Cure

medicine

Medicine-carriers made from human cells can cure lung infections

SPOKANE, Wash. – Scientists used human white blood cell membranes to carry two drugs, an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, directly to infected lungs in mice.

The nano-sized drug delivery method developed at Washington State University successfully treated both the bacterial growth and inflammation in the mice’s lungs. The study, recently published in Communications Biology, shows a potential new strategy for treating infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

“If a doctor simply gives two drugs to a patient, they don’t go directly to the lungs. They circulate in the whole body, so potentially there’s a lot of toxicity,” said Zhenjia Wang, the study’s corresponding author and an associate professor in WSU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Instead, we can load the two types of drugs into these vesicles that specifically target the lung inflammation.”

Wang and his research team have developed a method to essentially peel the membrane from neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cells that lead the body’s immune system response. Once emptied, these membranes can be used as nanovesicles, tiny empty sacks only 100 to 200 nanometers wide, which scientists can then fill with medicine.

These nanovesicles retain some of the properties of the original white blood cells, so when they are injected into a patient, they travel directly to the inflamed area just as the cells would normally, but these nanovesicles carry the medicines that the scientists implanted to attack the infection.

In this study, first author Jin Gao, a WSU research associate, loaded the nanovesicles with an antibiotic and resolvinD1, an anti-inflammatory derived from Omega 3 fatty acids, to treat lungs infected by P. aeruginosa, a common potentially fatal pathogen patients can catch in hospital settings. The researchers used two drugs because lung infections often create two problems, the infection itself and inflammation created by a strong immune system response.

Toxicity studies and clinical trials would have to be conducted before this method could be used in human patients, but this study provides evidence that the innovation works for lung inflammation. If the method is ultimately proven safe and effective for humans, Wang said the nanovesicles could be loaded with any type of drug to treat a range of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

“I think it’s possible to translate this technology to help treat COVID-19,” said Wang. “COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacterial pathogen, but it also causes an inflammation response in the lung, so we could load an antiviral drug like remdesivir into the nanovesicle, and it would target that inflammation.”

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A cure for COVID in your medicine cabinet? – Technology & Health

Lab testing (illustrative)
Lab testing (illustrative)

iStock

After all the billions of dollars invested into producing a vaccine for coronavirus, could it be that items most households already have in their medicine cabinets turn out to be all we need?

Two separate trials are currently underway to test mouthwash and aspirin for their role in protecting against Covid-19, and hopes are high that the results will show that treatment for this disease can be both cheap and effective.

Unilever is funding the trial into use of mouthwash, even though the product currently being tested, Dentyl, is not one of its own manufacture. According to scientists involved in the study, it has already been proven that one of the common ingredients of mouthwash, cetylpyridinium chloride, can kill 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens in a person’s mouth. Given that coronavirus appears to be primarily transmitted via saliva, this is a highly significant finding.

Professor Valerie O’Donnell of Cardiff University, where part of the trial is being conducted, told The Telegraph that results from the studies already conducted on other brands of mouthwash “are highly encouraging [even though] in vivo [i.e. human] studies have not been published … Recent studies in test tubes have as much as possible tried to mimic the conditions in the throat, but of course this isn’t the same as in vivo.”

The results of the study are due to be published within the next few months.

Meanwhile, another study is looking into the potential role of aspirin in combating some of the most dangerous consequences of coronavirus infection – blood clots that can prove fatal.

Aspirin has long been used as a blood thinner, even though long-term use has been linked to kidney damage. However, its use in the short term is now being investigated by a team of researchers with the “Recovery Trial” program, one of the largest research projects in the United Kingdom.

People with coronavirus “seem to have hyper-reactive platelets which help stop bleeding which increases risk of blood clotting,” scientists involved in the trial stated.

Professor Peter Horby, co-chief investigator of the Recovery Trial, explained that, “We felt it was particularly important to add aspirin to the trial since there is a clear rationale for believing that it might be beneficial and it is safe, inexpensive, and widely available. We are looking for medicines for Covid-19 that can be used immediately by anyone, anywhere in the world. We do not know if aspirin is such a medicine but we will find out.”

Around 2,000 people have been enrolled in the randomized trial. Those in the active group will receive 150mg of aspirin per day, on top of the usual drug regimen; those in the control group will receive the usual regimen only.

Researchers from the Recovery Trial were the first to prove the benefits of using dexamethasone, a cheap and widely available steroid, for coronavirus treatment. They are also currently testing use of plasma from recovered patients, and the “Regeneron” antibody cocktail that was used to

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For COVID Long Haulers, Knowledge and Empathy Are Key to a Cure | Healthiest Communities

What is also undeniable is how ill-prepared the health system seems to be to meaningfully help these COVID “long haulers” return to wellness. In fact, the presentation of this apparent post-viral syndrome has stumped experts and clinicians who have struggled to find guidance on how to treat the condition. This hard reality has prompted long haulers to create or join social media-based support groups in search of answers, advice or, at the very least, solidarity.

The question, then, is: Why are we so stumped by these post-COVID long haulers?

Many medical providers have not received training on how to diagnose or treat the types of complex multiorgan disease triggered through the disruption of immune, endocrine, nervous and cardiovascular systems. Moreover, this lack of training has perpetuated the stigma that ME/CFS and similar conditions are not real. This is aggravated by the lack of a diagnostic test and the fact that most of the usual medical tests, ordered for nonspecific symptoms such as fatigue, are likely to show no abnormalities.

Although these results can provide relief that the cause of a patient’s problems is not cancer or organ failure, the related “everything seems to be fine” talk minimizes the patients’ symptoms, invalidates their experiences and marks the beginning of a lonely road. Patients blame themselves for not shaking symptoms off. As time goes by, they may perceive or be outright told that their symptoms are psychological, implying they just need to try harder to feel better. Since ME/CFS appears to be an inflammatory brain condition that can also cause anxiety or depressive symptoms, many patients are referred to mental health services, reinforcing the perception that the problem must be “in their heads”.

To be sure, there is increasing recognition that treating post-COVID-19 syndrome will require biologic and holistic approaches, as well as extensive research. These insights have led to the creation of treatment centers to try to assist these patients. Experts have published management guidelines that can aid these centers.

However, initial approaches may create challenges. Although protocols that emphasize physical therapy and cardiovascular and respiratory rehabilitation offer a correct approach in general – particularly for those who were hospitalized – there are important caveats. Many patients with disabling symptoms will have normal respiratory and cardiac function, and related tests, although necessary, may not clarify the cause.

In addition, the traditional type of physical therapy recommended for ME/CFS by what is now considered a flawed study can backfire and make symptoms worse. In fact, research has shown that pacing is a pivotal component in the management of ME/CFS. Rehabilitation should be personalized, go slow and be monitored for relapse, recognizing that neuroinflammatory illness can “flame on” when pushed too hard.

As physicians and investigators ourselves, we understand the challenges of creating treatment guidelines in the absence of a significant body of research. However, while studies are being conducted, we ought to use the evidence that does exist on ME/CFS and related conditions, such as mast cell activation, to deploy the multidisciplinary

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