Highlights from the European Respiratory Society virtual meeting by John Gever

Several studies caught our eye at the just-concluded European Respiratory Society’s virtual annual meeting. Among them: more negative findings for ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment; clinical performance of a novel image-analysis system that determines in real time whether lung tissue biopsies collected during surgery contain malignant cells; and insights into just how triple therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reduced mortality in the pivotal ETHOS trial.

Ivermectin Fails (Again)

If more proof were needed that ivermectin isn’t a helpful treatment for COVID-19, now come data from Pakistan that will be hard to dismiss as the pharmaco-industrial complex at work.

Clinicians at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi treated 65 inpatients with ivermectin at 12 mg three times daily plus standard care, which at the time (October 2020 to January 2021) consisted of steroids and vitamin C. Their outcomes were no better than in 67 similar patients receiving only standard treatment. All patients were considered to have mild to moderate COVID-19 that nevertheless needed hospital care.

Both median hospital stays (4.39 days with ivermectin vs 4.68 for controls) and the number needing assisted ventilation (five vs six) were similar in the two groups.

“No symptomatic improvement,” relative to standard care, was seen either, said study authors led by S.M. Zubair.

Confirming Lung Cancer in the OR

Wouldn’t it be good if surgeons collecting lung tissue biopsies could determine then and there whether they are malignant, without waiting for conventional pathology lab analysis?

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