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A new post from medication experts from the University of Georgia is aimed at helping to clear up confusion over all the COVID-19 treatments and medications being tested and used.

While some progress has been made in the development of tests, there is still a lot of confusion regarding treatment and which drugs are currently being used and why. With healthcare professionals desperately seeking guidance on the prescription of drugs to treat COVID-19 patients, medication experts Tim Brown and Chris Bland from the University of Georgia's College of Pharmacy discussed some of the most commonly asked questions on the issue in a post on UGA's website.

They answered questions that have been circling about ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors and hydroxychloroquine.

Read their Q&A.

A new blood test that detects antibodies to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has received an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The test, developed by Mount Sinai Health System, detects the presence or absence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

With COVID-19 cases seemingly plateauing in several hotspots, officials have been mulling how a controlled relax of stay-at-home orders may eventually lead to a reopening of cities and states. With those discussions largely centering around the issue of earlier and more accurate testing, the antibody blood test developed at Mount Sinai could play a crucial role in minimizing the longer-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Our test can pick up the body's response to infection, in some cases as early as three days post-symptom onset, and is highly specific and sensitive," says Florian Krammer, PhD, Professor of Microbiology at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, who has led the research team behind the serology test since January 2020.

Read the full press release.

A great grandmother who was discharged from City Hospital in Birmingham this week is believed to be Britain's oldest coronavirus survivor. Connie Titchen, who is 106, has lived through both world wars and the Spanish flu. Recently, she battled COVID-19 for three weeks, but is now looking forward to going home.

"I feel very lucky that I've fought off this virus," Connie told Sister Kelly Smith, one of the NHS nurses who cared for her. "I can't wait to see my family."

Watch the video from NHS above, and learn more about her story.

In the ongoing effort to contain the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, clinical trials are underway to test several drugs for their effectiveness as potential COVID-19 treatments.

A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of a drug initially developed to treat Ebola is on clinical trial at Northwestern Medicine in Illinois. Similar trials are being done by Cedars-Sinai and the University of California-Davis. The trio are part of a larger global trial project, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to help find a COVID-19 treatment.

COVID-19 Drug Trial Launches at Northwestern Medicine

Northwestern Medicine has enrolled its first participants in a new international clinical drug trial for COVID-19. The drug being tested is remdesivir, a novel anti-viral drug developed to treat Ebola and which has subsequently been found, in animal models, to have antiviral activity against coronaviruses including MERS and now SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

COVID-19: Cedars-Sinai Joins Worldwide Trial of Antiviral Drug

Cedars-Sinai has joined an international effort to test an experimental antiviral drug as a potential treatment for COVID-19 (coronavirus). The institution expects to enroll its first clinical trial participant this week.

Cedars-Sinai is among dozens of sites around the world participating in the clinical trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The trial is evaluating remdesivir, an investigational drug developed by the biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences Inc., based in Foster City, California.

UC Davis Launches 2 Clinical Studies to Treat COVID-19

UC Davis Health has two clinical trials underway for hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

The studies are evaluating the safety and effectiveness of two drugs — the investigational antiviral remdesivir, and sarilumab, a drug that blocks the body's acute inflammatory response.

Read more about each trial here:

COVID-19 Drug Trial Launches at Northwestern Medicine

COVID-19: Cedars-Sinai Joins Worldwide Trial of Antiviral Drug

UC Davis Launches 2 Clinical Studies to Treat COVID-19

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), which now allows anesthesia machines to be used as backups to ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation released a statement on some key criteria healthcare professionals should know before using anesthesia machines as ICU ventilators.

Read the full story here.

TUESDAY, March 31, 2020 (HealthDay News)

Although U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved labeling does not provide for use of anesthesia ventilators for long-term ventilator support, they can be repurposed during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a statement from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, anesthesia ventilators that are not currently being used may represent a first-line backup. Safe and effective use requires consideration of guidance from manufacturers and other clinical issues.

The statement provides key points to consider when preparing to use anesthesia ventilators as intensive care unit (ICU) ventilators. These include the need for FDA and manufacturer approval for use of ventilators; the need for an anesthesia professional to be available at all times; and consideration of whether the machines should be used in the ICU or operating room. Use of inhaled anesthetics for sedation is not recommended. The statement also addresses equipment considerations, including guidance for machine set-up, managing the self-test, delivering a desired inspired oxygen concentration, total fresh gas flow settings, strategies for conserving oxygen, humidification considerations, monitoring ventilation, providing potent anesthetic agents, and processing between patients.

The British Government's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved the manufacture and use of a new Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, which can deliver oxygen to the lungs without the use of a ventilator. The new device, which could mean that not all patients with severe COVID-19 would require ICU care and there could be a reduced need for ventilators, is seen as a positive development in preventing healthcare facilities from becoming overwhelmed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full British government press release here.

We've previously reported at HealthDay about the potential for COVID-19 survivors' blood to help save currently sick patients. Now, the FDA has approved plasma therapy as a treatment option for critically ill COVID-19 patients. The first approval is for a human trial on a critically ill COVID-19 patient at Houston Methodist Hospital. The idea behind the treatment is that the survivors' blood has antibodies in it that helped fight and kill the virus, which can help the still-sick person's body fight off the virus using the other person's COVID-19-fighting antibodies.

By tracking able and willing donors among the roughly 250 patients who had tested posited for COVID-19 and recovered at Houston Memorial Hospitals, physician scientists had a supply of plasma ready and waiting for FDA approval. Each qualified donor gave one quart of blood plasma. The hope is if transfused plasma can help the critically ill fight the virus, plasma therapy could be the stop gap needed to fight the virus until such time as drug combinations are found to treat COVID-19.

"Here at Houston Methodist, we have the capability, the expertise and the patient base from our health care system, and we feel obligated to try this therapy," said Houston Methodist CEO and President, Marc Boom.

Read the full announcement from Houston Memorial here.

A recent study in the scientific publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which is prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), shows just how quickly SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread.

The study, which focused on a long-term care skilled nursing facility in King County, Washington, looked at what happened after it was discovered that a health care worker there had COVID-19. Of the 82 people who lived at the facility, 76 were tested for SARS-CoV-2. Of those, 23 (or 30.3% of the residents) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

In addition, about half of those who tested positive didn't have any symptoms (they were asymptomatic) when they were tested or they developed symptoms later on after they were tested (they were presymptomatic).

While the study's findings are new, the case data dates back to when the coronavirus crisis struck Washington state in late February and early March. The report highlights just how infectious the virus is, especially when it's spread by people who don't realize they're even sick.

Read the full study here on the CDC site.