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Fourth Zika virus case confirmed in South Korea

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Seoul, May 7 : South Korean authorities confirmed the fourth Zika virus case in the country in a woman who recently returned from a trip to Vietnam, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The 25-year-old woman worked in Ho Chi Minh City from April 10 to April 30 and entered South Korea on May 1, said the KCDC.

She visited a hospital in the western port city of Incheon on May 4 to treat a chronic thyroid gland problem after having rash and joint pain and was diagnosed with the mosquito-borne virus, Xinhua news agency reported.

The KCDC suspected that she might have been bitten by a mosquito while in the Southeast Asian nation, noting that the patient is currently in stable condition.

Health authorities are also examining a person who met with the woman in Vietnam between April 13 to April 17 for potential transmission of the virus.

The latest case raises the number of confirmed infections in South Korea to four.

The first South Korean Zika case was found from a 43-year-old man on March 22.

The other two Zika cases were confirmed on April 27 and April 29 respectively, from two brothers who had travelled to the Philippines together.

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Donald Trump Jr’s Girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle Coronavirus Positive

Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News television personality who is dating Donald Trump Jr, had traveled to South Dakota to see the US president’s Fourth of July speech and celebration fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

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Washington, United States: The girlfriend of President Donald Trump’s eldest son has tested positive for coronavirus, US media reported Friday. Kimberly Guilfoyle, a former Fox News television personality who is dating Donald Trump Jr, had traveled to South Dakota to see the US president’s Fourth of July speech and celebration fireworks at Mount Rushmore.

Guilfoyle, 51, was immediately isolated after discovering she had the virus in a routine test conducted on anyone expected to come in close contact with the president, the New York Times reported.

In a statement to the newspaper, Sergio Gor, chief of staff to the Trump campaign’s finance committee, said: “She’s doing well, and will be retested to ensure the diagnosis is correct since she’s asymptomatic.”

He added: “As a precaution (she) will cancel all upcoming events. Donald Trump Jr was tested negative, but as a precaution is also self-isolating and is canceling all public events.”

Guilfoyle is the third person close to the US president to return a positive COVID-19 test, US media reported.

Others include Trump’s personal valet and the US vice president’s press secretary.

The pandemic has claimed nearly 130,000 American lives and a recent resurgence “puts the entire country at risk,” top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said.

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It takes 18 months to develop good vaccine: Ex-ICMR chief

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New Delhi, July 4 : A good vaccine usually takes at least 18 months, before it could be rolled out for production after fast-tracking all the mandatory regulatory approvals, said N.K. Ganguly, former director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

It is expected that India”s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin may be released on August 15 under a fast-track mechanism. According to the government”s top medical research body, a dozen institutes have been selected for clinical trials of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine). Ganguly said the strain of the virus was given to BBIL in May end, and in July, human trials have been scheduled.

Elaborating on the lengthy process involved in vaccine development, he insisted that after spending many months and infusing a lot of funds, the uncertainty continues to linger. “It may be difficult to say whether the vaccine is successful or not”, he added.

The ICMR in a letter said, “It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15, after completion of all clinical trials. BBIL (Bharat Biotech International Limited) is working expeditiously to meet the target, however the final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project.”

Before the vaccine is tested on humans, challenge studies are done on mice and monkey, then a toxicology report is prepared, to check if the developed vaccine produces harm to cells, and it takes at least three to four months to finalize this report, said Ganguly. After this phase, the vaccine is tested on two rodents and a large animal and after successful completion of this stage the vaccine is ready for human trials.

“In Phase 1, the age group profiling is done (wherein vaccine study is done on people in different age groups). In Phase 2, nearly 600 to 700 people are vaccinated, and if the vaccine performs successfully in this phase then it progresses into Phase 3, which is called the efficacy study (in this phase, thousands of people are enrolled). Even after fast tracking regulatory approvals, it will take at least 18 months to develop a good vaccine”, said Ganguly.

He insisted that the vaccine being developed by Moderna (RNA vaccine is set to begin Phase 3 trials later this month and targets a vaccine by 2021) and BioNTech-Pfizer (Phase 3 trial is expected to begin in July). Gennova biopharmaceutical is also working on a vaccine and it looks positive, Ganguly added.

(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])

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Genetics could help diagnose type-1 diabetes in Indians: study reveals

The authors also found that the study can be used to predict the onset of type 1 diabetes in Indians.

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Researchers at the KEM Hospital and Research Centre, Pune; CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad; and the University of Exeter in the UK have found that a genetic risk score is effective in diagnosing type-1 diabetes in Indians. The outcome of their research has been published in Scientific Reports.

Now, what is this genetic risk score? Developed by the University of Exeter, the genetic risk score takes into account detailed genetic information that are known to increase the chance of developing type-1 diabetes. The score may be used at the time of diabetes diagnosis to help decide if someone has type-1 diabetes.

Will the European genetic risk score be effective in diagnosing type-1 diabetes in Indians? This was the question that naturally arises as the bulk of the research in this field has been conducted in European populations. To answer this question, the research team studied people with diabetes from Pune, India, using the genetic risk score. The team analysed 262 people with type-1 diabetes, 352 people with type-2 diabetes, and 334 people without diabetes. All were of Indian (Indo-European) ancestry. The research outcomes compared well with those in Europeans as revealed in the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium Study.

It is widely believed that only children and adolescents get type-1 diabetes and obese and older (typically after 45 years of age) get type-2 diabetes. However, recent findings have shown that type-1 diabetes can occur later in life, while type-2 diabetes is on the rise among younger and thinner Indians. Distinguishing the two types of diabetes, has therefore, become more complex. The two types follow different treatment regime with type-1 diabetes needing lifelong insulin injections but type-2 diabetes often being managed with diet or tablet treatment. Misclassification of the type of diabetes may lead to sub-standard diabetes care and possible complications. In this context, this particular study gains importance as it helps in diagnosing diabetes from its type-1 and type 2 variants correctly.

Although based on European data, the researchers found that the test is effective in diagnosing the right type of diabetes in Indians, even in its current form. They have also found genetic differences between the populations, indicating that the test could be further improved to enhance outcomes for Indian populations.

“Diagnosing the right diabetes type is an increasingly difficult challenge for clinicians, as we now know that type 1 diabetes can occur at any age. This task is even harder in India, as more cases of type 2 diabetes occur in people with low BMI. We now know that our genetic risk score is an effective tool for Indians, and can help get people on the treatment they need to avoid life-threatening complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis and to achieve the best health outcomes”, said Dr Richard Oram, of the University of Exeter Medical School.

Dr ChittaranjanYajnik of the KEM Hospital and Research Centre, Pune agrees with Dr Oram. He said that the escalating epidemic of diabetes in young Indians makes it imperative that we diagnose the type of diabetes correctly to avoid mistreatment and its long-term biological, social, and economic implications. The new genetic tool will be a great help in this. It will help decide the contribution of failing pancreatic B-cells against reduced action of insulin due to excess fat and smaller muscle mass in the body of Indians (‘thin-fat Indians’). He further said, “We look forward to using this test in diabetic patients from different parts of India where the physical characteristics of diabetic patients differ from the standard description”.

The authors also found that the study can be used to predict the onset of type 1 diabetes in Indians.

Referring to the finding that nine genetic areas (called the single nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]) that correlated with type-1 diabetes in both Indian and European populations, Dr G R Chandak, Chief Scientist leading the study at CCMB, remarked: “It’s interesting to note that different SNPs are more abundant among Indian and European patients. This opens up the possibility that environmental factors might be interacting with these SNPs to cause the disease.”

Given the genetic diversity of the population of India, the study’s results need to be validated in other ethnic groups of the country too. Dr Rakesh K Mishra, Director of the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), said: “As more than 20 per cent of people with type-1 diabetes below the age of 15 years of age are in India, developing a genetic test kit to reliably detect type-1 from type-2 diabetes holds a lot of significance for the country.”

Courtesy: pib.gov.in

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