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WHO – Asymptomatic Coronavirus Transmission is Rare

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WHO coronavirus

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the only organization that the world is depending on, during this pandemic. With the following statements from WHO, it clears ambiguity to alleviate fears. The recent statement from WHO, however, explained that asymptomatic coronavirus transmission is not common.

Looking at the figures worldwide show, a significant number of people are tested positive for the deadly virus. However, it is assumed that not all of them pass on their infections majorly. However, although rare, it does not rule out the transmission of the virus before the development of symptoms.

Analysis of coronavirus transmission by WHO

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove is the head of emerging diseases at WHO. She also had a Q/A session on COVID-19 in March, posted on YouTube, and available here.

She has commented about the asymptomatic transmission saying that it is based on the evidence received. The countries executed comprehensive contact tracing, to give concrete evidence. She further made a clear distinction of 3 separate categories, while analyzing the coronavirus.

  • Infected patients who have not experienced any symptoms (asymptomatic)
  • Infected patients testing positive for the virus despite no prior experience of any symptoms. However, they have now begun developing them (pre-symptomatic)
  • Infected patients who are experiencing very light or atypical symptoms. Hence, they are unaware that they have the coronavirus.

She explained that few reports differentiate between these categories, unlike others. In addition to the study of other small groups, the conclusions are difficult to come across. However, based on the cumulative evidence, Dr. Van Kerkhove confirmed the “insignificant” risk of asymptomatic transmission.

WHO recently explained the importance of face masks and the percentage of reduction in transmission. The statement suggested the above argument.

In England, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has continued to examine a unit of the population regularly. According to the reports, out of all infected coronavirus patients tested positive, 29% reported symptoms. This was during the testing, or prior to the testing with the inclusion of visits.

Highest risk

The contact tracing from several countries is the foundation for the collected evidence. Prof Babak Javid, an infectious diseases consultant at the Unversity of Cambridge explained the transmission. It suggests that asymptomatic transmission exits. However, it is rare. He continued that infection transmission usually happens after the development of symptoms. This could be the initial stage or when they are very mild.

Identifiable amounts of the virus can exist in patients approximately 3 days prior to the development of symptoms. At this stage, transmission can take place, especially during the first signs of first symptoms.

Asymptomatic people are further unaware of them being contagious. However, Prof Javid explained that pre-symptomatic people had to follow a few guidelines. This included tracking, tracing, and self-isolation rules.

Prof Liam Smeeth, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also added to this matter. H explained that this reflects the importance of lockdown measures and how it has reduced the spread significantly.

Asymptomatic people could be capable of transmitting the virus. However, the possibility is extremely rare, suggests by the current evidence. Hence, it holds pre-symptomatic people at the highest risk.

A positive test does not determine the amount of virus in a person’s body. This is called the viral load. Furthermore, the method of contact can highly determine the likeliness of the infection. Hence, contact tracing is important for the determination of the transmission of the virus. Dr. Van Kerkhove pointed out the “injection droplets” that are the biggest threat in transmission. Furthermore, the most significant amount of infection droplets are passed on during coughing and sneezing. This consequently increases the rate of transmission.

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Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Provides 90% Protection: A Potential End to the Pandemic

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Pfizer

Researchers are constantly trying to invent a COVID-19 vaccine to end and control this global crisis. While many have declared expected release dates, an interim analysis has reported that a candidate from Pfizer/BioNTech showed 90% effectiveness in the protection of individuals from the COVID-19. The vaccine showed much more hope than researchers had expected in view of the companies’ analysis. Moreover, it also shows us the potential end of a pandemic which caused a global lockdown and economic shutdown.

An interim analysis provided data where the trial is to continue until the end of this year. Regulators are awaiting the vaccine and will soon begin the processing of the emergency license application promptly. Oxford University’s professor of medicine, John Bell, also a part of the research with the Oxford vaccine, praised the Pfizer team’s level of efficacy. Bell hopes for normalcy to return and prevail as he tells BBC confidently.

The manufacturing process has already begun. According to a tweet by The Hill, Pfizer CEO Alert Bourla reveals the expected global supply.

Accessibility

The joint committee in the UK, on immunization and vaccination, made some recommendations. Considering the success of the vaccines for senior citizens, the first recommended dose should be given to residents and home workers. The following recipients should be any citizen over the age of 80, and social care and health care workers. After that, the recipients will be in decreasing order of age.

The news, however, was a bit late to aid Donald Trump in the recent US elections. Although, Mike Pence, vice president, attempted to claim the Operation Warp Speed programme of their administration which aided the development of the vaccine. Ultimately, Pfizer denied the offer.

Senior Vice-president and the head of the research and development of vaccine at Pfizer denied all claims in an interview. Kathrin Jansen denied receiving any money from anyone, including the US government.

Safety

Currently, no such safety concerns regarding the vaccine stand out. Both companies have reported no severe side-effects. Moreover, the incredibly high percentage of protection, makes the vaccine even more compelling. Furthermore, regulators had previously stated the approval of a vaccine with a 50% rate.

Chairman rejoices the accomplishment and explains the primary set of results achieved from the 3rd phase of their trial. The results provide evidence regarding the ability of the vaccine to provide maximum protection against the deadly virus. With the increasing infection rates, economic shutdown,  and nearing collapse of the healthcare industry, it is a critical achievement.

Despite the evident excitement, many researchers are still trying to stay grounded and are waiting for the final data. However, these results will be ready after the ongoing trial has reached its completion. Over 43,000 individuals have involved in the phase 3 trials. Volunteers were given either the

  • placebo alternative like meningitis vaccine or
  • the vaccine, administered in 2 shots with a period of 3 weeks

The doctors were also unaware of the specific recipients of the placebo alternatives, to increase the reliability of the results.

It is a global achievement. As several countries rejoice, many have placed their orders for the Pfizer/BoNTech vaccine. The UK has secured 40m doses which will be able to treat 20 million citizens (the required dosage is 2 shots). Meanwhile, the EU bought 200m doses for distribution. Furthermore, the companies have also signed a $1.95bn contract with the US government, to safely deliver 100m vaccine doses at the beginning of 2021. Here’s to hoping that this global pandemic finally ends at the end of 2020.

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Cannabis

CBD May Potentially Help Fight Lung Damage Caused by COVID-19

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Studies are showing that cannabis derivatives including CBD can be helpful in fighting coronavirus symptoms

To help their patients recoil from the distress caused by COVID-19, medical experts are experimenting with anything that feels even slightly applicable as a workable remedy. With this intention, many of them are now assessing the effectiveness of CBD for treating COVID-19 symptoms.

According to recent studies, CBD can help reduce respiratory distress, immunity responses, and other symptoms in COVID-19 patients. In the studies, CBD not only reversed clinical symptoms but also improved physical damages endured by the organs during infection.

Most of the experts relate this ability of CBD with its resemblance to the cannabinoids present in the body. Since cannabinoids are an essential part of the endocannabinoid system, CBD’s role in reducing infection symptoms might have relevant explanations.

COVID-19 and its impact on the lungs: ARDS and Cykotine storm 

Although symptoms of COVID-19 vary greatly between individuals, all experts agree that it is a respiratory infection. It causes severe damages to the airways of patients leading to difficulty in breathing, and pneumonia in patients. Although artificial ventilators might help, a majority of patients in advanced stages of infection do no survive.

The structural makeup of coronavirus makes it excessively easy for it to break into human cells. The ‘spikes’ protruding on its surface not only distinguish it from other viruses. In addition to this, they also help it to break through the protective protein gates that surround our body’s cells. These protective gates are called ACE2 receptors and play a very vital role in controlling inflammation and blood pressure in the body.

According to experts, COVID-19 binds to the ACE2 receptors, upsetting their primary roles. “Instead of ACE2 helping blood vessels relax, it helps the virus get into the host where it makes more viruses instead of helping the lungs relax and do their job,” says Dr. Jack Yu from MCG. 

One organ that gets seriously affected in this myriad of infectious attacks is our lungs. 

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS is a very common yet serious complication that launches full-blown cytokine storms in the most vulnerable coronavirus victims. This is an aggressive response of the body that causes the immune system to release a large amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The result of this is acute lung injury and a low oxygen saturation level in patients. According to a 2020 study from the National Institutes of Health, the average mortality rate of ARDS is 43%. 

How can CBD help combat lung damage caused by COVID-19?

The task at hand for researchers is to find an effective cure for the symptoms of COVID-19 alongside their quest of developing a fecund vaccine.

As a means to address this issue, scientists from the Dental College of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia have uncovered how CBD helps to reduce inflammations in the lungs brought about by COVID-19.

The team created a lung model that duplicated the damages caused by COVID-19 and other viruses on the lungs. The model included mice with classic symptoms of ARDS, including an over-responsive immune system. 

They found that the major role played by CBD in the study was the regulation of apelin levels. Apelin is a natural peptide that is made by blood cells, lungs, brain, heart, and fat tissue in the body. It regulates blood pressure and plays a vital role in bringing down the inflammation.

In patients suffering from ARDS, the levels of peptide fell to zero but increased by about 20 times with CBD. Furthermore, CBD also helped to normalize the oxygen levels, swelling, immune responses as well as scarring on the lungs caused by ARDS.

In yet another study conducted by Israeli scientists, a new therapy using CBD-loaded exosomes was considered to treat COVID-19 patients. The reason for this being that CBD-Loaded exosomes could potentially have a synergistic anti-inflammatory. This could help it in reducing damaged organs, especially the lungs of coronavirus patients.

Furthermore, another component of the cannabis plant known as THC has also shown some promising results for reducing virus symptoms. Mice studied in three separate studies showed 100% survival rates when THC was given to them for infection symptoms. While these lab results do not fully reflect real-life results for humans, researchers are truly amazed at the effectiveness of THC for ARDS.

 

 

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Cannabis

OCD – Can Cannabis Help?

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Cannabis is being used to treat OCD for due to its therapeutic properties.

For the past many years experts have tried to manage OCD with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Recently however, there is an increase in the number of researchers that are studying the impact of cannabis in soothing some symptoms related to OCD.

According to the statistics of ADAA, OCD impacts about 2.2 million adults in the US population. Equally common among men and women, this condition has an average onset age of 19 years. However, about 25% of cases are also diagnosed in children up to 14 year old.

Before we can cross-examine the effectiveness of cannabis for treating symptoms of OCD, it is important to understand the dynamics of the condition first.

Here is what’s it like to have OCD:

What is OCD?

OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a form of anxiety that causes extreme fixations and temptations in people. It results in compulsions that are powerful enough to interfere with the daily lives of its victims.

The impulses created by OCD are often beyond rational reasoning or understanding on the surface for those around the patients. But for the patients the impulses can be irresistibly compelling, making them helpless at the hands of their intrusive thoughts.

This forces them to repeat their actions unwillingly. Most of the time, these actions are triggered by confusions, insecurities or fears. Excessive double checking of things, spending a lot of time washing and cleaning or continually rearranging things are all some examples of OCD behaviors.

The severity of the symptoms depends largely upon the stage that patients currently stand at. Milder symptoms often go unnoticed by family or friends. In contrast, severe symptoms can negatively impact social relationships and result in a lot of mental stress for the patients.

How Cannabis helps to deal with OCD

Cannabis and its derivatives are gaining renewed spotlight in the medical world for their therapeutic properties. With hemp becoming legal throughout the United States, more and more studies are now  dedicated to gauge its effectiveness for a number of ailments. Although still restricted, the same is true for its sanctioned counterpart marijuana in states where it is considered legal.

When it comes to judging its effectiveness for OCD, it is important to note that most researchers agree on the fact that OCD is caused by inflammations in certain parts of the brain.

According to Dr. Jeffery Meyer head of the Neurochemical Imaging Program, “Our research showed a strong relationship between brain inflammation and OCD, particularly in the parts of the brain known to function differently in OCD. This finding represents one of the biggest breakthroughs in understanding the biology of OCD, and may lead to the development of new treatments,”

Role of Cannabis in soothing brain inflammation

CBD, a derivative of cannabis has been shown to work for reducing inflammation, oxygen buildup and brain cell decline in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. This ability of the drug has helped it combat diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s.

Role of Cannabis in breaking impulsive thoughts

Studies conducted by the University of Washington have found that cannabis may have a positive impact on OCD patients. They researchers studied around 87 patients and tracked the impact on their OCD symptoms after about 1,810 cannabis use sessions.
At the end of the study it was found that about 60% patients reported a reduction in their compulsions. In additions, about 49% experienced a reduction in their intrusions. Moreover, almost 52% were able to control their anxiety after inhaling cannabis.

Role of Cannabis in breaking anxiety cycles

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body plays a very vital role in regulating all other physiological processes and maintaining a state of homeostasis in the body. Cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) produced by the body are very similar in chemical structure to the cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids).

This allows the components of cannabis to react efficiently with the ECS and regulate any disturbances their in.

People with OCD experience continual anxiety that puts their bodies under huge stress. This long-term exposure to stress leads to other physiological problems like depression, weight gain and panic attacks.

When cannabis derivatives like CBD and THC enter the body, the ECS starts increasing the levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a feel good hormone that relaxes the mind and triggers feelings of pleasure in users. In addition to this, it controls the expression of cortisol – a hormone that primarily increases stress.

It is important to note here that while higher concentrations of CBD do not increase anxiety, higher THC levels may be counter-productive. This is because THC is a psychoactive component of cannabis that causes addiction and dependence. Heavy doses of THC can

 

 

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