Hydroxychloroquine does NOT counter SARS-CoV-2 in Hamsters, High Dose of Favipiravir DOES

GREAT NEWS for hamsters!

A high dose of favipiravir, however, had a potent effect. A few days after the infection, the virologists detected hardly any infectious virus particles in the hamsters that received this dose and that had been infected intranasally. Moreover, hamsters that were in a cage with an infected hamster and had been given the drug did not develop an obvious infection. Those that had not received the drug all became infected after having shared a cage with an infected hamster.

KU Leuven. “Hydroxychloroquine does not counter SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters, high dose of favipiravir does: study.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2020. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201009162432.htm.

Hopefully good news for humans.

Favipiravir: A new and emerging antiviral option in COVID-19

Favipiravir was first used against SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan at the very epicenter of the pandemic. Then, as the pandemic spread to Europe, this drug received approval for emergency use in Italy, and currently has been in use in Japan, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Kazakhstan. Approval has also recently been granted in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Thereafter, Turkey, Bangladesh, and most recently Egypt have also seen recent commercial launches. In June 2020, favipiravir received the DCGI approval in India for mild and moderate COVID-19 infections. As of the 23rd of July, 2020; there are 32 studies registered on clinicaltrials.gov to assess the utility of this drug in the management of COVID-19 (3 completed, 12 recruiting).1

Favipiravir: A new and emerging antiviral option in COVID-19 — http://Med J Armed Forces India. 2020 Sep 2 doi: 10.1016/j.mjafi.2020.08.004 [Epub ahead of print]

Sex Differences in Coronary Artery Calcium and Mortality From Coronary Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, and All Causes in Adults With Diabetes

Sex Differences in Coronary Artery Calcium and Mortality From Coronary Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, and All Causes in Adults With Diabetes: The Coronary Calcium Consortium

RESULTS Among 4,503 adults with diabetes (32.5% women) aged 21–93 years, 61.2% of women and 80.4% of men had CAC >0. Total, CVD, and CHD mortality rates were directly related to CAC; women had higher total and CVD death rates than men when CAC >100. Age- and risk factor–adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) per log unit CAC were higher among women versus men for total mortality (1.28 vs. 1.18) (interaction P = 0.01) and CVD mortality (1.47 vs. 1.27) (interaction P = 0.04) but were similar for CHD mortality (1.48 and 1.48). For CVD mortality, HRs with CAC scores of 101–400 and >400 were 3.67 and 6.27, respectively, for women and 1.63 and 3.48, respectively, for men (interaction P = 0.04). For total mortality, HRs were 2.56 and 4.05 for women, respectively, and 1.88 and 2.66 for men, respectively (interaction P = 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS CAC predicts CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality in patients with diabetes; however, greater CAC predicts CVD and total mortality more strongly in women.

Sex Differences in Coronary Artery Calcium and Mortality From Coronary Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Disease, and All Causes in Adults With Diabetes: The Coronary Calcium Consortium — Diabetes Care 2020 Oct; 43(10): 2597-2606. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc20-0166

COVID-19 and Diabetes, Sub-types of DM2, B Vitamins in Diabetes Incidence and more

This article provides an overview of the clinical evidence on the poorer clinical outcomes of COVID-19 infection in patients with diabetes versus patients without diabetes, including in specific patient populations, such as children, pregnant women, and racial and ethnic minorities.

COVID-19 and Diabetes: A Collision and Collusion of Two Diseases — Diabetes 2020 Oct; dbi200032. https://doi.org/10.2337/dbi20-0032

In the article above the researchers reviewed nearly 90 studies.

Novel diabetes subtype characteristics. Overview of distribution and characteristics of subtypes generated by clustering based on clinical parameters in the Swedish ANDIS cohort.

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is defined by a single metabolite, glucose, but is increasingly recognized as a highly heterogeneous disease, including individuals with varying clinical characteristics, disease progression, drug response, and risk of complications. Identification of subtypes with differing risk profiles and disease etiologies at diagnosis could open up avenues for personalized medicine and allow clinical resources to be focused to the patients who would be most likely to develop diabetic complications, thereby both improving patient health and reducing costs for the health sector. More homogeneous populations also offer increased power in experimental, genetic, and clinical studies. Clinical parameters are easily available and reflect relevant disease pathways, including the effects of both genetic and environmental exposures. We used six clinical parameters (GAD autoantibodies, age at diabetes onset, HbA1c, BMI, and measures of insulin resistance and insulin secretion) to cluster adult-onset diabetes patients into five subtypes. These subtypes have been robustly reproduced in several populations and associated with different risks of complications, comorbidities, genetics, and response to treatment. Importantly, the group with severe insulin-deficient diabetes (SIDD) had increased risk of retinopathy and neuropathy, whereas the severe insulin-resistant diabetes (SIRD) group had the highest risk for diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and fatty liver, emphasizing the importance of insulin resistance for DKD and hepatosteatosis in T2D. In conclusion, we believe that subclassification using these highly relevant parameters could provide a framework for personalized medicine in diabetes.

Subtypes of Type 2 Diabetes Determined From Clinical Parameters — Diabetes 2020 Oct; 69(10): 2086-2093. https://doi.org/10.2337/dbi20-0001

Not just potential for personalized medicine in the treatment of diabetes but perhaps a framework for better risk stratification and selection in life insurance.

Intakes of Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 in Relation to Diabetes Incidence Among American Young Adults: A 30-Year Follow-up Study

RESULTS During 30 years (mean 20.5 ± 8.9) of follow-up, 655 incident cases of diabetes occurred. Intake of folate, but not vitamin B6 or vitamin B12, was inversely associated with diabetes incidence after adjustment for potential confounders. Compared with the lowest quintile of total folate intake, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) in quintiles 2–5 were 0.85 (0.67–1.08), 0.78 (0.60–1.02), 0.82 (0.62–1.09), and 0.70 (0.51–0.97; Ptrend = 0.02). Higher folate intake was also associated with lower plasma homocysteine (Ptrend < 0.01) and insulin (Ptrend < 0.01). Among supplement users, folate intake was inversely associated with serum C-reactive protein levels (Ptrend < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS Intake of folate in young adulthood was inversely associated with diabetes incidence in midlife among Americans. The observed association may be partially explained by mechanisms related to homocysteine level, insulin sensitivity, and systemic inflammation.

Intakes of Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12 in Relation to Diabetes Incidence Among American Young Adults: A 30-Year Follow-up Study — Diabetes Care 2020 Oct; 43(10): 2426-2434. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc20-0828

Folate is a B vitamin that occurs naturally in foods such as green leafy vegetables, citrus fruit, and beans. So eat your greens and beans. Taking a supplement can’t hurt either. My multivitamin has plenty of folate.

Young People Driving Huge Life Insurance Application Gains: MIB

The third quarter experienced the largest quarter-over-quarter gain since 2011 at 9.2%, MIB said, driven primarily by 12.8% growth in 0-44 age group and 9.2% growth in 45-59 age group.

Young People Driving Huge Life Insurance Application Gains: MIB — https://insurancenewsnet.com/innarticle/young-people-driving-huge-life-insurance-application-gains-mib-says?utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=young-people-driving-huge-life-insurance-application-gains-mib-says#.X4DaDnV7nhc

Yale study reveals which gender is better at social distancing. Take a guess

Researchers headed to the streets in New York City; New Haven, Connecticut; and New Brunswick, New Jersey, and tracked the behaviors of unsuspecting passersby. They also analyzed the movements of 15 million cellphone GPS data points, and surveyed 800 people about their practices. They found that women are far superior at wearing masks, social distancing, and hand washing, and are more likely to stay home and limit contact with family and friends. Women also are more likely to rely on advice from medical experts.

Yale study reveals which gender is better at social distancing. Take a guesshttps://www.fastcompany.com/90562466/yale-study-reveals-which-gender-is-better-at-social-distancing-take-a-guess?partner=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feedburner+fastcompany&utm_content=feedburner

OD Deaths Involving Cocaine On The Rise

The rate of drug overdose deaths involving cocaine was stable between 2009 and 2013, then nearly tripled from 1.6 per 100,000 in 2013 to 4.5 in 2018.

NCHS Data Brief No. 384, October 2020 — https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db384.htm

Memo to all of my friends in the mortality risk business:

With so much attention being paid to Covid-19 it’s easy to forget people die from other causes. Don’t forget this.

Exercise intensity not linked to mortality risk in older adults

Of these 1,567 participants, 400 were assigned to two weekly sessions of high intensity interval training (HIIT), 387 were assigned to moderate intensity continuous training (MICT), and 780 to follow the Norwegian guidelines for physical activity (control group), all for five years.

After five years, the overall mortality rate was 4.6% (72 participants).

The researchers found no difference in all cause mortality between the control group (4.7%, 37 participants) and combined HIIT and MICT group (4.5%, 35 participants).

They also found no differences in cardiovascular disease or cancer between the control group and the combined HIIT and MICT group.

BMJ. “Exercise intensity not linked to mortality risk in older adults, finds trial.” ScienceDaily. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007193656.htm (accessed October 8, 2020). — https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/10/201007193656.htm

Finally some scientific justification for my lack of exercise.

Anti-psychotic Added to Antidepressant Linked to Higher Mortality

The current investigators analyzed national healthcare claims from the US Medicaid program from 2001 to 2010 for 39,582 Medicaid beneficiaries (mean age, 44.5 years; 78.5% women) diagnosed with depression. Patients with alternative indications for anti-psychotic therapy, such as schizophrenia, psychotic depression or bipolar disorder, were excluded.

After a period of at least 3 months of treatment with a single antidepressant, more than half of the patients (56.6%) augmented their treatment with one of these atypical anti-psychotics: quetiapine, risperidone, aripiprazole or olanzapine. The remaining patients (43.4%) added a second antidepressant. The average chlorpromazine-equivalent starting dose for all atypical anti-psychotics was 68 mg/day, which increased to 100 mg/day during follow-up.

A total of 153 patients died during 13,328 person-years of follow-up, including 105 who augmented with an atypical anti-psychotic and 48 who augmented with a second antidepressant.

Compared with those who added a second antidepressant, those who added an anti-psychotic had a 45% increased risk of dying during follow up (adjusted hazard ratio,1.45; 95% CI, 1.02 – 2.06).

Antipsychotic Added to Antidepressant Linked to Higher Mortality – Medscape – Oct 07, 2020. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/938707?src=rss#vp_1

Not So Tiny Human Disease Vectors (still kids though)

There is increasing evidence that children and adolescents can efficiently transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (13). During July–August 2020, four state health departments and CDC investigated a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred during a 3-week family gathering of five households in which an adolescent aged 13 years was the index and suspected primary patient; 11 subsequent cases occurred.

Citation for this article: Schwartz NG, Moorman AC, Makaretz A, et al. Adolescent with COVID-19 as the Source of an Outbreak at a 3-Week Family Gathering — Four States, June–July 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 5 October 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6940e2

Sorry folks but you probably need to rethink Thanksgiving this year.

Drug-Induced Arrhythmias: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association


Many widely used medications may cause or exacerbate a variety of arrhythmias. Numerous antiarrhythmic agents, antimicrobial drugs, psychotropic medications, and methadone, as well as a growing list of drugs from other therapeutic classes (neurological drugs, anticancer agents, and many others), can prolong the QT interval and provoke torsades de pointes. Perhaps less familiar to clinicians is the fact that drugs can also trigger other arrhythmias, including bradyarrhythmias, atrial fibrillation/atrial flutter, atrial tachycardia, atrioventricular nodal reentrant tachycardia, monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, and Brugada syndrome. Some drug-induced arrhythmias (bradyarrhythmias, atrial tachycardia, atrioventricular node reentrant tachycardia) are significant predominantly because of their symptoms; others (monomorphic ventricular tachycardia, Brugada syndrome, torsades de pointes) may result in serious consequences, including sudden cardiac death. Mechanisms of arrhythmias are well known for some medications but, in other instances, remain poorly understood. For some drug-induced arrhythmias, particularly torsades de pointes, risk factors are well defined. Modification of risk factors, when possible, is important for prevention and risk reduction. In patients with nonmodifiable risk factors who require a potentially arrhythmia-inducing drug, enhanced electrocardiographic and other monitoring strategies may be beneficial for early detection and treatment. Management of drug-induced arrhythmias includes discontinuation of the offending medication and following treatment guidelines for the specific arrhythmia. In overdose situations, targeted detoxification strategies may be needed. Awareness of drugs that may cause arrhythmias and knowledge of distinct arrhythmias that may be drug-induced are essential for clinicians. Consideration of the possibility that a patient’s arrythmia could be drug-induced is important.

Drug-Induced Arrhythmias: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association — https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIR.0000000000000905

If you go to the original article page you’ll find a link to the full statement in PDF format that includes several lists of the medications that can either cause or exacerbate arrhythmias.