With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year and now its resurgence in the second wave we have been left unprepared in true sense to fight this biggest threat to human race in recent times. There are different aspects that need to be seen which in general can help us understand and plan better for future as this disease is here to stay and may not be gone so soon.
Issues with COVID Pandemic
COVID infection has posed a recent threat to mankind especially considering its intensity of spread and also severity and increased mortality in cases with comorbidities or older age. The best of the countries too have failed in providing adequate attention to ailing cases because of a simple reason of sudden rise in total number of cases in society surpassing limits that healthcare infrastructure can accommodate at any given time. Secondly, being totally new viral disease, assured and complete treatment and prevention will take time to develop by researchers. So to limit the spread and halt the rate of spread is the best way forward as of date.
COVID and Cancer
In the last one year, we have seen COVID infecting mostly older age group, but now even the young and children are getting infected in the second wave probably due to the new mutant variant. Although complications can arise in almost any case, mostly people with co-morbidities and immune-compromised state have been found to be infected earlier and also have more complicated clinical course with mortalities. Cancer being a known immuno-compromised state thus poses a risk factor. Moreover, issue with cancer is unawareness, late presentation and lack of timely treatment which has made cancer as one of the most dreaded diseases. With COVID scare in public - restrictions due to lockdown and prevention protocols, it has posed as a major roadblock in active management in needy cancer patients. This has left common public and also the care giver confused about the right approach in cancer care in this pandemic era.
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Effect of Covid on Cancer Management
Cancer is a disease that is known of stage progression if left untreated. Also, cure from cancer treatment largely depends on the stage that the patient presents. Thus cancer is a disease where we cannot hold treatment fearing a possible infection which may or may not affect the individual depending on exposure risk and on the contrary may also not be symptomatic or life threating even if infected, in all cases. At the same time in an already infected case, individual's capacity to fight infection in immune-compromised state created with cancer therapy and the risk of cancer progression outcome on survival if treatment delayed , is something that has to be weighed with caution.
Effect on Infrastructure and Care Givers
Apart from effect of COVID on individuals, the effect on infrastructure and care givers also decides the management in cancer cases. With sudden rise of Covid cases, as per government policies a big share of infrastructure (beds, ICUs, oxygen, medications, staff) is being diverted to COVID emergencies, which is logical too. However, this poses a serious threat to our capabilities of providing adequate care to non Covid oncological emergencies and timely intervention in needy patients. Although the priority between a COVID or an oncological malignancy is something that cannot be decided so easily, at least treatment related known morbidities and emergencies in cancer cases ï¿½is something that really needs to be looked into.
Lessons Learnt and Precautions for Future
To summarise, it should be known that COVID is here to stay. State, care givers and individuals in public have their own important role to play. First and the foremost role is of an individual to take all steps to avoid spread of Covid infection by social distancing, face masks and frequent hand-washing. Specific to cancer patients do understand that cancer growth will not stop so we cannot neglect this disease, be it a pandemic or no pandemic. Timely detection of symptoms, consultation by specialists be it physical with all Covid precautions or better by a virtual mode can atleast help detect urgency, stage and then prioritize treatment to see if it can be delayed or needs urgent start. Once diagnosed, care givers take all due precaution to decide appropriate treatments where routine management can be slightly modified with non invasive and less toxic therapies given priority.
Truncated iso-effective therapies needing lesser visits and monitoring if possible are preferred. More emphasis of preparing the patient for treatment with adequate nutrition, timely immunization prevention and preventive treatments to spare cases landing into severe treatment related complications and admission are advocated. Understanding limited resources especially as seen in this second wave, it will be prudent to choose alternatives where chances of medical emergencies and need of special care like oxygen and ICUs are reduced as far as possible.
Lastly there is a huge demand and need for the authorities from state health departments to understand the ardent need of expansion of our health care system, timely pre-planning of improving infrastructure and establish disaster management protocols where we are well prepared to fight such unpredicted emergencies and we have ample preparedness to support our ailing population in the time of need and none of them suffer due to lack of healthcare facilities at least. It's a ongoing battle, which we sure are going to win with patience, understanding, cooperation and collaboration.
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Hyderabad, June 1 (IANS) Canada's Providence Therapeutics Holdings Inc and Biological E Ltd on Tuesday announced the execution of a term sheet for sale of up to 30 million doses of the former's proprietary messenger RNA vaccine, PTX-Covid19-B, to Biological E and other end-buyers.The term sheet sets forth the material terms for a definitive licensing and collaboration agreement and also outlines the terms for sale.This sale represents the sale of all the remaining 2021 Providence production, plus a portion of the early 2022 Providence production, after accounting for the first sale of Providence vaccines to Canada's Manitoba Province.The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.Providence will provide the necessary technology transfer for Biological E to manufacture mRNA vaccines in India, with a minimum production capacity of 600 million doses in 2022 and a target capacity of 1 billion doses.Biological E will be responsible for all clinical development and regulatory activities for the mRNA vaccine in India and other jurisdictions licensed by Biological E. The Hyderabad-based firm will run pivotal trials in India and seek emergency use authorisation."This initiative is an important commitment by a Canada-based company to help India and other nations vaccinate their citizens against Covid-19. Providence was founded to serve patients, and this commitment by Biological E allows us to achieve that essential goal," Providence CEO Brad Sorenson said."The mRNA platform has emerged as the front runner in delivering the first vaccines for emergency use to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. Biological E is very pleased to be able to work with Providence on its promising mRNA vaccine candidate. We hope to provide India and other countries yet another option to ramp up their efforts towards achieving herd immunity against Covid-19," Biological E Managing Director Mahima Datla said.--IANSms/vd
Srinagar- Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has tested positive for Covid-19, his son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah informed on Twitter on Tuesday.
Omar said he and his family members will be self-isolating and getting themselves tested for Covid.
"My father has tested positive for COVID-19 & is showing some symptoms. I will be self-isolating along with other family members until we get ourselves tested. I request anyone who has come in to contact with us over the last few days to take all the mandated precautions," Omar tweeted.
Earlier this month, Farooq Abdullah had taken the first Covid jab at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar. (IANS)
London- A major study of care home residents in England has found that their risk of infection with coronavirus fell by 62 per cent five weeks after they received their first vaccine dose.
The study, funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care, tracked more than 10,400 care home residents in England with an average age of 86 between December 2020 and March this year, comparing the number of infections occurring in vaccinated and unvaccinated groups, Xinhua news agency quoted the Guardian newspaper as saying on Monday.
The research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that both vaccines Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech reduced the risk of infection by about 56 per cent at 28-34 days after the first dose, and 62 per cent at 35-48 days.
The study is considered important as it also looks into how the vaccines can reduce asymptomatic cases, which play a crucial role in the spread of the virus.
"It's helpful to look at people who don't have symptoms because what you want to do is reduce the total number of people who've been infected," Laura Shallcross from the University College London, an author of the analysis, said.
The UK has so far reported 4,351,668 coronavirus cases and 126,857 deaths.
More than 30.4 million people have been given the first jab of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.
The government said the country is "on course" to meet its target of offering a first dose to the top nine priority groups, including the over-50s, by April 15 and all adults by the end of July. (IANS)
London- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the people to remain cautious as outdoor get-togethers and sports resumed in England.
As the next step of the British government's "roadmap" exiting the lockdown, two households or groups of up to six are now allowed to meet outside, including in private gardens, and outdoor team sports are reopening from Monday.
The Monday move marks the second easing of the lockdown, imposed across England in early January, after schools reopened to all pupils on March 8.
"We must remain cautious," said Johnson, as the "stay at home" slogan was officially scrapped at midnight and replaced with "stay local", Xinhua news agency reported.
"Today marks the next stage of our roadmap to cautiously ease restrictions in England. As vaccines are being rolled out it's vital that we don't overdo it and risk all the progress we've made," he said on Twitter.
Under the new measures, people should still work from home if possible and minimize their journeys.
From April 12, non-essential retail, as well as restaurants and pubs -- if serving people outdoors -- will be allowed to reopen in England.
On February 22, Johnson announced his "roadmap" exiting the lockdown, the third of its kind since the start of the pandemic. The March 8 reopening of schools was first part of the four-step plan which is expected to see all legal restrictions in England being removed by mid-June.
On Sunday, Stephen Powis, national medical director of National Health Service (NHS) England, warned that Britons should not "squander the gains" made against coronavirus in recent months.
Coronavirus could still "wreak more havoc and ill-health on a significant scale", he wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, citing concerns over variants.
The NHS England has warned that Britain is going to face a "significant reduction" in vaccine supplies from Monday onwards. But the government insisted the country is "on course" to meet its target of offering a first dose to the top nine priority groups, including the over-50s, by April 15 and all adults by the end of July.
Another 3,862 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 4,333,042, according to official figures released Sunday.
The country also reported another 19 coronavirus-related deaths. The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain stood at 126,592. These figures only include the deaths of people who died within 28 days of their first positive test.
More than 30.1 million people, around 57 percent of all adults in Britain, have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.
To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the US as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines. (IANS)
Washington- The US has recorded more than 10,000 infection cases of coronavirus variants as experts warn of another Covid-19 surge.
Among the total of 10,985 variants cases reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as of Sunday, 10,579 cases were caused by the variant known as B.1.1.7, which was originally detected in Britain, Xinhua reported.
There were 288 cases of a new strain initially discovered in South Africa, called B.1.351, and 118 cases of the P.1 strain first discovered in Brazil.
In addition, the B.1.427 and B.1.429 variants, two coronavirus strains first detected in California, are also being closely monitored by the CDC.
The five coronavirus strains are currently classified by the CDC as "variants of concern," as evidence shows an increase in their transmissibility, increased hospitalizations or deaths, significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.
Virus variants may contribute to "increased spread" of infections, Stanley Perlman, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Iowa, told Xinhua in an interview.
"Cases may be increasing again. We need to still wear masks and practice social distancing," he noted.
Experts have repeatedly expressed concern that the country would face another surge in Covid-19 cases if Americans did not keep protective measures such as wearing masks, avoiding travel, and continuing social distancing until more people are vaccinated.
Despite the drop of new Covid-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations for weeks, now the country has seen a rise in new cases in 27 states.
Currently the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases is about 61,000 cases a day, a 10 percent increase over the previous period, according to the CDC.
The current seven-day average of daily new hospitalizations is about 4,816 people, a 4.2 per cent increase over the previous week, CDC data show.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Monday she feels a sense of "impending doom" about another surge in COVID-19 cases as infections increased by 10 per cent.
Walensky said CDC data show that new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing, which she attributed to increased travel in recent weeks, lifting restrictions, and more relaxed behavior.
"I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom. We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope. But right now, I'm scared," Walensky said during a White House briefing.
Public health officials said protective measures like mask use, physical distancing, hand hygiene and prompt vaccination can help prevent against Covid-19 infections and emerging strains. (IANS)