JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Even cough syrup might actually work against Coronavirus

I didn’t think cough syrups even worked against coughs, but one new paper suggests that bromhexine in common cough syrups reduces both Covid-19 rates of ICU and of mortality.

The era of antivirals has come, not that Big Pharma want you to know that cheap out-of-patent drugs might help. But for years we were told that medical science didn’t have an answer to viruses.

Bromhexine was patented in 1961 and is commonly found in OTC pharmacy cough syrups with names like Bisolvon, Robitussin, and Duro-Tuss (Wiki has a long list).

Theoretically Bromhexine sabotages one of our molecules — with the snappy name of TMPRSS2 (which is shorter than saying Transmembrane protease S2). A protease is a fancy pair of molecular scissors, it chops or tweaks the viral spike and if that doesn’t happen, the virus can’t get into the cell (at least not through its favourite path).

The nice thing about an antiviral acting against our molecules, rather than against the virus itself, is that it’s harder for the virus to mutate to get around it. That means it’s less likely the virus can develop resistance. The downside of targeting our own molecules is that it might fritz things up. [...]

How about a nasal spray of Nanobodies, smaller faster and cheaper than antibodies?

The “Aeronabs” are on the way?

Right now there are more biomedical research teams focused on one problem than at any point in history, and they are armed. This is Biotech’s Big Moment, and here’s just another potential game changer. The time line here is short, and the ability to scale it is large. The seige of 2020 will end one way or another, and we will gain a whole set of tools to use on other viruses too.

If the virus has a key to get into our cells, this is like making millions of decoy locks that stick to the keys and thus disable them.

What if we could coat our lungs with tiny particles that work like PPE against coronavirus? The aim here is that one nasal spray a day might stop the virus getting entry into our cells. At the moment, one team have this working in the lab already. They’ve created a kind of cut down mini antibody, and at this stage it sticks like glue to the viral spikes. It still needs to be tested in humans, and might yet fall in a hole. But it’s another example of the potential contained [...]

Australians wiped out the flu and avoided 50,000 other cases of sickness and disease

Lessons from Coronavirus

Lockdowns and border closures mean many diseases have been prevented

It’s peak season for flu here in Australia and there’s almost no sign of it. As Chris Gillham wrote here back in May, we know lockdowns stop viruses, because flu cases are 85% down. Now he shows that this extends to other diseases too, and Chris has used data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System to calculate that just shy of 200,000 fewer Australians contracted any of the notifiable diseases in the first seven months of 2020 compared to the first seven months of 2019.

Is some of that disease burden just the price of holiday-makers bringing back diseases from overseas each year?

No one wants to stop the planes returning to the skies, but it begs the question — do we have to accept the onslaught of winter germs every year?

The answer may lie with other things we’ve discovered in the Covid pandemic too — that sick people should stay home from work and school, and that we have a lot of anti-viral tools we can use. Perhaps it’s time that travellers considered taking preemptive anti-virals, which might improve their holidays and also reduce [...]

Countries that use Hydroxychloroquine may have 80% lower Covid death rates

The scandal from the Swamp: Too rich to get a cheap drug?

Poor countries all over the world are using Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and it appears to be very useful.

The new HCQTrial suggests that despite the billion dollar budgets and expert staff, people in wealthier countries are dying from Coronavirus at far higher rates than people are in lands where HCQ is being used. And the effect of HCQ apparently holds even after researchers correct for patients being older, heavier, with higher blood pressure, living in high density apartment towers, or with getting tested more.

If word ever gets out that the Politico-Academic-Corporate-Swamp buried useful drugs because they were unprofitable and out of patent, there will be hell to pay.

The HCQTrial was done anonymously by @CovidAnalysis – who say they are PhD researchers, scientists.

You can find our research in journals like Science and Nature. For examples of why we can’t be more specific search for “raoult death threats” or “simone gold fired”. We have little interest in adding to our publication lists, being in the news, or being on TV (we have done all of these things before but feel there are more important things in [...]

Interferon Beta reduced risk of severe Covid by 80%

Welcome to the Era of the Anti-Virals. They’re everywhere.

A legacy of the coronavirus pandemic is the dawn of new ways to stop viruses. Here’s another new (old) one — it’s only a small trial, but if it can stop 4 out of 5 people developing the severe form of the disease it will be a gamechanger. If this gets similar numbers on larger trials, then we still need mass production. But national policies will swing on a dime if a safe drug with this much potential appears.

After Coronavirus we might not be so content to accept the annual seasonal virus scourge.

Postenote: These are preliminary results, not a large trial, but at least it is placebo controlled and randomized.

Breakthrough’ treatment slashes virus death risk: study

by Patrick Galey, MedicalXpress

In a randomised trial of 100 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19, those who received an inhaled formula of the protein interferon beta were at 79 percent lower risk of developing severe disease compared to those who received a placebo.

They were also more than twice as likely to make a full recovery compared with the control group.

The firm [...]

More cheap potential Covid treatments, Ivermectin saves 50%

Coronavirus may leave a trail of benefits in its wake. Who knew that there were so many cheap antivirals around? Will people get fed up with the limited choices on offer next time there is a quarantine.

While newspapers in Australia were pretty keen to share the discovery of an antiviral role for HCQ, not so many were interested in the followup studies.

Ivermectin, like hydroxychloroquine is a kind of superdrug — in the sense of being in worldwide mass use. Some 3.7 billion doses are estimated to have been given since its approval. It has been called the Japanese Wonder Drug. It’s the farm drench, a head lice treatment, and works against worm, mites and ticks too.

It was estimated to reduce viral loads in vitro massively but most people didn’t think it would work at lower safe doses. Then Bangladeshi doctors claim it was “astounding”. Last month US tests suggest that it reduced deaths by 40%. (Rajter)

These are all every priminary results. More studies are promised for Ivermectin. Especially in Peru, where a grassroots movement of Doctors has ensured it will be used.

A US clinical trial of the drug ivermectin found that it reduced [...]