COVID-19 current figures
Today's COVID-19 headlines
Lancet study on remdesivir in adults with severe Covid-19
Treatment with the antiviral drug remdesivir does not speed recovery from Covid-19 compared with placebo in hospitalised patients who are critically ill, according to the first randomised trial of its kind involving 237 adults (aged 18 and older) from ten hospitals in Wuhan, China, published in The Lancet.
Although their study is the first randomised controlled trial of remdesivir, the authors caution that interpretation of their findings is limited because the study was stopped early after they were unable to recruit enough patients due to the steep decline in cases in China. They conclude that more evidence from ongoing clinical trials is needed to better understand whether remdesivir can provide meaningful clinical benefit.
In the absence of any known treatment for Covid-19, remdesivir is one of a handful of experimental drugs undergoing clinical trials worldwide. It has only been available to patients with Covid-19 on compassionate grounds (the use of unapproved drugs when no other treatment is available). In the trial, all patients received standard care including lopinavir–ritonavir, interferons, and corticosteroids.
UCL says preliminary results of remdesivir treatment trial are promising
In another study, an international clinical trial, co-led by UCL and the Medical Research Council, which is testing the effectiveness of the drug remdesivir on patients hospitalised with Covid-19, said it had shown “very promising” preliminary results.
Launched at the start of April, the Adaptive Covid-19 Treatment Trial (ACTT-EU/UK) trial, is taking place in about 75 hospitals globally, with the Medical Research Council (MRC) Clinical Trials Unit at UCL leading the UK and EU study. Other sites in the EU (Spain, Denmark and Germany) were coordinated by the University of Copenhagen.
The UCL-led part of this trial has recruited 79 patients, including 46 from the UK, and 33 from Greece and was closed to new enrolments on April 19. Preliminary results released by the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows the speed of recovery for hospitalised Covid-19 patients treated with the drug was 31% faster than for those patients who had the placebo.
Covid‐19 coagulopathy in Caucasian patients
A new study in the British Journal of Haematology suggests that pulmonary vasculopathy may contribute to the unexplained differences that are beginning to emerge highlighting racial susceptibility to Covid‐19 mortality.
Accumulating data suggests that a lung‐centric coagulopathy may play an important role in Covid-19 and elevated D‐dimer levels which correlated inversely with overall survival were recently reported in Chinese cohort studies. Ethnicity has major effects on thrombotic risk, with a 3‐4 fold lower risk in Chinese compared to Caucasians and a significantly higher risk in African‐Americans.
The study investigated Covid‐19 coagulopathy in Caucasian patients and confirmed that severe Covid‐19 infection is associated with a significant coagulopathy that correlates with disease severity. Importantly however, Caucasian Covid‐19 patients on LMWH thrombo‐prophylaxis rarely develop overt disseminated intravascular coagulation.
AstraZeneca teams up with Oxford University to develop Covid-19 vaccine
Britain’s AstraZeneca joined forces with the University of Oxford to help develop, produce and distribute a potential Covid-19 vaccine, as drugmakers around the world race to find a solution to the deadly disease.
Only a handful of the vaccines in development have advanced to human trials, an indicator of safety and efficacy - and the stage where most vaccines fail.
“Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalisation of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation,” AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said.
The drugmaker did not give details on when it plans to start producing the vaccine “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”, being developed by the Jenner Institute and Oxford Vaccine Group. (Reuters)
Other news roundup
- Criminal trials in crown and magistrates courts will be conducted securely over remote video links during the pandemic
- South Korea have recorded no new domestically transmitted cases of Covid-19
- WHO said it is worried by the community spread of coronavirus in a significant number of West African countries
- Britain looks likely to miss its target of carrying out 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April
- Caption Tom Moore who raised £30 million for NHS charities celebrates his 100th birthday
- Around four in 10 key workers are concerned about their health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic, a ONS survey has revealed