[Vol 15] Medi-Scene: Your Weekly Health News Update

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MediScene Vol 15

1. Coronavirus update: COVID-19 toll passes 1,000 as Tuesday records 1840 cases in a day

Coronavirus numbers in India have crossed a bleak milestone where the total number of cases crossed 31,000 and the death toll crossing 1000. On Tuesday, the number of fresh Covid cases was at 1,840, and casualty was 69 on Tuesday. These were the highest reported cases in a single day so far. Maharashtra recorded its highest daily death toll of 31, followed by Gujarat (19), Madhya Pradesh (10) and Uttar Pradesh (3). The total number of cases at the end of the day stood at 31,411. Maharashtra has been constantly reporting a surge in cases, 729 during the day, following with Tamil Nadu which saw its highest number of 121 new cases. Adding on to the numbers were states Gujarat with 226, Delhi with 206 and Madhya Pradesh, India added 1,840 new coronavirus infections, going past the previous single-day peak of 1,755 recorded on April 23. Although Delhi did not report any death toll for the two consecutive days, with 206 fresh cases testing positive for the disease, its Covid-19 count has now reached 3,314, the third highest in the country after Maharashtra (9,318) and Gujarat (3,774).

2. Ray of hope: Serum Institute of India to make millions of potential coronavirus vaccine doses

A potential vaccine against Covid-19 is under critical trial in Britain and the Serum Institute of India on Tuesday announced that it plans to produce up to 60 million doses this year. While the Oxford vaccine, called “ChAdOx1 nCoV-19”, is yet to be proven to protect against COVID-19 infection, Serum decided to start making it after it had shown pre-clinical promise and had progressed into human trials. Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla of serum said in a telephonic interview with Reuters said, “They are a bunch of very qualified, great scientists (at Oxford), that’s why we said we will go with this and that’s why we are confident. Being a private limited company, not accountable to public investors or bankers, I can take a little risk and sideline some of the other commercial products and projects that I had planned in my existing facility.” More than 100 potential COVID-19 candidate vaccines are now under development by biotech and research teams around the world.

3. Home isolation an option for COVID patients with mild symptoms

The ministry of health has issued instructions for home isolation of pre-symptomatic Covid-19 patients who show very mild symptoms. They will be allowed to stay at home but will have to be in constant contact with the District Surveillance Officer, and a hospital. They will also have to sign an undertaking. Those who are suspected of having coronavirus and those who have confirmed cases of Covid-19 disease are presently being isolated and managed in a hospital setting with the intention to break the chain of transmission. As per current guidelines, during the containment phase, the patients should be clinically assigned as very mild/mild, moderate or severe and accordingly admitted to (i) Covid Care Centre, (ii) Dedicated Covid Health Centre or (iii) Dedicated Covid Hospital respectively. The guideline said, However, very mild/presymptomatic patients having the requisite facility at his/her residence for self-isolation will have the option for home isolation.” The suitability for home isolation is that the person should be clinically allotted as a very mild case/pre-symptomatic case by the treating medical officer. Such cases should have the required facility at their residence for self-isolation and also for quarantining the family contacts. The person who is going to be taking care of the person should be available at all times to provide care. A communication link between the caregiver and hospital is a prerequisite for the entire duration of home isolation. The person in charge and all close contacts of such cases should be administered Hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis as per agreement and as prescribed by the treating medical officer. As per the guidelines, the patient shall agree to monitor his health and regularly inform his/her health status to the District Surveillance Officer for further follow up by the teams that are in charge. The patient will also fill in an undertaking on self-isolation and shall follow home quarantine guidelines.

4. 6 new possible symptoms of coronavirus: CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has come out with a list of 6 new viable symptoms of the Covid-19, a step that reflects the broad variation and whimsical in the way the illness can affect individual patients. While people who have become seriously ill from coronavirus infection have acute respiratory distress. It has turned out that many people with Covid-19 do not have fevers or that their fevers wax and wane, and are sometimes accompanied by chills. Shortness of breath can emerge at the same time as other symptoms or it can crop up suddenly a week or even 10 days after a person has been experiencing more manageable symptoms like cough and aches. Some people report a notable loss of smell and taste, an effect that can also occur with other respiratory infections. Recalling the findings of doctors who have treated thousands of patients during this pandemic, the federal health agency this month changed its website to cite the following symptoms as possible indicators of Covid-19:

  1. Chills
  2. Repeated shaking with chills
  3. Muscle pain
  4. Headache
  5. Sore throat
  6. New loss of taste or smell

5. Study reveals that Parkinson’s disease may start in the gut

Recent study that has been published in Nature Genetics by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of North Carolina in the USA have charted out the cell types behind different brain disorders. The study also found new remedies to target neurological and psychiatric disorders. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder with cognitive and motor symptoms resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing cells in a specific region of the brain. The study’s main authors Patrick Sullivan, Professor at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet and Yeargan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina in an interview said, “As expected, we found that dopaminergic neurons were associated with Parkinson’s disease. More surprisingly, we found that enteric neurons also seem to play an important role in the disorder, supporting the hypothesis that Parkinson’s disease starts in the gut.” When the investigators analysed the differences in brain tissue from healthy individuals and people with Parkinson’s disease at different stages of the disease, they made another unanticipated discovery. A type of support cell in the brain called oligodendrocytes were found to be affected early on, suggesting that they play a key role in the early stages of the disease. Jens Hjerling-Leffler, research group leader at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet added on to the finding and said, “The fact that the animal studies pointed us to oligodendrocytes and that we were then able to show that these cells were also affected in patients suggests that the results may have clinical implications.”

6. States to promote production of herbal formulation to boost immunity: AYUSH ministry urges

To improve immunity of people amidst COVID-19 pandemic, a recipe of a herbal decoction has been handed out by the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) Ministry to all Indian states and union territories, urging them to promote commercial production of this healthy concoction. The formulation made of herbs tulsi (basil leaves), Dalchini (cinnamon bark ), Sunthi (dry ginger powder) and krishna marich (black pepper) will be manufactured and sold in generic name ‘Ayush Kwath’ or ‘Ayush Kudineer’ or ‘Ayush Joshanda’, according to a letter written by the ministry to all the States/UTs on April 24. The ministry stated that, “Considering the importance of immunity boosting measures in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, Ministry of AYUSH intends to promote the use of following ready-made Ayush formulation in the interest of health promotion of the masses, which has been endorsed by the Prime Minister during his address to the nation on the Constitution Day, April 14.” The letter that was circulated had an important message and read as follows, “States/UT governments are hereby requested to direct the AYUSH licensing authorities to consider granting license/approval for manufacturing of above mentioned formulation to the interested licensed Ayurveda/Siddha/Unani drug manufacturers in accordance with the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945.” KK Sharma, Managing Director of the firm, AIMIL Pharma, said that, “The ‘Ayush Kwath’ will have all the herbs enlisted by the Ministry. Various reports have shown that coronavirus has been found to be fatal for people with weak immune systems. There are many herbs in Indian traditional system that can boost immunity and keep many diseases away.”

7. High BMI in preschoolers linked to increased risk of fractures during teenage

A recent study found in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research reported that children in their pre-school days who are overweight and have a body mass index which is more than the normal range, measures at preschool age were more likely than were normal weight children to suffer upper- and lower-limb fractures before age 15 years. This is a data researched on almost 470,000 children. According to Jennifer C.E. Lane, MD, of the University of Oxford (England), and colleagues, “A focused study of the association between preschool obesity and fracture risk offers the opportunity to better understand the impact of obesity in early life.” The investigators reviewed data from 296 primary care centers from 2003-2013. The kids were evaluated starting at age 4 years and followed until age 15 years. The median follow-up time was 4.9 years, and 49% of the children were girls. BMI categories determined via the World Health Organization stated that < −2 BMI z score meant underweight, −2 to +2 BMI z score stated normal weight and > +3 BMI z score stated obese weight. Overall, children with a BMI in the overweight or obese ranges at first assessment were more likely to suffer lower-limb fractures upper-limb fractures during the follow-up period.

Reference link:

  1. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/record-1840-cases-69-deaths-on-tuesday-covid-toll-passes-1000/75439942
  2. https://in.reuters.com/article/health-coronavirus-india-vaccine/indias-serum-institute-to-make-millions-of-potential-coronavirus-vaccine-doses-idINKCN22B04C
  3. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/covid-patients-with-very-mild-symptoms-allowed-home-isolation-option/75419960
  4. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/cdc-adds-6-new-symptoms-to-list-of-possible-covid-signs/75419531
  5. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/parkinsons-disease-may-start-in-the-gut-study/75413152
  6. https://health.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/diagnostics/ayush-ministry-wants-states-to-promote-manufacturing-of-herbal-formulation-to-boost-immunity/75421172
  7. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/929324

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