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The Update

 Issue no.12, March 2020

The Update is a monthly digest of all that is interesting, exciting and new in the world of medicine and medical science, presented in a curated and convenient package.

1. Update on COVID-19: Research and WHO Statement

A video commissioned by the WHO for the introduction to COVID-19
  • WHO officials said they are increasing the risk assessment of the coronavirus to “very high” across the world. The deadly virus has spread to more than 60 countries, infecting more than 85,000 people and killing at least 2,943.
  • Experts condemn “rumors and misinformation”
A letter in The Lancet voices the concerns of 27 scientists. The group condemns the spread of conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19, outlining the harmful consequences of these rumors.

Read more about the paper here.

  • Scientists are investigating existing drugs in the search for coronavirus treatments

Denis Kainov, one of the authors of a new paper, explains, “Drug repurposing is a strategy for generating additional value from an existing drug by targeting diseases other than that for which it was originally intended.”

Read more here.

  • Woman with no symptoms transmits virus to five family members
A report in the journal JAMA describes a woman with SARS-CoV-2 who displayed no symptoms. This so-called asymptomatic carrier transmitted the infection to five other people.

Read more about the case study here.

For more information on how to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 Click Here

2.Novel Microdose of Lithium Offers Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease Patients 

New research shows a novel lithium microdose formulation is effective in halting Alzheimer's disease in animal tests

Medical News Today reports on a study that proposed that the mood stabilizer lithium might help stave off dementia. 

  • The study found that people exposed to drinking water with higher concentrations of lithium were 17% less likely to develop dementia than people whose water contained barely any lithium.
  • In a study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry in August 2017, it was reported that a microdose of  lithium termed “NP03” can efficiently reach the brain to rescue cognitive impairments at early stages of AD-like amyloid pathology in AD rats
  • The experiments investigated the efficacy of NP03 administered at a late preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s pathology, when amyloid protein plaques have begun forming and symptomatic signs of cognitive decline are just beginning. The results impressively demonstrated the novel lithium microdose reduced levels of amyloid plaques, reversed memory deficits, and lowered neuroinflammatory markers in the rodent model.
  • Dr. Claudio Cuello — at the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University in Quebec, Canada — was the senior author of that study.
  • This new research points to these potential neuroprotective benefits from sustained lithium microdoses. However, it is important to note this particular microdose formulation is still yet to be tested in human subjects with Alzheimer’s, so much more work is necessary before it can be deployed as a clinical treatment.
Read more

3. Malaria Vaccine for Pregnant Women Safe in Phase 1 Trial

Malaria causing Plasmodium Falciparum
  • Malaria in pregnancy poses a great health risk to mother and her fetus and results into complications, such as abortion, still birth, intra uterine growth retardation, and low birth weight.  Placental malaria is caused by P. falciparum infected Erythrocytes (PE) that bind to the placental receptor Chondroitin Sulphate A (CSA) and sequester in the placenta where they cause disease and death for the mother and her off-spring.
  • It has been reported that a vaccine clinical trial for gestational malaria has yielded promising results and produces an immune response
  • The vaccine, which is called PRIMVAC, has been developed by researchers from Inserm and Université de Paris led by CNRS Research Director Benoît Gamain
  • The study marks the first in-human trial of the vaccine candidate, but did not evaluate the placental vaccine in pregnant women. The study design involved a randomized, double-blind trial in 2 staggered phases, which took place between April 19, 2016, and July 13, 2017.
  • For the clinical trial, the vaccine was evaluated in 68 non-pregnant women aged 18 to 35. The participants were randomly assigned to four cohorts, receiving the vaccine at various doses, on three occasions over a period of three months. These women were then monitored for 15 months in order to identify and treat any side effects and study the immune response induced by the vaccination.
  • The results of this study show that PRIMVAC is well tolerated, with the production of antibodies in 100 percent of women vaccinated after just two injections. They have further stated that the antibodies produced are capable of both recognizing the parasitic antigen on the surface of the infected red blood cells and inhibiting their adhesive capacity, which is responsible for their accumulation in the placenta.
Read more

A Low-Carbon Future Could Improve Global Health and Save Money

David Goehring/flickr/CC by 2.0 / flickr )
Conversations with Dr. Bachner interviewing Jonathan A. Patz, MD, MPH, author of A Low-Carbon Future Could Improve Global Health and Save Money. In this podcast you will understand the cost of having a High carbonated environment, to your health and bank account. You'll also know how to live a life that doesn't require in-take of excessive carbons.
Listen Here
Copyright © 2020 RAK Medical & Health Sciences University, All rights reserved.

For comments and corrections, please contact the author:
Ruba Hassan
- Member, Committee on Science & Technology 
Raghad Jehad Almazouni - Member, Committee on Science & Technology
Reem Ismail Nooh - Member, Committee on Science & Technology

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