2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine is a game changer, here is why

health

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo. The two men where jointly given this prize for their pathbreaking discovery of cancer therapy. The two men have discovered a treatment where in cancer can be regulated by inhibition of negative immune regulation.

A statement issued by the Nobel Academy reads ‘Cancer kills millions of people every year and is one of humanity’s greatest health challenges. By stimulating the ability of our immune system to attack tumour cells, this year’s Nobel Prize laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer’

It also says, ‘Until the discoveries made by the 2018 Medicine Laureates, progress into clinical development was modest. “Immune checkpoint therapy” has revolutionised cancer treatment and has fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed.’

With this pathbreaking discovery, scientific community is sure to benefit as it could revolutionise cancer treatment.

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LEPTOSPIROSIS THREAT IN KERALA

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Blog by Dr Deepshikha Ganjoo

Beginning in the month of July 2018, the South Indian state of Kerala was affected by severe floods.

This was the worst in over a century Kerala has seen. Displacing millions of people, leaving hundreds dead or missing.

Multiple factors like low pressure area creation , heavy rains, large discharge from dams are being held responsible for such a severe calamity. The floods have raised multiple concerns in the state, from providing clean water, to safe shelter, food etc.

Another fresh concern is the spread of diseases such as ‘Leptospirosis’ commonly known as Rat Fever. This disease is caused by a bacterium called as Leptospira. The sign and symptoms of the disease range from
*Headache
*muscle pain
*fever
*severe bleeding
*Vomiting
*Diarrhoea
*Yellowing of skin and eyes
*Skin Rashes
The most common carriers of this disease are the rodents, dogs, cattle and rabbits and it is transmitted by animal urine, by water or soil.

So with the current scenario where the entire state was flooded, the disease has spread like an epidemic and requires an effective strategy for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the same

15 deaths already, What you need to know about the Nipah Virus Infection

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Earlier this month, the southern state of Kerala was in news after doctors in the state discovered that a rather mysterious and a relatively unknown virus had surfaced in the southern coastal region.

Yes, we are talking about the Nipah Virus Infection, a medical condition that is contagious and has baffled several medical experts who continue to work towards eradicating this virus.

But what exactly is the Nipah Virus and why has the infection claimed so many lives despite a robust healthcare system in Kerala?
Nipah Virus Infection can be called as rather new discovery. Infection in human beings was discovered for the first time just 19 years ago in 1999. The first human infection was seen in Malaysian farmers who were in close contact with pigs.

This however is not first outbreak in India, in 2001 Nipah Virus infection claimed 45 lives in West Bengal’s Siliguri Region.
Now, viral infections are pretty common, but makes Nipah Virus so deadly? Just like any viral infection, common symptoms such as headache, fever, muscle pain and nausea are seen initially, but the symptoms can progress to delirium (mental confusion) and ultimately coma or death in a quick span of 2-5 days. The short time span can make it tough for detection and effective treatment of this infection.
Nipah Virus can be detected by a test called as ‘ELISA’ and this is conducted in National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Is there any antidote or vaccine for this vaccine? Sadly, no. There is no vaccination or anti-viral therapy against Nipah. The age old saying of ‘Prevention is better than cure’ holds true for Nipah. Fruit bats are the natural hosts of this infection. Hence fruits and vegetables must be washed thoroughly with water, or boiled before consumption. If possible avoid consumption of raw fruits until the outbreak is contained.

Pigs are also the carriers of this virus, hence it is best to avoid contact with these animals. It is also best to avoid consumption of pig meat.

The infection can be spread if a person comes in contact with a patient, hence maintaining personal hygiene is of utmost importance. Wash your hands regularly and maintain hygiene. Face masks particularly the N95 variant must be used in the areas of outbreak.

Another cause of worry has been the rumours associated with this infection. Always remember self medication is never advised for any medical condition and also always consult a doctor if you notice any symptoms associated with this infection.