Friday February 28, 2020

Reported Deaths from New Coronavirus Probably an Underestimation: WHO

WHO Expects Coronavirus Cases, Deaths to Escalate

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China Outbreak coronavirus
People wear masks to protect themselves from coronavirus on a street in Hong Kong. VOA

By Lisa Schlein

The World Health Organization says the number of reported cases and deaths from the new coronavirus is probably an underestimation. The latest reports put the number of confirmed cases at 830, including 26 deaths.

Most of the infections and all of the deaths have occurred in China. A small number of coronavirus cases have been reported in seven other countries, including the United States. All have been mild, and all of those patients have recovered.

World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says it is too early to draw conclusions about the severity of the coronavirus.

“Because at the beginning of any outbreak, you would focus more on the severe cases and you will have more of those and then maybe we are missing some mild cases because people will just be a little bit sick and will not be ever tested and they will recover,” Jasarevic said. “We may see more mild cases as surveillance intensifies. So, the issue is not really so much on numbers that we know that will go up.”

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People travelling for the Lunar New Year wear protective masks as they head to the departure area at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing. VOA

Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, says there is no particular treatment for this new pneumonia-like coronavirus.

“There have been a number of compounds that have been used in the fight against coronavirus, but it is very important to recognize that there is no recognized effective therapeutic against coronaviruses,” he said. “However, there are potential clinical trials that can be done with agents and that is what we are focused on right now — identifying other therapeutic agents and opportunities to test new drugs.”

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On Thursday, a WHO expert committee decided not to declare the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the virus was an emergency in China, but had not yet become a global health emergency.

He did, however, add the WHO was ready to reconvene another emergency meeting to review the decision if the evolution of the epidemic warranted a re-examination. (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s Why Vaping Can Make You More Prone To Inflammation and Infection

The predominance of these periodontal pathogens in the mouths of e-cigarette users and traditional smokers is a reflection of compromised periodontal health

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Vaping
While vaping has quickly grown in popularity in recent years, a growing number of people are falling ill or dying from vaping-related illnesses, the study said. Pixabay

Using e-cigarettes alters the mouth’s microbiome — the community of bacteria and other microorganisms — and makes users more prone to inflammation and infection, researchers have found.

While vaping has quickly grown in popularity in recent years, a growing number of people are falling ill or dying from vaping-related illnesses, the study said.

“Our study suggests that vaping electronic cigarettes causes shifts in the oral environment and highly influences the colonisation of complex microbial biofilms, which raises the risk for oral inflammation and infection,” said Indian-origin researcher and study co-author Deepak Saxena from the New York University in the US.

“Given the popularity of vaping, it is critical that we learn more about the effects of e-cigarette aerosols on the oral microbiome and host inflammatory responses in order to better understand the impact of vaping on human health,” said co-senior author Xin Li. For the study, published in the journal iScience, the research team examined e-cigarette vapour and its influence on the oral microbiome and immune health.

“The oral microbiome is of interest to us because research shows that changes in its microbial community as a result of environmental and host factors contribute to a range of health issues, including cavities, gum disease, halitosis, and medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancers,” Saxena said. They also evaluated how vaping influences infection efficiency of oral pathogens in cell lines using a novel e-cigarette aerosol generating machine and measured pro-inflammatory immune mediators.

Through oral exams and saliva samples, the researchers studied the oral microbiome of 119 human participants from three groups: e-cigarette users, regular cigarette smokers, and those who had never smoked. Gum disease or infection was significantly higher among cigarette smokers (72.5 per cent), followed by e-cigarette users (42.5 per cent) and non-smokers (28.2 per cent).

Using 16S rRNA high throughput sequencing, a technique used to profile microbial communities, the researchers observed different microorganisms in the saliva of e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers, and non-smokers. For instance, e-cigarette users had an abundance of Porphyromonas bacteria, while an increase in Veillonella bacteria was found in both e-cigarette and cigarette users.

Vaping
Using e-cigarettes alters the mouth’s microbiome — the community of bacteria and other microorganisms — and makes users more prone to inflammation and infection, researchers have found. Pixabay

“The predominance of these periodontal pathogens in the mouths of e-cigarette users and traditional smokers is a reflection of compromised periodontal health,” said Li.

The researchers also found that the altered microbiome in e-cigarette users influenced the local host immune environment compared to non-smokers and cigarette smokers. IL-6 and IL1ß — cytokines involved in inflammatory responses — were highly elevated in e-cigarette users. Cell studies also showed upregulation of IL-6 after exposure to e-cigarette aerosols, resulting in an elevated inflammatory response.

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Moreover, e-cigarette aerosols made cells prone to bacterial infection, which points to a greater risk for infection in e-cigarette users, the study said. (IANS)