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Lab experiment suggests flu shots could help fight off coronavirus infections

Flu shots are already considered an important factor in combating the coronavirus pandemic, since widespread inoculations will hopefully help prevent medical facilities from becoming overwhelmed by dual diseases. But new research suggests flu shots may also play some role in preventing COVID-19 infections in the first place, The Scientific American reports.

A study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, found that workers at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands who received a flu shot during the 2019-20 season were 39 percent less likely than their colleagues to test positive for the coronavirus as of June 1, 2020. Non-vaccinated employees contracted the virus at a 2.23 percent rate, compared to only 1.33 percent of those who were vaccinated.

The preliminary research would certainly require further clinical trials — though the author of the study noted it would be unethical to compel a control group of subjects to be denied a flu shot — and there could be several reasons why the vaccinated group staved off infection more easily, including the possibility that they are generally more health conscious and took more COVID-19 precautions.

Still, there have been other studies that hint at a possible link between flu shots (and other vaccines, for that matter) and lower COVID-19 risk. Additionally, the Radboud research team conducted a laboratory experiment in which they took blood cells from healthy individuals, purified them, and exposed some of them to a flu vaccine. After allowing the cells to grow for a few days, the researchers exposed them to the coronavirus. A day later they found that the vaccinated cells produced more of several kinds of immune molecules that fight off pathogens than those that were initially left alone. Read more at The Scientific American.

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Lab under investigation as New Mexico deals with virus surge

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is scheduled Tuesday to provide an update on COVID-19 cases after a string of record-breaking daily case counts prompted more restrictions last week and officials continue to crack down on employers who they say aren’t following the rules.

The state’s Occupational Health and Safety Bureau has opened an investigation of Sandia National Laboratories after receiving a complaint about alleged violations of the state public health order.

A letter sent Monday by the bureau and obtained by The Associated Press alleges that the national laboratory failed to comply with the health order by not limiting operations to remote work to the greatest extent practicable to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The state claims employees were ordered to cease telework and report to work in-person.

The state is requiring the lab to inform all employees and contractors of the investigation. The lab also has been ordered to complete an internal investigation to identify the root cause of COVID-19 cases that occurred in the last two weeks for each employee and contractor who tested positive.

If the lab doesn’t comply, the state says it’s authorized to post a notice of imminent danger on lab property and assess civil penalties up to $134,904 per violation.


“It is clear that neither federal (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) nor the (U.S. Department of Energy) are effectively holding Sandia National Laboratories accountable for protecting its employees from occupational exposure of COVID-19,” the letter states.

Lab spokeswoman Kristen Meub said Sandia’s top priority is to keep employees safe and healthy and that stringent safety measures have been implemented during the pandemic. She said Sandia is coordinating with the Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration to respond to the state in a timely manner.

“From the start of the pandemic through Oct. 15, the majority of Sandia COVID cases were acquired offsite and outside work hours,” Meub said. “As a result of our protective measures, such as safety protocols onsite, contact tracing has confirmed the vast majority of cases among Sandia employees was caused by community spread transmission away from the worksite.”

More than 100 workers at Sandia locations in New Mexico and California have tested positive since the start of the pandemic. The lab has more than 14,000 workers, with more than 12,000 of those located in New Mexico.

While the majority of employees work from home, Sandia officials say the lab has essential work that must be performed onsite to meet national security responsibilities. For those workers, the lab provides personal protective materials such as masks and sanitizer and daily health checks are done before they’re allowed onsite.

The lab also provides onsite testing with results in less than 24 hours, contact tracing, increased cleaning and disinfecting and other measures per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Lab officials say Sandia’s protocols exceed the state requirements in many cases.

Despite having some of the strictest rules in the U.S., Lujan Grisham’s administration has been struggling

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health

Tencent Announces AIMIS Medical Image Cloud and AIMIS Open Lab Help Medical Data Management and Accelerate Incubation of Medical AI Application

New offering will enhance medical imaging management by patients and sharing between healthcare professionals, driving the digital transformation of the world’s medical and healthcare industries. In conjunction with this offering, Tencent created the AI Open lab as a one-stop intelligent service platform to provide clinicians and technology enterprises with the necessary tools to handle critical medical data and diagnose patients.

SHANGHAI, Oct. 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Tencent announced at the 83rd China International Medical Device Expo (CMEF) two new products that will enable consumers and medical professionals to safely and securely share medical data more easily, and equip medical professionals new tools to diagnose patients and achieve better patient outcomes. The Tencent AIMIS Medical Image Cloud, where patients can manage their images generated by X-rays, CT, and MRIs to allow for safe and secure sharing of patient medical data. The second product, The Tencent AIMIS Open Lab will share Tencent’s medical AI capabilities with third parties, including scientific research institutions, universities, and scientific and technological innovation enterprises, to incubate medical AI applications.

Tencent AIMIS Image Cloud supports complete images on the cloud to reduce repeated examination

It is often inconvenient and cumbersome for patients to manage their medical images and share them with medical professionals. Therefore, patients often cannot provide complete medical information during a medical review, which makes it difficult to support further diagnosis and often requires a patient to repeat the examination.

Patients can now safely manage their images via Tencent AIMIS Image Cloud and can permission medical professionals’ access to the original images and reports anytime, anywhere. Patients can carry out one-stop management of personal data and authorize the sharing and mutual recognition of image reports among hospitals, so that the complete medical image files can be checked to avoid unnecessary duplicate examinations and reduce the waste of medical resources.

Tencent Announces AIMIS Medical Image Cloud at CMEF
Tencent Announces AIMIS Medical Image Cloud at CMEF

In addition, the Tencent AIMIS Image Cloud also connects medical institutions at all levels in the Medical Treatment Combination through Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) on the cloud, so patients can take examinations in primary medical institutions and obtain expert diagnosis remotely. Doctors can conduct online consultations through Tencent real-time audio and video facilities when they encounter difficult cases and they can conduct synchronous collaborative operations on images to communicate efficiently.

Tencent AIMIS Open Lab accelerates Incubation of medical AI application

In the field of medical AI, scientific research institutes, medical institutions, and technology startups are generally faced with pain points, such as a lack of data sources, time-consuming labeling, a lack of applicable algorithms, and difficulties meeting the required computing power. Tencent AIMIS Open Lab is a one-stop intelligent service platform grounded in secure storage and the compelling computing power of the Tencent cloud. Tencent AIMIS Open Lab provides clinicians and technology enterprises with whole-process services such as data desensitization, access, annotation, the ability to model training, testing and applying, they can develop medical AI applications more efficiently, so as to promote

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One in four Americans believe coronavirus was engineered in Wuhan lab

  • Researchers surveyed people in five countries to assess which coronavirus-related conspiracy theories have taken root.
  • The most popular theory suggests the virus was “bioengineered in a laboratory in Wuhan.” Between 22% and 23% of Americans and Britons viewed that as “reliable.”
  • The study found that people who are older, numerically savvy, and trust scientists are less likely to fall for coronavirus misinformation.
  • Genetic evidence discredits the theory that the coronavirus was man-made.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Lingering uncertainty how the coronavirus pandemic started creates fertile territory for conspiracy theories.

About one in four Americans and Britons think the idea that the virus was engineered in a Wuhan laboratory is a “reliable” claim, according to a recent study, despite abundant scientific evidence to the contrary.

The research, published earlier this week in the journal Royal Society for Open Science, found that an even higher portion of respondents in Ireland and Spain — 26% and 33%, respectively — put stock in that theory, as do nearly 40% of survey participants in Mexico.

“Certain misinformation claims are consistently seen as reliable by substantial sections of the public,” Sander van der Linden, a co-author of the new study and a social psychologist at the University of Cambridge, said in a press release.

What’s more, people who found the lab conspiracy idea reliable were generally more hesitant about getting a coronavirus vaccine.

“We find a clear link between believing coronavirus conspiracies and hesitancy around any future vaccine,” van der Linden added.

People who trust scientists are less likely to fall for misinformation

covid vaccine turkey

Dr. Mustafa Gerek is vaccinated in volunteer in trials of a COVID-19 vaccine from China at Ankara City Hospital in Ankara, Turkey on October 13, 2020.

Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


The study authors sent an online survey to groups of 700 people in the US, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain, and to more than 1,000 people in the UK. They asked participants to rate how reliable certain statements about COVID-19 were on a scale of 1 to 7, and also asked about participants’ attitudes about a vaccine.

The researchers wanted to assess whether certain beliefs or demographics are correlated with how susceptible a person is to misinformation.

The results showed that respondents with “significantly and consistently” low levels of susceptibility to false information in all five countries also declared they trusted scientists and scored highly on a series of tasks designed to test their understanding of probability. Being older was linked to lower susceptibility to misinformation as well, in every country surveyed except Mexico.

Additionally, those who reported trusting their politicians to effectively tackle the crisis in Mexico, Spain, and the US were more likely to fall for conspiracy theories.

The study also found that respondents in Ireland, the UK, and the US who were exposed to coronavirus information on social media were more susceptible to misinformation.

Van der Linden’s team also found that as participants’ susceptibility increased, their intent to get vaccinated or recommend the vaccine to friends

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