Researchers found that severe risk of death fell by a third for people taking blood pressure medication – GETTY IMAGES

Medication for high blood pressure lowers the risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid-19 by one third, a study suggests. 

Researchers from the University of East Anglia studied 28,000 patients taking antihypertensives, a class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. 

They found that the risk of severe Covid-19 illness and death fell by one third for people taking Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB) .

Lead researcher Dr Vassilios Vassiliou, from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, said: “We found that there was a significantly lower risk of death and critical outcomes, so they might in fact have a protective role, particularly in patients with hypertension.”

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12:44 AMAustralia’s Victoria state reports lowest rise in cases in seven weeks

The Australian state of Victoria reported its lowest daily rise in new infections in seven weeks on Monday, fuelling optimism that a deadly second wave there is subsiding.

Victoria today reported 116 cases and 15 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, down from a peak of more than 700 cases early this month.

Australia saw a surge in infections in the past month in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital and the country’s second-largest city, but cases have been trending downward in recent days helped by a total lockdown.

While the Melbourne lockdown has curtailed the spread of infections, it has wreaked havoc on the economy with Australia’s effective unemployment rate expected to climb above 13pc by the end of September, according to government estimates.

Nearly half a million people could lose their jobs due to the full lockdown in Melbourne, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Sunday.

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11:32 PMJapan’s Prime Minister Abe to visit hospital againJapan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is rumoured to have health issues – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to visit a Tokyo hospital today, Yomiuri daily said, amid mounting concerns about his ability to continue as premier due to health issues and fatigue from handling the coronavirus crisis.

Citing several government and coalition sources, Yomiuri said Abe would receive the results of a medical check-up from a week ago, when he underwent an examination that lasted seven-and-a-half hours, adding to worries about his health.

Abe, already the country’s longest-serving prime minister, was set to surpass a half-century-old record set by his great-uncle Eisaku Sato for the longest consecutive tenure as premier on Monday.

Abe, in office since 2012 in his second stint as prime minister, resigned from his first term in 2007 because of struggles with ulcerative colitis, which he now keeps under control with medication that was not previously available.

Akira Amari, an Abe confidante and chairman of the LDP’s tax panel, said that Abe, 65, could be suffering from fatigue because of his continuous work over the response to the virus.

10:41 PMUS announces approval of plasma treatment against virus

American authorities announced an emergency approval of blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients as a treatment against the disease that has killed over 176,000 in the US.

The Food and Drug Administration’s authorisation comes as President Donald Trump faces intense pressure to curb the contagion that has crippled the world’s largest economy and clouded his once-promising prospects for re-election in November.

The plasma is believed to contain powerful antibodies that can help fight off the disease faster and help protect people from being seriously hurt by it.

“This product may be effective in treating Covid-19 and… the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product,” FDA said in a statement.

While the treatment has already been used on patients in the United States and other nations, the extent of its effectiveness is still debated by experts and some have warned that it could carry side effects.

For more read Donald Trump gives emergency authorisation for use of plasma to treat coronavirus  by US correspondent David Millward.

10:31 PMBoris Johnson urges parents to send their kids back to schoolPrime Minister Boris Johnson visits St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in London encouraging children to return to the classroom – Lucy Young/Pool Evening Standard

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on parents to send their children back to school next month after the summer holidays, which he views as a key step to helping the country and its economy recover from the lockdown.

Mr Johnson followed up on a warning over the weekend from medical advisers who said that students faced bigger risks from missing out on their education than from catching the virus.

“The risk of contracting Covid-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and well-being to be away from school any longer,” Johnson said in a statement.

“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends. Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.”

Schools shut their doors in March, except for the children of key workers, and reopened in June for only a small number of pupils.

For more read Julia Hartley-Brewer ‘s  article entitled  Schools crisis is Boris Johnson’s do-or-die moment.



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