Missing measles vaccination fueling global spike in measles cases


Measles cases up by 300% in 2019 as vaccinations dip

This has led to a 30% spike in measles cases worldwide since 2016, taking cases to 6.7 million and deaths to 110,000 in 2017. India confirmed 55,399 measles cases in 2018.

High income countries ; children missing vaccination;

USA 2,593000

France —608000

United kingdom– 527000

Argentina — 438000

Italy  — 435000

Low & middle income countries; children missing vaccination

Nigeria –   4 million

India     –  2.9 million

Pakistan-  1.2 million

Indonesia- 1.2 million

Ethopia   – 1.1 million

 

Children unvaccinated against measles are fuelling global outbreaks, with more than 110,000 measles cases being reported worldwide in the first three months of 2019, up nearly 300% over the same period last year, Unicef said on Thursday.

This has led to a 30% spike in measles cases worldwide since 2016, taking cases to 6.7 million and deaths to 110,000 in 2017. India confirmed 55,399 measles cases in 2018.

Globally, each year around 21.1 million children on average don’t get the first dose of the measles vaccine, which has led to around 169 million children remaining unvaccinated between 2010 and 2017, according to Unicef.

Measles is a highly infectious virus that causes death and debilitating complications, including encephalitis (swelling of the brain membranes), severe diarrhoea, pneumonia, ear infections and permanent vision loss.

India has 2.9 million children unvaccinated against measles, the second highest number after Nigeria, which is home to 4 million children not vaccinated against the disease, said Unicef.

The measles-rubella vaccine is safe and has saved at least 21 million lives since 2000, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), but fake news campaigns spread by anti-vaxxers — those who oppose vaccination ,  have led to people saying no to vaccination even in countries that have eliminated the disease.

Immunisation coverage must be at least 95% to achieve ‘herd immunity’, the threshold over which unvaccinated people in a community are protected, according to WHO. “It is critical not only to increase coverage but also to sustain vaccination rates at the right doses to create an umbrella of immunity for everyone. The measles virus will always find unvaccinated children. If we are serious about averting the spread of this dangerous but preventable disease, we need to vaccinate every child, in rich and poor countries alike,” said Henrietta Fore, Unicef executive director, in a statement.

The US, which eliminated measles in 2000, tops the list of high-income countries with the most children not receiving the first dose of the  of the vaccine between 2010 and 2017, which prompted the American Medical Association last month to urge big social media and technology companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, to stop anti-vaccine groups from spreading misinformation on their platforms.

Since launch of the Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in India in February 2017, 305 million children in 32 states/ UTs using the Serum Institute of India vaccine is WHO pre-qualified for its quality and safety and used the world over, but the campaign has been stalled by misinformed parents in some parts of India, including Delhi,” said a health ministry official who did not want to be identified.

The MR vaccine being used in the campaign as well as for Routine Immunization, is very safe and effective against measles. It is made in India and is exported for use world over. Two doses of this vaccine provides more than 95% protection against the disease that has been eliminated in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, DPR Korea and Timor Leste) in WHO’s South Asia region and transmission of the virus is likely to have been interrupted in Sri Lanka. Elimination and Rubella Control to review progress in the battle against measles The global coverage of the first dose of the measles vaccine was reported at 85% in 2017, with the coverage for the second dose being at a lower 67%. In high income countries, while coverage with the first dose is 94%, coverage for the second dose drops to 91%, according to the latest data.

About measles

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About Measles and Vaccination


Measles is a very contagious disease caused by a virus. It spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Measles starts with a cough, runny nose, red eyes, and fever. Then a rash of tiny, red spots breaks out. It starts at the head and spreads to the rest of the body.

Cause;;Measles is caused by the measles virus, a single-stranded, negative-sense, enveloped RNA virus of the genus Morbillivirus within the family  Paramyxoviridae.

The virus is highly contagious and is spread by coughing and sneezing via close personal contact or direct contact with secretions. It can live for up to two hours in that airspace or nearby surfaces.  Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of nearby non-immune people will also become infected.  Humans are the only natural hosts of the virus, and no other animal reservoirs are known to exist.

Risk factors for measles virus infection include immunodeficiency caused by HIV or AIDS,  immunosuppression following receipt of an organ or a stem cell transplant,  alkylating agents, or corticosteroid therapy, regardless of immunization status;  travel to areas where measles commonly occurs or contact with travellers from such an area;  and the loss of passive, inherited antibodies before the age of routine immunization.

 

Vaccination;;Measles can be prevented with MMR vaccine. The vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella. CDC recommends children get two doses of MMR vaccine, starting with the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age. Teens and adults should also be up to date on their MMR vaccination.

The MMR vaccine is very safe and effective. Two doses of MMR vaccine are about 97% effective at preventing measles; one dose is about 93% effective.

Children may also get MMRV vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). This vaccine is only licensed for use in children who are 12 months through 12 years of age.

Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, an estimated 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of these, approximately 500,000 cases were reported each year to CDC; of these, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed encephalitis (brain swelling) from measles. Since then, widespread use of measles virus-containing vaccine has led to a greater than 99% reduction in measles cases compared with the pre-vaccine era. However, measles is still common in other countries. Unvaccinated people continue to get measles while abroad and bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others.

 

CDC recommends that children get two doses of MMR vaccine:

  • the first dose at 12 through 15 months of age, and
  • the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

Teens and adults should also be up to date on MMR vaccinations.

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what is Mechanical ventilator? A machine critical to save life


A medical ventilator (or simply ventilator in context) is a machine designed to provide mechanical ventilation by moving breathable air into and out of the lungs, to deliver breaths to a patient who is physically unable to breathe, or breathing insufficiently.

While modern ventilators are computerized machines, patients can be ventilated with a simple, hand-operated bag valve mask.

Ventilators are chiefly used in intensive care medicine, home care, and emergency medicine (as standalone units) and in anesthesiology  (as a component of an  anesthesia machine .

Medical ventilators are sometimes colloquially called “respirators”, a term stemming from commonly used devices in the 1950s (particularly the “Bird Respirator”). However, in modern hospital and medical terminology, these machines are never referred to as respirators, and use of “respirator” in this context is now a deprecated anachronism signaling technical unfamiliarity.

Function                                  

In its simplest form, a modern positive pressure ventilator consists of a compressible air  reservoir or turbine, air and oxygen supplies, a set of valves and tubes, and a disposable or reusable “patient circuit”. The air reservoir is pneumatically compressed several times a minute to deliver room-air, or in most cases, an air/oxygen mixture to the patient. If a turbine is used, the turbine pushes air through the ventilator, with a flow valve adjusting pressure to meet patient-specific parameters. When over pressure is released, the patient will exhale passively due to the lungs’ elasticity, the exhaled air being released usually through a one-way valve within the patient circuit called the patient manifold.

Ventilators may also be equipped with monitoring and alarm systems for patient-related parameters (e.g. pressure, volume, and flow) and ventilator function (e.g. air leakage, power failure, mechanical failure), backup batteries, oxygen tanks, and remote control. The pneumatic system is nowadays often replaced by a computer-controlled  turbo-pump.

Modern ventilators are electronically controlled by a small embedded system to allow exact adaptation of pressure and flow characteristics to an individual patient’s needs. Fine-tuned ventilator settings also serve to make ventilation more tolerable and comfortable for the patient. In Canada and the United States and in many parts of world, respiratory therapists are responsible for tuning these settings, while biomedical technologists are responsible for the maintenance.

The patient circuit usually consists of a set of three durable, yet lightweight plastic tubes, separated by function (e.g. inhaled air, patient pressure, exhaled air). Determined by the type of ventilation needed, the patient-end of the circuit may be either noninvasive or invasive.

Noninvasive methods, which are adequate for patients who require a ventilator only while sleeping and resting, mainly employ a nasal mask. Invasive methods require     intubation.  For long-term ventilator dependence will normally be a tracheostomy  cannula, as this is much more comfortable and practical for long-term care than is larynx or nasal intubation.

Life-critical system

Because failure may result in death, mechanical ventilation systems are classified as a life critical-system and precautions must be taken to ensure that they are highly reliable, including their  power supply .

Mechanical ventilators are therefore carefully designed so that no single point of failure can endanger the patient. They may have manual backup mechanisms to enable hand-driven respiration in the absence of power (such as the mechanical ventilator integrated into an  anesthetic machine . They may also have safety valves, which open to atmosphere in the absence of power to act as an anti-suffocation valve for spontaneous breathing of the patient. Some systems are also equipped with compressed-gas tanks, air compressors, and/or backup batteries to provide ventilation in case of power failure or defective gas supplies, and methods to operate or call for help if their mechanisms or software fail.

history of ventilator

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Reasons of having excessive thirst:


If some ones  feels  the need to   drink lots of water, most of time  reason is usually  known . For example,   not  drinking enough of it. But some times there can be more sinister mechanisms and need evaluation. There can be number of diseases,  which can  present  by  excessive thirst.   This derangement is  more  other than merely being dehydrated.

If drinking more fluids for several days hasn’t helped, there can be reasons other than dehydration.

Dehydration:

If some ones  feels  the need to   drink lots of water, most of time  reason is usually  known . For example,   not  drinking enough of it. Dehydration occurs if some one  does really hard work  in the ground or  sweating in the sun. The loss of fluids need to be replenished .

Dehydration commonly happens, in cases of food poisoning ,  diarrhoea, vomiting, inability to eat or drink  and loose motions.

Diabetes

One of the most important symptom of diabetes is thirst.  All types of  diabetes will present as increased intake of water and being thirsty.  Frequent urination, another common symptom of diabetes, will bring on thirst.   Therefore  excessive thirst and urination, along with unexplained weight loss, fatigue, or irritability, can be indications of diabetes.

Dry mouth

The abnormal dryness of the mucous membranes in the mouth, due to decreased  flow or change in the composition of saliva.  It is  also known as xerostomia, is often mistaken for excessive thirst.  Causes of dry mouth include smoking tobacco, use of  marijuana, stress, anxiety, or  aging.  But certain drugs (antidepressants) and autoimmune diseases can also cause dry mouth.

One  may think  being thirsty, whereas  actual reason is  having a dry mouth.

Dry mouth can present as :

  • a burning sensation or soreness in your mouth
  • changes in your sense of taste
  • difficulty speaking, eating or swallowing.

Menstrual blood loss

Estrogen and progesterone levels can both affect fluid volume.  If blood flow is more, it can  also cause  more  blood loss.   The blood loss will cause increase in thirst.

 

Thyroid problems

When the thyroid function is deranged , hormone  production is erratic can,  produce increased  or less e hormone. Thyroid dysfunction can   spur a variety of nonspecific symptoms, including abnormally heavy periods, anxiety, feeling hot, and dry mouth. These all can lead to increased thirst.

 Stress

Stress or specially chronic  stress is a cause for  adrenal gland dysfunction specially if  stress is severe.  This can cause dizziness,  depression, anxiety, and  severe  thirst.

 

Diuretic  and food containing diuretics:

    Drugs that produce lot of urine  are diuretics. They  can cause feeling of thirst.

Foods that have a diuretic effect can make you thirsty because they cause you to urinate more. Foods like melons,  ginger, celery, asparagus, beets, lemons.

 

Low-carbohydrate  diets:

        One of  side effect of Keto- diet  is thirst. The eating plan  significantly cuts down on  carbohydrate intake.   Carbohydrates s absorb  more water than protein and fat.

 

Pregnancy:

excessive thirst can happen in pregnancy due to many reasons for example  Increased urination,  nausea and morning sickness

Excessive bleeding:

Ongoing or sudden blood loss,   can  cause  thirst levels  in order to  make up for the fluid loss.

 

Diabetes insipidus:

Diabetes insipidus is a rare disorder that affects water absorption.   It can cause loss of huge  amounts of water  by production of litres of urine.   Cause can be brain or kidney called as central and nephrogenic respectively.

Psychogenic  polydipsia:  this is an urge to drink more water and  patients are unable to control the urge.  Patients may have intake of many litres per day.

 

 

West Nile virus : first reported death in India ( Kerala): How to prevent?


       A seven-year-old in Kerala, who had tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV), died in Kozhikode on Monday. It is first reported death in India due to the WNV. West Nile Virus is a disease which spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito. The symptoms include cold, fever, bodyache, fatigue and nausea, with complications leading to meningitis and death.  Birds are natural hosts of the virus.

West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States.  It is most commonly spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. Cases of WNV occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV in people. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not feel sick. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness. You can reduce your risk of WNV by using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants to prevent mosquito bites.

The WNV can cause neurological disease and death in people and is common in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia.

Here is all about the virus:

What is West Nile virus? West Nile virus (WNV) is an infectious disease spread by infected mosquitoes. It spreads from birds to humans with the bite of an infected Culex mosquito.

What are the symptoms on WNV?

People who get WNV usually have no symptoms or mild symptoms. The symptoms include a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash, and swollen lymph glands. They can last a few days to several weeks, and usually go away on their own.

When is it dangerous?

If West Nile virus enters the brain, it can be life-threatening. It may cause inflammation of the brain, called encephalitis, or inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, called meningitis.

How is WNV diagnosed

A physical exam, medical history, and laboratory tests can diagnose it.

Who are at risk?

Older people, children and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk.

What is the cure?

There are no specific vaccines or treatments for human WNV disease. The best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites. Treatment is supportive for patients with neuro-invasive West Nile virus, often involving hospitalization, intravenous fluids, respiratory support, and prevention of secondary infections.

Have there been any outbreaks?

The largest outbreaks occurred in Greece, Israel, Romania, Russia and USA. Outbreak sites are on major birds migratory routes. In its original range, WNV was prevalent throughout Africa, parts of Europe,

Middle East, West Asia, and Australia. Since its introduction in 1999 into USA, the virus has spread and is now widely established from Canada to Venezuela.

In India : Since 2016, 124 cases of the disease have been reported from across the country, but no deaths.

Experts in virology say there is usually no single reason that leads to death in cases of WNV disease.

According to previous research, WNV is not a new disease to India.

In India, the existence of antibodies (protein produced by the human body to fight bacteria and viruses) against WNV in humans was recorded for the first time in 1952, according to a 2006 research paper titled “West Nile Virus isolates from India: evidence for a distinct genetic lineage”.

The research was conducted by experts at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, and published in the Journal of General Virology.

Since WNV is a vector-borne disease, the health ministry has been monitoring the situation closely. A team of experts from health ministry’s National Centre for Disease Control has been assisting state authorities

Prevention

The most effective way to prevent infection from ­­­West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. Mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, treat clothing and gear, and take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors.

Take steps to control mosquitoes indoors and outdoors

  • Use screens on windows and doors. Repair holes in screens to keep mosquitoes outdoors.
  • Use air conditioning, if available.
  • Stop mosquitoes from laying eggs in or near water.
    • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers.
    • Check indoors and outdoors.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for WNV disease; clinical management is supportive. Patients with severe meningeal symptoms often require pain control for headaches and antiemetic therapy and rehydration for associated nausea and vomiting. Patients with encephalitis require close monitoring for the development of elevated intracranial pressure and seizures. Patients with encephalitis or poliomyelitis should be monitored for inability to protect their airway. Acute neuromuscular respiratory failure may develop rapidly and prolonged ventilatory support may be required.

WNV Antibody Testing

Laboratory diagnosis is generally accomplished by testing of serum or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to detect WNV-specific IgM antibodies. Immunoassays for WNV-specific IgM are available commercially and through state public health laboratories.

WNV-specific IgM antibodies are usually detectable 3 to 8 days after onset of illness and persist for 30 to 90 days, but longer persistence has been documented. Therefore, positive IgM antibodies occasionally may reflect a past infection. If serum is collected within 8 days of illness onset, the absence of detectable virus-specific IgM does not rule out the diagnosis of WNV infection, and the test may need to be repeated on a later sample.

The presence of WNV-specific IgM in blood or CSF provides good evidence of recent infection but may also result from cross-reactive antibodies after infection with other flaviviruses or from non-specific reactivity. According to product inserts for commercially available WNV IgM assays, all positive results obtained with these assays should be confirmed by neutralizing antibody testing of acute- and convalescent-phase serum specimens at a state public health laboratory or CDC.

WNV IgG antibodies generally are detected shortly after IgM antibodies and persist for many years following a symptomatic or asymptomatic infection. Therefore, the presence of IgG antibodies alone is only evidence of previous infection and clinically compatible cases with the presence of IgG, but not IgM, should be evaluated for other etiologic agents.

Plaque-reduction neutralization tests (PRNTs) performed in reference laboratories, including some state public health laboratories and CDC, can help determine the specific infecting flavivirus. PRNTs can also confirm acute infection by demonstrating a fourfold or greater change in WNV-specific neutralizing antibody titer between acute- and convalescent-phase serum samples collected 2 to 3 weeks apart.

Other testing for WNV disease

Viral cultures and tests to detect viral RNA (e.g., reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR]) can be performed on serum, CSF, and tissue specimens that are collected early in the course of illness and, if results are positive, can confirm an infection. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) can detect WNV antigen in formalin-fixed tissue. Negative results of these tests do not rule out WNV infection. Viral culture, RT-PCR, and IHC can be requested through state public health laboratories or CDC.

Cure for AIDS may be possible in near future


“London patient” becomes second person to be cured of AIDS after stem cell therapy. It has helped them put their infection under remission without medication. The breakthrough offers hope for a potential cure using gene manipulation for an infection. Concept that scientists will one day be able to end AIDS, the doctors said, but does not mean a cure for HIV has been found.

An HIV-positive man in Britain has become the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the AIDS virus after he received a bone marrow transplant from an HIV resistant donor, his doctors said.

Almost three years after receiving bone marrow stem cells from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection – and more than 18 months after coming off antiretroviral drugs – highly sensitive tests still show no trace of the man’s previous  HIV infection.

“There is no virus there that we can measure. We can’t detect anything,” said Ravindra Gupta, a professor and HIV biologist who co-led a team of doctors treating the man.

The case is a proof of the concept that scientists will one day be able to end AIDS, the doctors said, but does not mean a cure for HIV has been found.

Gupta described his patient as “functionally cured” and “in remission”, but cautioned: “It’s too early to say he’s cured.”

The man is being called “the London patient”, in part because his case is similar to the first known case of a functional cure of HIV – in an American man, Timothy Brown, who became known as the “ Berlin patient” when he underwent similar treatment in Germany in 2007 which also cleared his HIV.

 

Brown, who had been living in Berlin, has since moved to the United States and, according to HIV experts, is still HIV-free.

Some 37 million people worldwide are currently infected with  HIV  has killed around 35 million people worldwide since it began in the 1980s. Scientific research into the complex virus has in recent years led to the development of drug combinations that can keep it at bay in most patients.

Gupta, now at Cambridge University, treated the London patient when he was working at University College London. The man had contracted HIV in 2003, Gupta said, and in 2012 was also diagnosed with a type of blood cancer called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

In 2016, when he was very sick with cancer, doctors decided to seek a transplant match for him. “This was really his last chance of survival,” Gupta told Reuters in an interview.

The donor – who was unrelated – had a genetic mutation known as ‘CCR5 delta 32’, which confers resistance to HIV.

The transplant went relatively smoothly, but there were some side effects, including the patient suffering a period of “graft-versus-host” disease.

Most experts say it is inconceivable such treatments could be a way of curing all patients. The procedure is expensive, complex and risky. To do this in others, exact match donors would have to be found in the tiny proportion of people — most of them of northern European descent — who have the CCR5 mutation that makes them resistant to the virus.

Specialists said it is also not yet clear whether the CCR5 resistance is the only key – or whether the graft versus host disease may have been just as important. Both the Berlin and London patients had this complication, which may have played a role in the loss of HIV-infected cells.

Sharon Lewin, an expert at Australia’s Doherty Institute and co-chair of the International AIDS Society’s cure research advisory board, told Reuters the London case points to new avenues for study. “We haven’t cured HIV, but (this) gives us hope that it’s going to be feasible one day to eliminate the virus,” she said.

Gene manipulation, like any experimental technology, comes with several caveats, including concerns about the “off target effects” that can cause adverse mutations, including cancer.

 

Leopard tortoise designed pill to administer insulin in diabetes


The discovery  has a potential to  transform  lives of millions of patients with diabetics.  It can  counter the availability and cost of insulin in future.  If successful , the new technology can even change the  delivery of other  drugs as well.

Scientists have developed a “needle pill” that could allow diabetics to take insulin without the need for daily injections.

The pea-sized capsule contains a small needle made of solid, compressed insulin, which is injected into the stomach wall after the capsule has been swallowed.

When tested in pigs, the device worked consistently and was able to deliver equivalent doses of insulin to those required by someone with diabetes.

Giovanni Traverso, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School affiliated Brigham and Women’s hospital and a co-author of the study, said: “Our motivation is to make it easier for patients to take medication, particularly medications that require an injection. The classic one is insulin, but there are many others.”

Injections can be painful, cause injuries and be a barrier to people taking medication, he added.

The shape of the capsule is inspired by the leopard tortoise, found in Africa, which has a steep, domed shell that allows it to right itself if it rolls onto its back. In the case of the capsule, the domed shape ensures that the needle is continually reoriented towards the stomach wall. The needle is attached to a compressed spring that is restrained by a disk made from sugar. When the capsule is swallowed, water in the stomach dissolves the disk, releasing the spring and injecting the needle into the stomach wall.

The stomach wall does not have pain receptors, so it is unlikely that this would cause any discomfort. The insulin needle takes about an hour to dissolve into the bloodstream. In tests in pigs, the researchers said they were able to deliver five milligrams of insulin – comparable to the amount that a patient with type 2 diabetes would need to inject.

The metal spring and rest of the capsule passed through the digestive system, without seeming to cause any problems.

The team are now carrying out further tests in pigs and dogs and hope to start the first human trials within three years.

Modern medicine still primitive compared to “Superbugs”


Antibiotic resistant superbug gene discovered in remote Arctic area thought to be among ‘last pristine ecosystems’ on Earth, shocking study reveals

  • Antibiotic resistant gene first found in Delhi waters in 2010 now found in Arctic
  • Researchers say it likely spread through human activity and bird, animal waste
  • In recent years, antibiotic resistance has grown to be a global health crisis  

 

More the medical science has evolved,   more we realize the  primitiveness  in front of  natural phenomenon, the environmental systems and  life around us. The evolution and adaptation of microbes, which we have discovered  for just last hundred years, are in existence for millions of years, much before humans. Discoveries like this, just  make us realize about our primitiveness in front of a superpower, which is best known as “Nature”.  Scientists have found a gene linked to antibiotic-resistant superbugs in an area said to be one of the last ‘pristine’ locations on Earth.

These antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) were first detected outside of the lab in 2010 in surface waters in Delhi, India.

But now, experts say the genes have traveled roughly 8,000 miles through human activity and the fecal matter of birds and other wildlife to reach a remote area in the Norweigian archipelago, Svalbard.

The discovery doesn’t bode well for the fight against antibiotic resistance, which has grown to be a global health crisis in recent years.

In a new study published to the journal Environmental International, researchers form Newcastle University report the discovery of the gene blaNDM-1 and other antibiotic-resistant genes in Kongsfjorden, Svalbard.” 

This gene is carried in the gut of animals and people.

‘Polar regions are among the last presumed pristine ecosystems on Earth, providing a platform for characterizing pre-antibiotic era background resistance against which we could understand rates of progression of AR “pollution,”’ said David Graham, an environmental engineer at Newcastle University.

‘But less than three years after the first detection of the blaNDM-1 gene in the surface waters of urban India we are finding them thousands of miles away in an area where there has been minimal human impact.

‘Encroachment into areas like the Arctic reinforces how rapid and far-reaching the spread of antibiotic resistance has become, confirming solutions to AR must be viewed in global rather than just local terms.’

Strains carrying blaNDM-1 were first identified in the lab in 2008 before they were found in Indian waters just two years later.

In the few years since, it’s been detected in over 100 more countries.

‘What humans have done through excess use of antibiotics on global scales is accelerate the rate of evolution, creating a new world of resistant strains that never existed before,’ Graham said.

Through the overuse of antibiotics, fecal releases, and contamination of drinking water, we have consequentially speeded-up the rate at which superbugs might evolve.

‘For example, when a new drug is developed, natural bacteria can rapidly adapt and can become resistant; therefore very few new drugs are in the pipeline because it simply isn’t cost-effective to make them.’

For the new study, the researchers analyzed DNA from forty soil cores taken from eight locations across Kongsfjorden.

And, they found a total of 131 ARGs in the samples

The resistance genes detected were associated with nine major antibiotic classes, including aminoglycosides, macrolides and β-lactams, which are used to treat many infections,’ Graham said.

‘As an example, a gene that confers MDR in Tuberculosis was found in all cores, whereas blaNDM-1 was detected in more than 60% of the soil cores in the study.

‘Identifying an ARG ‘gradient’ across the study landscape, which varies as a function of human and wildlife impact, shows there are still isolated Polar locations where ARG levels are so low they might provide nature’s baseline of antimicrobial resistance.’

According to the team, improvements in waste management and water quality around the world will be keep in staying on top of the spread of ARGs.

The gradient of resistance genes closely reflects corresponding indicators of wastes in the geochemistry, which suggests a novel basis for identifying sites for further AMR research,’ said lead author Dr Clare McCann.

 

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.

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