Scientists and doctors have observed for thousands of years that some diseases, like polio and influenza, rise and fall with the seasons. But why? Ongoing research in animals and humans suggests a variety of causes, including changes in the environment (like pH, temperature, and humidity) and even seasonal and daily changes to our own immune systems. Figuring out those answers could one day make all the difference in minimizing the impact of infectious disease outbreaks—such as COVID-19.
Though U.S. legislation targeting the problem of surprise medical bills advanced out of key congressional committees in 2019 with support from leaders in both parties, Congress ultimately failed to pass a law to end such bills.
Erin Fuse Brown is an associate professor of law at Georgia State University. Stephen Morrissey, the interviewer, is the Executive Managing Editor of the Journal.
On the Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Jessica Lancaster, a Mayo Clinic immunologist, discusses aging and the immune system. Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 because of their age or underlying health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Adults 60 and older and those with an underlying health condition or a compromised immune system appear to develop serious illness more often than others. This interview was recorded March 19, 2020.
Chloroquine was shown in 2004 to be active in vitro against SARS coronavirus but is of unproven efficacy and safety in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. The drug’s potential benefits and risks for COVID-19 patients, without and with azithromycin, is discussed by Dr. David Juurlink, head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
From Wall Street Journal article:
Our experience suggests that hydroxychloroquine, with or without a Z-Pak, should be a first-line treatment. Unfortunately, there is already a shortage of hydroxychloroquine. The federal government should immediately contract with generic manufacturers to ramp up production. Any stockpiles should be released.
As a matter of clinical practice, hydroxychloroquine should be given early to patients who test positive, and perhaps if Covid-19 is presumed—in the case of ill household contacts, for instance. It may be especially useful to treat mild cases and young patients, which would significantly decrease viral transmission and, as they say, “flatten the curve.”
As coronavirus continues to spread around the world, face masks are in high demand as people look for ways to protect themselves. But do they really protect most people from contracting the virus? Dr Shunmay Yeung from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains.
“The finding in two randomised trials that advice to use ibuprofen results in more severe illness or complications helps confirm that the association seen in observational studies is indeed likely to be causal. Advice to use paracetamol (acetaminophen) is also less likely to result in complications.”
Scientists and senior doctors have backed claims by France’s health minister that people showing symptoms of covid-19 should use paracetamol (acetaminophen) rather than ibuprofen, a drug they said might exacerbate the condition.
Ian Jones, a professor of virology at the University of Reading, said that ibuprofen’s anti-inflammatory properties could “dampen down” the immune system, which could slow the recovery process. He added that it was likely, based on similarities between the new virus (SARS-CoV-2) and SARS I, that covid-19 reduces a key enzyme that part regulates the water and salt concentration in the blood and could contribute to the pneumonia seen in extreme cases. “Ibuprofen aggravates this, while paracetamol does not,” he said.