Moderna Study: Vaccine Effective Vs. COVID Variants

The U.S. has reported more than 25 million total COVID-19 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, marking another major milestone during the pandemic.

That means about 1 in 13 people in the U.S. have contracted the virus, or about 7.6% of the population.

“Twenty-five million cases is an incredible scale of tragedy,” Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The New York Times. She called the pandemic one of the worst public health crises in history.

After the first U.S. case was reported in January 2020, it took more than 9 months to reach 10 million cases in early November. Numbers rose during the holidays, and 10 million more cases were reported by the end of the year. Following a major surge throughout January, with a peak of more than 300,000 daily cases on some days, the U.S. reached 25 million in about 3 weeks.

Hospitalizations also peaked in early January, with more than 132,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the country, according to the COVID Tracking Project. On Sunday, about 111,000 patients were hospitalized, which is the lowest since mid-December.

The U.S. has also reported nearly 420,000 deaths. As recently as last week, more than 4,400 deaths were reported in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Deaths are beginning to drop but still remain above 3,000 daily.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released a new projection last week that said new cases would decline steadily in coming weeks. New COVID-19 cases have fallen about 21% in the last 2 weeks, according to an analysis by The New York Times.

“We’ve been saying since summer that we thought we’d see a peak in January, and I think that, at the national level, we’re around the peak,” Christopher J.L. Murray, MD, director of the institute, told the newspaper.

At the same time, public health officials are concerned that new coronavirus variants could lead to an increase again. Murray said the variants could “totally change the story.” If the more transmissible strains spread quickly, cases and deaths will surge once more.

“We’re definitely on a downward slope, but I’m worried that the new variants will throw us a curveball in late February or March,” Rivers told the newspaper.

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6 effective natural remedies to combat constipation from home | The State

Diet plays a key role in fighting constipation and eliminating inflammation.

Image by stokpic from Pixabay / Pixabay

All at some point we have suffered from constipation, not in vain is one of the Stomach problems most common in society. Regardless of age, it is a condition characterized by having less than three bowel movements a week and it is normal for it to appear in various stages of life. The truth is that most of the times is not related to no serious problem, but it can surely cause discomfort, irritation and inflammation.

The feeling constipated occurs when bowel movement slows down in the colon, which makes stools hard or difficult to pass. If goodsThis can happen for numerous reasons such as low fiber intake, physical inactivity, lower water intake, during pregnancy or by taking some medications. The frequent episodes of constipation may be a sign of bad life habits Or any underlying health problem.

The good news is that the most cases of constipation, can be easily treated by adjusting the Feeding Habits, the lifestyle and of course through great home remedies, who have the immense virtue of have no side effects. Based on this, we took on the task of selecting 6 simple natural remedies, to forget about constipation.

1. Coconut oil

He coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain fatty acids (AGCM), which help stimulate bowel movements and soften stool. It is a great ally to promote evacuation since the oil lubricates the intestine that helps facilitate intestinal transit, preventing the constipation. At the same time it is associated with cleansing benefitss and exerts a mild laxative effect, which also helps remove excess waste from the body. The recommendation for those who suffer recurrent constipation is to consume one to two teaspoons of virgin coconut oil daily to get relief.

Coconut oil. / Photo: Shutterstock

2. Ginger

In the last months ginger has been considered one of the most powerful superfoods of nature and many have popularly named it as a food-medicine. While it is popular for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power, it also shines for its laxative potential which helps promote bowel movements and detoxifies the body. Ginger is a magnificent ally of health, to enhance its effects and fight constipation, it is recommended to use two ways: drinking two cups of ginger tea a day or massaging the abdomen with ginger essential oil.

Ginger. / Photo: Shutterstock

3. Coffee

If you suffer from constipation that cup of coffee what you enjoy the mornings, not only will it help you stay awake, its caffeine content is associated with benefits for stimulate movement intestinal by contracting the abdominal muscle. Drinking coffee can help moving stool into the rectum and then exit. So on the days that you feel constipated, drink a cup or two of coffee can solve easily the problem. A study revealed that coffee can stimulate the intestine in a way similar to a meal. Just remember accompany it with water to avoid possible dehydration.

Coffee. / Photo: Unsplash

4. Lemon water

One of the morning remedies most popular of all time, without a doubt it is warm water with lemon, It is a simple custom that is related to great benefits to health. One of his greatest benefits is related to its qualities to combat constipation, the reason is that lemons are fruits of acidic nature, packed with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. And because of its single composition are of great help to remove toxins from the digestive tract and drink it in warm water, help to increase the water level, helps soften stools and stimulate bowel movements. Additionally, it is a remedy with a great purifying power, therefore it is ideal to eliminate everything that the body does not need.

Lemon water. / Photo: Shutterstock

5. Probiotics

It is well known that probiotics are the most popular food group for promote healthy gut bacteria and therefore are also very effective for treat constipation and even strengthen the immune system. Healthy strains like Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus found in probiotics stimulate the health of the intestines and F, favor easy removal of feces, improve consistency and reduce digestive transit time. Bet on the consumption of foods like sauerkraut, yogurt and kefir are some of the most famous natural sources of probiotics. These should be taken regularly by people who often suffer from stomach problems.

Yogurt./Photo: Pexels

6. Pineapple juice

Pineapple juice not only is exquisite and refreshinge, in their natural versions is associated with wonderful health effects. And the reason is simple, the pineapple contains a enzyme called bromelain, which is associated with great medicinal qualities. It stands out for its powerful anti-inflammatory effect, which helps relieve constipation, reduce swelling and stomach cramps. He citrus juice add volume to stool, it is also ideal as it keeps the body hydrated and full of energy.

Pineapple supplements.
Pineapple. / Photo: Shutterstock



BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine appears to be effective against English variant, according to preliminary studies

BioNTech / Pfizer’s vaccine appears to be effective against the English variant of the COVID-19 virus which worries the international community because of its greater transmissibility, according to the results of two preliminary studies posted online Wednesday.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

“Our results suggest that the majority of vaccine responses should be effective against the B.1.1.7 variant”, believe, in one of the two studies not yet evaluated by other scientists, an international team of researchers from British and Dutch universities .

To assess the vaccine’s effectiveness, the researchers tested the English variant in the laboratory with the plasma of 36 patients who recovered from severe or milder forms of COVID-19.

“The majority of samples” were able to “neutralize” the variant, although the “power” of neutralization was reduced in 3 of the samples.

In a separate preliminary study, a team of BioNTech / Pfizer researchers come to similar conclusions, comparing the effect of plasma from 16 participants in its clinical trials on the English variant and the original Wuhan virus.

They conclude that the two have an “equivalent” neutralization capacity and thus consider it “unlikely” that the English variant “escapes the protection” of their vaccine. Where appropriate, they point out that the “flexibility” of the technology of this messenger RNA vaccine would allow the vaccine to be adapted to a new strain of the virus.

In a study put online in early January, researchers from BioNTech / Pfizer had already estimated that the vaccine seemed effective against a “key mutation” common to the British, South African and Brazilian variants.

This mutation called N501Y is located at the level of the Spike protein (spicule) of the coronavirus, the tip which is on its surface and allows it to attach to human cells to penetrate them, therefore playing a key role in viral infection. .

But when it comes to vaccine effectiveness, experts are most concerned about another mutation called E484K, which the South African and Brazilian variants carry, but not the English variant.

In this context, it is “important to continue to monitor the variants and to assess their impact on neutralization in vitro”, stress the researchers of the first study.

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6 Effective Ways To Practice Intermittent Fasting To Lose Weight | The State

Intermittent fasting is a somewhat particular way to lose weight if we do it properly. As Healthline indicates, 6 effective ways can be listed with which we can do intermittent fasting and lose weight.

Methods 18/6 and 5: 2, eat-stop-eat, fasting every other day, the warrior diet and spontaneous meal skipping are 6 of the effective ways we can fast to lose weight. We will detail each of them below.

1. The 16/8 method

This diet proposes a daily fasting period of 16 hours, and a dining space that extends for 8 hours. There are more flexible modalities where the person can decide to fast for less time and have the possibility of eating for a greater number of hours.

Within the deadline to eat is possible to introduce between two and three meals so that you can adequately satisfy the feeling of hunger.

2. The 5: 2 diet

This diet proposes eat normally for 5 days a week, and for the remaining 2 days restrict caloric intake to between 500 and 600 calories per day. These days do not have to be consecutive, and can be distributed in the week as it suits the person.

Although there are studies on the benefits of intermittent fasting, there is still no conclusive research on this modality.

3. Eat-stop-eat

This method proposes a a full 24-hour period of fasting 1 or 2 times a week. For example, if you have your dinner on Monday and you don’t eat again until dinner on Tuesday, you will have already completed the 24-hour fasting period.

This modality has the difficulty of propose a period that not everyone can meet. However, it is not wrong to start small and increase the number of hours over time.

Ideally, you should find the method that best suits your pace of life. Source: Shutterstock

4. Intermediate day fast

As its name suggests, it is a modality that allows us eat one day, fast the next, and eat again the day after. There are several types, one of them allowing a restricted calorie intake on the fast day, and others where the fast must be full.

5. Warrior diet

This diet proposes eat smaller servings of raw vegetables and fruits during the day, and have larger dinners at night. Basically, we fast in the morning to have a big meal within a 4 hour period over the course of the night.

6. Spontaneous skipping of meals

In this mode there is no rigid structure, but rather it is simply that the person stops consuming according to their own wishes. The most basic way is to stop eating because you are too busy with work, or simply because you are not hungry.

It is preferable that you choose the most suitable and appropriate fasting modality for you, so that you can do it without taking major risks to your health. For this, you should visit your nutritionist beforehand to have a professional perspective on hand.

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Dubai’s effective response to the pandemic has paved the way for rapid recovery

Seeking a tax residency in the UAE?
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Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dubai has responded with swift and effective health measures and economic support initiatives that protected lives and livelihoods. This has enabled the emirate to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on the economy, and paved the way for a quick recovery. The comprehensive preventive and support measures were implemented following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the close follow-up of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai whose leadership of the crisis became a global role model for combating COVID-19.

Following the outbreak of the pandemic, Dubai Government stepped up its efforts in monitoring market conditions and communicating with the private sector and the broader community. The Government adopted strong precautionary protocols to safeguard public health and ensure business continuity. This approach enabled a faster return to normal life and the resumption of economic activity in record time on the basis of real time data and analysis.

Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy stated: “Our leadership’s directives were focused on ensuring that the short-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic does not translate into a long-term economic hardship that would inflict lasting damage on people and businesses by way of job losses and bankruptcies.” This has paved the way for Dubai to be one of the very first cities to gradually reopen its markets and businesses. Under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Dubai was a pioneer in launching initiatives to overcome challenges faced by individuals and businesses, which had a significant positive impact on minimizing the economic impact of the pandemic, he adeed.

Dubai Economic Outlook 2020-2021

During the period between March and October this year, the Government of Dubai launched four stimulus packages with the objective of mitigating the impact of confinement measures in the Emirate, on the demand side, covering consumption, investment, trade and travel, as well as on the supply side including the workforce, supply chains and the cost of doing business. The initiatives, worth around Dh6.8 billion, helped offset the shock and repercussions in the form of job losses or disruptions to businesses.

According to a recent study by Dubai Economy, Dubai’s stimulus packages contributed to reducing the economic impact of the crisis by limiting the expected economic contraction to -6.2 per cent in 2020, a decline that is in line with the growth outlook of countries around the globe as reported by the International Monetary Fund.

The precautionary and preventive measures adopted to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Dubai, along with travel restrictions around the world, had a severe impact on hotels and restaurants, which are expected to see a contraction of -20 per cent in 2020. Also affected were the transport and storage sector (-11 %), and the retail and wholesale trade sector (-9 per cent).

The Government of Dubai and its Future Foresight project have laid strong foundations for a rapid recovery. The support measures launched during the pandemic were designed to contribute substantially to the ongoing economic recovery efforts. Al-Qamzi explained: “These efforts include investment in healthcare and food security that will not only reduce the likelihood of future shocks, but also contribute to enhancing the Emirate’s resilience against such shocks.” Al-Qamzi added that the continued flow of local and foreign investments, whether from the government or private sector, are supporting the Emirate’s efforts in achieving sustainable growth and a rapid transition to a knowledge-based economy. The Cabinet Resolution No. (16) for the year 2020 issued last November listing a set of economic sectors and activities in which 100 per cent foreign ownership is allowed, supports efforts to attract FDI into the UAE.

In addition, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the ‘Nasdaq Dubai Growth Market’ in October 2020 to assist emerging companies and small and medium enterprises in attracting investors and financing their projects through an initial public offering (IPO). The move will support not only local businesses, but also companies from different parts of the world, enabling them to expand in the region and internationally.

Dubai also launched a ‘Virtual Work Program’ in October 2020, offering overseas’ professionals the opportunity to work remotely using Dubai as a residential base so that they can benefit from its safe and high-quality working and living environment. The program complements the golden visa for long-term residency permits launched in 2019 that allows foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need for an Emirati sponsor and hold 100 per cent ownership of their businesses in the UAE. The golden visas can be issued for a period of five or 10 years and renewed automatically.

The ongoing initiatives, in addition to the Expo 2020 scheduled to be hosted next year, will drive increased investment inflows and job creation in the coming years.

Al Qamzi also revealed the results of a recent study by Dubai Economy, which estimates growth to accelerate to 4 per cent in the emirate by 2021 taking into account prevailing conditions and the outlook for the global economy.

The economic impact of confinement measures in the first half of 2020

Preliminary reports issued by the Dubai Statistics Centre show a 10.8 per cent decline in the emirate’s economy in the first six months of 2020. Arif Al Muhairi, Executive Director of Dubai Statistics Centre, said this decline is within the expected range of economic contraction, given the massive global economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the first half of the year. The critical priority placed on combating the pandemic and protecting public health and safety induced a widespread slowdown. As with countries around the world, various confinement measures, such as curfews and closures of businesses, had a major impact on economic activities.

The Dubai Statistics Centre data also show that activities related to cross border transactions were the most impacted by the overall decline in H1 2020. These activities accounted for 85.4 per cent of the total decline and included sectors such as trade, transport, hospitality and food, which were severely hit by the closure of international borders and curbs on travel and tourism. Foreign trade also suffered as cargo movement was restricted by closure of borders and airports.

Trade, transport and storage in general saw a decline in H1 2020 compared to the same period with trade activity alone decreasing by 15.1 per cent. Despite the decline, trade remained the largest contributor to the emirate’s economy, with a 24 per cent share. The decline largely coincided with the gradual closure that began in mid-March and continued until June. Transport and storage activity decreased by 28.3 per cent, pulling the emirate’s economy down by 3.6 percentage points, as flights and airports came to a standstill and broad demand for transport weakened during the National Disinfection Program and related closure. However, despite the decline, transport and storage activity made a substantially high contribution of 10.3 per cent to the emirate’s economy.

DP World handled 18.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) across its global portfolio of container terminals in Q3 2020. Total handling volumes increased by 3.1 per cent year-on-year, and 1.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis. During the first nine months of 2020, DP World handled 52.2 million TEUs, a decrease of 2.5 per cent, on the basis of announced reports, and a decrease of 2 per cent on a like-for-like basis. The growth in total container volumes on a comparable basis was mainly driven by strong performances in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. The recovery in total volume is due to several factors including a 10 per cent increase in productivity on a quarterly basis as global economies began to ease lockdown restrictions. India, which suffered from a sharp slowdown in Q2 2020, also witnessed a significant improvement in the volume of handling compared to Q2. The Jebel Ali Port in the UAE also achieved a growth of 3.4 per cent compared to the previous quarter in tandem with the recovery and stabilization of the regional commercial activities.

The Dubai Statistics Centre data also show a decrease of 34.6 per cent in activity in the hospitality and food services (hotels and restaurants) during H1 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Though the decline pulled the Dubai economy down by 1.7 percentage points, the sector contributed 3.7 per cent to it. The decline, part of a global trend, was largely expected due to the complete cessation of foreign and domestic tourism and the strict safety procedures, including complete closures of establishments operating in these sectors.

Certain health-related activities witnessed a decline of 13.2 per cent in the first half of 2020, which can be attributed to changing healthcare priorities and suspension of specialized activities and services to focus on crisis management and counter-pandemic measures.

Real estate activities also witnessed a decline of 3.7 per cent. The sector contributed 8 per cent to real GDP and an added value of approximately Dh15 billion in H1 2020. The drop in residential rental prices and margins achieved from the sale of real estate units were the major reasons for the decline.

Financial and insurance activities flourish

Financial services and insurance activities saw a new phase of growth during the pandemic, growing 1.4 per cent and pushing the emirate’s overall economy positively by 0.1 percentage points. The sector also enhanced its contribution to the emirate’s economy to 11.5 per cent in the first half of 2020. HE Arif Al Muhairi, remarked that the banking sector in the country is in a strong position to face any future challenges as data from the Central Bank show that the UAE banking system remained active in financing and extending credit in H1 2020.

Businesses as well as individuals were supported by banks in the UAE during the crisis period. Bank credit to residents in general rose by 5.5 per cent by the end of the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, and data indicated a 52 per cent growth in financing for transport, storage and communications activity, and 19% in personal finance for business purposes. Financing for food industries grew by 10%, for chemical industries by 15%, and for agricultural activity by 9%, confirming the importance of the banking sector in supporting vital economic activities in the UAE.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, continued to lead the future of the financial sector in the region during H1 2020, reaching the highest rate of company registration in light of its continuing work with its partners to overcome the impact of COVID-19. DIFC revealed that 310 new companies joined its lists during H1 2020, an increase of 25 per cent compared to the same period last year, bringing the number of active companies in DIFC to 2,584, representing a major achievement, especially during COVID-19. This achievement comes as the financial sector and the related innovative sectors continue to place their trust in Dubai as the leading financial hub and preferred financial technology centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Fintech companies maintained their position as a major growth driver, with 87 companies specialised in financial technology joining DIFC’s innovation and technology excellence system, increasing the number of registered and licensed financial technology companies by 74 per cent compared to H1 2019. H1 2020 also witnessed a threefold increase in the size of the financial technology accelerator ‘Fintech Hive’ in the financial centre with the opening of new and large spaces at Gate Avenue to support start-ups and entrepreneurs. DIFC achieved a record number of applications to participate in the fourth edition of Fintech Hive. In 2020, the programme received more than 600 applications from emerging companies operating in various sectors, including organisational technology, Islamic financial technology, insurance technology and various financial technology sectors, representing a 46 per cent increase compared to last year.

Productive activities (agriculture, mining, and industry), which are critical to securing the needs of residents and businesses, grew by 1 per cent in the first half of 2020. These sectors remained active under close monitoring and stringent observance of precautionary measures.

The government sector achieved a growth rate of 1.1 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, contributing 5.4 per cent to the emirate’s real GDP and pushing its economy up by 0.1 percentage point, as it continued spending on development projects. Total government spending grew by 6 per cent in H 2020 compared to the first half of the previous year.


Vaccines remain effective against new variant of COVID-19

Experts from the European Union have come to the conclusion that the current vaccines against the coronavirus remain effective against the new variant of COVID-19 spotted in particular in Great Britain, the German government announced on Sunday evening.

• Read also: Several countries suspend their links with London

• Read also: The Bloc calls for the suspension of flights from the United Kingdom

• Read also: Part of England re-confined to face virus “out of control”

“From all that we know at the present time and following discussions which have taken place between experts from the European authorities”, the new strain “has no impact on vaccines Which remain “just as effective”, said Health Minister Jens Spahn, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, on public broadcaster ZDF.

More details to come.


CBD: Safe or Effective for Heart Failure?


Larry Allen, MD, MHS, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Scott Lundgren, DO, Nebraska Medicine.

FDA: “What You Need to Know (And What We’re Working to Find Out) About Products Containing Cannabis or Cannabis-derived Compounds, Including CBD,” “FDA Approves First Drug Comprised of an Active Ingredient Derived from Marijuana to Treat Rare, Severe Forms of Epilepsy,” “FDA and Cannabis: Research and Drug Approval Process.”

JCI Insight: “A single dose of cannabidiol reduces blood pressure in healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover study.”

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity: “Therapeutic Applications of Cannabinoids in Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure.”

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: “An Update on Safety and Side Effects of Cannabidiol: A Review of Clinical Data and Relevant Animal Studies.” “Cannabidiol in Patients With Heart Failure in AHA/ACC Stages A-C (CAPITAL-AC).” NCT03634189.

Journal of Cardiac Failure: “Marijuana Use is Associated with Better Hospital Outcome in Patients with Acute Heart Failure: A Propensity Match Analysis from National Inpatient Database.”

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Coronavirus COVID-19 The Buzz

Indian-American Time’s Kid of the Year Gitanjali focuses on effective Covid vaccine distribution

New York, December 14

Young Indian-American scientist Gitanjali Rao, TIME magazine’s first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’, has said she is brainstorming about solutions for the effective vaccine distribution to address a pressing challenge posed by the coronavirus, and has set her sights on preventing future pandemics.

In an interview with PTI, the 15-year-old inventor said she was focussed on using technological tools to offer solutions for vaccine distribution, a challenge that confronts the world grappling with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

Rao was named by TIME magazine this month as the first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’ for her “astonishing work using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying”. She was selected among over 5,000 nominees for the honour.

“I definitely do want to look at the pandemic. The next biggest problem we’re going to face is vaccine distribution and prioritisation. So I’m looking at my potential data and analytics approach towards that,” Rao said.

“But I think the next biggest problem that I’ll probably look towards solving is preventing future pandemics from happening because I think it’s safe to assume that this isn’t the last one and we probably will have another one before 100 years,” she said.

Rao says she is still at a “brainstorming and observing” phase but is looking at the whole idea of vaccine distribution and how widespread it needs to be.

“Also, how important it is because everybody needs to receive this vaccine. So, I’m looking at how we can use predictive analytics and data models in order to create a plan of how vaccine distribution will roll out,” she said.

TIME had said in its profile that “exceptional leadership” is what made the “brilliant” Rao stand out for the honour.

“Rao not only researches scientific tools such as artificial intelligence and carbon nanotube sensor technology and applies them to problems she sees in everyday life, like cyberbullying and water contamination. She also shows other kids how to tap into their curiosity, aspiring to create a generation of innovators,” it said.

Rao said it was very “exciting” to be named Kid of the Year “but more than that it’s honoring and humbling to be that face of Generation Z as well as have the opportunity to be featured on the cover of TIME among so many other fantastic people. I’m so beyond humbled and I’m just excited to see where this keeps going”.

The youngster, who through her work is an inspiration for many, counted her parents – Bharathi and Ram Rao – and the family as her “biggest inspirations”.

Rao said she had always received an incredible amount of support from her parents.

“If I wanted to play a certain sport, learn something new, I had all the resources in front of me,” she said.

Rao recalled how her mother brought nearly a dozen books for her in third grade on clouds when she wanted to learn about the subject.

“Experiences like that are what changed my life forever, having that support and being able to do what I love without any backlash,” she said.

Rao said she was also “truly inspired” by scientists and inventors who go beyond themselves and innovate for positive change, particularly Jonas Salk, who invented the polio vaccine and never patented it.

“He never claimed it as his own because he wanted it to be something that everyone could use, and I really aspire to be that selfless and put others before me,” Rao said.

The young scientist, who has been featured in Forbes list of 30 Under 30 achievers, was named America’s Top Young Scientist and is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) promoter, wants to see more young girls being given opportunities to study and work in the field.

“I think another thing is just showing them role models in the field and I honestly aspire to be one of them,” she said, adding that when she was in second grade, she did not know females could be scientists.

“I didn’t know it was possible because everybody I had seen in the media and learned about was a male. I was excited personally to learn that a girl could be a scientist which is almost problematic because I was able to learn about that but what if people didn’t have that inspiration, didn’t have that opportunity for growth. We just need to involve more girls in STEM by showing them that they can do it,” she said.

Rao has also been working tirelessly on creating a community of innovators and has so far mentored thousands of students. She runs workshops for students from across the globe who want to become innovators and solve global problems. “Everyone comes out of that workshop with one solution and a process that they can take to implement it in the real world. If I can do it, you can do it and anyone can do it,” she says.

Rao says she is interested in working on several things in the future and wants to look at genetic research with product design involved.

“Hopefully whatever I’m doing, I’m changing the world for the better,” she said. For Rao, her own passion right now is working on solutions for the contamination of natural resources.

“I’m looking at water contamination specifically and water parasitic contamination is the biggest problem that I’m seeing out there today. I really want to find a way to prevent that from happening,” she said, adding that she is using genetically engineered microbes to detect parasites in water. “I’m using living things to find living things which I think is a very interesting concept,” she said. PTI


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AstraZeneca COVID Vaccine Effective in Late Trials

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, new data from late-stage trials shows.

Overall, the vaccine protected against symptomatic disease in 70% of cases, according to a team led by researchers from Oxford University in England. Among study volunteers who got a half dose and then a full dose, the rate was 90%, while the rate was 62% in those given two full doses.

“Our findings indicate that our vaccine’s efficacy exceeds the thresholds set by health authorities and may have a potential public health impact,” said Oxford’s Andrew Pollard, the lead author on the study.

The interim findings are from phase 3 trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil that included more than 11,600 participants. Most of them (82%) were between the ages of 18 and 55, because older people were recruited later and will be studied in future analyses of the data.

Safety data from nearly 24,000 people in four trials in the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa found that, over a median of 3.4 months, only three participants had serious side effects possibly related to the vaccine. All recovered or are recovering and remain in the trial, according to the findings published online Dec. 8 in The Lancet.

“The results presented in this report provide the key findings from our first interim analysis,” study author Merryn Voysey, also from the University of Oxford, said in a journal news release. “In future analyses, with more data included as it becomes available, we will investigate differences in key subgroups such as older adults, various ethnicities, doses, timing of booster vaccines, and we will determine which immune responses equate to protection from infection or disease.”

Previous clinical trials of the vaccine had found that the vaccine triggers antibody and T-cell immune responses, and is safe in people aged 18 and older.

The researchers haven’t yet been able to assess how long the vaccine provides protection. More data needs to be collected to determine the length of time the vaccine is effective and the possible need for booster shots.


Study co-author Sarah Gilbert, also from Oxford, said, “Despite global spread of COVID-19, a large proportion of the population in many countries have not been infected and are not immune. Vaccines may play an important role in increasing immunity, preventing severe disease and reducing the health crisis, so the possibility that more than one efficacious vaccine may be approved for use in the near future is encouraging.”

Gilbert added, “Here we have shown for the first time that an adenoviral vectored vaccine — a type of vaccine technology which has been in use since 2009 — is efficacious and could contribute to disease control in the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Two other leading coronavirus vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, have shown roughly 95% effectiveness after two doses in late-stage trials. Both employ a newer technology that uses messenger RNA to prime the immune system to attack the new coronavirus. New data posted Tuesday on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website in advance of a Dec. 10 meeting of its vaccine advisory panel showed the Pfizer vaccine is 52% effective after one dose.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19 vaccination.

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Dec. 8, 2020


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FDA: Pfizer COVID Vaccine Effective After One Dose

TUESDAY, Dec. 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — New data released Tuesday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee suggest that Pfizer’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine works well protecting recipients against COVID-19.

The committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday to consider the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization, CNBC reported.

According to the FDA, the data from Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trials were “consistent” with the agency’s recommendations for an emergency use authorization. The data show that the vaccine provides protection after the first dose and that two doses are “highly effective” in preventing COVID-19.

“As such, FDA has determined that the Sponsor has provided adequate information to ensure the vaccine’s quality and consistency for authorization of the product under an EUA,” the agency said.

Today, the United Kingdom began inoculating its citizens with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The United States is expected to decide on the emergency approval of the vaccine before the end of the week, CNBC reported.

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