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Scientists discover UV light to kill flu virus

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Scientists discover special type of Ultraviolet light to kill airborne flu virus.

Washington, Feb 11: Scientists have discovered a special type of ultraviolet (UV) light that can kill airborne flu viruses without harming human tissues, according to a new study.

Broad-spectrum ultraviolet C (UVC) light, which has a wavelength of between 200 to 400 nanometres, has been routinely used to kill bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Unfortunately, conventional germicidal UV light is also a human health hazard and can lead to skin cancer and cataracts, which prevents its use in public spaces,” said David J. Brenner, lead author and director of the Centre for Radiological Research at Columbia University Irving Medical Centre, in a statement on Saturday.

By contrast, the study found that continuous low doses of far-UVC light, which is around 207 to 222 nanometers in wavelength, is capable to inactivate more than 95 per cent of aerosolized H1N1 flu virus in a lab setting.

Moreover, earlier studies have proved that far-UVC light is not harmful to the human body.

If these results are confirmed in other scenarios, the use of overhead far-UVC light in hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, airports, airplanes and other public spaces could provide a powerful check on seasonal flu epidemics and pandemics, said the study.

Flu activity continues to increase across the United States, making the season the most recent “high” severity season, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report on Friday.

Sixty-three children died from flu this winter, it added.

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All you need to know about Nipah Virus

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Nipah Virus

New Delhi, May 21: Nipah Virus is an emerging infectious zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It was first reported in Malaysia in 1998.

It is spread by fruit bats and can be transferred from a human through close contact, body fluids, saliva and cough.

Nipah Virus first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a newly emerging zoonosis that causes severe disease in both animals and humans. The natural host of the virus are fruit bats of the Pteropodidae Family, Pteropus genus.

At present, there is no vaccine for either humans or animals. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

NiV infection in humans has a wide range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory syndrome and fatal encephalitis.

Generally, the human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.

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Exercise 4-5 times daily to delay ageing

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New York, May 21: Want to stay young for long? If so, start exercising four to five times a day as it may help keep your heart stay healthy and slow down ageing, according to researchers.

Research showed that different sizes of arteries are affected differently by varying amounts of exercise.

While exercising for about two to three days a week for about 30 minutes may be sufficient to minimise stiffening of middle-sized arteries, exercising for about four to five days a week is required to keep the larger central arteries youthful.

The study would help “develop exercise programmes to keep the heart youthful and even turn back time on older hearts and blood vessels”, said one of the study authors, Benjamin Levine from the University of Texas.

With age, arteries — which transport blood in and out of the heart — become prone to stiffening, increasing the risk of heart diseases.

For the study, published in The Journal of Physiology, the team examined 102 people over 60 years old, with a consistent lifelong exercise history.

The participants were divided into four groups depending on their exercise history — Sedentary: less than 2 exercise sessions per week; Casual Exercisers: 2-3 exercise sessions per week; Committed Exercisers: 4-5 exercise sessions per week and Masters Athletes: 6-7 exercise sessions per week.

A lifelong history of casual exercise (two-three times a week) resulted in more youthful middle-sized arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck.

However, committed exercisers (4-5 times per week) also had more youthful large central arteries, which provide blood to the chest and abdomen, in addition to healthier middle-sized ones.

Larger arteries need more frequent exercise to slow down ageing, the researchers said.

The findings will help see “if we can reverse the ageing of a heart and blood vessels by using the right amount of exercise at the right time”, Levine explained.

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Nipah virus claims six lives in Kerala

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Kozhikode, May 21: According to the health department of Kerala, at least six people lost their lives due to Nipah virus.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday informed that the state government is closely monitoring the outbreak of Nipah virus in the region and taking every possible step to prevent its further spread.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan has informed that Government is closely monitoring the spread of the Nipah virus. The health department is doing everything possible to save the lives of the infected & prevent the advance of the virus,” the CMO Tweeted.

Meanwhile, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare J.P Nadda directed to constitute a team of highly efficient doctors to probe into the matter.

Following this, a high-level team of doctors from the national capital has also been rushed by the Union health ministry to take stock of the situation in state’s northern districts.

Earlier in a day, the health department held emergency meetings in Kozhikode on Monday under Minister of Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda along with Secretary Health over the deaths.

Nipah virus is spread by fruit bats and causes severe disease in both animals and humans. It can be transferred from a human through close contact, body fluids, saliva and cough.

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