Contagion Live News Network: Coronavirus Briefing for May 26, 2020


A daily news update on our COVID-19 coverage.

I’m Kevin Kunzmann, managing editor of Contagion, here with your coronavirus 2019 update for May 26, 2020.

This past holiday weekend was bookended by a couple of major setbacks to the case of controversial drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of patients hospitalized with coronavirus. First, on Friday, an assessment of clinical data from investigators in the US and Switzerland published in The Lancet showed the two autoimmune therapies, when used in combination with or without a second-generation macrolide, were associated with both worsened hospital mortality and ventricular arrhythmia versus other treatments initially used to treat the virus.

Then, on Monday, the World Health Organization announced the temporary suspension of the hydroxychloroquine treatment arm from its ongoing, global Solidarity Trial, a constantly recruiting assessment of therapy candidates being used in diagnosed, hospitalized patients with COVID-19 which has currently reached 17 countries.

A media briefing statement from the organization on Monday afternoon cited The Lancet study findings as a catalyst for the suspension of the treatment arm. During the suspension, they intend to review data collected thus far in the Solidarity Trial to consider the drug’s merit in fighting the virus.

A team of London-based investigators reported that, similar to previous viral epidemics, COVID-19 will likely drive risk of psychiatric burdens even in people unaffected by the virus.

Their research, which took into consideration psychiatric manifestations observed during the SARS and MERS outbreaks, showed that widespread anxiety, social isolation, and even financial burdens may drive mental health distress in patients and non-patients alike.

They advise that clinicians be wary of increased risks for depression, anxiety, fatigue, PTSD, and even rarer neuropsychiatric syndromes in the wake of the pandemic.

Lastly, preliminary results from the ACTT-1 clinical trial, assessing intravenous remdesivir for adults hospitalized with COVID-19 versus placebo showed a 4-day decrease in median time to recovery—a difference which NIAID-funded investigators deemed as statistically significant.

The 1,000 patient assessment of a 10-day remdesivir regimen now has promising enough findings for its primary outcome of reduced hospital duration in patients that investigators now look to the ACTT2 trial, in which remdesivir plus anti-inflammatory therapy baricitinib will be compared to lone remdesivir in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 who require supplemental oxygen therapy.

For these stories and more topline clinical news surrounding the pandemic, be sure to visit us at For now, I’m Kevin Kunzmann with Contagion. Thanks for watching.

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