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Amid reports that Omicron has symptoms akin to a common cold, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday warned that it is not a common cold and should not be taken lightly.
The four most common symptoms of the Omicron variant are cough, fatigue, congestion and runny nose, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis. A recent study by UK-based Zoe Covid app added nausea and loss of appetite to the category.
Several studies from South Africa, the US and the UK have shown that the infections caused by the highly transmissible variant are generally mild, with less hospitalisation required.
"Omicron is not the common cold," WHO epidemiologist Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said in a tweet.
"While some reports show a reduced risk of hospitalisation of Omicron compared to Delta, there are still far too many people infected, in hospital sick and dying from Omicron (and Delta)," she added.
The UK has reportedly seen about 14 deaths due to the Omicron variant, while the US and South Korea have seen one death each. The deaths occured majorly in unvaccinated persons.
Omicron is not the common cold! Health systems can get overwhelmed," reiterated WHO's chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan.Photo by Pixaba
"Omicron is not the common cold! Health systems can get overwhelmed," reiterated WHO's chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan on Twitter.
It is "important to have systems to test, advise and monitor large numbers of patients as the surge can be sudden and huge," she warned.
Kerkhove stated that "we can prevent infections, save lives now" by ensuring vaccine equity.
Meanwhile, WHO on Tuesday also stated that emerging evidence reveals that the Omicron is affecting the upper respiratory tract, causing milder symptoms than previous variants.
"We are seeing more and more studies pointing out that Omicron is infecting the upper part of the body. Unlike the other ones, that could cause severe pneumonia," WHO Incident Manager Abdi Mahamud told Geneva-based journalists.
At the same time, the global health body warned that soaring infections due to Omicron across the world could lead to the emergence of new variants, media reports said. The more variant spreads, the more it can replicate and bring out a new variant that can be more lethal.
France has detected a new variant, named IHU. The new variant, with 46 mutations, has already infected 12 people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.A While it may pose a greater risk than Omicron, touted as highly transmissible but mild in infections and less lethal than previous the Delta variant, researchers said, "it is too early to speculate on virological, epidemiological or clinical features of this IHU variant based on (just) 12 cases".
(Keywords: Coronavirus, Omicron, World Health Organisation, Infection, Delta, Common Cold, Study, Report, IHU, World)
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."
Also read: Sikh man attacked in Canada
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)