Month: June 2021

Clinical trials are subjecting cancer patients to too many biopsies, study finds

first_img Dr. Mark Ratain, a coauthor of the study, said the average cost of the additional biopsies is about $6,675 per patient. All told, the studies he and his coauthors reviewed led to nearly 2,000 additional biopsies. He noted that biopsies are invasive and can be painful, as well as expensive.“There’s a perception that these biopsies provide useful information. There’s a hope that you’ll learn something about the biomarkers, but often, you don’t,” said Ratain, an oncologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center.The study authors argue that research institutions and funders should be more cautious in mandating nondiagnostic biopsies in clinical trials.But the NCI, which funds many such studies, said there is a value to doing biomarker research from extra biopsies.Whether or not a particular biomarker proves useful, most drug developers do try to develop them early on, said Dr. Jeffrey Abrams, associate director of the NCI’s cancer therapy evaluation program. “It provides the best way of trying to select the appropriate patient population, understand a drug’s mechanism of action, or monitor an agent for side effects or efficacy,” he said. By Megan Thielking Dec. 14, 2015 Reprints Megan Thielking News Editor Related: “It’s a little bit of a Wild West out there, and it shouldn’t be because it’s people’s tissues,” said Ruth Etzioni, a biostatistician with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center who was not affiliated with the study.“We should be more respectful” of the patients, Etzioni said, adding that if “those trials weren’t properly designed or didn’t go anywhere with the tissue that they took, it was a waste.”advertisement Failure to report: A STAT investigation of clinical trials reporting In the LabClinical trials are subjecting cancer patients to too many biopsies, study finds center_img About the Author Reprints A magnification of a human skin biopsy CDC Tags cancerclinical trialsdrugs [email protected] Cancer patients in clinical trials across the United States are undergoing a slew of expensive, invasive biopsies with no clear benefits, according to an analysis published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.Patients involved in clinical trials for experimental drugs often get extra biopsies meant to search for biomarkers — broadly speaking, any type of biological measure of health or illness. The additional biopsies are often mandated by the National Cancer Institute or by the drug company sponsoring the trial, with a goal of using biomarkers to track how the medication affects patient health.But when researchers looked at 72 clinical trials in which cancer patients had extra biopsies, they found that only 12 turned up any significant biomarkers. And none led to data on optimal drug doses for patients.advertisement @meggophone last_img read more

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How radiation therapy kicks cells into gear to fight cancer

first_img Please enter a valid email address. News Editor [email protected] @meggophone A cancer patient prepares for radiation treatment at the Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center in Fayetteville, N.C. Chris Hondros/Getty Images Megan Thielking Newsletters Sign up for Morning Rounds Your daily dose of news in health and medicine. Leave this field empty if you’re human: About the Author Reprintscenter_img Quick TakeHow radiation therapy kicks cells into gear to fight cancer Radiation is used to treat two out of every three cancer patients, but scientists don’t fully understand why the body responds the way it does to the therapy.A new study published Monday in Nature Communications shows that part of the answer might lie within microRNAs, a type of molecule that can alter how genes are expressed. The research found that one type of microRNA, called miR-34, is generally inactive in cells.That goes against a long-held assumption in the cell biology field that if microRNA was present in a cell, it was controlling genes or doing some other work at all times.advertisement Privacy Policy “We found that irradiating the cells, or treating them with radiation, which causes DNA damage, ‘turns on’ the miR-34 that is sitting and waiting,” said lead researcher Dr. Joanne Weidhaas of University of California, Los Angeles.The researchers are not quite sure how the mechanism helps make radiation therapy work, Weidhaas said, and need to study it more closely.advertisement By Megan Thielking March 21, 2016 Reprints “It does suggest that miR-34 may be a very important biomarker and potentially even a target to help us personalize radiation treatment, and even cancer therapy, in the future,” Weidhaas said. The research team is continuing to study how miR-34 plays a role in the body’s response to DNA damage. Tags cancerradiationlast_img read more

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Russian drug maker says Roche tried to ‘destroy’ its ability to sell biosimilars

first_img Supreme Court asks Obama administration for views on biosimilar rules By Ed Silverman June 22, 2016 Reprints About the Author Reprints [email protected] Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. @Pharmalot Please enter a valid email address. The allegations emerge at a time when the biosimilar market is forecast to become a fast-growing and lucrative chunk of the US pharmaceutical industry. Biosimilars, which are highly identical versions of brand-name biologic drugs, have been available in Europe for several years, although only three have so far been approved in the US. But many more are expected in coming years.Spending on biologics has nearly doubled since 2010, to more than $128 million last year and accounted for more than half of the rise in overall drug spending over the past five years, according to the IMS Institute for Informatics, the market research firm. But IMS forecasts that biosimilars may save health systems in the European Union and the US anywhere from $50 billion to $110 billion by 2020.That’s because biosimilars are expected to cost anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent less than brand-name biologics. However, this assumption is also something of a moving target, given that drug makers often raise prices to wring as much profit from their existing medicines as they can before lower-cost rivals arrive on the market.Biocad, in fact, charged Roche and Genentech gradually increased prices over the past few years in the US, while simultaneously lowering prices in Russia as part of its maneuvering to fend off biosimilar competition. In its suit, the Russian drug maker contended Avastin is currently more than five times cheaper in Russia than in the US, while Herceptin and Rituxan cost about four times less than in the US. Leave this field empty if you’re human: This is only the latest squabble instigated by drug makers over biosimilar competition. Last year, AbbVie filed a citizen’s petition with the US Food and Drug Administration to argue that biosimilars need distinct labeling in a bid to slow approval of biosimilar versions of its best-selling Humira rheumatoid arthritis treatment. The drug maker also took the European Medicines Agency to court to prevent clinical trial data from being disclosed.Meanwhile, Amgen and Sandoz, the generic unit of Novartis, are fighting interpretation of a federal law that says a brand-name company is entitled to receive 180-day notice from a drug maker that wants to sell a biosimilar. Amgen won a court ruling saying notice should be provided 180 days before FDA marketing approval can be granted, and Sandoz is asking the US Supreme Court to reverse the decision. Since 2012, Genentech raised the list price of a vial of Avastin seven times – from $608 to $709. The drug maker also took seven price hikes for a vial of Herceptin, which jumped from $3,221 to $3,943.  And the list price for a vial of Rituxan increased seven times, from $632 to $774, according to Truven Health Analytics, a market research firm that tracks prescription drug pricing.Biocad also alleged that a subsidiary of R-Pharm, Roche’s exclusive distributor in Russia, earlier this year announced that Avastin would not be available until later this year. Meanwhile, however, the company submitted bids for government contracts at lower-than-cost prices in order to prevent Biocad from winning any business, according to the lawsuit. Ed Silverman Newsletters Sign up for Pharmalot Your daily update on the drug industry. PharmalotRussian drug maker says Roche tried to ‘destroy’ its ability to sell biosimilars As drug makers jockey for an edge in the burgeoning market for biosimilar medicines, a Russian company called Biocad is accusing Roche — one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers — of deliberately setting low prices in Russia and using other allegedly illegal tactics to sabotage competition.Among the steps Roche took to undercut Biocad was to deliberately drop prices for three cancer medicines — Avastin, Herceptin, and Rituxan/MabThera — in Russia, where the company said it sells biosimilar versions, according to a lawsuit filed earlier this month in federal court in New York. At the same time, Biocad alleged Roche and its Genentech unit raised prices in the United States to compensate for those price cuts.“While Roche and Genentech keep raising prices in the US, they engage in predatory pricing in Russia, where (they) sell such drugs at a loss — all to destroy (Biocad) and prevent it from entering the US market with cheaper biosimilars,” the Russian company contended. For instance, Biocad claimed Roche sold 100 milligrams of Avastin to its exclusive distributor for 20 percent less than the officially declared price.advertisement The biosimilar ploy that could save billions in health care costs Privacy Policy Genentech is a business unit of Roche Paul Sakuma/AP Related: The strategy was to financially weaken the Russian drug maker to the point where it would be unable to remain competitive and pursue development and sales of biosimilar medicines, according to the lawsuit, which claims Roche violated US antitrust laws. Biocad alleged that Roche took these steps because the US patents on its three cancer medicines will expire over the next three years.A spokeswoman for Genentech, which markets the drugs in the US, wrote us that the company does not comment on pending litigation.advertisement Related: Tags biosimilarGenentechRochelast_img read more

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Match Day 2017: More residency spots filled overall, but fewer international applicants

first_img Tags educationhospitalsphysicians Hospitals offered a record number of residency positions and more doctors than ever will start their medical careers this summer, according to data released Friday.The new figures from the National Resident Matching Program arrive on Match Day, when thousands of medical students in the United States and around the world learn where they’ve “matched” for a residency program, after finding out on Monday whether they matched at all.One figure of note: There was a small decline in the number of people, US citizen or otherwise, who graduated from medical school abroad and tried to match. The number of international medical graduates who are not US citizens and who applied dropped from 7,460 in 2016 to 7,284 this year.advertisement @DrewQJoseph Still, 52.4 percent of non-US citizens from schools abroad matched into a position, which was the highest rate for that group in over a decade. The report does not explain why there was a decline and does not go into country-by-country detail. But this year’s match process came as President Trump tried to temporarily block the arrival of people from some majority-Muslim countries and has imposed restrictions on visas sometimes used in residencies.Although federal judges have blocked Trump’s executive orders, experts said hospitals would not want to take the risk of ranking students from the listed countries in case they ran into trouble getting visas and joining the residency programs. People involved in the match process also raised the idea that people from those countries might be discouraged from applying because of the proposals.advertisement HospitalsMatch Day 2017: More residency spots filled overall, but fewer international applicants Related: By Andrew Joseph March 17, 2017 Reprints More highlights from the report:Overall, the number of residency positions offered hit a record high of 31,757, up more than a thousand from 2016. Almost 36,000 people submitted applications.The number of first-year residency positions — 28,849 — was also a new record. Of those, 27,688 were filled.Almost 80 percent of matched residents landed a spot in one of their top three ranked choices.From 2013 to 2017, the number of first-year residency spots in a handful of fields grew by more than 10 percent, including anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, and plastic surgery. Only diagnostic radiology saw the number of spots offered drop by more than 10 percent over that time.Those who didn’t match entered a scramble this week to find an unfilled spot. Programs with open residency positions can interview unmatched students throughout the week and extend offers through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program, or SOAP.This year, 1,177 spots were up for grabs during SOAP. The number filled was not immediately available. Match Day is coming up. Here’s how medical students game the residency system Medical students celebrate Match Day in 2007. Chitose Suzuki/AP General Assignment Reporter Andrew covers a range of topics, from addiction to public health to genetics. [email protected] About the Author Reprints Andrew Josephlast_img read more

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The education of President Trump by Bill Gates, global health advocate

first_imgLeave this field empty if you’re human: “What I can’t tell you right now is who is going to be upset. But what I can tell you is that there are going to be a lot of people that are upset. And it’s going to be … because people are cutting programs that have had a tremendous amount of success alleviating development problems abroad and making the world a more secure place.”Gates, however, said he believed that Congress would use a more measured approach to crafting next year’s budget. Many of the elected representatives there have traveled to distant parts of the world to see how US aid money changes lives. The Gates Foundation has organized many of those trips; Gates calls those efforts “the most valuable thing we’ve done.”“And it’s partly why, when you get a new administration in, it’s not that surprising that they think, ‘Hey, foreign aid, what’s in there? There must be a lot of stuff that’s not all that impactful or strategic,’” Gates said, noting he’s “quite optimistic” Congress understands the value of programs like PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and the polio eradication program.“But we are having to articulate how these programs have become smarter over time and why we choose to put literally billions of dollars of the foundation’s money into these causes,” he noted.It’s “an education process. … It’s mostly new people. And I think some of the things that were in the mini-budget — like the idea of substantially reducing PEPFAR — I don’t think that will end up being what the government chooses to do.”Does he hope to get Trump to see firsthand how US global health funding is spent? Perhaps a trip to see the work being done to finally rid the world of Guinea worm, an effort led by former President Jimmy Carter’s foundation?“It’s a good idea,” said Gates, whose foundation helps fund the Guinea worm eradication program. “We should get him out there. [But] it’s pretty far away from Trump Tower.” Tags poliopublic healthVaccines Related: Senior Writer, Infectious Disease Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development. @HelenBranswell Related: HealthThe education of President Trump by Bill Gates, global health advocate In these early days of Donald Trump’s administration, Americans and the rest of the world have been watching the education and evolution of a new president. Foreign policy is tricky. Replacing the Affordable Care Act isn’t so easy.On the global health front, too, the new administration is on the steep part of the learning curve. And people worried about its understanding of and appreciation for the benefits of US global health spending — worries exacerbated by proposed to-the-bone cuts in the president’s budget blueprint — are hoping to fast-track that education process.Among them is billionaire Bill Gates, the cofounder of Microsoft and the world’s richest man.advertisement Philanthropist Bill Gates talks public health, biotech, and the race for the White House Please enter a valid email address. Still, Gates isn’t certain that means Trump has been persuaded to drop the idea of a vaccine safety inquiry. “There’s a rumor that he is going to do something in that area,” Gates said. “But maybe I and others will convince him that that’s not worthwhile.”Gates said he also pushed hard for foreign aid during the meeting, trying to make the point that programs that would likely be targeted for deep cuts under his proposed budget are actually a highly valuable way to spend US money.“As I was talking to people in the executive branch, including President Trump, they probably were a little surprised by how much I said that the $8.6 billion — which is the global health piece in the State Department budget — or the $1.5 billion, which is the agriculture piece, or even some of the other pieces that help fund World Bank or the UN agencies that are our partners, that I do view those as quite effective and I do view them as quite strategic,” Gates said.The administration proposed a cut of 28 percent cut to the budget for the State Department and the US Agency for International Development.Rob Nabors, the Gates Foundation’s director of policy, advocacy, and communications, knows where global health spending money nestles in the budget and sees this large cut as endangering those programs.“Something is going to take much more than a whack. It’s going to take a deep, deep cut to something that either works or something that is incredibly popular or most likely both,” he told STAT. Global health innovations can be game-changers at home, too Helen Branswell “Absolutely!” Gates answered emphatically, when asked if he raised the topic of vaccines with the new president. Vaccines “are miracles and have done great things, and when we get new ones, we can do a lot. That definitely came up.”Trump has raised concerns about vaccines, repeating discredited claims that vaccination can trigger autism. Prominent vaccine skeptic Robert Kennedy Jr. reported late last year that Trump had asked him to chair a commission exploring vaccine safety. So far, Trump has been publicly silent on whether he intends to proceed with that panel.Gates said he tried to impress upon the president the danger of confusing the messages around vaccines. He knows his comments registered with Trump, because the president repeated them later when he met with a delegation from the pharmaceutical industry.“I heard when he saw pharma guys he said he was still wondering about vaccines, but he did mention to them that I’d said to him that I’d looked at it and that they were completely safe and that we shouldn’t raise any doubts about that.” Privacy Policy Bill Gates has met with President Trump twice since Election Day. Kayana Szymczak for STAT About the Author Reprints In a recent interview with STAT, the philanthropist talked about how he made the case for global health — and vaccines — to Trump. Though the meeting took place several weeks ago, Gates didn’t speak publicly about the most recent meeting after it took place.advertisement By Helen Branswell April 20, 2017 Reprints Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. Gates, who with his wife, Melinda, runs the enormously influential Gates Foundation, met last month with Trump at the White House, his second meeting with the 45th president since Election Day.last_img read more

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Trump budget takes aim at university grants to cover ‘indirect’ research costs

first_img GET STARTED By Meghana Keshavan May 22, 2017 Reprints Unlock this article — plus daily intelligence on Capitol Hill and the life sciences industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. What is it? Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Biotech Correspondent Meghana covers biotech and contributes to The Readout newsletter. About the Author Reprints Trump budget takes aim at university grants to cover ‘indirect’ research costs [email protected] center_img Meghana Keshavan Log In | Learn More Politics The Trump administration is taking aim at billions in grant funding distributed each year to universities and research institutions to cover the overhead costs of running their labs.University administrators say they rely on these grants, which amounted to more than $6 billion last year, to keep their research running smoothly; the funding pays to keep the freezers running, the lights on, and their laboratories stocked with supplies. But in a detailed budget proposal released Monday evening, the administration calls for “critical reform” at the National Institutes of Health and targets indirect grants in particular. Kayana Szymczak for STAT What’s included? @megkesh Tags CongresspolicyresearchstatesWhite Houselast_img read more

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Facebook as ‘the alternative clinic visit’: A conversation with the social media giant’s cardiologist

first_imgBusiness BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Facebook employs about 38,000 full-time people. Only a few of them are physicians. Just one is a cardiologist.That’s Dr. Freddy Abnousi, the social media giant’s head of health care research. He’s in the role at a time when Facebook’s rivals in Big Tech have been making ambitious pushes into health and medicine. What is it? Unlock this article — plus daily market-moving biopharma analysis — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED By Rebecca Robbins May 3, 2019 Reprints GET STARTED Log In | Learn More NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. What’s included? Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Tags medical technologySTAT Pus Facebook as ‘the alternative clinic visit’: A conversation with the social media giant’s cardiologist last_img read more

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Celgene sells psoriasis pill to Amgen for $13.4 billion, clearing way for close of Bristol merger

first_img By Adam Feuerstein Aug. 26, 2019 Reprints Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Biotech Adam Feuerstein Amgen said Monday that it will buy the psoriasis pill Otezla from Celgene, which is selling the medicine to remove an antitrust obstacle from its planned merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb.The purchase price for Otezla is $13.4 billion — higher than many analysts expected. Celgene sells psoriasis pill to Amgen for $13.4 billion, clearing way for close of Bristol merger What is it? Senior Writer, Biotech Adam is STAT’s national biotech columnist, reporting on the intersection of biotech and Wall Street. He’s also a co-host of “The Readout LOUD” podcast. [email protected] GET STARTEDcenter_img Log In | Learn More What’s included? Ric Francis/AP STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. About the Author Reprints Tags biotechnology Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the biotech sector — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED @adamfeuerstein last_img read more

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More countries are banning or restricting sales of Zantac and other heartburn meds

first_img Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. GET STARTED Alex Hogan/STAT Ed Silverman What’s included? Pharmalot @Pharmalot What is it? More countries are banning or restricting sales of Zantac and other heartburn meds center_img More than a dozen countries around the world are taking steps to restrict or ban sales of Zantac and other heartburn medicines containing high levels of a carcinogen, underscoring mounting concern about the quality of the global pharmaceutical supply chain.Over the past three days, Switzerland, Cyprus, and Egypt became the latest to ban all such medicines after traces of NDMA were detected. The impurity is an organic chemical that was once used to make rocket fuel and is an unintended byproduct of certain chemical reactions. The World Health Organization classified NDMA as a possible carcinogen to humans. Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED About the Author Reprints [email protected] Tags pharmaceuticalsSTAT+ By Ed Silverman Sept. 23, 2019 Reprints Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. Log In | Learn More last_img read more

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Doctors warn an inability to smell could be a symptom of Covid-19 — but caution the evidence is preliminary

first_img By Erin Brodwin March 23, 2020 Reprints Erin Brodwin About the Author Reprints Health care workers are calling attention to a potential new symptom of a novel coronavirus infection: the loss of one’s sense of smell.Clinicians in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world have reported, anecdotally, that some patients infected with the virus experience anosmia, or an inability to smell. The American Academy of Otolaryngology recently called for anosmia to be added to a list of screening tools for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. On Monday, World Health Organization officials announced they were further probing a possible link between anosmia and coronavirus — though they noted the evidence of a potential connection remains preliminary.“A loss of smell or a loss of taste is something that we’re looking into,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonoses unit, said on a briefing call with reporters on Monday. “We are reaching out to a number of countries and looking at the cases that have already been reported to see if this is a common feature. We don’t have the answer to that yet.”advertisement Please enter a valid email address. @erbrod “It’s certainly popping up as a symptom, but how universal it is, we don’t know,” said Eric Holbrook, director of rhinology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, a Boston hospital. Holbrook said he started hearing about the possible tie between anosmia and coronavirus in case reports from clinicians in Europe about a week ago.advertisement For people with underlying health conditions, the coronavirus presents ‘all the ingredients’ for danger Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. [email protected] Tags Coronavirusphysicianscenter_img A health care worker tends to patients at the drive-in center at ProHealth Care in Jericho, N.Y. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Leave this field empty if you’re human: Using the new symptom as a screening tool is a delicate task, experts noted. Emphasizing it too early, or too heavily, could mean clinicians might miss patients who haven’t lost their sense of smell, but who are infected and have other symptoms. Ignoring a lost sense of smell, however, could mean doctors don’t detect infection in cases where patients have only mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. In those cases, using anosmia as a screening tool could help clinicians catch cases that would otherwise fly under the radar and give those infected individuals more guidance on self-isolation.But to do that, clinicians need more data on the role anosmia might play in Covid-19.“One of the things I think a lot of physicians and patients are struggling with is trying to determine whether these mild symptoms are related to, say, allergies or a mild cold,” Holbrook said. He added that it’s also difficult to distinguish between a loss of the sense of smell and a loss of the sense of taste, which patients can sometimes mix up.“But anything that gives us a heads-up into who needs to be isolated or tested, that might be a good screening tool,” Holbrook said.To get a better handle on the new symptom and its ties to coronavirus, Holbrook said he and his colleagues will be looking at people with anosmia and confirmed Covid-19, as well as those experiencing anosmia who have tested negative. That will allow them to compare both groups and understand whether anosmia is truly a core coronavirus symptom.“That’s important data — data that we need. Many of us are trying to start doing those studies,” Holbrook said.Helen Branswell contributed reporting.An earlier version of this article mischaracterized South Korean research about anosmia. It was a non peer-reviewed report which suggested that roughly 30% of South Koreans with Covid-19 lose their sense of smell, not a Nature study. HealthDoctors warn an inability to smell could be a symptom of Covid-19 — but caution the evidence is preliminary There are a number of unanswered questions about the new potential symptom, which at this point, is thought to be temporary. Experts aren’t sure how common it is, or at what point in the progression of the disease a patient loses the ability to smell. They also want to be sure the new symptom isn’t merely a sign of allergies, a cold, or the seasonal flu, all of which can lead a person to develop anosmia or ageusia, the reduced sense of taste that can sometimes accompany an inability to smell. Privacy Policy linkedin.com/in/erinbrodwin/ Related: Those reports are among a growing amount of anecdotal evidence that suggests experts might want to consider anosmia as a potential sign of infection. In report published on March 16 in the South Korean newspaper Chosun, clinicians estimated that roughly 30% of patients who tested positive for coronavirus had temporarily lost their sense of smell. In Germany, clinicians at the University Hospital in Bonn surveyed 100 patients with coronavirus and found that up to two-thirds “described a loss of smell and taste lasting several days,” Hendrik Streeck, head of the hospital’s virology institute, told the German news site Frankfurter Allgemeine.The known symptoms of Covid-19 have evolved as cases have climbed globally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists fever, cough, and shortness of breath as the core coronavirus symptoms. Difficulty breathing, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, and bluish lips or face are listed as emergency symptoms for which people should seek immediate care. The WHO says other symptoms can include tiredness, fatigue, and in some patients, “aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea.”The WHO and CDC haven’t added anosmia to their coronavirus symptom lists, which health care workers use to screen patients who might have been infected with coronavirus. But some health care workers are encouraging their peers to consider the symptom when caring for patients they suspect might have be infected.“I wouldn’t use it alone [to screen patients], but I think if it’s added to some of the other symptoms, it adds to the possibility,” said Holbrook. “If someone says yes, it would definitely make me more suspicious that they need further work-up.” Health Tech Correspondent, San Francisco Erin is a California-based health tech reporter and the co-author of the STAT Health Tech newsletter.last_img read more

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