19th June 2020

Good news round-up part 12

View all Coronavirus

First lifesaving COVID-19 drug found

The first drug which improves survival rates in patients with respiratory complications has been found.

The NIHR-funded and supported study, RECOVERY (Randomised Evaluation of COVid-19 thERapY), has identified that the steroid, dexamethasone, has reduced mortality in certain coronavirus patients.

The study, conducted at the University of Oxford and led by Professor Peter Horby and Professor Martin Landray, saw 2,104 patients receive dexamethasone once a day for ten days, compared 4,321 patients who received usual care.

The study found that dexamethasone reduced the risk of dying by one-third in ventilated patients and by one fifth in other patients receiving oxygen only. There was no benefit among those who did not need respiratory intervention.

Vaccine prioritisation for vulnerable people

Lung cancer patients could be among the first to receive a coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan hopeful hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine could be produced this year.

The WHO is currently drawing up plans to help identify who would get the first doses once a vaccine is approved.

It is believed that priority would be given to frontline works, people classed as vulnerable due to age or other illness and those who work or live in high transmission settings, such as care homes.

Speaking on Thursday Soumya Swaminathan said:

“I’m hopeful, I’m optimistic. But vaccine development is a complex undertaking, it comes with a lot of uncertainty. The good thing is, we have many vaccines and platforms so even if the first one fails, or the second ones fails, we shouldn’t lose hope, we shouldn’t give up.”

Promising results from across the pond

A large study has found it is safe to give blood transfusions to COVID-19 patients, with results suggesting giving it to people early in the disease may be beneficial.

The US-based study saw 20,000 hospitalised COVID-19 patients receive convalescent plasma from people who have recovered from coronavirus. The belief was those who have had the virus and survived have virus-fighting antibodies in their blood. By transfusing it to current COVID patients may help their immune system to fight off the virus.

Convalescent plasma testing are happening around the world. However, this study, which was published on Thursday in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, is the largest analysis yet.

The results are encouraging; among the first 5,000 patients who received a plasma transfusion, the death rate in the week after the transfusion was 12 per cent. That first group of patients received transfusions at a time when plasma was often in short supply and was administered to patients late in their illness. In the larger study, the mortality rate fell to less than 9 per cent, with less than one per cent of patients showing severe adverse effects.

NHS nurse heads home after 75 days in hospital with coronavirus

An NHS nurse is looking forward to gardening again after spending 75 days in hospital with coronavirus.

Felix Knor, who works at Southend Hospital in Essex, was admitted to hospital in eary April. He spent 45 days in the intensive care ward and was on a ventilator.

He was discharged on Monday and now plans to retire fully after joining Southend Hospital in 2005 as part of the resuscitation training team. He is looking forward to getting back to his beloved garden:

“Staff have been so caring, supporting and encouraging. I keep saying to people that honestly, words cannot express enough my gratitude to the care I have been given on Westcliff ward and ICU.

I know half of my plants will be dead, but I’ll start again, I love my gardening and, like me, my garden will flourish once again.”

In your corner…. whatever the weather!

We remain committed to supporting people living with lung cancer and if there was any doubt, here’s our marketing team having their first face-2-face keep in touch meeting for 13 weeks in the pouring rain and, building on the success of past campaigns Follow my Lead, LikeMe, Face your Fear and HeadHigh, have started planning this year’s campaign for lung cancer awareness month.