Respiratory Care Currents

 Published: December 1, 2021

By: Debbie Bunch

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Ibuprofen May Protect Against RSV in the Elderly

Could ibuprofen prevent or minimize RSV infections in older adults? According to researchers from Ohio State University, the answer may be yes. They conducted a study in cotton rats that showed older rats given ibuprofen for a week prior to their initial infection with RSV cleared the virus more quickly than those that didn’t receive the treatment. When the rats were again infected with RSV a month later, those who had received ibuprofen were completely protected from the virus.

However, the treatment was only able to prevent infection in older rats. Young adult rats received no benefit from ibuprofen when they were re-infected. The authors believe ibuprofen worked for the older rats because it was able to reduce age-related inflammation.

“For a long time, people have thought that certain immune cells get burned out and can’t function properly any longer. And then we started treating against inflammation, and suddenly the old cells can do their job like young cells,” said study author Stefan Niewiesk. “When we think about what the pathways are to fix RSV infection in the elderly, this study opens a door to the possibilities.”

The study was published by Virology.

ECMO Transport of COVID-19 Patients Found Safe for Team Members

Research conducted at hospitals taking part in the COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium has found that transporting COVID-19 patients on ECMO poses little risk to transport team members.

Investigators reviewed data on 101 adult COVID-19 patients who were transported to five different hospitals around the world. Ten of the patients were transported by air, while the remainder were transported via ground ambulances. The average distance was 40 miles and the average transport time was 134 minutes.

No transmission of COVID-19 to a team member was seen in the study. Team members followed strict precautions, including Airborne Contact Precautions with Eyewear (ACE) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) protocols. “Special care was taken to not break ACE and PPE protocol from the time the team came into contact with the patient until they returned to their respective ECMO center,” wrote the researchers.

The COVID-19 Critical Care Consortium is a global alliance of health care professionals and researchers, including those from the U.S., who are committed to finding groundbreaking ways to combat the virus.

The current study appeared in the ASAIO Journal.

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Certain Sleep Disorders Worsen COVID-19 Outcomes

A new study from investigators at the Cleveland Clinic suggests people with sleep-disordered breathing and sleep-related hypoxia have worse outcomes from COVID-19 than those without those conditions.

The research involved an analysis of data on nearly 360,000 patients who were tested for COVID-19. Among that number, 5,400 had a sleep study that was available to the investigators. While people with sleep problems were not more likely to test positive, they ended up with more severe cases of COVID-19.

The authors believe these results open the door to studies on whether or not early treatment for sleep disorders, such as PAP therapy or oxygen administration, could improve outcomes for these COVID-19 patients.

“If indeed sleep-related hypoxia translates to worse COVID-19 outcomes, risk stratification strategies should be implemented to prioritize early allocation of COVID-19 therapy to this subgroup of patients,” said study author Cinthya Pena Orbea, MD.

The study appeared in JAMA Network Open.

Genetic Variants Linked to Sepsis, COVID-19 Severity

Nearly 40% of black people carry two genetic risk variants that could exacerbate the severity of sepsis and COVID-19, report researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The finding was revealed in a study that analyzed two variants of the APOLI gene, G1 and G2, which are found almost exclusively in people of West African descent. A statistically significant correlation between the genes and sepsis was found in a study of 57,000 black participants taking part in a large study of U.S. veterans. A correlation between the variants and COVID-19 severity was seen in a separate analysis involving 74 COVID-19 patients.

The study was published by Immunity.

Reducing Tau Might Help People with ALS

Targeting the abnormal form of the tau protein common in people with Alzheimer’s disease may result in a new therapeutic approach to the treatment of people with ALS, find researchers from the Healey Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In a study published in Molecular Neurobiology, they examined interactions between the abnormal tau protein and a mitochondrial protein called dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), finding that the abnormal form of tau is present in brain tissue of people who died of ALS, is located where tau is not normally found, and interacts with DRP1.

From there, the investigators grew cells in contact with the brain tissue containing abnormal tau, with results showing that the mitochondria in the cells fragmented and oxidative stress increased. When they reduced tau with a specific degrader, these effects were reversed, leading them to speculate that reducing tau could be a novel and promising therapeutic approach to fight the disease.

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Debbie Bunch

Debbie Bunch is an AARC contributor who writes feature articles, news stories, and other content for Newsroom, the AARC website, and associated emailed newsletters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Connect with Debbie by email or on AARConnect or LinkedIn.

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