Showing posts with label HEALTH & NUTRITION. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HEALTH & NUTRITION. Show all posts

14 May 2022

North Korea's 'First Ever' Covid cases prompt strict national lockdown.

North Korea has ordered a strict national lockdown after confirming its first official Covid infections.

State media have reported an Omicron outbreak in the capital, Pyongyang, but did not state the number of cases.

North Korea has rejected any kind of vaccine programme, even when offered a supply by other countries.

Instead, it controlled Covid by sealing its borders - and had never recorded a case, despite experts believing the virus has long been present.

Outsiders say the nation's 25 million population is vulnerable due to the lack of a Covid-19 vaccine programme, even rejecting offers from the international community to supply millions of AstraZeneca and Chinese-made Sinovac jabs last year.

There have also been concerns about North Korea's impoverished healthcare system.



08 April 2022

First Case Of Coronavirus Variant XE Reported From Mumbai.

India's first case of Coronavirus variant XE was reported in Mumbai on 06 April 2022, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has said in a media release. One case of the Kappa variant has also been detected. The patients with the new variants of the virus don't have any severe symptoms so far.

The new mutant may be more transmissible than any strain of Covid-19, the World Health Organisation had said last week.

Official sources from the union health ministry, however, disagreed, saying the present evidence does not suggest that it is XE variant.



15 March 2022

Man who got first pig heart transplant dies after two months.

The first person to receive a heart transplant from a pig has died, two months after the groundbreaking experiment, the Maryland hospital that performed the surgery announced Wednesday 09 March 2022.

David Bennett, 57, died Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors didn’t give an exact cause of death, saying only that his condition had begun deteriorating several days earlier.

Doctors for decades have sought to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Bennett, a handyman from Hagerstown, Maryland, was a candidate for this newest attempt only because he otherwise faced certain death—ineligible for a human heart transplant, bedridden and on life support, and out of other options.

After the Jan. 7 operation, Bennett’s son told The Associated Press his father knew there was no guarantee it would work.



05 March 2022

Canada Approves World’s First Plant-Based COVID-19 Vaccine.

Canada became the first country in the world that has authorized the use of a plant-based COVID-19 vaccine. The two-dose vaccine of Medicago Inc. (a biopharma company owned by Mitsubishi Chemical and Philip Morris), can be given to adults who are aged between 18 to 64, but little data is available on the shots received by people aged 65 and above.

The decision to authorize the vaccine was based on a study conducted on 24,000 adults that showed the efficacy rate of the vaccine is 71% at preventing COVID-19 – although the tests were conducted before the omicron variant emerged. Covifenz is the name given to this vaccine. Canada agreed to buy 20 million doses of this plant-based vaccine, with an option to purchase 56 million additional doses.



23 February 2022

Philanthropist Bill Gates honored by Pakistan.

Microsoft founder and philanthropist, Bill Gates has been conferred with Hilal-e-Pakistan, the second-highest civilian honour in the country, for his efforts to help eradicate polio in Pakistan. 

Gates was on a day-long visit to Pakistan and has met with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also visited the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) that oversees efforts to curb Covid-19.

Gates appreciated Pakistan’s success against Covid-19 despite resource constraints and the initiatives and measures for public health safety. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a major contributor in worldwide polio eradication through Gavi, the vaccine alliance. 



20 February 2022

WHO launches Quit Tobacco App.

The World Health Organization has launched on 15 Feb 2022 ‘Quit Tobacco App’ to help people kick the cigarette butt and give up use of tobacco in all forms - including smokeless and other newer products. 

The app, the first such by WHO, and the first that targets all forms of tobacco, helps users to identify the triggers, set their targets, manage cravings, and stay focused to quit tobacco.  

Tobacco is the world’s leading cause of preventable death, and kills nearly 8 million persons every year. It claims 1.6 million lives in the WHO South-East Asia Region which is amongst the largest producers and consumers of tobacco products. 

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCD) including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases and diabetes. Tobacco users are also at higher risk of complication and severe disease in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

With a focused approach to control tobacco, as part of regional flagship to reduce NCD burden, countries have been accelerating implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and MPOWER package, a set of six cost-effective and high impact measures to reduce demand and supply of tobacco and tackle the tobacco epidemic. 

As per the WHO Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Use 2000-2025 (4th edition, 2021) WHO South-East Asia Region recorded the fastest decline in tobacco use but continued to have the highest 432 million tobacco users, or 29% of its population. The Region has 266 million smokeless tobacco users of the 355 million globally. The growing use of new and emerging products such as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems/ ECigarettes, sheesha/hukkah are additional challenges to tobacco control. 

The Region has expanded tobacco surveillance to monitor tobacco use prevalence and tobacco control policies.  Thailand was the first in Asia to implement Plain Packaging. Timor-Leste, Nepal, Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka have implemented large-sized graphic health warnings on tobacco packs. Six countries have banned ENDS (electronic cigarettes). Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka are working towards moving tobacco farmers away from growing tobacco. Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste have established and scaled-up tobacco cessation services. 

The ‘WHO Quit Tobacco App’, launched during WHO’s year-long ‘Commit to quit’ campaign, is the latest tobacco control initiative by the WHO South-East Asia Region.   



16 February 2022

"How to Prevent the Next Pandemic" A book authored by Bill Gates.

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over, but even as governments around the world strive to put it behind us, they’re also starting to talk about what happens next. How can we prevent a new pandemic from killing millions of people and devastating the global economy? Can we even hope to accomplish this?

Bill Gates believes the answer is yes, and in this book he lays out clearly and convincingly what the world should have learned from COVID-19 and what all of us can do to ward off another disaster like it. Relying on the shared knowledge of the world’s foremost experts and on his own experience of combating fatal diseases through the Gates Foundation, he first helps us understand the science of infectious diseases. Then he shows us how the nations of the world, working in conjunction with one another and with the private sector, can not only ward off another COVID-like catastrophe but also eliminate all respiratory diseases, including the flu.

The book will be published this year in May 2022.



12 February 2022

India world's third country to record 5 Lakh Coronavirus deaths.

India became the third nation in the world to record over 5 lakh deaths from the highly contagious coronavirus. The country reached this grim milestone of death on February 3. With this, only the US (with more than 9.1 lakh Covid fatalities) and Brazil (with almost 6.3 lakh) have reported more deaths from COVID so far. At 3.3 lakh, the death toll from the novel virus in Russia is the fourth highest, just ahead of Mexico in fifth, which has logged more than 3.07 deaths so far.

The death toll in the country currently stands at 5,00,055, with 1,42,859 new deaths on Friday (February 4). Maharashtra has reported the highest number of fatalities in India, followed by Kerala (56701), Karnataka (39,197), Tamil Nadu (37,666), Delhi (25,932) and Uttar Pradesh (23,277). 

Meanwhile, the cumulative coronavirus caseload reported across the country went up to 4,19,52,712, including 14,35,569 active COVID cases. Currently, active cases account for nearly 3.42 per cent of the total cases in India.



09 February 2022

Chinese researchers develop 4-minute PCR test.

Chinese scientists say they have developed a COVID-19 test that can process results as accurately as PCR tests in less than four minutes.

PCR tests are the most accurate on the market, but must be processed in a lab, which so far takes a few hours at minimum. When labs are overwhelmed by local surges in infection, processing can last days.

Quicker, 15-minute rapid antigen tests are less reliable than the PCR alternative.

Researchers at Fudan University collected nasal samples from 33 PCR-positive COVID-19 patients, 23 PCR-negative patients, six influenza-positive patients and 25 healthy volunteers. The test accurately processed all cases without error in under four minutes, according to a peer-reviewed study published Monday in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

PCR tests are more precise than antigen tests because they are more sensitive. Antigen tests require a higher concentration of the virus than PCR tests to show a positive result. This means antigen tests are more likely to show a false negative.



07 February 2022

New HIV variant discovered in the Netherlands.

The most virulent HIV variant known to science has been discovered in the Netherlands, according to researchers who said it provided a valuable insight into the way viruses such as the one behind Covid-19 can evolve.

People infected with the VB variant, as it is known, have an average viral load that is about four times higher than is usual for HIV infection and their immune system declines twice as fast, placing them at risk of developing Aids more quickly.

Scientists at Oxford university’s Big Data Institute, who announced the discovery with Dutch colleagues in the journal Science, said the VB variant was not a threat to public health because the antiretroviral therapy used routinely to treat people with HIV worked effectively against it.



03 February 2022

Omicron Virus survives over 21 hours on skin.

Omicron survives over 21 hours on skin and more than 8 days on plastic. A study by Japanese researchers has claimed that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 can remain alive on skin and plastic more than the earlier variants like Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma.

The researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine in Japan analysed the differences in viral environmental stability between the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain and all variants of concern (VOCs).

Omicron on plastic

According to the study, when on plastic:

  • The original version of SARS-CoV-2 survives for 56 hours.
  • The Alpha variant survives for 191.3 hours.
  • The Beta variant survives for 156.6 hours.
  • The Gamma variant survives for 59.3 hours.
  • The Delta variant survives for 114 hours.
  • The Omicron variant outlasts the other variants, surviving for 193.5 hours.

Omicron on skin

The researchers also found that the different variants of the virus survive on the skin of cadavers for differing durations:
  • The original version of SARS-CoV-2 survives for 8.6 hours.
  • The Alpha variant survives for 19.6 hours.
  • The Beta variant survives for 19.1 hours.
  • The Gamma variant survives for 11 hours.
  • The Delta variant survives for 16.8 hours.
  • The Omicron variant again outlasts the other variants, surviving for 21.1 hours.


01 February 2022

NeoCov found in African bats.

Scientists in China have found a bat virus is South Africa is one mutation away from crossing into humans and potentially spreading from person to person.

A new study claims the virus, named NeoCov, shows a potential not seen before which could allow it to mutate and spread more easily from bats to humans, and then from person to person.

NeoCov has been found in bats in South Africa, and is closely related to MERSCov - which has infected 2,583 people since 2012 and killed 888.

The virus is a second iteration of MERSCov, in the same way that Covid-19 is caused by a second iteration of SARSCov.



24 January 2022

The Biden administration has decided to build on significant actions to expand testing capacity and increase access by distributing at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to Americans for free.

To help ensure Americans have tests on hand if a need arises, the Biden Administration is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans for free. A half-billion tests will be available for order on January 19 and will be mailed directly to American households, read a White House release.

This programme will ensure that Americans have at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available in the weeks and months ahead--in addition to the number of other ways they can get tested.

Millions of free, at-home COVID-19 tests have been delivered to thousands of community health centres and rural health clinics to distribute to their patients, with more delivered each week.

In addition, the Administration provided schools USD 10 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to get tests to K-12 school districts, said White House release.



23 January 2022

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla wins $1 million Genesis Prize for COVID-19 vaccine.

The global pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Albert Bourla, has been awarded with the prestigious Genesis Prize 2022 on January 19, 2022. He has been awarded for his efforts in leading the development of a COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine). The award comes with a cash prize of $1 million.

The annual prize is awarded to Jewish people who have achieved significant professional success, in recognition of their accomplishments, contributions to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values and/or to the State of Israel. It is widely referred to as the “Jewish Nobel Prize”.



15 January 2022

Discovery of another new type of corona, the "Delta Cron".

Just a mere two months after detection of the highly contagious Omicron Covid-19 variant last November, and the threat of another big lockdown from taking over the world, there is now new evidence that another new variant has now appeared in Cyprus.

This new variant has been named 'Deltacron', for being a combination of the Delta and Omicron variants. According to the professor of Biology at the University of Cyprus, Leondios Kostrikis, there are some people infected with Omicron and Delta, but in the case of this variant known in the Cypriot country, it is "a combination of both". Kostrikis declared that the new variant has "the genetic signature of Omicron and the genomes of Delta."



14 January 2022

Man gets genetically-modified pig heart in world-first transplant.

A US man has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig.

David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say.

The transplant was considered the last hope of saving Mr Bennett's life, though it is not yet clear what his long-term chances of survival are.

Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center were granted a special dispensation by the US medical regulator to carry out the procedure, on the basis that Mr Bennett - who has terminal heart disease - would otherwise have died.

The possibility of using animal organs for so-called xenotransplantation to meet the demand has long been considered, and using pig heart valves is already common.



Cannabis Compounds prevented Covid Infection in a Laboratory Study.

Some of the compounds in cannabis may prevent the entry of the coronavirus into healthy human cells, according to a study published in the Journal of Nature Products. 

The research was conducted at Oregon State University and led by Richard van Breemen, a scientist with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute.

The study suggests two compounds found in commonly found in hemp -- cannabigerolic and cannabidiolic acid -- prevent coronavirus from entering cells that typically line internal organs and skin in a lab setting.

In the study, these acids were able to bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein -- the same target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy. Once bound, this step could block a critical step in the pathogen process used to infect the cell.

Both cannabis compounds were found equally effective against the SARS-CoV-2 alpha and beta variants.



Novak Djokovic faces fine or prison for breaking isolation while Covid positive.

Novak Djokovic could face a fine or even prison in Serbia after his admission that he broke isolation while he had Covid last month, lawyers have said, as the Serbian prime minister warned his behaviour appeared to be “a clear breach” of the rules.

The 34-year-old Belgrade-born tennis player is chasing a record-breaking 21st grand slam victory at the Australian Open beginning on Monday 17th, but could yet be deported by the government which is unhappy with his medical exemption from inoculation.

Lawyers in Serbia told local reporters that breaking the country’s strict isolation rules was an offence under article 248 of the criminal code, and subject to a fine or prison sentence of up to three years – although community service was more likely.



05 January 2022

Covid-19 new variant ‘IHU’ discovered in France.

Scientists and experts in France have reportedly identified a new variant of COVID-19 termed ‘IHU’. The new variant is said to be a more mutated strain than Omicron. The B.1.640.2 or IHU variant was first identified by the academics at institute IHU Mediterranee Infection and contains 46 mutations, which is more than Omicron. Nearly 12 cases of this new variant have been reported near Marseilles and has been linked to the African country Cameroon. But, the Omicron strain is still dominating in most parts of the world.

This new variant can be a major threat, however, the cases have not been reported so far in countries other than France and is not labelled as ‘variant under investigation’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO).



29 December 2021

Israel plans to give fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

A government panel of experts in Israel has recommended a fourth dose of a Covid-19 vaccine for all people aged over 60 and healthcare workers.

The move was welcomed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who said it would help the country get through a potential wave of the Omicron variant.

The Israeli health ministry has so far confirmed 341 cases of Omicron.

The overall Covid-19 infection rate is also back on the rise, with 903 new cases recorded on Tuesday 21th.

Four deaths have also been reported in the past seven days, including that of a 68-year-old man who doctors suspected was infected with Omicron.

The government closed Israel's borders to foreign nationals last month in response to Omicron and has now forbidden Israeli citizens and permanent residents from travelling to more than 50 countries on a "red list", including the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and much of Africa.






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