Crowdsourcing to fight covid-19

Many trials are under way to find the best treatment

27.3.2020

The world is racing to learn how to treat covid-19. Online learning is gathering speed, especially in developing countries

Many trials are under way to find the best treatment

, tuberculosis, cancer and mental health. The ECHO Project, based at the University of New Mexico, has trained and supports hundreds of such groups in 39 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia. Many are now using their sessions to learn about covid-19. The experience at hospitals in China, Italy and Spain suggests that is prudent. As critical-care wards in the affected countries were inundated with coronavirus patients, they rapidly had to train doctors and nurses from unrelated specialisms in how to intubate patients and perform other procedures. Dr Caridi-Scheible, whose hospital is already treating more than a dozen covid-19 patients, warns the medics who are standing by for their first cases to “call in every friend and favour you are owed”. To save the lives of gravely ill patients, doctors are trying many drugs. They are bombarded with suggestions from all kinds of sources online. But as soon as any particular medication is mentioned, everyone rushes to buy or use it, even preventively, despite the lack of evidence, says John Hick from the Hennepin County Medical Centre in Minneapolis. “Until we take the time to figure out what works, throwing the kitchen sink at every patient might actually harm them,” he adds. Steroids were used in the 2003 outbreak of SARS , a respiratory disease caused by another coronavirus, but studies since then suggest they may in fact have caused some harm. Reliable answers can only come from proper clinical trials. Hundreds are under way. In early March Bruce Aylward, who led the WHO ’s fact-finding mission to China in February, said 200 trials had been registered there. But with so many small trials, it was difficult to enroll enough patients. Small trials cannot distinguish a small effect from chance. Such a lack of data may explain why a trial of Kaletra, an HIV drug combination, in patients with severe covid-19 was not conclusive, says Ana Maria Henao Restrepo of the WHO . Trials from China may yet bear fruit. The earliest, in severely ill patients treated with remdesivir, a drug developed to treat Ebola, is due to finish collecting data on April 3rd. What is really needed is a large, international trial that collects data about lots of drugs from many hospitals. The WHO hopes that a trial it announced on March 20th will do so. It will test four different possibilities: remdesivir, chloroquine, Kaletra, and Kaletra plus interferon beta, the drugs which currently seem to hold most promise. The hope is that medics, even those working under great pressure, will recruit patients. Patients are enrolled through the WHO ’s website, which will randomly assign each of them to a trial drug (which will be limited to those that are available at the time). The trial is “adaptive”, so it will change as results come in. Data will be monitored by an independent board. Ineffective treatments will be dropped and replaced by more promising ones. This will allow the best treatments to be compared swiftly. After patients are enrolled in the trial, doctors need only record a few data points. When did each patient leave hospital or die? After how long? Did the patient need oxygen or ventilation? There will be no placebo and doctors will know which treatment has been given to which patient. Those are not features of high-quality clinical trials in normal times. But the design is the best way to find out in the shortest time which of a number of drugs works best. The WHO has not said how long it expects the trial to take. Countries including Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand have already said they will join. Some 3,200 European patients will participate under the co-ordination of a French biomedical research agency. Other international trials are being planned—for example, to determine whether the drugs being tested in patients work to prevent illness when taken by health-care workers. The pace of discovery is unprecedented. But the stakes could hardly be higher. ■ For our latest coverage of the covid-19 pandemic, register for The Economist Today Read more: The Economist

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States Get Creative To Find And Deploy More Health Workers In COVID-19 FightExperts say the U.S. will be in for a shortage of health care workers in many places soon. Now, more and more states are making changes — like asking retired doctors to volunteer and allowing out-of-state physicians to practice right away. Being in healthcare right now is the rooftop scene in a 'Chernobyl.' Great, now is there a way can we petition for the many (natural healers&PHDs) incarcerated? If we don’t protect and care for our healthcare workers, there may be few of them for us when we need them.

Celebs, Big Companies and Michael Jackson Estate Donate to Fight COVID-19As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the world, huge celebs and companies are chipping in to help deal with the pandemic. 100k from Gwyneth. Really? GwynethPaltrow Pretty disgusting donation. OMG King Michael saving the planet one again from above NOT TRUE ... Ryan Reynolds wants you to PURCHASE before he'll donate !!! Read his Instagram. Typical celebrity. RyanReynolds

Angelina Jolie Donates $1 Million to Fight Child Hunger Amid COVID-19Angelina Jolie is using her platform to help a good cause amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. She is donating money to the No Kid Hungry organization. 👍 God bless her abundantly in return ♥ That's a Million dollars more than anyone with the last name Trump have given.

Iran cannot fight covid-19 with conspiracy theoriesRejecting an offer of American aid, Iran's supreme leader said: 'Possibly your medicine is a way to spread the virus more' Well said KhameneiVirus Or did America really offer aid, and is this just a fib to flame Americans by America?

Still Locked in Conflict, Israelis and Palestinians Need Each Other To Fight COVID-19Violence hasn't ended, but it's barely registering headlines. 'The corona doesn't care about religion,' says Palestinian cartoonist Safaa Odah. 'Doesn't care where you live.' The Lord works in mysterious ways. Could this be the ticket to get countries to actually work together instead of fighting against each other? 'Maybe people will remember this as a time when they treated each other as humans,' a Palestinian newspaper journalist told NPR I really do hope that some unity/solidarity will come to the region because of this.

Canada Goose to Produce Medical Gear in Fight Against COVID-19'Now is the time to put our manufacturing resources and capabilities to work for the greater good,' says Dani Reiss, CEO of canadagoose.



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