A major British clinical trial has found hydroxychloroquine has “no benefit” for patients hospitalized with COVID-19, scientists said Friday, in the first large-scale study to provide results for a drug at the center of political and scientific controversy. Hydroxychloroquine, a decades-old malaria and rheumatoid arthritis drug, has been touted as a possible treatment for the new coronavirus by high profile figures, including US President Donald Trump, and has been included in several randomized clinical trials.The University of Oxford’s Recovery trial, the biggest of these so far to come forward with findings, said that it would now stop recruiting patients to be given hydroxychloroquine “with immediate effect”. Researchers said 1,542 patients were randomly assigned to hydroxychloroquine and compared with 3,132 patients given standard hospital care alone.They found “no significant difference” in mortality after 28 days between the two groups, and no evidence that treatment with the drug shortens the amount of time spent in hospital.”This is a really important result, at last providing unequivocal evidence that hydroxychloroquine is of no value in treatment of patients hospitalized with COVID-19,” said Peter Openshaw, a professor at Imperial College London, in reaction to the results.He added that the drug was “quite toxic” so halting the trials would be of benefit to patients. Hydroxychloroquine has been in use for years but it has a number of potentially serious side effects, including heart arrhythmia.Researchers from the Recovery trial said they would share their data with the World Health Organization (WHO), which on Wednesday restarted its own trials of hydroxychloroquine.They were temporarily halted last month because of a now-retracted observational study in The Lancet medical journal that had suggested hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, a related compound, were ineffective against COVID-19 and even increased the risk of death.Authors of The Lancet research said on Thursday that they could no longer vouch for the integrity of its underlying data, in the face of serious concerns raised by fellow scientists over a lack of clarity about the countries and hospitals that contributed patient information. The scandal cast a shadow over The Lancet and another top medical journal, but it did nothing to clear up the increasingly politicized question of whether or not hydroxychloroquine works as a treatment for COVID-19.Openshaw said the Recovery trial should be credited with continuing the research until they could reach a definitive conclusion on hydroxychloroquine.”Everyone regrets that it doesn’t work, but knowing that allows us to focus on finding drugs that actually help recovery from COVID-19,” he added.Oxford professor Peter Horby, the lead investigator on the Recovery Trial, said there was probably a “very large number” of people around the world taking hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19, with countries including the US, China and Brazil authorizing it.A separate clinical trial on Wednesday in the US and Canada found that taking hydroxychloroquine shortly after being exposed to COVID-19 does not work to prevent infection significantly better than a placebo.Topics : “Our conclusion is that this treatment does not reduce the risk of dying from COVID among hospital patients and that clearly has a significant importance for the way patients are treated, not only in the UK, but all around the world,” said Martin Landray, an Oxford professor of medicine and epidemiology who co-leads the study.The randomized clinical trial—considered the gold standard for clinical investigation—has recruited a total of 11,000 patients from 175 hospitals in the UK to test a range of potential treatments.Other drugs continuing to be tested include: the combination of HIV antivirals Lopinavir and Ritonavir; a low dose of the steroid Dexamethasone, typically used to reduce inflammation; antibiotic Azithromycin; and the anti inflammatory drug Tocilizumab.Researchers are also testing convalescent plasma from the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19, which contains antibodies to fight the virus.
Press Release, PSA, Public Safety, Transportation, Weather Safety Winter Job Opportunities Also HighlightedNorristown, PA – With the winter season approaching, Governor Tom Wolf today announced that a new online tool is available to inform the public of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) operations this winter. He made the announcement in conjunction with a news conference that PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards held today outlining the agency’s plans for winter services, and sharing job opportunities and driver preparation tips.“Public safety is our principal mission, which drives our team’s preparation for the winter season,” Governor Wolf said. “Not only are PennDOT’s staff, equipment, and materials ready to go, but we also have yet another tool for the public to make winter travel decisions.”New this winter, the public can view a color-coded map of when each of the nearly 40,000 miles of state-maintained roadway was last plowed by visiting the www.511PA.com plow trucks section. The information is the latest enhancement made possible by PennDOT’s Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) technology, which uses units in each of the more than 2,200 department-owned and rented plow trucks to send a cellular signal showing truck locations.The AVL program, started in 2014, is part of Governor Tom Wolf’s GO-TIME initiative that leverages inter-agency coordination and collaboration to maximize efficiency, modernize state government operations, and provide the highest quality services.During the news conference at the PennDOT maintenance facility in Norristown, Montgomery County, Richards noted that PennDOT is actively seeking approximately 480 temporary equipment operators statewide for the winter season to supplement the department’s full-time staff. Details on minimum requirements, such as possession of a CDL, as well as application information, are available at www.employment.pa.gov. Through the same website, job seekers can apply for seven other types of non-operator, winter positions such as diesel and construction equipment mechanics, welders, clerks and more.In discussing PennDOT’s readiness for the season ahead, Richards said that the department has compiled its information about winter services and winter-driving resources for motorists at www.penndot.gov/winter. The site also has a complete winter guide with detailed information about winter services in each of PennDOT’s 11 engineering districts.The 40,000 miles for which PennDOT is responsible translates into 96,000 snow-lane miles — enough miles to circle the globe nearly four times. A snow-lane is calculated as the miles of road multiplied by the number of lanes, which means a one-mile section of four-lane roadway would equal four snow-lane miles.The department maintains roughly the same number of miles maintained by the state in New York, New Jersey, and all of the New England states combined.With $220 million budgeted for this winter’s statewide operations, PennDOT deploys about 4,800 on-the-road workers, has more than 652,000 tons of salt on hand across the state and will take salt deliveries throughout the winter.“Carrying out our winter mission is a massive undertaking for our team, and it’s critical that the public do their part to keep our roads as safe as possible,” Secretary Richards said. “Drivers should keep safety top of mind in their travel decisions, and give our operators and other motorists plenty of room during inclement weather.”When winter weather hits, PennDOT’s primary focus is on interstates and expressways, and equipment may be redirected to those routes during significant winter events. The more traffic a roadway has, the more attention it will receive from plows, so motorists may find deeper accumulations on less-traveled routes and should adjust their driving for those conditions.If motorists encounter snow or ice-covered roads, they should slow down, increase their following distance and avoid distractions. Last winter in Pennsylvania, preliminary data shows that there were 252 crashes resulting in 129 injuries on snowy, slushy or ice-covered roadways where aggressive-driving behaviors such as speeding or making careless lane changes were factors.In addition to planning for traffic impacts, Richards noted that vehicle preparation is critical to safe winter travel. Tires should be checked often for the correct level of air pressure and adequate tire-tread depth to perform on ice and snow. A quick way to check tread depth is to insert a penny in the tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the entire head, the tires are worn and traction will suffer. If you live in an area prone to heavy snow, drivers may want to consider using dedicated snow tires or carrying a set of tire chains. At a minimum, all-season tires should be rated for use in mud and snow.Once vehicles are travel-ready, drivers should be prepared for winter or vehicle emergencies especially if long-distance travel is planned. PennDOT urges motorists to carry an emergency kit. An emergency kit should include items such as non-perishable food, water, first-aid supplies, warm clothes, a blanket, cell phone charger and a small snow shovel. However, motorists should tailor their kits to any specific needs that they or their families may have. Consider adding such items as baby supplies, extra medication, pet supplies, or even children’s games.In addition to viewing plow information, motorists can use www.511PA.com to check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles, including color-coded winter conditions on 2,900 miles. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information, and access to more than 850 traffic cameras.511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website. Governor Wolf Announces New Winter Travel Tool for Public, Administration Outlines Winter Preparations October 19, 2017 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter