Medical authorities in China have said a drug used in Japan to treat new strains of influenza appeared to be effective in coronavirus patients, Japanese media said on Wednesday according to the Guardian newspaper.
Zhang Xinmin, an official at China’s science and technology ministry, said favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm, had produced encouraging outcomes in clinical trials in Wuhan and Shenzhen involving 340 patients.
“It has a high degree of safety and is clearly effective in treatment,” Zhang told reporters on Tuesday.
Patients who were given the medicine in Shenzhen turned negative for the virus after a median of four days after becoming positive, compared with a median of 11 days for those who were not treated with the drug, public broadcaster NHK said.
In addition, X-rays confirmed improvements in lung condition in about 91% of the patients who were treated with favipiravir, compared to 62% or those without the drug.
Fujifilm Toyama Chemical, which developed the drug – also known as Avigan – in 2014, has declined to comment on the claims.
Shares in the firm surged on Wednesday following Zhang’s comments, closing the morning up 14.7% at 5,207 yen, having briefly hit their daily limit high of 5,238 yen.
Doctors in Japan are using the same drug in clinical studies on coronavirus patients with mild to moderate symptoms, hoping it will prevent the virus from multiplying in patients.
But a Japanese health ministry source suggested the drug was not as effective in people with more severe symptoms. “We’ve given Avigan to 70 to 80 people, but it doesn’t seem to work that well when the virus has already multiplied,” the source told the Mainichi Shimbun.
The same limitations had been identified in studies involving coronavirus patients using a combination of the HIV antiretrovirals lopinavir and ritonavir, the source added.
In 2016, the Japanese government supplied favipiravir as an emergency aid to counter the Ebola virus outbreak in Guinea.
Favipiravir would need government approval for full-scale use on Covid-19 patients, since it was originally intended to treat flu.
A health official told the Mainichi the drug could be approved as early as May. “But if the results of clinical research are delayed, approval could also be delayed.”
MUST READ: Everything You Need To Know About New Shs.1000 Dexamethasone Drug That Treats COVID19, MOH PS Dr. Diana Atwine Speaks Out On Usage…
The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health (MoH) Dr. Diana Atwine has warned on the new dexamethasone drug that helps save lives of patients seriously ill with Coronavirus.
“This drug is steroid. It should not be used anyhow because it has other side effects. It should be used only when prescribed,” Dr. Diana Atwine warned.
According to Ben Eka, the wholesale price for dexamethasone right now is Shs.1000 per 1amp, but he fears that the price may sore now.
“This drug is for now sold at 1000 shs per 1amp. But tomorrow this price will go as high as 10k per amp. As a whole sell price,” he said.
The low-dose steroid treatment dexamethasone is a major breakthrough in the fight against the deadly virus, UK experts say.
The drug is part of the world’s biggest trial testing existing treatments to see if they also work for coronavirus.
It cut the risk of death by a third for patients on ventilators. For those on oxygen, it cut deaths by a fifth.
Had the drug had been used to treat patients in the UK from the start of the pandemic, up to 5,000 lives (of the 41,969 total deaths) could have been saved, researchers said.
Thus could be of huge benefit in poorer countries with high numbers of Covid-19 patients.
In the trial, led by a team from Oxford University, about 2,000 hospital patients were given dexamethasone and compared with more than 4,000 who were not.
For patients on ventilators, it cut the risk of death from 40% to 28%.
For patients needing oxygen, it cut the risk of death from 25% to 20%.
Chief investigator Prof Peter Horby said: “This is the only drug so far that has been shown to reduce mortality – and it reduces it significantly. It’s a major breakthrough.”
Lead researcher Prof Martin Landray said that when appropriate, hospital patients should now be given it without delay, Prof Landray said.
However, Landray warned that Dexamethasone does not appear to help people with milder symptoms of coronavirus who do not need help with their breathing.
Dexamethasone is used to treat conditions such as arthritis, blood/hormone/immune system disorders, allergic reactions, certain skin and eye conditions, breathing problems, certain bowel disorders, and certain cancers. It is also used as a test for an adrenal gland disorder (Cushing’s syndrome).
This medication is a corticosteroid hormone (glucocorticoid). It decreases your body’s natural defensive response and reduces symptoms such as swelling and allergic-type reactions.
HOW TO USE DEXAMETHASONE
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. Take with food or milk to prevent stomach upset. Take this medication by mouth with a full glass of water (8 ounces/240 milliliters) unless your doctor directs you otherwise. If you are using the liquid form of the medication, use a medication-measuring device to carefully measure the prescribed dose. Do not use a household spoon.
If you take this medication once daily, take it in the morning before 9 AM. If you are taking this medication every other day or on another schedule besides a daily one, it may help to mark your calendar with a reminder.
The dosage and length of treatment are based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Your doctor may attempt to reduce your dose slowly from time to time to minimize side effects.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Follow the dosing schedule carefully, and take this medication exactly as prescribed.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when this drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
Stomach upset, headache, dizziness, menstrual changes, trouble sleeping, increased appetite, or weight gain may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), bone/joint pain, increased thirst/urination, fast/slow/irregular heartbeat, eye pain/pressure, vision problems, heartburn, puffy face, swelling of the ankles/feet, symptoms of stomach/intestinal bleeding (such as stomach/abdominal pain, black/tarry stools, vomit that looks like coffee grounds), pain/redness/swelling of arms/legs, tiredness, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression, mood swings, agitation), unusual hair/skin growth, muscle pain/cramps, weakness, easy bruising/bleeding, slow wound healing, thinning skin, seizures.
By Sandra Mukisa
WISE COUNSEL: Are You Married? Do You Want To Divorce Your Spouse? Are You In A Violent Relationship? – Here Is Good Advice From Justice Bamugemereire….
Court of Appeal judge Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has tipped married couples on how to live together, grow together and build happy homes and families.
In her address during the virtuous woman virtual conference hosted by Christ’s heart ministries international, the chairperson of the commission of inquiry into land matters revealed that for the 27 years she has been married, her sweetheart George Bamugemereire, the deputy Inspector General of Government has never slapped her even though they disagree on several occasions.
Bamugemereire, a former family court judge noted that the current high divorce rate in Uganda scares her.
Below is Bamugemereire’s address.
This is a very opportune time to be addressing marital issues because as I speak, we are living in an unprecedented period.
We are living in a period of a new pandemic in the world called COVID-19, and there could never be a more opportune time to speak to families that have been locked-down together, whether voluntarily or forcefully. Many people are struggling and suffering financially due to this economic and social lockdown. Many are struggling to make sense of the fear and uncertainty that has been caused by these desperate times.
My husband, George and I have been married for over 27 years.
… Speaking to you as a judge who has worked in the Family Court or what we call the Family Division, I would like to say that in Uganda, a marriage is one that is recognized in any other part of the world as such. If you come from China, and state that under Chinese law you were married, we recognize that as a marriage. If you came from England, Arabia, Australia or any other corner of the world, and your marriage was recognized in that part of the world, it will be recognized in Uganda as well.
Within the Ugandan context, there are 5 different forms of marriage recognised by law; Christian marriage, Mohammedan marriage, Customary marriage, Civil marriage and the Hindu marriage.
The Christian and Civil marriage have one thing in common, they recognize that one man is married to one woman, to the exclusion of all others, for life. What that really means is that under our laws, it is recognized that a biological male shall marry a biological female and there shall not be any third parties in-between, and that marriage is ideally for life. Obviously we know that this has been challenged by a lot of changes now, to the extent that its one man, and one woman, until divorce do they part.
We are seeing an increasing number of divorces in our system, and it is of great concern to us. I can tell you without fear of contradiction that when I first joined the Family Division around 2013, there were just a few cases. But by the time I left, I think they had tripled. As I speak now, the divorce cases are growing in number. We are seeing more Christians file for divorce. This is not a very good telling about the family situation in our country right now. Also, the statistics that show the causes of divorce are really pathetic.
In the olden days, there were only three grounds for divorce i.e adultery, cruelty or desertion. For a woman, you had to prove two grounds: that your husband cheated on you, and that he either deserted you for more than two years or that he was cruel to you. On the other hand, a man seeking divorce had to prove one ground, and that’s of the wife cheating on him. And because of the differences in grounds for divorce, women were not comfortable with this. Women lawyers took this law to the constitutional court saying, ‘it required more from women than it did from men, and therefore it was discriminatory and not inline with the Constitution.’ As a result, that law was struck-down.
As I speak today, the whole of section 4 of the divorce act, is not applicable to divorce in this country, which means that right now, you don’t have to prove any ground. If you want to divorce, you walk to court. It is very unfortunate because what this means is that right now, you can have any flimsy grounds as long as you prove that your marriage is irrevocably broken down.
The stability of a nation is most times guaranteed by the stability of marriages and family as a unit. In fact, it is said that Capitalists were so eager to ensure that the family unit remains tight, because once the family unit was stable, and once the wealth of a family was safe and well guarded, then that wealth could remain in that nation and it was not wasted through divorce or any other means.
You can see that there are economic advantages as to why people need to be married, and stay that way. Above all, Family is the best unit in which to bring up children. Children brought up in a stable marriage are children who will become more useful citizens. Statistics on children brought up in unstable marriages will show when you see them on the street, taking drugs and getting involved in several other kinds of things. These children are affected right from childhood, until they become adults. And the worst statistic is that children who come from divorced homes are likely to divorce themselves, and that adults who divorce the first time, are likely to divorce the second time. So, the statistics for divorce and instability, are quite dire.
Therefore, if we want a stable environment for bringing up children, and building our economy and wealth, a stable marriage is the least you could ask for, and its the most you should work at.
I hope this talk will help you realize that whereas we live in an extremely competitive environment, and that we have so many things competing with our marriages and spouses, it is important that this part of our lives remains stable.
I can say without fear of contradiction that if I had had an unstable marriage, I don’t think I could have achieved half, or even the little that I have done. I believe that coming out of a stable environment every morning to go to work is one of the reasons I have the energy to do anything I am able to do. The same applies to children and the things that they do. You need to cultivate an environment that allows them to excel outside of your home.
Many times, when women are growing up, they are told that if you are to go up, then marriage is going to become a hindrance. But I would like to testify and say that marriage, for me, is not a hindrance [to success.] And I know several other people, for whom it is not a hindrance. On the contrary, we have seen situations where the instability of people’s homes has been the hindrance they had to their jobs.
Young ladies, when you are going up the corporate ladders, there is so much competition, and one lie that people are told is that if you don’t give up your marriage, then you will not go up. It is a lie straight from the gates of hell. It is one of those that has destroyed a lot of our young people. Once you give up the values for which you stand, then, most times, people will not believe you have any values for which they should take you.
It is important you realize that marriage is an area of your life that you need to work on. Marriages are not something you enter into, and then assume that ‘you have arrived’, and then do nothing about. You have to work at your marriage the same way to tend a garden. You have got to work at your relationship every day.
Why are relationships breaking down? It is because people stopped working on them. They stopped communicating. They stopped showing love. They stopped showing the other that this is how I love you. They don’t have any love language. Many do not take time to build their relationship, and often times realize too late that the person they left actually loved them and and vice versa.
I do hope that despite the pressures of life, we will take time to build our marriages. How do you build your marriage? You communicate. There is no short cut to communication. You must be able to speak. There are marriages that have broken up, simply because communication broke down. People became too busy to talk to each other. They became too busy to have lunch or dinner together. They became too busy to be around their homes over the weekends. They became too withdrawn to talk to each other, and the marriage broke. So, communication is extremely important. Speak gently to one another. In this time of Covid-19, I would like to urge couples to be very understanding of one another, and be extremely patient of one another as a mode of communication.
… There is always something good about somebody, so when you are stuck together during Covid-19, when you cannot get out, may this season be a time for you to stop and think, ‘Lord, what are you saying to me about my [spouse]?’ It is time for you to sit and talk, and make new resolutions for the family. It is time to grow your family and relationships. It is time to get to know your children more.
Some men in this country are so busy that they don’t know which class their children are. They have no idea what homework their children do. The children are babysat by a TV. Covid-19 has made us sit together. Covid-19 is actually good for the family if we know what to do with the time, and not use it to achieve our selfish ends. Phones are a big problem to marriages these days.
We are aware that right now there are rising cases of domestic violence. Please fathers, brothers and sisters, do not be more concerned about what children eat; be more concerned that you have a relationship with your child. The problems you are going through are being experienced by people elsewhere around the world… Marriage issues are every where in the world, but also, Uganda is one of the best places to practice your marriage. We need to take advantage of this season where we are squashed together in time and space to work on our marriages.
There is nothing as wonderful as being forced into a space where two people are not talking to each other. Whether you like it or not, you have got to speak to each other. Don’t slap or beat each other… I have been married 27 years and have never been slapped by my husband, not to say that we haven’t disagreed before. We disagree a lot, but speak through our disagreements. We speak into them and move on, and we don’t keep the anger for too long. We sit together and are open to each other.
By Sengooba Alirabaki
Uganda COVID-19 Cases Rise To 45: World Cases Rise To 981,000 And Death Toll Exceeds 50,000, Here is How The World Is Getting Closer To A Vaccine Or Drug…
Today, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has tested 302 Covid-19 samples and one has tested positive. The case is a 22-year-old Ugandan female, resident of Nkokonjeru, Wakiso District and wife to previously confirmed case who arrived from Dubai on 20th March 2020.
Dr. Henry Mwebesa, Director of General Health Services at the MoH says that a total of 1,026 individial are under followup in institutional quarantine and 962 contacts are under follow up. All the 44 confirmed Covid 19 cases are in a stable cindition at Mulago National Specialist Hospital, Entebbe Grade B Hospital, Adjumani and Houma hospitals.
However, around the world, more than 981,000 have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus worldwide as the death toll exceeded 50,000 and about 204,000 recovered.
The coronavirus pandemic death toll in Spain passed 10,000 on Thursday, as the country reported its highest number of deaths in a single day since the outbreak began, with the total rising by 950 to 10,003 among 110,238 infections.
The US – the world’s hardest-hit country – recorded a total of 5,316 coronavirus deaths, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. It has confirmed more than 226,000 cases of the disease.
Are we getting closer to a vaccine or drug?
Coronavirus is spreading around the world, but there are still no drugs that can kill the virus or vaccines that can protect against it.
Sars-CoV-2 is the virus which causes the disease Covid-19. There are at least 20 vaccines in development around the world.
Scientists in Australia have begun testing two potential coronavirus vaccines in “milestone” lab trials.
The vaccines, made by Oxford University and US company Inovio Pharmaceutical, have been cleared for animal testing by the World Health Organization.
Prof Trevor Drew, director of the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Victoria, where the testing is being carried out described the other vaccine – from Inovio – as “rather different but nonetheless exciting”.
It is designed to encode certain proteins of the coronavirus to the immune system, prompting the body’s cells to generate those proteins before the immune system reacts to them.
What other sort of progress is being made
Research is happening at breakneck speed, and there are more than 20 vaccines currently in development. Among those under way at the moment are:
The first human trial for a vaccine was announced last month by scientists at a lab in the US city of Seattle. They have taken the unusual step of skipping any animal research to test the vaccine’s safety or effectiveness.
Australian scientists have begun injecting ferrets with two potential vaccines. It is the first comprehensive pre-clinical trial to move to the animal testing stage, and the researchers say they hope to move to the human testing stage by the end of April.
Tests like these are taking place much quicker than would normally be the case, and some are using new approaches to vaccines. It follows that there are no guarantees everything will go smoothly.
But even if these – or any other tests – do prove successful, it’s not expected that manufacturers will be able to produce a mass-produced vaccine until the second half of 2021.
Remember, there are four coronaviruses that already circulate in human beings. They cause the common cold, and we don’t have vaccines for any of them.
Could existing drugs treat coronavirus?
Doctors are testing current anti-viral drugs to see if they work against coronavirus. This speeds up research as they are known to be safe to give to people.
Trials are taking place in England and Scotland on a small number of patients with an anti-viral called remdesivir. This was originally developed as an Ebola drug, but also appears effective against a wide variety of viruses.
Similar trials have already been carried out in China and the US, and results are expected in the next few weeks.
There was much hope that a pair of HIV drugs (lopinavir and ritonavir) would be effective, but the trial data is disappointing.
They did not improve recovery, reduce deaths or lower levels of the coronavirus in patients with serious Covid-19. However, as the trial was conducted with extremely sick patients (nearly a quarter died) it may have been too late in the infection for the drugs to work.
Studies are also taking place on an anti-malarial drug called chloroquine. Laboratory tests have shown it can kill the virus, and there is some anecdotal evidence from doctors that it appears to help. However, the World Health Organization says there is no definitive evidence of its effectiveness.
Would a vaccine protect people of all ages?
It will, almost inevitably, be less successful in older people. This is not because of the vaccine itself, but aged immune systems do not respond as well to immunisation. We see this every year with the flu jab.
Will there be side effects?
All medicines, even common pain-killers, have side effects. But without clinical trials it is impossible to know what the side effects of an experimental vaccine may be.
This is something on which regulators will want to keep a close eye.
Who would get a vaccine?
If a vaccine is developed then there will be a limited supply, at least in the early stages, so it will be important to prioritise.
Healthcare workers who come into contact with Covid-19 patients would be at the top of the list. The disease is most deadly in older people so they would be a priority if the vaccine was effective in this age group. However, it might be better to vaccinate those who live with or care for the elderly instead.
Until a vaccine or treatment is ready what can I do?
Vaccines prevent infections and the best way of doing that at the moment is good hygiene.
If you are infected by coronavirus, then for most people it would be mild and can be treated at home with bed-rest, paracetamol and plenty of fluids. Some patients may develop more severe disease and need hospital treatment.
How do you create a vaccine?
Vaccines harmlessly show viruses or bacteria (or even small parts of them) to the immune system. The body’s defences recognise them as an invader and learn how to fight them.
Then if the body is ever exposed for real, it already knows how to fight the infection.
The main method of vaccination for decades has been to use the original virus.
The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is made by using weakened versions of those viruses that cannot cause a full-blown infection. The seasonal flu jab is made by taking the main strains of flu doing the rounds and completely disabling them.
The work on a new coronavirus vaccine is using newer, and less tested, approaches called “plug and play” vaccines. Because we know the genetic code of the new coronavirus, Sars-CoV-2, we now have the complete blueprint for building that virus.
Some vaccine scientists are lifting small sections of the coronavirus’s genetic code and putting it into other, completely harmless, viruses.
Now you can “infect” someone with the harmless bug and in theory give some immunity against infection.
Other groups are using pieces of raw genetic code (either DNA or RNA depending on the approach) which, once injected into the body, should start producing bits of viral proteins which the immune system again can learn to fight.
Source: bbc & Aljazeera
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