Newly published research from the Netherlands has revealed the existence of a more transmissible and damaging variant of HIV, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
It said in a statement that “people living with the newly revealed subtype, experience double the rate of immune system decline (measured by the CD4 count level of infection-busting T cells) and have higher viral loads.
“They are also vulnerable to developing AIDS two to three times faster after diagnosis, than if they were living with other strains of the virus.”
The research also revealed the variant has been circulating in the Netherlands for years and remains receptive to treatment.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, is the first to report on the subtype-B of the virus.
According to UNAIDS, the discovery highlights the urgency to halt the pandemic and reach all with testing and treatment.
The long-running HIV pandemic continues to take a life every minute and scientists have long worried about the evolution of new, more transmissible, variants of the virus.
According to UNAIDS, the newly identified variant does not represent a major public health threat but underscores the need to urgently speed up the UN’s drive to end AIDS.
The Programme Deputy Executive Director, Eamonn Murphy, noted that around 10 million people living with HIV are still not on antiretroviral therapy, “fuelling the continued spread of the virus and potential for further variants.”
“We urgently need to deploy cutting-edge medical innovations in ways that reach the communities most in need. Whether it’s HIV treatment or COVID-19 vaccines, inequalities in access are perpetuating pandemics in ways that harm us all,” he said.
HIV remains the deadliest pandemic of our time, said UNAIDS.
Since first discovered in the early 80s, an estimated 79 million people have become infected with the virus, for which there is still no vaccine and no cure.
Some 36 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the pandemic and 1.5 million people were newly infected in 2020.
Of the 38 million people living with the virus today, 28 million are on life-saving antiretroviral therapy, keeping them alive and well and preventing transmission.
Safe Motherhood: RSG Raises Alarm Over Birth Outside Health Centres
Rivers State Ministry of Health has raised alarm over the number of births outside medical facilities in the state.
The Permanent Secretary Ministry, of Health, Dr. Utchay Chikanele made the observation during this year’s Safe Motherhood Celebration tagged, “Access to Quality Maternal Care: A Right to Every Woman.”
She regretted that the number of new born babies delivered in medical facilities in the state dwindled last year despite the statistics that registered for antenatal care.
In her words, “Rivers State with a target population of 1,883,706 women of child bearing age, 14,734 pregnant women, 1,712,460 under five children and 342,492 infants, only 14,734 which is 34.4 percent registered for antenatal care in 2021, out of which only 12, 218, which is 3.8 delivered in our health facilities”.
The Permanent Secretary used the occasion to call on mothers to utilise the 386 primary health centres and 18 functional secondary health facilities owned and operated by the state government, as she reiterated the state resolve to curb maternal mortality.
She stated that right to health is a basic human right that every woman should enjoy, as she revealed that about 800 women die daily in pregnancy and child birth and 8million suffer serious pregnancy-related illnesses and disabilities.
Underscoring safe motherhood as one of major planks of the Sustainable Developmental Goals(SDG) Dr. Chikanele observed, “no woman going through pregnancy and child bearing should suffer any injury, loose her life or that of the unborn baby.”
To reverse the trend, Chikanele enlisted the support of local government chairmen, community leaders, husbands and the society at large to encourage mothers to use medical facilities and ensure that their new born are delivered in hospitals with support from medical experts.
She assured that the state government will continue on the quest to boost safe motherhood by engaging in enlightenment campaigns and sensitisation through the media and engagement of stakeholders in the sector across board.
WHOWarns On Monkey Pox …Says It’s Contaminable
The World Health Organisation has warned that the new Monkey pox outbreak is contaminable.
The virus symptoms include a hight emperature, aches, and a rash of raised spots monkeypox can be contained in countries outside of Africa where the virus is not usually detected, the World Health Organization (WHO), says.
Already more than 100 cases of the virus – which causes a rash and a fever – have been confirmed in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
That number is expected to rise coming weeks, but experts say the overall risk to the broader population is very low.
The virus is most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa.
“This is a containable situation,” WHO’s emerging disease leader Maria Van Kerkhove said at a news conference early this week.
“We want to stop human-to-human transmission.
We can do this in the non-endemic countries,” she added – referring to recent cases in Europe and North America.
Despite being the largest outbreak outside of Africa in 50 years, monkeypox does not spread easily between people and experts say the threat is not comparable to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Transmission is really happening from skin-to-skincontact, most of the people who have been identified have more of a mild disease,” Ms Van Kerkhove said.
Another WHO official added that there was no evidence the monkeypox virus had mutated, following earlier speculation over the cause of the current outbreak.
Viruses in this group “tend not to mutate and they tend to be fairly stable”, said Rosamund Lewis, who heads the WHO’s smallpox secretariat.
Meanwhile, a top EU health official has warned that some groups of people may be more at risk than others.
“For the broader population, the likelihood of spread is very low,” said Dr Andrea Ammon of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
“However the likelihood of further spread of the virus through close contact for example during sexual activities amongst persons with multiple sexual partners is considered to be high”.
Monkeypox has not previously been described as a sexually transmitted infection, but it can be passed on by direct contact during sex.
Dr Ammon suggested that countries should review he availability of the smallpox vaccine which is also effective against monkeypox.
In the UK, which has now recorded 57 cases, authorities are advising anyone who has had close contact with a confirmed case to isolate for 21 days.
A person is considered at high risk of having caught the infection if they have had household or sexual contact with someone with monkeypox, or have changed the bedding of an infected person without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE).
Symptoms, which include a high temperature, aches, and a rash of raised spots that later turn into blisters, are typically mild and for most people clear up within two to four weeks.
Using Water To Heal (2)
In the last edition, I discussed why water is essential to life and health yet many people ignore it. Ignorantly, many people have acquired the habit of sweet tooth of “downing” or pushing down their food with soft drinks and soda.
Not long after acquiring this dismal habit, they begin to experience health maladies such as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatism and all sorts of ailments.
Once one understands that water is the fluid of life then it becomes easy for one to drink and reap its tremendous benefits. Water and air are two very important things God gave to keep us healthy. In addition to that, water has huge healing powers that only those who have gulped from its rich fountain can attest . It must however be noted that not all water is safe for consumption. Many local sources of water are contaminated, and that is why one should be mindful of the kind of water he or she drinks.
To get the benefits of water drinking, I will suggest one begin by taking considerable steps to make sure ones water is safe for drinking. These steps include boiling and other treatment methods to eliminate germs and other organisms that may harm health.
For effective usage, health experts recommend alkaline water. Alkaline water is the type of water that a PH above 7.0. It made alkaline by its content of natural minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, etc. These minerals confer the alkalinity to the water. There are certain properties associated with this water – it has a neutral taste, has better hydration and delivery of nutrients to the cells.
Latest research has shown that water is used to reduce weight. A study at the University of Michigan Medical School led by Dr. Tammy Chang, an assistant professor of family medicine declared that, “ those who were inadequately hydrated had higher body mass indexes than those who were hydrated”.
It noted that people who took in too little water daily had 50 per cent higher odds for obesity compared to those who consumed enough. That link held even after the researchers compensated for factors such as age, bender and income. The study indicates hydration might impact weight. “What it does show though is that a diet that includes more water whether as a beverage or the water found in fruits and vegetables, is likely associated with healthier weight,” remarked Connie Diekman, director nutrition at Washington University, US.
To prevent ageing and all kinds of maladies one should consume more of alkaline water. The antioxidants in alkaline water neutralise the acid and the free radicals which would otherwise damage the tissues.
Experts believe that lack of water may worsen diabetes. Apart from the production and secretion of insulin by the pancreas to increase in the level of glucose in the bloodstream after a meal, there is another very important function of pancreas. This function of the pancreas is regulated by the amount of water in the body. In a state of dehydration, the amount of the bicarbonate solution is reduced and this can get to a critical level that there is not enough of it to neutralize the stomach content.
Drinking enough water enlivens the skin as well. Those who drink water enoughwater look younger and improve their overall physical outlook. Alkaline water makes the body supple, shine and softens the tone of the skin.
As I earlier asserted, one need to begin gradually by drinking few cups on rising from bed in the morning, since water drives body metabolism. As one grows in the habit, it is easy to hit the target of eight glasses a day as recommended by health experts.
By Kevin Nengia
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