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Scientists Create Antibody That Defeats Coronavirus In Laboratory

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Scientists created a monoclonal antibody that can defeat the new coronavirus in the lab, an early but promising step in efforts to find treatments and curb the pandemic’s spread.

The experimental antibody has neutralised the virus in cell cultures. While that’s early in the drug development process— before animal research and human trials— the antibody may help prevent or treat COVID-19 and related diseases in the future, either alone or in a drug combination, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Communications.

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More research is needed to see whether the findings are confirmed in a clinical setting and how precisely the antibody defeats the virus, Berend-Jan Bosch of Utrecht University in the Netherlands and colleagues wrote in the paper.

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The antibody known as 47D11 targets the spike protein that gives the new coronavirus a crown-like shape and lets it enter human cells. In the Utrecht experiments, it didn’t just defeat the virus responsible for COVID-19, but also a cousin equipped with similar spike proteins, which causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.

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Monoclonal antibodies are lab-created proteins that resemble naturally-occurring versions the body raises to fight off bacteria and viruses. Highly potent, they target exactly one site on a virus. In this case, the scientists used genetically-modified mice to produce different antibodies to the spike proteins of coronaviruses.

After a subsequent screening process, 47D11 emerged as showing neutralising activity. Researchers then reformatted that antibody to create a fully human version, according to the paper.

READ ALSO: CBN Compels Banks To Suspend Staff Lay-off

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“Monoclonal antibodies targeting vulnerable sites on viral surface proteins are increasingly recognised as a promising class of drugs against infectious diseases and have shown therapeutic efficacy for a number of viruses,” Bosch and colleagues wrote.

Monoclonal antibodies already sparked a treatment revolution in cancer, with medicines such as Merck & Co.’s Keytruda and Roche Holding AG’s Herceptin becoming some of the world’s bestsellers. AbbVie Inc.’s blockbuster inflammation treatment Humira is also part of the monoclonal antibody family.

Two such antibody therapies show promise against Ebola. Companies such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are also working on possible antibody treatments for the coronavirus.

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READ ALSO: Three Arrested For Insulting Buhari

(Bloomberg/Vanguard)

(PHOTO: File)

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Proposed Orthopedic Hospital, Fistula Centre In Edo: More Facts Emerge

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Joseph Kanjo, Benin

Recently, the media was awash with a report of two Specialist Hospitals – a Fistula Centre and an Orthopedic Hospital – proposed to be sited in Edo State by the Federal Ministry of Health. The ‘news’ of the report was not on the two federal health facilities to be sited in the heartbeat state, but the impediments to the establishment of the health facilities in the state.

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The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, as reported by the media, had reportedly said though his ministry was set to commence the health facilities, bureaucratic bottleneck in acquiring land from the Edo State Government was largely responsible for the delay in takeoff of the facilities in the state. Ehanire was reported to have disclosed this when he paid a courtesy visit to the Oba of Benin in his Palace.

But contrary to earlier report, facts have emerged that the Edo State Government, through the State Ministry of Health is fully in sync with the offer by the Federal Ministry of Health on the siting of the two Specialist Hospitals in the state, a closed source to the parties, Mr. Tony Abolo, who is in the know of the whole thing had disclosed to INFO DAILY.

According to the Ace Broadcaster and Veteran Journalist, Fistula Centre to be established at the Daisy Danjuma Health Centre, GRA Benin, and the Orthopedic Hospital to be established inside the premises of the EDO SPECIALIST HOSPITAL, along Sapele Road, Benin City not only has the blessing of the State Government, who instructed the State Commissioner of Health, Professor Obehi Akoria to accompany the visiting Federal Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire to select the best of places most suitable for purpose, but has the promise of a full services support of the State Government.

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READ ALSO: Bureaucratic Bottleneck In Edo Govt. Delaying FG Projects – Health Minister

He added that the location choices were made under the guided instruction of the State Governor, Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, and had the team moving about as late in the day, when the Minister visited Edo State in order to show the enthusiasm of the Edo State Government.

According to him, the take off of the projects is expected to commence immediately as against earlier reports, as the sites are now agreed upon but the full commissioning will take place in the New Year.

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“Interestingly, as a mark of concern of fulfillment and a duty to Edo State, the Hon. Minister of Health announced that the two projects have been injected into the 2023 budgetary provisions of the Federal Ministry of Health in the new fiscal year. To all intents and purposes, all hurdles surrounding the twin projects will be cleared as the Budget defence takes place soon in Abuja.”

 

 

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Golden Jubilee: Free Training, Cancer Screening, Subsidized Surgeries Outlined To Celebrate UBTH @50

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Free Cancer Screening, Executive Screening, Subsidized Surgeries and free training for first responders on basic life support are parts of activities mapped out for the 50th anniversary of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), slated for May 12, 2023.

The Chief Medical Director UBTH, Prof. Darlington Obaseki, disclosed this in Benin City on Wednesday while briefing journalists during the unveiling of the theme and logo of the golden jubilee celebration.

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The theme of the 50th anniversary is ‘Advancing the Legacy of Quality Healthcare’.

He said the activities are part of giving back to the society for standing by the institution for the past 50 years.

Obaseki,who is a Professor of Pathology, said the free training which involves first responders like the members of the Federal Road Safety Corps, the police and drivers will be in December, 2022.

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Obaseki added that the free Cancer Screening takes place in January, 2023, while the Executive Screening which involves medical Screening for top executives, including members of the Edo State Executive Council takes place in February, adding that the subsidized surgeries are to take place in March before the anniversary in May, 2023.

READ ALSO: Antimicrobial Awareness Week: UBTH Embarks On Rally, Calls For Increased Awareness

He also said that the famous medical institution built by the then governor of the mid- western region, Brigadier General Samuel Ogbemudia started as a 300-beding hospital in 1973, but hasnnow grown to a 900- Bedding facility today.

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Eulogizing the founding fathers of the institution, he said: “If l have seen further than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants, that UBTH is a great tertiary multi-specialty. I make bold to say this morning that the successes and heights we have attained as a Teaching Hospital is because of the foresighted
ness and the labours of our founding fathers and heroes past.

“They set a solid foundation for us upon which every one of us that has come thereafter has
built.

“l am convinced that on 12h May, 1973 when this great institution was commissioned, it was already set on the path of greatness. That the hospital started as a 300 bedded facility was a pointer to greatness that awaits her.

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“We have come a long way these past 49 years and have achieved a lot along this evolutionary journey. We are the first public hospital to set up a neonatal unit in this country, the first to commence Invitro fertilization (IVF) in Nigeria
and still sustaining the service, the first to have a breakthrough in stem cell transplantation for the treatment of Sickle cell in West Africa with successful
outcomes just to mention a few.

He also added that
when his administration came in to office 5 years ago, “we immediately got to work and produced a document “the strategic reform Plan”, this document, according to him, “was reviewed when we got a renewal of our mandate.”

He maintained that the institution has a 50 years tripod projection which involves infrastructure upgrade, comprehensive Cancer Care and Comprehensive Cardiology Center as it major focus.

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He lamented that the hospital waved N84 million for indigent patients in 2021 and that over N100 millions have been waved for the same class of people this year.

He pleaded that government at all levels capture more citizens into its health insurance schemes to enable the hospital sustain it’s operations.

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Antimicrobial Awareness Week: UBTH Embarks On Rally, Calls For Increased Awareness

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As part of activities to mark this year’s Antimicrobial Awareness Week, the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Friday, embarked on awareness rally wherein medical practitioners called for increased awareness about the various antimicrobial agents used for the treatment of infections.

The Antimicrobial Awareness Week was organised by the Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), in conjunction with the Departments of Pharmacy, Family Medicine/General practice clinic (GPC), Clinical Pharmacology unit as well as the Association of Resident Doctors with sponsorship from the management of UBTH and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

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The 2022 Antimicrobial Awareness Week with theme: “Preventing Antimicrobial resistance together,” had in attendance, members of the LOC, Dr Osaigbovo Iriagbonse, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, Dr Adewole Afolabi Joseph, Head department Family medicine, Pharm Dr Yowin Edit, HoD Pharmacy.

In the awareness rally, medical doctors, pharmacists, nurses and other medical practitioners, walked through major departments and units, UBTH, wherein they enlightened members of the public on the week and the need fore more awareness about the various antimicrobial agents.

Speaking, Dr Igunma Jeremiah, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist and Infection Control Physician, UBTH, said the Antimicrobial Awareness Week is a global event celebrated between 18th and 24th November every year.

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According to him, the event is intended to increase awareness about various antimicrobial agents used for the treatment of infections.

He said, “Antibiotics have saved millions of lives, and estimates show that they increase the average human lifespan by 23 years. They continue to be an essential tool in modern medicine. However, the benefits derived from this magic bullet are speedily being eroded by the continual emergence and spread of genes which cause antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

READ ALSO: UBTH Resident Doctors Protest Suspected Assassination Of Colleague

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“Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when disease-causing micro-organisms mutate over time, meaning that they are harder to treat because they can resist the drug’s effects even when it is of adequate composition, taken at the appropriate dose, for the correct duration and for the right disease condition. This results in bacterial infections becoming more difficult to treat, or in some cases, impossible.

“AMR is not a problem of the future, it is a present, though sometimes hidden, danger– already at least 700,000 people die annually from drug-resistant infections. By 2050 drug-resistant microbes could lead to ten million deaths annually if appropriate measures are not taken. This silent pandemic must be addressed as a matter of urgency, or the death toll will continue unabated.

“The common reasons why AMR develops and spreads include Antibiotic Misuse (for example patients taking antibiotics when they have a common cold which is viral in origin). Overuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming. Lack of clean water and sanitation which encourages the spread of disease-causing germs. Inadequate infection prevention and control, especially in health facilities, and Counterfeit drugs.”

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The Consultant Clinical Microbiologist and Infection Control Physician said that preventing antimicrobial resistance requires a concerted effort and collaboration among practitioners of human health, animal husbandry and environmental health, stressing that, “Together, we can avert the catastrophe occasioned by AMR.”

 

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