human

medicine

Medicine-carriers made from human cells can cure lung infections

SPOKANE, Wash. – Scientists used human white blood cell membranes to carry two drugs, an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, directly to infected lungs in mice.

The nano-sized drug delivery method developed at Washington State University successfully treated both the bacterial growth and inflammation in the mice’s lungs. The study, recently published in Communications Biology, shows a potential new strategy for treating infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

“If a doctor simply gives two drugs to a patient, they don’t go directly to the lungs. They circulate in the whole body, so potentially there’s a lot of toxicity,” said Zhenjia Wang, the study’s corresponding author and an associate professor in WSU’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Instead, we can load the two types of drugs into these vesicles that specifically target the lung inflammation.”

Wang and his research team have developed a method to essentially peel the membrane from neutrophils, the most common type of white blood cells that lead the body’s immune system response. Once emptied, these membranes can be used as nanovesicles, tiny empty sacks only 100 to 200 nanometers wide, which scientists can then fill with medicine.

These nanovesicles retain some of the properties of the original white blood cells, so when they are injected into a patient, they travel directly to the inflamed area just as the cells would normally, but these nanovesicles carry the medicines that the scientists implanted to attack the infection.

In this study, first author Jin Gao, a WSU research associate, loaded the nanovesicles with an antibiotic and resolvinD1, an anti-inflammatory derived from Omega 3 fatty acids, to treat lungs infected by P. aeruginosa, a common potentially fatal pathogen patients can catch in hospital settings. The researchers used two drugs because lung infections often create two problems, the infection itself and inflammation created by a strong immune system response.

Toxicity studies and clinical trials would have to be conducted before this method could be used in human patients, but this study provides evidence that the innovation works for lung inflammation. If the method is ultimately proven safe and effective for humans, Wang said the nanovesicles could be loaded with any type of drug to treat a range of infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

“I think it’s possible to translate this technology to help treat COVID-19,” said Wang. “COVID-19 is a virus, not a bacterial pathogen, but it also causes an inflammation response in the lung, so we could load an antiviral drug like remdesivir into the nanovesicle, and it would target that inflammation.”

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Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Israel begins human trials for coronavirus vaccine

Israel began human trials for its own coronavirus vaccine as the Jewish state’s second lockdown comes to a gradual end.

Two volunteers in separate hospitals – one in Tel Aviv and another in Jerusalem – have started the trials. If the two, Segev Harel and Aner Ottolenghi, feel in good health in the next two days, another 80 people will join the first phase of the trial.

According to officials, each volunteer will get either a dose of the vaccine or a placebo and will be sent home, where they will be monitored for three weeks for any possible side effects or whether they develop antibodies.

Harel said he is very proud to be part of such an important national mission and said he is not nervous.

Segev Harel at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

Segev Harel at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
(Israeli Defense Ministry)

MODERNA WILL HAVE 20M CORONAVIRUS VACCINES READY BY YEAR’S END

If the first phase is successful, the second phase is scheduled for December and will include nearly 1,000 volunteers. A final phase will be open to 30,000 volunteers and will begin in April 2021.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, where the first vaccine was administered.

Segev Harel meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

Segev Harel meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv.
(Israeli Defense Ministry)

“There is a cause for a measure of cautious optimism today,” Gantz said. “Optimism, because I think excellent work is being done by our top scientists across the board, all of whom are giving their very best, and this is cause for optimism.”

He said it will take time to track and process the data and draw conclusions. He asked for patience.

“I see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Netanyahu said. “I see the vaccines in the state of Israel. In this means or another, a vaccine developed here or abroad we will bring enough vaccines to the Israeli citizens, and we will break free from this pandemic.”

The commercial name of the vaccine is “BriLife.” The first part of the name, “Bri”, refers to the Hebrew word for health, “briut,” the second part, “il” alludes to Israel, and “life” speaks to the importance of the vaccine.

Israeli scientists have begun the first coronavirus vaccine trial.

Israeli scientists have begun the first coronavirus vaccine trial.
(Israeli Defense Ministry)

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

According to the Israel Institute for Biological Research, large-scale production of the vaccine has been implemented. To date, the institute has produced more than 25,000 vaccine doses.

“The work of all the hidden heroes in the institute and the hospitals has been poured into a little bottle which has the potential to bring a life-saving vaccine to the citizens of the state of Israel,” Dr. Shmuel Yitzhaki, head of the Biology Division at the IIBR told Fox News.

Officials said that, if all goes well, the vaccine could be ready for the general population as early as summer 2021.

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health

Health and Human Services closed standalone vaccine office, merged it amid restructuring

The claim: The U.S. government’s  vaccine safety office was closed.

The deadly spread of COVID-19 has triggered a blame game on social media amid the election season.

On Oct. 25, the group Occupy Democrats claimed on Facebook that the Trump administration in 2019 “quietly closed a vaccine safety office, hindering efforts to trace the long-term safety of a COVID vaccine. This is a shocking disregard for the health and wellbeing of Americans. If at this stage, you still think Trump cares about you, you’re not smart enough to vote.”

More: Fact check: Neither Biden nor Trump is calling for mandated COVID-19 vaccines

Origin of the vaccine office claim

The claim stems from reorganization within the Department of Health and Human Services that affected the National Vaccine Program Office.

In March 2019, less than a year before the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., HHS Secretary Alex Azar spelled out the changes in a letter to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is ranking member on the Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Service, and Education.

As part of a broader reorganization of the department, Azar said, the National Vaccine Program Office was shut down as a separate entity in an effort to “improve the integrity and quality” of programs within the office of the Assistant Secretary for Health “and increase operational efficiencies by eliminating program redundancies and decreasing program costs.”

In this July 27, 2020, file photo, Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y.
In this July 27, 2020, file photo, Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot that is part of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., in Binghamton, N.Y.

He said the National Vaccine Program Office would be merged with the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Policy (OHAIDP) to form the Office of Infectious Disease and HIV/AIDS Policy (OIDP). 

“This effort will provide cross-cutting, science-based, health-promoting advice and recommendations to the ASH on issues pertaining to blood and tissue safety and availability; HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases; and vaccines and immunization.”

More: Fact check: Trump’s past flu vaccinations not linked to increased COVID-19 risk

He said the changes were proposed by a ” working group of career staff” and would allow for the “more efficient management” of multiple committees currently managed separately by vaccine and HIV/AIDS offices.

In effect, the vaccine office was merged into one focused on infectious diseases.

The effect of the restructuring

The New York Times, quoting experts, said the elimination of the office left the long-term safety effort for coronavirus vaccines fragmented among federal agencies, with no central leadership.

While the office was ostensibly folded into another, it no longer really functions as it did before, said Daniel Salmon. He was director of vaccine safety at National Vaccine Program Office from 2007-12. He now directs the Institute for Vaccine Safety at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

In part, people with the necessary training and background are no longer on staff.

“When you remove all the technical experience, you don’t have the capacity to make

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health

South Korea’s conscripted doctors feel like ‘human shields’ in virus battle

By Ju-min Park

OKCHEON, South Korea (Reuters) – As the coronavirus pandemic began sweeping through South Korea late in February, doctor Nam Ha-jong received an order to report overnight to Daegu, a city that was to become the epicentre of infections.

With little formal training in treating virus victims and just two hours of instruction in the use of personal protective gear, the 30-year-old was sent to track down likely patients.

As fear of the new disease gripped the country, Nam went door to door from dawn to dusk each day, wearing full protective gear to perform the testing of members of an obscure religious group at the centre of the outbreak.

“We were exhausted, scared, and felt like being thrown in as a shield to fight against an enemy that no one knew about,” said Nam, who spent three weeks working in Daegu, a city of about 2.4 million southeast of the capital, Seoul.

A nurse and driver helped him run tests at the homes of suspected victims. Many in the religious group wanted to keep secret even the fact of having been tested, so Nam had to shoo away curious neighbours.

Nam was one of 1,900 young men conscripted from medical school to serve a term of 36 months as a public health doctor instead of regular military service.

That is compulsory in South Korea, which is technically still at war with the North, since the neighbours ended the Korean War with only a truce, instead of a peace treaty.

After eight months on the frontlines of the virus battle, the young doctors are credited with pulling off the strategy to target hotspots with rapid, mass testing and contact tracing.

As in the military, they were given no choice, often feeling their efforts went unrecognised, even as South Korea eventually flattened the curve of infections and won global praise for its response.

“Now I feel some people are taking us for granted,” Nam, who now works at a test centre in Okcheon county, a two-hour drive south of Seoul, said in an interview.

Refusing to serve would have brought punishment in the form of a service extension of five times the length of the hotspot deployment, which typically lasts several weeks.

Experts say the doctors’ efforts were responsible for more than 2.5 million tests among a population of 50 million, as well as a programme of stringent contact tracing.

The doctors are “indispensable”, said Park Yoon-hyung, a specialist in preventive medicine at Soonchunhyang University.

However, he added, “The general public don’t usually appreciate their work, because they think of their service as something obvious.”

As many as 1,000 of the doctors rotated through Daegu in March to fight an outbreak that racked up the largest number of infections outside China.

That deployment paved the way for a four-fold increase in daily virus tests, said Sejin Choi of the Korean Association of Public Health Doctors.

UNHERALDED

In normal times, the routine of a public health doctor can

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health

The global human microbiome market is expected to reach US$ 1,873.53 million by 2027 from US$ 356.29 million in 2019

The market is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 23. 6% from 2020 to 2027. The growth of the market is driven by the factors such as increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases, increasing focus on human microbiome therapies, and growing technological advancements in metagenomics and next-generation sequencing.

New York, Oct. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report “Human Microbiome Market Forecast to 2027 – COVID-19 Impact and Global Analysis by Product, Disease, Application, and Geography” – https://www.reportlinker.com/p05978083/?utm_source=GNW
On the other hand, strict government guidelines and lack of knowledge and detailed examination are likely to have a negative impact on the growth of the market in the coming years.

Humans usually coexist with the diverse microbial species living within and over humans.Various recent scientific studies have proven that the microbial community essentially acts like an organ of the body that plays a crucial role in human disease management and physiology.

Various basic and translational research efforts have been initiated that focuses on deciphering mechanisms of the microbiome function and the ways that it benefits the human health.Various human medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel diseases and obesity have been closely associated with and are thought to be influenced by the composition of the gut microbial community.

Many efforts are taken to alter the gut microbiome to eradicate several diseases. Probiotics, prebiotics dietary supplements, and foods that contain live microbes have been studied thoroughly to assess their effects on human health.

The Human Microbiome Project of the National Institutes of Health in the US and related international efforts are defining the varieties of a normal microbiome, studying how changes in the microbiota relate to diseases. Large governmental research initiatives including the Human Microbiome Project in the U.S. and the MetaHIT Project in Europe have accelerated research on the human microbiome.

Based on product, the human microbiome market is segmented into probiotics, foods, prebiotics, medical foods, diagnostic devices, drugs, and supplements. In 2019, the probiotics segment held the largest share of 24.73% of the human microbiome market, by product. This segment is also expected to dominate the market in 2027 owing to increasing health concerns; growing awareness regarding the relation of nutrition, diet, and health; and increasing probiotics market penetration in dairy and other foods. Furthermore, the prebiotics segment is anticipated to witness the fastest growth rate during the forecast period.

Several players have observed good demand for human microbiome based products during the initial period of COVID-19, particularly from the food & beverages industry.In addition, researchers are studying the correlation between gut bacteria and COVID-19.

Many researchers have showcased gut bacteria’s implication in different health conditions, from type 2 diabetes to depression. However, the obstacles in supply chains and distribution networks resulting in unavailability of human microbiome based products in various parts of the world are likely to hamper the growth of the market in 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), European Union, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development,

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