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The resignation of Congo’s health minister in the midst of the country’s worst Ebola outbreak could clear the way for a second experimental vaccine to be deployed. But the new shot would likely take months to win the trust of frightened locals and show results, health officials say.
Oly Ilunga, who opposed using the vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, resigned as minister Monday after being bumped off the Ebola response team. The World Health Organization recommended the two-dose shot to complement a vaccine by U.S. drugmaker Merck, which has proved highly protective but is in relatively short supply.
Firewall against virus
Proponents, including medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) and the Wellcome Trust, said the new vaccine could be deployed to areas not yet affected by Ebola to create a firewall against the virus, which the WHO declared an international health emergency last week.
But Ilunga said the J&J vaccine had not been proved effective and could confuse people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where wild rumors are hampering the response. “Congolese have the right to have the gold standard, the best vaccine,” he told Reuters Thursday, in his first public comments since resigning. “They don’t need to be the subject of experimentation.”
“You can’t have a group of promoters, producers of the vaccine (and) university researchers wanting to introduce the vaccine without contacting the health authorities,” he said, without elaborating further.
Paul Stoffels, J&J’s chief scientific officer, denied there were any efforts to secretly introduce the vaccine and said the company had been in full communication with Congolese authorities.
But skepticism about new medicines can resonate strongly on a continent where some pharmaceutical trials have faced accusations in the past of failing to obtain informed consent and providing subpar care to participants.
For example, some U.S. government-funded trials of HIV drugs in the 1990s were accused of double standards for giving placebos to women in Africa when effective therapies existed, a practice that is not generally allowed in the United States and other Western nations on ethical grounds. Researchers defended the use of placebos as scientifically necessary.
Jean-Jacques Muyembe, an epidemiologist and Ebola expert named to lead Congo’s response team, dismissed Ilunga’s concerns and said authorities would revisit whether to deploy a second vaccine.
However, he downplayed the importance of the decision. “I don’t think that a vaccine is what’s holding back the response,” he told Reuters, noting that previous Ebola outbreaks had been contained quickly without a vaccine. “We could use or not use. It won’t change the evolution of the epidemic,” he said.
The nearly yearlong outbreak has infected more than 2,500 people and killed more than 1,700, numbers topped only by a 2014-16 outbreak in West Africa that killed more than 11,300. This month, a case was detected in Goma, a city of 2 million on the border with Rwanda, heightening fears about the spread of the hemorrhagic fever.
Efforts to contain it have been undermined by mistrust of health workers and violence by armed militias. Treatment centers have been attacked. Local campaigners say people are scared and confused about the various medicines being used. In addition to the vaccine, four experimental treatments are being given to Ebola patients. All are still unlicensed, which means they can only be used in clinical trials overseen by Congo’s health ministry.
“We should not introduce a second vaccine when we don’t yet have scientifically proven conclusions from the one currently being tested,” said Matina Mwanack, the administrator of an advocacy group in the eastern Congo city of Butembo called Families United Against Ebola. “(We) have suffered a lot from the lack of needed information about the vaccines and treatments being tested.”
Omar Kavota, who heads a group of religious and political leaders in eastern Congo, said “introducing a second vaccine would amplify rumors,” including over why some patients got one while others received the second. Muyembe said communicators had been appointed to make the process more transparent.
Proponents of a second vaccine argue it can only be tested in a live outbreak, since it would be unethical to deliberately infect trial volunteers. They propose deploying it where the disease has not yet spread, while the Merck vaccine continues to be used to protect contacts of suspected cases.
“Both vaccines should work hand in hand,” said Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and one of the scientists who first discovered the Ebola virus. Since the West African outbreak, J&J has tested its vaccine on more than 6,000 volunteers in a dozen trials, confirming its safety and ability to generate an immune response.
It requires two injections 56 days apart — another obstacle cited by Ilunga — in an area where fighting causes frequent displacement, but should last longer. “The goal is to give a long-term safe profile for people who may never be exposed to Ebola,” said J&J’s Stoffels, adding that 1.5 million doses were available.
Josie Golding, head of epidemics at the Wellcome Trust, said “we could run out of Merck vaccines” if the outbreak extends into a second year. Health authorities have already begun using smaller doses to ration supplies.
Congo’s health ministry disputes there is a shortage of the Merck vaccine. The company said it expects to have about 900,000 doses available over the next six to 18 months, in addition to the 195,000 doses it has already donated.
The ministry has also considered potential vaccines developed by China’s CanSino Biologics and the Russian research institutes Rospotrebnadzor and Gamaleya, but those discussions are less advanced. (VOA)
A chewing gum laced with a plant-grown protein serves as a "trap" for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, reducing viral load in saliva and potentially tamping down transmission, finds a new study.
The researchers exposed saliva samples from Covid-19 patients to the ACE2 gum and found that levels of viral RNA fell so dramatically to be almost undetectable, indicates the study published in the journal Molecular Therapy.
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"SARS-CoV-2 replicates in the salivary glands, and we know that when someone d sneezes, coughs, or speaks some of that virus can be expelled and reach others," said researcher Henry Daniell from the University of Pennsylvania in the US.
"This gum offers an opportunity to neutralise the virus in the saliva, giving us a simple way to possibly cut down on a source of disease transmission," Daniell added.
To test the chewing gum, the team grew angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in plants, paired with another compound that enables the protein to cross mucosal barriers and facilitates binding, and incorporated the resulting plant material into cinnamon-flavoured gum tablets.
Incubating samples obtained from nasopharyngeal swabs from Covid-positive patientsUnsplash
Also read: 1 in 3 COVID-19 survivors suffer mental illness
Incubating samples obtained from nasopharyngeal swabs from Covid-positive patients with the gum, they showed that the ACE2 present could neutralise SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
Those initial investigations were followed by others, in which viruses, less-pathogenic than SARS-CoV-2, were modified to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
The team observed that the gum largely prevented the viruses or viral particles from entering cells, either by blocking the ACE2 receptor on the cells or by binding directly to the spike protein.
The research team is currently working toward obtaining permission to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate whether the approach is safe and effective when tested in people infected with SARS-CoV-2.(IANS/PR)
(Keywords: Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2 virus, chewing gum)
After the release of HUH Token’s White Paper and the buzz around the soon-to-be launching cryptocurrency, it’s no wonder that the crypto world is wondering whether or not Shiba Inu’s year of meme coin supremacy is coming to an end.
Shiba Inu rose to crypto fame in the august of 2020 and just a little over a year from that point, where Shiba Inu knocked Dogecoin off top dog spot… it appears that HUH Token could be set to take the cryptocurrency world by storm on its launch: Monday December 6th. And with it the possible end of Shiba Inu’s reign as the supreme meme coin.
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Though, you might be wondering how it is that HUH Token could do that, possibly end Shiba Inu’s year of the dog? Although it seems, that a glimpse at HUH Token’s White Paper, a listen to the shouts of the cryptocurrency fanatics and a read of this article could answer that for you.
Shiba Inu Really Passing on the Torch?
Over the past year, Shiba Inu performed remarkably well on the cryptocurrency market after using the power of the media and its influence to take Dogecoin off the top spot.
Though it seems, that with buzz around the unique cryptocurrency, HUH Token, could be prized to take Shiba Inu from that top spot and there is a plethora of reasons why.
HUH Token’s White Paper release demonstrated a detailed explanation of HUH Token’s aims, goals, technology and what lies at their golden centre- HUH Token Holders, HUH Nation and as HUH Token grows the MetHUH.
This is what could set Shiba Inu and HUH Token lightyears apart… HUH Token’s revolutionary prospects.
HUH Token intend to be a decentralised metaverse where everyone gains from whatever data they’ve generated and that means that HUH Token have discovered what the currency of influence is and that is you and HUH.
Though the two-days-till launch cryptocurrency, HUH Token, doesn’t stop there, in fact, the White Paper outlines how HUH Token could be one of, if not the only, safer cryptocurrency on the crypto market today.
This would be achieved by harnessing HUH Token’s multichain technology that uses Ethereum and Binance blockchains, yield generating contracts (Binance Smart Contract) and an always-open bug bounty.
These steps help to bring a level of safety to HUH Token holders and their growing HUH Nation as a whole… as well as autonomising HUH Token holders in the process, where it appears that individuality is supported by HUH Token.
Though it seems that Shiba Inu might still have some years in it yet, but HUH Token seem to be able to hold their own in a dog fight to the top.
The Future is Utimeme
As mentioned above HUH Token enjoy the essence of duality, because together we are stronger… for that reason HUH Token’s creators envisioned and realised the function and technology of a utimeme cryptocurrency, that has the power and influence of a meme coin but the usability of a utility coin and this where HUH Token is created.
This alone could see Shiba Inu’s year of the dog come to an end, but it’s always advised to do your own research before becoming a holder in any cryptocurrency.
This being said, there are two days left before HUH Token’s Monday December 6th launch and there might not be that much time left for you to benefit from HUH Token’s presale and receive a 35% bonus on top of $1000 deposit.
I for one can’t wait for HUH Token’s launch as it feels like something great is about to happen for the cryptocurrency world.
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(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links.)
Investing in the cryptocurrency business is one of the most intelligent choices one can make in the modern-day. In 2021, the sector exhibited its promise, with cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC) and Shiba Inu (SHIB) seeing optimistic growth and creating numerous billionaire investors. The market is still in its infancy, and there is an impossible number of exciting cryptocurrencies available for investment. HUH Token, for instance, is one of these, and it is releasing today!
Comprehending a cryptocurrency’s most recent release helps to compare it to previous accomplishments. HUH Token (HUH), Cardano (ADA) and Solana (SOL) are three cryptocurrencies that every crypto trader should be familiar with. These are coins with high usefulness and a robust growth plan. Cardano and Solana are two growing blockchain technologies in the crypto world.
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The two blockchains address Ethereum’s and Bitcoin’s scalability, security, and transaction costs problems. At present, Cardano and Solana both have higher throughput than Ethereum.
Cardano is more experienced than Solana, having launched in 2017 and doing tremendous things. This is one of the reasons why ADA has done so well. Similarly, to Solana, the Cardano platform circumvents the constraints mentioned earlier with a proof-of-Stake consensus method instead of proof-of-work. The success of the Cardano and Solana blockchains contributes to the ever-increasing demand for their respective coins.
Cardano and Solana have already released their 2022 roadmaps, sparking the crypto community’s curiosity. Demand for Cardano and Solana will increase significantly in 2022 due to substantial advancements.
Investors should, however, put a more considerable premium on HUH Token. When the HUH Token is released, it will go to the moon. It is a token designed to reward investors by just holding tokens. HUH Token is based on a multi-chain system that has already made great efforts to develop a decentralised financial system via a proprietary referral system.
Soon to be published for the HUH Tokens ecosystem are significant projects such as metHUH, a social network that will revolutionise social media’s world via tokenised sentiment analysis. HUH Token is an excellent gift for Christmas due to its incentive structure, which benefits holders based on the percentage of their holdings. For example, if a holder owns 0.1% of the supply, they will get 0.1% of the HUH prize holdings.
This ensures that all HUH token holders are fairly compensated for their investment in the social network MetHUH. The number of HUH tokens that will be displayed is determined by the sum of all HUH network buy and sell transactions.
HUH has given Elon Musk’s Foundation 20% of its total token supply to utilise for its primary goals of the Development of safe artificial intelligence to assist mankind, science and engineering education, paediatric research, human space exploration research and advocacy and, the development of safe artificial intelligence to assist mankind, and renewable energy research and advocacy.
HUH is aware that this is a marketing strategy; they are open about it; nonetheless, regardless of the outcome, the ultimate purpose is to serve society and individuals on a deeply altruistic level. HUH anticipates Elon’s reaction with bated breath.
Crypto investors looking to kick off 2022 positively would be wise to choose HUH Token as a holiday present. This cryptocurrency has immense potential because of its usability and well-thought-out growth plan, as described in their newly published white paper.
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(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links.)