World Malaria Day 2015: A look at the numbers

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malaria

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Malaria inflicts great socio-economic burden on humanity, and with six other diseases (diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, measles, hepatitis B and pneumonia), narrates 85% of global infectious disease burden.

The vector borne disease affects pregnant women and children mainly. Last year, 1.07 million total malaria cases were registered in India which killed 535 people, the data of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme suggested.

On the occasion of World Malaria Day 2015, NewsGram is offering its readers a few takeaways from World Malaria Report 2014. Here’s a glimpse:

  • Globally, an estimated 3.3 billion people in 97 countries and territories are at risk of malaria, and 1.2 billion are at high risk.
  • Malaria is concentrated in low-income and lower income countries. Within these countries, the most severely affected communities are those that are the poorest and most marginalized.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, average infection prevalence in children aged 2–10 years dropped from 26% in 2000 to 14% in 2013, a relative decline of 46%.
  • In 2013, there were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria (uncertainty range: 124–283 million) and 584,000 malaria deaths globally.
  • Malaria incidence rates are estimated to have fallen by 30% globally between 2000 and 2013, while estimated mortality rates fell by 47%.
  • Fifty-eight countries are projected to achieve >75% reductions in malaria mortality rates by 2015.
  • Some 4.3 million fewer malaria deaths are estimated to have occurred between 2001 and 2013 than would have been the case had mortality rates remained unchanged since 2000.

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Know About the Importance of Iron in Blood

Can Iron worsen Malaria infection? Find it out here

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The body cannot make enough healthy red blood cells, if it lacks the required quantity of iron. (Representational Image). Pixabay

Iron is an essential mineral for most of organisms. The body cannot make enough healthy red blood cells, if it lacks the required quantity of iron. The lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia.

Dr Niti Kautish, Senior consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad, sheds light on the importance or iron.

It is an important component of hemoglobin and helps in transporting oxygen throughout the body. But at the same time an excess iron can also be very dangerous. It promotes the formation of damaging oxidative radicals. This can also deposit in organs such as the liver, heart and pancreas which can lead to conditions like cirrhosis, heart failure and diabetes. Since both iron deficiency and high concentration of iron can compromise cellular function, the levels of in the cells must be regulated precisely.

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Malaria parasites feed on iron in blood. (Representational Image). Pixabay

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This can be well studied in the case of malaria. Malaria infections are a major global cause of anemia. The relationship between malaria and iron is often debated. It has been a subject of discussion in the global health community since 2006, ever since a large-scale trial on the island of Pemba discovered that iron supplementation in children related to the rise in malaria-related mortality.

Through the study conducted by National Institute of Health (NIH), let us further understand the relationship between iron and malaria; and how iron worsens malaria infection:

Malaria parasites feed on iron. Organisms have a protein called ferroprotein, which prevents toxic buildup of iron in RBC. It also protects the cells against malaria infection. By studying mice and samples from malaria patients, researchers found out that high concentration of iron interferes with ferroprotein.Fe

The researchers observed that lack of ferroprotein in erythroid cells (red blood cells and their precursors) allowed iron to accumulate to toxic levels inside RBCs. The mice with intact ferroprotein were more stable, had less parasites and better outcomes as compared to the mice that lacked ferroprotein.

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It was also observed that a hormone called hepcidin regulates ferroprotein in red blood cells and their precursors. The hormone is more abundant in high iron concentration and lowers the ferroprotein level. It also prevents iron from being removed from the cells.

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The lack of red blood cells is called iron deficiency anemia. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The researchers also studied if the ferroprotein mutation Q248H, which is found in African population protects against malaria.

After studying children hospitalized for malaria in Zambia, it was observed that nearly 20 percent of the children who had the mutation, had fewer malarial parasites and tolerated fewer for longer period before visiting the hospital. The results stated that the mutation protects ferroprotein from hepcidin’s effects, and thus protects against malaria. This further explains the presence of mutation in the people living in malaria endemic regions.

Also Read- Here’s What You Should Tell Your Kids About Coronavirus

In another study on 290 pregnant women in Ghana, it was observed that the 9 percent, who had the ferroprotein mutation Q248H, were comparatively less prone to pregnancy associated malaria, in which malaria parasites cause adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes by accumulating in the placenta. (IANS)

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Social Distancing and Lockdown are The Strongest Vaccine: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Bennett University organized an International Conference on COVID-19: Fallout and Future

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"We do not anticipate the worst kind of situation in India like other developed countries, but still we have prepared the whole country for the worst situation," said Vardhan. Wikimedia Commons

By Kanan Parmar

Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan emphasised on Social Distancing saying, “Social Distancing and lockdown are the strongest vaccine against COVID-19 at the moment,” during an International Conference on COVID-19: Fallout and Future.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan addressed the International Conference on COVID-19: Fallout and Future organized by Bennett University on April 9, 2020.

Dr. Vardhan spoke about how India has taken all the necessary steps to prevent coronavirus in India and also gives the latest updates on COVID-19 news.

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The minister said that more than a lakh people were trained and educated about the COVID-19 pandemic. These included aviation crew, airport staff, healthcare professionals, etc.  Over 2,500 Indians have been evacuated from various countries. There have been dedicated ICU beds and ventilators for COVID-19 patients.

The health minister highlighted that the even bigger challenge than containing COVID-19 is to stop the spread of misinformation. The minister said, “Anyone who wants authentic information about coronavirus should go through the website of Ministry of Health and Welfare to obtain information.”

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The Health Minister advises that N95 masks are to be used only by healthcare professionals. Pixabay

He also thanked healthcare professionals saying, “I would like to thank all the COVID-19 warriors to fight this war against coronavirus.”

The health minister advises that N95 and surgical masks aren’t to be worn by all citizens but only medical staff due to the shortage. The basic necessity is to cover your mouth using any cloth or cotton mask which can also be homemade.

Talking about the positive aspects, Health Minster Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise. Most of the medical equipments used to be imported but now with the help of Ministry of Textiles, we have found manufactures in India.”

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“We are in constant touch with the World Health Organization and the WHO has appreciated the efforts taken by the Government of India and Ministry of Health to contain coronavirus,” said Dr. Vardhan.

Many other professionals were present in the conference. These include. Dr. David Nabarro, the special envoy for WHO, Mr. Arvind Virmani, an economic advisor, Mr. Subash Chandra Garg, the former finance secretary of India,Gurcharan Das, Prof. Wenjuan ZhangProf. Beatrice GallelliEoghan SweeneyIrene Jay Liu, a data journalist, Prof. Rasmus Nielsen, Prof. Ashish Kumar Jha and many more.

Other presenters talked about the economic, social and political impacts of the pandemic.

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Dr. David Nabarro is an international civil servant and diplomat.

Dr. David Nabarro, the special envoy for the World Health Organization said that all the information given by WHO is based on researches done by scientists and doctors.

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Mr. Gurcharan is an Indian author.

Gurcharan Das, an Indian author said, “Biggest failure of the government is not testing enough.” He also said that the Modi government is in a ‘Dharam sankat’ and faced a challenge on whether to lift the lockdown or not.

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Mr. Subhash Chandra Garg has served as the Economic Affairs Secretary and Finance Secretary of India.

Mr. Subhash Chandra Garg, the former finance secretary of India believes that there should be a partial lockdown in India.

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi Urges Citizens to Help Financially Poor People

Ms. Beatrice Gallelli tells us about what went wrong in Italy and also talks about the North-South equality in Italy which lead to the increase in coronavirus cases.

Eoghan Sweeney talks about the spread of misinformation during the times of an epidemic or pandemic.

 

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Shortage of Anti-Malarial Drugs Due to Usage in COVID-19 Treatment

Doctors Warn of Malaria Drug Scarcity

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Limited global stocks of two anti-malarial drugs could wreck plans to use the medicines, currently in clinical trials, to treat COVID-19. Pixabay

Limited global stocks of two anti-malarial drugs could wreck plans to use the medicines, currently in clinical trials, to treat COVID-19, doctors cautioned on Thursday. This is the latest health news.

Around the world, countries are expanding access to chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), which are used to treat malaria and are known to have anti-viral properties.

The medicines have shown early promise against the COVID-19 illness in studies in France and China.

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CQ, which is the less toxic of the two, is also used as an anti-inflammatory to treat conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, purposes it is primarily known for outside the tropics.

Writing in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, doctors in Italy — the country hardest hit by COVID-19 — said that limited supply could scupper any widespread attempt to use the two drugs against the virus.

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Researchers at the Microbiology Research Facility work with coronavirus samples as a trial begins to see whether malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. VOA

“In some European countries the availability of HCQ and CQ in the pharmacies (outside the hospitals) is already scarce,” Francesca Romana Spinelli, assistant professor at the Sapienza University of Rome and letter author, told AFP.

“This is an emerging problem for many patients already treated with CQ/HCQ for their autoimmune rheumatic disease.”

Both medicines are known to have anti-viral properties and have shown some encouraging results in trials against COVID-19.

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But they have a number of potentially serious side effects, and there are fears that treating COVID-19 patients, many of whom are on medication for underlying conditions, could court disaster.

On Wednesday the European Medicine Agency warned that CQ and HCQ should only be used on COVID-19 patients in clinical trials or in case of a “national emergency”.

 

Also Read- Virus of Hatred and Insanity Wreaking Havoc With the Preventive Measures in India

In the letter, Italian doctors said using CQ and HCQ as widespread COVID-19 treatments would raise ethical concerns, given their known side effects.

“If mass prophylaxis was accepted as an option worldwide, this would raise the question of whether there is enough supply of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to support this approach,” they added. (VOA)