Novartis CEO says Covid-related physician go to delays doubtless impacting most cancers prognosis charges

The health system continues to have lower diagnoses for certain diseases after treatment Coronavirus pandemic non-Covid patients kept away from the hospital early, Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan told CNBC on Wednesday.

“I think the signals that were sent that ultimately told patients to stay away from the emergency room, stay away from hospitals, sent a very strong message to patients not to get the care they needed,” Narasimhan continued “Closing bell.” “It may have been appropriate in the face of the public health emergency, but over time it creates a significant need for better treatments for these patients.”

Narasimhan, who joined Novartis in 2005, said that while trends are positive, there are still lower diagnoses in areas such as cardiovascular disease and oncology. For the latter, the diagnoses are still 30 to 40% lower than before Covid-19. Novartis makes cancer treatments.

Almost one in three Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 postponed a personal visit to the doctor in the past year due to concerns about exposure to Covid, according to a survey by the National Healthy Aging Survey based at the Institute for Health Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan. The survey, conducted in January, found that 24% of people with cancer and 30% of people with heart disease had delayed at least one in-person visit.

“Cancer patients who are later diagnosed tend to have poorer outcomes, similar to those with cardiovascular disease who are not getting the therapies they need,” Narasimhan said. “That in turn puts a strain on health systems over time.”

As Covid cases increase in the US and around the world due to the highly transmissible Delta variant, Narasimhan hopes that lessons have been learned from the early stages of the health crisis. “I think it is critical now that this time around we make sure that patients can maintain their care even during the pandemic for the months ahead,” he said.

“We remain optimistic that despite various waves of Covid, health systems have learned that we need to maintain supplies of noncommunicable diseases, other chronic diseases,” he added. a syndemia of these other diseases, so to speak. “

On Wednesday, Novartis Analysts’ expectations exceeded for sales and earnings for the second quarter. Narasimhan said the Swiss drug maker saw a recovery in demand in many therapeutic areas, noting that the company saw sales growth of 9% and operating income growth of 13%.

Novartis is currently manufacturing the PfizerBioNTech Covid vaccines and help CureVac also in the manufacture of vaccines. Novartis also produces monoclonal antibodies to treat Covid for partner companies, “said Narasimhan.” We are doing a lot, but we are also ready to do more if necessary. “

Medical consultants attempt to set up ‘lengthy Covid’ analysis for sufferers with lasting signs

Some Covid-19 patients suffer from shortness of breath, fatigue, headaches and “brain fog” for months to almost a year after their first illness. Now global medical experts are working to better diagnose and treat what they tentatively refer to as “long covid”.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization hosted a global meeting with “patients, clinicians and other stakeholders” to improve the agency’s understanding of the post-Covid medical condition, also known as Long Covid, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday.

The meeting was the first of many to come. The goal will ultimately be to produce an “agreed clinical description” of the disease so that doctors can diagnose and treat patients effectively, he said. Given the number of people infected with the virus worldwide – nearly 108 million people as of Friday – Tedros warned that many of these persistent symptoms are likely to appear.

“This disease affects patients with severe and mild Covid-19,” Tedros said during a press conference at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. “Part of the challenge is that long-term Covid patients can have a range of different symptoms that can be persistent or come and go.”

Limited dates

So far, there have been a limited number of studies that will determine what symptoms are most common and how long they might last. The main focus was on people with a serious or fatal illness, not people who have recovered but still report persistent side effects, sometimes referred to as “long distance riders”.

Most Covid patients are believed to recover only weeks after their initial diagnosis, but some have symptoms for six months or even almost a year, medical experts say.

One of the largest global studies on Long Covid Found published in early January that many people who suffer from persistent illness after infection cannot work full six months later. The study that was published on MedRxiv and not peer-reviewed, surveyed more than 3,700 people aged 18 to 80 from 56 countries to identify the symptoms.

The most common symptoms after six months were fatigue, post-exercise fatigue, and cognitive dysfunction, sometimes called brain fog.

Is that unique to Covid-19?

“We really don’t know what is causing these symptoms. That is a focus of research right now,” said Dr. Allison Navis, a professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, during a call to the Infectious Diseases Society of America on Friday.

“The question that arises is whether this is something that is unique to Covid itself – and it is the Covid virus that is causing these symptoms – or whether this could be part of a general post-viral syndrome,” Navis said, adding, that medical experts see similar long-term symptoms after other viral infections.

Another Study published in early January The Lancet medical journal examined 1,733 patients discharged from a hospital in Wuhan, China, between January and May last year. Of these patients, 76% reported at least one symptom six months after their first illness. The proportion was higher among women.

“We found that fatigue or muscle weakness, sleep disorders, and anxiety or depression were common even 6 months after symptoms appeared,” the researchers wrote in the study.

They found that symptoms reported months after a person was diagnosed with Covid-19 were consistent with data previously found in follow-up studies on severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), that is also a coronavirus.

Post-Covid clinics are going online

Some large medical centers are now creating Post-Covid clinics to care for patients with persistent symptoms. Navis said her clinic on Mount Sinai, New York treated a “fairly even” distribution of men and women with persistent illness, and the average age of patients was 40 years.

Dr. Kathleen Bell, a professor at the University of Texas’ Southwestern Medical Center, said her hospital’s long-term Covid-19 clinic began last April when a wave of infections hit Italy and New York at the start of the pandemic.

Bell said on the Infectious Diseases Society of America conference call on Friday that a number of professionals are required to staff the clinics because symptoms are uneven, including experts who can treat muscle weakness, heart-related disorders, and cognitive problems in the insane and health Problems after their diagnosis.

“It forces all of us, in many ways, to come together and make sure we have open lines of communication to address all of these issues for patients,” said Bell.

Bell added that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a phone call in January with long Covid centers across the country to discuss their model for treating patients.

“I think the CDC is now trying to bring centers together and get some firmer guidelines on it, which is very exciting,” said Bell.

– CNBCs Sam Meredith contributed to this report.