Health

Health

Cuteness overload may make us better people
There is nothing quite like the guilt of diving down the rabbit hole, only to emerge a few hours later wondering where the time went.  But feel free to ignore that guilt when it comes to dog videos or clips of fluffy, adorable kittens on the internet.  It turns out there’s a rationale behind the addiction. A new study has found that watching such videos can lower your heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety — all health benefits we could use during the coronavirus pandemic.  The study took place in December 2019, involving 15 students who took part in a counter-intuitive exercise before exams at Britain’s University of Leeds.  Rather than doing any last-minute cramming, they watched slides a
Two vaccines look promising, here is what you need to know
Two pharmaceutical giants appear on the verge of deploying promising weapons in the global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.  On Monday, Moderna announced that its experimental vaccine was 95% effective.  On Wednesday, a joint project between Pfizer and BioNTech also said their vaccine was 95% effective after conducting final efficacy analyses. Last week the project had said initial results put the number at 91%. On Thursday, the CEO of Pfizer said the company hoped to file for emergency-use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration on November 20.  But even if they are approved, it will still be months before they are available to the public in the US and other parts of the wor
Chinese children are becoming taller. Here’s why
Rapid economic growth in China has led to major improvements in quality of life and, according to a recent study, Chinese teenagers have achieved significant gains in height over the past 35 years. In 1985, the average height of 19-year-old women was 5.2 feet and that of 19-year-old men 5.5 feet. In 2019, the corresponding figures were 5.4 feet and 5.8 feet respectively.  According to the study, published in the medical journal The Lancet this month, the increase in boys’ height is the largest in the world. The improvement in girls’ height is the third largest. The study analyses children’s physical growth in different countries by pooling height and body mass index data from 193 countries.
US experts hope for a reset on coronavirus containment under Biden
When Joe Biden is inaugurated as United States president on January 20 he will inherit the legacies of Donald Trump and one of the worst will be a pandemic that is out of control during the depth of winter. Public health experts who had pinned their hopes on a Biden presidency could barely celebrate because the skyrocketing number of Covid-19 cases heralded daunting challenges ahead. The two-month wait before he takes power also means the country will not immediately get a long-overdue organized federal response to the pandemic. Experts have already seen coronavirus surging at an unprecedented rate, passing the bleak milestone of 10 million cases with the last million accumulating in just 10
Pfizer says Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective
US drug maker Pfizer said on November 9, 2020, that its experimental Covid-19 vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. The findings were based on the first interim analysis conducted this month. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE are the first drug makers to release successful data from a large-scale clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine. The companies said they have so far found no serious safety concerns and expect to seek US authorization this month for emergency use of the vaccine.
China is giving its vaccines to the general public
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features one important number about China to give you insight into the rising power. $60: The cost of a new emergency use coronavirus vaccine in China.  The general public in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang can now get an “emergency use” coronavirus vaccine in the country’s first attempt to inoculate its population.  The vaccine will cost 400 yuan ($60) and will involve two shots administered 28 days apart.  The push for inoculation comes despite the fact that none of the vaccines in development have been officially approved. China currently has four vaccines that have entered phase three clinical trials, but none of them have passed. Much
Distribution may be the hardest step of Covid-19 vaccine journey
Covid-19 vaccine candidates have advanced into final-stage trials faster than any in history, and projections for how many total doses could roll off assembly lines next year now top 16 billion, according to one recent calculation. But failures and setbacks are standard in the vaccine industry, and such projections could be cut by more than half, according to another estimate made last month. Which experimental vaccines eventually make it past approval and off assembly lines at scale will profoundly impact who gets vaccinated and when. Rich economies have already claimed large amounts of some companies’ supplies.  Those companies have also pledged supplies to lower and middle-income economie
China races to contain coronavirus outbreak in Xinjiang
The remote city of Kashgar in China’s far west detected more than 100 asymptomatic Covid-19 cases on Sunday, the regional health authority said. Gu Yingsu, the Xinjiang health committee deputy head, told a press conference that all 137 new cases were related to one identified in a 17-year-old villager in Shufu county the previous day. Gu said the cases were all related to a factory in a neighboring village where the girl’s parents worked. The outbreak is the biggest reported in China since a cluster of cases linked to a market in Beijing in June. The Kashgar authorities started a mass testing program after the girl was found to be infected during a routine screening. The health authority sa
China joins global vaccine program spurned by Trump
China has joined a WHO-linked program seeking to ensure a fair global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. The move could bolster the struggling vaccine project, called Covax, which aims to make and deliver 2 billion doses of the vaccines to people most at risk by the end of 2021. China is the world’s biggest economy to have pledged support for the program, after the US opted out, citing the involvement of the World Health Organization. Covax, co-led by the vaccine alliance Gavi, pools resources from wealthier countries to allow an equitable distribution of approved vaccines to poorer nations, but it has so far struggled to obtain enough funding. The Chinese foreign ministry said it signed an
Mother’s milk could help fight coronavirus, study finds
Mother’s milk could prevent or treat Covid-19, according to a new study by Chinese scientists. A research team in Beijing tested the effect of human breast milk on cells exposed to the Sars-CoV-2 virus. The milk was collected in 2017, well before the start of the pandemic, and the cell types tested varied from animal kidney cells to young human lung and gut cells. The results were the same: most living virus strains were killed by the milk. The breast milk was “blocking viral attachment, entry and even post-entry viral replication,” the team led by Professor Tong Yigang from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology wrote in two non-peer-reviewed papers posted on biorxiv.org on Friday.