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.
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.
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.
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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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HEALTH CORNER: Indian Hemp Benefits, Risk In Its Consumption
Indian hemp, also known as Cannabis, Igbo or Marijuana, is a controversial substance with potential health risks and benefits. The effects of Indian hemp can vary depending on the individual, the method of consumption, and the dosage. Listed below are some of the potential risks and benefits:
1. Addiction Potential: Indian hemp contains compounds, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that can be addictive for some individuals. Regular and heavy use of Indian hemp can lead to dependency, making it difficult to quit.
2. Impaired Cognitive Function: Heavy and prolonged use of Indian hemp can affect memory, attention, and cognitive abilities, particularly in young individuals whose brains are still developing.
3. Mental Health Concerns: Some studies suggest that heavy cannabis use, especially in those with a predisposition to mental health conditions, may increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychosis (referred to by the medically untrained as madness).
4. Respiratory Issues: Smoking Indian hemp can lead to respiratory problems, similar to those associated with tobacco smoking, such as chronic bronchitis and lung damage.
B. Potential Benefits:
1. Pain Relief: Some individuals use Indian hemp to alleviate chronic pain, including pain associated with conditions such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis. Certain components of cannabis have analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.
2. Nausea and Vomiting: Indian hemp can be used to alleviate symptoms of nausea and vomiting, particularly in individuals undergoing chemotherapy or those with conditions such as HIV/AIDS.
3. Appetite Stimulation: In cases of certain medical conditions where appetite has been compromised, Indian hemp can help stimulate appetite.
4. Epilepsy: Evidence suggests that a specific cannabis-derived medication called Epidiolex can be effective in treating certain forms of epilepsy in children.
5. Reduction of anxiety: A chemical found in hemp works by lowering autonomic and emotional reactions to stress and interfering with the consolidation and extinction of frightened memories, that has been linked to anxiety disorders, autistic spectrum disorder, psychosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Please note that the use of Indian hemp for medical purposes should be done under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional. Additionally, the legal status of Indian hemp varies globally and within different jurisdictions, so it is important to adhere to local laws and regulations.
Overall, the use of Indian hemp should be approached cautiously, and individuals considering its use should weigh the potential risks and benefits and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver is a Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa.
HEALTH CORNER: What You Need Know About Chlamydia Infection, Prevention
By Silver Yeibake
Chlamydia infection is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is one of the most prevalent STIs worldwide and can affect both men and women. In 2020 alone, the WHO estimated 129 million new infections worldwide, making it the most common STI.
Chlamydia is primarily transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be passed from a mother to her newborn during childbirth. Many people with chlamydia may not experience any symptoms, which increases the risk of unknowingly spreading the infection.
When symptoms do occur, they can vary between men and women. In men, symptoms may include a burning sensation while urinating, discharge from the penis, and swollen or painful testicles. Women may experience abnormal vaginal discharge, painful urination, and pelvic pain. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum and throat, leading to symptoms such as rectal pain, discharge, or a sore throat.
If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. In men, untreated chlamydia can lead to epididymitis, a painful condition that can affect fertility. Chlamydia also increases the risk of contracting or spreading HIV.
Fortunately, chlamydia can be easily diagnosed through a simple urine test or a swab from the affected area, such as the cervix, urethra, rectum, or throat. It can be treated effectively with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional. It is important to complete the full course of medication to ensure the infection is properly cleared.
To prevent chlamydia and other STIs, practicing safe sex is crucial. This includes using condoms correctly and consistently, getting regular STI screenings, discussing sexual health with partners, and considering mutual monogamy or maintaining a long-term mutually monogamous relationship.
If any STI is suspected, it is important to seek medical attention for properevaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, informing sexual partners so they can also get tested and receive treatment if necessary is essential to prevent further spread of the infection.
Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver is a Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
LP Unable To Prove Claims Of Over-Voting, Presidential Tribunal Rules [Live
The Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) is set to deliver judgement today. Security is already beefed up ahead of the verdict.
Nigerians from all walks of life are waiting eagerly to witness the televised live proceedings from the Tribunal venue at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) are challenging President Bola Tinubu’s declaration as the winner of the 2023 presidential election.
04:37 pm: The petitioners have failed to establish their allegations of overvoting and voter suppression, the court ruled.
4:03 pm: The court is highlighting issues of corruption which Obi claimed were recorded in the elections. They include vote suppression, inflation of results, and over-voting.
But Just Tsammani said some paragraphs relating to these claims have been struck out earlier due to their vague and generic nature.
3:41 pm: The PEPT ruled that Obi failed to establish that INEC intentionally refused to quickly upload polling unit results to IReV so as to alter the results in Tinubu’s favour.
“The petitioner made the allegation of non-compliance a substantial part of their case. By the provisions of Section 135(2) of the Electoral Act, they are required to show how such noncompliance substantially affected them. If they fail to show the same, the petition fails,” the court ruled.
3:12 pm: According to the PEPT, INEC regulations and the Electoral Act give room for manual collation of results. It said electronic transmission is optional at best.
3:08 pm: The court added that the only device that must be used by INEC for elections is the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS)
It noted that there’s no regulation showing BVAS must be used to electronically transmit results from polling units.
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