COVID remdesivir vitamin C and kids

Three very important COVID studies were recently published that deserve a lot more attention than they got.

The Drug Doesn’t Work: Remdesivir
The World Health Organization (WHO) has completed a massive study of drugs being used to treat COVID-19. The study included 11,266 adults in 405 hospitals in 30 countries. The research looked at four drugs and, disappointingly, found “conclusive” evidence that none produced any measurable benefit for mortality or disease severity: not even a non-significant benefit. The study still awaits peer review.

That hydroxychloroquine provided no benefit—and even a non-significant trend toward lower survival—is no longer a surprise. The newsworthy conclusion is that remdesivir did nothing to increase the chance of survival or to decrease the duration of stay in the hospital (medRxiv October 15 2020:doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.15.20209817).


The Vitamin Does Work: Vitamin C
In a double-blind study conducted in three hospitals in China, 56 people with severe acute respiratory syndrome from confirmed COVID-19 were given either a placebo IV or high dose IV vitamin C. The dose of vitamin C was 12g every 12 hours for 7 days.

There was no significant difference between vitamin C and placebo for the number of days on ventilation: that’s the bad news.

Now the good news. There was a reduction in 28 day mortality in the vitamin C group. While 36% of people on the placebo died, only 19% on vitamin C died. Among the most critically ill, 50% of the placebo group died versus 18% in the vitamin C group. While the first benefit didn’t reach statistical significance (even though deaths were cut by almost 50%) because there weren’t enough people in the study, the second benefit (the most critically ill) did.

Importantly, there was a significant reduction in inflammation in the vitamin C group. The vitamin C group also had improvement in blood oxygen levels. The IV vitamin C was safe.

The researchers concluded that high dose IV vitamin C “may provide a protective clinical effect without any adverse events in critically ill Coivd-19 patients” (Pulmonology September 23 2020;doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-52778/v2).


Kids Can Spread
The largest epidemiological study of any disease ever done found a “high prevalence” of transmission from COVID positive kids to other kids. The study, conducted by researchers at Princeton, John Hopkins University and the University of California, Berkely, found that “social interactions among children may be conducive to transmission” of COVID-19. It found that transmission was highest between people of similar age and that similar age group transmission was strongest among children between 0-14 and adults over 65. That means that, contrary to public messaging, children are amongst the biggest spreaders of COVID-19. According to a Princeton report on the study, “children and young adults — who made up one-third of COVID cases — were especially key to transmitting the virus in the studied populations.” They report that “Kids are very efficient transmitters.” People from any age group who tested positive, overall, were mostly likely to have contacted someone aged 20-44: again, a younger age group (Science  30 Sep 2020:eabd7672). Contact among children may have been even higher if not for school closures during the study period, the researchers say.


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