Monday June 24, 2019

Swine flu: Is Modi-led government doing too little too late?

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Representational image.

By Harshmeet Singh

Even as the health departments reiterate their stand repeatedly by claiming that ‘everything is under control’, the H1N1 swine flu virus continues to spread rapidly across the country. As we write this, more than 22,000 people from different parts of the country have been tested positive with this virus, with over 400 of them losing their lives.

The situation on the ground

Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi are the worst hit states, with Gujarat imposing section 144 in Ahmedabad to stop mass gathering in order to check swine flu. While a number of people have been proactive in buying masks and wearing them at public places, the fact remains that most of these masks aren’t equipped to prevent the virus from entering your respiratory system. The pore size of many such  masks is bigger than the virus itself, making them ineffective. While the clinically certified masks are also available in the market, they cost 20 times more than the normal masks. Also, unless these masks are disposed carefully after use, the threat of the virus doesn’t fade away.

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Patients from a number of cities have also reported trouble in getting tamiflu medicine, the only proven cure of swine flu. According to the hospitals, many people are buying tamiflu without getting themselves tested, which is resulting into a shortage of drug. Since its symptoms are similar to normal seasonal flu, people have started taking the medicine as a ‘precautionary measure’ without consulting a doctor.

One of the other reasons leading to shortage of tamiflu is that it is a Schedule X drug, which is sold by  a very few drug stores. A Schedule X drug can only be sold if the buyer presents a prescription from a qualified doctor. Additionally, the retailer is required to keep a copy of the prescription for the next couple of years after sale of the drug.

Experts say that a rise in temperature would bring down the number of cases since the virus thrives in cold climate.

What is the Government up to?

The Government, on its part, has begun procurement of 60,000 units of tamiflu medicine along with 10,000 N-95 masks (clinically certified for protection from swine flu virus). About 10,000 diagnostic kits are also in the process of being procured by the Government to ensure that there is no shortage of logistics.

In Delhi, the Government has fixed the fees of diagnostic tests at Rs 4,500. The labs flouting these norms are being given show cause notice by the Government. Although Delhi has seen the largest number of confirmed swine flu cases this year, the death rate in the city is much lower comparatively, owing to much better medical facilities as compared to other parts of the country.

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Some Diagnostic centres for H1N1 swine flu virus in Delhi & Mumbai

 

Metro Heart Institute Faridabad
M I Heart & Women’s Health Care Clinic & Diagnostic Center Sarita Vihar, Delhi
Asha USA Mini Medicine City Gurgaon
Rohini Family Clinic Rohini sector 7, Delhi
SRL Ranbaxy Clinic New Friends Colony, Delhi
Max Multi Speciality Hospital Greater Noida
Dr. Lal path labs Pitampura, Patel Nagar, Hari Nagar and other locations in Delhi
RX Diagnostic Centre Dwarka, Delhi
Micron Laboratory Green Park, Delhi

 

Star Diagnostic & Healthcare centre Andheri West, Mumbai
Way2Health Diagnostic Vashi, Kharghar and Ghansoli, Mumbai
Bhide Laboratory Byculla, Mahalaxmi, Grant Road West, Girgaon, Chembur, Lower Parel and Santacruz West, Mumbai
Atharva Diagnostic Thane East, Mumbai
Chikitsa Pathology Koperkhairane, Mumbai
Darshan Clinic Laboratory Kandivali East, Borivali West, Mumbai
Rudra Diagnostic Goregaon East, Mumbai
Anu Diagnostic & Scan Centre Mulund West, Mumbai

 

Next Story

Drug that Helps Regulate Bone Development to Boost Growth Rates of Children with Dwarfism on Global Trial

The drug, vosoritide, was generally well tolerated by patients

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Drug, Children, Dwarfism
Right now, the results of the study show an impact on growth, and this effect is sustained, at least over nearly four years in this trial. Pixabay

 A drug that helps regulate bone development has been found to boost growth rates in children with achondroplasia, the most common type of dwarfism, in a global trial.

The patients’ average boost in height to about 6 cm (2.4 inches) per year was close to growth rates among children of average stature, and the side effects of the drug were mostly mild, said study co-author Julie Hoover, Associate Professor at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University.

“Right now, the results of the study show an impact on growth, and this effect is sustained, at least over nearly four years in this trial,” Hoover said.

Results of the phase-2 trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the drug, vosoritide, was generally well tolerated by patients.

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A drug that helps regulate bone development has been found to boost growth rates in children. Pixabay

On average, participants in the trial grew at a 50 per cent faster compared to baseline with no adverse effects on body proportion, the results showed.

Achondroplasia is caused by over-activity of a signal that stops growth, and could be likened to overwatering a plant, said lead author Ravi Savarirayan, Professor at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Australia.

“This drug basically kinks the hose so that the plant gets the right amount of water and can resume regular growth,” Savarirayan said.

Achondroplasia is a genetic bone disorder affecting about one in every 25,000 infants.

Also Read- Crocodile Attacks to Rise as Global Warming Takes Hold: Expert

It is caused by a mutation in the FGFR3 gene that impairs the growth of bones in the limbs, the spine, and base of the skull.

The most common health complications experienced by children with achondroplasia are spinal cord compression, spinal curvature and bowed legs. About half of these children will need spinal or other surgery.

Unlike other treatments – such as growth hormone and limb-lengthening surgery – that focus on symptoms, vosoritide focuses on the underlying cause of achondroplasia and directly counteracts the effect of the mutation that slows growth.

Drug, Children, Dwarfism
The patients’ average boost in height to about 6 cm (2.4 inches) per year was close to growth rates among children of average stature. Pixabay

The study ran over four years across research centres in Australia, France, Britain and the US with 35 children assigned to one of four groups receiving daily subcutaneous doses of the drug in increasing amounts.

Also Read- Exercising at Home as Fruitful as Gyming

The results showed vosoritide demonstrated dose-dependent increases in centimetres grown per year during the first six months, with improvements maintained over the study extension period of a further three years. (IANS)