Kerala doctors detect at least 7 cases of dangerous neuro disorder among Covishield recipients

News Network
June 24, 2021

At least seven cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome – a rare neurological disorder – have been detected by the doctors in Kerala within a month among 12 lakh people who received the Covishield vaccine, prompting them to alert others to watch out for GBS among the vaccine recipients.

“Overall, our experience should prompt all physicians to be vigilant in recognising GBS in patients who have received the ChAdOx1-S vaccine (Covishield in India). While the risk per patient (5.8 per million) may be relatively low, our observations suggest that this clinically distinct GBS variant is more severe than usual and may require mechanical ventilation,” they reported in the Annals of Neurology.

GBS is a rare condition in which the immune system attacks the nerves. The symptoms start as weakness and tingling in the feet and legs. The sensations can quickly spread to the upper body, leading to paralysis in the worst cases.

While the condition may be triggered by an acute bacterial or viral infection, there are treatments available to deal with such medical emergencies.

Out of the seven patients detected by the Kerala doctors, six are women and all of them are 50-70 years of age. They are from Ernakulam, Kottayam and Kannur districts of Kerala where approximately 1.2 million individuals had received the Covishield vaccine as of April 22.

“GBS following vaccination is a rare adverse effect that is likely to be causal. All the seven patients are alive and getting better with treatment,” Boby V Maramattom, the corresponding author of the study and a senior doctor at the department of neurology, Aster Medcity at Kochi said.

The incidence of GBS in India is approximately 6–40 cases per million per year, with a seasonal variation, peaking in the rainy season.

With a denominator of 1.2 million people, the expected cases of GBS per year are approximately seven to 48 annually or between 0.58 to four cases in every four weeks. The reporting of seven GBS cases in 1.2 million people within four weeks (mid March to mid April) marks a 1.4-to-10 fold rise in the incidence of GBS.

“Although the (causative) factors are not completely established, molecular mimicry between viral proteins and human nerve proteins are likely to be a reason,” he said. “It is not completely unexpected with a vaccination but the risk is approximately less than five per million doses.”

A separate team of researchers also reported four such cases from Nottingham in England, an area in which approximately 7,00,000 people received the same vaccine. The frequency of GBS in both the areas was estimated to be up to 10 times greater than expected.

"If the link is causal it could be due to a cross-reactive immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and components of the peripheral immune system. The clinicians should be vigilant in looking for this rare neurological syndrome following the administration of Covid-19 vaccines," wrote the authors of the UK report.

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News Network
July 24,2021

Kabul, July 24: US military aircraft struck a number of Taliban positions this week in support of faltering Afghan government forces, in one of the first significant American reactions to the anti-occupation forces’ blistering advance across Afghanistan as US troops withdraw.

At least one of the strikes was against Taliban positions in the key southern city of Kandahar, slowing an advance that threatened to take over the city.

The Taliban called the strikes “disobedience” to last year’s withdrawal agreement with the Americans, and they warned of unspecified “consequences” — an indication that the airstrikes had an impact on Taliban.

The scale and pace of the Taliban advance has provoked alarm among top US military and civilian officials in recent days. The Taliban now emerged stronger in most of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and even Kabul, the national capital. The group has overrun more than half of the country’s 400-odd districts, in many cases seizing them without a fight, since it began its offensive in earnest in May.

This week’s airstrikes, which took place Wednesday and Thursday, reflect both the level of American worry and the Afghan military’s continued need for US air support, as Washington attempts to end nearly 20 years of war in the country.

Afghan forces have been reeling in the face of the Taliban offensive, as the United States nears completion of a pull-out of its remaining forces. The United States and other major powers are pushing for a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government, but the Taliban believe they are winning the war, leaving little incentive to negotiate.

Several Pentagon officials confirmed that additional bombing raids around Kandahar and other contested areas are likely in the coming days. “We’ve been doing it where and when feasible, and we’ll keep doing it where and when feasible,” one official said, speaking anonymously to describe operational planning.

Pentagon officials confirmed the recent US strikes but were tight-lipped about specifics. They have been similarly ambiguous for weeks about the scale and scope of continued US military involvement in Afghanistan’s war, though they indicated earlier this month that it could continue at least until the withdrawal was completed at the end of August.

The Taliban said the airstrikes were carried out in Kandahar and in the neighboring province of Helmand.

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News Network
July 28,2021

New Delhi, July 28: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday said that the Cabinet has approved amendment to the Deposit Insurance Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) Bill, paving the way to increase deposit insurance from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh, which will be given to depositors within 90 days of RBI imposing a moratorium on a bank. 

Under DICGC Bill 2021, 98.3 per cent of all deposits will get covered and in terms of deposit value, 50.9 per cent of deposit value will be covered. Global deposit value is only 80 per cent of all deposit accounts. It only covers 20-30 per cent of deposit value, FM Sitharaman said. 

The Union Cabinet's decision comes as several depositors of troubled lenders have been waiting for longer periods to retrieve the money deposited in the bank accounts.

"The Deposit Insurance Credit Guarantee Corporation was created in case people faced difficulties after RBI imposes moratoriums on banks. "Today's Cabinet meeting has decided that within 90 days, depositors will receive Rs 5 lakhs of their money," Union Minister Anurag Thakur said.

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Agencies
July 28,2021

Dubai, July 28: Saudi Arabia has announced a three-year travel ban and hefty penalties on citizens who visit countries on the kingdom's COVID-19 red list, including India.

"Travelling to the banned countries is an obvious violation of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the Kingdom’s updated instructions," the Gulf News on Tuesday quoted a report by the state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as saying.

The SPA report said an official at the Saudi Ministry of Interior has warned Saudi citizens against travelling to countries that have been put on the no-travel list recently as these nations are currently witnessing a surge in cases of COVID-19 and its variants.

The red-list countries include the UAE, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, India and Vietnam.

The source, quoted by the SPA, said there are reports about citizens travelling to the banned countries in violation of the instructions issued by official authorities.

“Those who violate the travel ban will be held accountable and slapped with heavy penalties,” the source said, adding that those who are found to have violated the instructions would be banned from travelling abroad for three years.

The ministry called on citizens against travelling directly or indirectly to the red-list countries where the pandemic has not yet been controlled and there is a surge in cases of mutated strains of coronavirus.

It also urged citizens to exercise caution and stay away from areas where instability prevails or the virus is spreading, and take all precautionary measures regardless of their destination.

As on Tuesday, the kingdom’s coronavirus tally stands at 520,774, including 11,136 active cases, while the total death toll was at 8,189.

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