Study: 78% of recovered Covid-19 patients had heart damage - Politics | PoFo

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A study conducted by scientists in Germany found that 78% of patients who had recovered from Covid-19 showed signs heart damage.

The study included patients who had mild or no symptoms. Only 1/3 were treated in hospital and only 2% were on a ventilator.

There are signs that the damage may be permanent because in 71% of cases the scientists found topanin which indicates damage to the heart muscle.

At the time of the study, all patients had made a full recovery from Covid-19. The heart-muscle inflammation occurred equally in hospitalized patients and patients who stayed at home. They occurred in equal measure in healthy individuals without co-morbidity.

Blood clotting may also lead to permanent damage in different body organs including the lungs.

78% of COVID-19 patients show signs of heart damage after recovery

The authors studied cardiac imaging results of 100 adult patients included in the University Hospital Frankfurt COVID-19 Registry. All patients had confirmed cases of COVID-19 but passed a swab test after at least two weeks in isolation. They were recruited for this analysis between April to June 2020.

The team tracked patients who had experienced a wide variety of outcomes after their diagnosis. Just two of the 100 patients had to undergo mechanical ventilation, for example, and oxygen supplementation was required in 28 patients.

All participants underwent cardiac MR imaging using “standardized and unified” protocols on 3T MRI scanners. The cohort was compared with 50 healthy control patients and 57 risk factor-matched patients.

Overall, the team found that 78 patients had abnormal imaging findings. Findings included raised myocardial native T1 (73 patients), raised myocardial native T2 (60 patients), myocardial late gadolinium enhancement (32 patients) and pericardial enhancement (22 patients). Three patients underwent a biopsy after severe abnormalities were detected; “active lymphocytic inflammation” was present in these patients, but “no evidence of any viral genome.”

“The results of our study provide important insights into the prevalence of cardiovascular involvement in the early convalescent stage,” wrote lead author Valentina O. Puntmann, MD, PhD, University Hospital Frankfurt in Germany, and colleagues. “Our findings demonstrate that participants with a relative paucity of preexisting cardiovascular condition and with mostly home-based recovery had frequent cardiac inflammatory involvement, which was similar to the hospitalized subgroup with regards to severity and extent. Our observations are concordant with early case reports in hospitalized patients showing a frequent presence of late gadolinium enhancement, diffuse inflammatory involvement, and significant rise of troponin T levels.”

In addition, the team wrote, cardiac involvement appears to occur independent of the severity of the original COVID-19 infection. Additional research with a larger cohort is necessary, they added.

Herzschäden auch bei leichtem Covid-19-Verlauf

Full study

But, but, but, ... Trump said the virus was perfectly harmless in 99.7% of cases. Wonder how he got to have such information. :?:
Very true.

Some have been warning this since the start. Actually about the time some people started down the "it is harmless except to the elderly" bullshit.

We knew from 1918 influenza that the effects lasted decades, if not a lifetime. Serious illness is rarely without lasting consequences. But this information is really upsetting to republicans, who, to the man, consider this a minor economic problem.

I am literally sickened by the bullshit I hear coming from some people.

This illness probably exposes the death of our democracy. It is fatally damaged. My opinion is that it has been dying for since the 1990s.
Based on the study it is uncertain what % of subjects had pre-existing endocarditis, myocarditis, or pericarditis. From Table 1, Patient Characteristics, we can only tell that a sizable percentage of subjects had diabetes, hypertension and/or were smokers. The total number (n) who had at least one of these is not disclosed, which is a potential major failing of this study, especially since the control group is heart healthy individuals. In short, we have no idea if we are comparing apples to apples so there is no way to ascertain whether this study was properly designed and therefore whether the study’s conclusion are valid.

100 patients diagnosed with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction

What's the false positive rate on those PCR tests? Did all of those people even have covid? :lol:

It never ceases to amaze me what flimsy half-assed slapped together shit they call "science".
Atlantis wrote:@Sivad, the article says that the signs of heart damage occurred equally in healthy young without previous health conditions.

No it doesn't say anything even remotely like that. It says that in group of 100 subjects with a median age of 49 and a range of pre-existing conditions from diabetes to COPD to hypertension, 78 had ongoing heart involvement. It says "independent of pre-existing conditions" but all that means is none of the subjects had a relevant diagnosed heart condition. How many people are walking around with undiagnosed heart conditions? A lot.

And it doesn't say any of the damage is permanent, they don't know if the conditions are chronic or temporary:

“These are two studies that both suggest that being infected with Covid-19 carries a high likelihood of having some involvement of the heart. If not answering questions, [they] prompt important questions about what the cardiac aftermath is,” said Matthew Tomey, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Health System in New York.

“The question now is how long these changes persist,” he added. “Are these going to become chronic effects upon the heart or are these — we hope — temporary effects on cardiac function that will gradually improve over time?”

The other thing is a lot of common viruses can cause heart damage:

Most people exposed to the dozen or so viruses that cause cardiomyopathy experience only mild flu-like symptoms before the immune system quashes the intruder. "It is not even particularly unusual that the virus infiltrates the heart. If electrocardiograms were done after a broad community outbreak of a common viral illness, many would show abnormalities," says Dr. Dec. ... -infection

The laboratory PCR tests are highly accurate. With a double test, as in this study, the error quote is far less than 1%.

@Sivad, read the study, the findings occurred in 78% of patients irrespective of severity of infection and irrespective of presence or absence of pre-existing conditions. Unless you claim that there are no healthy individuals in the general public, which is an extreme position, there were healthy individuals in the group showing increased values.

our findings reveal that significant cardiac involvement occurs independently of the severity of original presentation and persists beyond the period of acute presentation, with no significant trend toward reduction of imaging or serological findings during the recovery period. Our findings may provide an indication of potentially considerable burden of inflammatory disease in large and growing parts of the population and urgently require confirmation in a larger cohort. Although the long-term health effects of these findings cannot yet be determined, several of the abnormalities described have been previously related to worse outcome in inflammatory cardiomyopathies.

Considering that scientists normally express themselves with circumspection, the above clearly shows that there is considerable risk of permanent damage. Heart muscle damage doesn't just disappear.

Flue viruses have been around for some time. If there had been similar findings we would know about it. And if you had sources that a flue virus will cause heart problem in 78% and increased troponin in 71% of recovered patients, you would have given it. The contrary is true:

Myocarditis Associated with Influenza A H1N1pdm2009

On the other hand, while many people are affected by seasonal influenza every year, complications in nonrespiratory tissues (e.g., encephalopathy, myocarditis, and myopathy) occur only occasionally [1–7]. The frequency of myocardial involvement in influenza infection varies (0–10%) depending on the diagnostic criteria, and fulminant myocarditis associated with seasonal influenza infection is rare, as shown in previous papers [1–4, 9, 12, 13, 15–23]. Indeed, only two (2/505, 0.4%) myocarditis cases were reported in 505 children admitted with laboratory-confirmed influenza during the 2003/2004 season in Canada [16].

In addition to medical diagnoses of symptoms, lung scans, etc., Covid-19 patients are tested multiple times so that a single false positive PCR test doesn't matter. Even supposing there were false positives among the test group, it would only increase the percentage of recovered Covid-19 patients with signs of heart problems.

As always, you are shooting yourself in the foot with your propaganda.
You have to understand that Sivad is not looking for evidence. He is looking to feed his confirmation bias.

Meanwhile in the US 150,000 killed by the Trump administration and climbing.
And while Sivad was making that post another few American lives came to their tragic, and unnecessary ends.

Laugh away troll.

General comment. There are few people less intelligent than those trying to paint this pandemic as anything other than a massive tragedy of Biblical proportions. That is unless you count the people who see this as a competition between nations for who can kill the fewest per 1000. They are dangerous idiots. And likely to reelect Trump/Putin.
Drlee wrote:You have to understand that Sivad is not looking for evidence. He is looking to feed his confirmation bias.

Meanwhile in the US 150,000 killed by the Trump administration and climbing.

So you seem to be attributing all the deaths in the US to Trump. :lol: It rather reminds of the way so many Conservative Germans after WWI attributed their losing the war to the magical powers of a few Jewish Bolshevik agitators. I have to say its interesting to watch you Liberals creating a fantasy in front of our eyes.

Now note I at no stage denied that severe lock down measures could not save lives in the short term. What I doubted is that is could be permanently contained once the WHO and the international Liberal establishment had deliberately facilitated the spread of the Xi virus from China. But even if we accept that earlier hard lock downs could have saved the bulk of the lives lost in the Liberal Democrat run sanctuary cities, how is that the fault of Trump. Liberals on this very forum have said that the starting assumption is to assume that the truth is the opposite of what Trump says. If Trump says there's a massive threat from illegal immigration, then a lot of Liberals assume there is no threat from illegal immigration.

When Trump said that the Xi virus was not a big problem, I can't think of anything more likely to galvanise the whole Liberal establishment, both inside and outside the United States to urgent action. The vast bulk of the deaths in America have occurred in Democrat run cities, most of them in Democrat run states. If you really believe the harsh early lock down strategy was a vital moral imperative then you have to accept that Trump's lack of concern about the virus saved a lot of lives.
@Rich, the virus doesn't care about your's or Trump's political agenda. It kills irrespective of your political believes. No, it won't disappear like a miracle. No, it's not like a flu.

Reality, in this case the reality of the pandemic, has a nasty way or getting in the way of your political believes. That's why you together with Trump and Bolsonaro will end up in the dustbins of history.
Apart from cardiovascular problems and damages to body organs such as the lungs and kidneys, neurological problems are most often cited when the long-term effects of Covid-19 are considered.

The long-term health effect of Covid-19 could be far worse than the immediate effect of the pandemic even if a few million people were to die - which now seems inevitable.

If the pandemic continues and a substantial portion of the world population were to be infected, hundreds of millions could suffer long-term health effects and may need life-long treatment.

We won't know the exact extend of the problem until a few years from now, but considering the very real possibility of long-term health problems, it would be criminally insane to let the virus spread under the unproven assumption that it is harmless to most people.

55% of coronavirus patients still have neurological problems three months later: study

Mounting evidence suggests COVID-19 could cause brain damage in adults and kids

Lingering neurological conditions from COVID-19 include brain fog, headaches, fatigue and trouble concentrating.

Could the coronavirus lead to chronic illness?

While lung scarring, heart and kidney damage may result from COVID-19, doctors and researchers are starting to clock the potential long-term impact of the virus on the brain also.

Younger COVID-19 patients who were otherwise healthy are suffering blood clots and strokes.

And many “long-haulers,” or COVID-19 patients who have continued showing symptoms for months after the initial infection passed, report neurological problems such as confusion and difficulty concentrating (or brain fog), as well as headaches, extreme fatigue, mood changes, insomnia and loss of taste and/or smell.

Indeed, the CDC recently warned that it takes longer to recover from COVID-19 than the 10- to 14-day quarantine window that has been touted throughout the pandemic. In fact, one in five young adults under 34 was not back to their usual health up to three weeks after testing positive. And 35% of surveyed U.S. adults overall had not returned to their normal state of health when interviewed two to three weeks after testing.

Now a study of 60 COVID-19 patients published in Lancet this week finds that 55% of them were still displaying such neurological symptoms during follow-up visits three months later. And when doctors compared brain scans of these 60 COVID patients with those of a control group who had not been infected, they found that the brains of the COVID patients showed structural changes that correlated with memory loss and smell loss.

And that’s not exclusive to adults. A case study published in JAMA Neurology in June highlighted four U.K. children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a severe and potentially fatal condition that appears to be linked to COVID-19. These children developed neurological manifestations such as headaches, muscle weakness, confusion and disorientation. While two of the kids recovered, the other two continued to show symptoms, including muscle weakness so severe that they needed a wheelchair.
Scientists are only just beginning to understand the ways in which the novel coronavirus that has infected more than 19 million people globally and killed 715,000 and counting attacks the body.

Indeed, the most severe illness and complications appear to stem from the body’s immune response to the viral invader, as opposed to the virus itself causing damage. And some preliminary studies suggest that this immune response could damage the nervous system.

The University College of London warned about a potential brain damage “epidemic” caused by COVID-19 in the journal Brain last month. The study examined 43 COVID patients treated in London in April and May, and found 10 cases of “temporary brain dysfunction” and delirium; 12 cases of brain inflammation; eight cases of strokes; and eight cases of nerve damage.

“We should be vigilant and look out for these complications in people who have had COVID-19,” said joint senior author Dr. Michael Zandi in a statement. “Whether we will see an epidemic on a large scale of brain damage linked to the pandemic — perhaps similar to the encephalitis lethargica outbreak in the 1920s and 1930s after the 1918 influenza pandemic — remains to be seen.

There is some precedent for a pandemic creating a wave of neurological health problems. Svenn-Erik Mamelund, a social scientist who has studied the demography of epidemic diseases for more than 20 years, told Yahoo that there was a jump in reports of neurological and psychiatric problems worldwide for years after the 1918 flu pandemic. Survivors complained of trouble sleeping, dizziness, depression and difficulties at work. And many people reported similar neurological symptoms after the 1889 Russian flu and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

Dr. Zijian Chen, the medical director of Mount Sinai’s Center for Post-COVID Care in New York, told MarketWatch that he has also been seeing patients with extreme fatigue and difficulty concentrating for several weeks to months after they purportedly recovered from the virus. “And this is important because, despite their illness being ‘over,’ they are having a lot of trouble returning to normal life,” he said.

While it’s too soon to say whether such post-COVID conditions will be chronic, Chen is worried about recovered patients being able to return to work and school. “Patients are going to be somewhat debilitated, so their ability to work, their contribution to the workforce, to the domestic product, is going to be reduced,” he said. “It will affect society on many levels if the rates [of infection and long-term illness] persist to be this great.

Indeed, some of these long-term symptoms are akin to myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome (or ME/CFS), which is a neuroimmune syndrome marked by brain fog and extreme fatigue. And ME/CFS already has an estimated $17 billion to $24 billion impact on the U.S. economy based on medical bills and lost income from many patients being unable to work, according to the CDC.

In fact, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, revealed on his show last month that he still hadn’t fully recovered. And ME/CFS has been suggested to him as a reason why. “I’ve got an onset of clinical depression, which is not sadness. People keep saying to me, ‘Don’t be sad.’ I’m not sad. I’m depressed. It’s different. I can’t control it,” he said.

A number of studies are underway to better understand how and why COVID-19 affects the brain. Some early theories, as listed by Johns Hopkins University, include severe cases of infection attacking the brain or spinal cord, as some cases reported in China and Japan found the virus’s genetic material in spinal fluid, and a Florida case found viral particles in brain cells. Alternatively, the overaggressive immune system response to the viral infection could lead the body to inadvertently attack itself. Some other effects of the virus, such as fevers or organ failure in worst-case scenarios, could also cause brain dysfunction.

“So much of the focus right now still is how many people are getting sick and how many people are dying,” Dr. Chen said — which is natural considering the country remains in a protracted first wave of infections, including 11 straight days with 1,000-plus fatalities.
“But it’s not just black and white, about getting better or dying,” he said. “There’s a whole gray spectrum of illness that can happen after COVID-19 that we haven’t even fully learned about yet.”

How COVID-19 might increase risk of memory loss and cognitive decline

Of all frightening ways that the SARS-COV-2 virus affects the body, one of the more insidious is the effect of COVID-19 on the brain.

It is now clear that many patients suffering from COVID-19 exhibit neurological symptoms, from loss of smell, to delirium, to an increased risk of stroke. There are also longer-lasting consequences for the brain, including myalgic encephalomyelitis /chronic fatigue syndrome and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

These effects may be caused by direct viral infection of brain tissue. But growing evidence suggests additional indirect actions triggered via the virus’s infection of epithelial cells and the cardiovascular system, or through the immune system and inflammation, contribute to lasting neurological changes after COVID-19.

I am a neuroscientist specializing in how memories are formed, the role of immune cells in the brain and how memory is persistently disrupted after illness and immune activation. As I survey the emerging scientific literature, my question is: Will there be a COVID-19-related wave of memory deficits, cognitive decline and dementia cases in the future?

The immune system and the brain
Many of the symptoms we attribute to an infection are really due to the protective responses of the immune system. A runny nose during a cold is not a direct effect of the virus, but a result of the immune system’s response to the cold virus. This is also true when it comes to feeling sick. The general malaise, tiredness, fever and social withdrawal are caused by activation of specialized immune cells in the brain, called neuroimmune cells, and signals in the brain.

These changes in brain and behavior, although annoying for our everyday lives, are highly adaptive and immensely beneficial. By resting, you allow the energy-demanding immune response to do its thing. A fever makes the body less hospitable to viruses and increases the efficiency of the immune system. Social withdrawal may help decrease spread of the virus.

In addition to changing behavior and regulating physiological responses during illness, the specialized immune system in the brain also plays a number of other roles. It has recently become clear that the neuroimmune cells that sit at the connections between brain cells (synapses), which provide energy and minute quantities of inflammatory signals, are essential for normal memory formation.

Unfortunately, this also provides a way in which illnesses like COVID-19 can cause both acute neurological symptoms and long-lasting issues in the brain.

During illness and inflammation, the specialized immune cells in the brain become activated, spewing vast quantities of inflammatory signals, and modifying how they communicate with neurons. For one type of cell, microglia, this means changing shape, withdrawing the spindly arms and becoming blobby, mobile cells that envelop potential pathogens or cell debris in their path. But, in doing so, they also destroy and eat the neuronal connections that are so important for memory storage.

Another type of neuroimmune cell called an astrocyte, typically wraps around the connection between neurons during illness-evoked activation and dumps inflammatory signals on these junctions, effectively preventing the changes in connections between neurons that store memories.

Because COVID-19 involves a massive release of inflammatory signals, the impact of this disease on memory is particularly interesting to me. That is because there are both short-term effects on cognition (delirium), and the potential for long-lasting changes in memory, attention and cognition. There is also an increased risk for cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, during aging.

How does inflammation exert long-lasting effects on memory?
If activation of neuroimmune cells is limited to the duration of the illness, then how can inflammation cause long-lasting memory deficits or increase the risk of cognitive decline?

Both the brain and the immune system have specifically evolved to change as a consequence of experience, in order to neutralize danger and maximize survival. In the brain, changes in connections between neurons allows us to store memories and rapidly change behavior to escape threat, or seek food or social opportunities. The immune system has evolved to fine-tune the inflammatory response and antibody production against previously encountered pathogens.

Yet long-lasting changes in the brain after illness are also closely linked to increased risk for age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. The disruptive and destructive actions of neuroimmune cells and inflammatory signaling can permanently impair memory. This can occur through permanent damage to the neuronal connections or neurons themselves and also via more subtle changes in how neurons function.

The potential connection between COVID-19 and persistent effects on memory are based on observations of other illnesses. For example, many patients who recover from heart attack or bypass surgery report lasting cognitive deficits that become exaggerated during aging.

Another major illness with a similar cognitive complications is sepsis – multi-organ dysfunction triggered by inflammation. In animal models of these diseases, we also see impairments of memory, and changes in neuroimmune and neuronal function that persist weeks and months after illness.

Even mild inflammation, including chronic stress, are now recognized as risk factors for dementias and cognitive decline during aging.

In my own laboratory, I and my colleagues have also observed that even without bacterial or viral infection, triggering inflammatory signaling over a short-term period results in long-lasting changes in neuronal function in memory-related brain regions and memory impairments.

Does COVID-19 increase risk for cognitive decline?
It will be many years before we know whether the COVID-19 infection causes an increased risk for cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease. But this risk may be decreased or mitigated through prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

Prevention and treatment both rely on the ability to decrease the severity and duration of illness and inflammation. Intriguingly, very new research suggests that common vaccines, including the flu shot and pneumonia vaccines, may reduce risk for Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, several emerging treatments for COVID-19 are drugs that suppress excessive immune activation and inflammatory state. Potentially, these treatments will also reduce the impact of inflammation on the brain, and decrease the impact on long-term brain health.

COVID-19 will continue to impact health and well-being long after the pandemic is over. As such, it will be critical to continue to assess the effects of COVID-19 illness in vulnerability to later cognitive decline and dementias.

In doing so, researchers will likely gain critical new insight into the role of inflammation across the life-span in age-related cognitive decline. This will aid in the development of more effective strategies for prevention and treatment of these debilitating illnesses.
Former virus epicenter finds half of survivors still not fully recovered

Among the first 750 patients screened, some 30% still have lung scarring and breathing trouble. The virus has left another 30% with problems linked to inflammation and clotting, such as heart abnormalities and artery blockages. A few are at risk of organ failure.
Nearly all Covid patients still suffer from symptoms six months after diagnosis

Research into the effects of respiratory illness Covid-19 showed that more than half of patients still have six or more negative health symptoms even six months after a coronavirus infection. About 91 percent indicated they still suffered from at least one symptom, the study by respiratory health organization Longfonds with research center Ciro, the University of Maastricht and the University of Hasselt.

Roughly 86 percent reported they continued to suffer from fatigue 165 days after their first symptom surfaced. Around 59 percent said they had shortness of breath while 36 said they were afflicted with pressure in the chest. The average age of patients in the study was 48, with 86 percent saying they were in good health before the infection.

“A worrying picture. Once again it becomes clear how great the health consequences of this virus are,” said Michael Rutgers, director of Longfonds. “This patient group must be seen, heard and helped. That is why it is very important that their complaints are charted even better.”

Other long-term symptoms reported include muscle pain, which was identified by 40 percent of subjects, a figure which rose over the course of the study. Frequent headaches were also reported by 35 percent. The study focused on 1,005 coronavirus patients, and was an advance on a study the Longfonds first published in June three months after the crisis began.

About 94 percent of those studied never entered a hospital for Covid-19 treatment, and 61 percent said they had no underlying health complaints before their infection.

The Longfonds presented the case of 26-year-old Rachel Burger whose infection was determined on March 17. At that time she was a healthy person who worked a full time job and exercised about six hours daily. “And now I'm still so tired that I barely make it through the day. I have a lot of pain in my chest and poor short-term memory,” she said. “Fortunately, I can now do sports physiotherapy twice a week through a rehabilitation program at the hospital. But I do worry: how long will this take? ”

“It is a special population. Three months ago we presented this group with the same questionnaire,” said researcher Dr. Martijn Spruit. “As a result, we can now carefully compare the course of coronavirus complaints in these people. That makes the study unique worldwide.”

“Although fortunately many people now no longer have symptoms, there is a group of patients who keep complaints. We must not lose sight of them ”, says Michael Rutgers. “This study involves a large number of corona patients who are still experiencing complaints. For that reason alone, this research group is of great importance for the future and for the further organization of care. ”

“We still see and hear that corona patients do not feel they are taken seriously. The causes and long-term consequences of COVID-19 are still far from known. That is why we must continue to listen to this group of people. So that they can receive the right care, treatment and guidance,” Rutgers said.

Before the pandemic is over, there will be 3 to 5 million deaths and tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of patients with long-lasting health problems as a result of their Covid infection.
Long-term problems in younger low-risk COVID-19 patients; flu shot may offer some protection

Long-term health problems seen in low-risk COVID-19 patients

Young, healthy adults with COVID-19 who do not require hospitalization are still at risk for long-term health problems, Oxford University researchers found. They studied 201 recovering UK patients with an average age of 44, more than 90% of whom did not have risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease. Only 18% had been sick enough to be hospitalized. At an average of 140 days after their symptoms began, 98% were still fatigued, 92% had heart and lung symptoms, 88% had muscle aches, 87% had breathlessness, 83% headaches, and 73% gastrointestinal symptoms. Organ damage was more common among those who had been hospitalized. But it was not limited to that group as 66% of the patients had impairment of at least one organ. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans showed mild damage to lungs in 33%, heart in 32%, pancreas in 17%, kidneys in 12%, liver in 10% and spleen in 6%. The researchers say their study, posted on Friday on medRxiv ahead of peer review, cannot prove the virus caused these later issues. But it does suggest long-term monitoring of organ function will be necessary even in relatively low-risk patients. (

Flu shot may help protect against COVID-19

Flu vaccines may help the body defend itself against COVID-19, according to a Dutch study that found hospital workers who got a flu shot last winter were less likely to become infected with the new coronavirus. In test tube experiments, the researchers saw that last winter's flu vaccine could prime healthy cells to respond more effectively not just to the flu, but also to the new coronavirus. When they analyzed COVID-19 rates among staff at their hospital, they found the number of infections was 39% lower among those who had gotten a flu vaccine. "These data, combined with similar recent independent reports, argue for a possible beneficial effect of influenza vaccination against both influenza and COVID-19," the researchers say. "This could mean that the flu vaccine could offer partial protection against both infections this winter." They posted their report on medRxiv on Friday ahead of peer review. "We thought it was important to publish these results already because the flu shot is made available to a large group of people," study leader Mihai Netea of Radboud University Medical Center said in a news release. (

Pandemic increases need for strength training by elderly

Older people "urgently" need to be doing resistance exercises, also known as strength training, during the pandemic, to counteract the effects of physical inactivity and to make sure they retain at least the same level of muscle function they had prior to lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, doctors advise. Social distancing measures cause "greater time at home and consequently a reduction in general physical activity and an increase in sedentary time, which is harmful to older people," they write in the medical journal Experimental Gerontology. Home-based resistance training can be done with exercises that simulate daily physical activities and can be adapted to each person's physical condition. Earlier studies showed that "even minimally supervised home-based resistance training can be a safe, effective and low-cost exercise option to increase lower body muscle strength in older individuals with a variety of health conditions," the researchers say. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a pamphlet on strength training for older adults, available here: ( The agency urges anyone with any medical condition discuss the exercises with their physician before starting. (

Hydroxychloroquine fails to protect medical workers

The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine failed to protect healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients from becoming infected themselves, according to results of a formal, placebo-controlled trial published on Saturday in Clinical Infectious Diseases. The 1,483 participants worked in emergency departments, intensive care units, and other high-risk sites in the United States and the Canadian province of Manitoba. They were randomly assigned to receive hydroxychloroquine 400mg, once weekly or twice weekly, for 12 weeks, or a placebo. Compared to the risk of infection in the placebo group, the risk was 28% lower with once-weekly hydroxychloroquine and 26% lower with twice-weekly dosing. But those differences were not deemed to be statistically significant, meaning they could have been due to chance rather than to the drug. The University of Minnesota researchers point out that recruiting participants became difficult after potential adverse heart effects of the drug were publicized, and also that the hydroxychloroquine doses may have been too low. "Investigation into more frequent dosing may be warranted," they said. (

Open in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines and treatments in development.

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