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HCQ cuts COVID deaths 50%

Outcomes after early treatment with hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin: an analysis of a database of 30,423 COVID-19 patients. New Microbes and New Infections; Nov. 1, 2023.

COVID-19 patients treated with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) plus the antibiotic azithromycin were 84% less likely to die than patients who took only azithromycin, according to a paper in New Microbes and New Infections.

French researchers joined by Dr. Peter McCullough examined health system records from 30,202 patients. Of 23,172 HCQ-treated patients, 191 (0.81%) died, compared with 344 of 7,030 (4.89%) who received only azithromycin, providing a survival advantage for HCQ of 84%.

After correcting these results for age, sex, pandemic period and inpatient-outpatient status, risk reduction for HCQ patients was 45%. HCQ treatment favored low-comorbidity patients even more, with a death-risk reduction of 53%.

According to the authors of the study, previous randomized trials failed to show a survival benefit for HCQ because they used a toxic dose of the drug that was 4 times the recommended dosage of 600 milligrams per day.

Antibiotics losing effectiveness for kids’ infections

Coverage gaps in empiric antibiotic regimens used to treat serious bacterial infections in neonates and children in Southeast Asia and the Pacific; The Lancet Regional Health — Southeast Asia, Oct. 31, 2023.

The rise in antibiotic resistance means more Southeast Asian newborns are dying from bacterial infections, according to a study in The Lancet Regional Health — Southeast Asia.

An international research team examined published medical studies, looking for instances in which bacteria from children ill with sepsis, meningitis or both were tested for susceptibility to aminopenicillins, gentamicin, third-generation cephalosporins and carbapenems.

The researchers expressed antibiotic effectiveness, or “coverage,” as the percentage of isolated bacterial samples killed by an antibiotic.

In neonatal sepsis/meningitis, the aminopenicillins killed 26% of sample bacteria while coverage was 45% for gentamycin and 29% for third-generation cephalosporin.

Cephalosporin was effective in 51% of sepsis samples and in 65% of meningitis tests.

Carbapenems had the highest coverage: 81% for sepsis/meningitis, 83% for sepsis and 79% for meningitis.

Researchers believe that infections impervious to antibiotics, which have steadily risen over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, will claim nearly 10 million lives annually by 2050.

Glyphosate may increase kids’ risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Agricultural intensification and childhood cancer in Brazil; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Oct. 31, 2023.

U.S. researchers have uncovered higher rates of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) deaths in children living downstream from genetically modified (GM) glyphosate-tolerant soy cultivation.

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup pesticide products.

The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, covered 2004 — the year Brazil approved genetically modified soy — through 2019.

It associated a 10-percentage-point increase in the municipal area planted in soy with an additional 0.40 deaths from ALL in children under 5 per 10,000 population and 0.21 deaths under 10 per 10,000 population.

By the researchers’ calculations, this increased exposure was responsible for 123 additional deaths in children under 10 from ALL. The primary exposure route was drinking water.

Why ultra-processed food may be addictive

Social, clinical, and policy implications of ultra-processed food addiction. British Medical Journal, Oct. 9, 2023.

Ultra-processed foods high in fats and carbohydrates are rewarding, appealing, consumed compulsively and possibly addictive, according to a report in the British Medical Journal.

Ultra-processed food addiction occurs in 14% of adults and 12% of children who face “clinically significant problems” like obesity, poor physical and mental health and lower quality of life.

Signs include intense cravings, withdrawal symptoms, poor eating control and continued use despite such consequences as obesity, binge eating disorder, and poorer physical and mental health.

Together, these behaviors and outcomes “may meet the criteria for diagnosis of substance use disorder in some people,” the authors wrote.

The addictiveness of ultra-processed foods may be due to their speed in delivering carbohydrates and fats to the digestive tract. Speedy onset is why cigarettes and vapes are more addictive than slow-release nicotine patches, the authors wrote.

Vaxed kids still get Haemophilus flu type b

Haemophilus influenzae Type b Vaccine Failure in Portugal: A Nationwide Multicenter Pediatric Survey; The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, Sept. 1, 2023.

Although 95% of Portuguese children are vaccinated against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), severe cases and some deaths still occur. Based on these “vaccine failures,” a paper in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal called for greater surveillance and more studies on asymptomatic colonization and related immune responses in children.

Hib, which colonizes the respiratory tracts of up to 3% of healthy infants and children but rarely occurs in adults, exists as either unencapsulated or “naked” bacteria susceptible to antibiotic treatment, or encapsulated and antibiotic-resistant.

Hib mostly threatens individuals with undeveloped or weakened immune systems — young children and the elderly.

Although it is present in just 2% of throat swabs from healthy children, the encapsulated strain normally causes 95% of serious cases. But nasal swabs from sick, vaccinated study subjects revealed that the encapsulated bacterium was responsible for fewer than half of cases.

This suggested that vaccination caused the milder strain to become more capable of causing serious illness.