Friday Five

Funding for smart technologies to manage asthma, the risk factors for Long Covid and protective mouthwash – this week’s Friday Five

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Launch of asthma fund to support the development of new life-changing technologies

The Asthma Technology Fund has been created by Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation alongside the National Institute for Health Research and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The £3m fund aims to create innovative and life-changing technology for 5.4 million people living with asthma in the UK. At present, asthma results in around 70,000 hospital admissions and 1,100 deaths per year. The fund hopes to support the development of scalable and effective technology options for individuals living with asthma, all the way through the to scaling-up within the NHS.

“New and emerging technologies, such as smart inhalers that link to personal devices, have the potential to revolutionise the way we diagnose, manage and treat asthma,” said Kedar Pandya, director for Cross-Council Programmes, EPSRC.

Read the full story in the PharmaTimes.

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Having a wide range of initial symptoms, old age and being female increases the risk of developing ‘long Covid’, scientists have found

Scientists from King’s College London have been using data from the Covid-19 Symptom Study app to predict who will get long-lasting illness. The aim is to develop an early warning signal to identify patients who will need extra care or who may benefit from early treatment.

One of the key findings from the study was that people with multiple symptoms of Covid-19 are more likely to develop long-Covid. “Having more than five different symptoms in the first week was one of the key risk factors,” Dr Claire Steves, from Kings College London. This means someone who had a cough, fatigue, headache and lost their sense of smell would be at a higher risk than someone who only had a cough.

In addition to the symptoms listed above, the study also found that having asthma and excess weight increased the risk of developing long-Covid.

Read the full story in the BBC.

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Oral mouthwash may have the ability to inactivate human coronavirus, according to a new research study

The researchers from Penn State College of Medicine found that several oral rinses had a strong ability to neutralise human coronavirus, which suggests that these products may have the potential to reduce the viral load in the mouth after infection and may help to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

“While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed. The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines.” said Craig Meyers, a distinguished professor of microbiology and immunology, who led the research group.

More research is needed to examine which specific ingredients within mouthwash are responsible for this inactivation.

Read the full story in Science Daily.

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Drinking coffee and green tea is associated with a lower risk of dying among people with type 2 diabetes, say researchers

Scientists tracked the health of 4900 Japanese people with type 2 diabetes for just over 5 years. People with type 2 diabetes are more prone to circulatory diseases, dementia, cancer, and bone fractures.

They found the risk of death was reduced by up to 50% in those who drank both green tea and coffee every day. Of significance, the risk of death was 63% lower in those who had a combination of 4 or more cups of green tea and 2 or more cups of coffee every day.

The research published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care suggests that regularly drinking green tea and coffee may be beneficial for health because of the various bioactive compounds these beverages contain.

Read the full story in the Science Daily.


Quote of the week

In Asha Patel’s recent article for the HSJ, she reflects on the pandemic with respect to mental health and well-being. She said ‘’Forecasts from the Centre for Mental Health show at least 500,000 individuals in the UK may experience ill mental health as a result of the pandemic. It is more vital than ever that mental health services are not forgotten, but rather included at the forefront of the national response towards the pandemic’’

Read the full article in the HSJ.