Oxygen levels while walking identify patients at risk; cancer patients should have priority in the vaccine

By Nancy Lapid

(Reuters) – The following is a summary of some of the latest scientific studies on the new coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Oxygen levels while walking identify patients at risk

A new study suggests that it may be helpful to assess blood oxygen levels in walking patients if this level is normal when sitting. Low blood oxygen or hypoxia contribute to shortness of breath and worsening of disease in patients with COVID-19. At 10 hospitals in Chicago, doctors studied 531 patients with COVID-19 whose blood oxygen levels were normal at rest. About one in four developed hypoxia when they got up and walked. These individuals were almost five times more likely to eventually need basic oxygen support and almost eight times more likely to need advanced oxygen therapy compared to patients whose blood oxygen levels were low. they kept stable as they walked. Decreased blood oxygen levels while walking could be detected on average 12 hours before patients need extra oxygen, the researchers found. So-called ambulatory hypoxia “can serve as an early, non-invasive physiological marker for the likelihood of developing moderate to severe disease and can help clinicians triage patients and initiate previous interventions,” the researchers said in a paper published Thursday. medRxiv before peer review. (Https://bit.ly/3mC8n3e)

Cancer patients should receive vaccine priority

Cancer patients receiving COVID-19 are at high risk for poor results and should be considered for priority access to coronavirus vaccines, according to the American Association for Cancer Research COVID-19 and the Cancer Task Force. The working group analyzed available data on fatality rates of cancer patients who developed COVID-19 and based their recommendations on 28 publications. Their position paper was published Saturday in the journal Cancer Discovery. A separate Italian study reiterated that fear of infection should not be a reason for delaying cancer treatments. Of the nearly 60,000 cancer patients treated earlier this year in Italy, less than 1% developed COVID-19, JAMA Oncology reported on Thursday. Early reports in China indicated a much higher risk of contracting COVID-19 among patients receiving cancer therapy, Dr. Carlo Aschele of Ospedale Sant’Andrea in La Spezia told Reuters. “In Italy, oncologists and patients have also been horrified, expecting to deal with a huge amount of infections and deaths, especially among patients receiving chemotherapy or immunotherapy,” he said. The reassuring results will allow oncologists and patients to make informed decisions about antitumor treatment during this pandemic, he added. (https://bit.ly/2Jce4ao; https://bit.ly/3nFhRvF)

EU regulators call for caution in vaccines and treatments in pregnant women

The European Medicines Agency said on Monday that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE should only be given during pregnancy “on a case-by-case basis”, as there are not yet enough data on the potential risks to pregnant women. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already acknowledged the problem on its website. Recommends that “vaccination is a personal choice for pregnant women.” There is also a lack of data on COVID-19 treatments in pregnant women, according to a paper published Wednesday in The Lancet Global Health. Researchers who examined clinical trial records found that of the 722 COVID-19 treatment studies, 538 (75%) specifically excluded pregnant women. “Without explicit and proactive efforts to recruit and retain pregnant women in COVID-19 therapeutic studies, pregnant women will suffer because they have fewer medical options available because we do not include them in clinical trials,” co-author Dr. Melanie Taylor from the World Health Organization and the CDC said in a statement. “There is a very real possibility that the treatment (for COVID-19) will be approved … without evidence-based guidelines for use in pregnant women.” (https://bit.ly/3h7hO9C; https://bit.ly/3rki4qD; https://reut.rs/3nFLnBI)

Low risk of reinfection for those who tested positive for antibodies

A study of more than three million people adds evidence that people with COVID-19 antibodies have a significantly lower risk of future infection with the new coronavirus. Working with health data analysis companies HealthVerity and Action, as well as commercial laboratories Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, researchers at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) have access to the results of over 50% of commercial antibody tests COVID-19 conducted in the United States. Stay until August. Overall, 11.6% of the tests were antibodies positive. When the researchers looked at study subjects who returned to laboratories for repeated tests, they found that people who tested positive for the first test had a 10-fold lower risk of new evidence of infection than people with a first negative test. “This finding suggests that people who test positive for antibodies … have significant immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and have a lower risk of future infection,” said Dr. Norman Sharpless of NCI. His team’s report was posted on medRxiv on Sunday before the peer review. (Https://bit.ly/2LTk8FD)

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(Reporting by Nancy Lapid and Marilynn Larkin; Editing by Bill Berkrot)