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Fewer non-COVID-19 diseases recorded?

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Fewer non-COVID disease alerts were recorded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in India. 

Novel coronavirus 2019 from Wuhan, China, named Covid-19. Epidemic danger prevention. Vaccine, treatment concept with masks, syringes and antibiotic pills and text in letter tiles. COVID-19 deaths concept. COVID-19 in India concept. COVID-19 infections illustration. Image credit: tenkende / 123rf
Image credit: tenkende / 123rf

This is according to information on weekly outbreaks available on the website of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), a Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare body. While initially this would be thought to be associated with the quarantine imposed in India, the most recent data from the IDSP is from March 16th to March 22nd, before the lockdown began.

The body usually reports weekly on disease cases. However, since the imposition of the lockdown, these reports have ceased. Such a lack of monitoring could draw inference that other diseases are being sidelined as more and more resources are being directed towards the monitoring and managing of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Officials have been quick to dispute this claim.

“There were fewer instances of people reporting diseases other than COVID-19 in hospitals. However, after May 3, there is again an increase in reports of other diseases but the latest data suggests that it hasn’t completely normalised as compared to previous years,” said Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, director of the National Centre Disease Control (NCDC). Dr Singh denied the possibility that monitoring of other diseases was lower due to priorities being placed with COVID-19.

There were a total of six alerts across the March 16-22 period. These included a case of Crimean-Congo haemorraghic fever from Gujarat; three cases of chickenpox from Bihar; a case of dengue in Karnataka; and an outbreak of food poisoning in West Bengal. Health Issues India has reported previously on numerous other outbreaks such as that of cholera, typically in small, rural villages. In the same week last year, there were seventeen alerts: in 2018, there were 28. In 2017, there were 45.

Behavioural changes such as physical distancing and the use of masks, as well as limitations to public gathering even before the imposition of a full-blown quarantine, may account for the reduced case count. Disease outbreaks may have still been occurring, yet not to the same scale due to reduced social contact. It may also be possible that, as Dr Singh suggested, cases were simply not reported in hospitals.

India’s current situation with COVID-19 is dire. The daily death toll is steadily creeping higher, while daily new case counts have risen to around the 20,000 mark. In both cases the trajectory of the curve is definitively upwards, and so India can reasonably expect that the worst is yet to come.

Source: https://www.healthissuesindia.com/2020/07/04/fewer-non-covid-19-diseases-recorded/

Cannabis

John Bailey Won’t Let COVID-19 End Marijuana Diversity Conversations

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This year may be viewed as one of racial and social reckoning, but Colorado’s cannabis industry was going through growing pains well before protests erupted in Denver. After more than six years of retail weed, minority communities are still working toward more seats at the table, with surveys showing that about three out of four cannabis businesses in Denver are white-owned.

With no formal past around the plant, John Bailey seemed like a newcomer to the cannabis social equity conversation last year after founding the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative, but the longtime political consultant has experience with public policy and social change, working for former Mayor Wellington Webb, Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign and the University of Colorado Boulder student government before moving to the East Coast and back again. Bailey, who has continued bringing together state lawmakers, businesses owners and other cannabis stakeholders with his BCEI Zoom chats during the COVID-19 pandemic, joined us for a conversation about where Colorado’s cannabis space goes next in its path toward more diversity,

Westword: You’ve worked in politics for a long time now. What led you to take on social equity in cannabis?

John Bailey: After almost seven years and $8 billion in sales and seeing there was no social equity legislation, my premise was: Why wasn’t there more black representation in such a lucrative cannabis industry? When I did the research, it became obvious that although the folks [who wrote Amendment 64] were initially well intentioned, it didn’t deal with social equity — but it did deal with social exclusion, or those who couldn’t be involved because they were felons.

As a consultant and black community advocate, it was important to step forward to fill that gap. After talking to a number of folks in the legislature and city government, I entered this space — not necessarily with big-league boots, but a background and expertise that was well-suited to raise questions, be the reasonable adult in the room, and engage these young white kids dominating the industry with the conversation that they’re drinking from a well they didn’t dig, and there are certain social equity things they don’t know about. Part of my entree is being an educator and being an advocate for black participation in the industry at the same time.

What’s the response you typically get from white industry members about social equity?

I have to be authentic, because I want them to recognize this isn’t about being the smartest. Sometimes, that’s how they approach this, but I want them to see who’s the most knowledgable about the current circumstances, and how to move this situation forward. I don’t think they’re privileged to the fact that there are two Americas here: I come from a time…

Source: https://mmpconnect.com/john-bailey-wont-let-covid-19-end-marijuana-diversity-conversations/

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What type of DIY face mask adequately reduces droplet dispersion?

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DIY face mask

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Researchers compared different types of DIY face mask with surgical masks to assess their efficacy in reducing droplet dispersal from the nose and mouth.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic, is spread by droplets expelled from infectious patients during speaking, coughing, and sneezing. Face masks reduce the spread of viral droplets from infectious people and may also protect healthy people from inhaling droplets.  Many countries are now recommending the use of face coverings by the general public in situations where social distancing measures may be difficult, such as on public transport or in shops.

DIY face masks suggested as alternative to surgical masks for general public

Because of the need to ensure the adequate supply of medical-grade masks to healthcare staff and frontline workers, public health agencies such as the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) in the United States have suggested the general public use cloth DIY face masks. Several types of materials and designs for DIY face masks have been suggested, but there is little evidence for how well they work. Researchers at the University of New South Wales, Australia, performed a video case study to compare different types of DIY face masks with surgical masks. They recently published their findings in Thorax.

Double-layer mask more effective than single-layer in reducing droplet dispersal

Using a healthy volunteer, the researchers compared the effectiveness of a three-ply surgical mask and single-layer and double-layer cotton cloth DIY masks in reducing droplet spread. The single-layer mask was made using a “quick-cut T-shirt no-sew” method and the double-layer mask was made according to the sew method described by the CDC. The researchers measured droplet expulsion using an LED lighting system and a high-speed camera to film droplet dispersal. The volunteer was filmed speaking, coughing, and sneezing wearing each type of face mask and also wearing no mask.

The surgical mask was most effective in reducing droplet spread during speaking, coughing, and sneezing. A double-layer cloth DIY mask was more effective a single-layer mask in reducing droplet spread during these activities, although even a single-layer mask had some benefit.

Recommendations should advise multiple layers

The study illustrates the value of using face masks and the differences between several types of masks. Although just a single case study, the researchers recommend that DIY mask instructions should advise using multiple layers of material (at least three), for people who are able to wear a mask. According to the CDC, “cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.” The researchers also note that there are other factors that affect the usefulness of DIY masks including the type of material used, design and fit of masks, and frequency of washing. They say that there is a need for further studies to improve DIY mask design and use.

Written by Julie McShane, MA MB BS

References

1. Bahl P, Bhattacharjee S, de Silva C, et al. Face coverings and mask to minimize droplet dispersion and aerosolisation: a video case study. Thorax Published Online First: July 24 2020. doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-215748

2. BMJ Press Release, 23 July 2020. Home-made face masks likely need at least 2 layers to curb COVID-19 spread. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/b-hfm072220.php 

Image by Lukáš Jančička from Pixabay 

Source: https://medicalnewsbulletin.com/diy-face-mask/

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21 existing drugs identified as possible treatment for coronavirus

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existing treatment for COVID-19

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The replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be prevented by several existing drugs, according to a global team of scientists. 

Due to the lengthy vaccination development process, repositioning clinically evaluated drugs has been recognised as a practical strategy for identifying treatments of new infectious diseases like COVID-19. A range of clinical studies has focused on repurposing several antiviral therapies. Remdesivir has already been granted emergency use authorisation for the treatment of COVID-19, as a reduction in time to recovery has been demonstrated in clinical trials. 

Published in Nature, an international team of scientists analysed one of the world’s largest collections of known drugs. This library included approximately 12,000 clinical-stage or Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved small molecules. Laboratory tests confirmed that 100 of these molecules had antiviral activity, and 21 were found to be effective at a concentration safe for humans. Four of the drugs were also found to work in harmony with Remdesivir, which, is already a coronavirus treatment that aids in shorter recovery time. 

Extensive tests were performed on human lung biopsies to evaluate the antiviral activity, the dose-response, and the interaction with Remdesivir. Twenty-one of the drugs were effective in blocking the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Two of these drugs are already FDA approved for other conditions, and one of the four drugs that work in synergy with Remdesivir has already reached phase 3 clinical trials. 

As some of the drugs already have clinical safety data in humans, this bodes well for finding possible therapeutic options for treating COVID-19. Although some are already being tested in clinical trials, the others may be additional candidates, opening up a wider variety of treatment options. The urgency remains to find drugs that can work alongside Remdesivir in the treatment of COVID-19, or that can be offered prophylactically at the first sign of infection.

All 21 molecules continue to be tested in small animal models and, if successful, will then be put to the FDA for approval to enter clinical trials for the treatment of coronavirus. It is suggested that with the known human safety profiles of these molecules, it will allow for accelerated clinical evaluation of these drugs for the treatment of COVID-19.

Written by Helen Massy, BSc.

References:

EurekAlert!. 2020. Nature Study Identifies 21 Existing Drugs That Could Treat COVID-19. [online] Available at: <https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/sbpm-nsi072320.php> [Accessed 27 July 2020].

Riva, L., Yuan, S., Yin, X. et al. Discovery of SARS-CoV-2 antiviral drugs through large-scale compound repurposing. Nature (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2577-1

Image by Omni Matryx from Pixabay 

Source: https://medicalnewsbulletin.com/existing-treatment-for-covid-19/

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