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Future of Medicine #15

  • Medical tourism in India
  • Vaccine and older adults
  • Dogs and COVID?
  • CRISPR and sickle cell
Published every Wednesday

Houston Chronicle

‘Guaranteed’ COVID-19 won’t be the last coronavirus to infect humans, expert says

Ben Neuman, a professor at Texas A&M-Texarkana, is one of the world’s top authorities on coronaviruses. He’s said to have grown more SARS-type viruses in the lab than anyone else alive, and he was on the panel that gave the coronavirus now upending our world its official scientific name: SARS-CoV-2.

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Your Story

In dire straits: India’s medical tourism companies find no business amid COVID-19

“It has been two months, buying meals is not sustainable. The hotel owner has allowed us to use the common kitchen to cook rice. We have to stay back for another month at least,” says Sumitra Bashar (name changed), a medical tourist from Bangladesh.

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Editor’s Note:

This newsletter has previously covered the business side of medicine, which has some hospitals facing financial difficulties as they cut back on certain procedures during coronavirus. This piece from Your Story discusses medical tourism in India and what the prospects are for it going forward.

New Indian Express

A covidful of confusion and corrections

The latest twist is related to whether or not asymptomatic persons infected with the virus pose a risk of transmission to others.

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New York Times

Too Many Vaccine Trials May Exclude Older Adults

Picture the day — in six months, a year and a half or in 2023 — when university researchers or a pharmaceutical company announces a breakthrough against the virus that causes Covid-19.

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A Year In, 1st Patient To Get Gene-Editing For Sickle Cell Disease Is Thriving

Like millions of other Americans, Victoria Gray has been sheltering at home with her children as the U.S. struggles through a deadly pandemic, and as protests over police violence have erupted across the country.

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Editor’s Note:

One of the revolutions in medicine has been the increased use of CRISPR for gene editing. Here NPR follows up with someone who seems to have benefitted from a new application.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Researchers take actions to reduce hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19

“Without a vaccine, the best way to keep people out of the hospital and potentially dying from COVID-19 is to diagnose and treat early,” said lead author Dr. Joshua Schiffer, a physician and researcher in Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division. “We’ve seen similar strategies for other infectious diseases like HIV, Ebola and influenza significantly lower transmission rates and mortality and believe it would have the same types of benefits for COVID-19.”

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The Guardian

Winning by a nose: the dogs being trained to detect signs of Covid-19

Asher was a problem dog. A hyperactive and unruly chocolate-brown cocker spaniel with ears like pittas and a Rudi Völler frizzy shag, he was shunted from owner to owner, maybe as many as seven by the age of three. He was taken on by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which was looking for working dogs to train up, but even after being placed with a seasoned “socialiser”, Asher still wouldn’t sleep and kept trying to escape. He was set to be returned to a rescue centre until Medical Detection Dogs’s co-founder Dr Claire Guest gave him a final chance.

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Scientific American

How Superspreading Events Drive Most COVID-19 Spread

As few as 10 percent of infected people may drive a whopping 80 percent of cases, in specific types of situations

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The Conversation

Sierra Leone faces coronavirus as rainy season hits – local disaster planning will be key

This year, there has been recognition that more forthright action is required. My colleagues and I are currently working with Sierra Leone’s Department of Disaster Management and Freetown City Council to create disaster preparedness guides for district councillors, disaster managers and local volunteers. The goal is to have several guides and handbooks available by July 2020 across four major cities of Sierra Leone to improve scenario planning if multiple disasters happen at once.

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Editor’s Note:

Certain countries face difficult tasks getting coronavirus under control. Here Lee Miles discusses Sierra Leone, a center of the Ebola crisis, and looming problems with mudslides or flooding.

South China Morning Post

Recovered Covid-19 patients might be defenceless against mutation, study says

Antibodies found in blood of people who have fought disease failed to stop D614G, Chinese scientists say.

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