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Can Blood Plasma be used to treat coronavirus?

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Treatments are in development for the novel coronavirus that is sweeping the globe. As pharmaceutical companies have begun their quest for a new vaccine, there might be another effective way to treat the coronavirus. Using a century-old medical practice known as purified blood plasma from recovered patients of COVID-19 could be an ideal form of treatment. 

Patients who recover from a disease contain permanent antibodies produced by the immune system that are floating within their blood plasma is the liquid element of blood. The blood plasma is collected and tested for safety to generate a drug for use. Then the blood is put in isolation for the protection of antibodies.  A patient is injected with the “plasma-derived therapy” also referred to as convalescent plasma. The plasma provides “passive immunity” until the patient’s immune system can produce its own antibodies. Most recently, plasma-derived therapy was administered to patients during the Ebola outbreaks and avian flu. 

Japanese drug manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceutical Company announced it was in the process of developing a new coronavirus drug. The company will use blood derived from the blood plasma of those who recovered from the virus. This approach would eliminate additional work for researchers to determine which antibodies work best to fight off the coronavirus by importing all the needed antibodies from previous patients to combat the infection.

Sources:

1.https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/07/how-pharma-companies-are-fighting-against-covid-19/

2.https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/05/how-blood-plasma-from-recovered-patients-could-help-treat-coronavirus/

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Covid-19

Anaheim Coronavirus Testing Site

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Orange County has just added a new site for coronavirus testing for residents. On Wednesday, July 15, the county will open a drive-through testing center at the Anaheim Convention Center. Spokeswoman Molly Nichelson said the new testing site is intended to test healthcare and nursing home workers, public employees, first responders, grocery, and other essential workers. It will also be open to people who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. 

The testing site will be staged in a parking garage at the southwest corner of the city-owned convention center. It is expected to handle 600 to 800 people per day and increase to a maximum of 1,200 people a day within two weeks, Mike Lyster announced. According to officials, the convention center is expected to be the first of several large-scale test sites within the county. There will be a second location that could open at the OC Fair & Event Center in the upcoming weeks.

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A partnership between Garden Grove-based Clinic 360 and the convention center testing will be contact-free Lyster said. The test center staff will take a nasal swab from people who drive up so they can take the specimen then place it in a bag, and then give it back to the staff member. The Anaheim site is expected to operate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays for an initial run of 30 days. A registration website to make appointments is expected to be available by Tuesday, July 14.

County and city officials could not state how quickly test results would be delivered or how much the program is expected to cost. Those with health insurance would have their insurer billed for the test, and federal funding would cover the uninsured. County officials have said that while testing capacity was admittedly inadequate in the pandemic’s early weeks, it has improved significantly. 

County Health Care Agency Director Clayton Chau said there is no shortage of testing reagents or required equipment to conduct testing in Orange County. Chau added that there is a testing delay in getting testing due to the increase of individuals wanting to be tested.

Sources: 

  1. https://www.ocregister.com/2020/07/14/orange-county-announces-covid-19-drive-through-testing-site-to-open-at-anaheim-convention-center/

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Covid-19

Disinfecting Medical Masks and N95 Respirator Masks

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The use of the protective medical gear is essential for healthcare professionals to keep them safe, considering the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads primarily via droplets

Respiratory viruses are spread through droplets that are dispersed by infected individuals through coughing and sneezing. Due to the current coronavirus pandemic and using protective equipment, there has been a significant shortage of masks. The lack of face masks makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to remain protected against the infectious disease. 

How can masks be disinfected and re-used?

To conserve face masks, healthcare workers are currently extending face masks use to more than one patient encounter though they are considered ‘single-’use’ items. This method may increase the risk of infection due to the constant face mask touching, which may become contaminated after prolonged use. Frequent use increases the chances the masks’ surfaces could become infected with virus particles, which can lead to infection if the user touches these surfaces and then touches their face

The possibility of disinfecting and reusing masks as a method of prolonging their use has recently been considered. Systematic scientific research is necessary to clearly define the best possible methods to decontaminate the masks while maintaining the masks’ integrity to ensure they stay effective each use. 

Using steam and heat for decontamination

A recent study reported that wrapping N95 masks in protective peel pouches and then steam sterilizing them may be a successful disinfection method. Another study tested the sterilizing masks process, where N95 respirator masks and medical masks were placed in plastic bags and steamed on a pot of boiling water for five minutes

This disinfecting process keeps the masks dry, ensuring they remained effective while the researchers found a total inactivation of avian coronaviruses that were used to simulate contamination. Furthermore, researchers investigated whether a rice cooker could be used to steam-sterilize masks, comparing this with dry-heat decontamination

The steam treatment took 15 minutes max, which included five minutes of active steaming. Dry heat contamination was conducted in an oven by exposing the masks to 100-degree heat for approximately 15 minutes. The researchers found the steam treatment to be a preferred method of decontaminating the masks compared to the dry heat. Researchers reported that the steaming method was more effective than UV light decontamination. This study did not evaluate the effectiveness of the masks following decontamination.

Decontamination using UV irradiation has been used before for drinking water and air. A recent study found that using a UV-C disinfection cabinet effectively decontaminated N95 masks by using a 31-minute decontamination cycle.

Another study utilizing a UV-C germicidal lamp, researchers found that this method could achieve the decontamination of masks with SARS-CoV-2 particles. Researchers reported that the decontamination of masks took longer than hard surfaces. It may also depend on how contaminated the masks are, to begin with.

Sources: 

  1. https://medicalnewsbulletin.com/can-masks-be-disinfected-and-reused/
  2. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/03/27/3d-printing-to-help-with-surgical-mask-shortage/
  3. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/17/how-to-fix-this-type-of-n95-mask-to-limit-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus/
  4. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/04/04/do-i-need-a-face-mask/

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Covid-19

Pink Eye Symptom of COVID-19

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Those diagnosed with COVID-19 can experience mild to moderate symptoms. Just recently, Canadian scientists have come across new information and have identified pink eye as a primary symptom of COVID-19

Internationally there have been over 8.5 million cases of COVID-19 recorded and more than 465,000 deaths. In January, when the first cases were reported, the World Health Organization compared the virus to other respiratory illnesses such as SARS and MERS. Symptoms, including fever, cough, fatigue, headache, and diarrhea.

One symptom not widely reported is conjunctival congestion, which has been found in 0.8% of COVID-19 patients. One Chinese expert in the early investigation of Wuhan COVID-19 patients contracted the virus even though he wore an N95 mask. However, he did not wear protective eye gear. Before displaying any respiratory signs of COVID-19, he developed a red-eye.

Researchers from the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry published a case study recently that discovered pink eye is an early symptom of COVID-19. The study was published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology.

The study focused on a young woman who came back from a one-month vacation to the Philippines in February. A day after she returned, she started experiencing congestion, a runny nose, and pink eye symptoms in her right eye, but no fever. She went to her family physician the first day symptoms began and was referred to an ophthalmologist. When she visited the ophthalmologist, her pink eye symptoms had worsened and tested negative for strep. She was given a prescription to treat her pink eye.

Her symptoms were still not improving, and her physician tested her for other diseases that can result in pink eye and returned negative. Health authority recommendations testing for COVID-19 had been updated to include any out of country travel which prompted her to be tested. The young woman tested positive for COVID-19

This case study highlights the potential risk for healthcare professionals for increased chances of infection not only through established pathways of air and person to person contact but including transmission through the eyes. The study also presents evidence of pink eye as a symptom of COVID-19.

Authors of the study advise that all healthcare practitioners wear appropriate eye protection and other forms of personal protective equipment. Proper disinfecting methods should also be followed for any patient presenting symptoms of pink eye. 

Sources: 

  1. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/05/14/how-does-covid-19-affect-the-lungs/
  2. https://medicalnewsbulletin.com/pink-eye-a-symptom-of-covid-19/
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/about/symptoms.html
  4. https://www.canadianjournalofophthalmology.ca/article/S0008-4182(20)30305-7/fulltext
  5. https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine
  6. https://wordofhealth.com/2020/06/17/how-to-fix-this-type-of-n95-mask-to-limit-the-spread-of-the-coronavirus/

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