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Antibody that ‘neutralises’ Zika virus identified

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WASHINGTON: Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have identified a human antibody that may reduce Zika infection, paving way for a vaccine against the virus which is believed to cause serious birth defects in babies.

The antibody, called ZIKV-117, markedly reduced infection by the Zika in a mouse model and also protected the foetus in pregnant mice infected with the virus.

Zika is believed to cause microcephaly, unusually small heads, and other congenital malformations in children born to infected women.

Similar protection studies in primates are warranted, and if the findings hold up, ZIKV-177 could be developed as a protective antibody treatment for pregnant women at risk of Zika infection, the researchers concluded.

The findings may also aid efforts to develop an effective anti-Zika vaccine, said James Crowe Jr, from the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in the US.

“These naturally occurring human antibodies isolated from humans represent the first medical intervention that prevents Zika infection and damage to foetuses,” said Crowe.

“We’re excited because the data suggests we may have antibody treatments in hand that could be developed for use in pregnant women,” he said.

“The remarkable potency and breadth of inhibition by ZIKV-117 has great promise, as it was able to inhibit infection by strains from both Africa and America in cell culture and in animals, including during pregnancy,” said Michael S Diamond from Washington University.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that has emerged as a global public health threat. In addition to its association with congenital birth defects, Zika has been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome, a neurological disorder that can lead to paralysis and death.

Since a major outbreak was reported in Brazil last year, Zika infections transmitted by mosquitoes have been reported throughout Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas.
Monoclonal antibodies are made from a single clone of B cells, a type of white blood cell, that have been fused to myeloma (cancer) cells to form fast-growing “hybridomas.”

This allows researchers to quickly generate large quantities of antibodies against specific viral targets.

For the study, researchers including Gopal Sapparapu, isolated antibodies from the blood of people who had been previously infected with the Zika virus in different parts of the world.

he antibodies reacted to the envelope or “E” protein on the surface of the virus.
The researchers then generated a variety of monoclonal antibodies. In cell culture studies, they identified one, ZIKV-117, which broadly neutralised several different strains of the virus.

In mice infected by the Zika virus, injection of the antibody markedly reduced disease and mortality, and reduced transmission from mother to foetus.

PTI

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6 herbs to include in your daily diet for a healthier, happier you

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New Delhi, April 23: Focusing on health in the hectic and stressful lives that we lead today is becoming difficult. Incorporating relevant herbs in your daily diet is the first step towards a healthier you.

Ayurveda texts and modern research say that herbs contain compounds that have beneficial health properties that can help prevent many lifestyle disorders and rejuvenate our bodies.

Dr Shruthi M. Hegde, Ayurveda Expert, The Himalaya Drug Company, suggests incorporating the following herbs in your daily diet to practice preventive wellness and take a concrete step towards maintaining good health.

Tulsi: Popularly known as “The Queen of Herbs”, it yields beneficial results for respiratory wellness. It has compounds which are known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and expectorant properties. Tulsi helps modulate healthy immune response and supports early recovery from respiratory conditions. Use it to get relief from a cough and cold, especially during seasonal changes, when your body is particularly prone to such respiratory ailments.

Ashvagandha: This herb contains rejuvenating properties, and being an adaptogen, helps cope with stress, reduces harmful effects of long-term stress on the body, and promotes healthy sleep. This makes it particularly useful in our stressful lives, where good work-life balance is often difficult to maintain.

Triphala: It’s difficult to always consume healthy and hygienically prepared food in our hectic lifestyle, making digestive issues a common problem. Triphala helps promote overall digestive wellness in a number of ways. It acts as an effective colon cleanser, regularises normal bowel movements, and aids healthy digestion.

Neem: This helps fight acne by inhibiting the bacteria that causes acne growth. The herb helps promote skin wellness, which becomes even more important during summer, when the skin is more prone to acne breakouts and inflammation. It helps rejuvenate your skin, and prevents the recurrence of acne and blemishes.

Haridra: This herb contains beneficial inflammation-relieving properties. It boosts cell health through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, helping improve overall health. This makes it a potent tool in your preventive wellness toolkit, helping you overcome a number of health problems before they even have a chance to make an appearance

Guduchi: This herb supports the immune system and helps fight against infections by increasing the effectiveness of disease-fighting white blood cells. Including this herb in your daily diet will help increase your body’s resistance to stress and illness.

Make a commitment to getting healthier and staying fit by including these health-boosting herbs in your daily diet. Regular usage of these herbs in addition to other activities such as exercising and consuming a balanced diet will lead to a healthier, happier you.

IANS

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Heart patients who walk faster hospitalised less

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London, April 22 (IANS) Increasing the pace of walking may bring some added benefits as researchers have found that faster walking patients with heart disease are hospitalised less.

“The faster the walking speed, the lower the risk of hospitalisation and the shorter the length of hospital stay,” said study author Carlotta Merlo, a researcher at the University of Ferrara in Italy.

“Since reduced walking speed is a marker of limited mobility, which has been linked to decreased physical activity, we assume that fast walkers in the study are also fast walkers in real life,” she added.

The study was conducted in 1,078 hypertensive patients, of whom 85 per cent also had coronary heart disease and 15 per cent also had valve disease.

A total of 359 patients were identified as slow walkers, 362 intermediate and 357 fast walkers.

The researchers recorded the number of all-cause hospitalisations and length of stay of the participants over the next three years.

During the three year period, 182 of the slow walkers (51 per cent) had at least one hospitalisation, compared to 160 (44 per cent) of the intermediate walkers, and 110 (31 per cent) of the fast walkers, according to the study published in the European Jo

urnal of Preventive Cardiology.

The slow, intermediate and fast walking groups spent a total of 4,186, 2,240, and 990 days in hospital over the three years, respectively.

The average length of hospital stay for each patient was 23, 14, and 9 days for the slow, intermediate and fast walkers, respectively.

Each 1 km/hour increase in walking speed resulted in a 19 per cent reduction in the likelihood of being hospitalised during the three-year period.

Compared to the slow walkers, fast walkers had a 37 per cent lower likelihood of hospitalisation in three years, the findings showed.

“Walking is the most popular type of exercise in adults. It is free, does not require special training, and can be done almost anywhere. Even short, but regular, walks have substantial health benefits. Our study shows that the benefits are even greater when the pace of walking is increased,” Merlo said.

IANS

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Treat sunburn, improve gastro immune system with yogurt

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New Delhi, April 21: Yogurt, the versatile dairy product, is filled with nutrition and is equally useful for skin and hair. Treat sunburns, acne and improve your immunity with yogurt, say experts.

Himanshu Chadha, Founder, APS Cosmetoofood, and Nmami Agarwal, Nutritionist and Dietician, have listed the goodness of yogurt:

* Treat sunburn: Spread yogurt on the affected area, leave it for 20-25 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water. Yogurt is rich in zinc and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains probiotics that will help restore your skin’s natural barrier.

Image result for eating yogurt and applying on face

* Treat acne with yogurt as it contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Rub a dab of the creamy yogurt onto acne-prone areas. Rinse it off after 30 minutes. A regular beauty regime with a yogurt facial mask will help keep skin cleansed, which will also reduce irritating breakouts.

* Yogurt is a great ingredient for a hair conditioner. It has moisturising properties which helps repair dry and damaged hair.

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Take a cup of yogurt and whip it. Apply it on your scalp, hair and hair ends by massaging it well. Cover your hair with a shower cap and let it rest for 20 minutes, then wash your hair with a mild shampoo.

* Using yogurt, which is full of nutrients that are good for your hair, can help stop hair fall. Due to the presence of vitamin B5 and D, yogurt helps nourish the hair follicles.

A mixture of pepper and curd used daily for washing the hair helps in reducing hair fall. Curd and Amla powder can be mixed together to make a paste that can be applied on the scalp and hair to reduce hair loss.

* Since it is a well-known probiotic food, it helps to flourish the healthy bacteria in your gut which can improve the gastro immune system. Along with this, it aids in digestion by reducing the side effects of the irritant stomach such as diarrhoea, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome.

* Strengthen your bones by adding yogurt to your everyday diet. It will add that daily dose of calcium which your body requires for stronger bones as well as for regulating the bone mineral density.

By having a diet in a combination with calcium and vitamin D, it can work as a treatment for osteoporosis.

* Yogurt works perfectly for women. It is often advised for women to consume freshly prepared yogurt in their diet considering they are powerful for fighting against the yeast infections such as Candida which can be a causing trouble to a lot of women.

Image result for eating dahi

The bacterium, Lactobacillus acidophilus found in yogurt, kills the yeast infections and improves health in the longer run.

* Consuming probiotic yogurt helps reduce inflammation and improve the overall body immune response to counter with several viral or gut related infections and illness.

Along with this, yogurt also helps in increasing the absorption of trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

IANS

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