Friday Five

Coronavirus continues and a call to tackle the climate “health crisis” – it’s Friday Five


Remarkable lung cells can reverse smoking damage

Scientists have discovered that a small proportion of cells in smokers lungs can remarkably avoid damage, including from those smoking a pack a day for 40 years.

Chemicals in tobacco smoke corrupt and mutate the DNA in lung cells, transforming them from healthy to cancerous.

However, these findings suggest that once a smoker quits, the cells that remained unscathed began to regenerate and replace the damaged cells.

Read more in The BBC.

NHS launches campaign to tackle climate change

The NHS has announced plans to implement a new initiative to help tackle the current climate “health crisis”.

With news that the health and care system in England is responsible for an estimated 4-5% of the country’s carbon footprint, it is hoped that the new initiative will help the country get to “net zero”.

The NHS says that it will be taking immediate action in 2020, with a new Standard Contract calling hospitals to reduce carbon from buildings and estates, switching to less polluting anaesthetic gases, better asthma inhalers, and encouraging more active travel for staff.

Read more in The PharmaTimes.

The race for a vaccine

Following the release of the coronavirus DNA sequence by Chinese officials, scientists have been working at unprecedented speed to help develop a vaccine for the deadly virus.

New DNA technology at Inovio’s lab in San Diego designed a new vaccine within three hours, which hoped to go into human trials by the summer.

This work is funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, which was founded in the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak, and is allowing these research facilities, such as Inovio, to spring into action and if timelines go to plan, it will be the quickest a new vaccine has ever been developed in an outbreak situation.

Read more on BBC News.

 

NHS response teams to help older people at home

The NHS has announced a new scheme to help support older people to stay well at home and avoid hospital admissions.

“Urgent Community Response” teams are backed by a £14 million of investment by the NHS and will be able to address both health and social care needs, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy, medication prescribing and reviews, and help with staying well fed and hydrated.

The new scheme fits in with NHS’ Long Term Plan to support England’s ageing population and those with complex needs.

Read more in the PharmaTimes.


Quote of the week

In response to the world’s first AI drug discovery, Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, said:

“AI has huge potential to enhance and accelerate drug discovery and I’m excited to see the first example of a new drug now entering human clinical trials that was created using AI”.

Read more at PharmaField.