Monday November 20, 2017

Vaccinating against Dengue Fever likely to increase Zika outbreaks, warn Researchers

Dengue and Zika are both part of the Flaviviridae family transmitted through a common mosquito host

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Spraying to counter Malaria,, Flickr

Toronto, Nov 1, 2016: Vaccinating against dengue fever could increase outbreaks of Zika, warns a study by a team of researchers from Canada and China.

As dengue and Zika are both part of the Flaviviridae family transmitted through a common mosquito host, the researchers wanted to know how vaccinating for one would affect the incidence of the other.

“Vaccinating against one virus could not only affect the control of another virus, it could in fact make it easier for the other to spread,” said one of the researchers Jianhong Wu, Professor at York University in Toronto, Canada.

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The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, identifies a potentially serious public health concern.

More than a third of the world’s population lives in areas where dengue is endemic and cases of co-infection with Zika have already been reported, according to the study.

“Recent evidence suggests that dengue virus antibodies can enhance the Zika virus infection. For that reason, we developed a new math model to investigate the effect of dengue vaccination on Zika outbreaks,” Wu said.

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The team’s model showed that vaccinations for dengue increase the number of people contracting Zika.

It also showed that the more people in a particular population that are vaccinated against dengue, the earlier and larger the Zika outbreak.

The research also found that the most effective way to minimise the unintended effect of dengue vaccinations on Zika outbreaks is through an integrated strategy that includes mosquito control.

“We concluded that vaccination against dengue among humans can significantly boost Zika transmission among the population and hence call for further study on integrated control measures on controlling dengue and Zika outbreak,” Yanni Xiao, Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University in China, said.

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The researchers noted that their findings do not discourage the development and promotion of dengue vaccine products, however, more work needs to be done to understand how to optimise dengue vaccination programmes and minimise the risk of Zika outbreaks.

Although vaccines for dengue have been developed and are in use, there is currently no vaccine for Zika. (IANS)

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Teenaged mothers at high risk for heart diseases later

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Teenaged mothers at high risk for heart diseases later(Pixabay)

New York, November 2,2017: Women who became first-time mothers during their teenage years may be significantly more likely than older mothers to have greater risks for heart and blood vessel diseases later in life, according to new research.

The findings showed that women reporting a first birth before the age of 20 scored significantly higher on “Framingham Risk Score” — a measure commonly used to estimate the 10-year cardiovascular risk.

Conversely, women whose first births occurred at older ages had lower average risk scores. The lowest cardiovascular risk, however, was among women who had never given birth, the researchers said.

“Adolescent mothers may need to be more careful about lifestyle factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, including maintaining a healthy body weight and sufficient physical activity,” said lead author Catherine Pirkle, assistant professor at the University of Hawaii.

“Clinicians may need to pay more careful attention to women’s reproductive characteristics, and more intensive screening of cardiovascular-disease risk may be required of women reporting early childbirths.”

For the study, detailed in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the team examined 1,047 women between the ages of 65 and 74 and were from Canada, Albania, Colombia and Brazil.

However, the findings must be confirmed because this study relied on self-reports of childbirth history which could be affected by memory loss in this older population even though participants were screened for dementia.

In addition, many young mothers from the poorer countries may not have survived to the ages of 64-75 years represented in the study, limiting the strength of the results, the researchers said.

“If adolescent childbirth increases the risk of cardiovascular disease risk, then our findings reinforce the need to assure that girls and adolescents have sufficient sexual education and access to contraception to avoid adolescent childbearing in the first place,” Pirkle said.(IANS)

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Indian Origin Scientist Part of the team that Developed Nanotechnology-based Test that quickly Detects Zika Virus

When a drop of the patient's blood is applied on the paper mounted on the nanorods, the immunoglobulins in the blood will react with the protein if the patient has come into contact with the virus and demonstrate a colour change

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Test that quickly discovers Zika virus
Transmission Electron Micrograph (TEM) of Zika virus. Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientists have developed a nanotechnology based test that can quickly detect the presence of the Zika virus in the blood
  • The new test relies on a protein made by the Zika virus
  • The test is very quick as the results would be declared before the patient even leaves the clinic

New Delhi, August 13, 2017: Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a nanotechnology-based test that can quickly detect the presence of the Zika virus in the blood, an advance that may also be applicable to other emerging infectious diseases.

Currently, testing for Zika requires that a blood sample be refrigerated and shipped to a medical centre or laboratory, delaying diagnosis and possible treatment for Zika virus.

The new test, however, relies on a protein made by the Zika virus that causes an immune response in infected individuals, which is then attached to tiny gold nanorods mounted on a piece of paper.

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The paper then is completely covered with tiny, protective nanocrystals. The nanocrystals allow the diagnostic nanorods to be shipped and stored without refrigeration prior to use, the researchers said.

“If an assay requires electricity and refrigeration, it defeats the purpose of developing something to use in a resource-limited setting, especially in tropical areas of the world,” said Srikanth Singamaneni, Associate Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

“We wanted to make the test immune from variations in temperature and humidity,” Singamaneni added.

When a drop of the patient’s blood is applied on the paper mounted on the nanorods, the immunoglobulins in the blood will react with the protein if the patient has come into contact with the virus and demonstrate a colour change.

“The immunoglobulins persist in the blood for a few months, and when they come into contact with the gold nanorods, the nanorods undergo a slight colour change that can be detected with a hand-held spectrophotometer,” explained Jeremiah J. Morrissey, Professor at the varsity.

Also read: Zika Virus Infection may cause lasting Eye Diseases, also posing a wider Threat in Human pregnancies: Study

“With this test, results will be clear before the patient leaves the clinic, allowing immediate counselling and access to treatment,” he added in the paper detailed in the journal Advanced Biosystems.

As other infectious diseases emerge around the world, similar strategies potentially could be used to develop tests to detect the presence of viruses that may become problematic, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Herbs that Can Protect You from Harmful Monsoon Infections

Herbs can boost your immunity and keep you healthy during monsoon

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Herbal treatment for prevalent infections in monsoon. Pixabay
  • Monsoon brings along with it a lot of contagious infections
  • An effective way to deal with infections is ayurvedic treatment
  • Herbs help us fight both water and airborne infections and they also boost our immune system

New Delhi, July 24, 2017: Monsoons are always loved and welcomed by people after the heat of scorching summer. However, the monsoon brings along with it a number of infections such as cholera, malaria, asthma, dengue fever, diarrhea, typhoid, respiratory tract infections and much more.

One way to fight these infections is ayurvedic treatment, i.e., using herbs. Dr. Manoj Kutteri, wellness director at Atlantan Wellness Centre says that these herbs can help boost immunity and enable us to fight against water and air-borne diseases which are very common during the monsoon season. He has also shared a list of such herbs which can help us deal with the diseases and infections using ayurvedic treatment.

Ayurvedic treatment. Source: Pixabay

i. Turmeric is known to have a positive effect on our health and we must include it in our everyday diet. This herb will enable us to improve our immunity during monsoon. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. One way of consuming it is adding it in hot milk and have it every night before bed.

ii. Licorice is known to cure respiratory problems since a long time. It serves as a cure for cold, sore throats and related issues.

iii. Ginger possesses anti-inflammatory gingerols and shoals found in ginger root helps to quickly relieve a sore throat. They also help in killing rhinoviruses which give rise to respiratory infections such as cold.

iv. Pepper, a readily available herb, is usually mixed with tonics for treating cough and cold. It also gives relief from nasal congestion and sinusitis. It serves as a cough remedy as it helps to break down the mucus and phlegm depositions in the tract and its irritant property aids in expelling that loosened matter through either sneezing or coughing. This discharges the material from the body which in turn helps you heal from infections.

ALSO READ: Li Ching-Yuen: The 256 year-old Herbalist lived on a diet of Herbs

v. Tulsi or basil is known to contain phyto chemicals such as Eugenol, Ursolic Acid, Bioflavonols like Ocimarin,lutein Ocimumosides and Apigenin, among others. Rosmarinic Acid serves as an effective anti microbial agent which helps to cure respiratory tract infections and to mobilize mucus. This acid also helps to relieve congestion in the chest by enlarging the airways present in the lungs. Drinking 1-2 cups of tea made of Tulsi on a daily basis is a convenient and effective way to improve your immunity system. The tea compensates for the cold entering you from outside environment and therefore helps in regulating your internal temperature.

vi. Triphala is made using 3 herbs (namely harde, Amla, beheda) and is considered a potent antioxidant. This herb enhances capability of digestion in the body which is usually affected during monsoon. Amla, the richest Vitamin C source, not only decreases the gravity of cold but also improves the immunity. Beheda is known to cure a cough, clearing congestion, keeping loose motions in control and curing diarrhea. Harde also aids in digestion and aids in the body’s pulmonary system.

vii. Garlic has numerous properties such as anti protozoal, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal which help in providing relief from coughs and in opening up the lungs by clearing mucus. Its antibacterial and anti-viral property is due to the compound named “Allicin” present in it which is the cause of its flavor which is strong and hot. The compound known as “Ajoene” found in garlic aids in controlling of infections caused by viruses, microbes, and bacteria. It is naturally helps in preventing cancer, to be more precise colon cancer. Moreover, it is also utilized for treatment of pain and cramps in muscles.

vii. Cinnamon possesses a natural warming and anti-bacterial property which helps in the treatment of cough, cold, and sore throat, and a hot cinnamon tea cup can provide a relief from itching, throat irritation, and helps in stopping the arrival of a cold.

-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter Hkaur1025