State Health Commissioner: We have not seen the peak of COVID-19 in Indiana – WANE

State Health Commissioner: We have not seen the peak of COVID-19 in Indiana – WANE

State Health Commissioner: We have not seen the peak of COVID-19 in Indiana – WANE

State Health Commissioner: We have not seen the peak of COVID-19 in Indiana – WANE

April 14, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WANE) Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said the health impact of the novel coronavirus on Hoosiers is looking better than initially thought. She shared this insight Monday at Governor Eric Holcombs daily briefing.

Box explained that while some national organizations do make COVID-19 model predictions for Indiana, she trusts the ones done in the Hoosier state itself which use only Indiana numbers that her team has gathered.

She and a group of data engineers look at different models, digest them, and pick the one that the state is following most closely.

Our surge predictions are based much more specifically on Indiana numbers alone, she said. Were looking at what Indiana has done with social distancing. Were looking with regards to where our numbers are highest and in what part of the state, what our hospitalizations look like, and our ventilator usage looks like.

According to the latest report her team has compiled, Box said Indiana wont reach the peak of COVID-19 cases and deaths until late April or early May, but that peak will be lower than originally expected.

I really do believe that we have not seen the peak of that surge yet, but I do believe we will be a lot lower which is the result of the very strict guidelines and the requirements weve had for social distancing in this state and I think thats a really important fact, she said.

Box quoted the nations top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci by saying a model is only as good as what you put into it.


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State Health Commissioner: We have not seen the peak of COVID-19 in Indiana - WANE
Coronavirus updates: More than half a million people have tested positive in the U.S. – CBS News

Coronavirus updates: More than half a million people have tested positive in the U.S. – CBS News

April 14, 2020

This live blog has now ended. Click here for the latest COVID-19 updates.

Pope Francis led Holy Saturday Vigil Mass with no audience as the world geared up for a grim Easter amid the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. on Saturday surpassed 20,000 deaths nationwide from coronavirus, overtaking Italy as the country with the most deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

"Do not be afraid, do not yield to fear: This is the message of hope. It is addressed to us, today. These are the words that God repeats to us this very night," Francis said.

The vigil, which is normally attended by roughly 10,000 people in the packed St. Peter's Basilica, was attended by only about two dozen, including a few altar servers and a smaller-than-usual choir.

In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth delivered her first-ever Easter message, saying "we need Easter as much as ever."

"We know that coronavirus will not overcome us," Queen Elizabeth said. "As dark as death can be, particularly for those suffering with grief, light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future."

In the epicenter of the U.S. crisis, New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he saw signs the death rate is stabilizing, although he called it a "horrific rate." Cuomo said Saturday that 783 people died in New York on Friday due to COVID-19. On Thursday, 777 people lost their lives to the virus. The day before that, the state reported 799 deaths.

Read latest:

Detailedinformation from the CDC on coronavirustreatment and prevention.


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Coronavirus updates: More than half a million people have tested positive in the U.S. - CBS News
50 Percent of People with COVID-19 Aren’t Aware They Have Virus – Healthline

50 Percent of People with COVID-19 Aren’t Aware They Have Virus – Healthline

April 14, 2020

There may be a lot of people walking around who have COVID-19 but have no idea they are spreading the virus.

The first word of this possibility came last week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Dr. Robert Redfield, in an interview with National Public Radio affiliate WABE.

One of the [pieces of] information that we have confirmed now is that a significant number of individuals that are infected actually remain asymptomatic. That may be as many as 25 percent, Redfield said.

Then a few days later, researchers in Iceland reported that 50 percent of their novel coronavirus cases who tested positive had no symptoms. The testing had been conducted by deCODE, a subsidiary of the U.S. Biotech company Amgen.

In another new report, the CDC stated that researchers in Singapore identified seven clusters of cases in which presymptomatic transmission is the most likely explanation for the occurrence of secondary cases.

Of those of us that get symptomatic, it appears that were shedding significant virus in our oropharyngeal compartment, probably up to 48 hours before we show symptoms, Redfield said. This helps explain how rapidly this virus continues to spread across the country because we have asymptomatic transmitters.

It isnt a strange idea with respiratory viruses that such an inadvertent transmission could take place, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee.

Its to the virus benefit because if you have seemingly healthy people moving around spreading the virus, that maximizes the transmission, he told Healthline. Once you get sick, you tend to restrict your encounters with others.

To demonstrate how fast the virus transmission works among people who may be unwittingly infecting others, Dr. James Hildreth, president and chief executive officer of Meharry Medical College and an infectious disease expert, illustrated the spread in a public service announcement.

He said people who study virus spread assign viruses basic reproductive spread numbers.

One that comes to mind is measles. Measles is one of the most contagious viruses weve ever known and its number is somewhere between 12 and 18, Hildreth told Healthline.

By comparison, the COVID-19 virus, its basic reproductive number appears to be about 4. What that means is that each person who is infected by the virus has the potential to spread it to four other persons in a susceptible population, he explained.

If you do the math, the number of people infected would double every 6 days or so. But the actual data in some parts of the country is the virus is doubling every 3 days, Hildreth added.

He noted that this novel coronavirus that began in December in a market in Wuhan, China, has infected 1.4 million people in 4 months.

When youre dealing with a virus like that, everything we can do to break the chain of transmission is exceedingly important because there are people who are spreading the virus and are not aware of it, he said.

After first telling the public there was no need for anyone to wear a mask unless you were sick or coughing, the CDC did an about-face late last week.

Now, the agency is recommending people wear a face covering if they go to a public place.

Theyve posted instructions on how to properly wear a cloth mask.

But does a cloth mask work?

It actually works in both directions, said Schaffner. But were more sure that masks inhibit the spread out rather than the acquisition in.

Why the CDC reversal?

Two reasons. One is very practical. Early on, they didnt want there to be a run on masks and respirators by the general public, siphoning them off from the healthcare environment. That was a very real concern, Schaffner said.

The second thing is the appreciation of presymptomatic transmission has become more evident over time, he added. It takes a little bit of time for those discussions to go on and for everyone to agree to ask the American public to do something that is culturally alien.

And Schaffner believes the masks have a psychological benefit at a time when very little seems in our control.

Putting on a mask is something I can do to help protect me and it will help protect my family. It makes people feel good to do something, he said. And when you see others wearing a mask, it builds a sense of community.


Read more: 50 Percent of People with COVID-19 Aren't Aware They Have Virus - Healthline
Early Experience With Remdesivir To Treat Severe COVID-19 Published – NPR

Early Experience With Remdesivir To Treat Severe COVID-19 Published – NPR

April 14, 2020

Vials of remdesivir, a drug that was tried as a treatment for Ebola, and that is now being investigated for COVID-19. Ulrich Perrey/POOL/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Vials of remdesivir, a drug that was tried as a treatment for Ebola, and that is now being investigated for COVID-19.

Gilead Sciences is reporting some preliminary results from the use of its antiviral drug remdesivir in treating patients with COVID-19.

The study, published Friday by the New England Journal of Medicine, evaluated the response of 53 patients given remdesivir on a compassionate use basis.

Thirty-six showed clinical improvement, while eight got worse. Patients who were not on a ventilator tended to do better than those who were. Seven of the 53 died.

All were in serious condition and needed some kind of oxygen support, including mechanical ventilation.

The patients received the drug between Jan. 25 and March 7 of this year. Half the patients were followed for 18 days or less. The patients were studied in hospitals around the world: 22 in the United States, 22 in Europe or Canada and 9 in Japan.

More than half the patients in the study experienced side effect from the drug, ranging from a rash and diarrhea to acute kidney injury.

As the authors note, several factors make it hard to interpret the results on the study. The small number of patients, the relatively short duration of the follow-up and the lack of a control group people who received a placebo instead of the active drug.

Several large controlled studies are underway that could provide more definitive evidence of whether the drug is useful or not, and under what circumstances.


Original post: Early Experience With Remdesivir To Treat Severe COVID-19 Published - NPR
‘Everything Broke Loose’: A Doctor And COVID-19 Survivor Recalls His Ordeal – NPR

‘Everything Broke Loose’: A Doctor And COVID-19 Survivor Recalls His Ordeal – NPR

April 14, 2020

Dr. Michael Saag, seen at his clinic at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Art Meripol/Courtesy of Michael Saag hide caption

Dr. Michael Saag, seen at his clinic at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Dr. Michael Saag studies diseases for a living. The epidemiologist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, specializes in HIV and AIDS research, so he's familiar with the toll a deadly infection can take on the human body.

No amount of study, however, could have adequately prepared him for having the coronavirus himself.

Almost one month ago, Saag and his son, who is also a physician, came down with symptoms of COVID-19 within days of each other. What came next was days of pain, anxiety and repeatedly dashed hope until, at last, both men recovered fully.

Now, the doctor is looking back on his experiences and trying to glean the lessons he learned as a patient. He wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post, and on Saturday, he spoke with NPR's Scott Simon to detail his time spent ill.

Here are some excerpts:

Could you tell us about those 14 days? How did you feel, what did you feel?

Everything broke loose. I ended up with fever, chills, headache. By the time the morning arrived, I was better and I could function and think clearly. But then cruelly and relentlessly, the symptoms came back every single day in the late afternoon, and it just repeated itself. It felt a lot like Groundhog Day. I didn't know if each night I would deteriorate and have to go in the hospital, or whether I would survive the night.

This sort of Groundhog Day experience went on all the way through Day 14. So it was literally two weeks after my symptoms started that they disappeared, thankfully.

You tried an unproven remedy [hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin] that some members of the administration seem to believe in

I called at least 10 colleagues around the world, actually, and asked, "What do you think?" And they all said, well, "Go ahead and try it, but we don't have any evidence for it." So I did.

To be honest, I can't tell if it did a hill of beans difference for me. Later, as I looked more into this, I've sort of regretted my decision because these drugs, especially when used together the hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin can have electrocardiogram abnormalities, and that puts somebody at risk for sudden death. So in retrospect, I'm a little ashamed of myself that I was so cavalier.

How does this end?

Here's my thought. People are always asking, "Well, when can we let up, go back to life as we used to know it?" And the answer really isn't when; that's the wrong question. The correct question is how how do we stop the stay-at-home?

My opinion is that if we just, let's say, pick a date June 1, July 1, it doesn't matter to me. You pick your time when you pull back and you let people return to normal. I don't see how anything has changed from March 1. It's just that we've had a period where we were able to control transmission.

But why would the virus suddenly be different, and why would people's susceptibility be any different on July 1 than it is on March 1?

Rather, I think what we need to do is spend the next two to two and a half months preparing for the release of the stay-at-home restrictions and start aggressive case contact tracing exactly like we do with tuberculosis, where a new case is identified and quickly a team comes in, tests that individual, gets them into care, gets them isolated. And then do tracing of every individual that has come into contact with them in the last two weeks. And then those individuals, depending on how their tests go, will either get into care if they're positive or be quarantined for another 14 days.

That's what we have to do. If we just release folks back into the community and do what we were doing in February, why would it be any different?


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'Everything Broke Loose': A Doctor And COVID-19 Survivor Recalls His Ordeal - NPR
Coronavirus and asthma: The deadly mix of Covid-19, air pollution, and inequality, explained – Vox.com

Coronavirus and asthma: The deadly mix of Covid-19, air pollution, and inequality, explained – Vox.com

April 14, 2020

Air pollution is down across the United States right now as car and truck emissions plummet from mass social distancing. But decades of high levels of pollutants like particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide have had a chronically negative impact on health.

Millions of Americans currently have conditions, like hypertension and asthma, that can be connected to air pollution. And those same diseases are now associated with severe cases of Covid-19.

But theyre not distributed equally. Minority populations are bearing the brunt of this often-deadly link.

On April 5, a pre-print study released by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health directly linked air pollution to the probability of more severe Covid-19 cases. That joins decades of scientific literature that suggest race and income impact how much chronic air pollution you are exposed to. And it could be a major factor in the disproportionate Covid-19 mortality rates were now seeing in non-white populations.

In Louisiana, for example, black people represent 32 percent of the population and 70 percent of the Covid-19 deaths. In Wisconsin in what its Gov. Tony Evers has called a crisis within a crisis black people account for six percent of the population, and half of the Covid-19 deaths. In Michigan, 12 percent of residents are black, but account for 32 percent of deaths. Latinx populations show similarly disproportionate rates: in New York City, Hispanic people represent 29 percent of the population, and 34 percent of the citys deaths the largest percentage by race.

Its well known that minorities shoulder a larger burden of the countrys disease. Racial inequalities have to always be put in a larger societal context, says Nancy Krieger, a professor of social epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who was not involved with the pre-print. Youll see they are inevitably intertwined with economic inequality and inequality of political power.

Lubna Ahmed, director of environmental health at New York City nonprofit WE ACT for Environmental Justice, is blunter. Making a statement like saying the black community is at higher risk without providing context is dangerous, she says. Its not genetics that makes us more susceptible. You have to understand this is going back to issues of environmental racism. And its not something thats unique to Covid-19.

Even before Covid-19, higher exposure to air pollution has made people more likely to develop diseases like hypertension, says Tarik Benmarhnia, an environmental epidemiologist at University of California San Diego who studies air pollution.

Negative health effects of being around air pollution like deadly cardiovascular disease have been recorded even at pollution levels lower than the most conservative US air quality standards. There appears to be no safe level of particulate matter emitted from power plants, industries, and vehicles for humans. And the more pollution you are exposed to, the worse health outcomes can become.

The damage from air pollution can begin even before some people are born: Researchers have found soot particles in mothers placentas, suggesting particulate matter that the mother breathes may impact fetal development. Exposure to air pollutants has been linked to low birth weight and premature births, which in turn have been linked to decreased lung function. And links between air pollution and childhood asthma deaths are well-established.

Mychal Johnson, a Bronx resident and co-founding member of the advocacy group South Bronx Unite, says that in the Bronx, We already had higher rates of children missing school because they had to go to the hospital for respiratory problems. Every year, the Bronx has 21 times more asthma hospitalizations than other New York boroughs, and over five times the national average.

The neighborhood, Johnson says, is known as asthma alley, and he and his family breathe the emissions of the hundreds of diesel trucks that stream from the neighborhoods warehouses and along local highways. It is not unrelated that 44 percent of the Bronx is black. Nationwide, black children are 500 times more likely to die from asthma than white children, and have a 250 percent higher hospitalization rate for the condition.

These negative health effects just get worse as you get older. Throughout your life, youre accumulating air pollution exposures, says Rachel Nethery, a biostatistician at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who co-authored the new pre-print. Air pollution exposure in young adults has been linked to abnormal changes in the blood, which can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure later in life, both risk factors for severe and fatal Covid-19 cases. In adults, this has been closely associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization estimated that air pollution is responsible for 7 million premature deaths a year worldwide. Air pollution is considered the largest environmental risk factor for disease in the US. (Despite the ample evidence of harm, because of Covid-19, the Trump administration has suspended the enforcement of clean air rules.)

In the midst of the direct effects of decades-long industrial effects on our community, Johnson says, the Bronx is the most unhealthy county in the state, not because of anything the people in this community have done. Covid-19, he adds, just proves the point. As of April 9, black and Latino people account for 62 percent of New York Citys confirmed deaths but just 51 percent of the population, and Bronx residents show particularly high death rates. (True Covid-19 death tolls are likely significantly higher than have been reported.)

This is consistent with other health data. A recent PNAS study found that across the US, black and Hispanic people are exposed, respectively, to 56 and 63 percent excess exposure to air pollution bearing the brunt of these health impacts. While these studies have focused on air pollution, there are many other examples of people of color being exposed to disproportionate environmental hazards that impact their health. Benmarhnia worries that as a result, Covid-19 is just going to exacerbate inequalities.

Nethery and her coauthors used data from counties across the country to see how air pollution might impact Covid-19 cases. The team found that an increase of one microgram of fine particulates per cubic meter is associated with a 15 percent increase in the Covid-19 death rate. Thats significant; as a comparison, the EPA says an acceptable level of annual exposure is an average of 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

Nethery says that although the study wasnt designed to look at race, the model adjusted for the racial composition of counties and race still ended up being the largest effect, hugely statistically significant. She adds, It was pretty shocking.

Adding another layer to the issue is that uneven ability to access health care has led to further inequalities in health. That makes quite the whammy, Krieger says.

According to the American College of Physicians, minorities have less access to health care than whites. During a global pandemic, for example, its harder for families who might not already have a primary care physician to access telehealth resources.

Joseph Ravenell, a professor of population health at NYU Langone Health, says that in addition to lack of access, there can be a level of mistrust in some communities, in part because of historical unethical practices of using black people as test subjects, as well as previous experiences of racism within the health care system. A 2016 study in PNAS found widespread false beliefs held by medical staff about biological differences between blacks and whites, as well as racial bias in pain assessment and treatment.

People of color might also have less ability to implement public health recommendations; as Krieger notes, despite a recent CDC recommendation to wear masks when in public, many people of color are justifiably afraid of wearing a mask into a store and being seen as a threat.

Theres also an economic component to these structural inequalities: black people, Hispanics, and Asians have statistically higher levels of uninsurance rates than white people. Theres structural racism and economic inequalities, and they both matter and can compound each other, says Krieger. Its not an either or.

Weve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma are disproportionately affecting minority populations, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at an April 7 press conference. Theres nothing we can do about it right now.

While he emphasized ensuring these communities get the best possible care, that kind of shoulder-shrugging is at the root of the problem and shows theres never a convenient time to address a problem like this.

But there are actually things that could be done right now: For one, expanding federal financial coverage for testing and treatment of Covid-19 so that low-income people have equal access to care. And, as John Balmes, a pulmonologist and spokesperson for the American Lung Association suggested to the New York Times, ensuring that hospitals in the most at-risk neighborhoods are prepared and prioritized for critical supplies.

Whats not helpful is placing blame on people of color: For example, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams, during a press briefing at the White House on April 10, cautioned minorities to avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. This isnt a problem of personal responsibility its one of inequality.

Ahmed says she hopes Covid-19 will help both the general public and key decision-makers to understand that helping the most vulnerable communities equates to helping everyone slowing the spread of disease everywhere.

Lois Parshley is a freelance investigative journalist and the 2019-2020 Snedden Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Follow her Covid-19 reporting on Twitter @loisparshley.

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Read the original: Coronavirus and asthma: The deadly mix of Covid-19, air pollution, and inequality, explained - Vox.com
COVID-19 kills 10 more in RI; govs working out how to reopen economy – WPRI.com

COVID-19 kills 10 more in RI; govs working out how to reopen economy – WPRI.com

April 14, 2020

Key takeaways from Mondays RI COVID-19 briefing:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday that 10 more Rhode Islanders have died due to COVID-19, the highest-one day total so far, even as the number of people hospitalized due to the disease dipped slightly compared to Sunday.

There were 197 people in the hospital with COVID-19 as of Monday, Raimondo said, down from 201 on Sunday. An additional 311 have tested positive for coronavirus in the last day.

Although these numbers are increasing rapidly, its not alarming because we have widespread community transfer and we really ramped up our testing, Raimondo said at her daily coronavirus briefing.

The latest data means 73 people have died in Rhode Island 55 connected to nursing homes and 2,976 people have tested positive since the state reported its first case of COVID-19 on March 1. The deaths are being described as COVID-19-associated by the Department of Health.

The 10 newly announced fatalities included two people in their 50s, one in their 70s, five in their 80s and one in their 90s, according to R.I. Health Department Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott. All but two were associated with nursing homes, which have been suffering disproportionately.

The hardest-hit nursing home has been North Providences Golden Crest Nursing Centre, where 19 people have died due to COVID-19, followed by Pawtuckets Oak Hill (16 deaths) and East Providences Orchard View Manor (six deaths).

On a more positive note, Alexander-Scott disclosed for the first time that 331 COVID-19 patients in total have been hospitalized in Rhode Island at some point during the crisis, meaning that roughly 134 have recovered enough to be discharged so far.

(Story continues below.)

Minutes after her own daily media briefing, Raimondo joined five of her fellow Northeast governors on a midday conference call led by New Yorks Andrew Cuomo to discuss a regional plan for reopening the economy.

The governors representing Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware agreed that while they are all anxious to lift restrictions, they need to avoid doing so in a way that leads to coronavirus infections surging anew. They are now creating a six-state regional advisory council to work out the details.

Were all learning, right? said Cuomo, who spearheaded the partnership. This is all new for us. The state boundaries mean very little to this virus.

Each governors chief of staff will be part of the advisory council, as will a health official and an economic development official from each state.

I am confident that by working together and sharing our best ideas we will be much more likely to get it right, Raimondo said on the call, adding, This virus doesnt care about state borders, and our response shouldnt, either.

The coordinated effort by the governors comes as President Trump is insisting he is the one who has final authority to reopen the economy.

(Story continues below.)

In the meantime, Raimondo continued to urge business owners to apply for the U.S. Small Business Administrations new Payroll Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to employers affected by coronavirus.

The governor also highlighted a new $10 million loan pool, announced earlier Monday, that Goldman Sachs has funded for Rhode Island employers that have not been able to get a PPP loan through a traditional bank or lender.

Ill be the first to admit this is a good thing, but a far from perfect thing, Raimondo said.

But the new program had already stopped accepting new applicants by 3 p.m. Monday after receiving $10 million in qualified applications during its first seven hours in operation.

(Story continues below.)

Raimondo said she has 10 teams working on various aspects of the coronavirus crisis on subjects such as procuring personal protective gear, hospitals, stimulus, data, modeling, contact-tracing, quarantines, and technology.

On testing, Rhode Island averaged 2,068 tests per day last week and has now conducted more than 20,000 tests in total, according to the governor, who said the state is now among the leaders in the country for testing per capita. (The testing sites were closed Monday due to severe weather.)

This is a remarkable accomplishment, she said, thanking those who have worked on the effort. She said the next steps she is eyeing are creating testing sites in inner city areas, and rolling out mobile testing to bring it directly to nursing homes and other hard-hit facilities.

On unemployment benefits, Raimondo told out-of-work Rhode Islanders she was begging for your patience as the Department of Labor and Training works through roughly 144,000 claims that have been submitted in little over a month. She said the goal continues to be processing claims within seven to 14 days after theyre filed.

On schools, Raimondo said shell have an update later this week about the plan for the rest of the academic year, following a conference call with superintendents Tuesday. She also announced the Rhode Island Foundation has committed over $100,000 to provide computers and Wi-Fi hotspots to students in need of help.

Nursing homes continue to need staffing help, especially as employees with symptoms are forced to stay home rather than go in to work. Alexander-Scott asked retired nurses and other professionals who are available to sign up at RIResponds.org.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Wingate had seen 15 deaths due to coronavirus; the facility has had 15 cases, not deaths.


More here: COVID-19 kills 10 more in RI; govs working out how to reopen economy - WPRI.com
They Developed Their Coronavirus Vaccine in Salks Shadow – The Wall Street Journal

They Developed Their Coronavirus Vaccine in Salks Shadow – The Wall Street Journal

April 12, 2020

Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine at a University of Pittsburgh lab. The deadly disease that crippled infants disappeared almost overnight, and Salk became a hero. He wasnt Steel Citys only history-making physician. Thomas Starzl, who performed the first liver transplant in 1963, joined the Pitt faculty in 1981.

As the world faces another terrifying disease, Pitt medical scientists are again at work on a potentially revolutionary vaccine. Louis Falo and Andrea Gambotto, respectively a dermatologist and a surgeon, have developed a Covid-19 inoculation that rapidly produces large numbers of coronavirus antibodies when injected in mice. A peer-reviewed paper describing their work appeared in the journal EBioMedicine, which is published by The Lancet. They await approval from the Food and Drug Administration to conduct human trials on their vaccine candidate, which is delivered via a unique skin patch containing 400 tiny needles.

This is a collision of two stories, Dr. Falo says. Weve been developing the delivery technologies for this for the past several years and working with Dr. Gambotto in trying to use the skin as the ideal target for vaccine delivery. While we were doing that, Dr. Gambotto has been working on SARS and MERS. The two physicians labs are next door to each other.

Both SARS and MERS are caused by coronaviruses. So we had experience in studying both SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014. We knew how to fight this new virus, said Dr. Gambotto. That work, he says, made the development process for the current pandemic virus faster.

Neither physician fits the stereotype of the dry, serious scientist. Both men are gregarious and reflect the personality of the city where they work. Dr. Falo grew up in suburban Greensburg. He earned his bachelors in biochemistry and chemistry at Pitt before heading to Harvard Medical School. The plan was always to return to Pitt, he says with his distinct Western Pennsylvania twang. Most people probably dont realize that Pitt is ranked among the top three or four medical centers in terms of funding from the NIH for research. But what really sets it apart is the collaborative environment. ... Its a big-time medical center with a small-town personality.

A native of Bari, Italy, Dr. Gambotto fell in love with Pittsburgh during what was supposed to be a six-month research rotation. They were a really long six months, because 25 years later Im still here, he says, his southern Italian accent thick and lyrical. He and his wife were married at La Prima Coffee shop in the citys Strip District. Thank God I didnt become a gynecologist, he says. My father was a gynecologist, and everybody in my family was. I stopped the tradition, and now I deliver viruses instead of babies.

Thanks to their previous collaborations on vaccine-platform development, the twin teams of Dr. Falo and Dr. Gambotto were able to generate their new potential vaccine, which they call PittCoVac, in a mere seven days. As they wait for the FDAs green light, Dr. Falo says theyre tackling two issues. One is the clinical testing and regulatory process. The other one is the scalability. So can you make a lot of thesemillions, billionsto distribute across the world?

It helps that the vaccine doesnt require refrigeration. That means that we can actually put these in boxes just like Band-Aids, Dr. Falo says, store them, ship them, distribute them globally, which is really important for underdeveloped countries who dont have the means of keeping vaccines cold the entire time.

The regulatory issue is out of their hands. Dr. Falo says the FDA is working as fast as it can while maintaining safety. Weve started that process. Were exchanging data with them, describing what we have, how we make the vaccine, and their experts are evaluating that data to determine whether this vaccine is safe to put into patients.

The University of Pittsburgh is still better known for its football team than for its scientists. But that could change if this vaccine candidate succeeds and beats back the coronavirus. If things go as planned, the names Falo and Gambotto could be as well-known as Jonas Salk.

Ms. Zito is a reporter for the Washington Examiner, a columnist for the New York Post, and a co-author of The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics.


Read the original here: They Developed Their Coronavirus Vaccine in Salks Shadow - The Wall Street Journal
Coronavirus Q&A: exercise, laundry, what counts as soap, and vaccines – Axios

Coronavirus Q&A: exercise, laundry, what counts as soap, and vaccines – Axios

April 12, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S., Axios is answering readers' questions about the pandemic how it spreads, who's at risk, and what you can do to stay safe.

What's new: This week, we answer questions on exercising outside, safely doing laundry, soaps and disinfectants, and the pneumonia vaccine.

Q: Should I go outside to exercise during the outbreak?

Q: How can I make sure I'm safely doing laundry at home or in my apartment building's laundry room?

Q: What counts as soap? Can I use dish detergent or body wash?

Q: Can I make hand sanitizer at home?

Q: Could the pneumonia vaccine offer some kind of protection against COVID-19?

Go deeper: We're still in the early days of coronavirus vaccine research


Visit link: Coronavirus Q&A: exercise, laundry, what counts as soap, and vaccines - Axios
Coronavirus vaccine could be ready in September, scientist says – msnNOW

Coronavirus vaccine could be ready in September, scientist says – msnNOW

April 12, 2020

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A vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready as soon as September, according to a professor from Oxford University. Sarah Gilbert is a professor of vaccinology and says that she is "80% confident" a COVID-19 vaccine being developed by her team will work.

Other Human trials will start within the next fortnightHer team at Oxford is part of a global effort to find a vaccine for coronavirus which has killed more than 100,000 people around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University..

Professor Gilbert has said that human trials are set to take place within the next fortnight, and that she has been working seven days a week to get a vaccine rushed through.

Other Professor Sarah Gilbert believes a vaccine could be ready by September. Pic: University of OxfordShe told The Times newspaper: "I think there's a high chance that it will work based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine.

"It's not just a hunch and as every week goes by we have more data to look at. I would go for 80%, that's my personal view."

She added that having something ready by the autumn is "just about possible if everything goes perfectly", but warned that "nobody can promise it's going to work".

The lockdown in the UK could make it more difficult to test the vaccine, as human contact is low, so researchers will have to conduct trials somewhere with a higher rate of transmission, to get a quicker result.

In pictures: Coronavirus outbreak (Photos)

Earlier in the week, researchers at Southampton University said they had discovered that the virus has "low shielding", meaning a vaccine could be easier to develop.

The UK is at the forefront of vaccine funding, and pumped 210m into an international fund last month - the biggest contribution at the time for a vaccine.

The government has also said that it would be willing to buy millions of doses, should trials prove successful.

However, despite the optimism from Oxford, other vaccine developers have said it could be up to a year before something is ready to distribute.

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Ministers have been under pressure to explain details of the government's exit-strategy from the ongoing lockdown, but scientists say that it is too early to consider removing the widespread restrictions while the number of dead still rises.

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