Monday December 18, 2017

India launches its first Rota Virus vaccine

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Image source: www.babycenter.com

Bhubaneshwar: Aiming to slash the prevalence of violence-borne diarrhoea, the health ministry on Saturday launched the Rota Virus vaccine here, which will be available free of cost at public healthcare facilities, initially in four states.

Terming the occasion historic in the Indian health system, Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: “This is not a routine programme. This Rota virus launch sets the goal in the field of Indian health system. By launching this, we aim to immunise 27 million children across the country to prevent diseases caused by Rota virus.”

Rota is a highly contagious virus that infects majority of children before their first birthday. It is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea among children, leading to hospitalisation and death.

Nadda said that the government was aggressively working for the eradication of a slew of other diseases, including leprosy and TB.

“It is our duty to see that every child born in the country born is immunised against dreaded diseases,” he said.

The National Technical Advisory Group on vaccines had recommended the phased introduction of Rota virus vaccine in the country’s Universal Immunisation Programme.

In the first phase, Rota virus vaccine will be introduced in four States — Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh. It will be provided at government health facilities to children from six weeks of age.

The vaccine was launched in Odisha as the state records high diarrhoea cases among children and deaths due to improper treatment.

“We are making appropriate investment, and this has been possible because we have an effective healthcare system with more and more facilities capable of providing the vaccine to the needy children,” said Health Ministry Additional Secretary C.K. Mishra.

Currently, 9.2 percent of Odisha’s total disease burdens consists of diarrhoea patients.

The infant mortality rate in Odisha is 51 per 1,000 live births, while the mortality rate of children under five years is 68 per 1,000 births, both far higher than in the other states where the Rota virus vaccine was launched in the first phase on Saturday.

The diarrhoea burden due to Rota virus in Andhra Pradesh stands at eight percent while the figure in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh is 8.5 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

Globally there are 453,000 child deaths due to Rota virus every year. In India, Rota Virus diarrhoea causes about 78,000 deaths and about 8.7 lakh hospitalisations each year. Additionally, 32.7 lakh children under five years of age are treated as outpatients.

Credits: IANS

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You May Soon Be Able to Prevent Chikungunya With Vaccines! IIT-Roorkee Researchers Discover Drug to Fight the Disease

At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease

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cases of dengue
Dengue and Chikungunya are viral diseases transmitted to humans via infected mosquitoes. Pixabay

Roorkee, October 9, 2017 : Dengue and Chikungunya are known to strike fear in the country every year, so much so that the health graph of the city registers a steep rise in these cases. Both of the water-borne diseases, characterized by high fever and pain in the joints, take a toll on our lives. So far, there is no vaccine to immunize people against the spread of the Dengue and Chikungunya virus. However, researchers at IIT-Roorkee have now discovered that a commonly-utilized de-worming drug can be efficiently used for treatments against Chikungunya.

According to a report by PTI, Shailly Tomar, lead researcher and a professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand was quoted as saying, “Our research has shown that piperazine, a drug existing in the market, is successful in curbing the spread and replication of the Chikungunya virus in a lab setting.”

The drug, Piperazine, is usually used in de-worming treatments against round-words and pinworms. Using their expertise in virology and structure biology, experts have now discovered the anti-viral capabilities of the drug that can potentially prompt new therapies against the fatal, mosquito borne disease.

The researchers are currently testing the molecule on animals, and will consequently take it to clinical trials.

ALSO READ What preventive steps have the city Government taken to control Dengue and Chikungunya, asks the Delhi High Court

The molecular details uncovered in the study, which has been published in the journal Antiviral Research, will be additionally used to plan piperazine-derivative medications that are more compelling to fight against the Chikungunya virus.

Using X-ray crystallographic technique, in combination with computational science and fluorescence strategies, the researchers discovered that piperazine binds itself with the hydrophobic (water-hating) pocket of capsid protein present in the Chikungunya virus, which can reduce the spread of the virus.

“This pocket is key to the replication of the virus and its spread inside a host. Inhibiting the pocket prevents budding and spread of the virus and can help in treating the virus effectively using existing drugs,” Tomar said.

Chikungunya has become a major public health concern, with an increasing number of people being plagued by the disease every year.

 At present, there are no immunizations or anti-viral medications available to cure Chikungunya, and the treatment is focused on mitigating the side effects related with the disease. 

Developing a new anti-viral drug molecule can take up to 10 years. To tend to the disease on an immediate basis, Professor Tomar added, “We are looking at repositioning existing, approved drugs and testing these to see if they might inhibit or kill pathogenic viruses.”

 

 

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Infant Mortality Rate declined in 2016, shows Health Ministry data

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country's IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas

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Infant Mortality Rate in India
Infant Mortality Rate declines in India. Pixabay
  • The Infant Mortality Rate in India has declined from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016
  • The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR
  • According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival

New Delhi, October 2, 2017: The Infant Mortality Rate, IMR in India has declined by three points, from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family welfare’s data released on Friday.

This is indeed a progress looking at the two points decline last year. The 2019 target of IMR 28 per 1000 births, however, is still a long way to go.

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas. India has also recorded a remarkable drop in birth cohort, which has come down to below 25 million for the first time, according to the system.

I90000 fewer infant deaths were registered by India in 2016 as compared to 2015. The total estimated drop in the number of infant deaths have come down from 930000 (9.3 Lakhs) in 2015 to 840000 (8.4 lakhs) in 2016, mentions the Hans India report.

According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival. There has been reduction in the gender difference between female and male IMR.

“We are meeting our targets faster than the global targets, which means our efforts are showing results,” Union health minister JP Nadda had said during a post Cabinet briefing recently, according to the Hindustan Times report.

Also readSafe Rest Practices for Infants made Readily Available to New Parents through Emails and Texts!

“The results signify that the strategic approach of the ministry has started yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states is paying off,” stated a health ministry statement.

“The countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives, including strengthening of service delivery and drugs and diagnostics have worked well,” it further said.

All the states except Uttarakhand, among the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Assam have reported decline in IMR in comparison to 2015.

The report suggests this decline as of 4 points in Bihar, 3 in Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and decline of two points in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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An international research team shows that carbohydrates may play a vital role in improving malaria vaccine

Malaria infects over 200 million people worldwide each year and kills around 650,000 people

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Malaria vaccine
Carbohydrates may improve malaria vaccine. Pixabay
  • Carbohydrates on the surface of malaria parasites play an important role in their ability to infect mosquito Andy human hosts
  • The new research is aimed at improving malaria vaccine design
  • It’s hoped that a version of RTS, S with added carbohydrates will perform better than the current vaccine

New Delhi, September 18, 2017: Offering vital clues to improving malaria vaccine, an international research team has shown that carbohydrates on the surface of malaria parasites play a critical role in their ability to infect mosquito and human hosts.

The discovery, published in the journal Nature Communications, also suggests steps that may improve the only malaria vaccine approved to protect people against Plasmodium falciparum malaria — the most deadly form of the disease.

The team had shown that the malaria parasite “tags” its proteins with carbohydrates in order to stabilise and transport them and that this process was crucial to completing the parasite’s life cycle.

“Interfering with the parasite’s ability to attach these carbohydrates to its proteins hinders liver infection and transmission to the mosquito and weakens the parasite to the point that it cannot survive in the host,” said Justin Boddey from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Parkville, Victoria, Australia.

Malaria infects over 200 million people worldwide each year and kills around 650,000 people, predominantly pregnant women and children. Efforts to eradicate malaria require the development of new therapeutics, particularly an effective malaria vaccine.

Also readNearly 900,000 Nigerian Children Receive Anti-Malaria Vaccination: WHO Report

The first malaria vaccine approved for human use — RTS,S/AS01 — got the nod of the European regulators in July 2015 but has not been as successful as hoped with marginal efficacy that wanes over time.

The new research is aimed at improving malaria vaccine design.

“The protein used in the RTS, S vaccine mimics one of the proteins we’ve been studying on the surface of the malaria parasite that is readily recognised by the immune system,” Ethan Goddard-Borger from Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said.

“With this study, we’ve shown that the parasite protein is tagged with carbohydrates, making it slightly different to the vaccine, so the antibodies produced may not be optimal for recognising target parasites.”

“It may be that a version of RTS, S with added carbohydrates will perform better than the current vaccine,” he said, adding that there were many documented cases where attaching carbohydrates to a protein improved its efficacy as a vaccine. (IANS)