(Reuters) – This is a compilation of some recent scientific research into the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines against the viral disease COVID-19.
Elevated blood sugar levels associated with a risk of COVID-19 in non-diabetic patients
According to a new study involving 11,000 COVID-19 patients in Spain, high blood sugar may mean a stony course in patients seeking hospital treatment, even if they do not have diabetes. No one was critically ill when he got to the hospital. But the researchers found that those who came with normal blood sugar levels were more likely to die there – whether or not they were diabetic. Overall, 20% of patients died in hospital, including 16% of patients with blood glucose levels below 140 milligrams per deciliter at the time of admission, 34% of patients with levels between 140 and 180 mg / dl, and 41% of patients with levels above 180 mg / dl. (Levels of 200 mg / dL or greater indicate diabetes.) Taking into account age and medical conditions, patients with the highest levels die in hospital 50% more often than patients with the lowest levels. People with high blood sugar were also at higher risk of needing intensive care and mechanical respiration. In a report published Tuesday in the Annals of Medicine, researchers say immediate blood sugar control should be mandatory when treating patients hospitalized with COVID-19, whether or not they have diabetes.
A pandemic could lead to an increase in deaths from overdoses in the United States
Researchers say the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to an increase in drug overdoses in the United States. Between March and August, the number of overdose-related cardiac arrests more than doubled from the previous two years and remained 48.5% higher until the end of the study period, they reported on JAMA psychiatry on Thursday. The data comes from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), a register of more than 10,000 EMS agencies in 47 states. The increasing trend in cardiac arrest was in line with the sharp decline in human mobility, with researchers suggesting that increasing social isolation during a pandemic may have contributed to fatal overdose conditions. There are strategies that can help reduce drug overdose mortality even during a pandemic, co-author Joseph Friedman of the University of California, Los Angeles, told Reuters. “It is particularly important to remove logistical and financial barriers to access to medicines such as methadone and buprenorphine,” he said. “There could be a big difference in allowing pharmacies to dispense methadone and providing emergency resources to make the drug available.”
So far, there is no good answer about cleaning masks for reuse
No method for deactivating personal protective equipment (PPE) for reuse by healthcare workers stands out as well as possible, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control on Thursday, and reuse is not recommended if it can be avoided. The researchers analyzed 40 studies that tested different sterilization methods for N95 masks and high-end filters. These included steam, hydrogen peroxide, ultraviolet light, microwave ovens and electric stoves, among others. Disinfectants such as bleach, soap and water, as well as alcohol, were also tested. Results differed by mask model, manufacturer, and sterilization or disinfection process. In addition, most methods appear to cause at least some structural damage or weaken the filtering capabilities of masks, says co-author Vanessa de Brito Poveda of the University of Sao Paulo (Brazil). In addition to disinfection or sterilization processes in health systems that reuse masks, the need for traceability should be taken into account if the same mask can be shared by different professionals; control the number of reuses of each mask; train staff to check the integrity and functionality of the mask after daily wear and tear, as well as cleaning methods to remove organic matter and soil (eg cosmetic residues). “The scientific evidence available so far does not support any process so safe,” said de Brito Poveda, although she believes automated methods are safer than manual methods.
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Reported by Nancy Lapida and David Douglass; Edited by Bill Berkrot