London - Covid-19 disease severity seems to be affected by the characteristics of white blood cells called granulocytes, which are part of the innate immune system.
Combined measurements of granulocytes and well-known biomarkers in the blood can predict the severity of the disease, according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
Granulocytes are a family of white blood cells that include neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils.
They are part of the so-called innate immune system, which is the body's first line of defence against pathogens.
There are many studies on how SARS-CoV-2 affects various components of the immune system, but there is still a lack of knowledge about the role of granulocytes in Covid-19.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet have now investigated the characteristics of granulocytes in the blood during the early phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection in a total of 26 hospitalised patients with Covid-19 at the Karolinska University Hospital.
They also performed follow-up analyses four months after hospital discharge and compared these with analyses of healthy uninfected individuals.
Their results, published in the journal PNAS, may eventually contribute to more tailored treatments for Covid-19 patients.
"Our study shows significantly altered characteristics of all granulocyte subsets in Covid-19A patients and this can be linked to the severity of the disease", said lead author Magda Lourda, who is a researcher at the Department of Medicine, Huddinge, at Karolinska Institutet.
Combined measurements of granulocyte characteristics and widely used biomarkers in the blood called C-reactive protein (CRP) and creatinine, could predict key clinical features such as respiratory function and multiorgan failure.
"The finding needs to be taken with caution considering the limited size of our study cohort, but our hope is that these combined measurements can be used to predict the severity of the disease, resulting in more tailored treatments for Covid-19 patients," Lourda said.
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New York - Women who contract Covid-19 during pregnancy are at significantly higher risk of developing pre-eclampsia, the leading cause of maternal and infant death worldwide, according to a new study.
Pre-eclampsia is a sudden increase in blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy.
The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, showed that women with SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy had 62 per cent higher odds of developing preeclampsia than those without the infection during pregnancy.
"This association was remarkably consistent across all predefined subgroups. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy was associated with a significant increase in the odds of pre-eclampsia with severe features, eclampsia and HELLP syndrome," said Roberto Romero, Professor of Molecular Obstetrics and Genetics at the Wayne State University School of Medicine.
HELLP syndrome is a form of severe pre-eclampsia that includes hemolysis (the rupturing of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and a low platelet count.
The team published their findings after reviewing 28 previous studies that included 790,954 pregnant women, including 15,524 diagnosed with Covid-19 infection.
"Both asymptomatic and symptomatic infection significantly increased the risk of pre-eclampsia," Romero said.
"Nevertheless, the odds of developing pre-eclampsia were higher among patients with symptomatic illness than among those with asymptomatic illness."
Pre-eclampsia warning signs, in addition to elevated blood pressure, can include headaches, swelling in the face and hands, blurred vision, chest pain and shortness of breath.
The condition is responsible for 76,000 maternal deaths and more than 500,000 infant deaths every year, according to estimates from the Pre-eclampsia Foundation.
The babies of pre-eclamptic mothers are affected by the condition and may develop intrauterine growth restriction or die in utero.
The researchers said health care professionals should be aware of the association and closely monitor pregnant women who are infected for early detection of pre-eclampsia.
A separate study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology-Maternal-Fetal Medicine, showed that women who receive the mRNA Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy pass high levels of antibodies to their babies.
The study of 36 newborns whose mothers received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine during pregnancy showed that 100 per cent of the infants had protective antibodies at birth.
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In a significant step forward, the Ministry of Ayush has paved the way for strengthening the quality of Ayurvedic and other Indian Traditional Medicine products globally and also enhancing their export potential, especially to the USA Market. This has been achieved by signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) and American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, USA on 13thSeptember, 2021.
The MoU was signed virtually and the Ministry of Ayush has entered this MOU with the specific purpose of strengthening, promotion, and development of standards in the field of Ayurveda and other Indian Traditional systems of medicine between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
This collaboration of efforts will go a long way in enhancing the export potential of the ASU&H (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy) drugs. Under this MOU, there will be the constitution of a Joint Committee to develop the action plan along with timelines for the development of Monographs and other activities for cooperation in the field of Traditional Medicine.
The Ministry feels that this MOU will develop the confidence of the global community about the safety of ASU&H drugs. One of the major outcomes of this partnership will be that both PCIM&H and AHP, USA would be working to identify various challenges faced by theherbal market of Ayurveda products/drugs in the USA. This will lead to adoption of Ayurveda standards developed out of this cooperation by the manufacturers of herbal drugs in the USA. This can be termed as a major move and will eventually foster the adoption of Ayurveda standards developed out of this cooperation for the market authorization of ASU&H products/drugs in the USA.
Development of Monographs of Ayurveda & other Indian Traditional Medicine products and herbal products, exchange of technical data for the development of Monographs with due acknowledgement between the parties, training and capacity building, exchange of Herbarium specimens and Botanical Reference Samples and phytochemical reference standards are also the part of MoU. There is an understanding in development of a Digital database on Ayurveda & other Indian Traditional Medicine products/drugs and herbal products and identifying further areas of co-operation for the promotion of quality standards of drugs/products used in Ayurveda & other Indian Traditional Medicine.
This MoU between India and USA is a timely step to add further momentum to the ongoing initiatives of the Ministry of Ayush to strengthen the quality of Ayurveda and other Indian Traditional Medicine products both inland and globally. Ayurveda and other AYUSH medicines have much to contribute in dealing with lifestyle disorders which are the major killers of this century.
Further, the role of ASU&H drugs in promoting the immunity of the body to fight against the prevalent infections is evidence based and worth praising. India enjoys the distinction of having the largest network of traditional health care systems which are widely accepted owing to its wide accessibility, affordability, safety and trust of people. It is the mandate of the Ministry of Ayush to work for promotion and propagation of these systems at international level for its global acceptance.
Through this MoU both the collaborators would strive to recognize the role of standards ensuring the quality and safety of Ayurveda and other Indian Traditional Medicine products. Will ensure an increase in awareness and understanding of the quality of traditional herbal medicines and their products.
Read More► Centre Enhances Financial Support to Open Ayush Colleges From Rs 9 Crore to Rs 70 Crore
The central government has increased the financial support from Rs nine crore to Rs 70 crore to ensure more Ayush colleges are opened across the country, Union Minister for Ayush and Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, said on Saturday. The Minister was addressing a conference on ‘Diverse and Fulfilling Career Paths in Ayush Systems: Education, Entrepreneurship & Employment Focus on North eastern States’ in Guwahati.
The Union minister said that there are only a few Ayush colleges in the North-East and the Indian traditional medicine systems can only be popularised by making available more qualified practitioners.
“For this purpose, more Ayush teaching colleges may be required to come up in the North East States. Earlier under Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Ayush Mission provided financial support of Rs.9 crores to state governments to open new Ayush colleges. Now, the Government of India has enhanced this amount to Rs.70 crore. States may identify the land and manpower for this purpose and avail this opportunity as per the guidelines of the NAM,” Sonowal said.
Sonowal added that the Ministry of Ayush has also accorded in-principle approval for upgrading the Government Ayurvedic College, Jalukbari, Assam as the Centre of Excellence with the support of up to Rs 10 crore. He said that his Ministry provides Rs. 5 crore to upgrade the under-graduate teaching colleges and Rs. 6 crores to improve the infrastructure of post graduate institutions.
The minister also announced the starting of a Panchkarma Technician course affiliated to Health Sector Skill Council - National Skill Development Corporation at Central Ayurveda Research Institute (CARI), Guwahati with 10 seats for 10+2 students to produce skilled manpower for Panchkarma therapy in NE region and enhance the employment opportunities in that part of the country.
“Career opportunities in the Ayush sector for professionals of all disciplines have increased dramatically during recent years. Moreover, consequent to these efforts, faith in the Ayush cesystems has been restored among communities worldwide,” Sonowal said. He added that Ayush has a great potential to cater to a large number of healthcare needs of people and contribute to the growth and development of this country.
Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Science & Technology and Information & Broadcasting in the Government of Assam, Keshab Mahanta, was the guest of honour at the conference.
The Ministry of Ayush had earlier this month successfully held a landmark conference of Ayush ministers of all north-eastern states and deliberated upon the developing the infrastructure for popularizing Ayush stream in the region. Today’s conference was the next step with experts discussing the education and career opportunities in Ayush.
The presentation on ‘Career Opportunities, Education in Ayurveda’ was made by Vaidya Jayant Yeshwant Deopujari, Chairperson of National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM). It was followed by session on Career opportunity and Exploration of Potential of Ayush in North Eastern States. In this session, Prof. Sanjeev Sharma, Director, National Institute of Ayurveda, Jaipur gave a lecture on ‘Education & Career Opportunities in Ayurveda in North Eastern States’ and Dr. N. Srikanth, Director General, CCRAS, New Delhi spoke on ‘Research & Development in North Eastern States India’.
There was a special address by Mrs. Indrani Mahto, Manager, Startup India, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, on ‘Entrepreneurship in Ayush sector ‘Start Up’.
Lecture on ‘Career Opportunities in Homeopathy; Industrial Perspective in North Eastern States’ was given by Dr. Subhas Singh, Director, NIH, Kolkata; lecture on ‘Career Opportunities Education in Homeopathy in North Eastern States was given by Dr. Tarkeshwar Jain, Secretary, NCH, New Delhi and ‘Research & Development and Public Health in North East India’ was given by Dr. Subhash Chaudhary, NIH, Kolkata.
Similarly, a lecture on ‘Research Education and Career Opportunity in Unani’ was given by Prof. Asim Ali Khan, Director General, CCRUM, New Delhi on ‘Research Education and Career Opportunity in Siddha’ was given by Prof. Dr. K. Kanakavalli, Director General, CCRS, Chennai on ‘Research Education and Career Opportunity in Sowa-Rigpa’ by Dr. Padma Gurmeet, Director, NRIS, Leh and ‘Research Education and Career Opportunity in Yoga & Naturopathy’ was given by Dr. Raghvendra Rao, Director, Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, New Delhi. This session is followed by presentation of representatives of Ayush Industries on ‘Career opportunity & Entrepreneurship: Industry perspective’ which followed Interactive Session with Ayush Students and Scholars from different areas of North eastern states.
About 250 participants, including the officials from the Ministry of Ayush, Ayush Institutes and Research Councils and Ayush Colleges in NE States attended the conference.
Read More► IISER Bhopal Genome Sequencing Immune Boosting Herb Giloy
Scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) here have sequenced the genome of giloy a plant with medicinal properties, which shot to fame during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Giloy or guduchi is a climber with heart-shaped leaves, has major applications in pharmaceuticals and ayurvedic formulations to treat various health conditions and was used widely during the pandemic to boost immunity.Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) is the first species ever sequenced from the Menispermaceae plant family, which comprises more than 400 species having therapeutic values, the institute said in a statement on Monday.
The availability of Giloy genome will also help in bridging the missing link between its genomic and medicinal properties. The new study will also provide leads for exploring the genomic basis of its medicinal properties, the team said.
The team performed a deep transcriptome sequencing of leaf tissue of the plant. The draft genome assembly had a size of 1.01 gigabase pairs and contained 19,474 coding gene sequences. The research is published in the preprint server bioRxiv.
"Giloy is considered as an important multipurpose medicinal plant in ayurvedic science. This plant came into the limelight due to its immunomodulatory and antiviral activity after the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been used in various health conditions due to its immune-modulatory, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-cancer properties, among others," said Shruti Mahajan, doctoral student at IISER Bhopal, in the statement.
Previous studies have shown that a compound from Giloy was reported to target the two proteases of SARS-CoV-2 virus namely Mpro and Spike proteases, and another compound was predicted to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 Mpro and also disrupts viral spike protein and host ACE-2 interaction. Treatment with giloy extract modulates the various pathways of the immune system for improved immunity.
These multiple medicinal properties are because of the presence of its secondary metabolites. Despite these medicinal properties, the unavailability of its genome sequence was a constraint in studying the genomic basis of the medicinal properties. Thus, the genome sequence of Giloy could be a breakthrough as the potential therapeutic agent for diseases like Covid in the future, the researchers said.
Moreover, the usage of giloy is also recommended under ayurveda practice by the Ministry of AYUSH and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in prophylactic care as well as therapeutic applications for all symptomatic or asymptomatic patients infected with Covid-19. It is also used in fever and diabetes.
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All India Institute of Ayurveda under Ministry of Ayush, signed a MoU in coordination with NICM Western Sydney University Australia, in virtual mode, to appoint an Academic Chair in Ayurveda. The MoU was signed by Professor Tanuja Nesari, Director, All India Institute of Ayurveda, Ministry of Ayush and Vice-Chancellor and President, Western Sydney University, Australia, Professor Barney Glover in presence of Vaidya Rajecsh kotecha, Secretary Ayush and Mr. Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Foreign Affairs of Australia.
The new Academic Chair will undertake academic and collaborative research activities in Ayurveda, including herbal medicine and yoga, as well as design academic standards and short-term/medium-term courses and educational guidelines. This Chair will also conduct workshops/seminars/conferences on Ayurveda, advocate the safe and effective use of Ayurveda Systems in Australia, identify in academic and research programs on Ayurveda their strengths and gaps, provide tutorials to students, including the promotion of research activities and innovations in Ayurveda in India, provide academic leadership demonstrating and fostering excellence in teaching research and policy development related to Ayurveda, within the robust Australian regulatory frame work, to develop strategies to promote the translation and integration of well evidence based Ayurveda medicines into conventional healthcare.
Professor Linda Taylor Pro Vice Chancellor, WSU Australia and Professor Barney Glover Vice Chancellor and President, WSU Australia, gave the welcome address and highlighted that this initiative would largely benefit both the countries and will encourage research innovation and collaboration and will also help in developing social and economical development as well as improve the health status of people. The opening Ministerial remarks given by the Secretary Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, emphasized on necessity of the Chair MoU and assured cooperation and support of Ministry of Ayush.
This Ayurveda Academic Chair will be based at Western Sydney University’s NICM Health Research Institute, located on the West mead campus, with tenure for a period of three years. The appointment of the chair is jointly funded by the Ministry of Ayush and Western Sydney University and anticipated to commence early in 2022.
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