Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pharmaceutical Companies / 02.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Larry Schlesinger MD Professor, President and CEO Texas Biomed MedicalResearch.com: What is the background and mission of Texas Biomed? Response: Texas Biomedical Research Institute (Texas Biomed) is a not-for-profit, independent research institute with a strong history of pioneering, biomedical breakthroughs that have contributed to the world of science and human health for nearly 80 years. The Texas Biomed mission is to pioneer and share scientific breakthroughs that protect you, your families and our global community from the threat of infectious diseases. Texas Biomed is capitalizing on its strengths – outstanding collaborative scientists and unique assets and resources. Texas Biomed is home to the nation’s only privately-owned BSL4 facility, five fully outfitted BSL3 facilities with the latest technologies and the Southwest National Primate Research Center (SNPRC). The Institute focuses on a core understanding of the basic biology of infectious diseases, animal model development, and studies to move therapies and vaccines to human clinical trials. The Institute’s independent, nonprofit business model moves science from the bench to clinical trials faster and with less bureaucracy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, COVID -19 Coronavirus, NYU, Technology / 02.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Anasse Bari PhD Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science Department, New York University, New York, and Megan Coffee MD PhD Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Medicine New York University, Department of Population and Family Health Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Coffee and Bari:  This work is led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine and NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, in partnership with Wenzhou Central Hospital and Cangnan People's Hospital, both in Wenzhou, China. This is a multi-disciplinary team with backgrounds in clinical infectious disease as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science. There is a critical need to better understand COVID-19. Doctors learn from collective and individual clinical experiences. Here, no clinician has years of experience. All are learning as they go, having to make important decisions about clinical management with stretched resources. The goal here is to augment clinical learning with machine learning. In particular, the goal is to allow clinicians to identify early who from the many infected will need close medical attention. Most patients will first develop mild symptoms, yet some 5-8 days later will develop critical illness. It is hard to know who these people are who will need to be admitted and may need to be intubated until they become ill. Knowing this earlier would allow more attention and resources to be spent on those patients with worse prognoses. If there were ever treatments in the future that could be used early in the course of illness, it would be important to identify who would most benefit We present in this study a first step in building an artificial intelligence (AI) framework, with predictive analytics (PA) capabilities applied to real patient data, to provide rapid clinical decision-making support. It is at this point a proof of concept that it could be possible to identify future severity based on initial presentation in COVID-19. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 02.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hongcui Cao, M.D. State Key Laboratory for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases National Clinical Research Center for Infectious Diseases The First Affiliated Hospital College of Medicine, Zhejiang University Hangzhou, China MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The proportion of severe novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases has dropped significantly. Specifically, this number has decreased from 32.4% on January 28 to 21.6% in Wuhan and to 7.2% in other provinces of China on February. Measures such as strengthened medical support and centralized isolation greatly contributed to the improved circumstances, and laid a solid foundation for further enhancing the cure rate and reducing the mortality rate. However, there are still hundreds of severe patients dying every day. It is extremely important to make timely and efficient diagnosis and initiate treatment for severe patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 02.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Zhugen Yang Lecturer in Sensor Technology NERC Fellow School of Water, Energy and Environment Cranfield University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection has spread rapidly around the globe. Some clinical cases have found that some carriers of the virus may be asymptomatic, with no fever, and no, or only slight symptoms of infection. Currently we have a constrained diagnostic testing capacity, Therefore wastewater analysis, also namely wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), may offer another way to track the spread of the virus that causes the disease and identify the potential infections at the community. Wastewater-based epidemiology approach could provide an effective and rapid way to predict the potential spread of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) by picking up on biomarkers in faeces and urine from disease carriers that enter the sewer system. WBE is already recognised as an effective way to trace illicit drugs and obtain information on health, disease, and pathogens  (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 01.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fabian Sanchis-Gomar, MD, MSc, PhD Department of Medicine Stanford University Medical Center Stanford, California Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Valencia INCLIVA Biomedical Research Institute Valencia, Spain MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does the RAAS system interface with the COVID-19 virus? Response: Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)2 is a functional receptor for coronaviruses, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The exponential growth of contagion by the SARS-CoV-2 all around the world has contributed to raising speculations and concerns about whether two commonly used anti-hypertensive drugs, i.e., ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), have positive or negative effects in coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated “COVID-19”) patients with arterial hypertension on-going treatment with some of the former drugs. In effect, many professional health organizations have published statements claiming that there is not enough evidence to change the use of ACE-inhibitors or ARBs for the management of raised blood pressure (BP) in the context of avoiding or treating COVID-19 infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 31.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Carl Coleman, JD Professor of Law Seton Hall Law School MedicalResearch.com: Do health care workers have an ethical and/or legal obligation to provide treatment during an infectious disease outbreak? Are there exceptions such as pregnancy, if the health care worker is her/himself immunocompromised or have young children at home?   Response: As a legal matter, health care workers can generally be required to fulfill pre-existing employment or contractual obligations during an infectious disease outbreak.  For example, an emergency room nurse who refuses to come to work during a pandemic can be disciplined or fired; a physician who breaches a contractual obligation to provide on-call services during an outbreak can be held liable for damages.  In addition to loss of employment and contractual damages, other potential consequences for failing to honor pre-existing commitments during a pandemic could include professional discipline for patient abandonment and, for physicians with on-call responsibilities in hospital emergency departments, civil fines under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. This does not mean that health care workers are obligated to show up for work during a pandemic regardless of the circumstances.  For example, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, health care workers who are immunocompromised can ask for a "reasonable accommodation," such as the right to work remotely (if possible) or to take leave.  Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employers with more than 50 employees must give workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for a seriously ill immediate family member.  In addition, federal labor laws allow employees to refuse to work under "abnormally dangerous conditions," which might apply in situations where an employer fails to provide necessary protective equipment.  However, assuming protective equipment is available, it is not clear that an outbreak itself would be considered "abnormally dangerous," particularly in fields like emergency medicine, where exposure to contagious disease is always a foreseeable risk. In most states, health care workers without pre-existing employment or contractual obligations cannot be compelled to treat patients during a pandemic.  However, a few states have laws that authorize public health authorities to require health care professionals to work during public health emergencies.  I am not aware of any state that has invoked this authority so far. As for ethical obligations, in 2004, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared that "individual physicians have an obligation to provide urgent medical care during disasters," and that "this ethical obligation holds even in the face of greater than usual risks to their own safety, health or life."  Some academic ethicists have expressed similar views.  Common justifications for this position are that physicians "assumed the risk" of exposure to infectious diseases when they voluntarily committed themselves to the healing professions; that a "social contract" requires physicians to assume risks in exchange for their social status and privileges; and that individuals who are uniquely capable of providing life-saving care have an obligation to do so. However, I am not persuaded that all physicians -- let alone health care workers more generally -- have an ethical obligation to provide treatment when doing so involves significant risk.  A willingness to accept risk is not a condition of obtaining a medical license, nor is it part of the oaths that students commonly take at medical school graduation.  While I agree that physicians have ethical obligations to contribute to society, there are many ways they can fulfill these obligations without assuming personal health risks.  And even assuming that individuals who are in a unique position to provide life-saving care should normally do so, we generally do not expect people to rescue others from danger at significant risk to themselves.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, NEJM / 28.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bin Cao, Yeming Wang, Guohui Fan, Lianghan Shang, Jiuyang Xu, DingyuZhang, Chen Wang on behalf of LOTUS-China Study Group China-Japan Friendship Hospital; Wuhan Jintinyan Hospital; Institute of Respiratory Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Science  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the past two months, the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been spreading rapidly across the world. Science and technology is the most powerful weapon for human to fight against diseases, especially in such a pandemic setting. Seeking for effective antiviral medication is the most critical and urgent among the many scientific tasks in the pandemic. At the most critical moment in the fight against COVID-19, Chinese clinical scientists have stepped forward under extremely difficult research conditions to carry out clinical trials in antiviral treatment including lopinavir–ritonavir and remdesivir, in a swift, decisive and effective manner. These trials have attracted worldwide attention. Recently, the Lopinavir–ritonavir Trial for suppression of SARS-CoV-2 in China (LOTUS-China) has been completed, which, with great clinical significance, can provide strong evidence for the treatment of COVID-19 both in China and around the world. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Lung Cancer / 27.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Amy C. Moore PhD Director of Science and Research GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer MedicalResearch.com: What is the mission of the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer? Response: GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer’s mission is to transform survivorship by  saving, extending, and improving the lives of those vulnerable, at risk, and diagnosed with lung cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Duke / 27.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rupesh Agrawal, MD Associate Professor Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Wasn't Dr Li Wenliang, the Chinese physician who first alerted his community of coronavirus an opthalmologist, with possible exposure to tears from this surgical work with glaucoma patients? Response: Since the start of the pandemic, there have been multiple reports which suggested the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via ocular fluids. As ophthalmologists, we come into close contact with tears on a daily basis during our clinical examination. Furthermore, many equipment in the clinic like the Goldman tonometer come into direct contact with such ocular fluids, providing a channel for viral transmission. The evidence, as of date, were mainly anecdotal reports included in newspaper articles and media interviews. We wanted to know if the virus can truly be found in tears, so we decided to embark on this study. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Pharmaceutical Companies, Vaccine Studies / 17.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathalie Charland PhD Senior Director, Scientific and Medical Affairs Medicago  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We started to work on solutions as soon as we were able to obtain the appropriate genetic information for the new COVID-19. Medicago is committed to advancing therapeutics against life-threatening diseases worldwide.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 16.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sibaji Sarkar, Ph.D. Adj. Professor Quincy College, Quincy, Boston MA MBC College, Wellesley MA RC College, Boston, MA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: COVID-19 infection is spreading and nothing is out there now to stop it. Hopefully, vaccines will be made and will be useful but that may take months if not a year. Researchers are also testing the use of other anti-viral drugs. COVID-19 uses (angiotensin converting enzyme receptor 2) ACE2 on capillary membranes of lungs to attach and then enter by endocytosis. ACE and ACE2 are two different types of receptors. ACE inhibitors are regularly in use as blood pressure lowering drugs. Unfortunately, ACE inhibitors have very les affinity for ACE2. Theoretically, if COVID-19 and any ACE2 inhibitor share similar binding site on ACE2 or at least bind in close proximity, assuming the virus is a big particle, it should fully or partially block viral entry. That will reduce or delay disease progression. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Vaccine Studies / 13.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cynthia Liu,  Ph.D. Manager, Scientific Information CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society Columbus, OH 43210 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The outbreak of COVID-19 caused by the new virus SARS-CoV-2 has overwhelmed the health systems in many countries and been declared by WHO as a pandemic which will continue to affect global public health and world economy. This threat calls for an intensified effort in the development of therapeutic agents and vaccines. CAS is a not-for-profit division of the American Chemical Society that specializes in scientific information solutions. Our team includes hundreds of scientists that build a global data collection of curated scientific content from both journal articles and patent applications as well as chemical and biological substance collections. With this report, our team hopes to support the efforts of R&D organizations seeking to address this crisis by providing an up-to-date overview of recent relevant publications and insight into potential therapeutic agents, including both small molecules and biologics. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, CT Scanning, Global Health, Medical Imaging / 13.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Soheil Kooraki  MSR MS, MD on behalf of Dr. Ali Gholamrezanezhad MD and co-authors Department of Radiological Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles Los Angeles, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: COVID19 is a novel strain of the coronavirus family causing pneumonia. Two similar strains were discovered in 2003 and 2012 to cause the so-called SARS and MERS outbreaks, respectively. Radiologists need to be prepared for the escalating incidence of COVID-19. We reviewed the literature to extract the epidemiologic and imaging features of SARS and MERS in comparison with known imaging features of COVID-19 pneumonia to have a better understanding of the imaging features of the COVID19 pneumonia in acute and post-recovery stages. (more…)