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Dangerously ill coronavirus patients are making "startling recoveries" in spite of being at "death's door" after being given drugs that dial down the immune system, experts have said. Trials are taking place of several drugs that prevent a part of the immune system called the complement system from becoming over-activated. The drug furthest along in trials, ravulizumab, is already used to treat rare blood diseases and is being tested at hospitals in Cambridge, London, Birmingham and Leeds. The drugs are known as "anti-C5" drugs because they prevent a molecule called C5 from triggering the complement-system response. Speaking at a coronavirus briefing on Thursday, Professor Paul Morgan, the director of the Systems Immunity Research Institute at Cardiff University, said the drugs were providing a lifeline for patients who were near death. He said: "Switching off C5 can have a big effect. We and others have used anti-C5 blocking agents in small scales on very severe Covid patients with very promising results. "These were people who had reached the stage where there was no further therapy for them; they were on ventilators, and really at death's door ... [some] have made startling recoveries. "Of course these are small numbers, but these drugs are now in large scale clinical trials and we want to see the outcomes of those in the too distant future." The complement system helps clear away harmful cells and triggers the production of immune cells known as cytokines which can cause inflammation. However, when in overdrive it begins attacking the body itself and is thought to play a role in many autoimmune diseases, including asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. It is also the response that causes sepsis. In the early stages of the disease, Covid-19 is believed to switch off the body's ability to make the anti-viral proteins called interferons. It is the reason patients do not feel unwell even when they have a lot of virus in the body. Although anti-viral drugs such as remdesivir have not proved as successful as hoped in trials, it is possible they may work earlier in the illness to stop the immune system from overloading. Paul Lehner, professor of immunology and medicine at the University of Cambridge, said it was crucial to try and treat the disease before the dangerous immune storm had happened. "We have to get better at asymptotic screening and we need to treat those at risk early," he said. "We are identifying now, I think, good and better inhaled antiviral agents. We've got to learn how to treat early to avoid the severe stage disease. Inhaled interferons or remdesivir may be effective in the early stage." Professor Sir Stephen O'Rahilly, the director of the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit at the University of Cambridge, also said people could help themselves by losing weight. Sir Stephen, who caught coronavirus in the spring, believes he only survived because he had lost 13 pounds in the preceding months and said: "Even a small amount of weight loss can be beneficial. Walk a mile, lose a pound. Even a modest degree of calorific restriction in a matter of days can start to shift fat in the organs even before body weight reduces. "We might be able to accelerate this with diabetes drugs, using them in people who don't have diabetes, to improve insulin sensitivity."
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Biden fends off flailing Trump but most voters have already decidedThe Democratic nominee handled the president’s attacks with relative aplomb but 40 million Americans have already voted
Covid surge 'very serious' in Germany and 'out of control' in Spain. Czech PM apologises for bringing back tough measures; Poland and Croatia set daily records
Melania, Ivanka, Tiffany, Lara and Eric all sport coverings after provoking widespread criticism in Ohio
Germany is making preparations to start vaccinations against the coronavirus before the end of the year, Bild daily reported on Friday. The health ministry plans to create 60 special vaccination centres to ensure the vaccines can be stored at the proper temperature and has asked the country's 16 federal states to provide addresses for them by Nov. 10, Bild reported without citing its sources. At a video conference earlier this week, Health Minister Jens Spahn, who himself tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, said Germany's BioNTech was close to getting a vaccine approved, Bild cited participants as saying.
Much unlike a scrunchie, hair clip, or even a hat, a shower cap is one of those hair accessories of which many of us overlook the benefits. Sure, most people use them to prevent their hair from getting wet in the shower - after all, that's how they're marketed - but there are actually a few other reasons why you should invest in a reusable shower cap that you'll always be able to rely on. Outside of helping you conserve water and energy by skipping the shampoo process, wearing a shower cap can help you protect and preserve the hairstyle you're currently wearing, especially if you've recently gotten a blowout or if you've had your hair professionally straightened. Covering it with a quality cap will keep out moisture that can cause frizz that may later lead you to have to re-style your hair. They're also beneficial when it comes to sealing moisture into the hair, which is why plenty of people use them while deep conditioning; they can help trap the heat being released from the top of your head and can keep your hair's cuticles open so that the hydrating ingredients can more easily penetrate. Are you sold yet? If so, do away with your single-use, plastic shower caps and shop a few of our favorite reusable (and fashion-forward) ones ahead.
Donald Trump reverts to type in debate – and it isn't 'magnificently brilliant'. The cosmic chasm between the president’s self-regard and how he comes across was on full display in a performance unlikely to halt his tailspin
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Public Health England figures show rise in Covid-19 cases slowing. Early data suggests new infections may be stabilising, though hospitalisation rates are still rising
An adorable infant western lowland gorilla is being given 24/7 care by keepers at Bristol Zoo and Gardens in England, after his mother struggled to feed him.The two-month-old baby was not getting enough milk from his mom, Kala, to survive, so a small team of experienced keepers have been bottle-feeding him day and night, the zoo said.According to the zoo, the infant is being looked after in the Gorilla House, and his mother and the other gorillas get to see him, smell him, and be near him regularly to ensure he continues to be accepted as a member of the family.He will continue to be bottle-fed for the next four months, and it is hoped that he will then be ready to return to the rest of the group.“Hand-rearing any animal is not a decision we take lightly, as our preference is always for an animal to be reared naturally by its own mother,” said Bristol Zoo mammals curator Lynsey Bugg.“Sadly this doesn’t always happen, and in this instance, we decided that it was in the baby gorilla’s best interests for us to hand-rear him to ensure he had the best chance of survival,” Bugg added. Credit: Bristol Zoo Gardens via Storyful
Supermodel, singer-songwriter, France's former first lady: Carla Bruni has already enjoyed many lives. She's now releasing an eponymous album of love songs and speaks to FRANCE 24's Louise Dupont about making music during lockdown. Bruni also takes a look back at a career that's taken her from fashion catwalks to the world's concert halls, with a little detour via the presidential palace in Paris.
Between spending so much time inside and always wearing protective masks outside, if you haven't had at least one skin flare-up this year, please keep that luck to yourself. However, if you're like most of us, you've noticed either a rise in acne, dryness, or general irritation . . . and have been switching up your routine to balance things back out. With face wash in particular, it's true that skin can also get triggered by potent formulas it's not used to, sometimes what is causing the issue isn't an active ingredient (or something you're doing), but a hidden fragrance in your products. For sensitive skin types, artificial fragrances (and colors and preservatives) can be especially irritating. That's why you might consider looking for gentle, fragrance-free options (which, to be clear, is different from unscented) to help press reset. Since we're all in this together, we picked out the best fragrance-free face cleansers at Sephora to help you get started. Each one skips the synthetic fragrance entirely so, if you smell anything, it's coming from natural ingredients (like essential oils and plant extracts) also found - and working - inside. Check out our favorite fragrance-free face wash ahead, which, even without a noticeable aroma, are all still pretty sweet.