Univadis COVID-19 Weekly Overview 24 April

  • Ben Gallarda
  • Univadis Medical News
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Due to the rapidly changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Univadis would like to share with you the most impactful and clinically relevant articles across our network from the past week.

Some of these articles are only published in local languages, but we’ve tried to summarize the key points for you below and link to the original source of each article in case you’d like to read more, with languages other than English noted in brackets.

This is a snapshot of emerging best-practices during a rapidly evolving pandemic. Any and all information currently available related to COVID-19 is subject to change as more details become available. Some of the information below may also be contradicted by local or global health authorities. You can find all of the most up-to-date COVID-19 coverage on your local Univadis site or smartphone application.

We hope this information will be useful to your ongoing medical care for all patients, whether directly involved with COVID-19 or not.

  1. The French National Health Authority has published “rapid response” recommendations enabling authorized professionals to prescribe medicated abortion through the 8th-9th week of pregnancy. Their aim is to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19, while allowing women seeking this procedure to choose between medical and surgical interventions. These recommendations were done with the French National College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians [French], and include 2 specific proposed medical protocols as well as guidelines for patient contact and care.
  2. The pharmacovigilance centers in Dijon and Nice, France have provided initial assessments of adverse drug-related events (AEs) in patients with COVID-19 receiving experimental treatments. The Dijon study reported 100 AEs, 82 serious with 4 deaths, split between lopinavir-ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine. The Nice study, focusing on cardiovascular events reported 53 AEs including 7 deaths; 43 of these AEs were from the use of hydroxychloroquine alone or in combination with azithromycin.
  3. The Saxony region of Germany has mandated use of masks and is anticipating a need for 8-12 billion per year, but German experts warn against a false sense of security accompanying mask use. On the positive side, Germany is now reporting that with >95% of hospitals reporting, 17,393 ICU beds are occupied and 12,665 are currently free (58%/42%).
  4. More research is implicating multiple-organ effects of COVID-19. University Hospital Zurich reports infection and cell death in multiple organs’ endothelium, requiring more efforts to protect patients’ vasculature.
  5. The UK is providing online ventilator training in a 30-minute module for clinicians unfamiliar with the equipment. Developed by Imperial College London, this tool can be accessed by smartphone at home or in real-time.
  6. The Life Lines project in the UK aims to provide two tablets to every ICU in the country to allow those close to patients to see and speak to them, and with their clinicians via a secure video link.
  7. Spain is aiming to complete a seroprevalence study of 60,000 people, beginning next week. The results of this effort, due in several weeks, is meant to inform the Spanish government in their de-escalation planning.
  8. Spain’s Ministry of Health [Spanish] has published a scientific-technical report showing that smokers are at 1.4 times higher risk of serious disease, and 2.4 times higher risk of ICU admission or mechanical ventilation. Multiple studies were analyzed, and overall results were mixed, but evidence increasingly indicates that smoking may be a risk factor for serious COVID-19.
  9. A group of Italian and Swiss authors with ESMO have published recommendations for treating lung cancer patients during the current epidemic. In the principle of “primum non nocere”, authors make specific recommendations for balancing risk and survival benefit across stages of the disease.