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Three Scientists Share Nobel Prize for Medicine for Work on Oxygen in Cells

They will each get an equal share of the $918,000 cash award

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Scientists, Nobel Prize, Medicine
Thomas Perlmann, Secretary-General of the Nobel Committee, presents the Nobel laureates, William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza, of this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine during a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 7, 2019. VOA

Two Americans and a British scientist have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.” Scientists.

The Nobel Committee said Monday the award is shared by William Kaelin, Gregg Semenza and Peter Ratcliffe.

They will each get an equal share of the $918,000 cash award.

Scientists, Nobel Prize, Medicine
The Nobel Committee said Monday the award is shared by William Kaelin, Gregg Semenza and Peter Ratcliffe. Pixabay

The committee said the men “established the basis for our understanding of how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function.”

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It said the advances will help lead to new ways to fight anemia, cancer and other diseases. (VOA)

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Scientists Identify Antibodies With Potential to Block COVID-19 Virus

Journal Science published the study of antibodies that could potentially block the virus

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Coronavirus
Scientists have found a pair of antibodies which could pottentially block the COVID-19 virus. Pixabay

From a patient who recovered from COVID-19, scientists have isolated a pair of neutralising antibodies that could potentially block the virus responsible for the pandemic from entering into host cells.

The study, published in the journal Science, suggests that a “cocktail” containing both antibodies could provide direct therapeutic benefits for COVID-19 patients.

The new information detailed in the study could also aid the development of small molecule antivirals and vaccine candidates to fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19.

The twin antibodies identified by the researchers are named B38 and H4.

The study by Yan Wu from Chinese Academy of Sciences and colleagues found that the two antibodies bind to the glycoprotein spike of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and thereby block the entry of the virus into host cells.

doctors
The twin antibodies identified by the researchers are named B38 and H4. (Representational Image). Pixabay

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Preliminary tests of the two antibodies in a mouse model resulted in a reduction of virus titers, suggesting that the antibodies may offer therapeutic benefits.

The researchers found that the antibodies can each bind simultaneously to different epitopes on the spike’s receptor binding domain (RBD), such that both antibodies together may confer a stronger neutralising effect than either antibody on its own — a prediction supported by in vitro experiments.

This feature also means that, should one of the viral epitopes mutate in a way that prevents the binding of one of the two antibodies, the other antibody may yet retain its neutralising activity. (IANS)

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Low Magnitude Earthquakes Are Usual in Delhi: Scientists

Scientists said that 100 such earthquakes have been witnessed in Delhi in last 10 years

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lava
Delhi has faced 100 such earthquakes in last one decade. Pixabay

By Aakanksha Khajuria

The National Centre of Seismology, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, on Monday sought to assuage the people’s fear regarding frequent earthquakes in the national capital, asserting that tremors between two to three magnitude are usual and have hit the city 100 times in the last ten years.

The clarification came a day after a medium-intensity earthquake of magnitude 3.4 hit the city. Its epicentre was near Wazirpur in the northeast of the capital.

“Delhi has been witnessing earthquakes in the range of two to three magnitude frequently. There is nothing to worry about as they are a normal phenomenon. In the last ten years, the city has been hit by more than 100 earthquakes,” an official from the seismology centre told IANS.

earth-quake
Such Delhi earthquakes are a normal phenomena, scientists said. Pixabay

Clearing the air, the founder of Live Weather of India also asserted that Delhi and its surrounding regions have always remained home to small quakes. “We just keep on releasing pressure from time to time with minor quakes,” Navdeep Dahiya assured.

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On April 12, an earthquake of magnitude 3.5 had struck the city and tremors were felt in Noida and Ghaziabad as well.

According to data collated from the National Centre of Seismology’s website by Dahiya, the NCR region has been hit by 11 earthquakes between March 23 to May 10. As all these came amidst a nation-wide lockdown, they added more to worries of the people. (IANS)

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Let The World Move on, After Adding COVID 19 to List of Diseases

COVID 19 is the latest addition to rest of diseases in the world

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COVID 19
Today, it would look odd, if anyone would say that the world has over reacted to COVID 19 and sacrificed it’s social and economic interests. Pixabay

By N.S.Venkataraman

From historical times, human beings have been surviving,  inspite of  several types of diseases  confronting them.  In such conditions, medical science to safeguard  human beings from diseases have been developed due to the compelling need for survival of humanity.

Traditional medicines :

In ancient India, there were reports of several medicinal practices and development of  several types of drugs for treatment of different types of illness , which were mostly based on natural products  and not developed by synthetic process. Traditionally, such Indian medical practices have been termed as Ayurveda, Siddha etc.

In other countries too, such traditional medical practices have prevailed under various names such as homeopathy , Unani etc.

In short, the world have been living with diseases from time immemorial and has been responding to the diseases by developing appropriate medical procedures from time to time.

COVID 19
While the panicked world is still viewing COVID 19 with great fear and medical researchers are striving hard to develop treatment procedures. Pixabay

Development of new diseases :

With the changing life style of people, development of synthetic production processes for  cosmetics , chemicals,  fertilisers, pesticides,  etc. and  environmental hazards created by industrial operations and transportation, promotion of new food items etc. newer diseases have also  been steadily arising.

Efforts of medical researchers :

The medical researchers have not lagged behind and have been developing new drugs and vaccines to treat the new and emerging diseases.

Some of the synthetic drugs developed for treatment of diseases were also reported to have side effects , which cause more diseases and sickness .

Regulatory authorities have been from, time to time, imposing ban on some of these drugs, due to unacceptable side effects,  though the damage due to such banned drugs would have already happened.

COVID 19  latest addition :

 COVID 19 is the latest addition to rest of diseases in the world.

Huge international efforts have now been taken up to identify the root cause of COVID 19 and develop appropriate drug / vaccine to treat the disease.

Given the past success ratings of medical researchers in handling other diseases, one can be hopeful that before long,  appropriate drug / vaccine would also be developed to treat COVID 19 patients.

Limitations of medical research :

While the medical research have developed phenomenally , the medical research have not been able to prevent the occurrence of the disease , except in a few cases. Of course, in the case of  polio attack, vaccines given to the children at the right time have largely eliminated the polio disease in the world.

However, this cannot be said about several of diseases such as cancer, influenza etc. which continue to occur at very high level and are being treated.

Similar situation may prevail in  future in the case of COVID 19 too, with medical researchers unable to prevent it but only treat it.

Alarm due to COVID 19 :

In the case of COVID 19,  the world has reacted with huge alarm , as if the COVID 19  would wipe out the entire human race.

Several world governments have declared lockdown and brought the global economy nearly to a half , like of which it has never happened before in human history.

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While the panicked world is still viewing COVID 19 with great fear and medical researchers are striving hard to develop treatment procedures, certainly the day will come when the world would reconcile itself to the prevalence of COVID 19 , just as it has reconciled itself to the prevalence of diseases like cancer, flu etc. and would also be prepared to treat the disease with appropriate procedures.

Is there over reaction to COVID 19 crisis ?:

Possibly, after six months or so from now,  when COVID 19 crisis would settle down, the world community would look back at the COVID 19 crisis and would wonder whether the world has over reacted to the COVID 19.

The world would calculate the number of people infected by COVID 19, recovered and died. Then, after reading this calculations, the world would inevitably come to the conclusion that it has not been as bad at all  as it was feared at one time, as the world community would remain intact after COVID-19 crisis.

It is estimated that around 0.15 million people die in the world every day due to various reasons such as old age, cancer, heart attack, kidney failure, virus attack  etc. It translates to around 54 million people die in the world every year.

Till date, around 0.25 million people have died due to COVID-19 over the last four or five months.

Probably, when the COVID-19 crisis would end one day , the number of deaths due to COVID-19 could be just less than 1 million, considering worst scenario.

COVID 19
Probably, when the COVID 19 crisis would end one day , the number of deaths due to COVID 19 could be just less than 1 million, considering worst scenario. Pixabay

In future, after the end of present COVID-19 crisis  such scale of deaths due to COVID-19 are unlikely, in view of the development of appropriate drugs to treat it.

This projected death figure of just less than one million due to the on going COVID19 crisis, do not add much to the worldwide  death of 54 million every year in normal times.

Lives vis a vis livelihood debate :

Of course, death is natural and inevitable. It occurs for people in various age groups and due to natural / disease factors  and unnatural factors such as accidents, murders, war etc.   Every individual  has to reconcile oneself to the inevitable event of death that would happen one day for everybody.

In such circumstances, is it appropriate that the world economy should have been brought down to the level of stagnant or decelerating growth over several months in the year 2020, fearing COVID-19.

Due to such near global lockdown, billions of poor people have been put to hardships , large number of people have lost the jobs, many production centres are facing  closure and appears that it would take some time for the world to recover from this losses due to lockdown , fearing COVID 19.

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How future days would view COVID 19 crisis ?

Today, it would look odd,  if anyone would say that the world has over reacted to COVID 19 and sacrificed it’s social and economic interests.

As the days go by, perhaps, in the beginning of 2021  the world would realize that after all, it could have  been a case of over reaction by the world community with regard to COVID 19 crisis.

In future, the world would add COVID 19 to the list of diseases prevailing in the world , treatment procedures would be evolved and some people would succumb and some people would recover.

World will move on,  just as it has been moving on even as it is confronted with diseases like cancer, flu, kidney failure , heart ailment etc.