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Coronavirus

Does Vitamin D protect against the Coronavirus?

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Vitamin D3, also known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ has gained increased interest over the past couple of years due to its role in the general well-being in bone health. This vitamin is produced in the skin through the action of UVB radiation reaching 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin, followed by a thermal reaction.1 Vitamin D has many mechanisms by which it reduces the risk of microbial infection and death. It enhances cellular innate immunity partly through the induction of antimicrobial peptides, which exhibit direct antimicrobial activities against a spectrum of microbes, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, enveloped and nonenveloped viruses, and fungi.1

As per a study published in the renowned journal Lancet2, Vitamin D also enhances cellular immunity, in part by reducing the cytokine storm induced by the innate immune system. The innate immune system generates both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in response to viral and bacterial infections, as observed in COVID-19 patients.2 

It is also important to note that serum vitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations tend to decrease with age3, which may be important for COVID-19 because there is an increase seen in case-fatality rates as age progresses.4 It is known that vitamin D stimulates innate immunity and modulates acquired immunity,5 explaining at least in part how vitamin D may fight against acute respiratory infections. Moreover, a former director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Tom Frieden, proposed using vitamin D to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.6

Some retrospective studies7 have also demonstrated a correlation between vitamin D status and COVID-19 severity and mortality and several other studies8 demonstrated the role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of acute viral respiratory tract infections and pneumonia.

In conclusion, there is evidence that Vitamin D can protect against the Coronavirus. Vitamin D deficiency is an easily modifiable risk factor of respiratory infections and should be actively corrected through supplements. Given how Vitamin D deficiency is very common across the globe, especially during the ‘cold’ season owing to a lack of sunlight exposure, and given that containment at home would prevent sunlight exposure for many people worldwide, even in spring/summer, researchers believe that Vitamin D supplementation should be encouraged, at least in any individual with risk factors of Vitamin D deficiency (e.g. obesity, old age, dark skin, wearing covering clothes, no sunshine exposure).9 

Source:

1.Expert Opin. Biol. Ther. 2007;7:1449–61.
2.Lancet. 2020 doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30183-5.
3.Orv. Hetil. 2011;152:1272–77.
4.Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2020;41:145–51.
5.J Intern Med. 2018;284:145–162.
6.https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/former-cdc-chief-tom-frieden-coronavirus-risk-may-be-reduced-with-vitamin-d
7.Nutrients. 2020; 12(4): 988.
8.J Infect Public Health. 2020; 13(10): 1373–80
9.J Glob Antimicrob Resist. 2020; 22: 133–34.

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Coronavirus

Gurugram society declared containment zone

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As per available information from the Society groups and the President of the Society Resident’s Welfare Association, Ireo Victory Valley has confirmed that 22 residents of the condominium have tested positive for Coronavirus. This has led to cluster containment of the Society and sealing of the 4 buildings where the residents were found to be positive. The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon has also initiated a contact tracing for the same and have advised Gurgaon residents to be extra cautious and not let their guard down on COVID-19 preventive measures.

As per the information provided, the residents of the housing society, Ireo Victory Valley, appear to have caught the virus after attending a birthday party on February 7 and the district administration has instructed the health department to collect samples of all 2,000 people residing in the condominium for COVID-19 tests.

The society has 30 towers, out of which four have been declared containment zones. The health department, however, has restricted people from getting out of their houses until the collection of samples is completed.

As on 01st March 2021, Gurugram currently has around 306 active cases of coronavirus.

Gurugram Chief Medical Officer Dr. Virendra Yadav has appealed to the public to not panic, saying that the situation is under control, but at the same time, has urged people to maintain social distancing and wear masks properly.

This has also led to stricter COVID-19 restrictions across the city with city-wide checks on the mandatory masks in public places being conducted more vigorously. Individual societies have also mandated social distancing and suspension of majority of outdoor activities or gathering.

UIN: 155HP69R

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Coronavirus

Long COVID is predictable

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We at Health Patrol have extensively covered COVID-19 long haulers, their presentations and how research across the globe has indicated that this is happening in almost all the countries irrespective or geographic or  climatic variations. It has therefore raised a question in patients if long COVID-19 symptoms or aftermaths are predictable. The answer is yes.

For those of you new to this forum, long COVID is the presentation a lot of COVID-19 sufferers experience in terms of longer duration. So, while for most people, infection with SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – leads to mild, short-term symptoms, acute respiratory illness, or possibly no symptoms at all, long COVID lasts longer.

Scientists are still researching long COVID and though it is not well understood, our knowledge about it is definitely increasing. For e.g., early analysis of self-reported data submitted through the COVID Symptom Study app suggests that 13% of people who experience COVID-19 symptoms have them for more than 28 days, while 4% have symptoms after more than 56 days. This study also stated that people with more severe disease initially – characterized by more than five symptoms – seem to be at increased risk of long COVID. Female gender, higher body mass index (BMI) and older age also appear to be risk factors for having prolonged symptoms.

Another piece of early research (awaiting peer review) suggests that COVID-19 could have a long-term impact on the organs and organ systems of the affected individuals. This research reported mild organ impairment in 32% of people’s hearts, 33% of people’s lungs and 12% of people’s kidneys. Multiple organ damage was found in 25% of patients. Only 18% had been hospitalized with COVID-19, meaning organ damage may occur even after a non-severe infection.  Another recent large-scale study has shown that fatigue is common after COVID-19 – occurring in more than half of cases – and appears unrelated to the severity of the early illness. 

According to White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, new data also suggests that people with COVID-19 can continue to suffer from symptoms for up to nine months after the initial infection with close to 30% of patients reporting symptoms for as long as nine months. He further added that symptoms of “long Covid,” which researchers are now calling Post-Acute Sequelae of Covid-19, or PASC, can develop “well after” the COVID-19 infection, and severity can range from mild to “incapacitating,”

Thus, it can be concluded that long-term symptoms after COVID-19 are common, and that research into the causes and treatments of long COVID will likely be needed long after the outbreak itself has subsided.

UIN: 157HP32IP

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Coronavirus

New Bird Flu Strain H5N8 Detected in Humans

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Russian health authorities on Saturday, 20th February 2021,reported the first human transmission of the H5N8 strain of avian flu. While the highly contagious strain H5N8 is lethal for birds, it had never before been reported to have spread to humans. According to reports, Russia has already alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) about the first instance of transmission of the H5N8 strain of avian flu to humans.

The outbreak amongst birds was first reported in southern Russia in December last year. Now, authorities have detected the strain in humans, at least in seven people who worked at a poultry farm. Russian scientists have said the virus has still not mutated enough to make it transmissible from human to human. However, they are also wary of the fact that it is too soon to comment if the strain can mutate further. 

According to an AIIMS update on frequently asked questions, Avian influenza, or “bird flu” or “avian flu” is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses, which occur naturally among birds. Bird flu is very contagious among birds and can make some domesticated birds, including chickens and ducks, very sick and kill them.

Infected birds shed flu virus in their saliva, nasal secretions, and feces (droppings). Susceptible birds become infected when they have contact with contaminated excretions or surfaces that are contaminated with excretions. Most cases of bird flu by H5N1 type of Influenza virus infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry or contaminated surfaces. There is no evidence of human-to-human transmission so far.

Symptoms of avian influenza A virus infections in humans can range from mild to severe illnesses such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, etc. but in some cases nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting have also been reported as symptoms. For the detection of the avian influenza virus, testing is important because it cannot be diagnosed through symptoms alone. 

The big question here is if a Coronavirus or influenza patient can also contract the Bird flu virus. Yes, it is possible. Neither suffering from influenza, nor vaccination against human influenza offers protection against avian flu. The best way to prevent infection with avian influenza A viruses is to avoid sources of exposure whenever possible, says the CDC as well.

UIN: 158HP71R

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Coronavirus

CO-WIN Registration to begin from March 1

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On 24th February 2021, Health Patrol carried the update on the next phase of vaccine drive being available from 01 March 2021. To facilitate the vaccine drives, the Central government has created the Co-WIN application dedicated to monitor real time management of COVID-19 vaccination across the country. According to leading Indian dailies, eligible beneficiaries who are entitled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from March 1, would be able to register themselves on the CO-WIN platform from Monday, 01st March 2021 onwards.

There are various processes in place from the Government to ensure a seamless registration for beneficiaries:

  1. A walk-in provision for the entitled beneficiary to get themselves registered at the vaccination centers for the vaccine. Vaccination centers will also have volunteers who would help beneficiaries who may face difficulty in registration
  2. The latest version of the CO-WIN platform has been enhanced with GPS facility. Once they are registered (with the mobile number and necessary documents), the beneficiaries can select the option for the nearest or suitable vaccination center. One can also get their family members also registered on the account.
  3. Beneficiaries can also make registration on CO-WIN application through government’s AarogyaSetu Application

A new version of the Co-WIN platform will be released soon with the option to choose inoculation session site, where common people can also register themselves for vaccination.
The govt will require a photo ID for those above 60 years of age and will require medical certificates for those over 45 with comorbidities.

Further details can also be checked on the guidance released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Note: There is a CoWin application on the playstore and several people complained of glitches during self-registration, not knowing that the CoWin application that is available on the PlayStore is meant only for the vaccine administrators. For general public, registrations and vaccine appointments are possible only through the website www.cowin.gov.in .

UIN: 160HP73R

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Coronavirus

New COVID Guidelines in Mumbai

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This is true. Mumbai has witnessed a 36.38% rise in the active COVID-19 cases since 8 February, as perthe Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).In light of this rise in COVID- 19 cases, the BMC has issued guidelines for strict action against citizens found violating safety guidelines. BMC has laid stricter action rules against people found without masks in public, and will take action against function halls, gymnasiums and other establishments that don’t follow safety norms.

According to the guidelines, Mr. Suresh Kakani, the Additional Municipal Commissioner said, if function halls, gymnasiums and restaurants are found to be seating people beyond the permissible limit, there will be hefty fines to pay. He further emphasized that these establishments will be prosecuted if they continue to flout the norms.

Key points from the guidelines:

  • Guests at function halls limited to 50
  • Restaurants to operate at 50% seating capacity at any given time
  • Residential buildings with more than 5 cases will be sealed
  • Masks made mandatory for public places, social gatherings, etc.
  • Strict action to be taken against those in parks and playgrounds without masks
  • Number of marshals checking offenders without masks, etc. will be doubled
  • Asymptomatic patients in home quarantine will be stamped as earlier

Not only establishments, BMC Commissioner Mr. Iqbal Singh Chahal stated that the BMC has deployed additional marshals on suburban trains and also directed to ramp up testing.

BMC has furtherdecided to resume stamping of the hands of people who are placed under home quarantine, and in case of violation, an offence will be registered against them.Similar action will be taken against those who flout the rules at weddings and other social gatherings in the city and BMC teams will raid event venues.  BMC has also confirmed that it plans to double the number of clean-up marshals, who can impose fine on those who do not wear mask in public, from 2,400 to 4,800.

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