The results of a Phase IIb randomized, controlled, double-blind trial conducted at the Clinical Research Unit of Nanoro (CRUN) / Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS), Burkina Faso indicate 77% efficacy over 12 months of follow-up for a vaccine that targets malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. The study included 450 participants, aged 5–17 months, from the catchment area of Nanoro, covering 24 villages and an approximate population of 65,000 people. This is the first malaria vaccine candidate to meet the World Health Organization’s Malaria Vaccine Technology Roadmap goal of at least 75% efficacy.

A small randomized, double-blind clinical trial published in RMD Open showed colchicine to be safe and effective in treating moderate to severe COVID-19 infections in hospitalized patients. In the study, patients who took the inexpensive drug required supplemental oxygen and hospitalization for less time. This is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) on colchicine for COVID-19.

Most bats do not have rabies. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even among bats submitted for rabies testing, only about 6% had rabies. Rabies can only be confirmed in a laboratory but any bat that is active by day or is found in a place where bats are not usually seen like in your home or on your lawn or attic could be rabid. A bat that is weak and unable to fly could potentially be sick.

A man died of rabies in Limoges, in southwest central France, most probably after being bitten…

Over 2 years since the Kivu Ebola epidemic began in August 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first antibody cocktail for the treatment for Zaire ebolavirus (Ebola virus) infection in adult and pediatric patients. The drug, called Inmazeb, was developed by Regeneron — a biotech company also testing an antibody treatment for COVID-19. In clinical trials, patients who took Inmazeb were far less likely to die from Ebola virus disease.

UPDATE [January 2021]: The pathophysiology of chilblains (“COVID toes”) is still widely debated. An association with SARS-CoV-2 infection remains unconfirmed. Conflicting current evidence highlights the need for systematic and repeated testing of larger numbers of patients and the need for valid follow-up data.

COVID-19 spreads this way. Thanks for this excellent visual, Marcel Salathe & Nicky Case!

A study published mid-April reported that people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus causing COVID-19, might be most contagious during the period before they have symptoms. Two studies published in late May showed that a high percentage of people with COVID-19 could be without symptoms. In one study, Australian researchers reported that 104 of 128 people (81 percent) on a cruise ship who tested positive for the novel coronavirus were asymptomatic. In another study, researchers in Wuhan, China reported that 33 of 78 people (42 percent) who tested positive for COVID-19 were without symptoms.

Previous studies have demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is stable on surfaces for extended periods under indoor conditions. A research in China demonstrated sustained coronavirus transmission despite changing weather conditions in different parts of the country that ranged from cold and dry to warm and humid. A study in Hong Kong using SARS-CoV-2 in a lab solution showed that increasing temperature decreased the amount of viable virus that could be detected. No infectious virus remained after 30 minutes at 56° Celsius and five minutes at 70°C was enough to inactivate the pathogen.

A phase 2 trial has shown that a 2-week course of triple antiviral therapy with (1) interferon beta-1b (used to treat the relapsing-remitting and progressive forms of multiple sclerosis), (2) lopinavir-ritonavir (for the treatment of HIV/AIDS) and (3) ribavirin (used to treat chronic hepatitis C and other flavivirus infections) is safe and better at shortening COVID-19 viral shedding than lopinavir-ritonavir alone (average 7 days vs. 12 days) in patients with mild to moderate illness if treatment is started within 7 days of symptom onset. The study is registered with, NCT04276688.

April 25 marks “World Malaria Day,” which is celebrated every year to recognize global efforts to control the disease, to commemorate those who have been affected by it, and to highlight the need for continued investment in and sustained political commitment to malaria prevention and control.

Dr. Melvin Sanicas

Physician-Scientist FRSPH FRSA • GlobalHealth | Infectious Diseases | Digital Health • Writes about innovation, vaccines, pathogens, outbreaks, public health

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