Health Highlights: April 9, 2020

By on April 9, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Coronavirus Antibody Finger Prick Test Useless: Researchers

A home-administered finger prick test that was viewed by many as a possible coronavirus pandemic breakthrough is not accurate enough to be of any use, British researchers say.

The test was designed to detect antibodies to the new coronavirus. The presence of those antibodies would show that a person had the coronavirus in the past and had built up immunity to it, NBC News reported.

There was great optimism about the test among governments and businesses, but these new results have deflated those hopes.

“Sadly, the tests we have looked at to date have not performed well,” Sir John Bell, the Oxford University professor leading the tests for the British government, wrote in a blog post Sunday, NBC News reported. “We see many false negatives … and we also see false positives.”

The British government ordered millions of the kits and now wants refunds.


Virus Kills Girl Who Contributed to Medical Marijuana Legalization in U.S.

A 13-year-old girl whose struggles with a rare seizure disorder helped trigger medical marijuana legalization in the United States died Tuesday after she and her family became ill with an unspecified virus.

Charlotte Figi,13, had Dravet Syndrome, “a rare, drug-resistant epilepsy,” according to the Epilepsy Foundation, CBS News reported.

Charlotte suffered as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week. She had to use a wheelchair, could barely speak, and had repeated cardiac arrests. While traditional seizure medications provided little help, Figi responded well to medical marijuana.

That led her parents to campaign nationwide for the legalization of medical marijuana.

“Charlotte is no longer suffering. She is seizure-free forever. Thank you so much for all of your love,” her mother, Paige Figi, wrote in a post on her Facebook page, CBS News reported.

On March 26, a Facebook post by Paige Figi said that all five family members were sick with “fevers, pains, coughs” and were “struggling to breathe,” but she did not identify their illness.

A week later, her husband Matt Figi wrote on her page that most of the family had recovered “from a month of virus but our little Charlotte hasn’t improved.”

In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a medication made from CBD, as one of two new drugs to treat Dravet syndrome, CBS News reported.

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