Hydroxychloroquine does not counter SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters, high dose of favipiravir does: study — ScienceDaily

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Virologists from the KU Leuven Rega Institute in Belgium have shown that a treatment with the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine does not limit SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus replication in hamsters. A high dose of the anti-flu drug favipiravir, by contrast, has an antiviral effect in the hamsters. The team published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Virologists at the KU Leuven Rega Institute have been working on two lines of SARS-CoV-2 research: searching for a vaccine to prevent infection, and testing existing drugs to see which one can reduce the amount of virus in infected people.

To test the efficacy of the vaccine and antivirals preclinically, the researchers use hamsters. The rodents are particularly suitable for SARS-CoV-2 research because the virus replicates itself strongly in hamsters after infection. Moreover, hamsters develop a lung pathology similar to mild COVID-19 in humans. This is not the case with mice, for example.

For this study, the team of Suzanne Kaptein (PhD), Joana Rocha-Pereira (PhD), Professor Leen Delang, and Professor Johan Neyts gave the hamsters either hydroxychloroquine or favipiravir — a broad-spectrum antiviral drug used in Japan to treat influenza — for four to five days. They tested several doses of favipiravir. The hamsters were infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in two ways: by inserting a high dose of virus directly into their noses or by putting a healthy hamster in a cage with an infected hamster. Drug treatment was started one hour before the direct infection or one day before the exposure to an infected hamster. Four days after infection or exposure, the researchers measured how much of the virus was present in the hamsters.

Hydroxychloroquine versus favipiravir

Treatment with hydroxychloroquine had no impact: the virus levels did not decrease and the hamsters were still infectious. “Despite the lack

A Digital Brave New World That Needs a Dose of Romeo and Juliet

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Aldous Huxley wrote a treatise in 1958 that explicated how his dystopian vision in Brave New World was coming true. If Huxley felt like that then, imagine what he would say about the world now. The hyper-mediation of computer technology has led to a digitized existence; iPads and iPhones have taken over communication, resulting in much less face-to-face interaction. In most cases, digital media is a huge blessing, as exemplified by educational websites like Shmoop, but there are dangers of where it could lead. While the digital revolution has not lead to the extreme mechanization of society that Huxley envisioned, it certainly raises fears of artificial intelligence and impersonal interaction. Huxley's fictional world in which human beings are genetically manufactured and soma users, a drug that transports them to a trippy universe removed from reality, could easily be compared to post-millennium existence, in which cyborgs and virtual reality have infiltrated society (think of the more and more real possibility of The Matrix).

In Huxley's world and perhaps in our own, the antidote is Shakespeare. Looking to classic literature that explores the depths of human nature certainly counteracts technology overload. So next time you want to turn on an episode of Bachelor Pad, try picking up Romeo and Juliet. While both don't exactly depict reality, since neither scheming singles in a far-from-reality TV show, nor star-crossed lovers who fall in love at first sight are exactly viable scenarios, at least the latter poetically explores the essence of human nature.

That is precisely what is missing in the imagined dystopia in Brave New World. Genetic engineering and the mechanization of mass production have eliminated individuality and emotion. Naming his dystopian society the World State, Huxley intuitively prophesized globalization, which has been rapidly amplified by the World Wide Web. The World State is …