Psoriasis Meds Don’t Raise Risk of Severe COVID-19: Study | Health News

By Cara Roberts Murez, HealthDay Reporter


TUESDAY, Oct. 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Researchers in the United Kingdom have reassuring news for people with psoriasis based on the first analysis of a global registry of COVID-19 patients who also have the skin disease.

Moderate-to-severe cases of psoriasis are treated with drugs that suppress the immune system. This analysis of the international PsoProtect registry found that more than 90% of psoriasis patients survive infection with the new coronavirus.

“We can reassure our patients that the survival for people with psoriasis is high, and the risk factors for psoriasis patients are similar to those of the general population,” said Dr. Satveer Mahil, a consultant dermatologist at St. John’s Institute of Dermatology in London, who co-leads the registry.

The registry was established to understand how psoriasis and the medications used to treat it affect severity of COVID-19, according to a news release from the U.K.’s National Institute for Health Research.

Psoriasis is a skin disease believed to be related to an immune system problem. It causes red patches and flaky plaques of skin that are covered with silvery scales.

The findings were recently published online in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 374 cases from 25 countries in which psoriasis patients had COVID-19 between March and July 2020. About 71% were taking biologic medications and 18% were taking traditional immunosuppressants. About 93% fully recovered from COVID-19, 21% were hospitalized and 2% died.

Helen McAteer is chief executive of the Psoriasis Association. She said, “From the beginning of the pandemic, we understood the importance of being proactive in order to address the many concerns expressed by people who are living with psoriasis. The PsoProtect registry is vital in helping us understand more about the interactions between psoriasis, its treatments and COVID-19 infection so patients can make the most informed choices about their care and treatment at this challenging time.”

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Some Americans concerned about possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine: “We just don’t know enough”

“CBS This Morning” explores whether America is ready for a coronavirus vaccine in a special three-part series, Road to a Vaccine. Part two airs on Tuesday, October 27 and part three airs Wednesday, October 28 on “CBS This Morning,” 7-9 a.m. on CBS.

Two major clinical trials for coronavirus vaccines are resuming in the United States, after being paused over safety concerns. Estimates show the earliest time for an approved vaccine could be the end of November.

But a recent STAT-Harris poll showed a sharp decrease in the number of Americans who would get a vaccine right away.

CBS News senior medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula spoke with a wide-ranging group about their thoughts on a vaccine.

Asked to rank their confidence level in a vaccine on a scale of 1 to 10, California resident Seana-Marie Sesma said 6; fellow Californian Adam Davis said 7.5; Lissi Marshall, a neuroscience college student from Philadelphia, said 7 or 8; Michigan resident Alyssa Kogut, who is diabetic, said 8; and Chad St. Clair, who is from California, said 1 or 2. 

St. Clair is adamant he will not get the vaccine, while Kogut said she definitely will. Marshall said she trusts the science but will wait a few months to get a vaccine. Sesma is still unsure due to concerns about potential side effects, and Davis is hesitant but open to it.

“If somehow, after however many months the participants of the preliminary vaccine research start to come out with any side effects … that would definitely change my mind,” Marshall told Narula. 

“I feel that, though the FDA has done the majority of good things, they have also taken products off the market that they approved at one point,” Sesma said. 

“We just don’t know enough about the vaccine yet. I’m young, I’m healthy. I exercise. And I’m low risk,” St. Clair said.

Sesma agreed with him. “We don’t know much about the vaccine or the long-term — short-term or long-term effects,” she said. 

Davis agreed he is concerned about potential risks or side effects. But Kogut said it was the “opposite” for her. 

“I know this virus, and I know what it can do to you,” she said. “I have diabetes, and my daughter has asthma. She’s only 7. So I would definitely take it to protect me and my kids.”

St. Clair said he is “on the other side.”

“I don’t want to panic. I know a lot of people who have had it and have recovered nicely, as well as our leader of our country,” he said. 

“For me, if I see people actually taking it and working, I’d be more inclined to do it,” Davis said.

Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, director of the Clinical Trials Unit of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, participated in the early development of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine candidate, and is an investigator in trials of other COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

Asked how she reassures people

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Don’t Let Covid-19 Delay Your Own Cancer Screening

Brenda Hudson waited a few months to get a mammogram because she was concerned about being exposed to the coronavirus.


Mary Inhea Kang for The Wall Street Journal

Cancer doesn’t take a pause, and screenings can save lives (“Drop in Cancer Screenings Fuels Worry,” U.S. News, Oct. 16). Health-care providers are taking Covid-19 seriously and have implemented numerous safeguards to safely provide critical screenings and cancer treatments. Eight months into this pandemic, your health-care providers have learned a lot about how to protect their patients and themselves during screening appointments. For more information on how to reschedule your medical screenings and appointments, the easiest thing you can do is to call and talk with your doctor’s office. It is so important to get those screenings back on the books.

Carolyn Aldigé

CEO, Prevent Cancer Foundation

Alexandria, Va.

People don’t have to sit back and wait until they feel safe going to see a doctor to get screened for colon cancer. They can use Cologuard at-home colon cancer screening kits. The earlier colon cancer is caught, the better the outcome can be for the patient. It’s important to screen on time and stay up to date.

Kevin Conroy

CEO, Exact Sciences

Madison, Wis.

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Life after COVID-19: Crisis may be over, but ailments don’t always disappear

Months after his hospitalization for COVID-19, Gary Degrijze still can’t grasp a coffee cup handle. Ron Panzok suffers from pain in his left foot. Shirelle White needs supplemental oxygen to breathe.

The three are among the many COVID-19 patients who are enduring the effects of the disease months later. The virus is so new in humans that scientists don’t know how long patients will continue experiencing debilitating long-term effects and whether some of them will have complications the rest of their lives.

“It leads to a lot of frustration,” said Dr. Ewa Rakowski, a pulmonary critical care doctor at Stony Brook Medicine, which is preparing to open a specialized center for those with long-term COVID-19 complications. “They want an explanation and want to know when they can expect to feel back to normal, and we just don’t really have that yet.”

It’s not just those who were hospitalized with severe symptoms of COVID-19 who are still struggling.

“We are also seeing patients who didn’t require hospitalization or really much medical care, and they’re still coming in with the prolonged symptoms of shortness of breath, fatigue, persistent cough and mental fogginess,” Rakowski said.

Degrijze, of Bellport, doesn’t fit most people’s image of someone who almost died of COVID-19. He’s 49 and had to pass a strenuous physical exam every year for the Army Reserve.

“I’ve been perfectly healthy for the majority of my life,” said Degrijze, who was a United States Postal Service letter carrier for 26 years and hopes to one day return to delivering mail.

He spent 2 1/2 months at Stony Brook University Hospital — most of that time on a ventilator — and another two weeks in rehabilitation.

Degrijze’s breathing has greatly improved, but, “I have good and bad days,” he said. “There are days I might walk halfway around the block and I’m like, ‘I’m starting to feel a little out of breath.’ “

Joint pain means he can’t stand or walk for long, and sitting too much leads to lower back pain.

“I have very limited strength in my right arm” because of nerve damage,” he said. “I barely have any strength in my wrists. It’s like my fingers are jammed at the knuckles. It’s almost as if I had a stroke, and I didn’t.”

Degrijze goes to physical therapy three times a week. Doctors don’t know if his arm and hand will ever fully heal.

“They tell me they don’t know how much strength and mobility in my arm and hand I can get back,” he said. “It may be 90%, it may be 70%. They just don’t know.”

Like ‘walking on rocks’

Other than high blood pressure, Panzok, 66, had no major health problems before COVID-19. He, too, almost died from the virus. He spent about two months in a coma

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Healthy adults ‘don’t need to go to the dentist every six months’

Going to the dentist is a miserable chore which is universally disliked, and we are often told we should go twice a year to keep our teeth and gums in good condition.

However, a new study has found that healthy adults can get away with going just once every two years.

UK researchers claim routine six-monthly check-up appointments do not improve oral health and could be a drain on national resources.   

Less frequent dental trips would reduce demand on dental services during the pandemic and would also save Brits money, they suggest. 

In England, people have to pay £22.70 for check-ups unless they’re under 18 years old, on low income, are pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months. 

Their review could also provide reassurance to patients who have missed routine dental check-ups due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

The experts stressed that their findings apply to adults with good dental health and don’t apply for children or people needing emergency dental treatment.  

University of Dundee, University of Manchester and Cochrane Oral Health conducted a systematic review to identify the best time interval between dental check-ups for maintaining good oral health. They say six monthly intervals is too frequent for healthy adults

University of Dundee, University of Manchester and Cochrane Oral Health conducted a systematic review to identify the best time interval between dental check-ups for maintaining good oral health. They say six monthly intervals is too frequent for healthy adults

‘The review shows that current practice of scheduling six-monthly check-up appointments for all patients does not improve oral health,’ said Patrick Fee at the University of Dundee, who led the review. 

‘[This compares] to a personalised risk-based check-up approach or compared to check-ups every two years where patients are at low risk of dental disease.

‘Current practice of six-monthly check-ups could be considered an inefficient use of NHS resources, adding unnecessary patient and health service costs for no gain in dental health outcomes.

‘Patient access to dental care may remain limited for some time – however, the results of this review provide reassurance to those providing and seeking dental treatment that intervals between check-ups can be extended beyond six months without detriment to the oral health of patients.

‘Six-monthly check-ups are highly valued by the general population and moving towards personalised risk-based check-ups will require the cooperation of health care policy makers, clinician knowledge and patient involvement.’  

The last NHS dental statistics for 2019/20 found that only 49.6 per cent of adults had attended an NHS dentist in the previous two years, let alone six months. 

Despite this, check-ups function as an oral cancer screening, the British Dental Association pointed out to MailOnline.

Cases of oral cancer are growing fast and the condition claims more lives in the UK each year than car accidents.


You don’t have to pay for NHS dental treatment if you’re:

  • under 18, or under 19 and in full-time education
  • pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
  • being treated in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist (but you may have to pay for any dentures or bridges)
  • receiving low income benefits, or you’re
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Don’t Give up on COVID-19 Plasma, Experts Say, After Study Finds No Benefit | Top News

LONDON (Reuters) – Researchers called on Friday for more research into using blood from recovered COVID-19 patients – or so-called convalescent plasma – as a potential treatment, after a small trial of hospitalised patients in India found it was of no benefit

The Indian results, published in the BMJ British Medical Journal, found that the plasma, which delivers antibodies from COVID-19 survivors to infected people, did not help hospitalised patients fight off the infection, and failed to reduce death rates or halt progression to severe disease.

The findings are a setback for a potential therapy that U.S. President Donald Trump touted in August as a “historic breakthrough”, and one experts say has been used in some 100,000 patients in the United States already, despite limited evidence on its efficacy.

Scientists not directly involved in the India study, which involved around 460 patients, said its results were disappointing but should not mean doctors give up hope altogether on convalescent plasma.

They said further and larger trials are needed, including in COVID-19 patients with milder disease and those newly infected.

“With just a few hundred patients, (the India trial) is still much too small to give clear results,” said Martin Landray, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Britain’s Oxford University.

“One could well imagine that the treatment might work particularly well in those earlier in the course of the disease or who have not been able to mount a good antibody response to the virus of their own,” he said. “But such speculation needs to be tested – we can’t just rely on an educated guess.”

While the United States and India have authorised convalescent plasma for emergency use, other countries, including Britain, are collecting donated plasma so that the treatment could be widely rolled out if it is shown to be effective.

The Indian researchers enrolled 464 adults with COVID-19 who were admitted to hospitals across India between April and July. They were randomly split into two groups – with one receiving two transfusions of convalescent plasma alongside best standard care, and the other getting best standard care only.

After seven days, use of convalescent plasma seemed to improve some symptoms, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, and led to higher rates of so-called negative conversion – a sign that the virus is being neutralised by antibodies.

But this did not translate into a reduction in deaths or progression to severe disease by 28 days.

Ian Jones, a Reading University professor of virology, agreed with Landray that plasma may be more likely to work very soon after someone contracts COVID-19.

He urged these and other researchers to continue to conduct trials, and to do so in newly diagnosed patients.

“We still do not have enough treatments for the early stage of disease to prevent severe disease and until this becomes an option, avoiding being infected with the virus remains the key message,” he said.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Peter Graff and Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters

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Alabama’s lt. governor is COVID-positive. Y’all don’t be so negative.

This is an opinion column.

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth is getting some nasty messages since he tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Guess Karma and Natural Selection caught up with your dumb white ass,” said one email Ainsworth shared with me. “May you die gasping for your last breath!”

It’s probably not a spiritually safe practice to invoke karma in one sentence before wishing someone death in the next, but moving on.

“You’re 1 step closer to (skull emoji, coffin emoji, laughing-through-tears emoji),” one fellow tweeted at him.

Yes, when sending hate-tweets, please limit your hieroglyphics to three.

Let’s be clear, no matter how you feel about Ainsworth, wishing death on people is not OK. No matter how cathartic it might feel, it’s not good for your soul, and from a more secular standpoint, it just gives the folks you’re hate-mailing more reason to believe you’re crazy and they’re right.

Which is a shame, because I believe there’s a lesson the lieutenant governor could learn here, and I think there’s a better message he could send than the one he’s been sharing, before and after his diagnosis.

Since Ainsworth went public with his test (points for transparency), he has been a bit defensive about it. That’s understandable. The lieutenant governor has criticized Gov. Kay Ivey for keeping a statewide mask mandate in place, and he’s said the decision whether to wear a mask should be left to the individual. He still says that, even now.

But Wednesday night, Ainsworth wanted to make clear he’d been wearing a mask when he thinks he contracted the disease.

“Because I follow social distancing rules and wear a mask both in church and in my daily interactions, the positive result shows that even those of us who are the most cautious can be at risk,” he said.

Now, others on social media have found pictures of Ainsworth not doing either of those things. Heck, he shares them on Twitter. But I’ll let that be.

Again, there’s a bigger lesson to be learned here.

Ainsworth tested positive on Wednesday and says he suspects he contracted the disease at his church on Sunday. Aside from a runny nose — which he told me allergies give him much of the year — he hasn’t had any symptoms. He had been active on Monday and Tuesday, and he played tennis the night before he tested positive. If it weren’t for his pastor informing him a member of his Sunday school class had fallen ill, Ainsworth says he might never have checked.

And that’s the thing. And let’s shout this one so the sinners’ pew can hear it: Masks aren’t to protect you from the disease; they protect others when you have the disease and don’t know it.

It doesn’t matter so much whether Ainsworth wore a mask at church. It matters whether the person he got it from was wearing a mask.

And it matters less whether he was wearing a mask on Sunday than if he wore

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Coronavirus jab trials don’t reveal if it will save lives

Ongoing coronavirus vaccine trials cannot prove a jab could save lives, one expert has stressed.

An effective immunisation programme has long been hailed as a route back to life as we knew it.

Hopes were raised in July when scientists from the University of Oxford found a vaccine candidate induced “strong antibody and T-cell immune responses up to day 56 of the ongoing trial”.

Antibodies and T-cells make up part of the immune system, helping to prevent an infection from taking hold.

Russia’s controversial vaccine candidate also brought about an immune response within 21 days, however, some experts later called the results “highly unlikely”.

Read more: The risk factors for long COVID

Writing in The BMJ, the journal’s associate editor Dr Peter Doshi stressed vaccine trials are not set up to show a jab reduces the risk of hospitalisation, intensive care admission or death.

Another expert called Dr Doshi’s comments “questionable”, but added “a number of the facts are correct”.

One expert pointed out ongoing vaccine trials will not demonstrate a jab stems the spread of the coronavirus. (Stock, Getty Images)

Dr Peter Hotez from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston has said: “Ideally, you want an antiviral vaccine to do two things.

“First, reduce the likelihood you will get severely ill and go to hospital, and two, prevent infection and therefore interrupt disease transmission.”

While Dr Doshi agrees, he has argued “current [coronavirus] trials are not actually set up to prove either”.

Several coronavirus jab candidates are in phase 3 of clinical development. At an advanced stage, significant results mean the vaccine may be considered for approval by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the European Medicines Agency.

Read more: Nurses describe working amid pandemic

“None of the trials currently underway are designed to detect a reduction in any serious outcome such as hospitalisations, intensive care use or deaths,” wrote Dr Doshi.

“Nor are the vaccines being studied to determine whether they can interrupt transmission of the virus.”

This echoes concerns voiced after the Oxford scientists released their vaccine results.

The research was hailed as “promising”, “encouraging” and “extremely positive”, however, some also pointed out an immune response may not translate to protection against complications when the coronavirus is encountered outside of a laboratory.

Watch: Can you catch coronavirus twice?

Not all clinical trials have released details on the participants they are analysing.

Dr Doshi claims those we know of are evaluating mild coronavirus cases.

Honing in on the pharmaceutical giant Moderna, Dr Doshi noted how the firm’s executives have listed the rate of hospitalisation as a “key secondary endpoint” of its coronavirus vaccine trial.

Dr Tal Zaks, Moderna’s chief medical officer, later told The BMJ the trial “lacks adequate statistical power to assess that endpoint”.

A lack of statistical power typically means the number of participants is too small or the trial’s duration too short to accurately gauge whether a jab influences a particular outcome.

Early research suggests four out of five coronavirus cases

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Don’t worry. Your dentist probably won’t catch COVID-19.

By now, most of us know that one of the ways COVID-19 is spread is by aerosols: droplets both large and small hanging in the air from our exhalations. Because of this, earlier in the pandemic, public health professionals feared that dentists and dental staff, as well as their patients, would be particularly vulnerable to the virus’s spread.

a person in a blue toothbrush: The results of a new survey from the American Dental Association suggest that, earlier in the pandemic at least, dentists caught COVID-19 far less often than was expected.

© Provided by Popular Science
The results of a new survey from the American Dental Association suggest that, earlier in the pandemic at least, dentists caught COVID-19 far less often than was expected.

The results of a new survey from the American Dental Association suggest that, earlier in the pandemic at least, this wasn’t the case–at least for the dentists themselves. Published in The Journal of the American Dental Association, the report found that fewer than one percent of the 2200 American dentists surveyed had contracted COVID-19.


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In June, study authors sent out the survey to about 5500 ADA members in June. “Our response rate was about 40 percent, which for an email survey was very high,” says study author Cameron Estrich, who is a health research analyst in the American Dental Association’s Science Research Institute. She was expecting a response rate of about 20 percent, she says. “I think it speaks to the high level of concern dentists have about this subject.”

The almost 2200 respondents answered questions about their COVID-19 infection status. In order to help address the fact that getting COVID-19 tests is not always simple, the researchers also asked about whether the dentists’ healthcare provider suspected they might have COVID-19 based on symptoms. The survey also asked about what kind of activities, including at work and outside of work, they were doing, and what kind of enhanced security they had put in place at work to prevent infection transmission.

When she wrote the survey, Estrich says, there was a lot of conjecture both good and bad about the likelihood of COVID-19 infection among dentists. On the one hand, she says, dentists were theoretically being exposed to more aerosols directly from patients’ mouths; on the other hand, dentists were already used to using PPE in their practices and better equipped than many other healthcare-related businesses to set up enhanced sanitation measures. As a result, when the survey was sent out, Estrich says, “I had no idea what [infection rate] we were going to get.”

a person in a blue toothbrush: The results of a new survey from the American Dental Association suggest that, earlier in the pandemic at least, dentists caught COVID-19 far less often than was expected.

© Unsplash
The results of a new survey from the American Dental Association suggest that, earlier in the pandemic at least, dentists caught COVID-19 far less often than was expected.

Of the approximately 2200 dentists who responded to the survey, just 20 (about 1%) reported contracting COVID-19. The report is a snapshot of American dentistry as it stood in June, during a period when dental practices were starting to see more patients. Ninety-nine percent of the respondents also reported using enhanced infection control measures like pre-screening patients and using extra disinfection measures.

Gallery: These Factors Put You at Risk for COVID (ETNT

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What Happens to Your Body When You Don’t See a Dentist for a Long Time

Getty Images

Going to the dentist tops the list of “things you’ll do eventually.” It’s right up there with changing your oil, vacuuming under the bed, and cleaning the expired spinach out of the back of your fridge. These are all things you need to do, but it’s so much easier to put them off.

So what happens if you don’t go to the dentist for a long period of time? Typically, dentists recommend getting a cleaning and an overall evaluation about twice a year, Lynn Gargano, DDS, a board-certified pediatric dentist and director of the dental school, Family Health Centers at NYU Langone, tells HelloGiggles, to remove plaque and tartar, check for cavities, etc.

If going twice a year isn’t possible, affordable, or something you want to do—especially during the pandemic—there are ways to stay healthier between visits. (Though you should still try to go regularly.) “Individuals can maintain their oral health by limiting sugar intake, drinking fluoridated or regular water (especially after eating), brushing twice daily, and flossing once daily,” Gargano says.

The health of your mouth is largely up to you, but let’s look at what might happen if you put off going to the dentist for long periods of time.

Skipping the dentist for one year

Okay, so let’s say it’s coming up on a year since you last went to the dentist. What might be going on with your mouth?

As Gargano says, you could be developing new cavities, small cavities could be progressing in size, and/or you could be in the beginning stages of periodontal disease (aka gum disease), which leads to gingivitis. This will. most likely occur if you’re eating candy on a regular basis or don’t brush your teeth often. “Both cavities and gingivitis can cause bad breath,” she says, so take it as a sign if brushing or chewing gum no longer does the trick.

Skipping the dentist for two years

Now, let’s say it’s been two years. At this point, your dental cavities might be getting to the point of needing more than just a filling. “Patients can begin to have tooth sensitivity and pain, possibly needing a root canal and crown to save the tooth,” Gargano says. This is because the tooth is exposed to acid, bacteria, and sugars on a regular basis, and over time, it can make the decay of the tooth even worse without regular cleaning.

That’s not only painful but a lot more expensive to fix than a simple filling. “As far as periodontal disease,” she says, “it will progress and bone loss can start (turning into periodontitis),” which can damage the soft tissue around and eventually, destroy the bone.

Skipping the dentist for five years

You might not think you’d wait five years between dentist visits, but it really is so easy to let half a decade slip by, without so much as a cleaning. And that’s really not a great idea.

“In five years, what was a small cavity can progress

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