Germany recorded more than 1,00,000 new Covid-19 infections within one day for the first time since April, media reported.
Germany's national seven-day rate per 100,000 inhabitants more than doubled during the last week to around 447, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said on Tuesday. In March, the incidence peaked at around 1,700 as a result of the Omicron wave.
"A summer wave was to be expected," said Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach on Twitter. "Voluntary wearing of masks indoors and a fourth vaccination are the best antidotes."
Most Covid restrictions in Germany have been relaxed. It is one of the last countries in the European Union to drop restrictions for entering from an EU member state for the summer months, Xinhua news agency reported.
This comes at a time when the two more contagious Omicron subvariants BA.5 and BA.4 are on the rise. Within a week, the share of BA.5 in Germany doubled to 10 per cent, according to the RKI's latest weekly report.
"In all likelihood, these two sublines will spread more widely, so that there may also be an overall increase in the number of infections and a renewed increase in infection pressure on vulnerable groups of people as early as summer," the RKI warned.
Lauterbach is planning for a renewed Covid-19 vaccination campaign in preparation for "all eventualities" in the fall. The country is to spend 830 million euros (867.5 million U.S. dollars) in the procurement of a new COVID-19 vaccine that protects against different variants of the virus.
So far, at least 76 per cent of the German population has received basic immunisation. Around 60 per cent have also got at least one booster vaccination, according to official figures. (1 euro = 1.04 U.S. dollars)
Stress -- in the form of traumatic events, job strain, everyday stressors and discrimination -- accelerates the ageing of the immune system, potentially increasing a person's risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and illness from infections such as Covid-19, according to a new study.
To calculate exposure to various forms of social stress, the researchers from the University of Southern California analysed responses from a national sample of 5,744 adults over the age of 50.
Their experiences with social stress, including stressful life events, chronic stress, everyday discrimination and lifetime discrimination were compared with blood samples analysed through flow cytometry, a lab technique that counts and classifies blood cells as they pass one-by-one in a narrow stream in front of a laser.
As expected, people with higher stress scores had older-seeming immune profiles, with lower percentages of fresh disease fighters and higher percentages of worn-out white blood cells.
The association between stressful life events and fewer ready to respond, or naive, T cells remained strong even after controlling for education, smoking, drinking, BMI and race or ethnicity, the team revealed in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
T-cells -- a critical component of immunity -- mature in a gland called the thymus, which sits just in front of and above the heart. As people age, the tissue in their thymus shrinks and is replaced by fatty tissue, resulting in reduced production of immune cells.
Past research suggests that this process is accelerated by lifestyle factors like poor diet and low exercise, which are both associated with social stress.
Improving diet and exercise behaviours in older adults may help offset the immune ageing associated with stress.
"In this study, after statistically controlling for poor diet and low exercise, the connection between stress and accelerated immune ageing wasn't as strong," said lead study author Eric Klopack, a postdoctoral scholar at the University.
"What this means is people who experience more stress tend to have poorer diet and exercise habits, partly explaining why they have more accelerated immune ageing," he added.
An Indian origin patient was among those who had a "miracle" cure using a cancer medication that is being tried out by a research centre here achieving an unprecedented healing rate when all 14 patients in the trial had their cancers disappear.
"It's a miracle", Nisha Varughese said about the immunotherapy drug's efficacy in curing her.
In the trial at the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center in New York using dostarlimab, "rectal cancer disappeared after immunotherapy -- without the need for the standard treatments of radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy -- and cancer has not returned in any of the patients, who have been cancer-free for up to two years," the MSK said.
According to researchers, this was the first time that all the patients in a cancer trial were completely healed with medication and they did not have serious side effects.
The results of the trial were disclosed over the weekend in the New England Journal of Medicine and at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
An editorial in the Journal called it "an early glimpse of a revolutionary treatment shift".
MSK explained that "immunotherapy harnesses the body's own immune system as an ally against cancer".
It said, "The Immune cells contain a safeguard called a checkpoint, to prevent them from attacking normal cells. Cancer cells can trip this safeguard and shut down immune cells, allowing a tumour to hide and grow."
Immunotherapy uses what is called a "checkpoint inhibitor" that frees immune cells to recognise and attack cancer cells.
Varughese recalled discovering she was completely cancer-free: "That day I didn't see the tumour. So, I was thinking, where is the tumour? Then, maybe I thought it's hiding somewhere inside. Doctor told me, there is no more tumour. It's a miracle."
Andrea Cercek, a cancer specialist who ran the trial, said, "The immunotherapy shrank the tumours much faster than I expected."
Luis Diaz, who was the other researcher running the trial and is a member of the White House National Cancer Advisory Board, said, "It's really exciting. I think this is a great step forward for patients."
Usually, rectal cancer is treated with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery,
But Cercek said, "The most exciting part of this is that every single one of our patients has only needed immunotherapy. We haven't radiated anybody, and we haven't put anybody through surgery."
She added, "They have preserved normal bowel function, bladder function, sexual function, fertility. Women have their uterus and ovaries."
But in the Journal editorial, a cancer expert, Hanna K. Sanoff from the University of North Carolina, cautioned, "Whether the results of this small study conducted at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center will be generalisable to a broader population of patients with rectal cancer is also not known."
"Despite these uncertainties," she added, "Cercek and colleagues and their patients who agreed to forgo standard treatment for a promising but unknown future with immunotherapy have provided what may be an early glimpse of a revolutionary treatment shift."
European countries will be told to prepare a vaccination plan to tackle the spiralling monkeypox outbreak, as Denmark became the latest country to be struck down.
EU authorities are set to publish a risk assessment, which will advise all member states to draw up an inoculation strategy to control the spread of the tropical virus, Daily Mail reported.
No monkeypox-specific vaccine exists ? but smallpox jabs ? which were routinely offered to Brits until the virus was eradicated four decades ago, is 85 per cent effective, Daily Mail reported.
The strategy likely to be recommended is the same already deployed in Britain. Officials were attempting to contain the spread by vaccinating all close contacts of the 20 confirmed monkeypox cases, including NHS workers.
The strategy, called ring vaccination, involves jabbing and monitoring anyone around an infected person to form a buffer of immune people to limit the disease's spread.
It comes as experts warn nations could bring in travel restrictions to control the spread of the illness, if the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the outbreak an emergency.
But the vaccine, called Imvanex and made by Denmark-based drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, has not been authorised for use against monkeypox in Europe or the UK, Daily Mail reported.
The European Medicines Agency approved the jab for use against smallpox in 2013, while the US Food and Drug Administration greenlit the injection for both infections in 2019.
And there is no data available on how safe it is for immunocompromised people or youngsters ? the groups at highest risk from the outbreak.
It comes as WHO bosses had been informed of 92 confirmed cases by Saturday and 28 suspected infections, most of which have been detected in Europe.
But the true toll will be many times higher, with top scientists warning community transmission means some of the spread is inevitably going undetected, Daily Mail reported. A disproportionate number of cases are in gay and bisexual men.
Eating fruits and vegetables may help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) reduce inattention issues, a new study has suggested.
Inattention is a hallmark of ADHD and creates trouble for children to focus, difficulty in remembering things and in regulating emotions.
The study showed that kids who consumed more fruits and vegetables showed less severe symptoms of inattention, said Irene Hatsu, Associate Professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University in the US.
"Eating a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, maybe one way to reduce some of the symptoms of ADHD," Hatsu said, in the paper published online in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience.
The team asked parents of 134 kids with ADHD symptoms to complete a detailed questionnaire about the typical foods the children ate, including portion sizes, over a 90-day period.Researchers believe that ADHD is related to low levels of some neurotransmitters in the brain -- and vitamins and minerals play a key role as cofactors in helping the body make those important neurochemicals and in overall brain function, Hatsu said.
"Everyone tends to get irritated when they're hungry and kids with ADHD are no exception. If they're not getting enough food, it could make their symptoms worse," she said.
Also, the stress of parents who are upset about not being able to provide enough food for their children can create family tension that could lead to more symptoms for children with ADHD.
"What clinicians usually do when kids with ADHD start having more severe symptoms is increase the dose of their treatment medication, if they are on one, or put them on medication," Hatsu said.
"Our studies suggest that it is worthwhile to check the children's access to food as well as the quality of their diet to see if it may be contributing to their symptom severity."
The implementation of Ayushman Bharat - Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWC) scheme is on track in most states with a clear roadmap for achieving targets set for December 2022, according to an assessment report of 18 states released on Tuesday.
According to findings of a third party assessment of the scheme in 18 states, released by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the launch of AB-HWC has enabled translation of the vision of moving from selective to comprehensive primary health care package enunciated in the National Health Policy 2017.
It also said that there has been an improvement in equity in access, despite existing constraints such as infrastructure availability and status of peripheral health facilities.
"Client satisfaction with the services provided was much higher among those who received services from HWCs as compared to those who received services from non-HWCs across all the four parameters measured - treatment, medicines, diagnostics and cleanliness," the report said.
Appreciating the findings of the report, Mandaviya said: "AB-HWC was envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide affordable and accessible healthcare to the last mile. In this regard, third party evaluation is important for proper assessment of the functioning and implementation of the scheme."
He stated that the report will act as a guiding principle to plan better in the future.
Mandaviya said that the necessary steps will be taken to further strengthen the scheme. He highlighted that the Union government is coordinating with states to ensure last mile delivery through teleconsultation. "The government is committed to provide best healthcare to all," he said.
The assessment of AB-HWCs in 18 states has been done in two phases by non-governmental entities, GRAAM and JHPIEGO, as well as AIIMS, New Delhi from the government sector, for the year 2020-21.
The primary aim of this exercise was to assess the pace of rollout of AB-HWCs in different states and to identify specific challenges in their rollout. Given the early stage of implementation, the assessment focussed primarily on the inputs and processes that contribute to the functionality of HWC and reviewed any gains in short-term outputs including community use of the expanded range of services with a focus on chronic non-communicable diseases care.
The assessment was undertaken using a cross-sectional study design with a mixed-methods approach. The 18 states were selected to cover the spectrum of epidemiological transition levels as defined by the Global Burden of Disease India study with a higher focus on northeastern states.
The study covered a sample of 317 facilities across the 18 states with 117 PHCs, and UPHCs and 220 SHCs. A total of 1,002 users from upgraded and 1,015 users from non-upgraded facilities were interviewed. The assessment covered both types of comparisons -pre and post conversion of the HWCs; and HWCs and non-HWCs within the same district.
Healthy adults who eat a diverse diet, with at least 8-10 grams of soluble fibre such as grains, beans, lentils, nuts and some fruits and vegetables daily, have fewer antibiotic-resistant microbes in their guts, according to a study.
Microbes that have resistance to various commonly-used antibiotics such as tetracycline and aminoglycoside are a significant source of risk for people worldwide, with the widely held expectation that the problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) - the term that refers to bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are resistant to antibiotics - is likely to worsen throughout the coming decades.
Antimicrobial resistance in people is largely based in their gut microbiome, where the microbes are known to carry genetically encoded strategies to survive contact with antibiotics.
"And the results lead directly to the idea that modifying the diet has the potential to be a new weapon in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. And we're not talking about eating some exotic diet either, but a diverse diet, adequate in fibre," said research molecular biologist Danielle Lemay at the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
In the study, published in the journal mBio, the researchers found that regularly eating a diet with higher levels of fibre and lower levels of protein, especially from beef and pork, was significantly correlated with lower levels of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARG) among their gut microbes.
Those with the lowest levels of ARG in their gut microbiomes also had a greater abundance of strict anaerobic microbes, which are bacteria that do not thrive when oxygen is present and are a hallmark of a healthy gut with low inflammation. Bacterial species in the family Clostridiaceae were the most numerous anaerobes found.
But the amount of animal protein in the diet was not a top predictor of high levels of ARG. The strongest evidence was for the association of higher amounts of soluble fibre in the diet with lower levels of ARGs.
"Surprisingly, the most important predictor of low levels of ARG, even more than fibre, was the diversity of the diet. This suggests that we may want to eat from diverse sources of foods that tend to be higher in soluble fibre for maximum benefit," Lemay added.
On the other hand, those people who had the highest levels of ARG in their gut microbiomes were found to have significantly less diverse gut microbiomes compared to groups with low and medium levels of ARG.
"Our diets provide food for gut microbes. This all suggests that what we eat might be a solution to reduce antimicrobial resistance by modifying the gut microbiome," Lemay said.
A senior official of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have affected the mental health of millions of people.
"A pandemic has thrown an unprecedented spotlight on mental health. An armed conflict is profoundly affecting the mental health of millions of people," Xinhua news agency quoted the WHO's European Regional Director Hans Kluge as saying here.
More than two months of conflict in Ukraine has led to incalculable uncertainty, insecurity, grief and loss, said the WHO official.
He added that health care facilities in the country were damaged seriously, leaving thousands of people with no access to services.
Neighbouring countries to Ukraine are also experiencing a significant increase in demand for health services, including mental health services, as a result of the massive influx of refugees, he said.
The UN body also voiced its concern about the food crisis raging in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries.
Even though 70 per cent of the earth consists of water doesn't mean that all 70 per cent will be safe for drinking. In India, where digital spaces are gaining momentum rapidly, more than 50 per cent of the domestic spaces still rely on boiling their water for drinking. Almost 70 per cent of your body is water and it is water that helps in flushing out the toxins through urination and perspiration etc. The water also helps in lubricating joints and protects sensitive tissues in our bodies. It is said that drinking eight glasses of water a day is ideal for overall health.
Water is very important to your body. In fact, without it, the majority of the functions like temperature control and breakdown of essential nutrients won't take place. Drinking more water comes with remarkable advantages. Sadly, people tend to only consume water when they are thirsty, which clearly indicates that they only get the bare minimum of benefits.
So, if you follow a poor water intake, it's recommended to start by properly tracking the amount. Most medical experts suggest consumption of 2-3 litres across the whole day. It's best to break it down in terms of glasses and merely keep a track of your hydration levels.
Aditya Patnaik, CEO and Founder, of Lustral Water mentions are reasons stating the importance of monitoring your day-to-day drinking water consumption:
It facilitates upholding energy levels: You may be experiencing low energy levels, particularly in the summers. Constant dehydration can impact your brain even more. For instance, feeling exhausted and inactive. The most exceptional way to raise your energy levels is by drinking more water. Doing this can lend you that added burst of power and energy to go about your day.
Proper hydration helps stay focused: While you might not understand how tired you are; your brain gets to experience it primarily. After all, water is essential for your brain to send electrical signals to your cells. This implies when your brain is fatigued, your muscles will fail to move efficiently, your eyes get tired and your brain goes in a survival mode. Your brain fundamentally won't have the energy to assign to anything other than running vital functions. So, you won't be able to concentrate on the task at hand, even if you want to.
Hence to avoid this, it is best to get ready to track your water consumption by journaling, making use of a functional drink-water app or monitored by your water purifier.
It helps in lifting up your mood: Since being dehydrated can make you super cranky and irritated, you should perhaps down a glass of water. This will help you end up feeling better and restored.
Water enables weight loss: Along with a wholesome diet, water too can contribute to losing weight. Water, alongside being calorie and fat-free, can aid you in burning resting calories. It adds to the metabolic process by suppressing your appetite, thus preventing you from overeating.
It helps you uphold beautiful skin: It is important to note that our skin is full of water. Collagen, the protein that keeps your skin firm and elastic is very dependent on water. Hence an absence of water can make your skin appear dry and wrinkled. So, if you want to uphold a healthy skin help, you better get to drinking sufficient water.
Water is crucial for the proper functioning of our overall body, hence it's not enough to drink water only when you feel thirsty. Instead, try to stick to the everyday prescribed amount and start by tracking your intake to make the most of the advantages.
Scientists have found 21 viral offspring linked with BA.2 that may outpace the most successful subvariant of Omicron variant so far.
BA.2 has been picking up mutations, sometimes shifting into sleeker and, incredibly, even faster versions of itself, CNN reported.
While most of the mutations look like underachievers, and of little consequence, two of these offshoots -- BA.2.12.1 and BA.2.12 -- have been fueling a rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations in central New York.
And one of them, BA.2.12.1, is outpacing BA.2 in other regions, too, the report said.
According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BA.2.12.1 caused 19 per cent of new Covid infections in the US last week, up from an estimated 11 per cent of cases the week before.
The speed at which BA.2.12.1 is outpacing BA.2 is roughly as fast as BA.2 outcompeted its cousin BA.1, Trevor Bedford, an epidemiologist and genomic scientist at the University of Washington's School of Public Health, was quoted as saying.
Though BA.2 is still very much around, it's lost some ground. Last week, it caused an estimated 74 per cent of Covid-19 cases, according to the CDC data, down from nearly 76 per cent the week before.
Together, BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 accounted for an estimated 93 per cent of new Covid cases in the US last week.
"BA.2.12.1 has increased rapidly in proportion in the US compared to other BA.2 sublineages," especially in the region that includes New York and New Jersey, CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund was quoted as saying.
Last week, the New York State Department of Health alerted residents to the new sublineages, warning that they were spreading about 25 per cent faster than BA.2 and were causing Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations to increase, particularly in the central part of the state.
It urged New Yorkers to "act swiftly" to consider wearing masks, to get booster vaccine doses, to get tested if they had symptoms and to seek treatment if infected, the report said.
Officials are concerned about BA.2 offshoots because they have swapped pieces of their spike proteins at key locations called L452Q and S704L.
"And those mutations are allowing the virus to enter cells faster and also contributing to evading antibody responses that are generated from vaccination or infection," said Andy Pekosz of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Two other Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, have begun to circulate at low levels in other parts of the world, including South Africa, Botswana, Germany, and Denmark. They also have mutations at 452, among others.
"What we really just don't know right now is how much those mutations are going to be contributing to increased spread or increased disease severity," Pekosz said. "That's something that's going to take some time for us to figure out."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced the launch of a special category of Ayush visa for tourists visiting India for medical tourism or treatment.
He also said that a special hallmark type of branding for Ayush products will be initiated by the Ministry of Ayush to identify and give recognition to the high-quality products.
Prime Minister Modi was speaking at the inauguration of the three-day Global Ayush Investment and Innovation Summit 2022 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar.
"India is a very attractive destination for medical tourism. We have been witness to the rise in Kerala's tourism due to its medical industry. This model can also be replicated across the nation, where Ayurveda, Yunani, Siddha forms of traditional medicine and wellness centres can be very popular. Our government has decided to set up special Visa category to ease the Visa process for foreign travellers wishing to avail medical treatment in India and are medical tourists," he said.
Prime Minister Modi also announced that just like the BSI and ISI marks, a special Ayush mark will be created to mark the highest quality Ayush products. "This will give the global consumers a recognised and high quality assured Ayush products," the PM said.
He also announced the setting up of an Ayush Park where its products will be manufactured. "The Park will give a new direction to Ayush products manufacturing in India," he stated.
The Summit inauguration was attended by the Director General Dr Tedros Gebreyesus of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mauritius Pravind Kumar Jugnauth.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated various services and application related to Ayush products and services. A number of agreements were also signed for its research and development.