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South Africa Starts Coronavirus Plasma Treatment Study

South African researchers started a study to see whether the plasma from donors who’ve had the coronavirus and developed antibodies can be used to treat those who are still sick. Convalescent plasma treatment is part of the US government’s efforts to get drugs and preventatives against Covid-19 on the market. It was recently shown to reduce the death rate of hospitalized patients, according to Johns Hopkins University. The South African trial is a first on the continent.

“The hope is that antibodies in plasma will shorten and lessen the illness,” Karin van den Berg, head of translational research at the South African National Blood Service, said Wednesday. The service has started collecting plasma – the liquid part of blood – from donors and is waiting for the health products regulator’s approval before it can begin a randomized control trial on 600 patients. Half of these will get plasma and the other half a placebo.

Patients in the trial need to be hospitalized but can’t be so sick they are on mechanical ventilation. Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, left antibodies in an infected person’s blood for around 18 months, but current research shows that this effect may start to wane after four months in those that have had Covid-19, said Marion Vermeulen, a biomedical scientist who’s also working on the trial.   For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Busting Coronavirus Myths

The Citizen recently reported on some myths surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is important for all of us to stay safe, however there is no need for panic. Below, see some of the myths and corrections surrounding COVID-19.

  • The virus is not deadly for everyone. The WHO has advised that those with weakened immune systems, as well as babies and the elderly, are most at risk. If you are generally healthy, you may contract the virus, but merely experience flu-like symptoms. Of course, it is still a good idea, in the middle of this epidemic, to have yourself checked out by a medical professional.
  • Taking antibiotics won’t help because 2019-nCoV is a virus. Antibiotics are only useful against bacterial infections, not viruses like the common cold, flu, and COVID-19. By taking antibiotics when you don’t need to, you are contributing towards antibiotic resistance, one of the biggest threats to global health.
  • Wearing a mask only offers limited protection. As soon as the mask is moist (for example, from breathing or sneezing), it needs to be changed. You can’t use the same face mask for multiple days.
  • Rubbing sesame oil or petroleum jelly on your nose will also not reduce your risk of infection.
  • Eating garlic, which does contain some antimicrobial properties, offers no protection.
  • Saline solutions and mouthwash are a good way to clean out sinuses, but they won’t protect you against the virus.
  • Vaccines against other respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia, do not protect you against COVID-19, which is a brand new virus. Scientists are trying to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.
  • There is no evidence that pets can be infected by the coronavirus, but always wash your hands after petting or playing with your dog or cat to protect against other germs.
  • It’s still safe to receive letters or packages from China as the virus doesn’t survive long on objects.
  • It’s still safe to fly, so long as you take precautions,  like wearing masks, washing your hands (and/or using an alcohol-based sanitizer), and avoiding close proximity with sick individuals.

To track the spread of the virus online, visit this website, created by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Hush Naidoo [1], [2].