Wednesday April 1, 2020

HC seeks status report on dengue from Centre, Delhi govt

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New Delhi:  Amid the rising cases of dengue in the national capital, the Delhi High Court on Thursday sought status report from the central and Delhi governments on the steps they have taken to control the mosquito-borne tropical disease.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said it was a serious issue and also impleaded civic agencies as parties in the case.

The court issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and sought their response by September 24.

“Issue notice to Centre, Delhi government. File status report explaining the steps already taken by them. File short affidavit within two weeks,” said the court.

Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that “government is on pro-active mode” and has been taking adequate steps to treat dengue patients.

“We have taken many steps. We have added 1,000 beds and planning to increase more beds in private hospitals. We are concerned for the citizens,” Mehra told the bench.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a law student Gauri Grover seeking registration of FIRs against directors of hospitals which denied treatment to a child who died of dengue and his parents later committed suicide.

However, the bench refrained from ordering lodging of an FIR and asked Grover’s counsel Satya Ranjan Swain to file additional documents relating to the negligence.

Dengue has claimed the lives of at least 16 people so far but the official toll is placed at five.

Delhi’s civic bodies have so far confirmed only five dengue deaths in the capital and the number of cases as 1,872.

With inputs from IANS

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Skin Cream Used To Treat Warts, Skin Cancer May Help in Fighting Against Dengue, Zika Viruses

By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a 'silver bullet' for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases

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Cream
A study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases. Pixabay

A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study.

The cream, called imiquimod or Aldara, is commonly used to treat genital warts and some forms of skin cancer.

“This study shows that a clinically approved, widely used skin cream has the potential to be repurposed as a valuable protector against insect-borne diseases,” said study lead author Clive McKimmie, from the University of Leeds in UK.

For the findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers studied four types of virus transmitted by mosquitos and found that applying a cream within an hour of a mosquito bite dramatically reduced infection rates in their models.

They used two different models to understand the effect of the skin cream – human skin samples and mice. In both cases, applying the skin cream acted like a warning signal which caused a rapid activation of the skin’s immune response that fights any potential viral threats. This prevented the virus from spreading around the body and causing disease.

“What is especially encouraging about our results is that the cream was effective against a number of distinct viruses, without needing to be targeted to one particular virus,” McKimmie said. “If this strategy can be developed into a treatment option then we might be able to use it to tackle a wide range of new emerging diseases that we have not yet encountered,” McKimmie added.

There are hundreds of viruses spread by biting mosquitoes which can infect humans. These include the dengue virus, West Nile virus, Zika virus and chikungunya virus, which have all had large outbreaks in recent years. At present, there are no anti-viral medicines and few vaccines to help combat these infections.

According to the researchers, when a mosquito bites the skin, the body reacts in a very specific way to try and mitigate the physical trauma of the skin being punctured. The bite causes a wound healing repair mechanism to begin, however, the skin does not prepare itself to respond to viral attack. This means mosquito-borne viruses that enter the skin through a bite are able to replicate quickly with little anti-viral response in the skin and then spread throughout the body, the study said.

Cream, Lotion, Hands, Sunscreen, Spa, Skin, Wellness
A skin cream used to treat warts and skin cancer could help protect people against viral diseases such as Zika and dengue, according to new study. Pixabay

By applying skin cream after a bite, researchers found that they could pre-emptively activate the immune system’s inflammatory response before the virus becomes a problem. The cream encouraged a type of immune cell in the skin, called a macrophage, to suddenly spring into action to fight off the virus before it could spread around the body.

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“By boosting the immune system and not targeting a specific virus, this strategy has the potential to be a ‘silver bullet’ for a wide range of distinct mosquito-borne viral diseases,” said study co-author Steven Bryden. (IANS)