Sunday December 16, 2018

World Immunization Week: Vaccine is the most powerful Public Health Tool

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FILE - A boy gets an influenza vaccine injection at a health care clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, Jan. 12, 2013. VOA
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Six years ago, 194 countries signed on to the Global Vaccine Action Plan, an international campaign to provide children and adults around the world with access to life-saving vaccines.

The goal of the program is to prevent millions of people from getting vaccine-preventable diseases by the time it ends in 2020. The idea is to provide universal access to vaccines to protect people of all ages, from the very young to the very old.

Dr. Flavia Bustreo, is the assistant director-general for Family, Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization.

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“Immunization and vaccines are the most powerful public health tools that we have currently, “ she said.

Millions of children saved

Bustreo says 35 years ago, 13 million children lost their lives from diseases that could be prevented by vaccines.

She says that number has been reduced to 6 million, but 6 million is still too high.

Today, 85 percent of children are vaccinated against measles and other deadly diseases, but Bustreo says more children need these vaccines.

“We need to have vaccination coverage that is about 90 percent, in order to have what we call the ‘herd effect’ … which means you cover the children who are vaccinated, but also, because of the reduction of transmission of infections, you also cover the children that are not vaccinated,” Bustreo said.

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Final push on polio

Because of vaccines, polio is on the brink of eradication. Polio exists in two conflict zones: in northern Nigeria and along the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Last year there were 37 cases. Compare that to the 350,000 cases in 1988 when the eradication campaign began.

There’s a special urgency to vaccinate all children against polio. Dr. David Nabarro has worked on a number of health programs at the World Health Organization and now as a special envoy for the United Nations.

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“The last part of eradicating any disease is always the hardest part,” he said. “If you don’t do it, you lose everything. To do it, you’ve got to really bring all the energy and commitment you can to bear, and it requires a special kind of dedication.”

Vaccines have prevented millions of deaths and countless numbers of children from becoming disabled. By 2020, at the conclusion of the Global Vaccine Action Plan, the U.N. wants to see countries strengthen routine immunizations for all children. It wants to complete the effort to end polio and to control other vaccine-preventable diseases. Also, the goal is to be well on the way in developing new vaccines for other diseases that plague our world. (VOA)

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Russian Chemists Develop Unique Nano-grenades To Fight Diseases

To create the nanoparticles, the team experimented with photosensitive nanomaterial technology and a chemical 'switch' method to create the nanoparticles

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Chemists develop unique disease-fighting 'nano-grenades'. VOA

Russian chemists have developed a unique “transforming nanoparticle” that can help fight cancer and other diseases.

Professor Ekaterina Skorb and her team from ITMO University in St. Petersburg created hollow nanoparticles with a covering of polymer filaments and granules of titanium oxide and silver, the Sputnik reported on Friday.

When illuminated with an infrared laser, the structure of the nanoparticle collapses from heat and oxygen, which releases the particle’s contents.

In the study, published in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry, the team tested out their nanoparticles on bacteria whose DNA was modified to glow when molecules came into contact with artificial sugars which were injected into the nanoparticles.

After illuminating these ‘nano-grenades’ with an infrared laser, the sugars escaped the nanoparticles’ membranes, lighting up the bacteria and proving the method’s effectiveness.

The tab was detailed in the journal Nano Energy. Wikimedia Commons
When illuminated with an infrared laser, the structure of the nanoparticle collapses from heat and oxygen, which releases the particle’s contents. Wikimedia Commons

Importantly, neither the nanoparticles nor their structural collapse affected the viability of the bacteria’s cells.

According to Skorb, the ease with which infrared radiation passes through the human body means that the use of such nanoparticles to fight cancerous tumors or various infections will be possible in virtually any part of the body.

“This area of research is interesting not only from the perspective of the localised delivery of medicines, but also for the creation of a computer in which biological molecules can be used instead of silicon chips. This will pave the way for high-precision control of chemical processes, ‘smart’ medicines and the ability to control molecular machines,” Skorb said in a statement from Russian Science Foundation, Sputnik reported.

Also Read- NASA is Concerned Over The Strains of Toilet Microbes on ISS

To create the nanoparticles, the team experimented with photosensitive nanomaterial technology and a chemical ‘switch’ method to create the nanoparticles.

It consists of titanium dioxide nanoparticles which can split water into hydrogen and oxygen atoms when exposed to light. When placed in a solution of organic compounds, the oxygen produced begins to interact with molecules, changing the acid-base balance.  (IANS)