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Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Feb, 7, 2018. VOA

The WHO announced Thursday it will create a global registry to track research into human genetic manipulation, after a call to halt all work on germline genome editing, used in China last year to genetically modify twin baby girls.

“New genome editing technologies hold great promise and hope for those who suffer from diseases we once thought untreatable,” the World Health Organization’s Director General for told the body’s genome editing oversight committee meeting in Geneva.

“But some uses of these technologies also pose unique and unprecedented challenges — ethical, social, regulatory and technical,” he added.

Chinese scientist He Jiankui’s announcement last November that he had altered the DNA of twins girls in southern China by using molecular scissors, ostensibly to prevent them from contracting HIV.

He Jiankui, a Chinese researcher, center, speaks during the Human Genome Editing Conference in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. He made his first public comments about his claim to have helped make the world’s first gene-edited babies. VOA

He was then fired from his university, put under police investigation and ordered to halt his work.

But his announcement provoked a global backlash from scientists saying the untested procedure was unethical and potentially dangerous and in December the WHO set up an expert committee to look into the matter.

About 30 nations have legislation directly or indirectly barring all clinical use of germline editing.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasised that countries should not allow any further work on human germline genome editing “until the technical and ethical implications have been properly considered,” the WHO said in a statement.

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Accepting the recommendation of its 18-member expert committee, WHO announced plans for an initial phase of the registry to include both germline and somatic clinical trials.

Somatic mutations occur in a single body cell and cannot be inherited while germline mutations can be passed onto offspring. (VOA)



A team is working to produce safest medicine for covid treatment.

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.

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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.

"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.

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He instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, "to urgently respond to the situation."

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".

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) RCMP officers received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States.Wikipedia

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