The results aren’t in yet but a preliminary report indicates that regular saline rinses can reduce the time it takes patients to recover from the virus. The study did not test the sickest patients but rather ones battling the virus at home.
Patients were instructed to use a common over-the-counter saline solution twice per day and were then assessed for the presence or absence of symptoms of fever, cough, chill, and congestion. Researchers are also looking at the data to see if the solution had an impact on patients’ level of contagion.
U of Michigan will study COVID immunology
There are so many unanswered questions about the body’s immune response to COVID-19. Can people who’ve had the virus get infected a second time? If you become reinfected, are you contagious? If you are protected naturally (without a vaccine), how long does that immunity last? How can we measure both the level and length of immunity?
A new study at the University of Michigan hopes to shed some light on those puzzles. Researchers plan to enroll 5,000 participants, including healthcare providers and essential workers. The study will look not only at antibodies, but also at T-cells, which are indicators of immunity.
U-M scientists believe the study will not only answer questions about COVID immunity but also help understand “correlates of protection,” which are used to keep tabs on the virus as it mutates and which could be helpful in updating vaccines. The study is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Cancer Institute.
Cincy research points to natural therapy for COVID-19
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have discovered a potential treatment for COVID-19: a naturally occurring lipid in the body. The lipid, known as sphingosine, has been used to prevent and eliminate bacterial infections, and the Cincinnati team believes it may also stop COVID. The team published its findings in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
Sphingosine is important in the local immune defense in epithelial cells in the skin, blood vessels, urinary tract, and organs. To stop the coronavirus, researchers used the lipid in cultured human cells to prevent the virus from binding to specific molecules on the surface of the cells. The hope is that the research could lead to a nasal spray that could both prevent and treat SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Indiana’s data sharing is a model for other states
Data sharing between state agencies can be a nightmare. Especially when data becomes as immediately important as it has during the COVID pandemic. Fortunately, due to proactive measures, the state of Indiana was prepared.
The office determined that 90% of the language in department agreements was near-identical. They standardized the language, making it easier to make data requests and to recycle data-sharing agreements, including those with university researchers. They also built a data-sharing “sandbox” using Microsoft Azure to further streamline the process. The overhaul, completed in March, was a godsend when COVID-19 hit.
Tulsa nurse starts business to help teachers
A nurse in Tulsa has launched a business aimed at supporting school teachers during the pandemic. The nurse, Danielle Kapple, spent time in a New Jersey hospital treating COVID-19 patients. There, she saw first-hand what it’s like to try to do a job without the necessary supplies. So she and her business partner, Ji Kim, created TeacherBOX, a monthly subscription service that allows parents to fund items—such as PPE and school supplies—that their kids’ teachers need, but which they might otherwise have to purchase themselves or go without.
The subscriptions range in price from $10 to $20. Teachers can select the items they need, such as masks, hand sanitizer, art supplies, and classroom decorations, and receive a box every month.