Made in India coronary stents non inferior to international stents


In a major advancement, a study shows that made in India coronary stents are as good as those manufactured in other countries by multinational companies, according to a recent scientific trial.

The study’s findings were presented at the prestigious international conference on Non Surgical Cardiac interventions—TCT (Trans Catheter Interventions)—on September 22 in San Diego, USA.

The study, which involved around 1,500 patients, was conducted in various countries of Europe and monitored by an international reputed clinical research organisation (CRO), Cardialysis.

The scientific study had the acronym TALENT.

The study dispels the perception among many doctors and patients that stents made in India may not be as safe and efficacious as those manufactured in foreign countries.

The TALENT trial was conceived by Prof Upendra Kaul, a well known interventional cardiologist who is currently the chairman of Batra Heart Centre, New Delhi, and Prof Patrick Serruys, an internationally acclaimed researcher in this field from the Netherlands.

 

Coronary stents are devices made of metal, usually chromium cobalt and coated with polymers and drug to treat blocked coronary arteries and also with a good and safe long-term performance.

In the recently conducted randomised trial to compare an India-made stent Supraflex with the world leader Xience stent from Abbott Vascular, the Supraflex sirolimus-eluting coronary stent manufactured by SMT in Surat emerged to be as good as the Xience stent made in Europe and the USA.

The study was sufficiently powered to give the final answer regarding non-inferiority of the Supraflex sirolimus-eluting stent versus the best-in class Xience stent from Abbott. The study was done in all comers with no exclusions, Prof Kaul said.

“The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that both stents are equal in performance and safety. To dispel the belief that imported coronary devices are better, it needed a scientific study without any bias,” he explained.

In February, last year, when the Indian government decided to cap the prices of coronary stents, there was a dramatic reduction in prices from an average of USD 1,800 for the drug-eluting stent (DES) to USD 480 irrespective of the country they were manufactured in.

This resulted in increase in the usage of domestic stents because they offered it at lower prices, Dr Kaul said.

“However, the users still had the belief that India made stents may not be as good (as the imported ones). This required an acceptable scientific trial to draw a comparison between the two stents,” he claimed.

“The study was done in Europe to remove any bias and it was monitored by an international clinical research organisation (CRO), Cardialysis, which is world reputed,” Dr Kaul added.

The study showed that the composite end points consisting of cardiac death, target-vessel MI and clinically indicated repeat procedures at 12 months were similar for both.

Thus proving that the India made stent Supraflex was as good as the market leader Xinence, Dr Kaul claimed.

The study has important economic implications in countries where cost of the stent is an important issue. The full paper of this trial will soon be published in the Lancet, he said.

Dr Kaul further called upon other Indian manufacturers to do similar clinical trials to prove that their devices are worthy competitors to those made abroad.

source

Dengue, Chickungunya (vector ¬borne) preventable till bite of mosquito


Vector borne diseases have assumed greater significance, as they are causes for preventable death. But presently they are preventable till a mosquito bite. Usually they cause fever for few days and discomfort. But in many cases they present a life threatening disease process, which is rapid and  difficult  to treat. Therefore prevention of mosquito bite is of great importance. Dengue shock syndrome, Dengue Hemorrhagic fever or encephalitis, ARDS present life threatening situations and difficult to treat.

Dengue

  • Dengue is a viral infection spread by the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito and does not spread directly from person to person.
  • The symptoms start within five to six days after person you’re bitten by an infected mosquito.

            Chikungunya

It is a viral infection spread by the bite of the aedes aegypti mosquito.

The word “chikungunya” means “to become contorted” in Kimakonde, a language spoken in parts of Tanzania and Mozambique, which refers to the contorted walk of infected persons who develop severe joint pain.

Symptoms appear between 4 and 7 days after being bitten by the infected mosquito.

Routine fogging is dangerous as it can lead to increased resistance to the insecticides rendering them useless during outbreak situations

With increasing cases of mosquito-borne diseases, like dengue and chikungunya, being reported from the country, the government and scientists are looking at newer ways of controlling the vector and preventing the spread of infections

 

Outdoor fogging provides only short ­term benefits and can also affect non ­target organisms, such as honeybees, moths and butterflies, say experts.

Dengue and chikungunya, which together affected close to 46,000 people in the country this year, do not have any cure currently.

Patients infected with the diseases transmitted by day-biting aedes aegypti mosquitoes usually receive symptomatic treatment for fever, joint aches, internal bleeding, and in severe cases, organ failure.

For malaria, which is transmitted by the anopheles mosquitoes that bite at dusk, it is essential to detect cases early and start treatment.

However, the best method of preventing the disease is to control breeding.

This does not always happen properly on time as pointed out by a 2016 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The report found that the existing number of domestic breeding checkers was so less that it was possible to revisit a house in Delhi only after 44 days, as opposed to every six days as per the norm set by the municipal corporations.

And, several houses remain unchecked because either nobody is home or they deny the breeding checkers entry. The implementation has to be better for effective control of vector

The report states that only 30% of all health institutions in Delhi were reporting cases of dengue defeating the purpose of surveillance and early detection of an outbreak. Cases were also being under-reported.

In 86% of the houses that were treated for breeding, the method or the chemical formulations used were not prescribed or recommended by national agencies responsible for setting guidelines.

Routine outdoor fogging was also carried out by the corporations  that is recommended only for emergency situations. Routine fogging is dangerous as it can lead to increased resistance to the insecticides rendering them useless during outbreak situations.

“Pesticides have been a cornerstone of vector-borne disease control. Use of chemicals on a vast and increasing scale has led to the widespread development of resistance,” according to a report by the World Health Organisation.

“Outdoor fogging with insecticides looks dramatic and hence provides visible evidence that the government is doing something. Fogging requires considerable resources, provides only short-lasting benefits, and has been severely compromised by the spread of vectors resistant to the available insecticides. Fogging can also affect non-target organisms, such as honeybees, moths, and butterflies,” said a study.

A growing resistance by anopheles mosquitoes to pyrethroids threatens to reverse all gains made since 2000, according to another study which reported an increasing mosquito survival.

“This is a concern not just for malaria but all mosquito-borne diseases, given that insecticides play a major role in vector control. This has led to a three pronged effort to develop new vector control tools as quickly as possible,” the study said.

Resistance is known to affect all major malaria vector species and all four recommended classes of insecticides. Since 2010, a total of 61 countries have reported resistance to at least one class of insecticide, with a 50 of those countries reporting resistance to 2 or more classes, according to WHO.

There are, however, newer measures for preventing vector borne diseases.

THE WOLBACHIA TRIAL

India has collaborated with researchers from Australia to created modified mosquitoes that have been infected with Wolbachia bacterium. The bacterium ends the disease transmitting capability of aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit dengue and chikungunya. A lab trial is currently underway at Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry. Studies have also shown that the wolbachia bacteria resists the malaria causing parasites in anopheles too.

DENGUE VACCINE

Dengvaxia by French drugmaker Sanofi Pastuer is currently the only vaccine against dengue available in the world. It is not yet available in Indian markets as the Indian Council of Medical Research in in the process of conducting research to check the level of seroprevalence (the number of people who have at least once been infected with dengue).

“The subset of trial participants who had not been exposed to dengue virus infection prior to vaccination had a higher risk of more severe dengue and hospitalisations due to dengue compared to unvaccinated participants,” according to WHO.

India has also developed a dengue vaccine candidate, which confers protection against all four strains of dengue without increasing the risk of lethal secondary infections from different strains. There are several other dengue vaccine candidates under development.

MALARIA VACCINE

Mosquirix developed by GlaaxoSmithKline is the world’s first malaria vaccine and has been shown to provide partial protection against malaria in children against malaria caused by plasmodium falciparum, that can cause cerebral malaria. It has been recommended by WHO for pilot introduction in three African countries

 

Food supplement or Concealed harmful drugs? Dangling false promise of miracle


One of the paradox of the era is about dangling a false promise of miracle about health  may be bought easily and used with great confidence rather than a scientifically proved truth and fact.  Same is particularly truth about the health supplements and many so called “natural products” that are sold with just publicity or mere endorsement. There are no safe guards and users are completely oblivious of  the harm caused by uncounted number of  such health supplements or  substances.

Be careful while popping a pill for weight loss, muscle building or sexual enhancement. Several dietary supplements, most of which are widely available in India, have been found adulterated with unapproved and even banned pharmaceutical ingredients in the US with potential to cause serious health risks, a latest study published in ‘JAMA Open’ revealed.

At least 776 dietary supplements sold over the counter in the US over a period of 10 years from 2007 to 2016 were found containing unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients such as sildenafil, sibutramine and synthetic steroids — which have potential to cause side-effects ranging from stroke to kidney failure and even death, say researchers, who extracted and analyzed data from the US Food and Drug Administration’s (US FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

These products were commonly marketed for sexual enhancement, weight loss, or muscle building.

In India  the problem may be bigger here as most of the dietary supplements are easily available and widely used in India without any regulation and guidelines. Even the US regulator said it has been able to test only a portion of products available on the market.

Dietary supplements in India are not tested or sampled by any authority and are easily available.

The dietary supplement segment which include nutraceuticals, foods for special dietary use and foods for special medical purpose poised to become a $10 billion industry by 2025. While rising income levels coupled with changing lifestyle have kindled demand for such products.

But  lack of regulation and usage guidelines have made these products easily available over the counter and through online sales.

In the absence of wherewithal to do product sampling and testing, quality, efficacy and safety of such dietary supplements continue to be under question.

Another major grey area in this issue is the overlapping between food and drugs. While drugs or medicines are regulated by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), food supplements come under the purview of FSSAI. Often to circumvent drug price regulation or stringent pharmaceutical norms, companies tweak their pharma formulations and launch their products as food supplements, bypassing regulatory approvals from the DCGI. The US FDA data shows, more than 20% of adulterated dietary supplements contained more than one unapproved pharmaceutical ingredients.

Effectiveness and safety of many ingredients in dietary supplements remains questionable.

Good nutrition and a balanced diet are extremely important for good health. However, there are many people who turn to dietary supplements for a boost to their routines.

Many don’t seem to work, and some might even be harmful.

Dietary Supplements for Weight Loss guides readers through the confusing set of options in the marketplace.

People may not know that many manufacturers of weight-loss supplements don’t conduct studies in humans to find out whether their product works and is safe.

 

Pollution check by Supreme Court: “Green crackers”? Good thought but may be late


The Supreme Court made only the sale of “green and improved” fireworks mandatory at least in the national capital region (NCR) centered on New Delhi.

An order by supreme court just few days ahead of the major festival may not be able to bring the desired change and will be difficult to implement. It may serve as just a warning or create some awareness. Such orders have to come well ahead, may be   at least a year before, to set up a system for better control.  The resulting pollution is difficult   to control, unless society behaves more responsibly.

As a society, we have been using firecrackers to celebrate occasions, from festivals to landmark days and weddings to grand events, but there is a much bigger cost involved, the damage the bursting causes to the environment and of course the health hazards.

The intentions are good and right, but implementation may be difficult.

The court order means firecrackers that will emit fewer toxic pollutants will be manufactured and sold across India in the future although it wasn’t clear if the ruling on the sale of green fireworks will extend beyond the national capital and surrounding cities this coming Diwali, which is on November 7.

Diwali celebrants nationwide will get two hours between 8pm and 10pm to burst crackers during the festival in November, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday, and made only the sale of “green and improved” fireworks mandatory at least in the national capital region (NCR) centered on New Delhi, in a ruling that could significantly reduce air pollution that peaks in the festive season but could dent the business of cracker manufacturers and distributors.

Are there any “Green crackers” manufactured, or they exist. If they exist, will they be available in next few days.

With the Supreme Court permitting only ‘green firecrackers’ for a less-polluting Diwali, the manufacturers on Tuesday said “no such thing” exists and environmentalists wanted authorities to work real quick to ensure compliance.
Police officers said they do not have any equipment to measure the decibel levels of the firecrackers or the smoke they emit to ensure only ‘green’ firecrackers are being used and they would have to rely mostly on human intelligence and their sources on ground to ensure compliance.

It will be a difficult task to monitor whether shopkeepers are following guidelines since crackers are sold in bulk during Diwali. As per the court order, SHOs will be held liable if banned firecrackers are sold in their area.

Environment and health experts welcomed the order, saying it was time the society celebrated festivals “more responsibly”.

Implementation of the order is yet to be seen ,as  authorities would now have to ensure that the norms are adhered to more strictly, especially at the manufacturing level.

The current year production has already been completed. Now how industry can produce green crackers. In West Bengal, crackers are burst for two consecutive days — for Diwali and on Kali Puja the next day. Tamil Nadu has a tradition to burst crackers early morning on Diwali, while it is done mostly on Dussehra in Karnataka.

Outbreak of Zika Virus: How to prevent?


Current outbreak of  Zika  in Rajasthan is a warning for another potential disaster. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the Union health ministry for a report on the localised outbreak of Zika after 22 people tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause birth defects in unborn babies, in Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur.

The Union health ministry, in a statement on Monday, confirmed the Zika cases in Jaipur so far through the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) surveillance system.

About Zika Virus- summary

  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes.
  • People with Zika virus disease usually have a mild fever, skin rash (exanthema) and conjunctivitis. These symptoms normally last for 2-7 days.
  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available.
  • The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
  • The virus is known to circulate in Africa, Americas, Asia and the Pacific

India needs to be particularly conscious about the spread of the disease since the mosquito that carries the virus actually thrives in the country. The Aedes Aegypti mosquito whose bite transmits the disease is the same as the one that transmits dengue and chikungunya, which is widely prevalent in India. With the temperature rising across India, it becomes more important to take precautions and not let the Aedes Aegypti mosquito breed.

What is Zika?

The virus is transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquito, the same mosquito that transmits dengue and chikungunya. Its name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where the virus was first isolated in 1947.

In pregnant women, Zika can cause birth defects such as microcephaly – unusually small heads – and other brain abnormalities in babies in the womb. The infection can also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes paralysis.

There is no treatment or vaccine for the Zika infection.

Symptoms

The virus can show symptoms such as mild fever, skin rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or a headache and body ache. But only about 20% of patients show symptoms that usually last up to a week.

Why should  one fear Zika?

It is strongly suspected to cause birth defects and neurological problems in newborns and as birth rate is high in the country special care needs to be taken. Since India provides fertile climate for the aedes egypti mosquito to grow and multiply, there is the potential of an outbreak situation in the country.

How can you avoid the virus?

Check mosquito breeding in and around your house. The mosquito that carries Zika virus – Aedes aegypti – breeds in fresh water so don’t let water collect in birdbaths, planters, non-used bottles, containers, discarded waste, tyres etc.

Use mosquito repellants such as creams, gels, electronic mosquito repellents, patches, incense sticks and bed nets. Grow plants that are known to repel mosquitoes such as citronella, basil, lemon grass, lavender, mint, rosemary etc.

Take special precautions during the day as Aedes aegypti is a day-biting mosquito and dress appropriately that covers most of the body parts.

WHO risk assessment

There has been  evidence on the circulation of the virus in India. Low level transmission of Zika virus and new cases may occur in the future. Efforts to strengthen surveillance should be maintained in order to better characterize the intensity of the viral circulation and geographical spread, and monitor Zika virus related complications. Zika virus is known to be circulating in South East Asia Region. WHO encourages Member states to report similar findings to better understand the global epidemiology of Zika virus.

The risk of further spread of Zika virus to areas where the competent vectors, the Aedes mosquitoes, are present is significant given the wide geographical distribution of these mosquitoes in various regions of the world. WHO continues to monitor the epidemiological situation and conduct risk assessment based on the latest available information.

WHO advice

Prevention and control relies on reducing mosquitoes through source reduction (removal and modification of breeding sites) and reducing contact between mosquitoes and people. During outbreaks, health authorities may advise that spraying of insecticides be carried out. Insecticides recommended by the WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme may also be used as larvicides to treat relatively large water containers.

 

Loss of cabin pressure caused hypoxia, bleeds in Mumbai: Major tragedy in Greece@ air travel


More than 13 years ago, a Boeing aircraft crashed in a hilly terrain in Greece snuffing out 121 lives. A year later, investigators concluded that omissions in controlling cabin pressure was a key reason for the crash. Extreme case in 2005, a Helios Airline flight crashed into a mountain after the pilots lost consciousness from hypoxia.

One of the pilots said that generally, an aircraft is pressurized to 8,000 feet so that the pressure is adequate for the human body. Normally, a plane flies at an altitude of around 35,000 feet.

De-pressurization could even result in hypoxia for the people on board. Hypoxia or lack of adequate oxygen supply for the human tissues, can cause various problems, including deterioration in a cognitive abilities.

Loss of cabin pressure could result in hypoxia or the deprivation of oxygen. Oxygen deprivation is also the cause of headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds. A sudden drop in air pressure can be fatal for people with pre-existing conditions such as hypertension and cardiac anomalies .  There is a cavity in our oral and nasal passages and sudden change in air pressure of the surroundings negatively impairs the internal air pressure maintained in these cavities, thus causing bleeding through nose, ears or mouth. At the same time, the sudden drop in the pressure and lack of oxygen supply to the brain can also cause strokes, paralysis or convulsions in some people.

Drop in air-pressure in the surrounding affects people differently. While it usually causes heaviness in the head, dizziness and drowsiness in some, it can also be fatal for people with high blood pressure and a history of heart attacks. The five passengers suffered “barotrauma” of ear, which is caused due to a change in air pressure.

Several passengers on a Jet Airways Mumbai-Jaipur flight suffered nose and ear bleeding on Thursday morning as the pilots forgot to switch on the system to maintain cabin pressure, the DGCA said. “The 9W 697 Mumbai-Jaipur flight was turned back to Mumbai after take off as, during the climb, crew forgot to select switch to maintain cabin pressure. This resulted in the oxygen masks dropping. Thirty out of 166 passengers experienced nose and ear bleeding, some also complained of headache,”   deputy director general, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), said. The crew has been taken off duty and Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) has started an investigation, DGCA added. Ministry of Civil Aviation has requested DGCA to file its report immediately on the issue. The passengers are being treated at Mumbai airport. In a statement, Jet Airways said the B737 aircraft landed normally in Mumbai. “All guests were deplaned safely and taken to the terminal. First aid was administered to few guests who complained of ear pain, bleeding nose etc. The flight’s cockpit crew has been taken off scheduled duties pending investigation. The airline is making alternative flight arrangements for guests on this flight. Jet Airways regrets the inconvenience caused to its guests.” Several passengers posted images from inside the plane,  that showed that oxygen masks had been deployed due to the low cabin pressure

Invisible medical harms of carpet-bomb treatments with FDC (fixed dose combination): @ Government prohibits 328 fixed dose combinations


Drug Technical Advisory Board said there is no therapeutic justification for the ingredients contained in the 328 fixed-dose combination or FDC drugs.

A fixed-dose combination or FDC drug contains two or more active ingredients in a fixed dosage ratio. It means it’s not the single drug but a combination of the two or more,  which may be   unnecessary for consumption.

  1. Antibiotic  resistance: Most harmful impact can be because of antibiotics in FDC.

– Logic is simple. If  some one  is  not able to recognize, whether it is a rat, cat, dog or tiger causing trouble, carpet bomb with combination of three or four   bombs.  Is it overuse of  weapons? Yes, it is. Similarly, abuse of multiple antibiotics has potential to cause massive antibiotic resistance, can have global harmful effect.

Quacks or by self medication,  antibiotics may be overused  and abused . Quacks  or alternative medicine doctors often prescribe FDCs as they are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of an illness and carpet-bomb patients with combination doses, in the hope that one of the drugs would work.

  1. Overuse of drugs: where one drug for example a paracetamol is required, patient will take three medicines.
  2. Increase in side effects: instead of one medication, patient will have side effects of all other medicines also.
  3. inadequate doses: If many drugs are combined in one, doses may be inadequate or less. So patient takes more drugs , but in adequate doses.
  4. Increase in cost: instead of one , the patient pays for three drugs, thereby increase in cost.

Government prohibits 328 fixed dose combinations 

     Painkiller Saridon and skin cream Panderm are among 328 fixed-dose combination or FDC drugs banned by the government to stop their “irrational use”. The health ministry says the ingredients in these medicines do not markedly add to the benefits that people can get from taking them. The order immediately bans the manufacture, marketing and sale of several common cough syrups, painkillers, and cold and flu drugs. The country’s drug advisory body, the Drug Technical Advisory Board or DTAB, has said there is no therapeutic justification for the ingredients in these drugs and they must be banned in public interest.

-The government has added restrictions to dosage and use of six more FDCs,  not among the 328 banned ones,  over their ingredients having no therapeutic value and posing a risk to consumers.

-The health ministry took the decision after the country’s top drug advisory body, the Drug Technical Advisory Board or DTAB, in a report said taking the 328 FDCs would be a health risk. India has some 2,000 FDCs as against a little over 500 in USA.

-It is a good move for public health. Individual drugs are approved by the centre, but some manufacturers make combinations of two drugs and get state licences.

-Mixing two drugs create a new medicine. For new medicine , pharma companies should approach the Drugs Controller General of India and apply for a fresh licence, conduct trials and  prove safety.

-In March 2010, the government restricted sales of 344 FDCs, a move that was challenged by pharma firms in court. The Supreme Court last December told the DTAB to ascertain whether FDCs should be banned from the market.

Every one is  calculative about  the loss of millions.  The invisible losses to human kind are still to be calculated.

 

Air pollution, Ultra fine dust causing millions premature deaths by heart attacks, strokes


Globally, 58% of outdoor air pollution-related premature deaths are due to heart disease and strokes, 18% due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 18% from lung infections, and 6% because of lung cancer, said the World Health Organisation’s 2016 estimates.

Outdoor air pollution leads to 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide each year, with close to 60% of the deaths from heart attacks and strokes, according to the World Health Organisation. Finally, scientists appear to have figured out just how fine dust attacks the cardiovascular system.

An analysis of the effect of the different components of polluted air, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide, showed that small particulate matter is the most damaging to the body’s vascular system, reported a team of researchers from Germany, England and the US.

Ultrafine dust (particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter, or PM2.5) is the size of a virus and can penetrate the lung barrier to enter the blood system, leading to local inflammation in the blood vessels, the researchers found. This leads to atherosclerosis (plaque or fatty deposits in the side wall of the arteries), which stops blood flow to cause heart attacks, heart failure and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias), they said.

It was PM2.5 and not nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — both of which are found in diesel exhaust emissions — which affected vascular function and posed a bigger risk to cardiovascular health, found the study published in the European Heart Journal on Thursday.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in India, which has 14 of the world’s most polluted cities by small particulate matter concentration (see box). According to the Global Burden of Disease report, an estimated 1.1 million deaths in India were linked to PM2.5 air pollution in 2015.

PM2.5 inhalation causes hypertension, insulin resistance, and endothelial dysfunction with impaired vasodilation (stiffening of the arteries), inflammation and clot formation, which can trigger heart attack and stroke. “The fine dust particles are chemically formed mainly in the atmosphere from emissions from traffic, industry, and agriculture. In order to achieve low, harmless concentrations, emissions from all these sources need to be reduced,” said lead author Thomas Münzel, director of cardiology at the Medical Center of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.

Governments need to introduce strong regulatory policies to regulate emissions and invest in clean transport, green power generation and efficient waste management.

source

 

How viruses, germ cross international borders? Toilets cleaner than Airport trays


Airport security trays carry more diseases than toilets.  The plastic trays that passengers put their hand luggage in at airport security checkpoints harbour the highest levels of viruses, even more than toilets, a study warns. Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK swabbed a variety of surfaces at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland during the winter of 2016. They set out to identify and quantify the respiratory viruses on frequently touched surfaces in airports. The team found evidence of viruses on 10 per cent of the surfaces tested and most commonly on the plastic trays that are circulated along the passenger queue at the hand luggage X-ray checkpoint. The study, published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases, concludes that hand washing and careful coughing hygiene are crucial to the control of contagious infections in public areas with high volumes of people passing through. The findings add weight to previous studies showing that microbes are commonly found on surfaces in public transport vehicles and will strengthen public health advice in preparation for future flu pandemics, researchers said. Airport security trays carry more diseases than toilets. The highest concentration of viruses was detected on the security check plastic trays with further viruses detected on shop payment terminals, staircase rails, passport checking counters, children’s play areas and in the air. The most common virus found in the survey was rhinovirus, which causes the common cold but the swabs also picked up the influenza A virus, researchers said. Interestingly, no respiratory viruses were found on toilet surfaces, they said.

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