COVID Sci-Gilead’s Remdesivir Fails to Show Benefit in European Trial; No fetal risk seen with first trimester vaccination

by Nancy Lapido

April 4 (Reuters) – The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to confirm the findings and that has not yet been substantiated by peer review.

Two promising drugs for COVID-19 fail to deliver

Two drugs that looked like promising treatments for COVID-19 in preliminary studies — remdesivir for hospitalized patients and camostat for patients who are not critically ill — benefited in those groups in randomized controlled trials. failed to show, the researchers reported in two separate papers.

In five European countries, researchers studied 843 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized between March 2020 and January 2021 and who required oxygen or machines to help them breathe. Two weeks after patients received either Gilead Sciences’ antiviral remdesivir — sold as Vacleary — plus standard care or 10 days of standard care alone, no difference between the groups in signs of improvement, investigators reported Thursday. was not.

In Japan, between November 2020 and March 2021, researchers randomly assigned 155 patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 to receive the pancreatitis drug camostat mesylate from Ono Pharmaceutical Company or placebo for 14 days. Japanese researchers reported Saturday that Camostat blocks an enzyme that helps certain versions of the coronavirus-infected cells — including variants circulating at the time of the study — but helps patients get rid of the virus in their airways. does not do. :// He said the results “highlight … the need for well-designed studies to confirm whether preclinical findings translate into meaningful clinical efficacy.” Both studies were posted on medRxiv prior to peer review.

COVID-19 vaccine appears safe in first trimester of pregnancy

Preliminary data suggests that COVID-19 vaccination during the first trimester of pregnancy does not increase the risk of congenital defects in the fetus.

Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago studied 1,149 women who received at least one dose of the vaccine from Moderna, Pfizer/BioNtech or Johnson & Johnson between 30 days before conception and 14 weeks after conception. Occurs when the fetus is most numerous. Vulnerable to developing birth defects due to drugs taken by the mother. According to a report published on Monday, compared to 2,007 pregnant women who were either not vaccinated or who were vaccinated later, women who were vaccinated shortly before or early in pregnancy were given an ultrasound examination of the fetus by their doctors. did not have a higher risk of abnormality. in JAMA Pediatrics.

The authors acknowledge that fetal screening with ultrasonography is not as reliable as screening an infant, and because many of the women they studied are still pregnant, vaccination in the first trimester requires anecdotal evidence of newborn infants. Larger studies are required.

SARS-CoV-2 infects eye cells in test tubes

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can infect the eye’s vision-processing cells and reproduce there, laboratory experiments show.

Researchers used human cells in a test tube to grow a smaller, simplified version of the retina – the neural tissue in the back of the eye that receives images and sends them to the brain as electrical signals. When researchers exposed these “organoids” to SARS-CoV-2, the virus infected different types of retinal nerve cells that perform different functions. In addition, the virus can make copies of itself in those cells, the researchers report in the journal Stem Cell Reports . The researchers also found that in infected organoids, genes that increase levels of inflammatory proteins associated with retinal damage were more active. They also found that young retinal cells were more susceptible to the virus, possibly because young cells have more proteins on their surfaces that the virus uses as a gateway for entry.

Antibodies that block those gateways and make it harder for the virus to infect cells appeared to protect retinal organoids, further experiments showed. Researchers said the findings suggest that long-standing persistent syndromes known as COVID may also include retinal problems.

Click for Reuters graphic on vaccines in development.

(Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Burcrot)