News round-up (16 October)

This week's health and social care innovation and tech headlines

man looking at online news headlines
16th October 2020 about a 3 minute read

Here are some stories that caught our eye this week – COVID-19 seems to be a recurring theme!

Tim Spector on how data can arm us against COVID-19

The BMJ interviews epidemiologist and popular science author Tim Spector whose symptom tracker app has been downloaded by 4.3 million people.

He talks about opportunities to use data better—and how he thinks the UK’s leadership failed in the pandemic.

COVID-19: could BCG vaccine reduce impact of infection among nurses?

Nursing Standard reports that a trial is seeking volunteer healthcare workers to assess whether a BCG jab could help reduce the impact of COVID-19.

The BRACE trial is a global research initiative between the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil. The UK portion of the research is being run by the University of Exeter and the UK trial will initially recruit 1000 staff in the south west of England.

Preliminary findings are expected within six to nine months.

UN highlights plight of rural women in wake of COVID-19

The theme of this year’s International Day of Rural Women on October 15 was ‘Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19’.

To mark the event the UN issued a call for measures to alleviate the care burden and redistribute it between women and men, and between families and services, particularly in remote villages. 

The organisation says the pandemic has heightened the vulnerability of rural women, for example in most developing countries COVID-19 widows risk disinheritance. 

COVID-19 vaccine trial paused on safety concerns

Pharma Times reports that Johnson & Johnson have put its vaccine trial on hold after a participant in the phase III study developed an unexplained illness. The trial is aiming to recruit up to 60,000 people.

Eli Lilly also paused a government run study testing the treatment in hospitalised COVID-19 patients due to safety concerns and in September AstraZeneca stopped its COVID-trial after a participant fell ill.

NHS urged not to spend money on expensive incontinence devices

A five year study involving 600 women has found no evidence that expensive biofeedback devices used in the treatment of urinary incontinence make any difference. 

Scientist from Scottish universities with Otago University in New Zealand and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and NHS Ayrshire and Arran found the devices were no more effective than pelvic floor muscle training alone.

Call for greater investment in tech as winter approaches

Tunstall Healthcare is urging health and social care leaders to invest in technological solutions to protect vulnerable people this winter.

Company director Zilah Moore said monitoring more people remotely could play a major role in reducing pressure on services at a time when they are facing huge challenges as a result of COVID-19 and seasonal flu.