. Read more…