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.
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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.