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French researchers have detected a new Covid variant, probably of Cameroonian origin, and have temporarily named it as 'IHU'. The new variant from the lineage named B.1.640.2 is believed to have infected 12 people in the country, according to a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study supported by the French Government. It has 46 mutations and 37 deletions.
"For twelve SARS-CoV-positive patients living in the same geographical area of southeastern France, qPCR testing that screen for variant-associated mutations showed an atypical combination," said Philippe Colson, from IHU Mediterranee Infection, Marseille, France. However, "it is too early to speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features of this IHU variant based on these 12 cases," Colson said.
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According to the study, the index case (the first patient) was an vaccinated adult who had returned to France from a trip to Cameroon, in central Africa. Three days after returning he developed mild respiratory symptoms. His nasopharyngeal sample collected mid-November 2021, "revealed an atypical combination that did not correspond to the pattern of the Delta variant involved in almost all SARS-CoV-2 infections at that time", and later to Omicron as well, Colson said.
Respiratory samples collected from seven other SARS-CoV-2-positive patients living in the same geographical area exhibited the same combination of mutations screened by qPCR. They were two adults and five children (below 15 years of age). The respiratory samples from these eight patients were sent to university hospital institute Mediterranee Infection for SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing as recommended by French public health authorities.
The index case was an vaccinated adult who had returned to France from a trip to Cameroon Mufid Majnun / Unsplash
Further tests led to SARS-CoV-2 genotype identification. The analysis revealed 46 mutations and 37 deletions resulting in 30 amino acid substitutions and 12 deletions. Fourteen amino acid substitutions, including N501Y and E484K, and 9 deletions are located in the spike protein. "This genotype pattern led to create a new Pangolin lineage named B.1.640.2, which is a phylogenetic sister group to the old B.1.640 lineage renamed B.1.640.1. Both lineages differ by 25 nucleotide substitutions and 33 deletions," the study said.
"The mutation set and phylogenetic position of the genomes obtained here indicate, based on our previous definition, a new variant we named 'IHU'," Colson said. He added that the data is "another example of the unpredictability of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants".
"Overall, these observations show once again the unpredictability of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants and their introduction from abroad, and they exemplify the difficulty to control such introduction and subsequent spread," Colson said. "SARS-CoV-2 variants have become a major virological, epidemiological and clinical concern, particularly with regard to the risk of escape from vaccine-induced immunity. The emergence of the new variant warrants the increase of genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2," he said. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : French, Covid, new variant, researchers, Cameroon, Africa, IHU, virological, epidemiological, clinical, patient, vaccinated, respiratory, hospital, health, genotype, surveillance.)
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A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. "Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations - Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic)," he said.
Also read: Antiviral Remdesivir Receives FDA
Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad. Though its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback are the side-effects, he added.
"Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment," said the chief scientist. The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.
Niclosamide is known for its efficacy for Covid treatment but the biggest challenge is that its high dosage is required for treatment and that leads to side-effects. A safe and efficacious combination of Umifenovir with Niclosamide is being researched on for the exact dosage in the combination that can give positive results, he added.
CDRI director Prof Tapas Kundu said: "CDRI is working round-the-clock to develop drugs that can help in treating all variants of Covid-19, besides being economical and safe for people. We have achieved a major breakthrough with Umifenovir and are hopeful of developing a new drug to win the pandemic battle."
Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India.Wikipedia
(Keywords: CDRI director Prof Tapas Kundu, Niclosamide, Covid treatment, Umifenovir, Molnupiravir, safest medication, coronavirus)
"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."
– Soren Kierkegaard
No matter what obstacles life throws at you, it always creates a means to overcome them, whether via determination, persistence, or both. With so many things going on in our lives, it is easy to forget to be grateful for the valuable life that we have been given. To remind people of the value of life, it was determined that there should be a day when people take a close look at their lives and be appreciative of the experiences and memories it has brought us.
Celebration of Life Day, which occurs on 22nd January, was established to recognize and celebrate newborns. | Unsplash
In case you haven't heard of, or celebrated Life Day before, read the article below to learn more about the celebration of life.
When is the Celebration of Life Day celebrated?
Celebration of Life Day, which occurs on 22nd January, was established to recognize and celebrate newborns. But, it has evolved to represent everything that is beautiful about being alive and breathing. The day serves as a reminder that every child and every life should be treated with the highest compassion and respect. The fact that we are alive is something which is easy to underestimate. Take a moment to reflect on how much more there is to be thankful for in this life than there is to be sad about. Take some extra time today to enjoy your life since it is valuable, one-of-a-kind, and a tremendous gift.
The fact that we are alive is something that is easy to underestimate. | Unsplash
When was the Celebration of Life Day established?
Originally known as 'National Sanctity of Human Life Day,' Former US President Ronald Reagan established Life Day in 1984. As a result of people's hectic modern lifestyles, it became essential to offer those living in the modern lifestyle a day on which they may reflect on their past and appreciate it rather than looking ahead and becoming concerned about their future. On Celebration of Life Day, people may take a day off and rejoice with those close to them.
On Celebration of Life Day, people may take a day off and rejoice with those close to them. | Unsplash
How can I celebrate this day?
1. Jar full of gratefulness: Write about the things you are grateful for in life on chits of paper, fold them, and keep them in the jar. Whenever you feel ungrateful about your life, you can pick a piece of paper and remind yourself about the blessings in your life.
2. Bake a cake: Watch an easy tutorial to bake a cake or cookies with your family and make sure that everyone participates and contributes to the overall baking process.
3. Take a walk: Wear your mask, take a walk in a nearby park with your family, and indulge in activities that you enjoyed as a kid, like playing jump rope, badminton, handball, or even cricket.
(Keywords: Celebration of Life Day, life, obstacles, celebrate life day, bake, cookies, cake, newborn, modern lifestyle, National Sanctity of Human Life Day)
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, Ajay Bisaria and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, "to urgently respond to the situation" where four Indian nationals including an infant have lost their lives on the US-Canada border. The minister said this in a public tweet. Neither of the two missions have responded on the microblogging site till the time of filing of this report.
In a statement Thursday without identifying the victims, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated that "on the morning of January 19, 2022, RCMP officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States".
RCMP officers received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States.Wikipedia
"Specifically, the information outlined that officers with the US Customs and Border Protection had apprehended a group of individuals who had crossed into the US from Canada, near the town of Emerson, Manitoba. Further, it indicated that one of the adults had items meant for an infant but that no infant was with the group."
"Upon receiving this information at 9.23 a.m., a search was immediately launched on both sides of the border.
RCMP officers were already patrolling the area and the search began at 9.24 a.m. Extensive patrols were conducted and, at approximately 1.30 p.m., the bodies of three individuals were located on the Canadian side of the border, approximately 10km east of Emerson.
RCMP identified the group as: an adult male, an adult female, and an infant.
At this very early stage of the investigation, it appears that they all died due to exposure to the cold weather. Work is underway to identify the victims and an autopsy has been scheduled.
The search for any possible survivors or additional victims continued throughout the evening of Wednesday, January 19, and RCMP officers continue to patrol the area today. To date, no other victims have been located."
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US authorities said border patrol officials stopped a 15-passenger rental van Wednesday driven by Steve Shand with two undocumented Indian nationals inside, less than a mile south of the border in a rural area between Lancaster, Minnesota, and Pembina, North Dakota. Shand and the Indian nationals were arrested.
Officials also intercepted another group of five Indian nationals nearby who were walking in the direction of where the van was located, according to the court documents.
The RCMP said it will be conducting an investigation and is working in close collaboration with US Customs and Border Protection and the US Department of Homeland Security.
"All of our agencies are committed to a thorough and comprehensive investigation," the statement said. (IANS/PR)
(keywords: Canada, 4 Indians, smuggled, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Indian envoys, Canada and the US, Ajay Bisaria and Taranjit Singh Sandhu)