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BC Government Allowing Trikafta for Treatment of Cystic Fibrosis in Children 6 – 11 Years Old – My Comox Valley Now

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The BC NDP government confirms it will approve the cystic fibrosis medication Trikafta for children six to 11 years old starting next week.

The province is acting on a recommendation from the Canadian Drug Expert Committee.

Minister of Health, Adrian Dix, says “living with cystic fibrosis is a daily struggle for both patients and their families” and expanding access to Trikafta for children aged six to 11 provides an additional treatment option for the hundreds of children with cystic fibrosis.

Trikafta is a triple-combination medication of ivacaftor, tezacaftor and elexacaftor, and is given to cystic fibrosis sufferers who have at least one F508del mutation.

It has been shown to improve lung function and quality of life as well as reduce the frequency of lung attacks.

A Vancouver Island woman, who says Trikafta has changed her life, says the medication should have been approved for use in children months ago.

Kim Wood of Campbell River says it’s unfortunate the province waited this long while other jurisdictions approved it for children.

She says it’s important for children to be able to start taking Trikafta as early as possible because slowing the progression of cystic fibrosis in their bodies will have a big impact later in their lives.

Wood says she’s aware of the case of at least one 10-year old girl who could have had a much more enjoyable summer had she been able to use Trikafta.

She gets one summer being 10 years old, and she’s been stuck in the hospital when she could have started taking Trikafta as early as July, that’s when Ontario approved it, and she could have had a completely different summer.”

Wood adds that if it had been approved in July, the coming cold and flu season would have been much different for children.

She say autumn is a very different time for people with cystic fibrosis because its cold and flu season.

A common cold affects us a lot more harshly than the average person, and so if she could have gotten her health up to a healthier point going into the cold and flu season, then she would have been a lot better off going into her school.”

Wood says she recently celebrated a milestone she wasn’t certain that she would reach – her 40th birthday.

She first began taking Trikafta two years ago while it was being tested and was amazed by the difference it made.

Wood says after a few days of using the medication she was awe-struck because she was able to inhale so clearly and completely unrestricted, “it was like I could, I was taking a deep breath in, and I just felt like I could go for ever and ever.”

She began to feel other changes as more oxygen reached other parts of her body.

Wood says her body was changing in so many positive ways it took her some time to fully realize all the physical improvements taking place.

Cystic fibrosis is a rare, life-threatening disease where thick mucus builds up in the lungs, digestive tract, and other parts of the body.

It causes severe respiratory and digestive problems as well as other complications such as infections and diabetes.

Kim Steele of Cystic Fibrosis Canada calls Trikafta “the single greatest innovation in the history of cystic fibrosis.”

She says it’s often considered a lung disease, but actually creates thick sticky mucus throughout the body and causes problems in the pancreas, lungs, and liver.

Steel says slowing the progression of symptoms improves the overall body health in recipients.

Cystic Fibrosis Canada says families are encouraged to speak with their clinic to determine eligibility for Trikafta and the next steps they will need to take.

The province says Trikafta is covered by the BC Expensive Drugs for Rare Diseases process, which allows patients to access high-cost drugs for rare conditions on a case-by-case basis.

It says that at this time, approximately 150 people in BC benefit from Trikafta PharmaCare coverage.

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Advancing care for burn patients | Queen's Gazette – Queen's University

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New research finds that glutamine, previously thought to help with burn injuries, does not improve patients’ time to discharge from hospital.

Dr. Daren Heyland, Director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at Queen’s University and principal investigator and sponsor of the glutamine trial.

Queen’s researcher Daren Heyland (Medicine) has spent his career studying what nutrients are best for intensive care patients who cannot eat for themselves, trying to understand if certain nutrients assist with their recovery. Patients in intensive care who cannot eat for themselves are fed artificial nutrition through a feeding tube or an intravenous catheter. For over 20 years, Dr. Heyland has been evaluating the role of glutamine, which is an amino acid that is made in the body and is found in foods like fish, eggs, and nuts.  

Worldwide, burn injuries are among the most expensive traumatic injuries to treat and 50 per cent of burn patients are treated using glutamine. Before adopting this practice more broadly, however, the medical community wanted more evidence of the efficacy of glutamine.

Seeking to understand the role of the amino acid in burn recovery, Heyland has been involved in a decade-long scientific trial involving 1,200 patients around the world with severe burns. The study was recently published in the high-impact New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), and marked the first time a clinical trial on burn patients was featured in the prestigious publication. It yielded some unexpected results – the glutamine did not appear to harm or help burn patients.

“In the past, small, single-centre trials had suggested that glutamine was beneficial in the recovery of patients with severe burns. However, our previous work with glutamine in stressed, sick patients suggested that glutamine might actually be harmful in critically ill patients with organ failure. The only way to resolve these conflicting data was to conduct a large trial evaluating glutamine in severe burns,” said Dr. Heyland.

Dr. Heyland is the Director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit at Queen’s University, which functioned as the coordinating centre for the trial. He also serves as the principal investigator and sponsor of the trial, partnering with over 60 hospital burn units in nearly 20 countries.

“It took us 10 years to complete the trial, including recruiting patients and securing funding,” said Dr. Heyland. “The results of this trial will hopefully cause burn units that were using glutamine to put a stop this unnecessary practice.”

The trial was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Department of Defense (DOD) in the U.S. through their competitive granting programs. About 20-30 per cent of wounded soldiers have burns, and the DOD is looking for new ways to manage burns.

Dr. Heyland’s research evaluating the use of nutrition or specific nutrients and their role in improving the recovery of critically ill patients is not over. With $1.5 million in new funding from the DOD, he is now looking at high-dose intravenous vitamin C in burn-injured patients, which may help reduce the amount of fluid burn patients require to stay alive.

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Feds lift border vaccine requirements, mandatory masks on planes and trains

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OTTAWA — Federal ministers say all COVID-19 border restrictions will be removed as of Saturday, including mandatory vaccination, testing and quarantine of international travellers, as well as the requirement for masks on planes and trains.

The cabinet order maintaining COVID-19 border measures will not be renewed when it expires on Sept. 30.

But Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is once again warning that pandemic restrictions could be reinstated if they are needed.

“We have learned over the last (two-and-a-half) years the type of measures that can work,” Duclos said Monday.

“We will therefore leave open all possible options when it comes to protecting the health and safety of Canadians.”

The changes mean foreign nationals will no longer require an approved series of vaccinations to enter the country.

In addition, Canada-bound travellers will no longer be subject to random COVID-19 tests, and unvaccinated Canadians will not need to isolate when they return to the country.

Cruise passengers will not have to do pre-board tests or prove they have been vaccinated.

And people who enter the country after Saturday will not need to monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

The five federal ministers making the announcement said the changes are informed by science and epidemiology, adding that modelling indicates the peak of the latest wave of the disease has “largely passed.”

But they did face questions about whether the move is at least partially politically motivated as the Liberals contend with the newly elected Opposition leader, Pierre Poilievre.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is still strongly recommending that people wear masks, particularly in crowded environments such as planes and trains.

“The science is clear: wearing a mask is clearly a means of personal protection that is extremely effective,” said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief health officer.

“I hope Canadians will make an enlightened decision about this.”

Duclos said the negative attitudes of some passengers have made things very difficult for airlines and crews to enforce the mask mandate in recent months, and cited that as a factor in the decision.

“The transmission of the variants of COVID are domestic-based, for the most part, and therefore, this is what we should stress: masking is highly recommended … but it is not something that can be, in a sense, forced.”

That is a change in messaging from earlier in the summer, when the government and public health officials insisted that maintaining measures at the border was necessary to track and prevent the introduction of new variants.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said there have been 38 million entries at the border in 2022 so far, more than double the number in all of last year. “We want to keep that momentum going.”

The controversial ArriveCan app will no longer be mandatory when the order expires.

“Going forward, use of ArriveCan will be optional, allowing travellers who so choose to submit their customs declaration in advance at major airports,” Mendicino said.

So far that option is available at international airports in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, but that will be expanded to include Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax and Billy Bishop airport in Toronto.

In addition, the Canada Border Services Agency is looking at adding features to ArriveCan to be able to provide information such as border wait times.

The changes do not remove the quarantine or testing requirements for people who enter Canada before Saturday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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Using artificial sweeteners may raise the risk of heart disease, study shows – Prestige Online Malaysia

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Artificial sweeteners may increase risk of heart disease, new study shows

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