Jerusalem- The Omicron variant, with more than 30 mutations on its spike protein, may not be as dangerous as the Delta and Alpha and other variants of coronavirus, which has so far claimed more than five millions lives across the world. However, the variant appears to be more contagious, said a scientist from Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center in Israel.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Omicron has spread to nearly 38 countries, but no deaths have yet been reported.
"We have to say this with a lot of caution, but if we look at the currently available information, there is reason to believe that the variant is spreading fast, but maybe it is not so dangerous," Prof. Dror Mevorach, a senior physician was quoted as saying to Jerusalem Post.
South Africa's Tshwane District Omicron Variant Patient Profile showed that 80 per cent of hospital admissions in the previous two weeks were people below age 50, the vast majority of whom did not require oxygen support.
This can be explained in several ways, including the lower age of the patients, or that the course of the Omicron variant is milder, Mevorach said.
Some experts have also suggested that if Omicron is more infectious but milder, it could make corona more similar to the flu.A
Mevorach agreed, saying that "it would really be good news for the world. I think that we have had indications of vaccinated people getting infected, but it appears that their disease is mild".
If this is so, he said different scenarios might emerge.
"We might need to accept that some people are going to get sick, and treat them with the antiviral treatments that are about to become available, or the vaccines might be slightly tweaked to be more effective," he said. "However, I'm not really sure that we will need to do it. The first option might be good enough."
Mevorach also expressed optimism that the protection granted by the booster will last for a long time, the report said.
"What I have seen in immunological studies is that the booster really increases the antibodies, and I think it will give a longer-lasting immunity," he said.
Meanwhile, the number of Omicron Covid-19 variant cases in Israel have rose from seven to 11, the Israeli Health Ministry has said in a statement.
While the WHO said on December 3 that it had still not seen any reports of deaths related to Omicron, the new variant's spread has led to warnings that it could cause more than half of Europe's Covid-19 cases in the next few months.
A preliminary study by researchers in South Africa, where the variant was first reported on November 24, suggests it is three times more likely to cause reinfections compared to the Delta or Beta strains.
South African doctors said there had been a spike in children under five admitted to hospital since Omicron emerged, but stressed it was too early to know if young children were particularly susceptible. (Agency)
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As much as 68 per cent of food and beverage products currently available in the Indian food market have excess amounts of at least one ingredient of concern, namely salt, sugar, and saurated fats, according to a study.
Researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) analysed 10,500 products that had provided complete nutrition information in the nutrition facts panel.
They found only 32 per cent are within the scientific thresholds recommended by the World Health Organisation's regional standards.
The finding demonstrates that the nutrient profile model (NPM) from the WHO Southeast Asian Regional Office (SEARO) is appropriate and practicable for the Indian ultra-processed food market and may encourage the industry to embrace science and evidence-based cut-offs on salt, sugar, and saturated fat.
NPM is a scientific method to categorise food and beverage items according to their nutritional composition with the ultimate aim of identifying and differentiating foods that are unhealthily high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats.
"Our study finds that applying the SEARO NPM cut-off points would result in 68 per cent of products in the market requiring at least one warning label. This is in stark contrast to an earlier study undertaken by Nutrition Alchemy, utilising a small dataset of 1,300 which found that 96 per cent of products would require a label.
This creates an erroneous impression that FOPL based on the SEARO NPM is not practicable and based on the ground reality," said co-author Dr Chandrakant S. Pandav, Professor and Head of the Department - Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS.
Based on the "cut off" established by the NPM, the front-of-the-pack food label (FOPL) informs consumers in a fast and straightforward way whether a product contains excessive sugar, sodium, and saturated fat, helping them make a healthier choice.
India faces a rapidly escalating burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), particularly the rising incidence of nutrition related diseases such as diabetes, obesity among adults as well as an alarming increase in childhood obesity.
The country also clocks the highest growth rate for ultra-processed food and beverages items high in added sugar, salt and additives, besides being ultra-processed.
Over the past year, the Food Safety Standards Authority of India has been preparing to introduce a mandatory front-of-the-pack food label (FOPL) on all packaged foods which will require the food industry to ensure that ingredients of concern are within a certain threshold and also guide consumers towards making healthy choices. (agency)
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Ayurveda, as mentioned, is the science of life. It is not just a set of general suggestions but a way of living life. It consists of set practices and lifestyle habits that work to make one healthy, both physically and mentally. Additionally, the herbs and medicines as prescribed in Ayurveda, are wholly natural and retain the ability to cure most diseases without any side effects.
Ayush Agrawal, Founder and Director of Rasayanam shares some prominent herbs that are renowned for their use in matters of health and wellness are discussed as follows-
Ashwagandha, by reducing the cortisol levels, helps control anxiety and stress. Its use is significant in calming the body and psyche of an individual and also helps in regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Ashwagandha is also popularly consumed as a vigor and strength supplement. Further, it aids muscle mass gain and boosts energy levels in people from all age brackets.
This over 1000-year-old remedy constitutes three principal ingredients of Amla, Bibhitaki, and Haritaki which are some of the most famous medicinal plants native to the country. Known for its anti-inflammatory and laxative properties, Triphala is also considered particularly helpful in preventing dental diseases and cavities as well as digestive problems. The many medicinal properties of this herb are what make it so well accepted and preached throughout the country.
Brahmi is primarily used for its significant impact on the brain and its functioning. It is said to improve the brain's retention and memory power as well as its spatial learning abilities. Brahmi is commonly utilized to treat and control symptoms of anxiety, stress, and ADHD. Additionally, it is also consumed to reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure levels.
This wonder spice is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels and thereby aids weight loss. The rich antioxidant content of cumin acts to protect the skin against free radicals which in turn helps to prevent skin and heart-related diseases.
Turmeric is a famously utilized Indian spice that is best known for its medicinal properties. A prime active ingredient found in turmeric is curcumin. As per the ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, curcumin works to balance the three doshas of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the human body. Further, it also brings relief to joint and muscle pain and tightness. Another typical usage of turmeric is to heal wounds and bruises. Lastly, it is used to prevent and alleviate symptoms of colds and sore throats.
Cardamom has been traditionally consumed as a mouth freshener and a remedy for dental problems. It fights off the mouth bacteria and leaves the person consuming it with a minty breath. This magic spice is also popular throughout India for its many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help in lowering blood pressure levels and preventing chronic diseases such as cancer.
With its rich Vitamin C content, bitter melon is considered helpful in healing wounds, preventing diseases, and assisting bone formation. It is also believed to regulate the secretion of insulin in humans and thereby aid the balancing of blood sugar levels. Lastly, bitter melon may carry weight loss properties.
It is a refreshing, regenerating health tonic that is consumed in India for its several beneficial properties. Safed muesli is believed to boost immunity levels, control symptoms of chronic diseases such as arthritis and diabetes, and aid weight loss and muscle gain in individuals. Speculations have also been made with regard to the benefits of this useful herb in sexual health.
The Valerian roots are believed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress. This they do by increasing the GABA levels in a person's body. GABA is a pacifying chemical produced in humans, and as its level increases, a person's mind becomes calmer. The roots are also packed with antioxidants that relax the body and mind and facilitate quality sleep. The valerian roots are a proven help to people who suffer from problems such as overwhelming stress, worry, or insomnia.
Herbs and spices are not only packed with medicinal benefits but are also delicious in taste and come with virtually no side effects. This quality of these items makes them extremely valuable in today's day where a large number of people suffer from some disease or the other.(N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified the new Covid variant detected in southern Africa this week as the 'Variant of Concern' following the Technical Advisory Group meeting on Friday.
"Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology, the TAG-VE has advised WHO that this variant should be designated as a Variant of Concern and the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a VOC, named Omicron", said the global health body in a statement.
The B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa on November 24, 2021. The epidemiological situation in South Africa has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest of which was predominantly the Delta variant. The first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9, 2021.
The WHO has asked the countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants and submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database. The WHO has reminded to take measures to reduce their risk of Covid-19, including proven public health and social measures such as wearing well-fitting masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing, improving ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.
The WHO said that this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are of concern.
Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of re-infection with this variant, as compared to other VOCs. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa. Current SARS-CoV-2 PCR diagnostics continue to detect this variant. Several labs have indicated that for one widely used PCR test, one of the three target genes is not detected and this test can therefore be used as marker for this variant, pending sequencing confirmation. Using this approach, this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage, said the WHO.
The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) is an independent group of experts that periodically monitors and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and assesses if specific mutations and combinations of mutations alter the behaviour of the virus. The TAG-VE was convened on 26 November 2021 to assess the SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529. (agency)
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Winters in India have always beckoned for that hot, steaming bowl of tomato and pepper rasam or the mellow, millet based Raab. Certain dishes like Sarson ka saag, undhiyu, nimona pulao are winter specialites in the country.
Seasonal food has always been an Indian speciality we switch our choice in fruits, vegetables, sometimes even grains with the onset of a different season. The preference of using specific ingredients during certain climates is visible in our sweets as well. It's common to find local and traditional delicacies made of jaggery, instead of sugar during the winters. Case in point the Nolen Gur Rasgulla, a speciality made in Odisha and West Bengal between November to February.
Celebrity chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, strongly advocates this need of eating seasonal produce. He says, "The beauty of our food is in our seasonal usage of fruits and vegetables. If you realise, Gajar ka halwa is made aplenty during winters as this is the season when beautiful red carrots hit the market or mango pickle is made during summer, thanks to its availability. Despite people and sometimes, even me, suggesting that we should eat fresh as well as seasonal fruits and vegetables, we do not know what chemicals are sprayed on them to keep them safe while they are growing.
When this produce hits the market, there isn't a certifying agency like the FSSAI that will help people understand what vegetables and fruits are free of pesticides and germs and which ones don't. Hence, the onus lies on us to make them safe for consumption. ITC's Nimwash is a good solution."
When it comes to winters, the Chef recommends eating these fruit and vegetables:
Purple Mogri- Mogri or Radish pods are not a common sight throughout the country. But you can spot them during the winters in local markets in northern India where women pick them up to make raitas, curries and stir fries. Rich in magnesium, calcium and copper, the vegetable is known to aid people from digestive problems.
Sweet Potato- A re-discovered favourite, Sweet potatoes have created a space for itself in the millennial kitchen. With its diverse addition in burgers, chips and even chat, the root vegetable is filled with nutrients such as fibres and vitamins.
Avarekalu- Called Hyacinth beans in English, Avarekalu is a winter speciality in the south that is added to sambhar, saagu, rotis, etc. Bangalore is famed for its Averakalu mela during the winter months, where you can find these beans in dosas, Pani puri and even Jalebis! Thronged by crowds from all over the city, the food fest is a gourmand's delight.
Amla- The Indian gooseberry is a common winter fruit found through the country. High in Vitamin C, it is known to be immunity building and extremely beneficial for the skin and hair. There are multiple ways to eat Amla - it is pickled, made into a fruit preserve called Murraba or even eaten by sprinkling salt over it.
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आगरा (21 नवंबर, 2021)- आधुनिक जीवनशैली और पर्यावरण में लगातार हो रहे बदलाव ने मानव स्वास्थ्य के सामने गंभीर संकट पैदा कर दिया है। वायु प्रदूषण अपने सबसे खतरनाक स्तर पर पहुँच चुका है। स्वास्थ्य पर प्रतिदिन इसका प्रतिकूल असर पड़ रहा है। लेकिन ये समझ में नहीं आ रहा कि इस वैश्विक स्वास्थ्य समस्या से अपनी और अपने परिवार की सुरक्षा कैसे की जाए? ऐसे में आयुर्वेद का प्राचीन विज्ञान आशा की किरण बनकर उभरा है। आयुर्वेद के माध्यम से इस स्वास्थ्य चुनौती का मुकाबला बखूबी किया जा सकता है क्योंकि इस चिकित्सा पद्धति में रोगों से लड़ने और प्राकृतिक घटकों के माध्यम से उसके निवारण की अद्भूत क्षमता निहित है। यही वजह है कि आयुर्वेद को स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं का भविष्य कहना अतिशयोक्ति नहीं होगी।
प्रसिद्ध आयुर्वेद चिकित्सक और पंचकर्म की विशेषज्ञ डॉ. मीनल गुप्ता ने उपरोक्त बाते निरोगस्ट्रीट द्वारा आगरा में आयोजित संगोष्ठी में कही जिसमें बड़ी संख्या में चिकित्सकों ने भाग लिया। डॉ. मीनल ने आयुर्वेद की महत्ता को रेखांकित करते हुए कहा कि आयुर्वेद उन सभी समस्याओं और कमियों का समाधान है जो वर्तमान स्वास्थ्य प्रणाली को कमजोर बनाती है। आयुर्वेद बिरादरी को पूरे पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र को बेहतर बनाने और दुनिया भर के रोगियों के लाभ के लिए इसे और अधिक सक्षम बनाने के साथ-साथ नियमित रूप से इस तरह के संगोष्ठियों और परिचर्चा को आयोजित करते रहने की जरूरत है।
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'आधुनिक दुनिया के परिप्रेक्ष्य में आयुर्वेद' (आधुनिक दुनिया में आयुर्वेद की प्राचीन प्रक्रियाएं) विषय पर आयोजित चिकित्सकों की संगोष्ठी में 'कोरोनावायरस' के बाद की स्वास्थ्य चुनौतियों और आयुर्वेद में उसकी भूमिका पर भी विस्तृत चर्चा हुई जिसमें बड़ी संख्या में चिकित्सकों ने भाग लिया। चर्चा के केंद्र में बिगड़ती हुई पर्यावरणीय परिस्थितियों में स्वस्थ जीवन के लिए आयुर्वेद की महत्ता रही जिसमें ये बात उभर कर सामने आयी कि 'प्रौद्योगिकी' (टेक्नॉलजी) के साथ 'आयुर्वेद' ग्लोबल हेल्थकेयर के भविष्य को पूरी तरह से बदल सकता है।
देश के सबसे बड़े आयुर्वेद चिकित्सकों के प्लेटफॉर्म 'निरोगस्ट्रीट' द्वारा आयोजित इस संगोष्ठी को व्यापक सफलता मिली जिसमें आगरा के साथ - साथ देशभर के 50 चिकित्सकों ने अपनी सहभागिता दर्ज कराई। पंचकर्म केरली आयुर्वेद केंद्र के चिकित्सकों ने भी संगोष्ठी के दौरान अपने विचार रखे।
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