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Letters to the Editor Issue 271

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 271 - June 2021

Hydrogen Peroxide Nebulization and COVID Resolution - Impressive Anecdotal Results

Commentary by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD

 

Published from orthomolecular.activehosted.com

https://orthomolecular.activehosted.com/index.php?action=social&chash=a597e50502f5ff68e3e25b9114205d4a.198&s=c7ae1002d2f579a22c16a1b89c854212

 

Recently I took some time off to visit family and friends in Cali, Colombia. During a trip a year and a half ago, I had met a friend of my wife who was in the early stages of what appeared to be a cold, but also possibly an early influenza. My wife said it looked like a typical case of "grippe," the Colombian term for an acute febrile respiratory infection that often proceeds to full-blown influenza. As I had already been experimenting on myself for nearly a year with the nebulization of a number of agents in various combinations for my own chronic sinus and throat problems, I had my nebulizer with me to help me deal with the many pathogens one often encounters in traveling. [1] And I also had my bottle of over-the-counter 3% hydrogen peroxide with me.

Already convinced of the ability of nebulized hydrogen peroxide to rapidly resolve any acute upper respiratory infection, typically viral, I immediately offered our friend the use of my nebulizer. At the time she started inhaling the 3% HP mist, she was literally coughing every 10 seconds or so. After a few minutes of the nebulization, her coughing began to decrease dramatically, along with the appearance of being more relaxed and at ease. She continued the nebulization for 15 minutes or so. When I talked to her the next day, she was coughing very little and had slept exceptionally well. However, it was clear she did not have a 100% clinical resolution, so she returned for another treatment. By the following morning, she was completely well. After she told me of other family members dealing with the same respiratory virus, I decided to leave the nebulizer and bottle of HP with her when I returned to the United States.

Roughly three months after my return, the pandemic had hit, and COVID was rapidly spreading across the entire planet.

Fast forward another year, and I had the pleasure of visiting with my wife's friend again on a return trip to Colombia. The story she related was stunning! I had instructed her earlier to feel free to use HP nebulization for any cold, flu, or upper respiratory tract infection. And that's exactly what she had done.

Over the course of this past year, she treated 20 different individuals with COVID infection. Most of these individuals were already significantly ill with their infections when they first came to her. Seven of the 20 cases had decided to be tested for COVID, and all of them tested positive. The rest had not taken a test, yet they had similar clinical profiles, and they could reliably be assumed to be dealing with COVID infections in the setting of a pandemic. Of particular note is that some of the patients had such advanced infections that severe respiratory difficulty was apparent. In a similar setting in the United States early in 2020, all of the patients having such severe shortness of breath would have been promptly intubated and given mechanically-assisted ventilation on respirator machines.

As she already had some experience with treating colds and flu among friends and family with the HP nebulization, along with what had worked well in her own personal experience, she began all of her "COVID patients" on the following protocol of HP nebulization:

  1. Several millilitres of undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide was placed in the nebulization chamber that was connected to a table top air compressor/pump-style nebulization machine.
  2. Nebulization was initiated with a mask covering the nose and mouth to deliver the nebulized HP into the nose, sinuses, throat, and airways.
  3. Each nebulization was continued for a full 30 minutes. Three treatments a day were given for a full five days.

All of the patients reported significant improvement after the completion of the first 30 minutes of nebulization, including near-immediate improvement in the ease of breathing by those who had the most advanced infections. Some noted nasal and throat irritation with increased mucus production, but all declined the option to dilute the 3% solution as they expressed the desire to resolve their infections as rapidly as possible. After the first two days of nebulization (6 treatments for a total of 180 minutes) all patients felt much better, well on the path to complete resolution of their viral symptoms. At that time some opted to take a 50% dilution (1.5% HP) for the remaining 9 treatments over the last three days. At the end of 5 days, all 20 patients appeared to have achieved complete clinical cures.

Of note, very little to no vitamin or mineral supplementation was taken by this group of patients. And the few who supplemented took substantially lower doses than taken by many in the United States. For example, a typical maximal supplemental dose of vitamin C in Colombia is 500 mg, and even the cost of this makes meaningful supplementation simply not a realistic possibility for most Colombians.

Properly-administered HP nebulization overcomes this lack of supplementation access, and it is the only therapy that can resolve COVID as a monotherapy that possesses all of the following characteristics : [2,3]

  1. Rapidly acting and highly effective
  2. Readily available worldwide
  3. Available over-the-counter without a prescription, and not requiring a doctor visit
  4. Exceptionally inexpensive
  5. Easy to self-administer without the need for a clinic or hospital
  6. Functions well as a monotherapy, not requiring the administration of other drugs or treatment protocols
  7. Nevertheless, functions in synergy with other treatment protocols and never acts counter to any of them

To be clear, I have not had the opportunity to personally observe or hear about very advanced COVID cases treated with HP nebulization and nothing else. However, as described above, when a patient has had typical COVID symptoms along with steadily increasing shortness of breath, an otherwise imminent death clearly appears to be preventable with a vigorous protocol of HP nebulization most of the time. That certainly appears to be the lesson to be learned from these cases of COVID in Cali, Colombia.

This information from my friend in Cali expands even further on the data and evidence presented in my latest book, Rapid Virus Recovery, which was written to spread the word that COVID need not keep so many people around the world paralyzed in fear. It is now clear that 3% HP nebulization for 30 minutes in a total of 15 sessions over a 5-day period can effectively treat nearly all cases of COVID, regardless of how advanced the infection is when the patient is first seen.

Of note, the duration of the successful nebulization sessions for the Colombian patients extended beyond the recommendations in the book. As such, these results mandate that optimal HP concentration should be 3% for most individuals, and nebulization sessions should extend past 15 minutes at a time for many individuals. Lesser concentrations and durations may well resolve COVID, but minimizing morbidity, including the horror of not being able to take a full breath, should be a primary goal as well, and it should be achieved as rapidly as possible in all such patients.

Make no doubt about it, 3% HP nebulization can rapidly eliminate the COVID pandemic worldwide if enough people find out about it and start doing it. Rapid Virus Recovery is available now, in both English or Spanish, as a free download. [4] Please feel free to download it for yourself, and take a moment to pass along the link to as many friends and acquaintances as you can.

About Dr Thomas E Levy

Dr Thomas E. Levy is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology. He is also an attorney, admitted to the bar in Colorado and in the District of Columbia.

For Further Reading

  1. Levy TE (2019) Reboot Your Gut: Optimizing Health and Preventing Infectious Disease. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v15n16.shtml
  2. Levy TE (2020) COVID-19: How can I cure thee? Let me count the ways. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n37.shtml
  3. Levy TE (2020) Curing Viruses with Hydrogen Peroxide: Can a simple therapy stop the pandemic? Orthomolecular Medicine News Service. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v16n43.shtml
  4. Levy TE (2021) Rapid Virus Recovery. Medfox Pub. Available free from: http://www.rvr.medfoxpub.com

The views presented in this article are the author's and not necessarily those of all members of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service Editorial Review Board.

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Editorial Review Board

Albert G. B. Amoa, MB.Ch.B, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Seth Ayettey, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D. (Ghana)
Ilyès Baghli, M.D. (Algeria)
Ian Brighthope, MBBS, FACNEM (Australia)
Gilbert Henri Crussol, D.M.D. (Spain)
Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. (USA)
Ian Dettman, Ph.D. (Australia)
Damien Downing, M.B.B.S., M.R.S.B. (United Kingdom)
Susan R. Downs, M.D., M.P.H. (USA)
Ron Ehrlich, B.D.S. (Australia)
Hugo Galindo, M.D. (Colombia)
Martin P. Gallagher, M.D., D.C. (USA)
Michael J. Gonzalez, N.M.D., D.Sc., Ph.D. (Puerto Rico)
William B. Grant, Ph.D. (USA)
Claus Hancke, MD, FACAM (Denmark)
Tonya S. Heyman, M.D. (USA)
Suzanne Humphries, M.D. (USA)
Ron Hunninghake, M.D. (USA)
Bo H. Jonsson, M.D., Ph.D. (Sweden)
Felix I. D. Konotey-Ahulu, MD, FRCP, DTMH (Ghana)
Jeffrey J. Kotulski, D.O. (USA)
Peter H. Lauda, M.D. (Austria)
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D. (USA)
Alan Lien, Ph.D. (Taiwan)
Homer Lim, M.D. (Philippines)
Stuart Lindsey, Pharm.D. (USA)
Victor A. Marcial-Vega, M.D. (Puerto Rico)
Charles C. Mary, Jr., M.D. (USA)
Mignonne Mary, M.D. (USA)
Jun Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Joseph Mercola, D.O. (USA)
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D. (Puerto Rico)
Karin Munsterhjelm-Ahumada, M.D. (Finland)
Tahar Naili, M.D. (Algeria)
W. Todd Penberthy, Ph.D. (USA)
Zhiyong Peng, M.D. (China)
Isabella Akyinbah Quakyi, Ph.D. (Ghana)
Selvam Rengasamy, MBBS, FRCOG (Malaysia)
Jeffrey A. Ruterbusch, D.O. (USA)
Gert E. Schuitemaker, Ph.D. (Netherlands)
T.E. Gabriel Stewart, M.B.B.CH. (Ireland)
Thomas L. Taxman, M.D. (USA)
Jagan Nathan Vamanan, M.D. (India)
Garry Vickar, M.D. (USA)
Ken Walker, M.D. (Canada)
Raymond Yuen, MBBS, MMed (Singapore)
Anne Zauderer, D.C. (USA)

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D. (USA), Editor-In-Chief
Associate Editor: Robert G. Smith, Ph.D. (USA)
Editor, Japanese Edition: Atsuo Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D. (Japan)
Editor, Chinese Edition: Richard Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. (USA)
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Acknowledgement Citation

Published from orthomolecular.activehosted.com

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“A COVID Pill By Autumn” But Why Not Vitamin C?

A Covid pill by autumn is highly unlikely, yet the safest, cheapest treatment for COVID-19 is being ignored. Shortly after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that we will have “a tablet you can take at home that will reduce the chance of the COVID-19 infection turning into more severe disease”* by autumn, Pfizer announced the start of trials on a new experimental drug it hopes to have available by the end of the year.

Pfizer’s spokesperson Dr Neeta Ogden told CBS News "I think that with this drug we really have to look at it as a game changer. We haven't seen medication even discussed on the horizon that one can take early on or prophylactically if you've been exposed, kind of like what we have for the flu." New drugs, however, have to go through many stages to establish safety, the effective dose, then, finally a placebo-controlled trial. Given that this has to be with infected people it’s a tall order to get all that done properly, without short-cuts, this year, and get the drug licensed.  Therefore, an autumn release date seems unlikely.

What’s the difference between anti-viral drugs, like the one touted by Pfizer, and vaccines?

How do anti-viral drugs actually work?

Unlike vaccines, which aim to induce ‘acquired or learnt’ immunity thereby priming the immune system to produce antibodies which attack the virus, anti-viral agents aim to be more general in interfering with a virus’s ability to take hold.

The first anti-viral was AZT for HIV infection. AZT blocks an enzyme called reverse transcriptase used by infected cells to make new viruses. It’s part of a class of anti-retroviral drugs used against AIDS.

When swine flu struck in 2009, the UK government spent £500 million on Tamiflu, a drug that inhibits another enzyme, neuraminidase, which viruses use to break out of cells in order to infect others. Neuraminidase inhibitor drugs tend to end in ‘mivir’ such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza).

The British Medical Journal fought for four years to get full disclosure of the drug company’s trial data to enable independent analysis.[1] Once undertaken, this independent analysis showed that they were much less effective than originally claimed, with significant side-effects. According to a BMJ report[2] Tamiflu ‘causes nausea and vomiting and increases the risk of headaches and renal and psychiatric syndromes’ with many children reporting nightmares.

An independent meta-analysis of all trials showed that oseltamivir reduced duration of infection by 13%, from 6.7 days to 5.8 days but made no difference to hospitalisations.[3] Even worse results were reported for zanamivir reducing infection duration by 10%.[4] There’s a mad scramble right now to see if any of these existing drugs can be repurposed for COVID-19.

But there are already safe, effective alternatives. For example, Vitamin C.

The first trial on COVID-19 infected people, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in February, gave 8 grams of Vitamin C a day to PCR positive outpatients (i.e. those testing positive for COVID-19) and showed an 18% reduction in duration from 6.7 days, with standard treatment, to 5.5 days for those taking vitamin C.[5] This was reported as ‘not significant’ but it actually represented a highly significant 70% improved recovery rate, not disclosed in the JAMA paper but teased out on independent analysis by Professor of Public Health at the University of Helsinki, Dr Harri Hemila.[6]

For those with longer infection the vitamin C reduced duration by 30%, from 9 days to 6 days. According to Hemila, based on previous trials “doses of 6-8 g/day may shorten viral upper respiratory infections by some 20%.” One trial giving 8 grams, reported that almost half (46%) became symptom free within 24 hours. The more you give and the sooner you give it upon infection, the better the results.

Unlike the drug contenders, vitamin C has many mechanisms of action, both supporting healthy immunity as well as suppressing viruses.[7] Vitamin C increases the production and improves the function of all critical immune cells and protects them from virally induced ‘oxidative’ damage. It also boosts interferon, which interferes with viral replication [8] and is anti-bacterial. Many critical Covid patients develop secondary bacterial pneumonia and sepsis – both of which can be reduced by vitamin C.[9]

Back in 1990, twice Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling and colleagues infected human T-cells with HIV then exposed them to vitamin C. The virus was effectively inactivated - reverse transcriptase was reduced by more than 99%[10] and out surpassed the drug AZT in a further study on human T-cells.[11]

Studies exposing type-A flu viruses, which includes bird and swine flu, to a nutrient mixture high in vitamin C show profound inhibition of the virus and inhibition of neuraminidase[12] and outperformed oseltamivir (Tamiflu) when tested on Asian bird flu (A/H5N1).[13]

The UK Government’s Therapeutics Taskforce set up “to search for the most promising new medicines to be made safely and rapidly available” has a study planned for critical treatment using intravenous vitamin C, but none for early intervention. This is a shame because vitamin C is unpatentable, hence pharma companies, reliant on profits from man-made patentable drugs, have no incentive to research vitamin C.  Given that vitamin C, if taken at onset of symptoms, cuts duration better than any anti-viral drug to date, is safe, inexpensive and rapidly available, one has to ask ‘why not vitamin C?’

References

* https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9491869/Coronavirus-Britain-pills-treat-Covid-autumn.html

  1. https://www.bmj.com/Tamiflu
  2. https://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g2545
  3. Jefferson T, et al., Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults and children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jan 18;1:CD008965. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008965.pub3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22258996/     
  4. Heneghan C, Zanamivir for influenza in adults and children: systematic review of clinical study reports and summary of regulatory comments’ BMJ 2014;348:g2547. https://www.bmj.com/content/348/bmj.g2547
  5. Thomas S, Patel D, Bittel B, et al. Effect of High-Dose Zinc and Ascorbic Acid Supplementation vs Usual Care on Symptom Length and Reduction Among Ambulatory Patients With SARS-CoV-2 Infection: The COVID A to Z Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(2):e210369. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.0369 https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2776305
  6. H.Hemila, A.Carr, E. Chalker Chal https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-289381/v1
  7. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/12/3760
  8. H Dahl and M Degre, ‘The effect of ascorbic acid on production of human interferon and the antiviral activity in vitro.’ Acta Pathologica Microbiologica Scandinavica Section B Microbiology, (1976), 84B(5):280-4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1699-0463.1976.tb01938.x
  9. M Kashiouris et al, ‘The Emerging Role of Vitamin C as a Treatment for Sepsis.’ Nutrients, (2020), 12(2): 292. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/2/292
  10. S Harakeh et al, ‘Suppression of human immunodeficiency virus replication by ascorbate in chronically and acutely infected cells.’ Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, (1990), 87(18):7245-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC54720/ ; see also S Harakeh and R Jariwalla, ‘NF-kappa B-independent suppression of HIV expression by ascorbic acid’, AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses, (1997), 13(3):235-9. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/aid.1997.13.235 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9115810/ ; see alsoS Harakeh et al, ‘Mechanistic aspects of ascorbate inhibition of human immunodeficiency virus.’ Chemico-Biological Interactions, (1994), 91(2-3):207-15. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0009279794900418 ; see also Harakeh and R Jariwalla, ‘Comparative study of the anti-HIV activities of ascorbate and thiol-containing reducing agents in chronically HIV-infected cells.’ American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, (1991), 54(6 Suppl):1231S-1235S. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article-abstract/54/6/1231S/4715087%5D 
  11. S Harakeh and R Jariwalla, ‘Ascorbate effect on cytokine stimulation of HIV production.’ Nutrition, (1995), 11(5 Suppl):684-7. https://europepmc.org/article/med/8748252
  12. R Jariwalla et al, ‘Suppression of influenza A virus nuclear antigen production and neuraminidase activity by a nutrient mixture containing ascorbic acid, green tea extract and amino acids.’, BioFactors, (2007), 31(1):1-15. https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/biof.5520310101?sid=nlm%3Apubmed
  13. P Deryabin et al, ‘Effects of a nutrient mixture on infectious properties of the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza virus A/H5N1.’, BioFactors, (2008), 33(2):85-97. https://iubmb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/biof.5520330201?sid=nlm%3Apubmed

Further Information 

Media Enquiries: please contact Sophie at Panpathic Communications –Sophie@panpathic.com  / 07815 860 082 / 01323 440 998

Patrick Holford from www.vitaminC4covid.com  is available for interview/articles/comment.

About VitaminC4Covid.com

VitaminC4Covid.com is an international campaign backed by over 900 professors, doctors, nutrition professionals and other healthcare practitioners, from over 50 countries. The campaign is calling for the government and its public health and nutrition agencies to take vitamin C seriously and thoroughly assess the evidence, fund studies of vitamin C in relation to COVID-19, and for 'vitamin C for COVID-19 or corona' no longer being classified as false information in both digital, broadcast and print media. The full scientific review paper, published in the journal Nutrients, is viewable in the ‘science’ section of www.vitaminC4covid.com .

 

 

NTU Singapore Study Investigates Link Between ‘Long-Haul COVID’ and Blood Clot Formation Risk

People who have recovered from COVID-19, especially those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions, may be at risk of developing blood clots due to a lingering and overactive immune response, according to a study led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) scientists.[1] The team of researchers, led by NTU Assistant Professor Christine Cheung, investigated the possible link between COVID-19 and an increased risk of blood clot formation, shedding new light on “long-haul COVID” – the name given to the medium- and long-term health consequences of COVID-19.

The findings may help to explain why some people who have recovered from COVID-19 exhibit symptoms of blood clotting complications after their initial recovery. In some cases, they are at increased risk of heart attack, stroke or organ failure when blood clots block major arteries to vital organs.

The team, comprising researchers from NTU, Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s (A*STAR) Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN), and the National Centre of Infectious Diseases, Singapore (NCID), collected and analyzed blood samples from 30 COVID-19 patients a month after they had recovered from the infection and were discharged from hospital. They found that all recovered COVID-19 patients had signs of blood vessel damage, possibly from a lingering immune response, which may trigger the formation of blood clots.

Their findings were published on 23 March in the peer-reviewed scientific journal eLife.[1]

“With more people recovering from COVID-19, we started hearing from clinicians about patients returning with blood clotting issues after they had been discharged and cleared of the virus,” said Asst Prof Christine Cheung from NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine. “This makes a strong case for the close monitoring of recovered COVID-19 patients, especially those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions like hypertension and diabetes who have weakened blood vessels.”

Blood Vessel Damage due to Post-Recovery Overactive Immune System

The team found that recovered COVID-19 patients had twice the normal number of circulating endothelial cells (CECs) that had been shed from damaged blood vessel walls. The elevated levels of CECs indicate that blood vessel injury is still apparent after recovering from viral infection. The researchers also found that recovered COVID-19 patients continued to produce high levels of cytokines – proteins produced by immune cells that activate the immune response against pathogens – even in the absence of the virus. Unusually high numbers of immune cells, known as T cells, that attack and destroy viruses were also present in the blood of recovered COVID-19 patients.

The presence of both cytokines and higher levels of immune cells suggest that the immune systems of recovered COVID-19 patients remained activated even once the virus was gone. The researchers hypothesise that these persistently activated immune responses may attack the blood vessels of recovered COVID-19 patients, causing even more damage and increasing the risk of blood clot formation further.

The study’s first author Florence Chioh, a Research Assistant at NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, said:

“While COVID-19 is mainly a respiratory infection, the virus may also attack the linings of blood vessels, causing inflammation and damage. Leakage from these damaged vessels triggers the formation of blood clots that may result in the sort of complications seen in the patients during hospitalisation.”

One of the co-authors of the paper, Professor Lisa Ng, Executive Director of A*STAR Infectious Diseases Labs and previously Senior Principal Investigator at SIgN, said:

“We assessed the levels of immune mediators in these patients, which revealed several proinflammatory and activated T lymphocyte-associated cytokines sustained from infection to recovery phase. This correlated positively with CEC measure, implying cytokine-driven vessel damage.  We found that COVID-19 patients with vascular complications have a higher frequency of T cells, which may in turn attack the blood vessels. Preventive therapy may be needed for these patients.”

Emphasizing Post- Hospitalisation Care for At-Risk COVID-19 Patients

The study’s key findings can help inform guidelines for post-hospitalization care of COVID-19 patients who might be susceptible to ‘long-haul COVID’ symptoms, said the research team.

In January this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a recommendation in their revised clinical management guidelines, targeted at the risk of blood clot formation. For hospitalized patients, WHO recommended the use of low dose anticoagulants for preventing the blood clots forming in blood vessels.

Asst Prof Cheung added:

“Those with cardiovascular conditions need to be more cautious since their underlying conditions already weaken their vascular systems. It’s a double blow with COVID-19. As we gain greater understanding of complications COVID ‘long-haulers’ face, there is hope to encourage vaccine take-up rate to protect oneself from both the virus and its long-term complications.”

Moving forward, the team is investigating the longer-term effects of COVID-19 in patients who have recovered from the infection for at least six months or longer.

Notes

Researchers from the following institutions contributed to the study:

  • Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • A*STAR Infectious Diseases Labs, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
  • Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore 
  • Department of Infectious Diseases, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
  • Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Karolinska Institute, ANA Futura, Campus Flemingsberg, Stockholm, Sweden
  • National Heart Centre Singapore
  • Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
  • Department of Infectious Diseases, Changi General Hospital, Singapore
  • Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore
  • Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
  • Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore

References

  1. Florence WJ Chioh, Siew-Wai Fong, Barnaby E Young, Kan-Xing Wu, Anthony Siau, Shuba Krishnan, Yi-Hao Chan, Guillaume Carissimo, Louis LY Teo, Fei Gao, Ru San Tan, Liang Zhong, Angela S Koh, Seow-Yen Tan, Paul A Tambyah, Laurent Renia, Lisa FP Ng, David C Lye and Christine Cheung. Convalescent COVID-19 patients are susceptible to endothelial dysfunction due to persistent immune activation. eLife. 23 March 2021. https://elifesciences.org/articles/64909   doi: 7554/eLife.64909

Further Information and Media Contact

Mr Lester Hio, Manager, Media Relations
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Email: lester.hio@ntu.edu.sg

About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, established jointly with Imperial College London. NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N). Ranked amongst the world’s top universities by QS, NTU has also been named the world’s top young university for the past seven years. For more information, visit www.ntu.edu.sg

 

 

Scientists Identified Cases of Human-To-Cat COVID-19 Transmission in the UK

A team of scientists at the University of Glasgow has identified two known cases of human-to-cat COVID-19 transmission in the UK. In the study, led by the University of Glasgow and published today in the Veterinary Record, researchers describe two cases of human-to-cat SARS-CoV-2 transmission, found as part of a COVID-19 screening programme of the feline population in the UK.[1]

The cats, both different breeds, came from two separate households and displayed mild to severe respiratory signs. Researchers from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) in partnership with the Veterinary Diagnostic Service of the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, believe both cats were infected by their owners, who were also displaying COVID-19 symptoms prior to the cats becoming unwell.

The first cat was a four month-old female Ragdoll kitten from a household in which the owner developed symptoms that were consistent with SARS-CoV-2 infection at the end of March 2020, although the owner was not tested. The kitten was presented to its veterinary surgeon in April 2020 with difficulty breathing. Sadly, the cat’s condition deteriorated and it later had to be put down. Post-mortem lung samples later revealed damage to the lungs consistent with a viral pneumonia and there was evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

The second cat was a six year-old female Siamese from a household where one owner tested positive for COVID-19. The cat was taken to the vet with nasal discharge and conjunctivitis, but these clinical signs remained mild and the cat later recovered. COVID-19 infection was demonstrated in the cat as part of a UK-wide COVID-19 feline screening programme and this was confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Researchers at the CVR completed full genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genome in cat 2 and found that it was very similar to viral genomes circulating in humans. The researchers found no evidence of species adaptation in the cat’s viral sequences and concluded that any mutations present in cat 2’s viral genome were likely also present in the owner’s virus, although the genome sequence from the owner was not available for comparison.

At present, there is no evidence of cat-to-human transmission, or that cats, dogs or other domestic animals play any role in the epidemiology of human infections with SARS-CoV-2. Whether cats with COVID-19 could naturally transmit the virus to other animals, or back to humans, remains unknown. However, scientists believe these two known cases of human-to-cat transmission in the UK are likely to be an underestimate of the true frequency of human-to-animal transmission, as animal testing is limited.

Professor Margaret Hosie from the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, lead author of the study, said:

“These two cases of human-to-animal transmission, found in the feline population in the UK, demonstrate why it is important that we improve our understanding of animal SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

“Currently, animal-to-human transmission represents a relatively low risk to public health in areas where human-to-human transmission remains high. However, as human cases decrease, the prospect of transmission among animals becomes increasingly important as a potential source of SARS-CoV-2 reintroduction to humans. It is therefore important to improve our understanding of whether exposed animals could play any role in transmission.”

Since the pandemic began there have been reports of cats from COVID-19 households in Hong Kong, Belgium, the USA, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy, Chile, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland and Latvia that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were presumed to be infected from their owners. Naturally occurring SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in cats, non-domestic cats and dogs. Scientists have also shown that cats, ferrets and hamsters are susceptible.

Acknowledgement

This study was funded by Wellcome ISSF COVID Response Fund and supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

Reference

  1. Margaret J. Hosie, Ilaria Epifano, Vanessa Herder, Richard J. Orton, Andrew Stevenson, Natasha Johnson, Emma MacDonald, Dawn Dunbar, Michael McDonald, Fiona Howie, Bryn Tennant, Darcy Herrity, Ana Da Silva Filipe, Daniel G. Streicker, the COVID‐19 Genomics UK (COG‐UK) consortium, Brian J. Willett, Pablo R. Murcia, Ruth F. Jarrett, David L. Robertson, William Weir. Detection of SARS‐CoV‐2 in respiratory samples from cats in the UK associated with human‐to‐cat transmission. Vet Record 188(8). 24 April/1 May 2021. https://bvajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/vetr.247 https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.247

Further Information 

For more information contact Elizabeth McMeekin or Ali Howard in the University of Glasgow Communications and Public Affairs Office on Tel: 0141 330 4831 or Tel: 0141 330 6557;  Elizabeth.mcmeekin@glasgow.ac.uk  or ali.howard@glasgow.ac.uk

 

 

University of Glasgow Project Investigating The Effects Of COVID-19 on Blood Vessels and Blood Pressure Receives Heart Research UK Grant

A project at the University of Glasgow that is aiming to better understand the effects that COVID-19 infection has on blood vessels and blood pressure has received a grant of £250,000 from national charity Heart Research UK.

Research has shown that people who are older, obese, male or those who have other medical problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or chronic lung conditions, have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is very common with more than one quarter of adults in the UK affected. The virus causing COVID-19 enters the body’s cells through a receptor called ACE2 which is found in the lungs, heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver, and bowel. ACE2 is very important for maintaining many of the body’s important processes including blood pressure, inflammation, and wound healing.

COVID-19 can also cause damage to the walls of the blood vessels which makes the risk of blood clots higher and this has been seen more often in people with high blood pressure. The reasons for this are not yet known which is why we need to understand more about the links between COVID-19 and high blood pressure.

This study, which will be led by Professor Sandosh Padmanabhan, Professor of Cardiovascular Genomics and Therapeutics, aims to answer whether:

  • High blood pressure makes COVID-19 infection worse and if so, why.
  • COVID-19 infection makes high blood pressure worse and if so, why.
  • Monitoring and management of high blood pressure needs to be a greater priority during the pandemic.

The study will look at routinely collected health records for people in the West of Scotland who attended hospital or had a positive test for COVID-19 between April 2020 and April 2021. This will be compared to the records of patients who attended hospital during 2019, for another reason. They will also look in detail at a group of people with high blood pressure.

Prof Padmanabhan’s team will also study a group of people that have recovered from COVID-19 infection. They will undergo blood pressure monitoring, and tests of heart and blood vessel health. These tests will be repeated after 12 and 18 months to see if there have been any changes. They will be compared to a group of people who have not had COVID-19.

Finally, the study will look at markers in the blood (biomarkers) with the aim of identifying any which are linked with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or death in COVID-19.

This study will give us a better understanding of the links between COVID-19 infection and high blood pressure, and help to improve the long-term outcomes for survivors of COVID-19. Also, the findings may lead to recommendations on the monitoring and management of blood pressure during the pandemic.

Prof Padmanabhan said:

The current COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, has exposed unexpected cardiovascular vulnerabilities at all stages of the disease. The mechanism by which the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes infection is believed to directly and indirectly affect the cardiovascular system potentially resulting in new-onset hypertension, heart failure and stroke and represents an insidious feature of long-COVID.

“The burden of hypertension as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown, but given the scale of the infection especially among the young this will be a major concern for the future. In this project, we plan to generate valuable evidence that will inform hypertension management strategies and reduce cardiovascular risk for survivors of COVID-19.”

Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive of Heart Research UK, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting the work of Professor Padmanabhan and his team, who are conducting vital research into one of the biggest medical challenges the world has ever faced.

“We have known for some time that those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditions are more susceptible to developing severe complications from COVID-19. We hope that this research will help to explain why this is the case, reduce the risk for this vulnerable group and, ultimately, help to save more lives.

“Our grants are all about helping patients. They aim to bring the latest developments to those who need them as soon as possible.

“The dedication we see from UK researchers is both encouraging and inspiring, and we at Heart Research UK are proud to be part of it.”

Further Information and Media Contact

For media enquiries contact Daniel Raymond, PR and Media Officer at Heart Research UK, via press@heartresearch.org.uk or Tel: 0113 234 7474. Out of hours, contact Tel: 07443 470577.

About Heart Research UK

Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.
In the last 10 years, Heart Research UK has funded over £10.2m in medical research in hospitals and universities across the UK, as well as £2.2m on innovative community-based lifestyle projects to improve the heart health of the nation.
If you’d like to support Heart Research UK’s vital work into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease, please visit www.heartresearch.org.uk for inspiration on how you could help.

 

 

Paracetamol's Fall from Grace - Rosehip a Sustainable Alterative?

Millions living with joint pain could see long-term benefits from taking Rose-hip over paracetamol. According to new guidelines released by the National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence (NICE), commonly used painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen offer little to no evidence that they provide relief from primary chronic pain and should not be prescribed.[1]

This new report is set to shake up pain treatment for the nation, calling for a more holistic approach to chronic pain management and emphasising the role of shared decision making, putting the patient’s lifestyle and preferences at the center of their care.

It has been estimated that chronic pain, described as pain lasting over 3 months, may affect up to half of the population.[1] A large proportion of these relate to secondary chronic pain involving joint health conditions, with back pain alone accounting for the single largest cause of disability in the UK,[4] and one third of the population aged over 45 seeking treatment for Osteoarthritis.[5]

In fact, 17 million adults in the UK are affected by a joint or musculoskeletal condition, with nearly half of those dependent on paracetamol for the management of debilitating symptoms,[6] despite mounting evidence regarding the associated health risks if taken long-term.[2,3]

Following this guidance, set out by NICE which condemns the long-term use of analgesics, healthcare professionals and patients alike should be looking to alternative solutions for pain relief. These include keeping active, discussing with patients the causes of their pain, acknowledging that pain killers are typically not a cure and at times, in primary chronic pain, (perversely) they may be part of the problem.

GP and Health Economist, Dr Alastair Dickson, comments:

“It is important to give patients the option to explore a holistic approach when it comes to treating musculoskeletal chronic pain, and to develop joint treatments plans that use any pain killer sparingly. The latest NICE guidance on chronic pain highlights the lack of evidence on clinical efficacy in the ways many analgesic drugs are used to treat pain and highlights that many of these drugs may cause harm including the risk of addiction.

“The latest update to the NICE Osteoarthritis guidelines on opioid use places greater emphasis on the potential risk of harm on prescribing opiates. Clinicians are increasingly concerned about the prescribing options that they are left with when paracetamol and NSAIDs are insufficient or not tolerated by their patients. There is a need for alternative options particularly for when patients experience flares on their musculoskeletal pain.”

Fortunately, in recent years studies have shown promising pain-reliving properties from a compound found in rose-hips, a galactolipid by the name of GOPO®. 

GOPO® Joint Health is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory treatment derived from the seeds and husks of rose-hips, proven to reduce joint pain in hips and knees and may be an alternative to other pain killers. Laboratory studies also suggest that GOPO® may have anti-inflammatory properties.  Considered by many to be a safer and more effective analgesic alternative to paracetamol and other prescription medications, GOPO® should be recommended as a first-line treatment option for joint health patients.

According to Dr Alastair Dickson:

“The evidence for GOPO®, which has 3 randomised clinical trials, suggest it is a suitable over-the-counter supplement for osteoarthritic hip and knee pain. The difficulty with herbal remedies is the size of the studies available however, it is clear they do have positive effects for some patients. As per the NICE Chronic Pain guidance if your osteoarthritis pain appears to be getting worse, or is excessive despite using medication to control the pain, you should seek medical advice”.*

 GOPO® is supported by scientific studies involving over 400 patients with chronic pain conditions, demonstrating that daily supplementation produces effective and consistent pain relief and improved joint function. In one study, 8 out of 10 patients reported a significant reduction in pain after just 3 weeks of GOPO®.[8]

Foot Notes

*On behalf of Dr Alastair Dickson: For ethical and professional obligations this foot note must be included in the article if we are talking about rose-hip medications.  "I advise a company who supports GOPO, a Rose-hip containing medication; I always advise my patients of this to avoid any conflicts of interest when we discuss Rose-hip medications."

GOPO Joint Health – backed by 10 years of clinical research

GOPO® has been evaluated in numerous rigorously-conducted, placebo-controlled, clinical trials involving hundreds of patients with difficult-to-treat chronic joint conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.[7-13] Efficacy results have been consistently positive and evidence supporting the benefits of GOPO® has been presented around the world at numerous clinical meetings and many studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

How the Galactolipid, Gopo® Works

Laboratory studies into GOPO® have demonstrated that it can switch off certain genes responsible for producing proteins and enzymes that have been implicated in inflammatory joint destruction and switch on genes that help to produce collagen and cartilage.[13] which are essential components of a healthy joint. This suggests that when taken long term, the galactolipid GOPO® may protect cartilage cells and help to rebuild joint tissues.[13] High levels of the galactolipid GOPO® are found only in GOPO® Joint Health. GOPO® Joint Health is also rich in Vitamin C which is essential for normal collagen formation, needed by the body for healthy bones and cartilage.

References

  1. Chronic pain (primary and secondary) in over 16s: assessment of all chronic pain and management of chronic primary pain NICE guideline [NG193]Published date: 07 April 2021 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng193
  2. Frank de Vries F, Setakis E, van Staa TP. Concomitant use of ibuprofen and paracetamol and the risk of major clinical safety outcomes. Br J Clin Pharmacol 0(3):429–38. 2010.
  3. Roberts E, Delgado Nunes V, Buckner S, et al. Paracetamol: not as safe as we thought? A systematic literature review of observational studies. Ann Rheum Dis 2015 Mar 2. pii: annrheumdis-2014-206914. DOI: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2014-206914  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25732175/
  4. Hoy D, March L, Brooks P, et al. The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study, Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases;73:968-974. 2014.
  5. Arthritis Research UK http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/data-and-statistics/data-by-condition/osteoarthritis.aspx
  6. Arthritis and Joint Pain Survey, Censuswide, 2017
  7. Machado GC, Mahler CM, Ferreira PH, et al. Efficacy and safety of paracetamol for spinal pain and osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo controlled trials. BMJ 2015; BMJ 2015 Mar 31;350:h1225. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h1225 https://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h1225
  8. Winther, K et al. “A powder made from seeds and shells of a rose-hip subspecies (Rosa canina) reduces symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Scandinavian journal of rheumatology vol. 34,4: 302-8. 2005.
  9. Willich SN, Rossnagel K, Roll S, et al. Rose hip herbal remedy in patients with rheumatoid arthritis - a randomised controlled trial. Phytomedicine.;17(2):87-93. 2010. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.09.003  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19818588/
  10. Christensen, R et al. “Does the hip powder of Rosa canina (rosehip) reduce pain in osteoarthritis patients?--a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Osteoarthritis and cartilage vol. 16,9: 965-72. 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.joca.2008.03.001  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18407528/
  11. Warholm, Odd et al. “The Effects of a Standardized Herbal Remedy Made from a Subtype of Rosa canina in Patients with Osteoarthritis: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Current therapeutic research, clinical and experimental vol. 64,1: 21-31.2003. DOI: 10.1016/S0011-393X(03)00004-3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24944354/
  12. Rein, E et al. “A herbal remedy, Hyben Vital (stand. powder of a subspecies of Rosa canina fruits), reduces pain and improves general wellbeing in patients with osteoarthritis--a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial.” Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology vol. 11,5: 383-91. 2004. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2004.01.001  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15330493/  
  13. Schwager J, Richard N, Wolfram S. Anti-inflammatory and chondro-protective effects of rose-hip powder and its constituent galactolipids GOPO. Poster presentation at the World Congress of Osteoarthritis (OARSI) 2008.

Media Contact

For further information please contact Sophie Hulf sophie.hulf@emotiveagency.com

Further Information

Speak to your GP, pharmacist of healthcare professional to find out more if you’re looking for alternative treatment options. GOPO® Joint Health is available to buy from Boots, Amazon, supermarkets and independent chemists nationwide and is priced at £19.52 for 120 capsules and £29.60 for 200 capsules. Visit www.gopo.co.uk  for further information.

 

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