Saturday January 18, 2020

India is Maternal and Neonatal Tetanus free: WHO

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A health worker giving a tetanus shot to a pregnant woman at an outreach site in Bangladesh. (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)

New Delhi: The WHO has declared that mothers and newborns are free from tetanus at the time of birth in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said here on Thursday.

He was inaugurating the Call to Action Summit 2015 – an initiative to reduce child and maternal deaths across the world – and said the event will help the developing countries to tackle health challenges related to women and child.

Boasting India’s polio-free status, Modi said: “India was declared polio free because of the collective efforts of several stakeholders. I am happy to inform you that today the WHO has declared India maternal and neonatal tetanus free.”

Over 600 delegates from across the world will attend the two-day summit to discuss initiatives to reduce maternal and child mortality rate.Health Minister J.P. Nadda and the health ministers of several nations including Senegal, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Ethiopia were among those who attended the event.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are 24 countries that make up for 36 percent of the global population and account for 70 percent of child and maternal deaths.

Mali has the highest Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) at 78, while South Sudan has the highest Mother Mortality Rate (MMR) at 730.India’s IMR stands at 40 while the MMR stands at 167. In comparison, in 1990, the IMR was 380, and the MMR was 540.

(IANS)

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This New Device Helps in Capturing and Identifying Virus

New device to capture and identify viruses developed

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Virus device
Researchers have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture virus. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Researchers have developed a device to quickly capture and identify various strains of virus.

“We have developed a fast and inexpensive handheld device that can capture viruses based on size,” said study researcher Mauricio Terrones from Penn State University.

“Our device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. We then use Raman spectroscopy to identify the viruses based on their individual vibration,” Terrones added.

This device, called a VIRRION, has a wide range of possible uses. For farmers, for example, early detection of a virus in the field can save an entire crop. Early detection of a virus in livestock can save a herd from illness. Humans also will benefit by the detection of viruses in minutes rather than in days with current methods.

According to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, because of its size and low cost, such a device would be useful in every doctor’s office as well as in remote locations when disease outbreaks occur.

virus device
The device uses arrays of nanotubes engineered to be comparable in size to a wide range of viruses. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Currently, virologists estimate that 1.67 million unknown viruses are in animals, a number of which can be transmitted to humans. Known viruses, such as H5N1, Zika and Ebola have caused widespread illness and death.

The World Health Organisation states that early detection can halt virus spread by enabling rapid deployment of countermeasures. “Most current techniques require large and expensive pieces of equipment,” Terrones said.

“The VIRRION is a few centimeters across. We add gold nanoparticles to enhance the Raman signal so that we are able to detect the virus molecule in very low concentrations. We then use machine learning techniques to create a library of virus types,” Terrones added.

According to the researchers, the VIRRION enables the rapid enrichment of virus particles from any type of sample — environmental or clinical — which jump-starts viral characterisation. This has applications in virus emergence, virus discovery and in diagnosis.

“We synthesized a gradient of aligned carbon nanotube forest arrays to capture different viruses according to their size and detect them in-situ using Raman spectroscopy,” said study lead author Ying-Ting Yeh.

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“We designed and assembled a portable platform that enriches virus particles from several milliliters of clinical samples in a couple of minutes,” Ting Yeh added.

“We hope to use this device for the capture and sequencing of single virions, giving us a much better handle on the evolution of the virus in real time,” said Elodie Ghedin from New York University. (IANS)