Friday September 21, 2018

$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
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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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Vatican Children’s Hospital Carries Out A Pioneering Surgery On a 30-month-old

Surgeons performing a laparoscopy have an extremely detailed picture of the patient's anatomy, allowing more precise incisions with a lower risk of bleeding.

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Toddler receives mother's kidney, part of liver in pioneering transplant. Pixabay

Surgeons at the Vatican children’s hospital in Rome have carried out a pioneering surgery in which a Lebanese woman’s kidney and part of her liver were transplanted in her 30-month-old son, who suffers from a rare metabolic disorder.

Doctors at the Bambin Gesu hospital performed path-breaking laparoscopic surgery on the left side of the woman’s liver and on her kidney.

The boy, named Danil, suffers from primary hyperoxaluria, a severe form of a rare metabolic disease called oxalosis, characterised by the formation of calcium oxalate deposits in organs and tissues.

Oxalosis can cause urinary infections and permanent kidney damage, and in the most severe cases, can stunt the patient’s growth and cause brittle bones that are vulnerable to fractures. It affects one in 100,000-333,000 people.

Surgery
All such patients treated at the Bambin Gesu have had dialysis during surgery and several days afterwards, and all the operations have been successful. Flickr

“This operation could be the first of its kind in the world,” the Bambin Gesu said in a statement.

“We are not aware of previous cases in which laparoscopic surgery has been carried out to transplant the same donor’s liver and kidney one after the other.”

The team at the Bambin Gesu that carried out the laparoscopic transplant in Danil of part his mother’s liver was led by Marco Spada, while the transplant of her kidney to the toddler was spearheaded by Luca dello Strologo.

Laparoscopic surgery to transplant a kidney from a living donor to a recipient is well-established, while the use of the minimally invasive technique for liver transplants is a more recent operation that is only done in the most specialist centres and, in Italy, currently only at the Bambin Gesu.

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Bambin Gesu hospital , Vatican. Flickr

All such patients treated at the Bambin Gesu have had dialysis during surgery and several days afterwards, and all the operations have been successful, according to the hospital. In the past 24 months, it has performed 32 liver or kidney transplants from living donors and 98 from deceased donors.

Also Read: Exposure to Arsenic, Lead may Spike up Risk of Heart Disease

The advantages of laparoscopy include a significant reduction in surgical trauma which reduces the length of time patients need to spend in hospital, less need for painkilling drugs, a lower risk of postoperative complications and a more rapid return to normal life, according to the experts.

And thanks to high-resolution (3K and 4K) and three-dimensional imaging technology, surgeons performing a laparoscopy have an extremely detailed picture of the patient’s anatomy, allowing more precise incisions with a lower risk of bleeding. (IANS)