Wednesday October 18, 2017

$18 Million Donation to Target Mosquito-borne Diseases like Zika in Colombia and Brazil

The bacteria Wolbachia works by stopping the virus from growing inside the mosquito and thus spreading

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A technician releases Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the dengue-blocking Wolbachia bacteria at the Tubiacanga neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 24, 2014. VOA

An international coalition of governments and philanthropic organisations has donated $18 million to fight Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses. The money will target the illnesses in Colombia and Brazil with a unique mosquito-control program.

The funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the British government, as well as Britain’s Welcome Trust and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will be used to scale up the innovative, widely praised program being developed in Australia.

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Use bacteria to fight virus

Over the years, the nonprofit Eliminate Dengue Program, in collaboration with Melbourne’s Monash University, has demonstrated a way to transfer a naturally occurring bacterium in the lab, called Wolbachia, into mosquitoes that carry the dengue virus.

Wolbachia is carried by 60 percent of all insect species worldwide, experts say, but not by Aedes aegypti, the type of mosquito that spreads dengue and can also transmit Zika virus, yellow fever and chikungunya.

Once infected with Wolbachia, the altered Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are unable to transmit dengue. When released into the wild, they mate with local mosquitoes, passing the bacteria to their offspring. Within a few months, the wild mosquitoes are unable to spread dengue to humans.

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Wolbachia works by stopping the virus from growing inside the mosquito and thus spreading.

FILE - Technicians carry containers filled with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the dengue-blocking Wolbachia bacteria before they are released at the Tubiacanga neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 24, 2014. Similar work has been done in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
FILE – Technicians carry containers filled with Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with the dengue-blocking Wolbachia bacteria before they are released at the Tubiacanga neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Sept. 24, 2014. Similar work has been done in Australia, Vietnam and Indonesia. VOA

Researchers say the method of mosquito control is self-sustaining, having the potential to fight the life-threatening disease.

Trials to expand

Since 2011, the program has conducted field trials in Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The results show that when a high proportion of mosquitoes are infected, transmission of the virus stops. Small-scale field trials began in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2014, and last year in Bello, Colombia.

According to the World Health Organization, dengue infects almost 400 million people a year, mainly in tropical and subtropical countries.

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Severe dengue can cause death, especially in children.

The newly announced donations will rapidly scale up Wolbachia deployments in Latin America, beginning in 2017, to see how well the intervention works on a broader scale and in urban settings, hopefully leading to a significant reduction in Zika, dengue and chikungunya. (VOA)

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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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Chikungunya is a viral disease 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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Anti-dengue Antibody Drug May Neutralize Zika Virus

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Zika spreading mosquito
Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species of mosquito primarily responsible for the spread of the Zika virus. (southcom)

Washington, Sep 26: An anti-dengue antibody-based drug could potentially protect a mother and her foetus from the deadly Zika virus as well, suggests new research.

In experiments with mice, the researchers found that an antibody that protects against dengue virus is also effective against Zika.

“We found that this antibody not only neutralises the dengue virus but, in mice, protects both adults and foetuses from Zika disease,” said Michael Diamond, Professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and senior author of the study published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Antibodies remain in the bloodstream for weeks, so one or a few doses of an antibody-based drug given over the course of a woman’s pregnancy potentially could protect her foetus from Zika, with the added benefit of protecting her from both Zika and dengue disease, the researchers said.

Dengue causes high fever, severe headaches, and joint and muscle pain in children and adults but does not directly harm foetuses.

Since dengue and Zika are related viruses, the researchers reasoned that an antibody that prevents dengue disease may do the same for Zika.

In collaboration with Gavin Screaton of Imperial College London, who had generated a panel of human anti-dengue antibodies years before, the scientists infected nonpregnant adult mice with Zika virus and then administered one of the anti-dengue antibodies one, three or five days after infection.

For comparison, another group of mice was infected with Zika virus and then given a placebo.

Within three weeks of infection, more than 80 per cent of the untreated mice had died, whereas all of the mice that received the anti-dengue antibody within three days of infection were still alive, and 40 per cent of those that received the antibody five days after infection survived.

To find out whether the antibody also could protect foetuses from infection, the researchers infected female mice on the sixth day of their pregnancies with Zika virus and then administered a dose of antibody or a placebo one or three days later.

On the 13th day of gestation, the amount of Zika’s genetic material were significantly lower in the placentas and in the foetal heads from the pregnant mice that were treated one day after infection, compared with mice that received the placebo.

However, administering the antibody three days after infection was less effective, the findings showed.

These findings suggest that for the antibody to effectively protect foetuses from Zika infection, it must be administered soon after infection.

Such a goal may be unrealistic clinically because women rarely know when they get infected.

However, giving women the antibody as soon as they know they are pregnant could provide them with a ready-made defence against the virus should they encounter it.

“We mutated the antibody so that it could not cause antibody enhancement of dengue infection, and it was still protective,” said Diamond.

“So now we have a version of the antibody that would be therapeutic against both viruses and safe for use in a dengue-endemic area because it is unable to worsen disease,” Diamond added.(IANS)

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6 Lettuce Advantages Which are Important for Your Health

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Lettuce
Lettuce. Pixabay.
  • “Lettuce” is also called Lactuca Savita & a perfect food for weight loss.
  • Some of the health benefits of Lettuce are: It improves metabolism & provide supply of antioxidants.
  • Lettuce reduces the risk of diabetes, lowers cholesterol levels, controls cancer & anxiety.
  • Benefits of lettuce also includes weigh loss, it keeps your heart healthy & provide protein.

In this article “Benefits of Lettuce” , we will talk about it’s health benefits, Nutritional Facts & Types of Lettuce.

Lettuce, widely regarded as the “ideal food” to lose weight, is a large green leaved plant, often eaten in uncooked salads. It is a highly recommended healthy option in the searches provided by our search engine. And in today’s world, where everyone is health conscious, we are left with no choice but to consume healthy food. But, Lettuce is one healthy snack, which has way more benefits than just keeping you healthy. We will talk about some important health benefits of lettuce.

For many years, Lettuce was considered more than a vegetable, as it was thought to possess some medicinal properties. Some of the medicinal properties have also been proven true.

Below are some health benefits of lettuce that should be looked upon:

Lettuce
Salad containing lettuce. Pixabay.

 

1. Anti-Inflammatory properties:

Lettuce possesses anti-inflammatory properties which help to control inflammation. Scientific experiments have proven that Lettuce extracts have significant power to control the pain and redness.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

2. Lower Cholesterol Levels:

Once we reach our 40s, we look up to healthy food options- consulting dietitians, counting calories, overtly depending on allopathic pills. But over dependence on synthetic ways to improve our health is dangerous too. Scientific tests have proven that eating lettuce prevents cardiovascular diseases. Also, it has zero fat which keeps your heart healthy.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

3. Lettuce leaves/juice can treat your Insomnia

The extract of the lettuce or its leaves when eaten induces sleep and does not even have side-effects. The extract produces a sedative effect.

Also Read: Five Benefits of Honey and Lemon Drink that Can’t be Ignored.

4. Control Anxiety 

Unani has widely accepted lettuce as a solution to Neuro-related problems. It possesses anxiolytic properties, drugs which reduce anxiety. Lettuce was popularly exploited during the ancient times.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

5. Fights Cancer

The extract of this plant tends to control a certain kind of cancer. Research experiment on human cancer cells, especially, the leukemia cells proved that the disease’s effect was controlled to a major extent, after being treated with the plant’s extracts.

(Health benefits of lettuce)

6. Weight LOSS!

Lettuce has only 12 calories for one cup. Putting it in your salad with some salt and pepper seasonings added can be the perfect diet chart for your weight loss.

Types Of Lettuce:

  • Romaine Lettuce – This is your classic Greek salad. Sweet and crunchy.                          romaine lettuce is a very good source of dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, biotin, vitamin B1, copper, iron and vitamin C. It is also a good source of vitamin B2, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, phosphorus, chromium, magnesium, calcium and pantothenic acid.
  • Iceberg lettuce:  Until the 1930’s was known as Crisphead lettuce.                      White on the inside. Crisp texture and mild taste. It contains curved, overlapping leaves which form crispy, firm round heads. Inside, creamy white leaves are tightly packed.
  • Butterhead Lettuce : Boston and Bibb. Large green leaves that are soft and sweet.Butterhead is a slightly smaller version of the variety and is the first of this cultivar to be grown in the U.S
  • Red and Green Leaf: Delicate taste and leaves.

Nutritional Facts of Lettuce:

Lettuce contains many a thing like:

  • moisture
  • energy
  • protein
  • fat
  • carbohydrates
  • dietary
  • fiber and sugars.

Lettuce has below Minerals & Vitamins:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc along with vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin B-6, C, A, E, and vitamin K.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.


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