Covid Plasma therapy controversy and the first Nobel prize in medicine!

The latest controversy in COVID 19 regarding the usefulness of plasma therapy after ICMR – WHO disowned it and the government of Delhi insisted on its use, has brought the issue back into focus.

It is a little known fact that the knowledge that antibodies present in the plasma of an infected patient can be used as a useful drug to combat and cure the disease, had brought the very first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in the year 1901.

This Nobel Prize went to Emil Von Behring who is regarded as the founder of Plasma Therapy.

Behring belonged to an era when modern scientific understanding of microbiology and immunology was nascent. He worked with all-time greats such as Louis Pasteur, Robert Koch, P. Ehrlich, Loeffler; the who’s who amongst the founding fathers of modern medical science in late nineteenth century. They together produced several research papers in the diverse field of Bacterial immunology. Behring specially worked towards curing the curse of Diphtheria, Tetanus and also controlling the menace of Tuberculosis in the later part of his life. These problems together were responsible for milllions of helpless deaths in those days.

Behring was born on 15th March 1854 in Hansdorf (West Prussia), now Poland, in a large family of 13 siblings. His father was a school teacher who had difficulty in supporting his family with meagre income. After studying medicine with full scholarship in military medical school Behring joined the armed forces so that he could start supporting his family. He spent most part of his active life in Germany and France where later on he would get the

chance to work at the famous ‘Pasteur Institute ‘and subsequently at Marburg where he became professor of infectious diseases.

In the year 1898 – 99, he demonstrated that Diphtheria culture, when separated from bacilli completely, still contained pure toxins and that these toxins were lethal. Such toxins, when injected into animals (initially guinea pigs and later on horses) produced copious antitoxins. When plasma containing such antitoxins was transfused into diseased animals, and later on in human beings, it controlled and cured the certain fatal disease.

This instantly brought Behring huge fame and recognition and consequently the very inaugural Nobel Prize was awarded to him in the year 1901 by Nobel foundation.

Later on, with F. Wernicke, he established that lasting immunity to diphtheria could be produced for prophylaxis by injecting the toxin-anti-toxin  mixture producing antibodies which could neutralise the lethal bacterial toxins and antigens, eventually leading to final banishment of diphtheria from the scourges of mankind.

I don’t think the last word on the usefulness of plasma therapy has been pronounced as yet. The fact that monoclonal antibodies based on the same basic principle, made of specific clones against COVID antigens recently produced by REGENERON and used for American President Trump’s successful treatment vindicates its basic premise!

The Author is Currently Professor of medicine at Manipal Tata Medical College and Formerly Professor and Head, Department of Medicine at Rajendra Institute

RNA COVID Vaccines; Down Syndrome Guidelines: It’s TTHealthWatch!

TTHealthWatch is a weekly podcast from Texas Tech. In it, Elizabeth Tracey, director of electronic media for Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Rick Lange, MD, president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, look at the top medical stories of the week. A transcript of the podcast is below the summary.

This week’s topics include two RNA SARS-CoV2 vaccines, an inactivated vaccine, a look at who’s willing to be vaccinated, and guidelines for managing Down syndrome manifestations.

Program notes:

1:06 RNA vaccines

2:00 Similar immune responses young or old

3:00 Inactivated virus

3:10 Vaccine hesitancy

4:10 Vaccine attributes multiple

5:12 Suggests ways to address hesitancy

6:13 Rigorously tested even for an EUA

6:41 An inactivated viral vaccine

7:42 Inactivated vaccines must be made properly

8:44 Not a narrow vaccine

9:12 Guidelines for managing Down syndrome manifestations

10:13 Literature survey

11:12 Congenital heart disease common

12:45 End


Elizabeth Tracey: When a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine comes across the transom, will you take it?

Rick Lange: Report on a promising inactivated whole-virion COVID vaccine.

Elizabeth: What’s the best care for people with Down syndrome?

Rick: And the safety and immunogenicity of two RNA-based COVID vaccines.

Elizabeth: That’s what we’re talking about this week on TT HealthWatch, your weekly look at the medical headlines from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso. I’m Elizabeth Tracey, a Baltimore-based medical journalist.

Rick: And I’m Rick Lange, president of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, where I’m also dean of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Elizabeth: And right now in the nation’s hotspot, I would say, relative to battling COVID-19. How’s it going?

Rick: You know, it’s really tough here. I think we have the highest number of cases per capita across the U.S. and increasing. It’s a really tough time in El Paso right now, so some of the stuff we’re talking about is very relevant.

Elizabeth: Yeah. Let’s turn, then, to… why don’t you talk about the first vaccine candidate that you’d like to illustrate?

Rick: Okay. This is a report from Pfizer and a company called BioNTech that is one of those vaccines that’s in phase III trials, so this is the initial report of their phase I and phase II trials. BioNTech and Pfizer launched a coordinated program to compare four RNA-based COVID-19 vaccine candidates. They did it in Germany initially and then brought it to the U.S.

This is a report on two of those RNA-based vaccines and how they decided for one over the other. I’m going to call them B1 and B2, because that’s what they call them. B1 is a RNA vaccine directed towards the receptor-binding domain. They took three of these domains and actually bound them together, which could be more antigenic, and the B2 was they took the whole spike protein.

They tested these in individuals 18 to 55 and those 65 to 85, and they did multiple different doses of these. What they discovered is

Another COVID death, as numbers rise in Albany County

Albany County’s COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, with yet another death blamed on the virus.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy on Saturday said a woman in her 90s, who was a resident of an undisclosed congregate setting, died. She is the 140th person in the county to succumb since the outbreak.

Most of the key numbers continue to trend upward. The number of confirmed cases rose by 32 in the past day, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,427. Among the new cases, 15 had close contact with positive cases, two reported out-of-state travel, three were health care workers or residents of a congregate setting and 12 do not have a clear source of infection as yet.

The overall case count will fluctuate as the CommCare records for college students are transferred to the county in which they are isolating for their daily monitoring and then transferred back to the county for the final case count, McCoy noted.
The number of people under mandatory quarantine has increased to 1,097 from 1,045.

The five-day average for new daily positives increased to 23.8 from 18.8.

There were no new hospitalizations to report overnight, while the number of county residents currently hospitalized due to the virus decreased from 13 to 12. There are still two patients in intensive care, unchanged from Friday. The hospitalization rate has decreased slightly from 0.38 to 0.35 percent.

“Sadly, we’ve lost another resident to the virus, and while we did not have any new hospitalizations overnight, we need to closely monitor that number,” McCoy said. “My condolences to the latest family who has lost a loved one to COVID-19.”

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Dr. Scott Gottlieb warns of ‘staggering’ Covid death totals in U.S.

The United States could see “staggering” numbers of coronavirus deaths in the coming months as infection rates increase during the colder months, Dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” on Friday.

There were 916 deaths from Covid-19 in the U.S. on Friday, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic. New coronavirus cases eclipsed 71,600 on Thursday.

Gottlieb, a physician who served as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner, emphasized that doctors have improved their treatment of Covid-19 patients during the pandemic, bringing down the mortality rate. He has said it might have been reduced by 50%.

Patient care also has been improved due to drugs such as Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir, which on Thursday became an FDA-approved treatment for Covid-19, as well as the use of steroids such as dexamethasone, according to Gottlieb. President Donald Trump received both after his coronavirus diagnosis.

Despite these positive developments, Gottlieb said the challenge the U.S. is facing now is simply how widespread the virus is across the country. “Mortality is going to be down, but we’re going to be infecting so many people that the daily death statistics are going to be staggering,” said Gottlieb, who led the FDA under Trump from May 2017 to April 2019.

There could be “well above 1,000” new deaths per day reported in the weeks ahead, he said. “And we might retest some of the totals that we saw in the spring, when we were reporting 2,000 deaths a day related to this virus, just because of the sheer number of people we’re likely to infect heading into the winter right now.”

The U.S. has almost 8.5 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 and at least 223,752 people have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Public health experts have been warning for months that colder weather during the fall and winter is likely to coincide with a resurgence of the coronavirus because people are spending more time indoors, where transmission can more easily occur.

The pandemic is intensifying in countries across the world, and some nations are on a “dangerous track,” the head of the World Health Organization warned Friday. “We are at a critical juncture in this pandemic, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Restrictions have again been implemented in parts of Europe, including an overnight curfew in regions of France, in an attempt to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Gottlieb said he believes the response in the U.S. to rising infection rates will be targeted interventions in hot-spot areas, rather than the lockdown orders that were issued in the early stages of the pandemic when inadequate testing regimes made it difficult to determine where transmission was happening.

“I think we’re going to bear a lot more infection … and the health-care system is going to have to bear the brunt of this burden, because I don’t think you have the popular will for stay-at-home orders or broad

COVID patient who was almost taken off life support just left hospital

  • A 26-year-old North Carolina coronavirus survivor returned home Tuesday after her heart repeatedly stopped beating for 30 minutes.
  • She had suffered complications including strokes, which have struck other young coronavirus patients for reasons doctors don’t fully understand. 
  • Doctors also don’t know why some critically ill young patients who were previously healthy die while others bounce back.  
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When Tionna Hairston’s heart repeatedly stopped beating for 30 minutes, her doctors worried yet again that she wouldn’t make it. 

The 26-year-old in North Carolina was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May, and subsequently suffered a stroke that led to bleeding in her brain and blood clots in her heart that caused the cardiac arrest, the Winston-Salem Journal’s Richard Craver reported. 

The conditions left her unable to fully use her arms and legs, and she was put on a ventilator for more than two months. She also suffered kidney and liver failure. 

Doctors “thought that we should take her off of life support because she had no hope for life,” Hairston’s mom, Stacey Peatross said, according to Rasheeda Kabba, who covered the story for multiple local outlets. “They thought she would be a vegetable. She wouldn’t have any quality of life at all.” 

They were wrong. After family, friends, and strangers prayed for her, Hairston began improving. She entered rehab for more than a month, where she relearned basic activities of daily living, like eating and getting dressed. 

On Tuesday, she walked out of the hospital to continue rehab at home. She had been in medical care for 137 days. “My faith in God and the fact that I wanted to walk again” allowed her to survive, Hairston said. 


While she’s not fully recovered — she walks with a walker and has some memory loss — her doctors praised her recovery and the lessons it can teach others. 

First, people should know “20-somethings can get very sick from COVID and COVID complications,” Dr. James McLean, director of the Novant rehabilitation hospital in Winston-Salem, told Craver. “It’s not just older folks.” 

The other lesson is that Hairston “demonstrated that human spirit, that little flame inside that keeps us going, shows us that people can overcome things that we could never imagine.”

Other young COVID-19 patients have suffered strokes and neurological issues  

Doctors have been concerned to see strokes in young people with no prior history of strokes and, in some cases, mild or even asymptomatic COVID. 

In May, five young New Yorkers with COVID-19 were admitted to the hospital with life-threatening “large-vessel” strokes, or those caused by a blood clot that travels from the body into an artery in the brain, Business Insider’s Aylin Woodward previously reported. 

Doctors don’t yet understand exactly how COVID-19 influences stroke risk, but it may have to do with blood clots, which have appeared in other parts of coronavirus patients’ bodies, like the lungs and legs. 

COVID-19 has also been linked to a range of other neurological issues,

Alabama adds 3,852 COVID cases after influx of backlogged data dating back to June

Alabama added more than 3,800 COVID cases yesterday after a huge influx of backlogged data dating back to June.

The Alabama Department of Public Health showed a total of 180,916 coronavirus cases in the state, up 3,852 from the day before. Of that total, 973 were confirmed cases and 2,879 were probable. Of that 2,879, the 2,565 were antigen tests from a facility in Mobile that dated back to the summer.

The cases “will be classified as probable COVID-19 cases reported on 10/22/20 even though the tests were performed during June through Oct. 18. All laboratories are required by law to report all results (including positive and negative results) for (COVID-19) to ADPH,” the agency said in an announcement.

“Delays in reporting by required reporters is not within control of ADPH. Processing the backlog will not impact the ADPH COVID-19 Risk Indicator Dashboard,” ADPH added.

The state added 16 deaths to bring its total to 2,859.

ADPH reports 864 patients are currently hospitalized due to coronavirus.

Here are the latest county-by-county numbers from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The numbers include both confirmed and probable cases with the overnight increases shown in parenthesis:

Autauga – 2030 (+7)

Baldwin – 6615 (+140)

Barbour – 1012 (+15)

Bibb – 825 (+14)

Blount – 1911 (+13)

Bullock – 639 (+2)

Butler – 1002 (+1)

Calhoun – 4224 (+35)

Chambers – 1343 (+7)

Cherokee – 731 (+5)

Chilton – 1858 (+17)

Choctaw – 390 (+2)

Clarke – 1336 (+36)

Clay – 736 (+7)

Cleburne – 551 (+8)

Coffee – 1732 (+15)

Colbert – 1987 (+20)

Conecuh – 560 (+3)

Coosa – 203 (+1)

Covington – 1714 (+15)

Crenshaw – 603 (+1)

Cullman – 2399 (+42)

Dale – 1665 (+11)

Dallas – 1863 (+1)

DeKalb – 3360 (+58)

Elmore – 3173 (+24)

Escambia – 1722 (+3)

Etowah – 4214 (+27)

Fayette – 569 (+8)

Franklin – 2032 (+11)

Geneva – 861 (+9)

Greene – 342

Hale – 758 (+9)

Henry – 643 (+4)

Houston – 3717 (+25)

Jackson – 2125 (+25)

Jefferson – 22987 (+137)

Lamar – 474 (+8)

Lauderdale – 2180 (+32)

Lawrence – 837 (+16)

Lee – 6517 (+21)

Limestone – 2797 (+32)

Lowndes – 704 (+1)

Macon – 530 (+1)

Madison – 9228 (+78)

Marengo – 1002 (+10)

Marion – 1071 (+9)

Marshall – 4372 (+42)

Mobile – 16,788 (+2,320)

Monroe – 645 (+5)

Montgomery – 9978 (+103)

Morgan – 4071 (+35)

Perry – 585 (+2)

Pickens – 836 (+12)

Pike – 1327 (+4)

Randolph – 820 (+8)

Russell – 1928 (+5)

St. Clair – 2891 (+20)

Shelby – 7274 (+70)

Sumter – 472 (+2)

Talladega – 2636 (+25)

Tallapoosa – 1313 (+8)

Tuscaloosa – 10,235 (+87)

Walker – 2755 (+33)

Washington – 734 (+100)

Wilcox – 564 (+2)

Winston – 919 (+6)

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Colorado limits more gatherings as COVID cases spike

DENVER (AP) — Citing a steady increase in Colorado’s coronavirus hospitalization caseload, state health officials announced new limits Friday on personal gatherings of people from different households in more than two dozen counties.

An amended state health order affecting 29 of the state’s counties limits personal gatherings to 10 people from no more than two households. Gatherings of up to 25 people were previously permitted in those counties, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Personal gatherings in 30 other Colorado counties were already restricted to 10 people. No new limits were imposed for five counties with lesser caseloads.

The Department of Public Health and Environment said it took the action after investigators determined that COVID-19 cases associated with social gatherings and community exposure had been more common since July.

“We need to keep gatherings smaller and with people from fewer households — we are asking everyone to ‘shrink their bubble’ to reduce the spread,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the department’s executive director.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis appealed to residents to help stem what he called an alarming acceleration of new cases and hospitalizations. Upward trends in new confirmed cases and hospitalizations could strain hospital intensive-care capacity in December, the Democratic governor said.

There are roughly 1,800 intensive-care beds statewide for all health emergencies. More than three-quarters of those beds were occupied for all reasons over the week leading up to Monday, the state health department said.

The state reported 458 virus hospitalizations Friday. Health officials reported there were nearly 20 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents Friday, one of the highest, if not the highest, recorded rates of the pandemic.

More than 2,000 people have died of the virus in Colorado, which has reported more than 85,000 positive cases. The number of cases is probably higher because of a lack of testing and other reasons.

The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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Hundreds of COVID Survivors and Their Loved Ones Send Open Letter to Trump

courtesy Rosie Davis Mary Castro (left) and Rosie Davis

Rosie Davis remembers first growing worried about her mother in March, as cases of a mysterious new virus spread through the United States — slowly, at first, and then faster and faster and faster.

Davis’ mom, Mary Castro, was then living in a nursing home in Dallas. Long-term care facilities like Castro’s had become troubling sites of outbreaks in the emerging novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Castro — a former nurse who put herself through school while working graveyard shifts at a hospital and raising her kids as a single mom — was at increased risk.

Her health had begun to decline in recent years. Still, she remained alert and curious, always attentive during visits with her daughter, who made the 10-minute trip every day.

By the time coronavirus cases were confirmed around Dallas in March, Castro’s nursing home went into a complete lockdown. Davis, a 44-year-old aesthetician, continued visiting her mother but they were now separated by a glass window.

When Davis arrived on Mother’s Day, in May, she says she immediately noticed “something was really wrong” with Castro.

“She was not very alert. We had to tap on the window to get her attention. She couldn’t hold her own gift,” Davis says. “That was a big red flag for me.”

“At this time, there was still no mask mandate in Dallas County,” Davis says of her mom. “She had a mask on but it was just looped around her earlobes, not covering her mouth or nose.” 

Davis says she asked the nursing home, where there had been prior coronavirus cases, to examine her mom. But her pleas were unsuccessful. Eventually, she took it upon herself to call 911.

An ambulance arrived, and Davis said goodbye. The memory still makes her emotional.

“The last image I have of my mom was her being lifted into the back of an ambulance,” she tells PEOPLE.

Castro did not die quickly, but she did die alone.

Davis called multiple times each day that Castro was hospitalized. By May 16, a nurse said her mom was alert enough to speak on the phone. 

“It was a breath of fresh air to hear her voice … She said, ‘Have the restrictions been lifted yet? I’m really tired and I don’t want to be in here anymore,’ ” Davis says. “And I told her, ‘I’m so sorry that I can’t be with you.’ “

“I believe she knew she was going to die,” Davis says now. “She told me, ‘I just want you to know I love you. I’m very proud of you and you’ve been the best daughter to me.’ Her last words to me were, ‘When you get to heaven, we’re going to look for each other.’ “

RELATED: Trump Says He Won’t Wear a Face Mask in Public Despite Federal Health Officials’ Recommendation

courtesy Rosie Davis Mary Castro (center, behind glass) at her Dallas nursing home

The coronavirus killed her the next

Anna Del Priore And Helen Guzzone, Sisters Over 100, Survived 1918 Flu And COVID Infections

Two sisters, Anna Del Priore and Helen Guzzone, are over 100-years-old and both survived the deadly flu pandemic in 1918, as well as COVID-19 in 2020. 

Anna, age 108, and Helen, 105, contracted the Spanish flu as children when it was at its peak and lived through it. When the coronavirus flooded through nursing homes around April and May of this year, they both fought their way through that as well after testing positive.

According to the Washington Post, Anna was 107 when she tested positive for the novel coronavirus in May while she was living in a New Jersey nursing home. While she had a fever, cough, and needed some oxygen at times during her fight against the virus, she never needed a ventilator and recovered in six weeks. 

As for her sister Helen, she tested positive for COVID-19 in March when she was 104 while in her nursing home in New York. Unlike Anna, she was healed in just two weeks instead of six. 

The Post explained that the century-old sisters were as active as can be. Anna loves to Tango dance and took daily walks to McDonald’s until she turned 100. Helen did exercises into her 90s and her son, Nick, explained to the outlet that she stays away from dairy products, smoking, and drinking alcohol. 

CNBC released an interview with the two sisters on Thursday and asked them what the secret was to living for so long. Anna said, “Well, to be honest and kind. Believe in God. All the good stuff.” 

When asked how often she exercises to stay healthy, Helen said, “I do it every night before I go to bed. I kick my legs. I go up and down, up and down 10 times.” 

These two sisters celebrated their 108th and 105th birthdays on Sept. 5 (yes, they have the same birthday) and are both healthy after fighting off COVID-19.

covid virus A virus is pictured under a microscope. Photo: National Institutes of Health / Handout

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U.S. Daily COVID Case Count Nears Record for Pandemic | Health News

By Robin Foster and E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporters


FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The United States on Thursday recorded its second highest daily total of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with 75,000 new infections, while eight states broke single-day records of new cases.

Also on Thursday, the antiviral medicine remdesivir became the first drug to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to fight COVID-19.

Such drugs are urgently needed: Adding to bleak national numbers, 13 additional states have added more cases in the past week than in any other seven-day stretch, The New York Times reported.

The Midwest and Rocky Mountains are struggling to contain major outbreaks, while new hot spots are emerging in other parts of the country. Kentucky announced more than 1,470 cases on Thursday, the biggest one-day jump ever in that state. And Colorado reported more than 1,300 cases, setting another single-day record, the Times reported. In Chicago, a nightly curfew will start on Friday, after officials reported an average of 645 new cases a day this past week, the newspaper said.

The current record for new daily cases was recorded in mid-July, when over 77,000 infections were recorded in one day.

Coronavirus cases have also been climbing on college campuses, where more than 214,000 infections have been diagnosed this year, a Times survey showed. More than 35,000 of those cases have been reported since early October.

While some colleges moved all classes online for the fall, many campuses remained open as positive tests accumulated, the Times reported. Of more than 1,700 institutions surveyed, more than 50 reported at least 1,000 cases while over 375 colleges have reported at least 100 cases.

The 214,000 cases account for 2.5 percent of all known cases in the United States, the Times reported. That tally is likely an undercount because some colleges have refused to provide any case data or have stopped giving updates. Large universities in the South and Midwest reported the highest case totals, including seven campuses where there have been more than 3,000 cases, the Times said.

Remdesivir gets full FDA approval to treat COVID

Remdesivir’s full approval Thursday by the FDA comes after the agency granted it emergency use authorization last spring. It is given intravenously to hospitalized patients.

California-based Gilead Sciences Inc. is selling the drug under the brand name Veklury. It cut the time to recovery from COVID-19 by five days — from 15 days to 10, on average — in a large study led by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the FDA announced in a statement.

“Today’s approval is supported by data from multiple clinical trials that the agency has rigorously assessed and represents an important scientific milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said in the news release.

Veklury is approved for people aged 12 and older who weigh at least 88 pounds and are hospitalized for a COVID-19 infection. For patients younger than 12, the FDA will still allow the drug’s use