Tom Hanks: ‘I have no idea when I will go back to work’

Tom Hanks: 'I have no idea when I will go back to work'

US actor Tom Hanks said Tuesday that Hollywood has “no idea” when it can return to production, as he described his own recovery after contracting the coronavirus, which has shut down the movie industry. The “Forrest Gump” and “Philadelphia” Oscar-winner in March became Women have long had the short end of the stick when it comes to employment, regularly finding themselves struggling to break through the glass ceiling for promotions and on average getting paid less than their male counterparts. That situation often gets compounded when the woman in question is a parent, balancing the needs of professional […] Opinion: We have to go deeper in our work to change the story around equity. The experience of too many in Black and brown communities is unacceptable. Editor’s note: Ask your Life@Work questions here. This column is designed to answer readers questions about challenging issues they face in their work lives. Submit questions to Jessica@workthatmatters.com A friend of mine asks, “Am I expecting too much?” and “Can’t it be easier?” Of course, he doesn’t expect me to give an answer. Yet most of us can identify with wanting more ease when things have been hard. So let’s take a closer look at the intersection of personal and professional development where this question arises. We may wonder if we can have fulfillment at work and be paid well?  Or if we can maintain our careers and still have time for the family life of our dreams? These aspirations are worth exploring, but asking the question “Am I expecting too much?” doesn’t reveal much useful data, even if you did know the answer.  So, first we can focus on asking ourselves better questions. Upgrade the questions you ask yourself Reframing the questions you ask yourself focuses the mind in ways that are useful. Our mind just can’t help but spend time on the questions we ask it. In fact, our conscious awareness actively works on the question while the brilliance of our unconscious mind explores alternatives in the background. If you ask an unanswerable question, such as “Am I expecting too much?” you may find yourself spinning your wheels and thinking unproductively instead of gaining traction with new ideas and answers. The example questions encourage productive ideas from your conscious and unconscious mind. What is really important right now? What does a good outcome look like? What do I intend to do? In what ways are my actions inconsistent with my vision? What can I change? How can I be of service? How do I know I’m on track? It is an act of personal leadership to ask yourself good quality questions. Draw on strengths When you need to dig deep, drawing on your strengths can support what you are working on. Finding new ways to utilize your strengths solves many types of issues. Since you already have significant strengths, but may not always be using them, let’s look at how you can most easily identify them and call on them in the moment. It’s like inventorying “What do I already have to work with?” Noticing your strengths is easiest when you are actually using them and can see them in action. For instance, think of a time when you were on a call, and you just nailed a response or provided some valuable insight. Notice what strengths you were using.  Perhaps your careful preparation really paid off, or was it your attention to detail?  Maybe you were flexing a particular marketing or communication muscle?   Make note of what strengths you see in yourself. The goal is to get you to know and use your strengths, and build them more over time.   This strength-identifying thought experiment can be done any time, as long as you have a spot to … Through education, research and advocacy focused on therapeutic human-animal interactions, animals in communities, and conservation social work, the Institute for Human-Animal Connection elevates the value of the living world. Steroids and Remdesivir have already been shown to help fight COVID-19. It’s too early to judge on a couple of other possibilities.

Tom Hanks said that he and his wife Rita Wilson were fortunate to be “model recoverers from COVID-19,” but noted that “any number of things” could have gone wrong (AFP Photo/KEVORK DJANSEZIAN)

Los Angeles (AFP) – US actor Tom Hanks said Tuesday that Hollywood has “no idea” when it can return to production, as he described his own recovery after contracting the coronavirus, which has shut down the movie industry.

The “Forrest Gump” and “Philadelphia” Oscar-winner in March became the first high-profile star to come down with COVID-19, shortly before he was due to begin shooting an Elvis Presley biopic in Australia.

“As the canaries in the coal mine for the COVID-19 experience, we are fine — we had about 10 days of very uncomfortable symptoms, not life-threatening, I’m happy to say,” he told a virtual press conference.

Hanks said that he and his wife Rita Wilson were fortunate to be “model recoverers from COVID-19,” but noted that “any number of things” could have gone wrong.

With the virus rampaging across the US — which has recorded more than 126,000 deaths and 2.6 million cases — many states have been criticized for reopening too early.

California gave the all-clear for filming to resume earlier this month, but most major Hollywood productions remain frozen — a situation Hanks does not expect to change soon.

“I have no idea when I will go back to work,” he said. “Nobody has any idea of when they will go back to work.

“But the time will come. We just don’t know when.”

He added: “Everything comes into play — there’s financial concerns, there’s legal concerns, liabilities.”

“There’s physical concerns about ‘how does everybody get to work and go into the same soundstage, and work in such close quarters?'”

Now living in isolation under social distancing rules, Hanks has watched as blockbuster titles postponed their launches, scrambling for dates later this year and into 2021, when studios hope audiences can return.

On Monday, as Los Angeles County experienced a new daily record number of cases, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a “hard pause” in the opening of businesses including movie theaters. Cinemas are also yet to reopen in New York and a number of other US cities.

Hanks’ own World War II naval thriller “Greyhound” will skip the big screen entirely, after Sony agreed to sell the movie as an Apple TV+ exclusive.

Hanks, who wrote the screenplay and stars in the movie, admitted he is “heartbroken” the film will not appear in theaters.

But he described the deal to stream it online worldwide from July 10 as a “savior” that “offers us the opportunity to have the movie out.”

Movie productions have recently resumed in some countries including Iceland, South Korea and New Zealand, but Hanks said he has no timeline for returning to Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis.”

“The answer is nobody knows. And me included,” said Hanks.

He added: “There is nothing but questions as far as starting up physical production again. That’s the terrible news.”

Source: news.yahoo.com


The Mom Project raises $25M for its job site aimed at working mothers – TechCrunch

The Mom Project raises $25M for its job site aimed at working mothers – TechCrunch

Women have long had the short end of the stick when it comes to employment, regularly finding themselves struggling to break through the glass ceiling for promotions and on average getting paid less than their male counterparts. That situation often gets compounded when the woman in question is a parent, balancing the needs of professional and home life and more.

But we’re seeing a gradual shift among companies to “do better” on inclusion, and that’s opening the door to new opportunities. To underscore that, The Mom Project — a Chicago startup that focuses on connecting women, including parents, with jobs from organizations specifically open to employing people who meet that profile — is announcing a $25 million round of funding to expand its business.

The funding comes on the heels of some significant traction for The Mom Project . Since we first profiled the company in December 2018 (when it had raised a round of $8 million led by Initialized Capital) it has grown to 275,000 users (up from 75,000), and doubled the number of organizations posting jobs on the platform to 2,000, including several major tech companies and other brands like Facebook, Nike, Uber, Apple, Google and Twitter. The company has also made an acquisition of a startup called Werk to add analytics tools to for its business customers.

The Series B round of funding brings the total raised by the startup to $36 million. It is being led by 7GC — a VC that has backed the likes of Jio (the Indian juggernaut raising like crazy right now), Cheddar (the media platform acquired by Altice) and fintech Acorns — with participation also from Citi, Synchrony, SVB and High Alpha, as well as previous investors Initialized Capital, Grotech Ventures, OCA, Aspect Ventures, Wintrust Financial, Irish Angels and Engage VC.

The Mom Project is built around a two-sided platform and both of those sides will be getting a boost with this funding.

On one side, the startup works with businesses to post job listings that specifically target women and those returning to work who might need more flexible terms in their employment engagements, as well as analyse its overall HR strategies around those efforts.

On the other side, it provides a platform to women who fit that basic profile — the average age of its users is between 28 and 44, its CEO and founder Allison Robinson (pictured above with her child) said — providing them both with job listings and other support.

The plan will be to enhance both aspects of the business: more tools for enterprises to better engage The Mom Project’s community, as well as manage the recruitment and employment of people better; and more tools for Mom users, including building out an interactive community (and forums) to better “address the pain points of family and career,” Robinson said.

While there are a lot of job boards online — indeed recruitment dot-coms were some of the first successful businesses in the earliest days of the World Wide Web, meaning there are giant legacy players out there — The Mom Project is a strong example of how that model has been evolving.

Specifically, we’re seeing a flourishing of startups, and sites, focused on identifying and cultivating job opportunities for specific segments of the market, be it specific types of jobs like engineers (such as Triplebyte), or a specific demographic (like The Mom Project, or RippleMatch or Handshake), or both (as is the case of another hopeful disrupting the job market, Andela) — in ways that more general job boards like those on LinkedIn or Indeed either don’t highlight as well or simply cannot address.

These are not only connecting with specific talent groups, but speaking to the needs of businesses that are trying to make more of an effort to boost their workforce diversity as part of larger inclusion policies: they are also struggling, in their case. to find effective ways to target specific kinds of candidates.

Image Credits: The Mom Project

As we noted when we previously profiled The Mom Project, it was started when Robinson herself struggled to return to work after having a child — her previous career had her working as an executive at Pampers — and it’s a problem that she is far from alone in having identified (and I can confirm that emphatically). The company’s focus not only on addressing that but executing on it well are essentially the two reasons The Mom Project has grown.

Needless to say, recent events have had a huge impact on how all those general employment trends, and the recruitment industry, have been going.

We’ve seen unprecedented job losses, hiring freezes, a push for remote working all suddenly become the norm. All of that has had a mixed impact on The Mom Project.

In some ways, it plays into what the startup has been building all along. Currently some two-thirds of all jobs posted and that people are looking for on The Mom Project are focused on fixed-term work, rather than permanent positions, and so as companies slow down their normal recruiting, it leaves a space for the kind of work that people who need more flexible schedules may be able to do. That’s at the same time that the companies themselves may be reducing headcount overall for all kinds of work, however.

Another big theme has been a redoubled effort to improve inclusiveness when it comes to racial diversity. That too has direct relevance to the female workforce, Robinson noted.

“Sixty percent of the job losses in the pandemic have been women, and the statistics have been even worse for women of color,” she said. “It’s like a canary in the coal mine.”

While The Mom Project doesn’t have any tools today to surface candidates that meet more diverse profiles on that front, Robinson said that they are considering it and how to approach that in a way that works.

Meanwhile, The Mom Project is also trying to do more to speak to the other side of its marketplace and the struggles they are having.

It’s launched a $500,000 fund, distributing grants specifically to small businesses that are its customers (that is, hiring via The Mom Project) the are finding it especially tough right now. (And indeed, many have pointed to the especially hard hit SMBs are taking at the moment.)

All of this is to say that there remains a huge market opportunity here and there is an argument to be made that companies good at identifying clever ways of targeting a gap, and executing on that well, are strong candidates for identifying and filling other gaps in the future — one reason why investors are knocking.

“There is a material disconnect between senior female talent and executive roles at major corporations, not for lack of interest, however the difficulty to institutionalize in large enterprise. The Mom Project’s platform enables corporates to source, onboard and manage variable labor at the highest skill level, a function historically that has been offline and manual for FTEs and even more so difficult for flexible employees,” said Jack Leeney, founding partner at 7GC, in an emailed interview.

“In our diligence, the value add to senior HR managers of an analytic platform that enables the oversight of a variable work force was the single most important factor to integrating The Mom Project initially and at scale. There is no other growth company, digital-first HR company or large-scale talent agency that is addressing the female exec population with an enterprise grade digital solution.”

Source: techcrunch.com

Author: Ingrid Lunden

@ingridlunden
/
2 days


For Delaware, critical work on race equity remains

For Delaware, critical work on race equity remains

The last few weeks in America have made clear once again the reality of our country’s racial injustices, past and present, and the deep opportunity gap that persists.

We are sad, angry, reflective and resolute. Our colleagues, neighbors and friends are hurting. The hurt is real. Even if we have not suffered discrimination personally, we simply must recognize that it insidiously diminishes what society could be — a community where all members can flourish.

First, the killing of George Floyd — as well as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and other neighbors and citizens — and the ensuing public demonstrations reflect real problems. They remind us again that we have simply not done enough to address deep racial inequities in our country. They are a reflection of deep frustrations and of something broken in our core values.

At the same time, the last three months of pandemic experience have been another acute example of the way troubles in this country impact the least advantaged harder than ever –— as COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black and brown communities.

Moreover, the COVID-19-driven downturn in the economy has hit businesses everywhere, but it has hit Black- and brown-owned businesses hardest of all. Already, the number of working African American business owners in the United States has plummeted more than 40 percent, according to The Washington Post, and working Latino-owned businesses have dropped 32 percent, compared to 22 percent for businesses overall.

All of these factors tell us again: We simply have to go deeper in our work to change the story around equity and race. The lived experience of too many in Black and brown communities is unacceptable.

The demonstrations are an important reminder that the work of racial equity is nowhere near done. They are a reflection of deep frustrations and of something broken in our core values.

At the Delaware Community Foundation, we are committed to lifting up equity issues throughout our work and in our approach. We believe in the goal of the American dream, where all people have real and meaningful opportunity for a sustainable, healthy and happy life.

And while we believe that philanthropy has done much good, we also know that the philanthropic sector — including the Delaware Community Foundation — needs to get better. We need to listen, engage, facilitate, support. We must leverage the privilege of our positions to achieve equity.

We set out on this path a few years ago when we started consciously applying an equity lens in all of our grant making and revised our grant making priorities — to focus on equity, youth opportunity and Latino communities. We also convened a Community Equity Cohort — a group of activists and leaders engaged in addressing structural equity issues –— to develop a package of recommendations for change in Delaware.

But there is much more to do, and the past few weeks have reminded us that we must work harder.

In the coming weeks and months, we will take several steps. First, we are reconvening our Community Equity Cohort, and we will begin implementing some of their recommendations. We also are revisiting our grant guidelines and programs, to make sure we’re addressing the most critical needs of Delaware’s communities.

Second, through the Delaware COVID-19 Strategic Response Fund, the Delaware Community Foundation is dedicating funding to nonprofits led by and serving people of color, who are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. We encourage other funders to do the same.

Most importantly, and at the same time, we will listen to the community and our allies for other approaches; we will participate in efforts to address our deepest challenges; and we will support efforts that will bring us closer to our collective goal of true racial equity.

We look forward to hearing from you, and learning from you, as we all endeavor to make the changes that are so necessary.

Stuart Comstock-Gay is president and CEO of the Delaware Community Foundation.

Source: www.delawareonline.com


Hartung - Life@Work: The questions we ask ourselves – BizWest

Hartung – Life@Work: The questions we ask ourselves – BizWest

Editor’s note: Ask your Life@Work questions here. This column is designed to answer readers questions about challenging issues they face in their work lives. Submit questions to Jessica@workthatmatters.com

Of course, he doesn’t expect me to give an answer. Yet most of us can identify with wanting more ease when things have been hard. So let’s take a closer look at the intersection of personal and professional development where this question arises. We may wonder if we can have fulfillment at work and be paid well?  Or if we can maintain our careers and still have time for the family life of our dreams?

These aspirations are worth exploring, but asking the question “Am I expecting too much?” doesn’t reveal much useful data, even if you did know the answer.  So, first we can focus on asking ourselves better questions.

Upgrade the questions you ask yourself

Reframing the questions you ask yourself focuses the mind in ways that are useful. Our mind just can’t help but spend time on the questions we ask it. In fact, our conscious awareness actively works on the question while the brilliance of our unconscious mind explores alternatives in the background. If you ask an unanswerable question, such as “Am I expecting too much?” you may find yourself spinning your wheels and thinking unproductively instead of gaining traction with new ideas and answers.

The example questions encourage productive ideas from your conscious and unconscious mind.

  • What is really important right now?
  • What does a good outcome look like?
  • What do I intend to do?
  • In what ways are my actions inconsistent with my vision?
  • What can I change?
  • How can I be of service?
  • How do I know I’m on track?
  • It is an act of personal leadership to ask yourself good quality questions.

    Draw on strengths

    When you need to dig deep, drawing on your strengths can support what you are working on. Finding new ways to utilize your strengths solves many types of issues.

    Since you already have significant strengths, but may not always be using them, let’s look at how you can most easily identify them and call on them in the moment. It’s like inventorying “What do I already have to work with?”

    Noticing your strengths is easiest when you are actually using them and can see them in action. For instance, think of a time when you were on a call, and you just nailed a response or provided some valuable insight. Notice what strengths you were using.  Perhaps your careful preparation really paid off, or was it your attention to detail?  Maybe you were flexing a particular marketing or communication muscle?  

    Make note of what strengths you see in yourself. The goal is to get you to know and use your strengths, and build them more over time.  

    This strength-identifying thought experiment can be done any time, as long as you have a spot to capture information about your superpowers. With a notepad at your desk or an app on your device you can capture a strength of yours when you notice you are using it or could apply it.  You can refer back to these strengths when you are problem solving or wanting to bring forth your best.

    Consciously using your strengths is a smart strategy at any time, and a relevant thought experiment to imagine how you could apply them in new and innovative ways, especially in these unexpected times.  This is a bootstrap move to uplift you to strategic thinking any time you’re in the thick of it. 

    So while we still don’t know if my friend was expecting too much, it doesn’t matter.  By leveraging your strengths, you can enjoy your work more as well as the results you create.

    Jessica Hartung is author of The Conscious Professional: Transform Your Life at Work, and founder of Integrated Work, a Boulder leadership development company. More at consciousprofessional.com.

    Source: bizwest.com


    Institute for Human-Animal Connection | GSSW | University of Denver

    Institute for Human-Animal Connection | GSSW | University of Denver

    The well-being of humans, other animals and the environment are deeply interconnected, and optimum human health and resilience requires mutually healthy living systems—from thoughtful petkeeping to global biodiversity. Through education, research and advocacy focused on therapeutic human-animal interactions, animals in communities, and conservation social work, the Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) elevates the value of the living world and the interrelationship of human, animal and environmental health.

    Guided by our commitment to social justice and cultural responsiveness—and a belief in the power of systemic change—we drive improvements in animal welfare. We collaborate and share our expertise in the human-animal bond, human-animal-environment interactions and One Health with our Colorado community and worldwide, knowing that when we promote healthy human-animal relationships, we improve outcomes for both.

    With human behavior at the center of the most pressing issues facing humanity, other animals and the environment, the Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) aims to reflect, explore and discuss how human change mechanisms at the individual, community and organizational levels are needed to create sustainable improvements for all. IHAC’s Dimensions of Humane Communities webinar series features natural and social science-informed education, research and advocacy efforts that work toward a more compassionate and humane world, one community at a time.This online lecture series will feature events with experts in each of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection’s three core areas: Therapeutic Human-Animal Interactions, Animals & Communities, and Conservation Social Work. 

    Wednesday July 1, 2020

    Maneesha Deckha, professor and Lansdowne Chair in Law at the University of Victoria, argues that any advocacy or policy agenda directed at transitioning to plant-based societies should include education that combats the anthropocentric, gendered and colonial cultural messaging human children typically receive. Deckha will discuss how this cultural messaging can be delivered through a critical iteration of humane education focused on cultivating empathy and disrupting the Othering/dominating messages children receive and internalize about animals, the earth’s “resources” and human Others.

  • 5-6 p.m. Mountain Time
  • Wednesday July 15, 2020

    Dr. Sarah Bexell, Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work and Director of Humane Education at IHAC, believes that humane education is needed now more than ever before. In this session, Dr. Bexell will talk about humane education as a comprehensive and needed methodology that equips learners with the tools to think critically to identify impactful solutions to the interconnected global challenges of violations of human rights and well-being, the protection of other species, and mass environmental degradation.

  • 5-6 p.m. Mountain Time
  • Now available as a recording!

    Amanda Arrington, Senior Director of the groundbreaking Pets for Life (PFL) program at the Humane Society of the United States, discusses how pet ownership crosses all geographic, racial, ethnic and socio-economic boundaries, but access to information and services does not. Institutional bias and systemic inequity can have a negative impact on pets and there is a great need to understand and deepen the connection between animal welfare and social, racial, and economic justice. Recorded Wednesday May 6, 2020. 

  • View anytime! Discounts still apply and upon registration, you will receive a link to view this important event.
  • Now available as a recording!

    Sarah Schmidt, the founder and president of The Big Fix Uganda’s Comfort Dog Project and Meg Daley Olmert, Director of Research for the Warrior Canine Connection will present the first One Health animal assisted therapy model fighting cruelty and despair in Northern Uganda. The Big Fix Uganda—a non-profit , based in Port Townsend, WA–operates the only veterinarian hospital in Northern Uganda. Recorded Wednesday May 20, 2020. 

  • View anytime! Discounts still apply and upon registration, you will receive a link to view this important event.
  • Now available as a recording!

    Vince Wong serves as Director of Collective Impact for the Michelson Found Animals Foundation talks about how public policy engagement is a long, drawn-out process that we tend to shy away for myriad reasons – time, resources, attention, anxiety, exhaustion, fear, inexperience – just to name a few. But to effect long-term and sustainable change, you need multiple stakeholders – corporate, nonprofit, community, philanthropy, and yes even government – from diverse areas to all come together on collective action that actually makes a difference. Recorded on Wednesday June 3, 2020. 

  • View anytime! Discounts still apply and upon registration, you will receive a link to view this important event.
  • Now available as a recording!

    The Arikara, or more accurately “Sahnish,” are a northern Great Plains tribe currently living on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation in central North Dakota, USA. In this session, Dr. Michael Yellow Bird (Arikara) will share a series of short teaching stories of the relationship between the Arikara people and the animal world. The stories are intended to nurture participant’s understanding of the important connection between humans and animals and how renewing this tradition can help restore this relationship.

  • View anytime! Discounts still apply and upon registration, you will receive a link to view this important event.
  • We focus on helping professionals to increase their understanding of animal behavior and human-animal-environment interactions and enhance their clinical practice working in partnership with animals. We center ethics and animal welfare in all of our educational programs, including four professional development certificates and the Master of Social Work (MSW) Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate.

    Students with mini horse

    30+ Graduate students participate in institute research projects every year.

    140 MSW students trained on human-animal-environment interactions annually.

    1,000+ People from six continents have completed our certificate programs.

    We are working to improve the well-being of humans, animals and the environment through rigorous research and scholarship in the areas of therapeutic human-animal interactions, animals in communities, and conservation social work. From identifying best practices for prison dog training programs, to evaluating a human-rights approach to family planning, to measuring the economic impacts of animal welfare policies, our research is providing new insights into the relationships between humans, animals and the environment we share.

    Students with mini horse

    We translate research and education on the human-animal bond and human-animal-environment interactions into practice and policy to build healthier and more resilient communities. As a community resource, we host public events and conferences, provide training and consultation services, cultivate community partnerships in Colorado and around the globe, and engage in advocacy work that shapes public policy.

    Source: socialwork.du.edu


    Here’s the latest on what we know works — and doesn’t work — in treating coronavirus infections

    Here’s the latest on what we know works — and doesn’t work — in treating coronavirus infections

    I am a physician and a scientist at the University of Virginia. I care for patients and conduct research to find better ways to diagnose and treat infectious diseases, including COVID-19. Here I’m sharing what is known about which treatments work, and which don’t, for the new coronavirus infection.

    Keep in mind that this field of medicine is rapidly evolving as our understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 virus improves. So what I am writing today may change within days or weeks.

    Below are the treatments that have been tried and for which we have the best knowledge.

    There are three randomized controlled trials of hydroxychloroquine, all of which have failed to prove or disprove a beneficial or harmful effect on COVID-19 clinical course or clearance of virus. Given this current lack of evidence, these drugs, which normally are used to treat arthritis, should only be used within the context of a controlled clinical trial.

    The drug Lopinavir is an inhibitor of an enzyme called HIV protease which is involved in the production of viral particles. Protease inhibitors for HIV were revolutionary, leading to our current ability to effectively treat HIV. Lopinavir also can inhibit enzymes that perform similar functions as the HIV protease in the SARS and MERS coronaviruses. Ritonavir increases the level of Lopinavir in the blood so the lopinavir/ritonavir combination was tested in a randomized controlled clinical trial for COVID-19.

    Unfortunately, there was no impact on the levels of virus in the throat or duration of viral shedding, nor did patients’ clinical course or survival change. There therefore is no role for lopinavir/ritonavir in the treatment of COVID-19.

    When a synthetic steroid hormone, called dexamethasone, was given to patients with COVID-19 the drug decreased 28-day mortality by 17% and hastened hospital discharge.

    This work was performed in a randomized and controlled clinical trial of over 6,000 patients, and while not replicated in another study or yet peer reviewed, is certainly enough evidence to recommend its use.

    Tocilizumab is an antibody that blocks a protein, called IL-6 receptor, from binding IL-6 and triggering inflammation. Levels of IL-6 are higher in many patients with COVID-19, and the immune system in general seems to be hyperactivated in those with the most severe disease. This leads many physicians and physicians to think that inhibiting the IL-6 receptor might protect patients from severe disease.

    Tocilizumab is currently FDA-approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and several other collagen-vascular diseases and for “cytokine storm” — a harmful overreaction of the immune system — that can be caused by certain types of cancer therapy and COVID-19.

    A retrospective observational study found that COVID-19 patients treated with tocilizumab had a lower risk of mechanical ventilation and death. But we lack a randomized controlled clinical trial so there is no way to ascertain if this apparent improvement was due to tocilizumab or from the imprecise nature of retrospective studies.

    Convalescent plasma, the liquid derived from blood after removing the white and red blood cells, contains antibodies from previous infections that the plasma donor had. This plasma has been used to prevent infectious diseases including pneumonia, tetanus, diphtheria, mumps and chickenpox for over a century. It is thought to benefit patients because antibodies from the plasma of survivors bind to and inactivate pathogens or their toxins of patients. Convalescent plasma has now been used in thousands of COVID-19 patients.

    However, the only randomized clinical trial was small and included just 103 patients who received convalescent plasma 14 days after they became ill. There was no difference in the time to clinical improvement or mortality between those who did and did not receive treatment. The encouraging news was that there was a significant decrease in virus levels detected by PCR.

    It is therefore too early to tell if this will be beneficial and controlled clinical trials are needed.

    Remdesivir treatment, especially for patients who required supplemental oxygen before they were placed on a ventilator reduced mortality and shortened the average recovery time from 15 to 11 days.

    Read:U.S. government to secure majority of Gilead’s remdesivir supply through September

    There was a concern that drugs called ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), which are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, could increase levels of the ACE2 proteins, the receptor for SARS-CoV-2, on the surface of cells in the body. This would, physicians hypothesized, allow more entry points for the virus to infect cells and would therefore boost the severity of new coronavirus infections.

    However, there is no evidence that this is the case. The American Heart Association, the Heart Failure Society of America and the American College of Cardiology all recommend that patients continue to take these medications during the pandemic as they are beneficial in the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure.

    We have made amazing progress in the treatment of COVID-19. Two therapies — steroids and Remdesivir — have already been shown to help. Those who benefit from these treatments owe thanks to patients who volunteered to participate in controlled clinical trials, and the physicians and pharmaceutical companies that lead them.

    William Petri is a professor of medicine at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. This was first published by The Conversation — “Which drugs and therapies are proven to work, and which ones don’t, for COVID-19?”

    Source: www.marketwatch.com

    Author: William Petri


    Tom Hanks: 'I have no idea when I will go back to work'


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