Severe coronavirus cases can lead to 'delirium,' researchers find - CGTN
People hospitalized with severe coronavirus infections are likely to experience delirium, confusion or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), research in a leading medical journal suggests.
People hospitalized with severe coronavirus infections are likely to experience delirium, confusion or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), research in a leading medical journal suggests. The report, published in the Lancet, looked at different coronavirus strains including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that started in 2002, Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS) from 2012, and early data from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The psychological symptoms are exacerbated by long stays in intensive care units (ICU) and the intrusive experience of being put on a ventilator, researchers wrote. The report examined COVID-19 cases from Italy and the UK, the two European countries with the highest death tolls, as well a smaller number of subjects from China, where cases were first reported. Researchers found evidence of negative psychological effects confusion and delirium in more than 60 percent of COVID-19 cases that required ICU treatment. The report recommended that doctors remain vigilant to further psychological effects in recovering patients, as 33 percent of survivors from the SARS and MERS epidemics experienced PTSD two years after they were seriously ill. READ MORE: Lockdown exacerbates 'mental health issues' The report notes how political and economic conditions can contribute to the psychiatric effects, citing the "wider social impact of the pandemic and the governmental response, including physical distancing measures and quarantine. "Both the infected and non-infected population might be susceptible as a result of certain experiences, such as widespread anxiety, social isolation, stress in healthcare workers and other essential workers and unemployment and financial difficulties." Co-leader of the research, Jonathan Rogers of University College London's psychiatry department, said: "Most people with COVID-19 will not develop any mental health problems, even among those with severe cases requiring hospitalization, but given the huge numbers of people getting sick, the global impact on mental health could be considerable. "Our analysis focuses on potential mental health risks of being hospitalized with a coronavirus infection and how psychiatric conditions could worsen the prognosis or hold people back from returning to their normal lives after recovering." The report examined 72 studies from across the world that were carried out after the 2002 SARS outbreak and 10 years later, following MERS. In total, the review looked at 3,500 patients who were hospitalized with the respective viruses. READ MORE: How are Europe's metros coping as lockdowns ease? The results revealed that almost a third of patients hospitalized with MERS and SARS developed PTSD. In the subjects, rates of depression and anxiety were high, with around 15 percent of patients suffering a year after overcoming the virus. A further 15 percent experienced the symptoms of anxiety or depression without being diagnosed and yet another 15 percent suffered from other psychological effects including insomnia and mood swings. While research into COVID-19 is ongoing and partial, early evidence suggests that similar levels of delirium and confusion could be present, according to the researchers. The report stresses, however, that its findings are based on those with serious cases of the virus. Early data suggest the majority who contract COVID-19 only experience mild symptoms and do not require ICU treatment. Check out The Pandemic Playbook, CGTN Europe's major investigation into the lessons learned from COVID-19
UK scientists to make a million potential COVID-19 vaccines by September - CGTN
A million doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine being developed by British scientists are already being manufactured and will be available by September, even before trials to prove the shot's effectiveness, the team said on Friday. The Oxford University team's experimental product, called "ChAdOx1 nCoV-19" is originally developed to target MERS. The product is a type known as a recombinant viral vector vaccine and is one of at least 70 potential COVID-19 candidate shots under development by biotech and research teams around the world. At least five of those are in preliminary testing in people. The Oxford scientists said on Friday they were recruiting volunteers for early stage Phase 1 human trials of their shot, and large-scale production capacity was being put in place "at risk". This means the shots will be produced in large numbers at risk of being useless if trials show they do not work. "We have started at risk manufacturing of this vaccine not just on a smallish scale... but with a network of manufacturers in as many as seven different places around the world," Adrian Hill, a professor and director of the Jenner Institute at Oxford University, told reporters in an online briefing. "The aim is to have at least a million doses by around about September, when we also hope to have efficacy (trial) results." He said three of the manufacturing partners were in Britain, two in Europe, one in India and one in China. The scientists said initial manufacturing costs would be in "tens of millions" of pounds and acknowledged the investment risk of pressing ahead with production before verification. They did not give details of their financing. Hill's team said they plan to start safety and then mid-stage efficacy trials of their potential COVID-19 vaccine in adults aged between 18 and 55 within weeks. They then plan to expand the trial group to older age groups later, and hope to run a final phase trial with around 5,000 volunteers in the late summer. Hill and his co-researchers including Sarah Gilbert, an Oxford professor of vaccinology said they have "a high degree of confidence" that human trials of the ChAdOx1 shot will show positive results in protecting against COVID-19 infection. They acknowledged that many other research teams worldwide were also working on potential vaccines, with only a proportion likely to be fully successful. "We can never be certain these things are going to work," Gilbert told the briefing. "My view is that I think this one has a very strong chance of working." Asked when the shot if proven to work might be able to be made widely available to the public, Hill said the best case scenario would be for regulators to grant it "emergency use approval" something that could be achieved within six weeks beyond the point at which data show whether it is effective. That, he said, could mean around six weeks from September, when the team hopes to have positive trial data. (Cover image via VCG)