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Weekly News 7 September 2020

Coronavirus research recap: Superspreader on a bus, who's most at risk, and damage to the heart

News 24 07 September 2020 - A new analysis looking into the mortality risk for Covid-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, shows that out of 1 000 people under the age of 50 who are infected with the virus, almost none will die.

However, for those in their fifties and early sixties, about five will die, with men at greater risk than women. And for every 1 000 people in their mid-seventies or older who are infected, around 116 will die.

Drugs for obesity and diabetes show promise for Covid-19 use

Business Day 04 September 2020 - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk says the virus attacks cells that produce insulin, so drugs that target these risk factors for Covid-19 should be a ‘very meaningful therapy’

GLP-1 drugs, which help patients keep blood sugar levels in check, could be a “very meaningful therapy” in battling the illness, Novo chief scientific officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said in an interview. He pointed to evidence that the coronavirus attacks cells that produce insulin, the hormone needed by patients with diabetes.

Weekly injection could treat type 2 diabetes, new enzyme discovery suggests

BizCommunity 04 September 2020 - A newly discovered protein produced by the liver, and which helps to control blood sugar levels, could potentially revolutionise treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Our research, published today in Science Translational Medicine, found that injecting this protein, called SMOC1, into diabetic mice helped them control their blood glucose much more easily.

Covid-19 antibodies found in 37% of pregnant women and HIV-positive people in Cape

Business Day 03 September 2020 - The data is likely to spark discussion about whether some regions have enough people with immunity for the virus to no longer easily spread

The data is likely to spark discussion about whether some regions have enough people with immunity for the virus to no longer easily spread. But Hsiao warned that most people had no way of knowing if they had antibodies to the virus, and even if they did, it was unclear how much protection this offered an individual, or for how long.

Soft target - healthcare industry must prepare for the next wave of cyberattacks

BizCommunity 03 September 2020 - While healthcare providers must accelerate their digital health maturity it also provides a greater platform and risk for cyberattacks.

“Due to regulations related to the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act, the need to use, manage and store sensitive patient data creates an increased risk of falling victim to cybercrime. This is further exacerbated by electronic medium of payments for healthcare and the interconnectivity of public and private service providers,” says Shiraaz Joosub, healthcare sales executive at T-Systems South Africa.

Every country should join WHO’s vaccine initiative, Africa-CDC urges

Business Day 03 September 2020 - The US will not join the effort, called Covax, due to objections by Donald Trump’s administration to WHO involvement

All nations should join hands in a global effort to procure and distribute potential vaccines against the coronavirus across the globe, the head of Africa's diseases control body said on Thursday.

Leaked SA govt analysis: Severe healthcare staff shortages by 2025

Medical Brief 02 September 2020 - South Africa requires billions of rands of additional investment to avoid severe public sector healthcare worker shortages by 2025

The strategy was developed by a ministerial task team and will, once officially adopted, replace government’s previous Human Resources for Health Strategy that expired in 2017, Spotlight reports.

WHO recommends cheap and readily available steroids as Covid-19 treatment

Business Day 02 September 2020 - Dexamethasone has been in widespread use in intensive care wards treating Covid-19 patients in some countries since June

Treating critically ill Covid-19 patients with corticosteroid drugs reduces the risk of death by 20%, an analysis of seven international trials found on Wednesday, prompting the World Health Organisation (WHO) to update its advice on treatment.

Telemonitoring may cut heart attack, stroke by 50% — 5-year study

Medical Brief 02 September 2020 - People enrolled in a pharmacist-led telemonitoring programme to control high blood pressure were about half as likely to have a heart attack or stroke compared to those who received routine primary care, according to research.

Researchers, led by study author Dr Karen L Margolis, executive director of research at HealthPartners Institute in Minneapolis, found that a heart attack, stroke, stent placement or heart failure hospitalisation occurred in 5.3% of the telemonitoring group vs 10.4% of the routine primary care group.

J&J’s potential flu drug, pimodivir, fails

Business Day 02 September 2020 - The move highlights the risk of failure as the world counts on the pharmaceutical industry to help safely return it to normal life

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) halted the development of a new flu drug after a study suggested it wouldn’t work, a sign of how difficult it is to create treatments for viral infections as the world races to contain Covid-19.

Parliament battles to process NHI Bill submissions, months after deadline

Business Day 02 September 2020 - On Tuesday, MPs debated the extent to which an external service provider should get involved

MPs are still at odds over how to process the tens of thousands of submissions received in response to the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, nine months after the deadline they set for input closed. The bill is the first piece of enabling legislation for the government’s plan for universal health coverage.

Namibia allows international travel as it eases most Covid-19 restrictions

Business Day 30 August 2020 - Namibia will lift lockdown restrictions, allowing international travel, schools to reopen and on-site alcohol consumption from September

The country of 2-million now has 6,906 confirmed Covid-19 cases and the disease is not yet contained — of its 65 deaths, 55 were in August.

Publication date: 9/7/2020