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US FDA ends emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus

The agency now believes that the suggested dosing regimens “are unlikely to produce an antiviral effect,” FDA chief scientist Denise Hinton said in a letter.

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Washington, June 16 : The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday announced to withdraw the emergency use authorisation (EUA) for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as treatment for severe COVID-19 patients.

The decision on the so-called ”wonder drug” as touted by the US President Donald Trump is taken in the wake of recent clinical trials that showed that the antimalarial drugs were not effective against the coronavirus.

“In light of ongoing serious cardiac adverse events and other serious side effects, the known and potential benefits” of hydroxychloroquine no longer outweigh those risks, the FDA wrote on its website on Monday.

On March 28, the US FDA issued an emergency use authorisation for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of Covid-19.

By April 24, however, the FDA issued a drug safety communication warning regarding hydroxychloroquine and heart rhythm disturbances that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

The drugs are traditionally used to treat malaria and certain autoimmune conditions, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. These can be taken to treat those conditions, but should not be taken to treat Covid-19 anymore.

After reviewing new information from large clinical trials, the FDA now believes that the suggested dosing regimens “are unlikely to produce an antiviral effect,” FDA chief scientist Denise Hinton said in a letter announcing the decision, reports Politico.

Suspicions in the medical research scandal involving a little known health analytics company grew deeper after the termination of the faculty position of one of the Indian-origin co-authors of studies that were retracted by two influential peer-reviewed journals, including the one by The Lancet on the negative impact of HCQ.

The retracted Lancet study got worldwide attention after the World Health Organisation (WHO) paused trial of antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine based on results of the study.

The study, which claimed to have analysed data from nearly 15,000 patients with Covid-19 and 81,000 controls, found that hydroxychloroquine has little benefit in treatment of the disease and instead, increases mortality in patients.

Researchers in the US earlier this month urged a temporary prohibition on prescribing chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), with or without azithromycin, to treat or prevent Covid-19.

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Ravi Shankar Prasad, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe opt for home quarantine

Shah tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday following which he was admitted in Medanta Hospital in Haryana’s Gurugram.

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New Delhi, Aug 3 : A day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) and was admitted in a private hospital, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also went into home quarantine as he had met Shah on Saturday.

Prasad, who is Union Law and Justice, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, said in a tweet, “Friends! I’m absolutely fine. To follow protocol I have isolated myself at home for few days as I had met Amit Shahji on Saturday evening for an official meeting. I’m working from home and following daily routine including Yoga and exercise. Also reading books and enjoying classical music.”

Besides Prasad, BJP national Vice President and President, ICCR, Vinay Sahasrabuddhe also went into home quarantine on Sunday. Sahasrabuddhe was also present along with Shah on Saturday at a webinar organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) to remember Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

Shah tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday following which he was admitted in Medanta Hospital in Haryana’s Gurugram.

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‘Turkey’s number of severe COVID-19 cases under control’

Turkish health professionals conducted 40,247 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 4,885,916, he added.

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Ankara, Aug 3 : Turkey’s number of serious ill COVID-19 patients seems to be under control, Turkish health minister said.

The COVID-19 cases increased by 987 in Turkey, raising the total diagnosed cases to 232,856, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The rate of pneumonia in COVID-19 patients is 8.5 per cent, the number of seriously ill patients is 582, he stated.

Meanwhile, 18 people died in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 5,728, Koca said, adding that a total of 978 patients recovered, raising the total recoveries to 216,494 in Turkey since the outbreak.

Turkish health professionals conducted 40,247 tests in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall number of tests to 4,885,916, he added.

Turkey reported the first COVID-19 case on March 11.

Turkey and China have supported each other in the fight against COVID-19.

Chinese doctors and medical experts held video conferences with Turkish counterparts to share China’s experience in treating coronavirus patients, protecting medical workers, and controlling the spread of the virus.

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Mandatory BCG vaccination linked with slower Covid-19 growth

Mandatory BCG vaccination correlated with a flattening of the curve in the spread of Covid-19, the analysis showed.

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New York, Aug 2 : Adding to the growing evidence that early BCG vaccination may be helpful in taming the Covid-19 spread, scientists now claim that countries with mandatory BCG vaccination until at least the year 2000 tended to exhibit slower infection and death rates during the first 30 days of the outbreak.

By applying a statistical model based on their findings, the researchers further estimated that only 468 people would likely have died from Covid-19 in the US as of March 29 – which is 19 per cent of the actual figure of 2,467 deaths by that date – if the US had instituted mandatory BCG vaccination several decades ago.

Martha Berg, the study’s lead author from University of Michigan (U-M) and colleagues focused on changes in the growth rates of Covid-19 cases and deaths, while controlling for variables including diagnostic test availability, median age, per capita GDP, population size and density, net migration rate, and various cultural differences such as individualism.

Their findings suggest that national policies for universal BCG vaccination can be effective in the fight against Covid-19 – an association that merits clinical investigation.

“Available evidence demonstrates that BCG vaccination, typically given at birth or during childhood to prevent tuberculosis, can also help strengthen immunity against various other infectious diseases – perhaps including Covid-19,” the authors wrote in a paper published in the journal Science Advances.

To reach this conclusion, Berg and colleagues analyzed the day-by-day rate of increase of confirmed cases in 135 countries and deaths in 134 countries in the first 30-day period of each country’s outbreak.

Mandatory BCG vaccination correlated with a flattening of the curve in the spread of Covid-19, the analysis showed.

However, the authors caution that their results do not portray BCG as a “magic bullet.”

They found substantial variation in Covid-19 growth rates even among BCG-mandated countries, suggesting that additional societal variables likely have an effect on mandatory BCG vaccination’s effect on the spread of the disease.

In India, the Tamil Nadu government last month allowed a pilot project to study if the BCG vaccine will help reduce the mortality rate among elderly Covid-19 patients. The National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis will start the pilot programme.

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