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Dr Bruce Cree

“I’ve spent years working on this study and was very excited about the opportunity to develop a product, a non-inflammatory drug that might improve disability in patients with MS.”

The study was published online October 23 in Lancet Neurology.

Targeting Myelin

Most studies of disease modifying therapies in MS use agents designed to modulate or suppress immune function. In contrast, the biotin approach targets myelin.

Biotin is essential for breaking down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It’s especially important for healthy skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system functioning.

At low doses, biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, is found in some foods and is used as a supplement to treat biotin deficiency, experienced by some pregnant women

MD1003 (MedDay Pharmaceuticals), the agent used in the study, is a highly concentrated oral preparation of biotin. High-dose biotin, explained Cree, potentially addresses two mechanisms — mitochondrial energy failure that seems to occur in MS, and enhancement of myelin metabolism.

Taking high doses of biotin may affect certain blood tests, such as thyroid function tests, some pregnancy blood tests, and cardiac tests.

An earlier pilot study demonstrated safety and efficacy of high-dose biotin in progressive MS, which prompted the design of a phase 2 randomized double blind placebo-controlled trial (MS-SPI).

Results of the MS-SPI study showed that compared with placebo, MD1003 improved disability outcomes over 12 months in patients with progressive MS.  

“We were very excited about the results of the first clinical trial. It seemed to work and I was excited of course to see a bigger study replicate it,” said Cree.

The new study, known as MS-SPI2, was designed to extend the observations of the first study in a larger, more diverse patient population.

It included 642 adult patients with primary or secondary progressive MS without relapse in the past 2 years. It was conducted at 90 centers in 13 countries. The mean age of study subjects was 52.7 years, 54% were women, and 65% were diagnosed with secondary progressive MS.

Study Details

In this patient population, the mean expanded disability status scale (EDSS) score was 5.4, and the mean timed 25-foot walk (TW25) was 11.7 seconds. About 58% of subjects required a walking aid (EDSS 6.0 or 6.5), 46% were receiving concomitant disease-­modifying therapies, and 5% had at least one gadolinium­-enhancing lesion on MRI.

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Iron Road Healthcare Announces 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment Dates

Iron Road Healthcare will be accepting applications for the 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment beginning October 15 through December 7, 2020

Iron Road Healthcare – formerly Union Pacific Railroad Employees Health Systems (UPRHS) is proud to announce—for the first time in more than a decade—that applications are now being accepted for its 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment.

Any current or past employees (and Medicare-eligible spouses) of Union Pacific Railroad, its subsidiaries or wholly-owned operating units, that are eligible or will be eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2021, can enroll in Iron Road’s Medicare plans during this open enrollment period of October 15 through December 7, 2020.

“This year has not been easy on anyone,” said Kevin Potts, COO of Iron Road Healthcare. “Navigating a pandemic has meant financial upheavals for many, so we are grateful that we have the opportunity to provide these plans to our members that have dedicated themselves and their careers to the railroad. We hope this provides a great benefit and a peace of mind for those we serve.”

The Medicare plans include benefits from national medical coverage to one-cost plans for all regardless of pre-existing conditions, gender, location, community, obtained age or current age. Applicants must have enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B to join UPRR’s Medicare plans. Applications must be submitted by December 7, 2020.

For more information on becoming a member, please visit www.medicare.ironroadhealthcare.com/.

About Iron Road Healthcare

Formerly known as Union Pacific Railroad Employees Health Systems, Iron Road Healthcare’s growth has led to a need for a new company name and logo that honors the long history and contribution railroaders have made and continue to make. Iron Road Healthcare is passionate about serving the needs of its members as a not-for-profit trust fund and recognizes their duty to ensure members are protected. In 1870, Union Pacific and other railroad companies recognized the need to treat sick and injured employees. Hospital associations were created and flourished as the ‘iron road’ crisscrossed the United States and were the forerunners of today’s health insurance plans. In 1947, the hospital associations separated from railroads and became independent entities dedicated to serving railroad employees. The last 150 years have brought significant advancements in medicine and healthcare, setting the stage for today’s modern health plan. Iron Road Health Care is one of five remaining hospital associations that continues to provide health insurance coverage and Medicare plans for the railroad workers our country depends on.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201026005627/en/


Austin Isbell
Love Communications
[email protected]

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Coronavirus and road to recovery: Time is the only best medicine we have

However, medical research is gradually learning more about how this virus behaves.However, medical research is gradually learning more about how this virus behaves.

Last month, Robert R Redfield, the chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that the completion of general vaccine distribution and the return of ‘regular life’ is probably not realistic until mid-2021.

With vaccine expectations still unclear, news reports suggest that India is buying 100 million doses of Covid vaccine Sputnik V from Russia with an agreement signed between Russian Direct Investment Fund and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. Sputnik V has made Russia the first country to claim a breakthrough in developing a vaccine for Covid-19. Many other developers-Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca-Oxford University, Novavax and Moderna-have trials over the next few weeks.

But a new dimension to the rising post-Covid complications has made all look for a fast procurement of a vaccine. A case in point is the Union home minister Amit Shah’s return to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi after he complained of fatigue and body ache-four days after he tested negative for coronavirus in September. Veteran Congress leader and former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi was also admitted to the ICU in September after his blood oxygen level drastically went down in post-Covid-19 complications. The 85-year-old had tested positive for the virus in August.

Medical experts and doctors have stressed on the magnitude of the disease, which was earlier restricted to the lungs, but has now turned into a multi-system disease affecting the body. In July, Natalie Lambert, research professor of medicine at Indiana University in the US, warned against complications such as extreme fatigue, breathlessness and hair loss. The CDC in the US reported its own survey results a few weeks later and acknowledged that at least 35% of those surveyed had not returned to their usual state of health.

Mild yet critical

While most people have relatively mild and manageable symptoms, those with illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease are more at risk. Major complications include a condition known as cytokine release syndrome, where an infection triggers the immune system to flood the bloodstream with inflammatory proteins called cytokines, which can kill tissue and damage organs, including lungs, heart and kidneys. Other complications include acute respiratory failure, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), acute liver, cardiac or kidney injury, septic shock and disseminated intravascular coagulation.

The younger populace might suffer from multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) or paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) with symptoms like fever, belly pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, headache and confusion.

Talking about the sub-acute morbidities, NITI Aayog member and head of the national task force on Covid-19, VK Paul explained in a news briefing: “Post-Covid sub-acute morbidities are a new dimension. Scientific and medical communities are keeping an eye on it.”

The acute insult in Covid-19 is systemic and it may progress to involve other systems. Comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, coronary artery disease and chronic liver disease (CLD) co-exist in the general population, more so in the middle-aged

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Coronavirus hospitalizations are growing in 37 states as Fauci warns the world not ‘on the road’ to ending pandemic yet

  • Covid-19 hospitalizations were growing by 5% or more, based on a weekly average, in 37 states as of Sunday, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by the Covid Tracking Project.
  • Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia all hit record highs in the average of hospitalizations.
  • Covid-19 hospitalizations, like the so-called positivity rate and deaths, are a key measure because they help scientists gauge the pandemic’s severity.

a large orange truck parked in front of a building: Medical workers deliver a patient to the Maimonides Medical Center on September 14, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

© Provided by CNBC
Medical workers deliver a patient to the Maimonides Medical Center on September 14, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

Coronavirus hospitalizations are growing in a majority of U.S. states as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, warns that the world is not yet “on the road” to ending the pandemic.

Coronavirus hospitalizations, like the so-called positivity rate and deaths ,are a key measure because they help scientists gauge the pandemic’s severity.

Covid-19 hospitalizations were growing by 5% or more in 37 states as of Sunday, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by the Covid Tracking Project, an increase from 36 states a week earlier. Figures are based on a weekly averages to smooth out daily reporting.

chart, histogram

© Provided by CNBC

Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia all hit record highs in the average of hospitalizations, the Covid Tracking Project data shows. The District of Columbia and Hawaii are the only two places where hospitalizations are declining, according to the data.


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In Texas, where hospitalizations are growing, 6.71% of beds across its hospitals have Covid-19 patients as of Sunday, according to state data. In Wisconsin, 10.9% of its beds have Covid-19 patients, state data shows.

“What’s concerning here is that it’s only mid-October and there is a long fall and winter,” said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist and professor at the University of Toronto.

“We are clearly in the second wave in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere and we really need to have more control of this infection at the community level,” he said. “We know exactly what it’s like when health-care systems are spread beyond capacity. We saw that in New York City. We saw that in Houston. We saw that in many other parts of the United States.”

The increase in hospitalizations comes after U.S. cases have grown in recent weeks following a late-summer lull. Over the past seven days, the country has reported an average of about 56,000 new cases per day, up more than 13% compared with a week earlier, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. That remains lower than the roughly 70,000 new cases a day the U.S. was reporting earlier this year but is higher than the roughly 30,000 cases per day in early September and is increasing.

U.S. health officials and infectious disease experts have repeatedly warned that the outbreak could get worse as temperatures cool and people begin to head

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