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Brain protein that could protect against Alzheimer’s disease

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Researchers have found that a protein that regulates white blood cells in the human brain could protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

The results published in the journal Communications Biology suggest that this protein, called CD33, could have important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

“Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained study co-author Matthew Macauley, Assistant Professor at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

“They can be harmful or protective. Swaying microglia from a harmful to protective state could be the key to treating the disease,” Macauley added.

Scientists have identified the CD33 protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease.

Now, Macauley’s research has shown that the most common type of CD33 protein plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia.

“The fact that CD33 is found on microglia suggests that immune cells can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease under the right circumstances,” said Abhishek Bhattacherjee, first author and postdoctoral fellow in the Macauley lab.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 44 million people around the world.

“These findings set the stage for future testing of a causal relationship between CD33 and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as testing therapeutic strategies to sway microglia from harmful to protecting against the disease – by targeting CD33,” said Macauley.

“Microglia have the potential to ‘clean up’ the neurodegenerative plaques, through a process called phagocytosis — so a therapy to harness this ability to slow down or reverse Alzheimer’s disease can be envisioned,” Macauley said.

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Covid-19 vax: WHO warns of ‘catastrophic moral failure’

He said over 39 million vaccine doses had been given in 49 richer states – but one poor nation had only 25 doses.

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Geneva, Jan 19 : The world faces a “catastrophic moral failure” because of unequal Covid-19 vaccine policies, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was not fair for younger, healthy people in richer nations to get injections before vulnerable people in poorer states, the BBC reported.

He said over 39 million vaccine doses had been given in 49 richer states – but one poor nation had only 25 doses.

Meanwhile, both the WHO and China were criticised for their Covid response.

An independent panel commissioned by the WHO said the UN public health body should have declared an international emergency earlier, and also rapped China for not taking public health measures sooner.

So far, China, India, Russia, the UK and the US have all developed Covid vaccines, with others being made by multinational teams – like the American-German Pfizer vaccine.

Almost all of these nations have prioritised distribution to their own populations.

Speaking at a WHO executive board session on Monday, Tedros said: “I need to be blunt: the world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure – and the price of this failure will be paid with lives and livelihoods in the world’s poorest countries.”

Tedros said a “me-first” approach would be self-defeating because it would push up prices and encourage hoarding.

“Ultimately, these actions will only prolong the pandemic, the restrictions needed to contain it, and human and economic suffering,” he added.

The WHO head called for a full commitment to the global vaccine-sharing scheme Covax, which is due to start rolling out next month.

“My challenge to all member states is to ensure that by the time World Health Day arrives on April 7, Covid-19 vaccines are being administered in every country, as a symbol of hope for overcoming both the pandemic and the inequalities that lie at the root of so many global health challenges,” Tedros said.

So far, more than 180 countries have signed up to the Covax initiative, which is supported by the WHO and a group of international vaccine advocacy groups. Its aim is to unite countries into one bloc so they have more power to negotiate with drug companies.

Ninety-two countries – all of them low or middle-income – will have their vaccines paid for by a fund sponsored by donors.

“We have secured two billion doses from five producers, with options of more than one billion more doses, and we aim to start deliveries in February,” Tedros said.

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Karnataka’s Covid vaccine recipient dies of heart stroke: Minister

The vaccination was launched in the southern state on January 16 with fanfare after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the drive across the country from New Delhi through video-conferencing.

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COVAXIN Corona Covid vaccine

Bengaluru: A recipient of Covid vaccine in Karnataka’s Ballari city died of heart stroke (myocardial infarction) and not due to the vaccine, said state Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Monday.

“The death of the 43-year-old vaccine beneficiary at Ballari was not due to vaccine but from heart stroke or myocardial infarction. He took the jab on Saturday (January 16) but had no side-effects since then. He was diabetic and had hypertension,” clarified Sudhakar in a statement in Kannada here.

Ballari is about 310km northwest of Bengaluru in the southern state.

The victim was a resident of Kamalapura and was working as a group-D worker in the state-run Sandur general hospital.

“Though doctors at the state-run Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences tried to revive the victim’s heart and gave emergency healthcare, he did not respond to the treatment. His autopsy report is awaited,” said Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.

“Though the victim worked for two days after taking the shot, he was admitted to the hospital after he complained of chest pain earlier in the day,” a health department official said.

According to a statement by the health department, the cause of the worker’s death is due to anterior wall infarction with cardio-pulmonary failure.

ECG and ECHO reports also concluded that it was a death due to myocardial infarction.

“The AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunisation) committee met following the worker’s death and took his history. After looking at his ECG and ECHO reports, they concluded that it was a death due to myocardial infarction,” said Ballari district health officer H.L.Janardhan.

The vaccination was launched in the southern state on January 16 with fanfare after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the drive across the country from New Delhi through video-conferencing.

The state health department has decided to use Covishield in 24 of the 31 districts across the state and Covaxin in 6 districts, including Ballari under the emergency use situation.

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Rajasthan govt slashes RT-PCR test cost to Rs 500

Under the norms of night curfew, it was mandatory to shut down all shops and restaurants by 7 pm. The curfew was imposed from 8 pm to 6 am.

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Jaipur, Jan 19: Looking at the sharp fall in Covid cases in Rajasthan, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday issued orders to lift the night curfew clamped in 13 districts and announced that RT-PCR tests will now cost Rs 500 instead of the earlier Rs 800.

The night curfew was imposed in 13 districts namely Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, Bhilwara, Nagaur, Pali, Tonk, Sikar, Ajmer, Alwar, Shriganganagar and Udaipur, looking at sharp spike in Covid cases after Diwali.

Under the norms of night curfew, it was mandatory to shut down all shops and restaurants by 7 pm. The curfew was imposed from 8 pm to 6 am.

Initially, the night curfew was imposed in eight districts post Diwali which was increased to 13 districts after the Covid numbers witnessed a sudden spike. Many trading associations were pressing for the lifting of the curfew.

“In the Covid-19 review meeting, it has been decided to end the night curfew in the state and give some relaxations in a phased manner. However, it will be necessary to follow health protocols otherwise the infection rate may increase,” Gehlot said in a tweet.

On Monday, the state reported 213 Covid cases and three deaths, which were recorded in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota. Out of the 213 cases, Kota reported 41 cases, followed by Jaipur (23) and Jodhpur (22).

Churu, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur and Sirohi didn’t report any fresh case.

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