The COVID-19 Pandemic: Themes for Research

Pandemics in human history always often result in untold and sometimes unparalleled problems that would need great thinkers to offer solutions. Researchers are positive opportunists who do not relent in their efforts in continually investigating the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘who’, and ‘how’ of every situation just to bring relief to mankind. In the current outbreak, researchers in the diverse disciplines must think of how to offer a new lens of understanding to the outbreak and more importantly offer urgent solutions to its associated challenges that threaten human structures for survival.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, scholars in the field of Health and Allied Sciences have started investigating the etiology, epidemiology, pathophysiology, histopathology, clinical evaluation/treatment/management and diagnosis of the COVID-19. A survey of the scholarly works in this field shows great contributions of Asian researchers, especially from China, where the outbreak began. These hardworking researchers never relented in their efforts in investigating medically, what should be done to fight the virus. These remarkable researchers kept on pursuing this path even under perilous working conditions that resulted in the loss of some. They have truly demonstrated and shown what researchers must do all the time in constantly searching for solutions to alleviate the pain of their fellow humans even in times of pandemic. However, more has to be done by their colleagues in other countries. There is a need for medical scientists to investigate the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus in different regions of the world. Interestingly, other scholars in the field of medicine are busily investigating this phenomenon to inform knowledgeably on the coronavirus, suggesting preventive measures and more importantly, finding medical cure and vaccine to fully combat it. For instance, while medical scientists search through the lens of orthodox medicine, herbal practitioners are experimenting on ways of using herbal extracts in producing medicine that can boost the immune system and/or provide a strong immune buffer to fight the coronavirus. These efforts are commendable. More work has to be done in searching for more efficient means of conducting tests on COVID-19 patients, carrying out contact tracing, and precautionary/preventive measures for the coronavirus.

Researchers in the field of Engineering, particularly Computer and Mechanical Engineering are devising technologies to help in mitigating the spread of the COVID-19. Digital technologies such as drones and robocops have been designed and used in some countries, to sum up, manual enforcement of lockdowns. Likewise, mobile technologies such as the development of new apps for contact tracing of patients of the COVID-19 as well as those who have had contact with them are being designed. For instance, MIT researchers are developing a system based on artificial intelligence to complement the manual contact tracing carried out by public health personnel that relies on short-range Bluetooth signals from smartphones. In South Africa, ambulances endowed with automated test kits and laboratory services designed as a result of diligent efforts in research are being used in testing and tracking persons with the COVID-19 even in remote, hard-to-reach areas. In Ghana, the Ministry of Health recently launched the COVID-19 app for tracing people infected or who have had contact with carriers of the COVID-19 virus. These technologies developed as a result of rigorous studies by some mechanical engineers as well as computer hardware and software engineers are being deployed to aid in the fight against the COVID-19. More technological tools to fight the coronavirus are still required and dedicated researchers in the field of engineering are constantly on the table investigating these potentials.

Researchers in agriculture has a great research task in stock for them. The lockdown has resulted in a high record of postharvest losses in countries. What are the efficient ways of mitigating post-harvest losses during periods of pandemic and lockdowns? How can farmers use online marketing strategies and platforms to connect to clients to patronize their products to prevent them from incurring high financial losses? What can the ministry of food and agriculture do to assist these poor farmers in managing the crisis of lockdowns? What are some of the efficient ways the perishable farm produce could be processed into non-perishable products by food manufacturing companies? These are excellent themes that merit investigation by agriculturalists during this pandemic outbreak. Sadly, studies in these areas are yet to be undertaken.

The tourism and hospitality management sector have been hit greatly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many scheduled tours and tourism activities have been canceled due to travel bans and lockdowns. It is estimated that the tourism sector globally will lose high revenue up to the value of close to two billion dollars. This is the time researchers in tourism and hospitality management might consider virtual means of marketing these tourism sites through intensified research into smart tourism and e-tourism. This growing field in tourism has not been given much attention, especially in developing countries. This pandemic period should be the time that researchers in this field would find ways of increasing public awareness of smart tourism and e-tourism.

Scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities such as sociologists, anthropologists and culturists have the task in investigating the sociological impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak such as ways of dealing with social anxiety as a result of the pandemic. Also, an assessment of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 on business activities, the need to embark on e-business, e-marketing, e-banking and other electronic forms of carrying out business activities are important topics that must be explored. Social and Cultural anthropologists should look into the cultural and social perceptions of the different people across the regions of the world about the coronavirus and recommend the application of culturally relevant interventions to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, psychologists and psychiatrists must suggest ways of dealing with post-traumatic disorders from quarantining, as well as stigmatization and discrimination against COVID-19 patients and their relatives.

Moreover, this is the time for educational technologists to come out with proactive ways of undertaking online instruction via various forms of learning management systems, intelligent tutoring systems, and social media platforms. Artists must creatively produce animated cartoons and other forms of signs in e-formats to be promoted online in fighting against the myths and misinformation surrounding the treatment of the COVID-19 and the need to expunge all forms of stigmatization and discrimination against persons who are tested for COVID-19. Of course, this is the time that researchers in all fields of study must collaborate to investigate pluralistic means of fighting the COVID-19 global pandemic.

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The Truth About Why We Need This COVID-19 Treatment Right Now!

On Monday we learnt from Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser that Coronavirus will probably never disappear and a vaccine won’t stop it completely. He also said that ministers and experts should stop ‘over-promising’ and be realistic about the prospects of a vaccine and the likely timeline of one, unlikely before spring next year.

He then echoed his earlier warnings and those of his colleague Professor Chris Whitty that the COVID-19 fight will be a long one, and it will be with us for good.

So, from this should we assume there is no ‘silver bullet’ for COVID-19 infections?

What if there were a single treatment that:

could stop the infection in its tracks,
was anti-inflammatory; controlling the immune system’s response to the infection and stopping it from overreacting dangerously,
in cases where patients developed secondary bacterial infections in the lungs could supercharge antibiotics; boosting their efficacy and eve,
was a repurposed drug; already proven as safe
was easy to make, scalable at the level required to make a difference in the pandemic and was cost effective, then wouldn’t that be something we should all be getting excited about?
Surely though no such ‘silver bullet’ game changing therapy exists? After all, the only treatments we hear about for COVID are those which President Trump took, which were either very new, expensive and experimental or have a very narrow application to a particular aspect of the disease.
Well, you heard it here first – such a ‘silver bullet’ treatment does exist today. It’s called Nylexa®, from the small UK biotech company NovaBiotics Ltd. It’s active ingredients have been safely used in medicines that treat unrelated conditions for over 30 years.

NovaBiotics discovered Nylexa’s potential benefits in COVID-19 following a decade of research in difficult to treat, drug-resistant infections, including the complex chest infections and inflammation associated with cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. In March they applied for a £1m grant from Innovate UK (representing the government) to start clinical studies. That grant was eventually awarded earlier this month, and the government are now considering whether or not to include Nylexa on two separate NHS platform studies.

But why, I hear you ask, if this is so good have we not heard about it before? Why are the government and the press not shouting about this from the rooftops? Why is this not being demanded by clinicians desperate for effective treatments for their patients?

I’m afraid to say, it all boils down to money. Small biotech companies find it difficult to get attention as they don’t have the resources available to their larger better funded rivals. The names we read about regularly when it comes to ground breaking new treatments are invariably large multi-national pharmaceutical companies with deep pockets and big budgets to promote their own particular wares. They make sure their drugs get the required attention. NovaBiotics is a small private company funded by a group of loyal and supportive shareholders so unfortunately don’t have the resources to compete for attention with the big boys.

Which is why this situation is so frustrating. In mitigating the health consequences of contracting COVID-19, Nylexa® could increase public confidence of living with the virus for the longer term and potentially allow a greater degree of normality to return to the way in which we live, benefiting the economy directly in addition to easing COVID-19’s burden on the NHS and healthcare systems globally. Yet getting people in positions of influence to take notice amongst all the others competing for their attention is very difficult indeed.

It is reported that there are thousands of potential COVID-19 treatments in clinical trials across the world. I would challenge anyone to show me one which has the same potential for positive impact as Nylexa®, yet this is not currently part of any trial, despite its impeccable credentials. So come on UK Government, and ministers, get your finger out and get this drug into trials immediately. The sooner it gets tested, the sooner it can be used to help sort out the mess the pandemic has caused to all our lives.

About NovaBiotics Ltd

NovaBiotics Ltd is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the design and development of first-in-class therapies for difficult-to-treat, medically unmet infectiousdiseases caused by bacteria and fungi and respiratory conditions including cystic fibrosis and COVID-19.

A leading innovator in the anti-infectives space, the Company’s robust technology and business model has been validated through successful development, from concept to late stage clinical development, of its most advanced product candidates. In addition to the lead Nylexa® programme and the Company’s other late-stage assets (Lynovex® for cystic fibrosis, NP213/Novexatin® for onychomycosis), NovaBiotics has generated a robust pipeline of earlier stage, high-value drug candidates including NP339 (Department of Health and Social Care funded programme) for life threatening, drug resistant invasive fungal disease and NP432 for multi- drug resistant bacterial infections.

About Nylexa®

Nylexa® is a novel, dual antimicrobial-immunomodulatory candidate therapy. It is a simple, small molecule which has broad ranging antimicrobial effects through directly targeting microbes and also modulating the body’s ability to control infection. Importantly, Nylexa’s active ingredient has a key role in the resolution of infection and control of inflammation which NovaBiotics has exploited as a solution to COVID-19.

For bacterial infections, Nylexa is a potential solution to a public health challenge even greater than COVID-19: the worsening antimicrobial biotic resistance (AMR) crisis. Because Nylexa’s active ingredient is repurposed and has been used in medicines for other, unrelated conditions for more than 30 years, it can potentially be introduced into clinical practice within a much shorter timescale than new antibiotic(s) treatments developed from first principle. Put simply, Nylexa® ‘supercharges’ existing antibiotics in bacterial infections, especially against drug resistant bacteria.

Are Covid-19 Vaccines Promoting the Formation of Stealth Adapted Variant Coronaviruses?

Public Health officials seem not to realize the probable role of Covid-19 vaccines in hastening the development of stealth adapted coronaviruses. Indeed, they have still not accepted the existence of widespread human infections with stealth adapted monkey-derived viruses. These viruses were inadvertently introduced into humans from polio vaccines. This occurred as the consequence of using polio vaccines grown in the cultured kidney cells of cytomegalovirus infected monkeys.

A faulty assumption is that the current Covid-19 vaccines provide immunity that is comparable to that of natural infections. This is clearly not so. First, the vaccine is given by intramuscular injections, whereas natural infections occur via the respiratory mucosa. Intramuscular injections are not particularly effective in stimulating the development of mucosal immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies or resident cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). The lowered level of vaccine induced mucosal immunity means that upon exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus, a proportion of vaccinated individuals will likely acquire a persisting, subclinical infection that is restricted to the superficial respiratory mucosa. Public Health authorities allude to this possibility by insisting that those who are immunized will need to continue wearing masks. The persisting low-level infections will, however, provide the opportunity for the emergence of virus variants. Some of these will be more infectious, while others will be better able to evade vaccine evoked immunity and, therefore, become more widespread throughout the body.

The second major difference between the vaccine and natural infection is FDA’s allowance of the use of a single virus component in the vaccine, namely the spike protein. It is far easier for virus modification, or even deletion, of a single component than it is for concurrent changes to occur in the multiple antigens targeted by immunity to natural infections. Deletion of the spike protein is possible since coronaviruses have other means of entering into cells. The virus can then more easily undergo changes in the remaining genes that code for the relatively few virus components typically targeted by cellular immunity.

The persistence of subclinical infections due to the relative lack of mucosal immunity achieved by intramuscular injections and the systemic immune response being restricted to only the spike protein, can lead more rapidly than will natural infection, to the formation of stealth adapted coronaviruses. A corollary of this premise is that the English, South African, and Brazillian variants probably originated in individual participants of the Covid-19 vaccine trials conducted in each of the countries. With wider vaccine use, many more variants, including stealth adapted coronaviruses, are to be expected.

Stealth adaptation has another very concerning feature. It is the incorporation of additional genetic sequences that are probably required for the virus to regain infectivity. The added sequences can come from the cellular genome and from the genomes of other microbes. This has, for example, allowed polio vaccine derived stealth adapted viruses to bring monkey cellular sequences into humans.

The brain is particularly susceptible to symptomatic illnesses caused by stealth adapted viruses. These viruses can be cultured from patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and also from children with autism. The Long Covid syndrome has many clinical features in common with CFS. Until proven otherwise, the Long Covid syndrome should be considered as a viral illness with the potential of human to human transmission, including during pregnancy. It is critical to begin culturing blood samples from patients with the Long Covid syndrome and to sequence any resulting viruses.

Although the cellular immune system will normally not engage with stealth adapted viruses they can still be suppressed via the alternative cellular energy (ACE) pathway. This pathways has likely preceded photosynthesis in plants and the obtaining of energy by all life forms from the metabolism of food. In humans and animals, the brain is probably the major receiver of the life-force energy for the ACE pathway. The attracted energy is then transferred to the body’s fluids where it is expressed as an added kinetic activity. The energy is termed KELEA, an abbreviation for Kinetic Energy Limiting Electrostatic Attraction. KELEA can also be added to water, which is then termed KELEA excellerated water. Wearable pouches containing this water and inhaling nebulized mists from the water are being evaluated as simple means of enhancing the ACE pathway. These approaches can seemingly suppress both conventional and stealth adapted virus illnesses.

Treating Diabetes – Make the Most of Your Healthcare Visit

You are the “owner” of your diabetes care team and in order to get the best possible care you need to be proactive. This includes planning ahead for your healthcare visit as you would any important “meeting”. Make a list of questions and be sure all of them are answered. Your visit will be much more productive if you anticipate the questions your provider will be asking, such as:
How often are you self-monitoring your blood glucoses and what are the results?
Are you have low blood glucoses and if so when, how often, and under what circumstance (skipping a meal, eating later than usual, eating less than usual, being more active than usual, or in the middle of the night)?
Do you need refills of your medications?
Do you need refills of your testing supplies or insulin needles or syringes?
Are you having any foot problems?
Have you seen any other providers (eye doctor, dentist, foot doctor, heart doctor) and if so have you had any lab/blood work done?
If you have had lab/blood work, do you have copies of the results?
Are you having other symptoms especially related to vision, feet, and heart disease?
Your provider will want to check your feet, so be prepared with easy to remove shoes and socks. A diabetes care checklist is a helpful tool to take to your diabetes healthcare visit to ensure you are having all the proper screenings and preventative care. Here is a list of other important things to take with you to your healthcare visit:
Your diabetic shoes and insoles to be checked for proper fit and wear.
All of your medications, including over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements.
Your glucose logbook and monitor.
If you check your blood pressure at home, take those readings with you, as well as your blood pressure monitor.
Here is a list of issues you may need to discuss with your provider at your health-care visit:
Medications to continue or stop taking during a sick day
Individual treatment goals
Need for diabetic shoes
Framingham Cardiac Risk Score
Cardiac artery calcium scoring
Insulin pump therapy
Influenza and pneumonia vaccines
Sleep apnea
Depression
Erectile dysfunction
Your fitness to begin an exercise program
Your need for a Glucagon prescription to combat hypoglycemia
The need for diabetes self-management training if never educated or a refresher course if you have already had formal education
You deserve great healthcare. Demand it and be proactive in the process by properly planning ahead for your healthcare visit.

Possible Healthcare Reform Losers

With the D-day for healthcare reform fast approaching it would be interesting to find out which sectors of the healthcare system will come out as winners and which ones will come out as losers.Generic medication is expected to take a front sit with the healthcare reform and any pharmaceutical company heavily involved in promoting and marketing branded medication will see their market share eaten away as generic medicines will be more preferred. Generic drugs provide the same job as branded ones and they are cheaper, so it makes sense to go with them.Congress is very concerned about physician owned hospitals and medical establishments self referring patients to themselves. They strongly believe that this will be over utilized thereby affecting the quality of healthcare. With this in mind the reform intends to halt the formation of new physician owned hospitals and already existing ones will be prevented from expanding.Existing health plan providers will lose out as the new healthcare will introduce a public option. This will make competition intense, and once there is competition prices tend to go down. This will be good for the general population but not too good for present insurers as their market share will start to dwindle.The reimbursement to providers of medical equipment has already been cut, and with the health reform there will be further cuts. Manufacturers of these durable medical devices will also see a reduction in their income.Companies that offer certain types of radiological imaging will see less reimbursement for their services as they will be forced to accept lesser payment for certain types of imaging. Physician owned imaging companies will also take a hit to prevent physicians from sending unnecessary imaging requests to their companies to reap some benefit at the expense of the bill payer.Pharmaceutical companies that produce medication by recombinant DNA technology will also take a hit as congress is working with the food and drug administration to approve generic cheaper versions of these expensive medications.