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Key fish fatty acids a dream for 70% of world’s population

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Oslo, Feb 8 : Dwindling fish stocks worldwide, combined with a growing population, mean that 70 per cent of the world’s population is not getting the two essential Omega-3 fatty acids, researchers have found.

The healthy Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in human diets, especially when it comes to infant development and reducing cognitive decline in adults.

Two particular Omega-3 fatty acids — abbreviated EPA and DHA — are the two fatty acids that are both essential and limited in supply. Other fatty acids are readily available through plants.

“When we looked at how EPA and DHA are produced and consumed, in humans and in the ocean, we found that 70 per cent of the world’s population doesn’t get what they really need. That can have far-reaching health consequences,” said Helen Hamilton from Norwegian University of Science and Technology and first author of the paper published in the academic journal Nature Food.

The world’s fisheries are under pressure, with an estimated 63 per cent of all fish stocks considered exploited and in need of rebuilding.

That makes it unlikely that people can catch enough fish to provide their dietary needs for EPA and DHA.

“We can’t take any more fish out of the ocean. That means we really need to optimize what we do have or find new, novel sources. We need to look at how EPA and DHA are produced and consumed by humans and in the ocean,” lamented Hamilton.

To arrive at their results, the researchers collected data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Marine Ingredients Organization, along with published research articles and reports.

The data was fed into a model called a multi-layer material flow analysis framework.

This allowed Hamilton and her colleagues to estimate the amount of available omega-3 fatty acids, and how and where they are consumed.

The researchers suggest that better fisheries management, such as limiting catches and modifying fishing gear to cut the catch of unwanted fish, as ways to boost fish stocks.

Another marine source of EPA and DHA is krill, currently harvested from Antarctic waters.

“Increasing krill catch for use as feed could substantially increase the EPA/DHA supply,” the authors wrote.

But catching krill from the Antarctic is both costly and challenging because of the sheer distance from Antarctic waters to markets.

Fish farming can help, but many farmed fish, including salmon, need fish feed that includes fish meal and fish oil.

“But too little EPA and DHA in fish feed can cause health problems in farmed fish and also reduce the amount of omega-3 fatty acids they contain,” said the researchers.

Hamilton and her colleagues suggest that aquaculture can make strategic use of fish oils in fish feed by feeding these essential compounds to farmed fish at key life stages, especially right before the fish will be slaughtered for consumption.

People rarely eat all of a fish, yet these leftover by-products, such as innards and heads, also contain omega-3 fatty acids.

“Asia, far more than elsewhere in the world, is where there’s most to be gained by collecting fish by-products for use,” she said.

The researchers observed that EPA and DHA can be produced by both natural and genetically modified microalgae, as well as microbacteria and plants.

But that will also require a scale-up in production and changes in cultural acceptance, particularly in Europe, where current regulations limit use of genetically-modified organisms, the authors wrote.

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Novel predicted coronavirus 40 years ago, Internet stumped

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

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New Delhi, Feb 17: An excerpt of the Novel “The Eyes of Darkness”, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense author Dean Koontz is revolving around the social media which tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus as part of its biological weapons programme.

In chapter 39 of his book, Koontz writes that the lab is located in Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400.

Congress leader Manish Tewari has also tweeted excerpts from a book that went viral on the Internet that the coronavirus involved in the outbreak in China’s Wuhan appears to be man-made.

“Is Coranavirus a biological Weapon developed by the Chinese called Wuhan -400? This book was published in 1981. Do read the excerpt,” Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted.

Tewari highlighted a paragraph that read: “They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four hundredth viable strain of man-made micro-organisms created at that centre.”

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

A user wrote, “Haha Infinite monkey theorem. Pick any event and chances are that some book written at some would have a similar plot . Conspiracy theory has no end.”

Another wrote, “Sensational … No doubt China had replaced Russia and USSR as rogue country in Hollywood films and later James Bond movies.”

A post read, “Intriguing for sure, hope the truth comes out.”

A user remarked, “Okay if it is then it surely backfired on them!”

By the end of Sunday, a total of 1,770 people had died of the disease and 70,548 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in China.

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WHO underestimates coronavirus’ ability to spread: Study

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

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Coronavirus

London, Feb 15 : The novel coronavirus may have greater ability to spread than the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated so far, according to a review of previous studies of the virus’ transmissibility.

“Our review shows that the coronavirus is at least as transmissible as the SARS virus. And that says a great deal about the seriousness of the situation,” said Joacim Rocklov, Professor of Sustainable Health at Umea University in Sweden and one of the authors of the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

A reproduction number is a measurement of how many people a contaminated person transmits the virus to in a previously healthy population.

The higher the number, the more transferable the virus is and the higher the risk of its rapid spread.

When the reproduction number falls below 1.0, the epidemic is likely to die out.

Researchers in Umea in Sweden, Heidelberg in Germany and Zhangzhou in China have carried out a review of several scientific studies of the novel coronavirus.

In total, the researchers found twelve studies of sufficiently high quality.

The studies consisted of estimations of the growth rate based upon the cases observed in the Chinese population, and based upon statistical and mathematical methods.

The earliest studies of the coronavirus indicated a relatively low transmissibility. Thereafter, the transmissibility rose rapidly to stabilise between 2-3 in the most recent studies.

The reproduction number in the studies summed up to a mean of 3.28, and a median of 2.79, which is significantly higher than the World Health Organization’s estimation of 1.4-2.5.

“When looking at the development of the corona epidemic, reality seems to correspond well to or even exceed the highest epidemic growth in our calculations. Despite all intervention and control activities, the coronavirus has already spread to a significantly higher extent than SARS did,” said Rocklov.

The overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus on Saturday increased to 1,523, with a total of 66,492 confirmed cases, authorities said.

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Novel coronavirus to be called COVID-19: WHO

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COVID 19

New Delhi, Feb 12 : The deadly novel coronavirus has now got its official name. From now on, the virus will be known as ‘COVID-19’.

In a statement released by the World Health Organisation, its Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “we now have a name for the disease: COVID-19. I’ll spell it: C-O-V-I-D hyphen one nine – COVID-19.” He termed the virus as “a common enemy.”

The statement was released on Tuesday by the World Health Organisation.

The WHO chief also said that, “under agreed guidelines between WHO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease. Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatizing. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

According to the World Health Organisation there were 42,708 confirmed cases reported in China, and tragically the death toll surpassed 1000 deaths as on Tuesday. “1017 people in China have lost their lives due to this virus. Most of the cases and most of the deaths are in Hubei province. Outside China, there are 393 cases in 24 countries, and 1 death,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.

The world health body also said that it had activated a UN Crisis Management Team, to be led by Dr Mike Ryan that will help the organisation focus on the health response while the other agencies could bring their expertise to bear on the wider social, economic and developmental implications of the outbreak so we are all working to our strengths. Dr Mike Ryan will coordinate the whole UN response.

WHO is also hosting a two-day meeting of more than 400 scientists from around the world, both in person and virtually called Global research and innovation forum on February 11 and 12.

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