Top 5 Most-Read Chronic Kidney Disease Articles of 2020

Two story lines predominated renal news in 2020: coronavirus disease 2019's effect on the kidneys and the overwhelming benefits of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors for those with chronic kidney disease and type 2 diabetes.

In renal news, 2 story lines were prominent in 2020. One had to do with the devastating effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)'s effect on the kidneys. And the other had to do with the overwhelmingly positive effects of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors for patients with both chronic kidney disease (CKD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Here are the top 5 most read stories in 2020 about CKD:

5. Lancet: COVID-19 Virus Can Attack Kidneys, Speeding Death

In August, German researchers announced they found viral RNA in kidneys of patients who died from COVID-19, meaning that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, specifically attacks the kidneys. The research team found that patients with SARS-CoV2 RNA had a shorter span between diagnosis and death, supporting a correlation between the virus attacking organs beyond the respiratory system and death in the first 3 weeks after diagnosis.

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4. Even in Advanced CKD, Canaglifozin Slows Rate of Kidney Decline, Study Says

An analysis of CREDENCE data showed that canagliflozin slowed the decline of kidney function in patients with T2D and CKD by 66% and reduced the risk of developing kidney failure and cardiovascular problems. It worked in advanced disease and without causing acute kidney injury. This is an even larger effect than the original 2019 study results of the drug on less severe disease, which showed a 30% risk reduction in renal decline and cardiovascular and renal death among patients with T2D.

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3. Dapagliflozin Meets All Targets in Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease, With and Without Diabetes

AstraZeneca’s dapagliflozin, the SGLT2 inhibitor sold as Farixga, met all its targets for slowing the decline of renal function, preventing kidney failure, and preventing cardiovascular or renal death in a phase 3 trial that was halted earlier in 2020. Data from DAPA-CKD showed that the trial met all its primary and secondary end points for patients with CKD, with and without T2D.

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2. Dr Joshua Rein Discusses the Next Steps of Cannabis Treatment for Kidney Disease

In an interview with, Joshua L Rein, DO, FASN, a nephrologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, discussed the current federal restrictions on cannabis and how that affects the ability to do medical research. He also spoke about considerations to keep in mind when thinking about the impact of cannabis on those with kidney disease.

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1. Most Americans Unaware of COVID-19's Effects on the Kidneys

A survey released in the spring showed that fewer than 1 in 5 American knew that COVID-19 can cause renal damage. Just 17% were aware of the potential effects of the virus on the kidneys, while more than half (58%) knew about the possibility of acute respiratory failure, pneumonia (54%), and acute respiratory distress syndrome (52%). The results were released as it became known that individuals with no history of kidney damage are left with acute kidney injury after COVID-19.

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