Hello world! So, in this week’s Med Shield Group’s COVID-19 update, big news. A press release from Pfizer saying that their vaccine works and it’s showing 90% efficacy. Now, we’re waiting for this to become available and anxious for its official release. The results data haven’t been officially disclosed, we only got a press release from a company, so a slight caveat there. The vice president in charge of it says it’s “extraordinary”. The CEO says it’s ‘a great day for humanity’. You don’t normally get these statements off drug companies, it must be said. Such a level of efficacy is quite remarkable.
Now, there are some, you wouldn’t call them side effects, but people feel feverish and a bit fluey, they’ve stated that as well. Next phase now is, the safety. They’re going to finally assess the safety before it’s fully ready. If all of the results are positive, it is absolutely remarkable and means the Pfizer vaccine is exceptionally efficacious. It would bode very well, by the way, for other vaccines. The Moderna vaccine, for example, is similar. So again, if this is true, and when we see the data, if we can dig into it and suss it out, it will be a fantastic day for the vaccine program.
A big concern we still have is social isolation (lockdown) and how older people are impacted by this isolation. The big question is, does it harm them? The evidence has shown that in a 20,000 person study, one in four people who are older, who are stuck in an isolated situation, have mental health problems, anxiety, depression is much higher in that group. So, now we have the evidence to back up the damaging effects of isolation has because what it means is we must keep in mind all these older people and keep connected to them to limit the damaging effects of isolation.
Sadly, not everything works. I mean, as we know, it’s very much a scientific process. Two trials have failed to try and block the symptoms of COVID-19. These are people in the hospital, quite severe cases, were given new anti-inflammatory medicines. One targets a cytokine called IL-6 and the second one targets a cytokine called IL-1, and both trials, sadly, didn’t work. What that means is the patients didn’t get any better. Now, of course, these things can happen. It’s good to rule those out, I guess, and what it means, the fight to find new anti-inflammatories must go on.
Another fascinating study was performed on coughs. Now as we know, coughing is a big symptom of COVID-19 and, can you tell somebody, from their cough, as having COVID-19 or not? And guess what, artificial intelligence can take a scan of a cough and then tell you if you’ve got COVID-19. It was 98.5% accurate. Now, what this means is, a cough in that disease is distinctive in some way. It’s not clear why, but the AI system can distinguish a COVID-19 cough from different types of coughs. This can be important, another way to test if someone’s positive by testing their cough, I guess. So, AI could be used to diagnose COVID-19.
So, this week, a bit of a mixed bag for sure. Some good news stories and hopefully, fingers crossed, the Pfizer vaccine is truly as promising as it sounds at the moment. On the other hand, some things that have failed and that’s the way science is. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes not. It’s very important that science moves forward.
In the meantime, let’s do what we can by wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing our hands. Just visit www.medshieldgroup.com/ for all of your daily safety needs.
Be Safe. Be Kind. Be Smart.
Med Shield Group
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