Press review

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Italy's health minister targeted by anti-vaxxers on social media after Covid-19 vaccine deal announced

FLORENCE, 19 June (APM) - The Italian health minister Roberto Speranza was targeted on social media by anti-vaxxer activists after he announced that Italy is one of four EU countries to have signed up to buy AstraZeneca's Covid-19 product, if it is successfully developed, Il Messaggero reported on Saturday.
Speranza described the deal as an important first step on Twitter. "Only with the vaccine can we finally beat Covid," he said.
The anti-vaxxers replying included husband and wife 'nanoparticles experts', Maria Antonietta Gatti and Stefano Montanari, the paper said.
"We are buying a vaccine which we still do not know anything about. There are 183 different strains of coronavirus, how can we think that this vaccine can protect us from all of them? This disease cannot be vaccinated against. The Italians will be guinea pigs for a vaccine that will not work," they said.
Il Messaggero described the reaction as a 'social media revolt' because of the number of negative comments. It listed a selection of those made. "You can have my dose, minster," was one. "Very kind of you (but) I don't trust you, never mind the vaccine," was another.
Those commentating included people warning that the vaccine is just an excuse "to give billions to the pharmaceutical companies" and that it is not safe. "No thanks I prefer to die of old-age," was typical of the scepticism. Many called on Speranza to test it first on himself, his government colleagues or his family rather than make Italians take it, the paper said.

Milan hospital reports reduced mortality from mavrilimumab in Covid-19

A Milan hospital has reported positive results from the use of mavrilimumab in Covid-19 patients with pneumonia and systemic hyper-inflammation, according to Thursday's Avvenire.
The San Raffaele clinic said that not only did none of the patients who were given the drug die, but they had a shorter recovery phase as well. The results were observed in an observational study of the drug started in March.
At the time, the coronavirus outbreak was especially strong, especially in Lombardy. The trial was to understand the variability of the severity of the cases and the response of critical patients to available drugs which are used for other diseases.
San Raffele is joining other hospitals in a study of mavrilimumab in a much bigger Covid-19 patient population, Avvenire reported

Health minister calls for abortion guidance after region restricts drug use

Health minister Roberto Speranza has called on a health advisory body to provide guidance on abortion after a region changed its rules so that anyone using a drug to terminate pregnancy has to be admitted to hospital for three days, La Repubblica reported on Tuesday.
Speranza, requested an opinion from the Superior Health Council, CSS, in the light of the most recent scientific evidence, on the voluntary termination of pregnancy with a pharmacological method, the paper said.
The aim is to understand whether women's health is protected if the service is performed in a day hospital rather than during a three-day hospital stay.
The minister is responding to the controversies triggered by the decision of the governor of Umbria, Donatella Tesei, to cancel the regional resolution that allowed pharmacological abortion to be carried out with RU486 without hospitalisation, the paper said.
Tesei insisted she is trying to protect patients' health and noted ministerial guidelines, issued in 2010, recommend three days hospitalisation. Many regions, including Tuscany, Emilia Romagna, Lazio and Liguria, have since adopted a day hospital service in their own regulations, as had Umbria until a few days ago.

Raloxifene identified by supercomputers as possible treatment of Covid-19

Raloxifene has been identified by supercomputers as a possible treatment of Covid-19, according to Friday's La Repubblica.
A public-private consortium, consisting of 18 partners, including Italy's Dompé, has announced that the drug could be effective in moderate and mild Covid-19 cases.
The consortium has filed for a patent to protect the intellectual property of the results produced by the European project Exscalate4CoV. It is in discussions with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) about a possible clinical trial in humans, the paper said.
To favour universal access to any treatments that come out of the research, all scientific data produced will be made publicly available.
Identification of the drug was achieved after screening more than 400,000 molecules by the consortium's supercomputers. Raloxifene emerged as the most promising molecule to come out of the process.
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