HEALTH AND SCIENCE HIGHLIGHTS

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April 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future—including the latest breakthroughs impacting COVID-19.

SCIENCE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

HEALTH

Coronavirus could attack immune system like HIV by targeting protective cells, warn scientists  (South China Morning Post)

Researchers in China and the US find that the virus that causes Covid-19 can destroy the T cells that are supposed to protect the body from harmful invaders. One doctor said concern is growing in medical circles that effect could be similar to HIV

Heart Damage in COVID-19 Patients Puzzles Doctors (Scientific American)

Up to one in five hospitalized patients have signs of heart injury. Cardiologists are trying to learn whether the virus attacks the organ

Coronavirus infection may cause lasting damage throughout the body, doctors fear (Los Angeles Times)

For a world grappling with the new coronavirus, it’s becoming increasingly clear that even when the pandemic is over, it won’t really be over. Now doctors are beginning to worry that for patients who have survived COVID-19, the same may be true…In a study posted this week, scientists in China examined the blood test results of 34 COVID-19 patients over the course of their hospitalization. In those who survived mild and severe disease alike, the researchers found that many of the biological measures had “failed to return to normal.”

French officials report heart incidents in experimental coronavirus treatments with hydroxychloroquine (The Hill)

France reported dozens of heart incidents linked to an anti-malaria drug President Trump has hyped as a possible treatment for the coronavirus. Data released by France’s drug safety agency showed 43 cases of heart incidents linked to hydroxychloroquine, underscoring the risk of providing unproven treatments to COVID-19 patients.

Mortality rate of COVID-19 patients on ventilators (Physicians Weekly)

… Probably the best published information we have so far is from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Center (ICNARC) in the UK. Of 165 patients admitted to ICUs, 79 (48%) died. Of the 98 patients who received advanced respiratory support—defined as invasive ventilation, BPAP or CPAP via endotracheal tube, or tracheostomy, or extracorporeal respiratory support—66% died. 

Acupuncture and herbs COVID-19 (coronavirus) findings (Healthcare Medicine Institute)

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are effective for the treatment of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 19). The Beijing Health Commission notes that 87% of COVID-19 patients in Beijing received traditional Chinese medicine treatment (acupuncture and herbs). The commission documents that the total effective rate for patients receiving TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) treatment is 92%.

Cats and ferrets can be infected with COVID-19 (Web MD)

As scientists race to learn more about COVID-19, several new studies suggest that the coronavirus that causes the disease can also infect pets, particularly cats and ferrets…

Coronavirus may `reactivate’ in cured patients, Korean CDC says (Bloomberg News)

The coronavirus may be “reactivating” in people who have been cured of the illness, according to Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  About 51 patients classed as having been cured in South Korea have tested positive again, the CDC said in a briefing on Monday.

Why Some Doctors Are Now Moving Away From Ventilator Treatments for Coronavirus Patients (Time)

As health officials around the world push to get more ventilators to treat coronavirus patients, some doctors are moving away from using the breathing machines when they can. The reason: Some hospitals have reported unusually high death rates for coronavirus patients on ventilators, and some doctors worry that the machines could be harming certain patients.

SCIENCE

Google's fast-growing Meet video tool getting Zoom-like layout, Gmail link  (Reuters)

Google will allow business and education users on Gmail.com to directly take calls on its video conferencing tool Meet starting Thursday, a new feature being offered as the Alphabet Inc unit seeks to capitalize on security and other concerns with rival services.

Toyota-backed Pony.ai to offer autonomous delivery service in California (Reuters)

Toyota-backed self driving company Pony.ai said on Friday it would provide an autonomous delivery service to residents of Irvine, California, as demand for online orders surges because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Foreign state hackers target U.S. coronavirus treatment research: FBI official (Reuters)

A senior FBI cybersecurity official said on Thursday that foreign government hackers have broken into institutions conducting research into treatments for COVID-19, the sometimes fatal respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.