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April 7, 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.



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


FDA eases restrictions on gay blood donors amid ‘urgent need’ (NBC)

The decision to reduce the donation deferral period for men who have sex with men comes as blood drives are being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Early Data Shows African Americans Have Contracted and Died of Coronavirus at an Alarming Rate (Pro Publica)

No, the coronavirus is not an “equalizer.” Black people are being infected and dying at higher rates. Here’s what Milwaukee is doing about it — and why governments need to start releasing data on the race of COVID-19 patients.

Despite Ford and GM’s warlike effort to make ventilators, production is expected to come too late and fall short of needs (Washington Post)

The automakers said they are racing to produce as many of the medical devices as possible. But their relatively late start means the bulk of their production could come after the peak of virus cases hits the country.

Those hooked up to ventilators for long periods face a difficult recovery (Washington Post)

People who survive the most dire cases of disease caused by the novel coronavirus are about to learn one of the cruelest lessons of the pandemic: After defeating the virus, the really hard part begins. Those saved through extreme medical interventions, including being attached to mechanical ventilators for a week or two, often suffer long-term physical, mental and emotional issues, according to a staggering body of medical and scientific studies. Even a year after leaving the intensive care unit, many people experience post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer’s-like cognitive deficits, depression, lost jobs and problems with daily activities such as bathing and eating.

Helmet-based ventilation is superior to face mask for patients with respiratory distress Univ. of Chicago Medicine)

Striking news footage from Italy shows doctors treating coronavirus patients who are wearing bubble-shaped containers over their heads. These devices are used for patients suffering from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by COVID-19… In 2016, researchers from the University of Chicago Medicine led a study showing that using these helmets instead of standard face masks that cover the nose and mouth helps critically ill patients breathe better and can prevent them from needing intubation with a ventilator machine. Patients with helmet ventilation also spent less time in the intensive care unit and had better survival.

Ignoring Expert Opinion, Trump Again Promotes Use of Hydroxychloroquine (New York TImes

The president’s advocacy of the anti-malarial drug has created tensions in his administration, and fears among doctors that it could unnecessarily expose patients to risks…Dr. Klein said that even people with normal hearts are at risk for developing a fatal arrhythmia. And he said other medications could interact with hydroxychloroquine and cause serious medical complications…Other researchers have noted that while future trials may show a benefit, hydroxychloroquine has disappointed in the past, even though it has been tested as a treatment for other viruses, including influenza.

Dr. Stephen Smith on effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine: 'I think this is the beginning of the end of the pandemic' (Fox)

Dr. Stephen Smith, founder of The Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health, said on “The Ingraham Angle” on Wednesday night that he is optimistic about the use of antimalarial medications and antibiotics to treat COVID-19 patients, calling it “a game-changer.”…Smith, who is treating 72 COVID-19 patients, said that he has been treating "everybody with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin [an antibiotic]. We’ve been doing so for a while.”… He pointed out that not a single COVID-19 patient of his that has been on the hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin regimen for five days or more has had to be intubated.

Likelihood of survival of coronavirus disease 2019 (Lancet)

Estimating the case fatality ratio for COVID-19 in real time during its epidemic is very challenging. Nevertheless, this ratio is a very important piece of data that will help to guide the response from various government and public health authorities worldwide. The disease has brought tremendous pressure and disastrous consequences for the public health and medical systems in Wuhan, as well as in Iran, Italy, and in other countries. However, current estimates of case fatality ratio for COVID-19 vary depending on the datasets and time periods examined.

For the first time, researchers use gene-editing to cure mice of HIV (Salon)

The so-called CRISPR-LASER ART method is being tested on non-human primates now.


Everybody seems to be using Zoom. But its security flaws could leave users at risk. (Washington Post)

Its billionaire chief said the video-conferencing company never expected that “every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home.”

Zoom founder responds to safety and privacy concerns (CNN)

Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan responds to concerns about the privacy and security of its video conferencing app after federal officials are now warning of "Zoombombing."

Oceans can be restored to former glory within 30 years, say scientists (Guardian)

Major review reports recovery of marine life but a redoubling of efforts is still needed

Apple to make millions of face shields for hospitals desperate for gear (San Jose Mercury)

In a tweeted video, CEO Tim Cook said the tech giant would make a million shields, which provide an extra barrier between health care workers and the droplets that spread the deadly disease, per week and ship them to hospitals around the U.S. and potentially beyond.



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