Pasteurising breast milk may inactivate novel coronavirus, claims study

News Network
July 10, 2020

Toronto, Jul 10: Pasteurising breast milk at 62.5 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes inactivates the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19, making it safe for consumption by babies, a study claims.

According to the research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, current advice for women with Covid-19 is to continue to breastfeed their own infants.

In Canada, it is standard care to provide pasteurised breast milk to very-low-birth-weight babies in hospital until their own mother's milk supply is adequate, the researchers said.

"In the event that a woman who is Covid-19-positive donates human milk that contains SARS-CoV-2, whether by transmission through the mammary gland or by contamination through respiratory droplets, skin, breast pumps and milk containers, this method of pasteurisation renders milk safe for consumption," said Sharon Unger, a professor at the University of Toronto in Canada.

The Holder method, a technique used to pasteurise milk in all Canadian milk banks at 62.5 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, is effective at neutralising viruses such as HIV, hepatitis and others that are known to be transmitted through human milk, the researchers said.

In the latest study, the researchers spiked human breast milk with a viral load of SARS-CoV-2 and tested samples that either sat at room temperature for 30 minutes or were warmed to 62.5 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.

They then measured for active virus, finding that the virus in the pasteurised milk was inactivated after heating.

More than 650 human breast milk banks around the world use the Holder method to ensure a safe supply of milk for vulnerable infants, the researchers said.

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Agencies
September 25,2020

A standard test that assesses blood cells can identify which patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 could face a high risk of becoming critical and die, say researchers.

"We wanted to help find ways to identify high-risk COVID patients as early and as easily as possible -- who are likely to become severely ill and which hospitalized patients are likely to get worse quickly," said study researcher John M Higgins from the Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

Higgins noted that early reports from China indicated that the body's inflammatory response was extremely intense in some patients and very mild in others.

His own group's previous work revealed that certain changes in the numbers and types of blood cells during inflammation are associated with poor health outcomes in patients with diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

"We quickly re-focused our computational infrastructure towards the analysis of the Covid-19 patient cohort that was growing rapidly in the Boston area last spring," explained study first author Brody Foy from the Harvard Medical School.

Their analysis, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, included all adults diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection and admitted to one of four hospitals in the Boston area between March 4 and April 28, 2020.

Before looking for complicated changes in circulating blood cells in the 1,641 patients included in the study, the scientists first searched for patterns using currently available blood tests that are routinely performed.

"We were surprised to find that one standard test that quantifies the variation in size of red blood cells -- called red cell distribution width, or RDW -- was highly correlated with patient mortality," the researchers wrote.

The correlation persisted when controlling for other identified risk factors like patient age, some other lab tests, and some pre-existing illnesses," they added.

Patients who had RDW values above the normal range when they were admitted to the hospital had a 2.7-times higher risk of dying, with a mortality rate of 31 per cent compared with 11 per cent in patients with normal RDW values.

Also, a subsequent increase in RDW after admission was associated with an even higher risk of dying, indicating that RDW could be tracked during hospitalization to help determine whether patients are responding to treatment or getting worse.

The investigators are currently seeking to uncover the mechanisms that cause RDW elevations in severe COVID-19 cases.

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Agencies
September 29,2020

New Delhi, Sept 29: ICMR scientists have flagged presence of another Chinese virus called 'Cat Que Virus', which has a "potential" to cause disease in India, even as it grapples with the Covidpandemic. CQV can cause febrile illnesses, meningitis and paediatric encephalitis in humans.

According to the seven researchers at the Indian Council of Medical Research's National Institute of Virology in Pune, the presence of Cat Que Virus in Culex mosquitoes and pigs has been reported in China and Vietnam. They added that due to the spread of similar species of the Culex mosquitoes in India, there is a need to understand the replication kinetics of this virus.

The researchers said that the presence in Culex mosquitoes in China and pigs in Vietnam suggested susceptibility of Asian countries to CQV.

The scientists discovered antibodies for the tropical virus in two out of the 883 human serum samples tested across states. It indicates that these two people were infected with the virus at some point of time. It was not found in any of the human at the time of study.

"Anti-CQV IgG antibody positivity in human serum samples tested and the replication capability of CQV in mosquitoes indicated a possible disease causing potential of CQV in Indian scenario. Screening of more human and swine serum samples using these assays is required as a proactive measure for understanding prevalence of this neglected tropical virus,a the research published in Indian Journal of Medical Research in June stated.

In Indian context, "data showed that mosquitoes such as Ae. aegypti, Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. Tritaeniorhynchus were susceptible to CQV. Thus, mosquitoes were found to be a potential vector for CQV transmission to mammalian hosts", a scientist stated.

According to the apex research body, domestic pigs are the primary mammalian host of CQV and antibodies against the virus have been reported in swine reared locally in China, indicating that CQV has formed a natural cycle in local areas.

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News Network
September 18,2020

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Ludhiana, Sept 18: DMCH Cancer Care Centre in collaboration with American Oncology Institute recently started a new diagnostic service (PSMA-PET Scan) in treating various prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and one of the leading causes of cancer death. Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA ) is highly expressed in prostate cancer and its expression increases with tumour aggressiveness, metastatic disease and disease recurrence.

Secretary of DMCH Managing Society, Sh. Prem Kumar Gupta said, “Very few facilities in the region have this state-of-art facility and will be of great benefit for the patients.” He further added, “DMCH Cancer Care Centre is always in the process of acquiring new techniques and facilities for diagnosing and treating various cancer diseases. The availability of this facility will go a long way to help both patients and clinicians in knowing about the proper stage of prostate cancer, thereby helping patients with better outcome.”

Dr. Puneet Bhutani from the Department of Nuclear Medicine, American Oncology Institute stated, “This is a major milestone in diagnosis of prostate cancer. The procedure of diagnosing prostate cancer through PSMA-PET Scan is more accurate method for early detection of recurrent disease. It allows the oncologists to treat patients at an early stage and provide them a better treatment outcome.”

About American Oncology Institute:

American Oncology Institute is the leading cancer care provider across South Asia operating a chain of cancer hospitals in multiple cities across South Asia. AOI today is a wholly owned subsidiary of Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR).

The team of clinical, paraclinical and healthcare operations experts pride themselves with the aim of closing the gap between standards of cancer care in South Asia and the developed cancer hospitals in the West. AOI provides comprehensive cancer management that is powered by clinical excellence, world class technology as well as best in class clinical pathways and protocols for treatment planning and execution, providing best in-class quality in cancer care across South Asia.

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