How scientists revived an old-school treatment for a 21st century pandemic

Dr. Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist and physician at Johns Hopkins University, has spearheaded a nationwide initiative to test the healing powers of "convalescent plasma" from COVID-19 survivors. <span class="copyright">(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)</span>
Dr. Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist and physician at Johns Hopkins University, has spearheaded a nationwide initiative to test the healing powers of “convalescent plasma” from COVID-19 survivors. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

A few weeks after the new coronavirus arrived on U.S. shores, Dr. Arturo Casadevall hatched a plan to beat back the outbreak with a medical advance so powerful it had earned a Nobel Prize.

In 1901.

That’s when Dr. Emil Adolf von Behring was honored for pioneering the use of so-called convalescent serum as a treatment for diphtheria. In 1892, the Prussian bacteriologist infected horses with the pathogen that causes the deadly disease. If the beasts recovered, Von Behring harvested their blood, removed its red blood cells and clotting proteins, and introduced the resulting antibody-rich fluid into the bloodstreams of human diphtheria patients.

Until a diphtheria vaccine came into broad use in the 1930s, Von Behring’s daring

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UK study finds digital treatment for insomnia more effective than face-to-face therapy

An online self-help programme that helps people sleep better is more effective than face-to-face psychological therapy, a study involving over 7,000 NHS patients has found.

Sleepio, a six-week digital treatment for insomnia, helped 56% of users beat the condition, whereas the success rate in NHS Improving access to psychological therapy (Iapt) services is 50%.

The programme helped insomniacs gain almost six hours more sleep a week, reduced their use of sleeping pills, and cut the number of times they went to the GP or had to take a day off sick from work. It also helped reduce the anxiety and depression that lay behind many participants’ sleeplessness.

The findings have emerged from a study involving 7,078 patients in the Thames Valley, which was overseen by the Oxford academic health science network of doctors, scientists and academics.

“The experiment was a very big success. Using Sleepio had a significant impact”, said

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Health Canada authorizes first COVID-19 treatment drug

Yahoo News Canada is committed to providing our readers with the most accurate and recent information on all things coronavirus. We know things change quickly, including some possible information in this story. For the latest on COVID-19, we encourage our readers to consult online resources like Canada’s public health website, World Health Organization, as well as our own Yahoo Canada homepage.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread around the world, Canadians seem to be increasingly concerned about their health and safety

Currently, there are more than 114,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Canada and nearly 8,800 deaths.

Check back for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak in Canada.

For a full archive of the first month of the pandemic, please check our archive of events.

July 28

11:15 a.m.: Health Canada authorizes first COVID-19 treatment drug

Health Canada has authorized the first drug for COVID-19 treatment.

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