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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."

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Doctors reported that a teenager in Italy presented with the first known case of thyroiditis caused by the new coronavirus.

Coronavirus Can Infect, Inflame the Thyroid

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- An Italian teenager may be the first known case of a painful thyroid infection caused by the new coronavirus, doctors report.

A research team from Pisa, in northern Italy, said the 18-year-old woman's thyroid became sore and enlarged a few weeks after testing positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus in late February. The condition, called thyroiditis, cleared up completely within a week after she was treated with the steroid prednisone.

Still, the doctors believe that "physicians should be alerted about the possibility of this additional clinical manifestation" tied to the new coronavirus, study leader Dr. Francesco Latrofa, an endocrinologist at the University Hospital of Pisa, said in a news release from the Endocrine Society. He and his colleagues published the findings May 21 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine may raise the risk for death and serious heart rhythm disorders in people who use it, an international team of researchers reported.

More Evidence Hydroxychloroquine Won't Help, May Harm COVID-19 Patients

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A drug supported and even taken by President Donald Trump as a potential weapon against the new coronavirus simply doesn't seem to work, another major study finds.

In fact, hydroxychloroquine, as well as a related medicine, chloroquine, may even raise the risk for death and serious heart rhythm disorders in people who use it, an international team of researchers reported.

The two drugs are approved to help treat illnesses such as malaria and lupus. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump labeled the drugs potential "game changers" against the disease, despite little good evidence supporting such claims. Google searches by Americans looking for the medicines surged after his endorsement.

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The goal is to make at least 300 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine that could be available as early as October.

U.S. Earmarks $1.2 Billion for New Vaccine Deal as Coronavirus Deaths Near 95,000

FRIDAY, May 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday it would provide up to $1.2 billion to the drug company AstraZeneca to develop a potential coronavirus vaccine from a lab in Oxford, U.K.

The fourth, and largest, vaccine research agreement funds a clinical trial of the potential vaccine in the United States this summer with about 30,000 volunteers, The New York Times reported.

The goal? To make at least 300 million doses that could be available as early as October, the HHS said in a statement.

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A new model from Columbia University suggests that almost 36,000 Americans would have been spared if strict social distancing measures had been enforced nationwide just one week earlier than they were.

Earlier Lockdowns Would Have Saved Thousands of American Lives, Model Shows

THURSDAY, May 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 36,000 American lives would have been spared if strict social distancing measures had been enacted across the country just one week earlier than they were, new estimates suggest.

And if those measures had been imposed two weeks before most people started staying home, about 54,000 COVID-19 deaths would have been avoided by early May, Columbia University disease models show, The New York Times reported. The U.S. coronavirus death toll stretched past 93,000 on Thursday, with more than 1.5 million cases.

"It's a big, big difference," Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia and leader of the modeling team, told Times. "That small moment in time, catching it in that growth phase, is incredibly critical in reducing the number of deaths."

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In one study with rhesus macaque monkeys, the animals developed immunity against the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus after receiving experimental vaccines.

Experimental Vaccines Shield Monkeys From Coronavirus

WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies offer hope for an effective coronavirus vaccine -- and for the notion that prior infection also confers immunity.

Both studies were conducted in rhesus macaque monkeys, so testing in humans is required for more definitive proof. But in one study, monkeys developed immunity against the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus after receiving experimental vaccines.

"Our findings increase optimism that the development of COVID-19 vaccines will be possible," said lead researcher Dr. Dan Barouch. He directs the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

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As of today, all 50 states have started to reopen their economies. Coronavirus cases in the country have topped 1.5 million, with nearly 92,000 deaths.

All 50 States Return to Business as Coronavirus Cases Near 92,000

WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- All 50 states have started reopening their economies as of Wednesday, more than two months after the new coronavirus first forced America into lockdown.

Connecticut will be among the last states to return to business, when its stay-at-home order lifts and stores, museums and offices are allowed to reopen, The New York Times reported.

States in the Northeast and on the West Coast, as well as Democratic-led states in the Midwest, have moved more slowly toward reopening, the Times reported. But a number of states in the South opened earlier and more expansively, albeit with social distancing restrictions in place, the newspaper said.

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President Donald Trump sent a letter to the World Health Organization director that warned that the United States would reconsider its membership in the WHO and permanently end all funding to the organization if it didn't agree to certain changes in the next 30 days.

Trump Tells WHO That U.S. Funding Will End if Changes Aren't Made

TUESDAY, May 19, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- President Donald Trump told the World Health Organization on Monday that the United States would permanently end all funding to the organization if it did not agree to make significant changes in the next 30 days.

The threat was delivered in a letter that Trump posted on his Twitter account. Sent to WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the letter also warned that the United States would reconsider its membership in the WHO because it was soft on China and "so clearly not serving America's interests."

"It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world," the four-page letter said.

Read the full HealthDay story.

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