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Coronavirus Updates

A new potential vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease, has been developed by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, according to a press release from the University of Pittsburgh.

A peer-reviewed study on the vaccine was published in eBioMedicine.

The vaccine, which is called PittCoVacc (short for Pittsburgh CoronaVirus Vaccine), would work the same way as the seasonal flu shot, but with a high-tech delivery. It uses strands of viral protein made in the lab to build up immunity — which is how the flu shot vaccine works — but instead of injecting them via one needle, it delivers them through a fingertip-sized patch that has 400 microneedles made of sugar and the protein pieces. With this unique design, the tiny needles would dissolve into the person's skin.

According to the study's authors, the patch increases the potency of the protein pieces and gets them right into the skin, where the immune response is said to be the strongest. The method is relatively painless, according to Louis Falo, one of the study's co-senior authors. The patch is applied like an adhesive bandage, and in the press release Falo said it feels "kind of like Velcro."

When tested in mice, the researchers discovered that the vaccine generated a surge of antibodies, an immune response that neutralizes the virus, within two weeks of getting the vaccine.

The swift creation of this potential vaccine came from the team's past research on other coronaviruses.

"We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014," co-senior author Andrea Gambotto said in the press release about the project. "These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. We knew exactly where to fight this new virus."

As a result, the research team was able to identify this particular protein quickly.

The University of Pittsburgh's press release said the vaccine is "highly scalable," an encouraging factor for a potential vaccine because of the pandemic's current magnitude and swift progression.

The study's authors hope to start a phase I human clinical trial in the coming months if they receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Read the full press release.

Struggling with sleep during the pandemic? Experts share their tips to a better night's snooze.

Banishing Pandemic Worries for a Good Night's Sleep

TUESDAY, May 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- If anxiety and fear about COVID-19 are keeping you awake, rest assured: Adopting a few easy-to-follow habits will help you get a good night's sleep.

"Now more than ever, we need to get good sleep," said Dr. Amy Guralnick, a pulmonologist at Loyola Medicine in Chicago. "Sleep can help our immune system function at its best. Getting a good night's sleep also helps us to think clearly and to problem-solve better."

And, she added, too little sleep can lead to depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.So what can you do to get more -- and better -- Zzzzzzz's?

Read the full HealthDay story.

Experts share their tips on how to prevent misbehavior in kids and teens.

6 Expert Tips for Defusing Kids' Quarantine Meltdowns

TUESDAY, May 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- When kids and teens chafe under COVID-19 quarantine, how can parents stop the meltdowns and misbehavior?

Start with understanding: Young people miss their friends and their freedom. Younger kids might respond by throwing tantrums. Teens might isolate themselves, ignore social distancing rules or sneak out to see friends.

To curb negative behavior, experts from Penn State Children's Hospital offer their advice.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Related Articles Around the Web

Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without macrolides is linked to in-hospital mortality and arrhythmia.

Hydroxychloroquine Plus Macrolides No Benefit in COVID-19

TUESDAY, May 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization, there is no evidence of benefit for use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide, according to a study published online May 22 in The Lancet.

Mandeep R. Mehra, M.D., from the Brigham and Women's Hospital Heart and Vascular Center in Boston, and colleagues conducted a multinational registry analysis of the use of hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without macrolides for COVID-19 treatment. A total of 96,032 patients hospitalized at 671 hospitals in six continents between Dec. 20, 2019, and April 14, 2020, were included. They were classified into four treatment groups (1,868 received chloroquine; 3,783 received chloroquine with a macrolide; 3,016 received hydroxychloroquine; and 6,221 received hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide) and a control group (81,144 patients).

Read the full HealthDay story.

Right ventricular enlargement significantly linked to in-hospital mortality in multivariable analysis.

Right Ventricular Dilation Linked to Mortality in COVID-19

TUESDAY, May 26, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Right ventricular dilation is associated with in-hospital mortality among patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to a study published online May 15 in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging.

Edgar Argulian, M.D., M.P.H., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues enrolled consecutive patients hospitalized due to COVID-19 who underwent clinically indicated echocardiograms from March 26 to April 22, 2020. The associations between clinical and echocardiographic variables and mortality were explored.

Echocardiograms of 110 patients were reviewed, with five excluded due to inadequate study quality. The researchers found that at the time of echocardiographic examination, 31 patients were intubated and mechanically ventilated. Thirty-two patients (31 percent) had right ventricular dilation. Patients with right ventricular dilation were more likely to have renal dysfunction than those without right ventricular dilation, but there were no significant differences noted in the prevalence of major comorbidities, laboratory markers of inflammation, or myocardial infarction. Patients with right ventricular enlargement had a higher prevalence of right ventricular hypokinesis and moderate or severe tricuspid regurgitation. Five of 10 patients with right ventricular enlargement who underwent computed tomography angiography of the chest had evidence of pulmonary embolism. During the study period, 21 patients died: 13 and eight (41 and 11 percent) patients with and without right ventricular dilation, respectively. Right ventricular enlargement was the only variable significantly associated with mortality in a multivariable analysis (odds ratio, 4.5).

Read the full HealthDay story.

A new study says the antiviral drug on its own won't be enough to significantly curb COVID-19 cases and deaths. There are several dual-drug trials already underway to see if remdesivir paired with another drug could help boost outcomes.

Remdesivir Will Not Be Enough to Curb COVID-19, Study Finds

SATURDAY, May 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- There have been high hopes that the antiviral drug remdesivir might be an answer to the pandemic of COVID-19. But a major, new study finds the drug on its own won't be enough to significantly curb cases and deaths.

The study, published May 22 in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that, "given high mortality [of patients] despite the use of remdesivir, it is clear that treatment with an antiviral drug alone is not likely to be sufficient."

Read the full HealthDay story.

The American Psychological Association offers some tips on ways of coping with loss and grief.

How to Cope With Your Grief During Coronavirus Pandemic

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Grief is touching the lives of countless Americans as the COVID-19 death toll mounts.

The death of a family member or close friend can be among the most difficult things you'll have to deal with, so the American Psychological Association outlines ways of coping with that loss -- whether or not it is coronavirus-related.

Talking about the death with friends or others can help you understand what happened and remember that person. Avoiding the issue can lead to isolation and interfere with the healing process.

You may experience a wide range of emotions -- from sadness, anger or even exhaustion -- and should accept them, the APA says in a news release.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Some common stressors included managing distance/online learning for their kids, providing basic needs like access to food and housing and being upset about missing major milestones.

Pandemic Has Overburdened Parents Stressed Out: Poll

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- If there's such a thing as a "new normal" during the coronavirus pandemic, it's a constant state of stress.

And it's particularly intense for many parents who are keeping house, working from home, and trying to keep their kids' online learning on track at the same time, according to a new online survey.

Nearly half (46%) of respondents who have kids younger than 18 said their average stress level is high these days. Only 28% of adults without minor children said the same, according to the online poll of more than 3,000 adults. It was conducted from April 24 to May 4.

Read the full HealthDay story.

The only factors independently associated with time to extubation are age and body mass index.

Age, Sex, History of Diabetes Predict Intubation in COVID-19

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Older age, male sex, and history of diabetes are factors predictive of intubation among hospitalized patients with COVID-19, while age and body mass index are associated with time to extubation, according to a study published online May 19 in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Kevin Hur, M.D., from the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues examined sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with intubation and prolonged intubation for acute respiratory failure secondary to COVID-19 infection among 486 patients admitted between March 1 and April 8, 2020.

The researchers found that 55.8 percent of the patients were male and the median body mass index was 30.6 kg/m². Overall, 28.4 percent of patients were intubated during the hospitalization; 56.5 percent of these patients were eventually extubated, while 15.2 percent died and 28.3 percent remained intubated at a median follow-up of 19.6 days. Compared with nonintubated patients, intubated patients had a significantly higher median age (65 versus 57 years) and higher rate of diabetes (40.6 versus 29.9 percent). Age, sex, respiratory rate, oxygen saturation, history of diabetes, and shortness of breath were identified as factors predictive of intubation. The only factors independently associated with time to extubation were age and body mass index.

Read the full HealthDay story.

Corita Grudzen, M.D., of the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine, spoke with HealthDay Live! about the trial.

Convalescent Plasma Trial for COVID-19 Patients Underway at NYU Langone

THURSDAY, May 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine are conducting a phase II clinical trial to determine the efficacy of convalescent plasma in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Corita R. Grudzen, M.D., vice chair for research in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine at NYU Langone Health, wrote the study protocol and recently spoke with HealthDay Live! about the trial.

"What we hope to see is that convalescent plasma used in this stage of disease prevents patients from dying, going on a mechanical ventilator," or being admitted to the intensive care unit, Grudzen said.

The controlled, randomized trial, which started April 17 and is also being led by researchers from Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, will enroll 300 hospitalized patients ages 18 years or older from seven hospital centers. The researchers are enrolling patients within three to seven days after symptom onset. While other studies across the country are focusing on sicker populations, Grudzen said the research team felt strongly about enrolling hospitalized patients. "We know the earlier, the better," she said. As an emergency physician, she said, "many of us were seeing hundreds and now thousands of patients hospitalized, and so we really wanted to focus on that group. We know historically [that] the antibody binds to the virus in some way to prevent it from either entering the cells or from destroying whomever it's attacking. And so, the idea is to do that before there's an onslaught of the body's own inflammatory response."

Read the full HealthDay story.