Gurugram, July 23 (IANS) After the first fatal bird flu case was reported from Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences that came from Gurugram's Chakkarpur village, the Health and the Animal Husbandry departments here have swung into action and launched a survey as a precautionary measure.Nearly 28 teams have been constituted in the district to check all poultry farms.The survey is being conducted in a 10-km radius around Chakkarpur village. People are being made aware of the symptoms of bird flu.Punita Gehlawat, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, said the 11-year-old child who died at AIIMS was a resident of Chakkarpur village in Gurugram. After AIIMS Delhi confirmed the child suffered from bird flu the surveys in Chakkarpur village and the surrounding areas was launched immediately."The poultry farms in the district are also being continuously checked by the Animal Husbandry department. At present, there are about 20 poultry farms in the district. Teams have been formed for checking them. Seventeen teams are working separately for the survey in Chakkarpur village and the surrounding 10-km radius. Apart from this, 28 teams have been constituted to check all poultry farms in the district," she added."H5N1 is the most common form of bird flu. The recent death of the 11-year-old kid has people panicking. Deadly to birds and can easily affect humans and other animals that come in contact with a carrier. Currently, the virus is not known to spread from humans through human contact, but H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans. Please monitor your symptoms if you have been in close contact with birds or a flock of birds are dying in your area," said Manjeeta Nath Das, Consultant -- Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurugram.Appealing to the general public, Gurugram Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg said the information about sick or dead birds should be given to the Animal Husbandry department immediately."There is no harm in eating well-cooked chicken or eggs as according to experts the virus gets destroyed at 70-degree temperature. The administration has also issued an advisory for poultry farmers and people associated with poultry business," Garg added.--IANSstr/khz/in
London, July 18 (IANS) UK researchers have received a 20 million pound fund to investigate 'long Covid", its causes, and potential treatments, the media reported.The funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) will help researchers launch 15 new studies of the condition that will investigate everything from brain fog to ongoing breathlessness, using a new technique to detect hidden lung damage, the BBC reported on Sunday.Patients with post-Covid conditions are variously referred to as having long-haul Covid, long Covid or post-acute sequelae of Covid-19 (PASC). At present, there are no tests to diagnose long Covid and the condition is still not yet fully understood.The condition can cover a range of conditions, across all ages, such as fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, brain fog and breathlessness, which are not seen to the same extent with other viruses.One study led by the University College London will test whether everyday medicines such as aspirin and anti-histamines can help people recover. It will recruit more than 4,500 people with long Covid who will be tracked over three months of treatment, the report said.Another study will investigate the common long-lasting problem of brain fog, which many people say affects their daily activities and their ability to work. Using detailed brain scans of those affected, researchers hope to learn more about this cognitive impairment and how it can be treated.Further, researchers at the University of Oxford will focus on the causes of ongoing breathlessness, while an University of Glasgow team will assess whether a weight management programme can reduce symptoms of long Covid in people who are overweight or obese, the report added.At Cardiff University, researchers will look at whether an overactive or impaired immune response could be driving long Covid.The new research was "absolutely essential to improve diagnosis and treatments" and would be life-changing for those battling long-term symptoms of the virus", Health Secretary Sajid Javid was quoted as saying. He said it would build on the 80 long Covid assessment centres open in the UK, the report said.--IANSrvt/khz/vd
New York, July 15 (IANS) Johnson & Johnson is pulling out its Neutrogena and Aveeno spray sunscreens from US stores after some samples showed presence of benzene -- a potentially cancer-causing chemical."While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products. We are investigating the cause of this issue, which is limited to certain aerosol sunscreen products," the company said in a statement on Wednesday.The recalled sunscreen products are packaged in aerosol cans. These include Aveeno Protect + Refresh aerosol sunscreen, and four Neutrogena sunscreen versions: Beach Defense aerosol sunscreen, CoolDry Sport aerosol sunscreen, Invisible Daily Defense aerosol sunscreen and UltraSheer aerosol sunscreen.The company noted that although the levels detected in the testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences, it cautions against the use of the products."Consumers should stop using these specific products and appropriately discard them," the statement said.The company, which is one of the world's biggest sellers of consumer health products by sales, said it is also notifying distributors and retailers to stop selling the products, and arranging for the return of the products.Benzene is classified as a human carcinogen, a substance that could potentially cause cancer depending on the level and extent of exposure. It is ubiquitous in the environment, and humans around the world have daily exposures indoors and outdoors from multiple sources. Benzene can be absorbed, to varying degrees, by inhalation, through the skin, and orally.--IANSrvt/vd
New York -The airway cells of patients with chronic lung diseases are "primed" for infection by the Covid-19 virus, resulting in more severe symptoms, poorer outcomes and a greater likelihood of death, according to a study.
The study, published in Nature Communications, found that chronic lung disease causes genetic changes in the molecular makeup of a variety of cells, including the epithelial cells that line the lung and airways.
The changes enable SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, to enter the body, replicate and trigger an out-of-control immune response that fills the lungs with fluids and often results in patients needing respirators and lengthy hospitalisations.
"Our results suggest that patients with chronic lung disease are molecularly primed to be more susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2," said Nicholas Banovich, Associate Professor at Translational Genomics Research Institute, a non-profit genomics research institute in Arizona, US.
In addition, older-age, male-gender, smoking, and comorbidities such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes, are all Covid-19 risk factors that are exacerbated by chronic lung diseases, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Interstitial Lung Disease, and especially Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a progressive scarring and stiffening of the lung tissue.
For the study, the team used single-cell RNA sequencing technology to spell out the genetic code of 611,398 cells from various databases, representing those with both healthy (control) lungs and those with chronic lung disease. Sequencing and analysis allowed researchers to identify molecular characteristics that may account for worse Covid-19 outcomes.
Researchers specifically searched for changes in AT2 cells -- a major lung epithelial cell type, focusing on cellular pathways and expression levels of genes associated with Covid-19. They established a "viral entry score," a composite of all genes associated with SARS-CoV-2, and found higher scores among cells from patients with chronic lung disease.
Further, exploring changes in immune cells, they discovered dysregulated gene expression associated with hyper-inflammation and with sustained cytokine production -- two signature symptoms of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection. So-called cytokine storms in Covid-19 patients unleash a cascade of immune cells that flood the lungs, causing severe organ damage, the team explained. (Agency)
Bhubaneswar, July 12 (IANS) On the occasion of the Rath Yatra, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday laid the foundation for two state-of-the-art cancer care institutions here at Infovalley.He laid the foundation stone for Bagchi-Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital & Research Centre and for Bagchi-Karunashraya Palliative Care Centre. Odisha Skill Development Authority (OSDA) chairman Subrato Bagchi and his wife Sushmita have donated Rs 340 crore for the establishment of these two cancer-care institutions.While Sri Shankar Foundation will run the 750-bed cancer hospital, Bengaluru-based hospice foundation will run the palliative care unit.The palliative care unit will have 110 beds and will provide free service.Addressing a gathering on the occasion, Patnaik said that both the institutions will help the patients of Odisha, especially the poor in accessing quality health care facilities. He assured that the state government will provide all support for its early completion.He congratulated the Bagchi couple for their philanthropy and noble efforts to create two world-class institutions in Odisha. Their philanthropy is an inspiration for Odisha and the people will remember them for their contribution, he stated.Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation, led by Dr Srinath, is setting up the cancer hospital which will work on a cross-subsidy model, he said."I am very happy to learn that the hospital will now be 750 beds with the latest technology. I am sure this centre will become the leading research institution and attract oncologists from across the world to serve humanity," Patnaik added.The chief minister informed that Kishore Rao and Gurmeet Randhawa, founders of Bangalore Hospice Trust and their team have been serving the dying for over 25 years through their Karunashraya."We are happy that such a kind institution providing world-class palliative care is now being set up in Odisha. It's heartening to note that world class palliative care would be completely free of cost," the chief minister said.Joining the programme, Dr Srinath said that the hospital will be a one stop cancer centre with all the treatment facilities including bone marrow transplantation. The hospital will have a PG Training facility on oncology, he added.Randhawa said that the palliative centre in Bhubaneswar will be developed as the best palliative care facility in the world. They will train over 25,000 youth, including tribal girls, in the next five years.--IANS bbm/skp/bg
Chennai, July 12 (IANS) Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed an Artificial Intelligence-based mathematical model to identify cancer-causing alterations in cells.The algorithm uses a relatively unexplored technique of leveraging DNA composition to pinpoint genetic alterations responsible for cancer progression, which is difficult using present methodologies. The results are published in the peer-reviewed International Journal Cancers.Understanding the underlying mechanism of these alterations will help identify the most appropriate treatment strategy for a patient in an approach known as 'precision oncology'."One of the major challenges faced by cancer researchers involves the differentiation between the relatively small number of 'driver' mutations that enable the cancer cells to grow and the large number of 'passenger' mutations that do not have any effect on the progression of the disease,a said Prof B. Ravindran, Head, Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and AI (RBCDSAI), IIT Madras, in a statement.In this study, the researchers decided to look at this problem from a different perspective. The main goal was to discover patterns in the DNA sequences -- made up of four letters, or bases, A, T, G and C surrounding a particular site of alteration.The underlying hypothesis was that these patterns would be unique to individual types of mutations -- drivers and passengers, and therefore could be modelled mathematically to distinguish between the two classes.Using sophisticated AI techniques, the researchers developed a novel prediction algorithm, NBDriver and tested its performance on several open-source cancer mutation datasets."Our model could distinguish between well-studied drivers and passenger mutations from cancer genes with an accuracy of 89 per cent. Furthermore, combining the predictions from NBDriver and three others commonly used driver prediction algorithms resulted in an accuracy of 95 per cent, significantly outperforming existing models," Ravindran said.In addition,"NBDriver could accurately identify 85 per cent of the rare driver mutations from patients diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), a particularly aggressive type of cancer affecting the brain or spine," said Karthik Raman, Associate Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta School of Biosciences, IIT Madras.NBDriver is available publicly and can be used to obtain predictions on any user-defined set of mutations. In short, given a new mutation and its surrounding DNA makeup, one would be able to predict its class -- driver or passenger.--IANSrvt/in