An unusual experiment aimed at preventing staff members and residents of nursing homes from becoming infected with the coronavirus has been successful, drugmaker Eli Lilly said Thursday.
According to the preliminary results of a study conducted in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.
The researchers found an 80% reduction in infections among residents who received the drug, compared to those who received a placebo, and a 60% reduction among staff, both statistically very powerful results. said Eli Lilly.
The data has not yet been peer reviewed or published. The company plans to present the results at an upcoming medical meeting and publish them in a peer-reviewed journal, but did not say when.
The study included 965 participants in nursing homes: 666 staff and 299 residents. (The company hoped more residents would participate, but it proved difficult to register them; many suffered from dementia and others were concerned about being given an intravenous drug.)
There were four deaths from Covid-19 among study participants. All of them were residents of the nursing homes who received a placebo, not the drug.
The drug, bamlanivimab, already has Emergency Use Clearance from the Food and Drug Administration which allows Eli Lilly to provide it to symptomatic patients at the onset of their infection.
But this study asked if the drug could stop infections before they started. It was an unusual experience: in trucks equipped with mobile laboratories, medical staff went to nursing homes as soon as a single infection was detected. Upon arrival, the workers set up temporary infusion centers to administer the drug.
The research ended this weekend with an emergency meeting of the Security and Data Oversight Council, an independent group monitoring the incoming results. The data was strong and compelling enough to put an end to placebos.
While the exact order of vaccinees can vary from state to state, most will likely prioritize medical workers and residents of long-term care facilities. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help you.
Life will only return to normal when society as a whole is sufficiently protected against the coronavirus. Once countries authorize a vaccine, they will only be able to immunize a few percent of their citizens at most in the first two months. The unvaccinated majority will always remain vulnerable to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show strong protection against the disease. But it is also possible for people to spread the virus without even knowing they are infected, as they show only mild symptoms, if any. Scientists do not yet know if vaccines also block transmission of the coronavirus. So for now, even vaccinated people will have to wear masks, avoid crowds inside, etc. Once enough people are vaccinated, it will become very difficult for the coronavirus to find vulnerable people to infect. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach this goal, life may start to move closer to something normal by fall 2021.
Yes, but not forever. The two vaccines that will potentially be authorized this month clearly protect people against Covid-19 disease. But the clinical trials that delivered these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. It remains a possibility. We know that people naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without feeling a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensely as the vaccines are rolled out. In the meantime, even vaccinated people will have to consider themselves as possible spreaders.
The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is given by injection into the arm, like other typical vaccines. The injection will not be different from any you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines and none of them reported serious health problems. But some of them experienced short-lived discomfort, including aches and pains and flu-like symptoms that usually last for a day. People may need to plan a day off or school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system encountering the vaccine and building a powerful response that will provide long-lasting immunity.
No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to stimulate the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is ultimately destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slip inside. The cell uses mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules, which they produce to make their own proteins. Once these proteins are made, our cells then shred the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules that our cells make can only survive for a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is designed to resist the cell’s enzymes a little longer, so that the cells can produce additional viral proteins and elicit a stronger immune response. But mRNA can only last a few days at most before being destroyed.
“My jaw dropped when I saw the results chart,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a senior researcher who helped design and implement study.
Although the study is complete, Dr Daniel Skovronsky, scientific director of Eli Lilly, said the company will continue to rush to nursing homes in its study network when an outbreak is detected. “Everyone will get the medicine,” he says.
Experts who were not part of the study were enthusiastic, but pointed out that they had not yet seen full data. “I only see positive aspects here,” said Dr. Ofer Levy, director of the precision vaccination program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It’s a victory.”
Dr Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland, was also encouraged.
“The mortality effect is remarkable,” she said, adding that the drug should be used more widely to prevent and treat Covid-19, “especially in populations such as residents of nursing homes, who have high mortality and may have suboptimal responses to vaccines. “
Vaccines, of course, also protect people from infection with the virus, and nursing home staff and residents were among the first priority groups for vaccines. But supplies are insufficient and many nursing home workers frightened by vaccines have refused to obtain them.
And after vaccination, it can take six weeks for the body to produce enough antibodies for maximum protection, said Dr. Srilatha Edupuganti, a vaccine researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and researcher in the study.
Treatment with monoclonal antibodies, she said, can give almost equivalent protection immediately, although it will not last as long as the protection offered by a vaccine.
Eli Lilly plans to approach FDA about emergency use authorization for use of drug to prevent infections in frail elderly populations, particularly those in nursing homes or long-care facilities duration, said Dr Skovronsky.