Fire kills 7 coronavirus patients in India COVID-19 facility

Relatives grief for their loved one outside the mortuary room of the Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad on August 6, 2020, after a fire broke early in the morning in the intensive care unit of the Shrey Hospital killing 8 coronavirus patients. (File/AFP)
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Updated 09 August 2020

Fire kills 7 coronavirus patients in India COVID-19 facility

  • The blaze at Hotel Swarna Palace in the city of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh state broke out at 5 a.m.
  • Fires are common in buildings in India because of poor safety standards with inadequate fire extinguishers

HYDERABAD, India: A fire killed seven coronavirus patients early Sunday at a southern Indian hotel being used as a COVID-19 facility, officials said, in the second such incident this month.
The blaze at Hotel Swarna Palace in the city of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh state broke out at 5 a.m. Rescue teams evacuated those trapped in the multistory building, said Senior police officer Srinivasulu, who uses only one name.
At least 22 people were brought to hospitals, he said.
The fire was brought under control but the smoke was still billowing out from the building, he said.
Srinivasulu said that an electrical short-circuit appeared to be the cause of the fire.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and assured survivors of all possible support.
This the second fire incident at a COVID-19 facility in India this month. On Thursday, eight people were killed in a fire in the intensive care unit of a private COVID-19 designated hospital in Ahmedabad in Gujarat state.
Fires are common in buildings in India because of poor safety standards with inadequate fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarm systems.


Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

Updated 28 September 2020

Arthritis drug trialled as potential treatment for COVID-19

  • Dr. Andy Martin: We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab could potentially ease the effect of COVID- 19 on the lungs
  • Dr. Tim Felton: The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving

LONDON: The experimental arthritis drug, otilimab, is being trialled as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

The first patient, administered with the drug, is currently being cared for at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT).

The OSCAR study (Otilimab in Severe COVID-19 Related Disease) is sponsored and funded by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The study at the MRI is being led by Dr. Andy Martin, an Intensive Care and Anaesthesia Consultant.

Dr. Martin said: “The patients eligible to take part in this study are those experiencing very severe lung difficulties due to COVID-19 infection and are receiving oxygen or ventilator support.

“We are conducting this study to see whether otilimab — which is under investigation as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis — could also potentially ease the effect of coronavirus on the lungs, dampening the impact of the virus on the immune system.

Christopher Corsico, Senior Vice President Development, GSK said: “We are continuing to work hard to find solutions to address the pandemic, including exploring potential treatment options for COVID-19 patients.

“We know that some COVID-19 patients experience an overreaction of their immune system — sometimes referred to as cytokine storm — which can lead to hospitalization or death. We believe that otilimab might be able to help counter or calm this process.

Dr. Tim Felton, Honorary Consultant, Senior Lecturer at The University of Manchester and Clinical Lead for all MFT COVID-19-related research studies, leads OSCAR at Wythenshawe Hospital, which is also part of MFT.

Dr. Felton said: “The primary end point of this study is that participants are alive and free of lung failure after 28 days — so this research is potentially life-saving.

“I’d like to thank our first OSCAR participant — as well as the thousands of others who have taken part in coronavirus studies at MFT to date — as every participant who takes part in our research is contributing to the coordinated effort to enhance understanding of this global pandemic.”