How history teaches diseases change world power

Disease, Threats

How history teaches diseases change world power

The development of modern technology can easily lead to misperceptions that infectious diseases can be effectively controlled in developed nations. For example, the last naturally occurring case of variole was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980.

In 1978, the UN members signed the Alma-Ata Declaration which predicated, “an acceptable level of health for all the people of the world by the year 2000 can be attained.” This focus of disease prevention began to shift to diseases associated with higher life expectancy and with lower mortality, ranging from diabetes mellitus to heart disease to cancer, to name a few.

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China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy

China, Demographic

China on the horizon as ‘world’s pharmacy

The World Health Organisation’s approval Friday for China’s COVID-19 vaccine known as Sinopharm dramatically transforms the ecosystem of the pandemic. In immediate terms, this has potential to boost global vaccine supply, as China’s overall yearly production capacity is approaching five billion doses.

The western pharmaceutical industry’s monopoly has been breached, as Sinopharm’s is the first COVID-19 vaccine developed by a developing country to be validated by the WHO and only the sixth approved for emergency use globally–in fact, the only non-western vaccine so far. Literally, China has gatecrashed the aggressively-guarded orchard of powerful western pharmaceutical companies. In practical terms, the WHO approval allows China to enter the portals of the COVAX as a qualified supplier.

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Epidemiology and evolution of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, 2012–2020

Disease, Threats

Epidemiology and evolution of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, 2012–2020

The ongoing transmission of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Middle East and its expansion to other regions are raising concerns of a potential pandemic. An in-depth analysis about both population and molecular epidemiology of this pathogen is needed.

Methods

MERS cases reported globally as of June 2020 were collected mainly from World Health Organization official reports, supplemented by other reliable sources. Determinants for case fatality and spatial diffusion of MERS were assessed with Logistic regressions and Cox proportional hazard models, respectively. Phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses were performed to examine the evolution and migration history of MERS-CoV.

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A Country Gasping for Air

Demographic, India

A Country Gasping for Air

Indians Pay the Price of Government Inaction as COVID-19 Surges

It feels like the end times in New Delhi. Ambulance sirens blare through the night, a constant reminder of the unbelievable tragedy unfolding in the city. India is currently experiencing a devastating, record-breaking second wave of COVID-19, with the capital especially hard hit. Every night ushers in a now sadly familiar ordeal. Desperately sick patients go from hospital to hospital, begging for oxygen. The hospitals, with only hours of oxygen to spare for their own patients, turn the afflicted away. Relatives and friends post urgent pleas on social media, trying in vain to source the third most abundant element in the universe. But not for love of God or money is there any oxygen to be had in the city.

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A sweeping study shows how humans changed the environment over 12,000 years

Ecology, Threats

A sweeping study shows how humans changed the environment over 12,000 years

One environmental narrative, common to dystopian science fiction, goes like this: humans start to colonize the planet, and slowly take up more and more space until there’s nothing wild or untouched on Earth. Humanity’s infectious spread over the globe slowly eats the planet’s resources alive.

As it turns out, this narrative is all wrong — at least for the past 12,000 years, according to a new study. Humans, researchers found, occupy roughly the same amount of land on Earth that they always have in that span. That means that our planet’s myriad environmental problems aren’t exactly the cause of human societies spreading, but rather the way that we misuse resources that exist. Evidently, humans roamed about the same places they always had on Earth without stirring up too much trouble, at least until the advent of industrial capitalist societies.

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Emerging Infectious Diseases — Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future

Disease, Threats

Emerging Infectious Diseases — Learning from the Past and Looking to the Future

Remarkable progress has been made in preventing deaths from infectious diseases. Now, attention could shift to focusing more resources on pandemic preparedness, including detecting and containing emerging zoonotic threats while they are localized and manageable.

Since the start of the 20th century, there have  been substantial reductions in deaths from infectious diseases in high-income countries. In the United States, infectious disease mortality fell  from about 800 per 100,00 people in 1900 (accounting for nearly 50% of all deaths) to 50 percent 100 people in 1950 (account- ing for about 6% of deaths).

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Source: NEJM Group

 

COVID-19, infection control, and cholera

Disease, Threats

COVID-19, infection control, and cholera

While the focus of healthcare research and reporting has understandably been primarily on the COVID-19 pandemic in the last year, other diseases and conditions have presented a quietly growing threat; particularly in low-income and developing nations.

Dr Osama B Hassan, of the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health in the University of Nottingham’s School of Medicine, co-authored an article in The Lancet’s EClinical Medicine journal earlier this year titled ‘Cholera during COVID-19: the forgotten threat for forcibly displaced populations’; he tells HEQ about the impact of COVID-19 on efforts to combat ongoing threat of cholera.

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Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

Policies, Society

Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

India’s health ministry said Sunday that it recorded 93,249 new COVID cases in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily tally this year in the South Asian nation.

Only two other nations have more coronavirus infections than India’s 12.4 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S has 30.6 million cases, while Brazil has 12.9 million. Millions of people worldwide are under new lockdown restrictions this Easter weekend thanks to coronavirus infections that have surged despite the continued rollout of vaccination campaigns.

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Human security

Policies, Security

Human security

Global military spending continued to reach record levels in 2020, rising almost 4 percent in real terms to US$1.83 trillion, even despite the severe economic contractions caused by the pandemic. The United States spends two-fifths of the world’s total, more than the next ten countries combined, and still cannot afford to prevent 50 million of its own citizens suffering from food insecurity.

Most shamefully, the United Kingdom is massively boosting its arms budget – the largest rise in almost 70 years, including a vast increase to its nuclear weapons stockpile – while cutting aid to the world’s poorest by 30 percent.

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Toxic PAH air pollutants from fossil fuels ‘multiply’ in sunlight

Ecology

Toxic PAH air pollutants from fossil fuels ‘multiply’ in sunlight

When power stations burn coal, a class of compounds called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons, or PAHs, form part of the resulting air pollution. Researchers have found that PAHs toxins degrade in sunlight into ‘children’ compounds and by-products.

Some ‘children’ compounds can be more toxic than the ‘parent’ PAHs. Rivers and dams affected by PAHs are likely contaminated by a much larger number of toxins than are emitted by major polluters, researchers show in Chemosphere.

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