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Myanmar: WHO doctors identify outbreak as measles, that has killed 40

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DIMAPUR, AUGUST 5 : The “mystery” disease that has claimed the lives of at least 40 children in northwestern Myanmar since mid-June was identified as measles by doctors on Friday. The region where the illness has hit borders eastern India and is populated by people from the Naga tribes.

According to Athung Makury, the president of Council of Naga Affairs (in Myanmar), the assistant director general of Union Public Health, Myanmar, Dr. Than Tun Aung has diagnosed the illness as measles. “But he could not comment on what type of measles it is exactly,” according to Makury.

He informed Eastern Mirror on Friday that a team of doctors from World Health Organization, Myanmar branch have already reached there. Six doctors from the Union Government and Sagaing Regional Government” have been sent to “help the infected one”, he informed.

Besides, military helicopters would also be sent out soon to reach the villages, according to him. Makury confirmed that the death toll has reached 40 by Friday, and 9 villages affected by the illness. He also informed that 15 doctors from Nagaland, along with members of the Naga Mothers’ Association, would be arriving there soon.

On Friday several news agencies had reported that “at least 30 children have died in northwestern Myanmar since mid-June from an unknown disease that causes breathing difficulty”.

The reports quoted a local administrator as saying that deaths have been recorded in Nanyun and Lahe towns in the Naga region, one of the poorest in the country, about 1,300 kilometers from Yangon, adjoining India’s Nagaland state. He had said most of the victims were been younger than 5.

According to the news reports local authorities have temporarily banned people from traveling around to prevent contagion. The Naga area is the least developed part of Myanmar and is in utter neglect with the absence of even the most basic health care, education and infrastructure.

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UK Approves Pfizer-BioNTech Covid Vaccine For Use, First In The World

The country has ordered up to 40 million doses of the vaccine that is said to offer 95 per cent protection.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Pfizer and BioNTech say they’ve won permission Wednesday for emergency use of their Covid-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science — and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic.

The move makes Britain one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population as it tries to curb Europe’s deadliest Covid-19 outbreak.

Other countries aren’t far behind: The U.S. and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer shot along with a similar vaccine made by competitor Moderna Inc.

Pfizer said it would immediately begin shipping limited supplies to the U.K. — and has been gearing up for even wider distribution if given a similar nod by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a decision expected as early as next week.

But doses everywhere are scarce, and initial supplies will be rationed until more is manufactured in the first several months of next year.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla called the U.K. decision “a historic moment.”

“We are focusing on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world,” Bourla said in a statement.

While the U.K. has ordered enough Pfizer vaccine for 20 million people, it’s not clear how many will arrive by year’s end and adding to the distribution challenges is that it must be stored at ultra-cold temperatures.

Two doses three weeks apart are required for protection. First in line, the U.K. government says, are frontline health care workers and nursing home residents, followed by older adults.

British regulators also are considering another shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned “we must first navigate a hard winter” of restrictions to try to curb the virus until there’s enough vaccine to go around.

Every country has different rules for determining when an experimental vaccine is safe and effective enough to use. Intense political pressure to be the first to roll out a rigorously scientifically tested shot coloured the race in the U.S. and Britain, even as researchers pledged to cut no corners. In contrast, China and Russia have offered different vaccinations to their citizens ahead of late-stage testing.

The shots made by U.S.-based Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech were tested in tens of thousands of people. And while that study isn’t complete, early results suggest the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing mild to severe Covid-19 disease. The companies told regulators that of the first 170 infections detected in study volunteers, only eight were among people who’d received the actual vaccine and the rest had gotten a dummy shot.

“This is an extraordinarily strong protection,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech’s CEO, recently told The Associated Press.

The companies also reported no serious side effects, although vaccine recipients may experience temporary pain and flu-like reactions immediately after injections.

But experts caution that a vaccine cleared for emergency use is still experimental and the final testing must be completed. Still to be determined is whether the Pfizer-BioNTech shots protect against people spreading the coronavirus without showing symptoms. Another question is how long protection lasts.

The vaccine also has been tested in only a small number of children, none younger than 12, and there’s no information on its effects in pregnant women.

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Delhi hospitals witnessing probable cases of Covid reinfection

However, Dr. Chatterjee asserted that more follow up is needed to confirm the reported cases’ categorization into reinfection as it may trigger panic among the public.

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SNG001 Coronavirus Med

New Delhi, Dec 2 : As the national capital continues to battle the third and the deadliest surge of the Covid-19 pandemic, another threat related to the coronavirus has started to loom large over its horizon — the danger of reinfection of the viral disease.

The hospitals across the city have begun to report probable cases of reinfection of the disease. The instances may be relatively less or insignificant in numbers, but are enough to ring alarms.

Two days ago Sir Ganga Ram Hospital reported two cases that were claimed as reinfection of the Covid-19. The cases included a man with comorbidity and a healthcare staff of the hospital itself. The hospital claimed that the man was found to be reinfected in mere 25 days of testing negative, while the staff was found reinfected within two months of her recovery from the previous episode.

The Indraprastha Apollo Hospital has also seen similar cases lately. The hospital told IANS that at least five cases had been reported, which indicated probable reinfection of the Covid-19 disease.

Dr. Suranjit Chatterjee, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine at Apollo informed that one of his patients was readmitted to the facility as he tested positive again after two and half months of recovery from the first episode.

“The patient was comorbid. He was treated for 10 days during the first instance of the infection and was discharged. However, two and half months later, he complained of the onset of Covid induced symptoms and when tested, found positive,” he said.

Meanwhile, Aakash healthcare informed IANS that it had received two definite reinfection cases recently, where one of the patients tested positive two months after recovering from the previous episode.

“Ten days ago, the patent was admitted with high grade fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. He had obesity as an underlying condition. He received eight days of treatment before the discharge,” informed Dr. Akshay Budhraja, Consultant, Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine at Aakash.

“During our investigation, the patients revealed that he had tested positive in early September when his whole family had contracted the virus. Since the severity of the disease was mild in nature, he opted for home isolation and tested negative after 21 days. However, he started having breathing issues and fever in late October and when he underwent the RT-PCR test, the result came positive,” he added.

While Dr. Budhraja said that the antibody test on the patient was not followed, he claimed that the findings of investigations such as CT scan and blood test implied that he did not have the relapse but a confirmed re-infection.

Dr. Sandeep Nayar, Sr. Director and Head, Centre for Chest and Respiratory Disease, BLK Super Speciality Hospital also told IANS that his hospital has been receiving patients who have probable indicators of having reinfection of the disease. “I have just seen a patient today who again tested positive for Covid-19 after recovery with a complaint of mild symptoms,” he added.

However, Dr. Chatterjee asserted that more follow up is needed to confirm the reported cases’ categorization into reinfection as it may trigger panic among the public.

“Despite all the indicators suggesting the cases as reinfection of the viral disease, we need to be more careful before labelling them as the same as it could create panic among the public. To ascertain whether the cases are reinfection, reactivation or relapse of the disease would require a thorough study and a proper follow up,” he cautioned.

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UK vaccine approval ‘historic moment’ in Covid-19 battle: Pfizer CEO

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.

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The United Kingdom has become the first country to authorise the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use. Britain on December 2 said that the COVID-19 vaccine will be rolled out for use from next week.

“The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use,” the government said.

“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week,” it added.

Pfizer said Britain’s emergency use authorization marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19. “This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the UK,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

“As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world,” Bourla added.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the programme would begin early next week. “Hospitals are already ready to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It is very good news,” Hancock said.

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