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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Continuing Medical Education organised by NirogStreet in Agra
Agra, November 21st, 2021: The COVID pandemic has brought the current healthcare system under the microscope. It has become necessary to debate on the readiness of the current healthcare system for future situations like the pandemic and its sustainability. On Sunday, November 21st the medical fraternity of Agra met in a Continuing Medical Education Program organised by NirogStreet to discuss how procedures of the ancient healthcare - Ayurveda have become more essential for healthy living in the deteriorating environmental conditions of the modern world. The program was a huge success with around XX (Please provide the number) doctors and medical fraternity members from across the city / state attending it. Ayurveda enabled with technology can transform the future of Global Healthcare.
Renowned Ayurveda doctor and an expert of Panchkarma Dr. Meenal Gupta, Panchkarma Kerli Ayurveda Kendra addressed the doctors and medical fraternity members at the event.
Dr. Meenal Gupta said, “With changing lifestyle and the difficult environmental conditions we are surviving in, taking care of our health and that of our family should be the first priority. We all know that the air we breathe in is extremely polluted, so imagine how much damage our health experiences just because of that everyday. There are a huge number of other things that adversely affect our health daily without us realising it. Ayurveda, with its preventive, healing and recovery procedures is by far one of the only holistic healthcare systems which can help us in fighting this damage to our health. Ayurveda is the answer to all the problems and gaps that make the current healthcare system weak. Ayurveda is the future of healthcare. The Ayurveda fraternity needs to meet like this regularly to improve the whole ecosystem and make it more efficient for the benefit of patients around the globe.”
Also, Read► Medical Fraternity of Lucknow meets to discuss the Role of Ayurveda in Future of Global Healthcare
NirogStreet, the largest B2B2C community has made tremendous progress in nurturing and strengthening the Ayurveda community in India by utilizing innovative and path breaking technology. It is India’s first and only technology led Ayurveda doctor platform has dedicated its energies towards promoting the merits of Ayurveda and encouraging it as the first call of treatment not just in India but globally. NirogStreet is continuously working towards transforming the ancient science of Ayurvedic treatment more accessible in the modern format with evidence based practices, authentic Ayurvedacharyas and authentic Ayurvedic medicines.
The COVID 19 pandemic created havoc and unmasked the gaps in the current healthcare system globally and in India. While fighting the biggest health crisis of the century, the world found solace in the wisdom of Ayurveda.
Nirogstreet is aggressively working towards increasing the reach of ayurvedic medicines, developing a trustworthy network for Ayurvedic doctors and making Ayurveda a mainstream healthcare solution.
Read in Hindi► स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं का भविष्य है आयुर्वेद - डॉ. मीनल गुप्ता
लखनऊ (21 नवंबर, 2021) सदी के सबसे बड़े संकट कोरोनावायरस ने जब पूरे दुनिया में कहर बरपाया तब भारत में इस संकट से निपटने में आयुर्वेद उम्मीद की किरण बनकर उभरा। भारत के स्वास्थ्य सेवा में इस अंतर को विश्व ने भी महसूस किया।
लखनऊ में रविवार को निरोगस्ट्रीट द्वारा आयोजित चिकित्सकों की परिचर्चा में ये बात उभर कर सामने आयी। इसमें 'भविष्य के हेल्थकेयर सिस्टम में आयुर्वेद की भूमिका' विषय पर देश के जाने-माने चिकित्सकों ने अपनी राय रखी।
इस मौके पर उत्तरप्रदेश आयुष विभाग के सेवानिवृत वरिष्ठ चिकित्सा अधिकारी (आयुर्वेद पंचकर्म, योग और सेल्फ डेवलप रिलैक्सेशन थेरेपी के विशेषज्ञ) डॉ. देवेश कुमार श्रीवास्तव ने ग्लोबल हेल्थकेयर प्लेटफॉर्म में आयुर्वेद हेल्थकेयर की उपयोगिता पर अपनी बात रखी।
यह भी पढ़े► स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं का भविष्य है आयुर्वेद - डॉ. मीनल गुप्ता
डॉ. देवेश कुमार श्रीवास्तव ने अपने वक्तव्य में कहा कि आयुर्वेद में वैश्विक स्वास्थ्य चुनौतियों से निपटने की जबरदस्त क्षमता है और इसी कारण भविष्य में यह विश्व की स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं में अग्रणी भूमिका निभा सकता है। कोरोनावायरस की वैश्विक आपदा के समय आयुर्वेद ने अपनी इसी क्षमता को प्रमाणित किया और वैश्विक स्तर पर इसे स्वीकार भी किया गया। भविष्य की किसी भी स्वास्थ्य चुनौतियों का सामना करने में आयुर्वेद पूरी तरह से सक्षम है। योग्य आयुर्वेद चिकित्सकों और आयुर्वेदाचार्यों के निर्देशन में साक्ष्य आधारित उपचार और थेरेपी व प्रमाणिक आयुर्वेद की दवाइयों के माध्यम से असाध्य से असाध्य रोगों का बेहतर इलाज करने में आयुर्वेद सक्षम है।
कार्यक्रम में शहर के 50 से अधिक चिकित्सकों और आयुर्वेद चिकित्सा से जुड़े लोगों ने भाग लिया जो इस कार्यक्रम की सफलता की कहानी खुद-ब-खुद बयान करती है। देश के सबसे बड़े आयुर्वेद चिकित्सकों के प्लेटफॉर्म 'निरोगस्ट्रीट' द्वारा इस कार्यक्रम का आयोजन किया गया था। गौरतलब है कि आयुर्वेद के विविध विषयों को लेकर निरोगस्ट्रीट द्वारा इस तरह के कार्यक्रम अलग-अलग शहरों में लगातार आयोजित किये जा रहे हैं।
यह अंग्रेज़ी में भी पढ़े► Medical Fraternity of Lucknow meets to discuss the Role of Ayurveda in Future of Global Healthcare
With a whopping 77 million people in India living with diabetes, a simultaneous and sharp rise has been observed in the prevalence of diabetes-related preventable vision loss, particularly among the young people, say experts.
Diabetic retinopathy is a chronic, progressive retinal disease that is a leading cause of vision impairment in today's young adults, working population. It's of major concern among children suffering from juvenile diabetes (Type-1 diabetes) and especially if they have had diabetes for over 10 years.
It is estimated that approximately 1.1-crore people are suffering from retinal disorders in India and more alarmingly, about one in every three people living with diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes complication that affects eyes.
"With the growing incidence of diabetes, it has been estimated that diabetic retinopathy affects one in three people with diabetes and remains the leading cause of blindness in young working-aged adults," Dr Mahipal Sachdev, Medical Director and Chairman, Centre for Sight Group of Eye Hospital, told IANS.
"Approximately 7-10 per cent of young diabetics will go on to develop diabetic retinopathy, of which 2-4 per cent will have vision threatening sequelae if not taken proper treatment." added Dr. Aditya Sudhalkar, M.S. Ophthalmology, Consultant Vitreoretinal Surgeon.
The most common form of diabetic retinopathy is Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) which arises when the damaged blood vessels swell and flow into the macula of the retina causing visibility issues in the normal vision.
According to Dr. Chaitra Jayadev, senior vitreo-retinal consultant, Narayana Nethralaya Eye Institute Karnataka, studies have shown that the prevalence of DME and diabetic retinopathy is higher and more severe in young diabetics with a longer duration of diabetes.
"Diabetes in the younger is a distinct pathological entity characterised by a more aggressive presentation and manifestation. An earlier onset of diabetes leads to a longer exposure to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. This gives rise to a greater propensity for developing long-term microvascular and macrovascular complications," Dr. Jayadev said.
Thus, screening for diabetes is of utmost importance, even if one is "young" and has no symptoms. It becomes more crucial if one has risk factors such as family history, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, or on long term steroid medications.
Dr. Sudhalkar said that in India, there is a general reluctance towards attending clinics and nearly 25 per cent of young patients with DME come late for diagnosis.
"It's important to know, only 11 per cent of diabetic retinopathy patients can actually reverse vision threatening sequelae once they set in. The rest continue to progress even with strict glycemic control," he noted.
"Retinopathy, unfortunately, is the most neglected complication of diabetes. We see so many patients come to OPD where eyes have not been checked for. So the screening, also known as Funduscopy, should be done at the time of diagnosis of Type-2 diabetes, in adults, and in children, five years after the onset of diabetes, and thereafter annually," Dr Dheeraj Kapoor, HOD, Endocrinology at Artemis, Gurugram, told IANS.
If diabetes occurs near puberty, then funduscopy should be checked for potential retinopathy.
"It is important because the condition poses no symptoms in the initial days. And once symptoms set in, such as bleeding in the eye, red vision, sudden loss of vision, it's too late," Kapoor said.
The doctors advised to adhere to the treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle to effectively manage diabetes and to prevent the onset or progression of eye diseases.
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While Covid-19 spared none, people with diabetes were among the hardest hit. The infectious disease not only raised the risk of severe disease progression and death among diabetics, affecting even the recovery, it also contributed towards the burden of diabetes in the country.
World Diabetes Day is observed annually on November 14 to raise awareness on the high blood sugar condition and related consequences.
India, known as the diabetes capital of the world, is home to one in six diabetics in the world. The country has also suffered significantly from Covid-19.
While on an average, diabetes reduces life expectancy by 4-10 years increasing the risk of death due to other comorbidities, which include heart attacks, kidney failures and infections, Covid infection fast forwarded that among people with diabetes.
Diabetes increased inflammatory response among Covid patients, spiking their blood sugar levels. It then complicated the course of Covid, resulting in excess morbidity and mortality, as well as posing severe challenges in the recovery of patients.
"During Covid patients were succumbing to it, not because of the original disease, but because despite all other efforts their glucose levels remained high. Thus recognising glucose as a vital sign very similar to blood pressure and pulse rate, respiratory rate, became more necessary during the pandemic," Jothydev Kesavadev from Jothydev's Diabetes Research Centres, Kerala, told IANS.
"Studies from all over the world show that the majority of the deaths from Covid were linked to high glucose values, and this includes both patients with no diabetes and with the new onset of high glucose," he added.
Further, the use of steroids, to control the serious manifestations of Covid-19, worsened the glucose levels in the patients.
High blood sugar levels, coupled with increased use of steroids, also led to other complications such as an unprecedented surge in cases of mucormycosis, commonly known as black fungus. It is a fungal infection, which occurs by inhalation of spores and can disseminate to various organs rapidly.
According to a recent study, published in Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research and Reviews, more than 86 per cent of mucormycosis or black fungus cases related to Covid in India, had uncontrolled glucose values.
"While the Covid cases are closely related to diabetes, mucormycosis is also very closely related to diabetes in Covid. Whenever the glucose is high, there is a deranged immune mechanism and in the presence of an infection it is persuaded rapidly," Kesavadev said.
Another study, published in the same journal showed that people with Type-2 diabetes who also suffered Covid-19 were more likely to experience severe fatigue than those who did not have the infectious disease, emerging as a major roadblock in the recovery of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2.
Moreover, among diabetes patients, those with increased fatigue level post Covid-19 also had increased postprandial blood glucose levels.
Covid also contributed to new onset of diabetes in many people, particularly the young. On one hand, Covid-induced lockdowns increased diabetes cases as people spent more time indoors, while eating more and exercising less.
On the other hand, Covid also contributed to nearly 25 per cent rise in diabetic patients in the country, according to an analysis of OPD data from a private hospital in Delhi.
Doctors found that among patients with confirmed Covid-19 infections, there was nearly 25 per cent of new onset of diabetic patients. Stress induced hyperglycemia -- high blood sugar -- was seen in 10 per cent of patients who had Covid-19 infection.
"The younger population is increasingly affected. We have seen that happening during Covid-19 epidemic. Increasing number of young people with more severe diabetes are now being seen," Dr Anoop Misra, Fortis-C-DOC Centre of Excellence for Diabetes, Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology, New Delhi, told IANS.
As per a recent study, among the younger generation in India, below the age of 30 years, there is a rapid increase in the occurrence of diabetes over the last 10 years.
"For these, diabetes as a disease will result in complications after 10 to 15 years. Imagine a situation where more and more people are developing diabetes at the age of 25 years or 30 years, which means even during the productive age group, by the time they are 35 years or 40 years, they will start developing complications. if the disease is not treated properly," Kesavadev said.
"There is an urgent need to decrease the screening age of diabetes to 25 years, from the current 30 years, in India," Dr Misra said, adding that "there is increasing urgency to ensure that young people follow correct lifestyle practices including more exercise, correct food choices, and maintenance of weight to normal, or even leaner category".
While diabetes cannot be treated it can be controlled and reversed by adopting a healthy lifestyle, diet and having proper sleep, as well as exercising for at least half an hour every day, suggested the experts. (Rachel V Thomas)
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An immediate challenge today is the prevention of Diabetes among the youth and pregnant women, Union Minister of State Dr. Jitendra Singh said on Sunday.
The minister, also a renowned Diabetologist, called for a mandatory diabetes test in all maternity hospitals and for every pregnant women, adding that more than 70 per cent of India's population is below 40 years of age.
Calling for an integrated and holistic approach to fight Diabetes, Singh said: Covid has prompted us to discover new norms in adversity and underlined the importance of combining traditional Indian management modalities with the Allopathic System."
"Diabetes is a growing epidemic globally and more so in India. A total of 88 million adult populations in India has diabetes in 2019 as per the latest International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates and this is projected to rise by almost 74 per cent to 153 million by 2045, giving India the dubious distinction of becoming the diabetes capital of the world," Singh said.
Sharing the concerns about of Diabetes that is making fast inroads in rural India with huge economic bearing on poor families, Singh said that there is a need to popularise Telemedicine to provide easy and affordable access to the ailing population.
Talking about the National Digital Health Mission, Singh said it can revolutionise healthcare in India as citizens will be issued a health card that will have all their medical information.
He said, the details of medical tests, illnesses, doctors' prescriptions and medical reports will be on a single identity card and will be the first of its kind in the world.
The Union Minister was speaking at a webinar on diabetes on the occasion of World Diabetes Day, jointly organized by Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samasthana, S-VYASA, Bengaluru and Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, CCRYN, New Delhi.
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