COVID-19 vaccine

An enormous pace of work on the COVID-19 vaccine. What stage are the scientists at?

The World Health Organization (WHO), which maintains a record of scientific works on COVID-19, has already recorded 70 preparations as “vaccine candidates”. Three preparations are in the phase of the first clinical trials, i.e. they are tested on small groups of volunteers.

Seventy experimental vaccines are underway

The first non-Chinese person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is Jennifer Haller. The experimental vaccine was produced by a small biotechnology company Moderna. Jennifer volunteered for the tests and was vaccinated on March 16. And already on March 17 the Chinese company CanSino Biologics announced its readiness for clinical trials. At this stage, vaccine developers are testing whether the preparations are safe and that they cause the desired immune responses.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which maintains a record of research on a new vaccine, mentions 70 so-called candidates for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is the result of broad international cooperation and huge mobilization of scientists. So far, three of these experimental vaccines have entered Phase I, and one is in the final preparations for Phase I. The remaining preparations are at the preclinical stage.

Mock vaccines are created based on eight different technology platforms, according to the Science magazine. In addition to the technologies, we have known for years, such as vaccines using inactivated (killed) or attenuated (weakened) viruses, scientists are also working on preparations based on genetically modified viral protein S. Some experimental vaccines are designed thanks to the latest molecular techniques that allow rebuilding fragments of the genetic code, contained in RNA or DNA.

COVID-19 vaccine development technologies:

  • non-replicating (non-duplicating) viral vector – the vaccine contains recombinant adenoviruses, used to supply the body with genes encoding antigens against the new coronavirus
  • replicating viral vector – the active component of the vaccine is a modified, weakened measles or horsepox virus, containing the S protein gene (coronavirus spike protein)
  • DNA – the vaccine contains plasmid DNA, in other words, it contains molecules of extrachromosomal DNA
  • RNA – a modified genotype fragment of the virus is delivered to the body in the form of mRNA or saRNA
  • inactivated viruses – viruses killed with various substances, e.g. formaldehyde
  • attenuated viruses – “live” viruses but weakened by special techniques
  • vaccines based on recombinant S protein (coronavirus spike protein)
  • VLP (virus-like particles) – this technology uses virus-like particles to trigger the body’s immune response

The creators of experimental vaccines include modern biotechnology companies, university laboratories, military laboratories, and several large pharmaceutical companies (e.g. Johnson & Johnson – Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies and others).

Vaccine for COVID-19 not earlier than a year and a half

US scientists told the Science magazine that SARS-CoV-2 does not seem to be a difficult target. “It changes slowly, which means it doesn’t mutate very quickly, which means it is a relatively easy target for the immune system, and vaccines against related viruses such as SARS and MERS work on animal models,” experts point out.

Immunologist Mark Slifka of the Oregon National Primate Research Center believes that “for vaccine development, the key is whether people will develop lasting resistance to SARS-CoV-2, given that vaccines are trying to mimic a natural infection. We know that four “old” coronaviruses, or those responsible for the common cold, do not provide long-term immunity.”

On the other hand, he adds, the researchers found that SARS and MERS viruses, which are largely similar to SARS-CoV-2 in genetic structure, develop long-lasting immune responses, in other words, they give resistance to illness for a long time. “In contrast to cold-causing viruses that mainly settle in the throat and nose, the new coronavirus attacks the lower respiratory tract, where the immune response may be stronger,” says Slifka. Infections in the lungs usually trigger a strong immune response.

Virologist Stanley Perlman of the University of Iowa says that now even a vaccine that gives only short-term and limited protection would be good because it could prevent many deaths. “Such a vaccine could be given to healthcare professionals and other so-called high-risk staff before the end of the Phase III efficacy studies,” says Perlman.

Director of the American National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Anthony Fauci believes that the public release of the vaccine for COVID-19 will take place not earlier than in a year and a half. And it will happen if we are lucky and there are no unforeseen obstacles. The introduction of the vaccine to the market requires prior checking the preparation’s effects, side effects, dosage, development and supervision of the production method and distribution. There are even voices in favor of speeding up the vaccine approval process, for example by administering a trial vaccine and then deliberately infecting volunteers to see if the vaccine works, but this raises important ethical questions, says Fauci.

More distance

Two meters of distance is not enough to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Two meters distance may not be enough when someone coughs in your direction, the latest experiments show. The droplets propagate at considerable speed and reach quite far. This means that preventing infected drops from reaching a person may be crucial in fighting a pandemic.

Scientists show what happens to droplets exhaled from the lungs when somebody coughs.

A team of scientists from the University of Western Ontario conducted an experiment at Sunnybrook Hospital that showed what is going on around us when we start coughing. Patients with flu-like symptoms such as persistent cough and sneezing were observed. To do this, researchers used a special “cough chamber”.

If you are a few meters away from someone who is coughing towards you, then in about three seconds the droplets will reach you. And they are still moving. Even if you are two and a half meters apart, the air released when you cough can be 200 mm per second, says prof. Eric Savory, the co-author of the study.

The study also showed that about 10 percent of the tiny droplets that formed when coughing remained in the air even after four seconds.

The article describing this experiment was accepted for printing in the Indoor Air journal.

“Cough chamber” was invented two years ago.

“Cough chamber” is a cube with a two-meter side. The chamber wall has a special mouth hole and chin rest. Participants of the experiment are asked to cough into the chamber. Inside there is a camera for recording fast-moving objects and a laser, so you can track the movement of small droplets suspended in the air, as well as assess their speed.

Professor Savory, the author of this idea, conducted the first experiment with a “cough chamber” two years ago. At that time 77 measurements were taken, 58 people participated in the study, 21 of which had flu and 12 people had laboratory-confirmed upper respiratory tract infections or a seasonal virus. Researchers established that the speed of the air stream during coughing reached 1.2 meters per second. They also noticed that the speed of the exhaled air was almost the same, regardless of whether someone was healthy or sick. The number of droplets formed in this way was also similar.

That study concerned the cough associated with influenza and cold infections. “However, each virus is different, so what we see in one case does not have to apply to the other”, the scientist adds.

We do not claim you’ll be infected immediately. We’re just saying that there is a certain risk that decreases the more you are away from the coughing person, says prof. Savory.

Scientists are preparing for further research, this time on COVID-19

Experts plan to repeat the experiment using the “cough chamber” on patients with COVID-19. The experiment will be conducted by an interdisciplinary research team in laboratories at Western’s ImPaKT, where research is also underway into a trial vaccine for COVID-19. The goal is to see how the droplets travel in the air exhaled by coronavirus patients, to what extent they are contagious, and how long such infectious droplets persist on different surfaces.

“The key in the planned study will be to determine what dose is needed to cause the infection,” says prof. Savory. It depends on the size of the droplets and the number of viruses in them, as well as the distance from the infected person. 

Herd immunity

Herd immunity built without the vaccine is a lethal path.

Australian epidemiologist Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz said: We cannot build herd resistance to COVID-19 by natural infection. It is a strategy that will involve many victims. Releasing the lockdown measures too early is not the way we should go.

Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz shares his thoughts in ‘The Guardian’ on how to achieve the so-called herd immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The scientist, who also deals with the problems of chronic diseases at the University of Wollongong, strongly opposes the strategy according to which we would achieve a level of herd immunity by releasing or partial releasing the rigors of physical distance and exiting the lockdown.

He believes that the fight against coronavirus by building herd immunity in the name of saving the economy means sacrificing the lives of many vulnerable people.

Herd immunity is gained in two ways. One can mean the death of many people.

Herd immunity means a situation when there are enough people in the population who are resistant to a given infectious disease, so there is no further transmission or further infection, thanks to which a vulnerable part of the population is protected from falling ill. It is related to the concept of “herd immunity threshold”, which is the moment from which we can say that the risk of getting sick is minimal. This immunity threshold is obtained in two ways, as a result of natural illness and/or mass vaccination. The herd immunity threshold is different for each infectious disease. After exceeding it, the disease withdraws, and people who for some reasons cannot be vaccinated (e.g. are too young or suffer from diseases that reduce immunity) are safe. There is no one else to infect them with.

Vaccination is the surest way to gain herd immunity. The second way to build mass immunity is through illness and survival. This is a dangerous path and involves victims, which in the case of many underlying diseases means fatalities, says the epidemiologist. When we think about COVID-19, we must realize that it would be a strategy that would cost the lives of so many people.

COVID-19: three to six infected people per 1,000 patients die

Preliminary estimates show, according to Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz , that the herd immunity threshold for COVID-19 is 60-70 percent (with 85 percent calculations also available), which means that this percentage of society would have to be infected with the new coronavirus. It also cannot be assumed that only young and generally healthy people would become infected and thus we will achieve the desired immunity threshold without much sacrifice. This is impossible, both from the point of view of the functioning of society and the way infectious diseases spread. Usually, the so-called clusters (accumulation of cases of the disease in a specific area and over a certain period) with low immunity appear, where the disease is still spreading, despite our efforts.

If more people fall ill at the same time, hospitals will simply not be able to provide them with proper care. There will be a situation in which it is necessary to refuse admission to the hospital of people over 80 years of age, and even younger, but with comorbidities. This will immediately increase the number of COVID-19 fatalities before the herd immunity threshold is reached.

Meyerowitz-Katz also reminds that death due to coronavirus is not the only harvest of COVID-19. We still do not know much about the health effects of the disease, and about the far-reaching health consequences.

Loss of smell and taste

Sudden loss of sense of smell may indicate “hidden carriers” of coronavirus – UK experts say

Sudden loss of smell and taste may be associated with a mild or asymptomatic COVID-19. This is an important tip – experts say – to undergo self-isolation, stay at home for a week and thus prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Sudden loss of sense of smell and taste, without other classic COVID-19 symptoms in the form of cough or fever, has been noticed during patient studies in South Korea, China and Italy. As many as one-third of patients in Korea reported the loss of smell (anosmia or hyposmia) in mild cases of the disease. Germany reports that more than two out of three patients with confirmed COVID-19 have also reported anosmia. Reports from Iran, where the epidemic is currently developing at a dramatic pace, mention the sudden increase in cases of isolated anosmia, according to otolaryngologists.

Anosmia means a total loss of smell, accompanied by a decrease or lack of appetite. Food loses its taste overnight. Hyposmia is a partial loss of smell. Both anosmia and hyposmia are well known to people with a cold, with upper respiratory tract infections. Post-viral anosmia, according to the ENT UK website, is one of the main causes of adult olfactory loss, accounting for up to 40 percent of all cases of anosmia. It would be strange if the new coronavirus did not wreak havoc here.

In the case of coronavirus, loss of smell can be the main symptom of very mild COVID-19. Professor Clare Hopkins from the British Rhinological Society and prof. Nirmal Kumar from the British Association of Otorhinolaryngology issued a joint statement in this case, in which they say that the analysis of available data from several countries and their observations led them to the conclusion that the loss of smell can be a marker of COVID-19 infection.

Many patients around the world who have had a positive test for coronavirus reported loss of smell and taste as the only symptoms, without more commonly recognized symptoms such as high fever and cough, experts write. The absence of other symptoms of infection means that most infections probably escape our attention. Asymptomatic COVID-19 is one of the engines of the spreading epidemic.

In particular, young people may not even notice a coronavirus infection. Loss of smell and taste is a sign that the virus has accumulated in the nasal cavity. The nose is, after all, the main pathway through which the coronavirus enters the human body. By breathing in air, we also breath in moisture droplets that may contain viruses.

– said prof. Kuman to Sky News reporters.

Therefore, the experts called for all those who notice a sudden loss of smell to submit themselves for seven days and observe their body. This can prevent the virus from moving and save many people from being infected.

Observations of otolaryngologists are not yet confirmed by research, but they can be helpful as a good advice to stay at home.

Lose weight naturally

So you appear at your self and wish you could trim fatty layers off your physique? You would like some natural method to do away with what you feel is excess. Losing ten pounds while not taking diet program pills and extreme activity is not tough to obtain when you are willing to follow easy instructions. You may now shed weight considerably fast without using diet regime tablets. Here are some suggestions to allow you to lower down ten pounds naturally in just a week.

First is the use of water. Taking the right amount of water every day is one of the most effective way of disposing off weight. Many people underestimate the power of water to burn oil, but consumption of about eight to ten glasses of water each day can greatly help you lose weight. Drinking water before meals makes you feel full and hence reduces the amount of food taken. One should also ensure that most of the foods he or she takes contain a considerable amount of water to increase the amount of water intake, which in turn will take care of water retention in the body.

The next issue is to eat a balanced diet with high fiber. A balanced diet regime consists of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins. The proper sum of every foods component need to be considered and fruits ought to be included in each meal. Fruits like apples help an awful lot in body fat loss. Normal watermelon and tomatoes are also examples of fruits that include a lot of water. Eat your food without adding extra toppings, butter or sauce. On the same note, you should certainly steer clear of junky foods. Also think of a diet plan, have personal discipline on what to consume and how you can do it. Do not fall for snacks between meals.

Then, lower down on sweets when trying to lose weight. A piece of a chocolate cake can give about 500 energy. You are attempting to lower on the calories and further consumption will only hinder the procedure of excess fat reduction. Sweetened drinks will need to also be avoided as they contain sugars and sugars have energy. If you ever need to have a soda, then stick to diet sodas.

Another factor to take into consideration is exercising. By exercising, you should certainly not involve extreme workout routines and for long for you to lower that excess fat down. A 30-45 minute activity like swimming, jogging, running and even cycling can be good. Even so, the workout routines should be carried out on a normal basis.

If you follow the guidelines above, be sure to lose weight and if it does not happen, you must have missed out on something. Weight loss can happen and it can happen in a little while like a week.

Metastatic Prostate Cancer And Brain Tumors

Brain tumours are mainly gliomas, which can grow sizable enough to apply substantial stress on neighbouring brain structures and destroy respiratory function. They may perhaps also lead to palsied muscles that could trigger paralysis, quadriplegia, or at least certain form of paraplegia. It is visible by brain imaging via a CT scan.

Prostate cancer, though a carcinoma that found within the prostate gland, could perhaps metastasize up till the human brain at times, in the similar manner which it infects several organs as well as locations throughout the whole body. Metastatic prostate cancer circulates throughout the bloodstream delivering minute malignant cells all over the place. In several circumstances, the metastasis is narrow down to the ribs, pelvis and the vertebrae, but there are occasions when the spread is stretched beyond to the spinal cord, skull and the thigh bone.

A brain tumour that results from metastatic prostate cancer usually has similar conditions to those noticed in a common cancer of the brain, and perhaps to those which arise as an effect of spine metastasis of the disease. Certain prostate cancer cell lines tend to prefer metastasis to the brain and bone, for instance, the DU-145 and PC-3 cells, referred to as human metastatic prostatic adenocarcinoma.

Based on the study it appears at this point, that “the proliferation of DU-145 and PC-3 cells is androgen-insensitive,” meaning that they do not react to hormone treatments – the kind of cancers also referred to as hormone-refractory metastatic prostate cancer. To that end, handling the state would require to be by chemotherapy, that utilizes medicines to take on the whole body and destroy each and every rapidly and non stop multiplying cell in the body.

There are alternatives remedies that might work out in the same regard. Immunotherapy, for instance, is already being studied for its ability in the medication of such type of advanced-stage disease; as well as radiotherapy, identified to be applicable for each and every phase of prostate cancer, could just be capable to assist in some way by providing pain relief.

The most established forms of prostate cancers may be discovered without difficulty, handled and even recovered, if found out early on. The sort of prostate cancer which mostly leads to a brain tumour is not probably even detected until it is somewhat developed, meaning that treatment would usually need to be palliative for the patient if by any means deemed required.

Bodybuilding Guidelines

Resistance training help and advice is very essential for getting the most gain from your training session. Furthermore, it will also reduce the chances of sustaining a significant debilitating personal injury. The primary strength training hint is always to warm up before starting your training session. Execute a warmup exercise for a minimum of 5 to 10 minutes before getting started since it is extremely essential for arteries to get the blood flowing.

Another weightlifting tip, which is very much important before weight lifting, is always to stretch out all of your muscles. It usually is far better to start with a weight you can manage at least 10 to 12 reps, to improve power. Then as you advance and increase the weight, with six or eight repetitions while continually keeping in mind to maintain good form.

Before moving up to higher weight loads make sure you are comfortable with the increase because if you go over the top with substantial weight loads, it could tear and injure the muscle groups.

A spotter is recommended when you progress to extremely heavyweights. It not only will help reduce any possible accidental injuries. A spotter will help you get those added 1 or 2 repetitions which could certainly help improve. Certainly, if you’re unable to carry out the full six or eight repetitions, lower the weight. Similarly, don’t lift more weight than your limit, particularly if you have no spotter because it can end with an accident.

Be sure you never hold your breath when completing a rep, as it could cause damage to the arteries or even worse. It’s very important to breathe freely through the entire activity. When doing a unilateral activity, always start using your weakest side initially and then finish the same quantity of repetitions with your stronger side. Never overwork your strong side just because you can finish more reps.

You’ll want to continue doing the same reps on the two sides. Another issue is the fact that sometimes as a result of our skeletal structure we are not 100% symmetrical. Consequently, one side seems to be bigger and much more developed than the other side. Don’t get worried, simply keep doing the same volume of reps on the left as well as the right side. As you gain size and lean muscle, it should balance out and you will not see any kind of big difference.
Work on all of your primary muscles and groups of muscles especially legs, abdominals, chest, back, shoulder muscles and arms. You will need to exercise muscles in a balanced way. Don’t just work out the top half of your body and not your legs, as it will look out of proportion.

Increased cholesterol

Quite contrary to popular perception, wrong eating habit is not the only reason for the increasing cholesterol readings. Several other causes can pave the way to cholesterol woes.

The first and foremost thing that results in increased cholesterol readings is genetics or family history. Your genes may greatly ascertain the production of cholesterol in the body. Quite surprisingly, your body may produce a high amount of cholesterol, even though you eat healthily and keep calorie-packed food items away.

Yet another factor that influences the cholesterol levels is gender. Usually, girls in the younger age group have lower cholesterol levels as compared with their male counterparts. However, after menopause, it is girls who tend to have higher cholesterol levels.

Taking steroids too makes to the list of factors for elevated cholesterol. Consumption of steroids has a two-way disadvantage. On one hand, it improves the percentage of LDL, better called bad cholesterol. On the other hand, it decreases the amount of HDL which is good for the body. The net result is an unwanted increase in cholesterol levels. No wonder, anabolic steroids are illegal.

Stress is another big reason. It’s been proved by several pieces of research that high stress could lead to elevated cholesterol levels. So, try to keep stress under control by practising relaxation tips like meditation and deep breathing.
Cigarette smoking is injurious to health and is unsafe for your cholesterol levels too. Smoking lowers your HDL levels while increasing the LDL levels simultaneously. Hence, it’s recommended that you give up the habit at once. It may be a little hard but with a little patience and some effort, you can pull through for sure.

Frequently, cholesterol readings continue to soar high, despite following a healthy dietary routine. However, you need not worry. Merely follow a healthy dietary routine paired with some workout and watch your cholesterol readings come under control. A simple brisk walk or walking some steps extra by parking your new car at a little distance could work wonders for both – your cholesterol readings and total health.

So, now that you’re well aware of all the factors besides food that may trigger cholesterol woes, you’re in a better position to keep cholesterol away.

Zinc deficiency

Did you know that almost thirty-three per cent of the world’s population has zinc deficiency? Mood swings are the most common symptoms associated with this mineral deficiency.

Depression, anxiety and aggressive behaviour are among the most common psychological symptoms that exist in the industrialized and developing world.
There are many reasons for these mental health conditions, but nutrition is one that is often overlooked and holds great promise. Because of the nutrient depletion of key minerals in fruits and vegetables due to industrial farming procedures and the large percentage of fast foods most people consume, correcting vitamin and mineral deficiencies is key to improving mental and physical health.

Previous research studies have shown a link between serotonin deficiency, a key brain chemical and depression.

Japanese researchers measured the impact zinc supplementation could have on mood. Thirty young women were placed randomly into 2 different groups – to receive either multivitamins and zinc plus multivitamins for ten weeks. The study participants were given 7 milligrams of zinc.

The multivitamins were given to prevent other vitamin deficiencies. They provided half of the Japanese government recommended dietary allowances of vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B6, B12, folic acid and niacin.

At the end of the study, only the women taking zinc demonstrated reductions in depression and anger. Their zinc blood levels also increased significantly.
Interestingly, animal studies have found that only zinc-deficient female animals experienced increased aggression. This new research appears to support the anger reducing the impact on women who were taking zinc supplements.
“Our results suggest that zinc supplementation may be effective in reducing anger and depression,” said the researchers.

The findings were reported in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Although our findings are preliminary and should be interpreted with caution, they may prompt further investigations to evaluate the relationship between zinc nutrition and mood states, in women.”

Insomnia and anxiety

Are you desperate to get a good night’s sleep but finding it impossible? Do you find yourself tossing and turning all night and when you do drift off, you wake up soon afterwards again? Is this something you’ve been experiencing for a few months, or do you experience these bouts every once in a while? Perhaps you’ve been having these bouts for years already but because they tend to come and go, you’ve always just battled your way through them. Well, if any of this sounds familiar, then I’m afraid that anxiety may very well be the cause of your insomnia.

How can this be possible? Well, if you worry about your job, finances, or personal life to the point a good night’s sleep is impossible, then you may be suffering from an anxiety induced sleep disturbance. And, no, this is not a minor problem. If you are unable to get a decent night’s rest, there can be many ripple effects that you must contend with in the rest of your life.

If you are not getting a good night’s sleep for a couple of weeks, what do you think the effect of this would be on your job? This would definitely take its toll on your work status. Irritability due to the lack of sleep can affect home life and cause problems with your friends and family. That is why it is imperative to take control of the situation and turn it around.

One question often asked even though we know anxiety can cause sleeplessness is why does this happen? Basically, the hyperactivity and restlessness you have are the reason these occur together. The mind races through so many thoughts that it makes it impossible to relax long enough to sleep. This is what ends up causing sleeplessness which must be dealt with by anxiety sufferers.

There are numerous ways to reduce anxiety in order to eliminate insomnia. In particular, one of the most beneficial things to do is to avoid consuming any substance that will contribute to your anxiety. For example, you should avoid caffeine and other stimulants if you are having trouble sleeping. Bear in mind, it’s been proven time and time again that these substances are known to increase and contribute to anxiety.

Frequent and regular exercise is also of vital importance, primarily because anxiety is interconnected with excessive amounts of tension and of course, exercise can greatly reduce tension. In fact, just as one can use exercise to burn up calories when you want to lose weight, so too can you use exercise to burn up tension.

Another way of reducing anxiety is by controlling your breathing. This will help to reduce the tension and anxiety you are feeling. Deep breath slows down the heart and calms the body. This is beneficial in helping to regain sleep patterns to normal.

Anxiety is bad enough by itself. But when you add sleeplessness, the problems are even more serious. But there are ways to lessen these symptoms. This allows hope that you will once again take control of your life.