Bengaluru, July 26 (IANS) Leading biotech major Biocon's arm Biocon Biologics Ltd on Monday said it would make an antibody in partnership with the US-based Adagio Therapeutics to treat Covid symptoms."Adagio has granted an exclusive license to us to manufacture and market an antibody for treating Covid in India and select emerging markets," said the city-based integrated biosimilars firm in a statement.The drug (ADG20) is a novel monoclonal antibody, which targets the spike protein of Sars-CoV-2 and related coronaviruses. It is in a global clinical development by Adagio as an agent to treat and prevent Covid. "The drug can enable outpatient administration as a single injection to prevent and treat Covid symptoms," said the statement.The drug has been designed and engineered to have high potency for neutralising the infection."The drug has the potential to impact viral replication and subsequent disease through multiple mechanisms of action," said the company.Adagio is advancing the drug through multiple clinical trials on a global basis."The antibody has a long half-life, which allows for immediate and durable protection against Covid up to 1 year," added the statement.--IANSfb/vd
Puducherry, July 15 (IANS) Sixteen children, aged between 1 and 8 years, are under treatment in various hospitals Puducherry after testing Covid-19 positive, an official said on Thursday.According to the Union Territory's Director, Health and Family Welfare, Dr S. Mohankumar, 12 of these children are aged between 1 and 5 years while the rest are above the age of 5. Five newborns to Covid positive mothers have also been tested and one has been tested negative, while the results of the other four are being awaited.Mohankumar, in a statement, also said that several children in Puducherry were affected by Covid-19 during the first and second wave of the pandemic.The Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) have also reported cases of children suffering from Covid. It said that children, brought to the medical college for other ailments, had tested positive.Chief Minister N. Rangasamy, who also holds the health portfolio, has directed the Health and Family Welfare Department to take steps to prevent children contracting the disease.--IANSaal/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)
New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) A cohort study on the impact of vaccination among Covid-19 patients by Star Health and Allied Insurance has unveiled the significant impacts of vaccination among individuals 45 years and above, IndiaMedToday reported.The study concluded that there was a marked reduction in the total hospitalisation expenses by approximately 24 per cent, the average length of stay (ALOS) by a mean of 2.1 days, ICU requirement by 66 per cent and a reduction of approximately 81 per cent in mortality among patients who had completed two doses of vaccination. The report said the study was conducted during the second wave (March and April 2021) and considered a sample size of 3,820 hospitalised patients from across India who were 45 years and above. The cohort study revealed that the average cost of hospitalisation of the unvaccinated group was Rs 2.77 lakh while the vaccinated group recorded an average cost of Rs 2.1 lakh. The cost reduction was due to factors like reduced need of ICU requirement and reduction in the length of hospital stay from an average of seven days among unvaccinated to an average of 4.9 days for the vaccinated group, the report said.Speaking on the study, S Prakash, MD, Star Health and Allied Insurance said, "The beginning of 2021 saw a breakthrough in vaccine discovery against COVID-19 making it the fastest vaccine discovery till date. We aimed to measure and understand in exact terms the impact of Covid-19 vaccination in patients who contracted the illness 14 days after the second dose versus unvaccinated patients, thus making it unique research in its own right." The cohort study surveyed customers of Star Health and Allied Insurance Company who were admitted for COVID-19 treatment in 1,104 hospitals across the country and found that the ALOS, need for ICU and reduction in costs holds for patients with comorbidities as well. While the need for ICU for patients with comorbidities fell from a whopping 9.4 per cent to 5 per cent amongst those vaccinated, the treatment cost also reduced by nearly 15 per cent. "However, the study also revealed that over 57 per cent of patients among the unvaccinated group were hesitant to take the vaccine due to fear, ignorance or more worryingly, social factors and disinterest! There is an urgent need to address this and we hope that through this study we will be able to highlight the benefits of the vaccine, educate and motivate the public to get vaccinated soon," added Prakash. Conducted and concluded during the early stages of vaccination drive, the study noted that nearly 86 per cent of those surveyed had not taken the vaccination and amongst these 43 per cent did not have any valid reason for not taking the jab. --IANS san/in
Toronto, July 14 (IANS) Administering a full dose of a standard blood thinner early to moderately ill hospitalised patients with Covid-19 could halt the formation of blood clots and reduce the risk of severe disease and death, finds a study.Covid-19 is marked by heightened inflammation and abnormal clotting in the blood vessels, particularly in the lungs, and is believed to contribute to progression to severe disease and death.The study, led by investigators at St Michael's Hospital in Canada, and the University of Vermont in the US, showed that heparin -- a blood thinner given regularly at low dose to hospitalised patients -- stops clots from forming and reduces inflammation. The details are available as a preprint on MedRxiv."This study was designed to detect a difference in the primary outcome that included ICU transfer, mechanical ventilation or death," said Mary Cushman, Professor of medicine from Vermont's Larner College of Medicine."While we found that therapeutic heparin didn't statistically significantly lower incidence of the primary composite of death, mechanical ventilation or ICU admission compared with low dose heparin, the odds of all-cause death were significantly reduced by 78 per cent with therapeutic heparin," said first author Michelle Sholzberg, Head of Division of Hematology-Oncology, at St. Michael's Hospital of Unity Health Toronto, and assistant professor at the University of Toronto.The team conducted a randomised international trial that examined the benefits of administering a therapeutic full dose of heparin versus a prophylactic low dose to moderately ill patients admitted to hospital wards with Covid-19.Four patients (1.8 per cent) with therapeutic heparin died versus 18 (7.6 per cent) with prophylactic heparin).An additional meta-analysis presented in the preprint showed that therapeutic heparin is beneficial in moderately ill hospitalised patients but not in severely ill ICU patients."We believe that the findings of our trial and the multiplatform trial taken together should result in a change in clinical practice for moderately ill ward patients with Covid-19," Sholzberg said.--IANSrvt/dpb