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Bill Gates’ Foundation Promise $750M For COVID-19 Vaccine Developed By Oxford Scientists



Bill Gates' Foundation Promise $750M For COVID-19

Bill Gates has one again ventured up to help the world battle against COVID-19, this time through his philanthropic endeavor Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The tech billionare has poured in $750 million to guarantee the worldwide gracefully of a potential coronavirus immunization being created by British medication creator AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca is working with scientists from Oxford University for the potential antibody. In spite of the fact that the vaccine is still in the improvement stage, the organization has just dedicated to its large scale manufacturing and accessibility. The thought is to abbreviate the long course of events of vaccine creation.

The new funds will be used to increase the supply of the vaccine globally. With this, the total units of the vaccine available for dispense (once developed) will be more than 2 billion.

Representative Image (Credit:GettyImages)

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According to a discharge shared by AstraZeneca this week, the understanding has been made with Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi, the vaccine partnership.

The $750 million agreement will be used to “support the manufacturing, procurement and distribution of 300 million doses of the potential vaccine, with delivery starting by the end of the year.”

In addition to the agreement with CEPI and Gavi, AstraZeneca has also reached a licensing agreement with Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, to supply one billion doses for low-and-middle-income countries.

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AstraZeneca had just reserved 300 million of the potential vaccine to the US and 100 million to the UK. “The Company is building various gracefully chains in equal over the world to help worldwide access at no benefit during the pandemic,” it says.

With the new deal with SII, AstraZeneca has now promised 1 billion doses of the vaccine for low and middle-income countries. Out of these, 400 million will be provided by the end of 2020, the statement confirms. 

The organization had the option to make 1 billion units of the vaccine a month ago. At present, Phase II/III variants of the vaccine are being tried on around 10,000 grown-ups in the UK according to AstraZeneca. On the off chance that its clinical preliminaries end up being fruitful, the primary portions of the vaccine could be prepared by as ahead of schedule as September.


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New test technique offers more secure measurements of hydroxychloroquine



New test technique offers more secure measurements of hydroxychloroquine

LONDON: Researchers have built up another technique to measure levels of the medication of hydroxychloroquine in patients with the rheumatic infection foundational lupus erythematosus.

The technique developed by specialists at Uppsala University and Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden may likewise be valuable in different regions, for example, in the treatment of Covid-19.

Hydroxychloroquine was originally used to treat malaria but has also proven effective with SLE and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the researchers said.

Today it is prescribed to all SLE patients since it ensures against flares of the ailment. Tests are currently being led to check whether it can likewise be utilized to treat Covid-19, they said.

A disadvantage of hydroxychloroquine is its side effects which can be avoided, however, if the dosage is adjusted for each patient. To achieve the protective effect against flares in SLE while also minimising the risk of side effects, researchers developed a method that can be used in the medical care system to measure hydroxychloroquine levels in the blood of SLE patients.

The method, described in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, is based on high-resolution mass spectrometry.

The researchers went through available data on hydroxychloroquine measurements.

They saw that results from measurements on whole blood, plasma and serum were not comparable with each other.

“It was indicated that there were significant contrasts between various reports, and there appeared to be huge individual contrasts,” said Kim Kultima, Associate Professor at Uppsala University.

They compared the levels of hydroxychloroquine in plasma, serum and whole blood in SLE patients.

The team concluded that the levels in whole blood were about twice as high as in serum and plasma. Whole blood analyses were also the most dependable.

“One striking outcome, and a significant understanding, was that levels in entire blood for patients recommended a similar measurement could vary by up to multiple times between people. This demonstrates a huge individual variety in how the drug is processed,” the specialists said.

One problem pointed out by the study is that the services for electronic information on medicinal products in Sweden (FASS) provides concentrations of hydroxychloroquine in plasma.

The researchers judge that these values provide an inaccurate and inappropriate picture for monitoring medication levels in patients.

“We also have to be very careful about drawing hasty conclusions about whether hydroxychloroquine is effective with Covid-19.

“What we cannot deny is that the examination strategy will ideally prompt better information for giving the correct doses to SLE patients who are endorsed the medicine,” the analysts said.

The team are planning to measure the levels of the medication in the blood of Covid-19 patients if the substance proves effective.


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The World Health Organisation has named depression as the greatest cause of suffering worldwide. In the U.S., 1 out of 5 deals with depression or anxiety. For youth, that number increases to 1 in 3.

The good news is that 40% of our happiness can be influenced by intentional thoughts and actions, leading to life changing habits. It’s this 40% that The Humanity Post  help to impact.

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Scientists develop new, safer way to share ventilators for COVID-19 patients



Scientists develop new, safer way to share ventilators for COVID-19 patients
Representative Image (Credit: GettyImages)

Researchers, including one of Indian inception, have concocted another way to deal with sharing ventilators between patients, which they accept could be utilized if all else fails to treat COVID-19 patients in intense respiratory misery. The analysts, including Shriya Srinivasan from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, noticed that as more COVID-19 patients experience intense respiratory trouble, there has been a lot of discussion over sharing ventilators.

This involves splitting air tubes into multiple branches so that two or more patients can be connected to the same machine, said Srinivasan, lead author of the research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

A few doctors’ affiliations have debilitated this work on, saying it presents hazard to patients, on account of the trouble in guaranteeing that every patient is accepting the perfect measure of air, the analysts said.

Presently, a group at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital has thought of another way to deal with parting ventilators, which they accept could address a significant number of these well being concerns.

They have exhibited its adequacy in research center tests, yet they despite everything alert it ought to be utilized uniquely if all else fails during a crisis, when a patient’s life is in question.

“We hope this approach, which requires off-the-shelf components, can ultimately help patients in extreme need of ventilator support,” said Giovanni Traverso, an MIT assistant professor.
“We recognise that ventilator sharing is not the standard of care, and interventions like this one would only be recommended as a last recourse,” Traverso said.
Ventilators are machines that help people breathe by delivering oxygen through a tube placed in the mouth or the nose. Countries around the world have struggled to obtain enough ventilators to handle the Covid-19 outbreak, the researchers said.

The MIT team incorporated flow valves, one for each patient’s branch, that allow them to control the amount of air that each receives.
“These flow valves allow you to personalise the flow to each patient based on their needs,” Srinivasan said.
“They also ensure that if one patient either improves or deteriorates, quickly or slowly, there’s a way to adapt for that,” she said.

The arrangement additionally incorporates pressure discharge valves that can keep a lot of air from going into one patient’s lungs, just as security measures including alerts that go off when a patient’s air consumption changes, the scientists said.

To make their arrangement, the analysts utilized parts that are typically accessible in an emergency clinic.

The parts could likewise be acquired at tool shops and sanitized, they said.

A typical ventilator produces enough air pressure to supply six to eight patients at a time, but the research team does not recommend using one ventilator for more than two people, as the setup becomes more complicated.
The researchers first tested their setup using a ventilator to split airflow between a pig and an artificial lung — a machine that simulates the function of the lungs.

By changing the properties of the artificial lung, they could model many of the changing conditions that might occur in patients; they also showed that the ventilator settings could be adjusted to compensate for them.
The researchers later showed that they could ventilate two animals on one ventilator and maintain the necessary airflow to both.

Credit: TimesofIndia

Why The Humanity Post?

The World Health Organisation has named depression as the greatest cause of suffering worldwide. In the U.S., 1 out of 5 deals with depression or anxiety. For youth, that number increases to 1 in 3.

The good news is that 40% of our happiness can be influenced by intentional thoughts and actions, leading to life changing habits. It’s this 40% that The Humanity Post  help to impact.

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The coronavirus slayer! How Kerala’s rock star health minister helped save it from Covid-19



The coronavirus slayer! How Kerala's rock star health minister helped save it from Covid-19

KK Shailaja has been hailed as the reason a state of 35 million people has only lost four to the virus. Here’s how the former teacher did it

 ‘Our clinics for respiratory disease meant we could look out for community transmission’: KK Shailaja, health minister.

On 20 January, KK Shailaja phoned one of her medically trained deputies. She had read online about a dangerous new virus spreading in China. “Will it come to us?” she asked. “Definitely, Madam,” he replied. And so the health minister of the Indian state of Kerala began her preparations.

Four months later, Kerala has reported only 524 cases of Covid-19, four deaths and – according to Shailaja – no community transmission. The state has a population of about 35 million and a GDP per capita of only £2,200. By contrast, the UK (double the population, GDP per capita of £33,100) has reported more than 40,000 deaths, while the US (10 times the population, GDP per capita of £51,000) has reported more than 82,000 deaths; both countries have rampant community transmission.

As such, Shailaja Teacher, as the 63-year-old minister is affectionately known, has attracted some new nicknames in recent weeks – Coronavirus Slayer and Rockstar Health Minister among them. The names sit oddly with the merry, bespectacled former secondary school science teacher, but they reflect the widespread admiration she has drawn for demonstrating that effective disease containment is possible not only in a democracy, but in a poor one.

How has this been achieved? Three days after reading about the new virus in China, and before Kerala had its first case of Covid-19, Shailaja held the first meeting of her rapid response team. The next day, 24 January, the team set up a control room and instructed the medical officers in Kerala’s 14 districts to do the same at their level. By the time the first case arrived, on 27 January, via a plane from Wuhan, the state had already adopted the World Health Organization’s protocol of test, trace, isolate and support.

As the passengers filed off the Chinese flight, they had their temperatures checked. Three who were found to be running a fever were isolated in a nearby hospital. The remaining passengers were placed in home quarantine – sent there with information pamphlets about Covid-19 that had already been printed in the local language, Malayalam. The hospitalised patients tested positive for Covid-19, but the disease had been contained. “The first part was a victory,” says Shailaja. “But the virus continued to spread beyond China and soon it was everywhere.”

In late February, encountering one of Shailaja’s surveillance teams at the airport, a Malayali family returning from Venice was evasive about its travel history and went home without submitting to the now-standard controls. By the time medical personnel detected a case of Covid-19 and traced it back to them, their contacts were in the hundreds. Contact tracers tracked them all down, with the help of advertisements and social media, and they were placed in quarantine. Six developed Covid-19.

Another cluster had been contained, but by now large numbers of overseas workers were heading home to Kerala from infected Gulf states, some of them carrying the virus. On 23 March, all flights into the state’s four international airports were stopped. Two days later, India entered a nationwide lockdown.

Indian citizens arriving from the Gulf states are bussed to a quarantine centre. Photograph: Arunchandra Bose/AFP via Getty Images

At the height of the virus in Kerala, 170,000 people were quarantined and placed under strict surveillance by visiting health workers, with those who lacked an inside bathroom housed in improvised isolation units at the state government’s expense. That number has shrunk to 21,000. “We have also been accommodating and feeding 150,000 migrant workers from neighbouring states who were trapped here by the lockdown,” she says. “We fed them properly – three meals a day for six weeks.” Those workers are now being sent home on charter trains.

Shailaja was already a celebrity of sorts in India before Covid-19. Last year, a movie called Virus was released, inspired by her handling of an outbreak of an even deadlier viral disease, Nipah, in 2018. (She found the character who played her a little too worried-looking; in reality, she has said, she couldn’t afford to show fear.) She was praised not only for her proactive response, but also for visiting the village at the centre of the outbreak.

The villagers were terrified and ready to flee, because they did not understand how the disease was spreading. “I rushed there with my doctors, we organised a meeting in the panchayat [village council] office and I explained that there was no need to leave, because the virus could only spread through direct contact,” she says. “If you kept at least a metre from a coughing person, it couldn’t travel. When we explained that, they became calm – and stayed.”

Nipah prepared Shailaja for Covid-19, she says, because it taught her that a highly contagious disease for which there is no treatment or vaccine should be taken seriously. In a way, though, she had been preparing for both outbreaks all her life.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), of which she is a member, has been prominent in Kerala’s governments since 1957, the year after her birth. (It was part of the Communist Party of India until 1964, when it broke away.) Born into a family of activists and freedom fighters – her grandmother campaigned against untouchability – she watched the so-called “Kerala model” be assembled from the ground up; when we speak, this is what she wants to talk about.

The foundations of the model are land reform – enacted via legislation that capped how much land a family could own and increased land ownership among tenant farmers – a decentralised public health system and investment in public education. Every village has a primary health centre and there are hospitals at each level of its administration, as well as 10 medical colleges.

This is true of other states, too, says MP Cariappa, a public health expert based in Pune, Maharashtra state, but nowhere else are people so invested in their primary health system. Kerala enjoys the highest life expectancy and the lowest infant mortality of any state in India; it is also the most literate state. “With widespread access to education, there is a definite understanding of health being important to the wellbeing of people,” says Cariappa.

Shailaja says: “I heard about those struggles – the agricultural movement and the freedom fight – from my grandma. She was a very good storyteller.” Although emergency measures such as the lockdown are the preserve of the national government, each Indian state sets its own health policy. If the Kerala model had not been in place, she insists, her government’s response to Covid-19 would not have been possible.

 A walk-in test centre in Ernakulam, Kerala. Photograph: Reuters

That said, the state’s primary health centres had started to show signs of age. When Shailaja’s party came to power in 2016, it undertook a modernisation programme. One pre-pandemic innovation was to create clinics and a registry for respiratory disease – a big problem in India. “That meant we could spot conversion to Covid-19 and look out for community transmission,” Shailaja says. “It helped us very much.”

When the outbreak started, each district was asked to dedicate two hospitals to Covid-19, while each medical college set aside 500 beds. Separate entrances and exits were designated. Diagnostic tests were in short supply, especially after the disease reached wealthier western countries, so they were reserved for patients with symptoms and their close contacts, as well as for random sampling of asymptomatic people and those in the most exposed groups: health workers, police and volunteers.

Shailaja says a test in Kerala produces a result within 48 hours. “In the Gulf, as in the US and UK – all technologically fit countries – they are having to wait seven days,” she says. “What is happening there?” She doesn’t want to judge, she says, but she has been mystified by the large death tolls in those countries: “I think testing is very important – also quarantining and hospital surveillance – and people in those countries are not getting that.” She knows, because Malayalis living in those countries have phoned her to say so.

Places of worship were closed under the rules of lockdown, resulting in protests in some Indian states, but resistance has been noticeably absent in Kerala – in part, perhaps, because its chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, consulted with local faith leaders about the closures. Shailaja says Kerala’s high literacy level is another factor: “People understand why they must stay at home. You can explain it to them.”

The Indian government plans to lift the lockdown on 17 May (the date has been extended twice). After that, she predicts, there will be a huge influx of Malayalis to Kerala from the heavily infected Gulf region. “It will be a great challenge, but we are preparing for it,” she says. There are plans A, B and C, with plan C – the worst-case scenario – involving the requisitioning of hotels, hostels and conference centres to provide 165,000 beds. If they need more than 5,000 ventilators, they will struggle – although more are on order – but the real limiting factor will be manpower, especially when it comes to contact tracing. “We are training up schoolteachers,” Shailaja says.

Once the second wave has passed – if, indeed, there is a second wave – these teachers will return to schools. She hopes to do the same, eventually, because her ministerial term will finish with the state elections a year from now. Since she does not think the threat of Covid-19 will subside any time soon, what secret would she like to pass on to her successor? She laughs her infectious laugh, because the secret is no secret: “Proper planning.”

Reprinted from TheGuardian

Why The Humanity Post?

The World Health Organisation has named depression as the greatest cause of suffering worldwide. In the U.S., 1 out of 5 deals with depression or anxiety. For youth, that number increases to 1 in 3.

The good news is that 40% of our happiness can be influenced by intentional thoughts and actions, leading to life changing habits. It’s this 40% that The Humanity Post  help to impact.

Continue Reading




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