Sunday October 20, 2019

FDA Opens Criminal Probe into E-Cigarette-Related Lung Illnesses in United States

There were seven deaths and 530 confirmed or suspected cases of serious illness related to vaping by late Thursday

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FDA, Criminal, E-Cigarette
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, left, and acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless speak with reporters after a meeting about vaping with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 11, 2019, in Washington. VOA

Federal regulators have opened a criminal probe into e-cigarette-related lung illnesses in the United States.

There were seven deaths and 530 confirmed or suspected cases of serious illness related to vaping by late Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration says it has no intention of prosecuting e-cigarette users, but says its criminal investigations division can help federal authorities figure out why people are getting sick.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people to stop vaping. But it says no one should go back to smoking tobacco cigarettes, urging smokers to get counseling or use FDA-approved products to stop smoking.

FDA, Criminal, E-Cigarette
Federal regulators have opened a criminal probe into e-cigarette-related lung illnesses in the United States. Pixabay

Health experts have been unable to pinpoint an exact cause of vaping-related lung illnesses, including a specific brand or ingredient in e-cigarettes. But some suspect the use of the marijuana component THC in vaping devices.

E-cigarette devices have been marketed as a safer alternative to tobacco. Federal regulators have warned the largest e-cigarette maker, JUUL, against making such claims, saying they have not been proven.

New York this week became the first state to immediately ban flavored e-cigarettes, saying the fruit and candy flavors used in vaping devices are meant to appeal to young people.

Also Read- 3 Billion Fewer Birds in United States, Canada and Mexico than 1970

Only tobacco and menthol flavors can be sold in New York. Michigan has also approved a ban on flavors, but it has not taken effect yet. Other states are also considering a ban. (VOA)

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FDA Gives Market Authorisation For Zika Diagnostic Test

A Zika diagnostic test developed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was newly granted market authorisation

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Zika, Virus, Test
Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are seen in a mosquito cage at a laboratory in Cucuta, Colombia,Feb. 11, 2016. VOA

A Zika diagnostic test developed by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was newly granted market authorisation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to a press release posted on the website of the university on Wednesday, using an antibody as well as other components to detect anti-Zika antibodies in the blood of people recently infected with the virus, the test can detect signs of Zika infection in serum samples within 12 weeks of infection, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Zika, Virus, Test
Scientists develop nanotechnology based test that detects Zika virus. Wikimedia Commons

The test is not meant to be used as a stand-alone proof of infection. The FDA recommends that the test be used only for people with symptoms of recent infection, as well as a history of living in or travelling to geographic regions where Zika circulates. Positive results should be confirmed in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ALSO READ: Teenagers Who are Not in Romantic Relationship have Good Social Skills, Low Depression

Zika virus can cause babies to be born with devastating brain damage. But the signs of Zika infection in adults: rash, fever, headache and body aches, are nonspecific, so a pregnant woman who develops such symptoms can’t be sure if she has contracted Zika or something less risky for her fetus.

“This test, along with another that detects viral genetic material at very early stages of infection, will help women and their doctors make informed health-care decisions,” said Michael S. Diamond, a co-inventor of the technology that underlies the test and a professor of molecular microbiology and of pathology and immunology at Washington University.  (IANS)