Saturday December 16, 2017

Is Ebola curable? New vaccine evokes robust antibody responses

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

There’s good news in the area of Ebola prevention. A preliminary human trial has found an experimental Ebola vaccine safe and it also evoked robust antibody responses.

The test for a vaccine called VSV-ZEBOV, which was conducted on 40 healthy adults was reported online in The New England Journal of Medicine.

“The prompt, dose-dependent production of high levels of antibodies following a single injection and the overall favourable safety profile of this vaccine make VSV-ZEBOV a promising candidate that might be particularly useful in outbreak interventions,” said one of the lead investigators Richard Davey from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in US.

According to the report, the volunteers accepted the vaccine well and the most common side effects of it were injection site pain and transient fever that was on and off between 12 to 36 hours after vaccination.

The experimental vaccine is based on a genetically modified and attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a virus that mainly affects cattle. In it, a gene for a VSV protein was replaced with a gene segment from a key protein in the Zaire species of the Ebola virus. However the vaccine does not contain the whole Ebola virus and therefore cannot infect vaccinated persons with Ebola.

An earlier study had stated that another experimental Ebola vaccine developed by the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology and the Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology in China provoked immune response in recipients.

Scientists at the Public Health Agency of Canada developed the candidate vaccine. It was licensed to NewLink Genetics Corp. of Ames, Iowa, a company collaborating with Merck & Co. Inc., of Kenilworth, New Jersey in the US.

 

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Patients who Survive Ebola often Continue to Face Numerous Health Problems: Study

They have to face numerous health problems

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Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone
Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone. VOA
  • Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016
  • Many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months
  • They show some quite distinct scarring patterns

Sierra Leone, West Africa, August 25, 2017: Patients who survive infection with the Ebola virus often continue to face numerous health problems. New research finds 80 percent of Ebola survivors suffer disabilities one year after being discharged from the hospital.

Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016; tens of thousands more who were infected survived.

Of those survivors, many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, the UK and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK are studying what’s called post-Ebola syndrome. One of the senior authors of the study, Dr. Janet Scott, says researchers are unsure why survivors experience such disabilities.

“I’m not sure we’ve quite gotten to the bottom of it yet,” Scott said. “The idea that you go through something as horrific as Ebola and just walk away from that unscathed was always a bit of a vain hope. So, it could be the inflammatory response. It could be damage to the muscles, and it could be the persistence of the virus in some cases. It could be all of those things.”

Scott says problems found in Ebola survivors’ eyes may provide clues to what is happening elsewhere in the body.

“They show some quite distinct scarring patterns,” she said. “There’s definitely scar tissue there. We can see it in the eyes. We can’t see it in the rest of the body, but I’m sure it’s in the rest of the body because the patients are coming in with this huge range of problems.”

The disabilities were reported in past cases of  Ebola outbreak, as well. However, because past outbreaks were smaller and there were few survivors, researchers were not able to do major, long-term studies on the after effects.

ALSO READ: Indian-origin Scientist part of the team that discovered natural Human Antibodies to fight Ebola viruses

This time, said Scott, “There are 5,000 survivors or thereabouts in Sierra Leone, and more in Guinea and Liberia. So, it’s an opportunity from a research point of view to find out the full spectrum of sequelae … the things that happen after an acute illness.”

Military Hospital 34 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, also took part in the study, helping to recruit 27 Ebola survivors and 54 close contacts who were not infected. About 80 percent of survivors reported disabilities compared to 11 percent of close contacts.

“The problems we’re seeing in Ebola survivors, this is not due just to the tough life in Sierra Leone. This is more than likely down to their experience in Ebola,” Scott said.

The research was led by Dr. Soushieta Jagadesh, who said: “a year following acute disease, survivors of West Africa Ebola Virus Disease continue to have a higher chance of disability in mobility, cognition, and vision.”

“Issues such as anxiety and depression persist in survivors and must not be neglected,” she added.

Scott hopes the findings can be used to provide better care in the event of another Ebola outbreak, no matter where it is. In the West Africa outbreak, the first goal was to contain the epidemic, followed by reducing the death rate.

“If I was treating an Ebola patient again, it has to be more than just surviving,” Scott said. “You have to try to make people survive well. Surviving with half your body paralyzed or with your vision impaired and being unable to care for your family or earn a living isn’t really enough. So, what I would like to do is to focus on that aspect to make people survive better and survive well.” (VOA)

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Mudslide Disaster in Africa: Bodies Were ‘Just Being Washed’ Away, Says an Aid Worker of Sierra Leone

Bodies continue to arrive at Freetown's overwhelmed central morgue, with corpses laid on the floor and the ground outside

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People wearing protective suits hold hands as they cross a river after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, Sierra Leone, Aug. 15, 2017, in this still image taken from a video. VOA

When aid worker Idalia Amaya arrived at the scene of the mudslide that devastated Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, she was horrified to find homes washed away, entire villages engulfed by mud, and corpses floating down the streets.

“Bodies were just being washed down streams … so many people were crying and wailing,” said Amaya, an emergency response coordinator for Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

“It was a horrible sight — it was devastating,” the U.S. aid worker told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone on Wednesday, two days after witnessing the mud’s deadly fallout.

A mountainside collapsed on Monday morning in the town of Regent, burying dozens of homes as people slept and killing at least 400. Women and children were hit the hardest in what is one of Africa’s deadliest mudslides in decades.

FILE - People inspect the damage after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, Sierra Leone, Aug. 14, 2017.
FILE – People inspect the damage after a mudslide in the mountain town of Regent, Sierra Leone, Aug. 14, 2017. VOA

Rescue workers have uncovered about 400 bodies so far, but that number is likely to surpass 500 as the search persists, Freetown’s chief coroner Seneh Dumbuya said Tuesday.

“The chance of finding more survivors is slim to none,” Amaya said. “It is so difficult to search in the mud.”

“A lot of victims were women and children, as men had left for work early in the morning. It is heartbreaking to see fathers and husbands who have lost all of their relatives.”

At least 3,000 people have been left homeless — and urgently need food, shelter and health care — while another 600 are missing, according to the Red Cross.

ALSO READ: UN: Most Deaths From Natural Disasters Occur in Poor Countries 

“Many people are reliving trauma they suffered during Ebola,” said Amaya, referring to the world’s worst recorded outbreak of the disease, which ravaged the former British colony from 2014 to 2016, infecting 14,000 people and killing 4,000.

“They are working around the clock to dig out survivors, support those in need, and make the best of the situation,” Amaya added. “I am struck by the resilience of people who have been through civil war, Ebola and deadly floods.”

Bodies continue to arrive at Freetown’s overwhelmed central morgue, with corpses laid on the floor and the ground outside.

The authorities and aid agencies are preparing to bury the dead in several Freetown cemeteries in coming days, CRS said.

As hundreds of people queued outside the morgue, Amaya said Freetown was struggling to come to terms with its latest disaster.

“It still feels very raw,” she said. “But people are coming together, grieving together, and starting the healing process.”(VOA)

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Herbs that Can Protect You from Harmful Monsoon Infections

Herbs can boost your immunity and keep you healthy during monsoon

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Herbal treatment for prevalent infections in monsoon. Pixabay
  • Monsoon brings along with it a lot of contagious infections
  • An effective way to deal with infections is ayurvedic treatment
  • Herbs help us fight both water and airborne infections and they also boost our immune system

New Delhi, July 24, 2017: Monsoons are always loved and welcomed by people after the heat of scorching summer. However, the monsoon brings along with it a number of infections such as cholera, malaria, asthma, dengue fever, diarrhea, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and much more.

One way to fight these infections is ayurvedic treatment, i.e., using herbs. Dr. Manoj Kutteri, wellness director at Atlantan Wellness Centre says that these herbs can help boost immunity and enable us to fight against water and air-borne diseases which are very common during the monsoon season. He has also shared a list of such herbs which can help us deal with the diseases and infections using ayurvedic treatment.

Ayurvedic treatment. Source: Pixabay

i. Turmeric is known to have a positive effect on our health and we must include it in our everyday diet. This herb will enable us to improve our immunity during monsoon. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. One way of consuming it is adding it in hot milk and have it every night before bed.

ii. Licorice is known to cure respiratory problems since a long time. It serves as a cure for cold, sore throats and related issues.

iii. Ginger possesses anti-inflammatory gingerols and shoals found in ginger root helps to quickly relieve a sore throat. They also help in killing rhinoviruses which give rise to respiratory infections such as cold.

iv. Pepper, a readily available herb, is usually mixed with tonics for treating cough and cold. It also gives relief from nasal congestion and sinusitis. It serves as a cough remedy as it helps to break down the mucus and phlegm depositions in the tract and its irritant property aids in expelling that loosened matter through either sneezing or coughing. This discharges the material from the body which in turn helps you heal from infections.

ALSO READ: Li Ching-Yuen: The 256 year-old Herbalist lived on a diet of Herbs

v. Tulsi or basil is known to contain phyto chemicals such as Eugenol, Ursolic Acid, Bioflavonols like Ocimarin,lutein Ocimumosides and Apigenin, among others. Rosmarinic Acid serves as an effective anti microbial agent which helps to cure respiratory tract infections and to mobilize mucus. This acid also helps to relieve congestion in the chest by enlarging the airways present in the lungs. Drinking 1-2 cups of tea made of Tulsi on a daily basis is a convenient and effective way to improve your immunity system. The tea compensates for the cold entering you from outside environment and therefore helps in regulating your internal temperature.

vi. Triphala is made using 3 herbs (namely harde, Amla, beheda) and is considered a potent antioxidant. This herb enhances capability of digestion in the body which is usually affected during monsoon. Amla, the richest Vitamin C source, not only decreases the gravity of cold but also improves the immunity. Beheda is known to cure a cough, clearing congestion, keeping loose motions in control and curing diarrhea. Harde also aids in digestion and aids in the body’s pulmonary system.

vii. Garlic has numerous properties such as anti protozoal, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal which help in providing relief from coughs and in opening up the lungs by clearing mucus. Its antibacterial and anti-viral property is due to the compound named “Allicin” present in it which is the cause of its flavor which is strong and hot. The compound known as “Ajoene” found in garlic aids in controlling of infections caused by viruses, microbes, and bacteria. It is naturally helps in preventing cancer, to be more precise colon cancer. Moreover, it is also utilized for treatment of pain and cramps in muscles.

vii. Cinnamon possesses a natural warming and anti-bacterial property which helps in the treatment of cough, cold, and sore throat, and a hot cinnamon tea cup can provide a relief from itching, throat irritation, and helps in stopping the arrival of a cold.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter Hkaur1025