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Influenza infections may up pneumonia risk: Study

The presence of HtrA weakens the immune system and promotes bacterial growth in the influenza-infected airways. The lack of HtrA stops bacterial growth.

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H1N1 influenza

London, Nov 29: Researchers have now revealed that influenza infections can lead to an increased risk of bacterial pneumonia, which claims many lives around the world every year.

Using an animal model, the study, published in the journal PNAS found that different nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C and other normally cell-protective substances leak from the blood, thereby creating an environment in the lungs that favours the growth of the bacteria.

The bacteria adapt to the inflammatory environment by increasing the production of the bacterial enzyme HtrA.

The presence of HtrA weakens the immune system and promotes bacterial growth in the influenza-infected airways. The lack of HtrA stops bacterial growth.

“The ability of pneumococcus to grow in the lower airways during an influenza infection seems to depend on the nutrient-rich environment with its higher levels of antioxidants that occurs during a viral infection, as well as on the bacteria’s ability to adapt to the environment and protect itself from being eradicated by the immune system,” said study author Birgitta Henriques Normark from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

The results provide valuable information on how bacteria integrate with their environment in the lungs and could be used to find new therapies for double infections between the influenza virus and pneumococcal bacteria.

“HtrA is an enzyme, a protease, which helps to weaken the immune system and allows pneumococcal bacteria to penetrate the protective cell layer on the inside of the airways,” said study author Vicky Sender.

“A possible strategy can therefore be the use of protease inhibitors to prevent pneumococcal growth in the lungs,” Sender added.

It is still not known if Covid-19 patients are also sensitive to such secondary bacterial infections, but the researchers think that similar mechanisms could potentially be found in severely ill Covid-19 patients.

“It’s likely that acute lung inflammation, regardless of cause, gives rise to leakage of nutrients and antioxidants, and to an environment that fosters bacterial growth,” Henriques Normark noted.

Health

Congress alleges govt procuring Covid vaccine at inflated prices

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New Delhi, Jan 17 : The Congress on Sunday questioned the procurement of Covid vaccines, alleging that the government has procured the vaccines at inflated prices despite the manufacturers claiming they would supply the vaccines without seeking profit.

Congress General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, addressing a press conference, said, “Why should the Modi government pay Rs 95 per dose more to Bharat Biotech for a vaccine that has been developed with the expertise and experience of scientists of government-run ICMR and pay more for a vaccine that has only been tested on 755 individuals and is yet to be cleared after phase-3 trials?”

The Congress leader said the price of such a vaccine must be cheaper than AstraZeneca-Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.

“Why is the price of the vaccine at Rs 1,000 per dose in the open market?” he asked.

Surjewala said, “‘Covishield’ is an AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. Serum Institute is supplying this vaccine at Rs 200/dose to government. AstraZeneca has committed to supplying the vaccine at no profit while ‘Covaxin’, manufactured by Bharat Biotech, is being supplied at Rs 295/dose. Admittedly, Covaxin has been developed by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).”

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had said stated that his company will sell Covishield for Rs 1,000 per dose in open market, that is Rs 2,000 for 2 doses required for every individual.

Surjewala said, “Why should export of vaccine be permitted without immunisation of India’s population? ‘Corona Vaccine For All’ should be the stated policy of Modi government.”

“However, the government’s approach on free vaccination or cost of vaccination, cost to exchequer, profit margins of companies, etc, for India’s 130 crore people is completely opaque and shrouded in secrecy,” he said.

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Health

13 Israelis suffer facial paralysis post inoculation

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

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Jerusalem, Jan 17 : At least 13 Israelis suffered mild facial paralysis as a side effect after receiving the first Covid vaccine jabs, the Health Ministry said, adding that the count could be higher.

The officials have raised questions on whether or not to administer the second dose to these individuals the Health Ministry had recommended for the second dose, reported the Jerusalem Post.

“For at least 28 hours, I walked around with it (facial paralysis),” one person who had the side effect told Ynet.

“I can’t say it was completely gone afterwards, but other than that I had no other pains, except a minor pain where the injection was, but there was nothing beyond that.”

As for receiving the second dose, he admits he is undecided, but says that “it is important to note that this is something rare, and I don’t want people to avoid getting vaccinated – it’s important”.

“I recently came across, for example, someone vaccinated who was dealing with paralysis, and decided not to give her a second dose,” Galia Rahav, Director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at Sheba Medical Centre told Ynet.

“It is true that it can be given according to the Health Ministry, but I did not feel comfortable with it.”

She added that, “No one knows if this is connected to the vaccine or not. That’s why I would refrain from giving a second dose to someone who suffered from paralysis after the first dose.”

However, the Health Ministry has assured of the second dose only when the paralysis passes, Ynet reported.

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Delhi reports 51 cases of minor adverse events post vaccination

As many as 1,91,181 people were vaccinated on day one of India’s first phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive.

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Hours after the Health Ministry announced on January 16 that India has reported no case of post-vaccination hospitalisation yet, 51 persons complained of minor adverse events in Delhi. Another person developed severe adverse event following immunization and had to be referred to the AEFI centre.

Out of a total of 4,319 healthcare and frontline workers who were vaccinated on Jnauary 16 in the National Capital, two healthcare workers at NDMC’s Charak Palika Hospital reported mild adverse event post-vaccination including mild tightness in the chest. They were kept under observation by AEFI team and discharged 30 minutes later after they felt at ease. The two other cases were reported from Northern Railway Central Hospital, of which one was referred to the AEFI centre, the Delhi government has informed.

As many as 1,91,181 people were vaccinated on day one of India’s first phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive.

Beneficiaries from 11 states and union territories across India received Covishield or Covaxin shots on the first day of the vaccination drive, namely, Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.

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