Iran Shutters Newspaper After Expert Questions Coronavirus Numbers

Iran shut down a newspaper on Monday after it published remarks by an expert who said the official figures on coronavirus cases and deaths in the country account for only 5% of the real toll, allegations rejected by the Health Ministry. Mohammad Reza Sadi, the editor-in-chief of Jahane Sanat, told the official IRNA news agency that authorities closed his newspaper, which began publishing in 2004 and was mainly focused on business news. On Sunday, the daily quoted Mohammad Reza Mahboobfar, an epidemiologist the paper said had worked on the government’s anti-coronavirus campaign, as saying the true number of cases and deaths in Iran could be 20 times the number reported by the Health Ministry. He also said the virus was detected in Iran a month earlier than February 19, when authorities announced the first confirmed case. He said they held up the announcement until after the commemorations of the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and parliamentary elections earlier that month. “The administration resorted to secrecy for political and security reasons,” he said, and only provided “engineered statistics” to the public. He also criticized testing efforts and warned of a renewed outbreak next month as universities hold entrance exams and people mark major Shiite holidays. Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari rejected the allegations and said Mahboobfar had no role in the government’s anti-coronavirus campaign. IRNA quoted her as saying the ministry has provided figures in a “transparent” way. “The Health Ministry is not a political body and health of people is its main priority,” she said. The ministry has reported a total of nearly 330,000 cases and 18,616 deaths, including 189 fatalities in the past 24 hours.  Authorities in Iran have come under heavy criticism since the start of the pandemic because of their reluctance to impose the kind of sweeping restrictions seen elsewhere in the region. Iran is home to the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East.  

Study: Vaping Linked to COVID-19 in Teens, Young Adults

A study suggests a possible link between vaping and COVID-19, suggesting teens and young adults in the United States who inhale could be five to seven times more at risk of contracting the disease caused by the coronavirus.Results were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health based on survey data collected in May and analyzed by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.“Young people may believe their age protects them from contracting the virus or that they will not experience symptoms of COVID-19, but the data show this isn’t true among those who vape,” study leader Shivani Mathur Gaiha said in a press statement.The study asked participants if they had ever vaped before, whether they had vaped or smoked in the last 30 days, if they had COVID-19 symptoms, were tested for it or contracted the disease.The results showed that those who had used cigarettes and e-cigarettes in the last 30 days were nearly five times more likely to have COVID-19 symptoms compared to participants who had never smoked or vaped.The study does not prove vaping causes COVID-19. One possible explanation put forward by the researchers is that vaping requires repeated touching of the mouth and face, which would help spread the infection. Additionally, they say nicotine in e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes can cause lung damage, which makes contracting COVID-19 more dangerous.The researchers at Stanford say they hope their findings “will prompt the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to further tighten regulations governing how vaping products are sold to young people.”

COVID-19 Pandemic Prompts Two Major US College Athletic Conferences to Postpone 2020 Football Seasons 

The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to have an effect on the sporting world, as two major U.S. college athletic conferences announced Tuesday they are postponing their upcoming fall (gridiron) football seasons. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said after consulting with the conference’s medical advisory board “it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”  Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said the presidents and chancellors of all of the member schools agreed their individual programs “are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant.”   The Big Ten includes such legendary collegiate football programs as Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, while the Pac-12 conference, based primarily in the western United States, includes such traditional powerhouses as Stanford, the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).  In addition to football, the Big Ten says it is postponing all of its fall sports activities, including men and women’s track and field and American-style soccer. The Pac-12 said it will not hold any sports competitions for the remainder of 2020. The two conferences, along with the Atlantic Coast, Southeastern and Big 12, make up the so-called “Power Five” major college athletic conferences, whose football programs are not only among the best in the nation, but also bring in billions of dollars in revenue from ticket sales and national television contracts.  The prospect of any U.S. college football being played during the traditional fall season amid the COVID-19 pandemic was thrown into doubt well before the Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed their seasons.  Three other lesser conferences, including the Ivy League, which represents such prestigious schools as Harvard, Yale and Princeton, have either postponed or outright canceled their football seasons.  Medical experts have expressed concern that otherwise young and healthy athletes could develop long term health problems if they contract COVID-19, including heart and lung damage.In this May 20, 2020 photo provided by the University of Alabama, football head coach Nick Saban and the school’s elephant mascot, Big Al, wear masks on the university campus in Tuscaloosa, AL.But U.S. President Donald Trump has been one of the leading figures urging college football to begin its season as normal, telling reporters at the White House Tuesday the players are “young, strong people” who will be able to fight off the virus.    The pandemic has forced the National Basketball League and National Hockey League to resume their seasons in centralized locations, dubbed “bubbles,” where players and coaching staffs must remain during competition.  Major League Baseball’s shortened 60-game season has been marred with several players from the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals testing positive for COVID-19, forcing the league to postpone dozens of games and putting the truncated season at risk of being canceled. Also on Tuesday, President Trump announced an agreement between the federal government and an American biotechnology company to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.      The company, Moderna, is to manufacture the vaccine while clinical trials are underway.  The company developed the vaccine in a joint initiative with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Three vaccine candidates in the United States are in the final stage of human trials.     “We’re on track to rapidly produce 100 million doses as soon as the vaccine is approved and up to 500 million shortly thereafter,” said Trump during a White House news conference.  The Trump administration’s latest actions are “increasing the likelihood that the United States will have at least one safe, effective vaccine by 2021,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in a statement.     The president has recently stated he is optimistic a vaccine for the coronavirus could be ready by the time of the U.S. presidential election in early November.   Trump did not comment on an announcement earlier in the day by Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country has become the first in the world to formally approve a new COVID-19 vaccine, despite a lack of data to back up his claims that the drug is safe to administer to humans.Russian President Putin Says Country is First to Formally Approve Coronavirus VaccinePutin claims new vaccine “works quite effectively…forms a stable immunity”The Russian president also said his daughter has been inoculated in an early testing phase. She ran a slight fever on the first day, but her temperature dropped to normal the following day, according to Putin.      Production of the new Russian vaccine — which has been dubbed Sputnik V, in honor of the world’s first man-made satellite launched by the then-Soviet Union in 1957 — will begin next month, with mass vaccinations starting as early as October.   The new vaccine is one of more than 100 possible vaccines being developed in a global race by governments and biomedical firms to blunt a pandemic that has now infected more than 20 million people worldwide.      But it is not among the handful that reached the third and final phase of testing in human trials, which usually involve thousands of people and lasts for months, according to the World Health Organization.   Scientists within Russia have also questioned the move to register the vaccine before Phase 3 trials are complete, which are needed to prove it is not harmful to patients.    Russia has also been accused by the United States, Britain and Canada of using hackers to steal vaccine research from labs in their countries. 

У липні в Україні виявили 1 356 нових випадків ВІЛ-інфекції – ЦГЗ

У липні в Україні виявили 1 356 нових випадків ВІЛ-інфекції, у 366 пацієнтів діагностували СНІД, 171 людина померла від СНІДу. Про це повідомили у Центрі громадського здоров’я.

«Шляхи інфікування ВІЛ в Україні у липні 2020 року: гетеросексуальний – 783; гомосексуальний – 29; парентеральний – 533; вертикальний, від матері до дитини – 177 (більшість дітей (близько 98%) після 18 місяців не матиме ВІЛ-інфекції); невідомий – 3», – мовиться у повідомленні.

У ЦГЗ нагадали, що щораніше людина з ВІЛ починає приймати антиретровірусну терапію, тим краще для її здоров’я та безпеки її близьких

«За останні п’ять років Україна досягла значного прогресу в лікуванні ВІЛ-позитивних осіб. Охоплення антиретровірусною терапією зросло майже вдвічі (з 56 000 до 102 000 осіб), утримання на терапії через 12 і більше місяців від її початку зросло з 69% до 88%. Лікування ВІЛ перешкоджає розмноженню вірусу в організмі, сприяє відновленню імунної системи і захищає організм від хвороб, які небезпечні для людей з ослабленим імунітетом», – заявили у центрі.

Зазначається, що цього року з бюджету виділено понад 207 мільйонів гривень на фінансування послуг з профілактики вірусу імунодефіциту людини, догляду і підтримки пацієнтів, що живуть із ВІЛ.

 

У грудні 2019 року у Міністерстві охорони здоров’я заявили, що в Україні живуть близько 200 тисяч ВІЛ-позитивних людей.

Researchers Develop Solar Energy Water Desalination Process

A team of researchers from Australia and China has developed a way to desalinate and purify salty or brackish water into potable drinking water using solar energy, a process that could provide hope for developing areas without reliable or abundant electricity.The World Health Organization says about 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to water that is safe to drink. Contaminated water can lead to cholera, dysentery, typhoid and a host of other diseases. And the WHO says that situation will only worsen in the next five years.In a study published Monday in the science journal Nature Sustainability, the scientists said they had created a sustainable solution that relies on sunlight to jump-start the filtration process instead of heat or electricity.Along with sunlight, the other key factor in their process is a special, incredibly porous metal compound composed of metal ions configured into a crystalline pattern.The researchers enhanced the viability of this material by adding another material to its pores, called PSP-MIL-53.After testing this material on both natural saltwater and synthetic saltwater, they found that the compound was able to absorb enough water in 30 minutes to create nearly 151 liters of fresh drinking water per single kilogram of the absorption material. They also discovered that this drinking water was even cleaner than WHO’s official guidelines.The researchers say the material could have other applications as well, for example, in mineral mining. The next step, they say, is getting their process out of the lab and into the field. 

WHO in Talks With Russia About New Vaccine

The World Health Organization said Tuesday said it was holding talks with Russia regarding its recently approved COVID-19 vaccine. Russia on Tuesday became the first country to approve a vaccine for use in tens of thousands of its citizens. In an appearance on Russian television, President Vladimir Putin claimed the vaccine has proven efficient and has passed “all the necessary tests.”  Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, Aug. 11, 2020. (Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin)He said his own daughter has taken the vaccine and after two shots had a normal temperature and a “high number of antibodies.” The announcement came amidst global skepticism because the vaccine received approval after less than two months of human trials in Russia with a limited number of test subjects. “We are in close contact with Russian health authorities and discussions are ongoing with respect to possible WHO prequalification of the vaccine, but again prequalification of any vaccine includes the rigorous review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.Jasarevic says he is encouraged by the speed in which possible vaccines are being developed around the world. He said the WHO’s main concern is equitably distributing whatever viable vaccines are developed around the world.  
 

WHO: Non-Essential Dental Care Should Be Delayed During Pandemic

The World Health Organization is releasing guidance on measures to be taken by dental health professionals and patients in oral health services to minimize the risk of being infected with COVID-19. As everyone in the world can attest, having a tooth ache is no fun and when the pain is bad enough, people will go to the dentist. However, a World Health Organization survey of 103 countries between May and mid-July finds COVID-19 has affected dental services around the world in unprecedented ways.   
 
Dental officer in WHO’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases, Benoit Varenne, says 75 percent of survey respondents reported dental services have been completely or partially disrupted because of the coronavirus.
 
He says the high-level of disruption is linked to the nature of the work provided by the oral health care personnel.   “As you know, dentists, dental nurses, hygienists, and dental assistants work in close contact with patients and are exposed to saliva and blood, and as so, they are using, what we call, spray-generating equipment … and all this equipment are generating, what we call, airborne particles or aerosol,” said Varenne. In communities where transmission of the coronavirus is high, Varenne says WHO recommends priority be given to urgent or emergency oral cases.  And in the treatment of patients, he says dental workers should avoid or minimize procedures that may generate aerosols, which can spread the infection and prioritize the use of hand instruments.“And, of course, to delay routine, non-essential oral health care,” said Varenne. “This means going for a checkup, dental cleaning, preventive care and certainly also some aesthetic dental treatment.”  
 
Other WHO recommendations include remote screening, maintaining physical distancing and wearing masks before and in-between dental sessions to prevent and reduce the risk of transmission.
 
Varenne says one of the most pressing issues is to ensure all dental workers have personal protective equipment.  This is essential, he says, to protect themselves from becoming infected with COVID-19 and passing it on to their patients.