‘Needle in a haystack’: The hunt for coronavirus drug compounds in a Belgian biosafety lab

Professor Johan Neyts, a virologist at the Rega Institute for Medical Research at KU Leuven in Belgium, leads a team searching for drugs that can help us in the fight against Covid-19. His laboratory is part of two projects that are screening millions of compounds to find some that block the coronavirus from replicating and so … Read more

‘Never seen anything as effective’ – the not-so-new-drug repurposed for a rare disease

The earliest signs of alkaptonuria are often subtle and harmless, like a diaper stained black. However, over the years, this rare genetic disease can lead to a lifetime of surgery. Now, after 20 years of research, a not-so-new drug can offer relief for thousands of patients worldwide. The disease, also known as AKU, prevents the … Read more

How to repurpose a factory in a crisis

Medical suppliers must change how they manage their supply chains, and factories need to be able to rapidly pivot to manufacturing different products, in order to respond quickly to the next major crisis and avoid shortages of vital medical goods, experts say. Lack of PPE and ventilators at the start of the coronavirus pandemic occurred partly … Read more

How a trial that mirrors intensive care practices is pinpointing life-saving coronavirus treatments

Two anti-inflammatory drugs – tocilizumab and sarilumab – as well as steroids, have been identified as potential life-saving coronavirus treatments thanks to a trial set up in the wake of the 2009 swine flu pandemic that mirrors the way that people receive multiple treatments while in intensive care. When the H1N1 swine flu outbreak hit in … Read more

Five things to know about childhood cancer

Advances in diagnosis and care have yielded significant improvements in childhood cancer survival rates in Europe, but the long-term side-effect burden in young people — driven by the unlicensed use of adult cancer medicines — often means the price of survival is high, scientists say. Prescribing unlicensed drugs or the ‘off-label’ use of adult medicines for childhood … Read more

Why dogs can teach humans about healthier ageing

Our pet dogs could help extend human lives beyond their documented effects on people’s wellbeing. Increasingly, studies are looking at how the domestic dog, Canis familiaris, is key to understanding cognition and processes involved in ageing – something that could improve both animal and human wellbeing. ‘In recent years, the dog has grown to be one of … Read more