Vardhan Cautions against Virus Spread ahead of Festivals, Winter; Ministry Issues Guidelines to Manage Co-infections

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday cautioned people to be more careful and take the necessary precautions against coronavirus ahead of the festive season, saying the respiratory virus could show its effect more rapidly during the winters.

He said social distancing, wearing masks and repeatedly washing hands are crucial to prevent spread of the virus. Vardhan said if the necessary precautions are taken by people, then the chain of transmission of the virus will break.

“The next 2-3 months will have festivals and coincide with the winter season. As you are aware, the…respiratory virus could show its effect more rapidly during the winter,” he said. Vardhan, who is also the Science and Technology minister in addition to being the country’s health minister, was addressing the directors of the institutes under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

He said if people act carelessly and forget about precautions while celebrating festivals, then

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Animal study shows treatment blocks inflammation and protects lungs without killing the flu virus — ScienceDaily

The raging lung inflammation that can contribute to death from the flu can be stopped in its tracks by a drug derived from a naturally occurring human protein, a new animal study suggests.

In mouse studies, all untreated animals given a lethal dose of influenza died within days. All but one of the infected mice treated with the experimental therapy not only survived, but remained energetic and kept weight on — despite having high levels of the flu virus in their lungs.

The experimental treatment is a heavy dose of MG53, part of a family of proteins that plays an essential role in cell membrane repair. Already identified as a potential therapy for conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to persistent skin wounds, MG53 was found in this study to prevent death from a lethal flu infection by blocking excessive inflammation — without having any effect on the virus itself.

The

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COVID-19 virus can survive on smartphone screens for 28 days, claims researchers

Are you still washing your hands often and cleaning your phone screen and other gadgets regularly, or has that habit slipped? With the COVID-19 virus still burning its way through the population, it’s a bad time to let good habits slide, especially given the results of a new study by Australian researchers.

The findings, published in Virology Journal, suggest that the SARS-Cov-2 virus responsible for COVID-19 can last for almost a month on glass, stainless steel, and both paper and polymer banknotes if kept at ambient temperature and humidity (20 °C and 50 percent RH).

Must read: Does Apple’s iOS 14 ‘nuclear’ battery fix work?

According to the paper, “the persistence of SARS-COV-2 on glass and vinyl (both common screen and screen protector materials, suggest that touchscreen devices may provide a potential source of transmission, and should regularly be disinfected especially in multi-user environments.”

It’s not just glass surfaces either.

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Virus Forces Europe to Confront Its Creaking Internet Problems

(Bloomberg) — Shortly after coronavirus forced Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to lock down the country, lawmaker Massimiliano Capitanio took an unusual call at his office in Rome.

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It was an appeal for help from a hospital at the epicenter of the outbreak in northern Italy. Its administrators direly needed faster internet connections and computers to deal with the flood of patients. Capitanio — who sits on parliament’s telecommunications committee — called the country’s phone companies to help out.

To Capitanio, the pandemic was a wake-up call to fix Italy’s creaking internet. Now Conte has stepped in with a plan to kick-start investment by merging the country’s two biggest landline networks.

“Some families still don’t own a computer,” said Capitanio. “The government has been forced to step in and tackle this social emergency.”

Europe’s internet infrastructure is riddled with gaps and bottlenecks, exposed over the past seven months

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Principle of lentiviral cross-species transmission leading to the emergence of the AIDS virus — ScienceDaily

Humans are exposed continuously to the menace of viral diseases such as those caused by the Ebola virus, Zika virus and coronaviruses. Such emerging/re-emerging viral outbreaks can be triggered by cross-species viral transmission from wild animals to humans.

To achieve cross-species transmission, new hosts have to be exposed to the virus from the old host. Next, the viruses acquire certain mutations that can be beneficial for replicating in the new hosts. Finally, through sustained transmission in the new host, the viruses adapt further evolving as a new virus in the new host. However, at the outset of this process, the viruses have to overcome “the species barriers,” which hamper viral cross-species transmission. Mammals including humans have “intrinsic immunity” mechanisms that have diverged enough in evolution to erect species barriers to viral transmission.

HIV-1 most likely originated from related precursors found in chimpanzees and gorillas

HIV-1, the causative agent of AIDS,

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Covid protection: Blue Star launches new ACs with virus deactivation technology

AC major Blue Star Limited on Wednesday announced the launch of a range of new products and solutions with the Virus Deactivation Technology (VDT), which the company said can deactivate viruses, including Covid-19, with up to 99.9 per cent efficacy when air passes through these systems. This is a bid to provide additional protection against the virus in air-conditioned spaces, the company said.

There would be a total of 17 such new AC models. The VDT will have one of the following components, the ‘livinguard filter’ or the ‘UVC emitters’. The ‘Livinguard’, which can be incorporated in the ACs at a price of ₹2,000, filter attracts the negatively charged viruses including Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) and other microbes, like a powerful magnet, and completely deactivates them when air passes through this filter, the company claimed. The Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation or UVGI technology can be incorporated in the ACs for ₹4,000. The UVC

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Blue Star launches new products with virus deactivation technology



diagram, engineering drawing: Blue Star launches new products with virus deactivation technology


© M Saraswathy
Blue Star launches new products with virus deactivation technology

To cater to the rising fears of coronavirus infection in closed spaces, air conditioning and commercial refrigeration major Blue Star has launched new products and services with virus deactivation technology (VDT).

The company said that VDT has the capability to deactivate viruses, including coronavirus, with up to 99.9 percent efficacy when air passes through these systems.

Blue Star joins a slew of other companies like Sharp and Orient Electric launching anti-viral technology and allied devices to help combat COVID-19.

Electronics goods maker Sharp Corporation has developed a device equipped with plasmacluster technology that it claims, in a research test, has the ability to reduce the infectious titre of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) by more than 90 percent.

In fact, even consumer goods companies have launched products like anti-viral plywood (CenturyPly), anti-viral fabric (Siyarams) to laundry sanitiser (Dettol).

Use

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the saga contines. CDC saying once again virus is airborne

If only they had told the white house sooner.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Monday that people can sometimes be infected with the coronavirus through airborne transmission, especially in enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation.

The long-awaited update to the agency Web page explaining how the virus spreads represents an official acknowledgment of growing evidence that under certain conditions, people farther than six feet apart can become infected by tiny droplets and particles that float in the air for minutes and hours, and that they play a role in the pandemic.

“There is evidence that under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than six feet away,” the updated Web page states. “These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had inadequate ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising. the updated Web page states.”

“Under these

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Discovery of Hepatitis C virus — ScienceDaily

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice for the discovery of Hepatitis C virus.

This year’s Nobel Prize is awarded to three scientists who have made a decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis, a major global health problem that causes cirrhosis and liver cancer in people around the world.

Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice made seminal discoveries that led to the identification of a novel virus, Hepatitis C virus. Prior to their work, the discovery of the Hepatitis A and B viruses had been critical steps forward, but the majority of blood-borne hepatitis cases remained unexplained. The discovery of Hepatitis C virus revealed the cause of the remaining cases of chronic hepatitis and made possible blood tests and new medicines that

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Spanish groups urge scientific response to virus

MADRID — Groups representing more than 170,000 health workers are urging Spanish politicians to base their response to the pandemic on scientific grounds rather than politics.

A 10-point manifesto by 55 scientific societies published Sunday in all the major newspapers said “decisions must be based on the best available scientific evidence, completely detached from the continuous political confrontation.”

The campaign comes after a dispute between the left-wing national government and the conservative regional authorities of the Madrid region led to weeks of back and forth before partially locking down the Spanish capital late Friday amid a surge of infections.

The manifesto also calls for less red-tape in adopting measures against virus outbreaks, for authorities in Spain’s 19 regions to abide by a set of national scientific standards that would dictate the response, and calls for stopping interference in medical decisions.

Addressing “politicians” in general, the scientists write: “On behalf of

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