Archive for April 10th, 2020

Remembering Ronald Ross: How he discovered cure to Malaria while working in India

April 10, 2020

The complex and high interesting field of diseases and viruses has taken me to all kinds of readings.  I would have never imagined reading Nobel Prize Lectures/material in medicine/physiology!

I came across works of Ronald Ross who was given Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1902, the second person to get the award:

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1902 was awarded to Ronald Ross “for his work on malaria, by which he has shown how it enters the organism and thereby has laid the foundation for successful research on this disease and methods of combating it.”

He was born in India (Almora) in 1857, at the time of First War of Independence.

I was reading Ross’s Nobel Prize Lecture which gives details on how he figured Malaria enters our body and then worked to cure the disease.

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Vietnam’s Low-Cost COVID-19 Strategy

April 10, 2020

Prof Jeffry Sachs in this article writes how Covid19 has led to divide between West and East with latter doing much better than west.

Within East there are many strategies. Hong Kong Nguyen, researcher in Hanoi. in this Proj Synd piece points how Vietnam has been different from its SE Asian Peers:

Perhaps most remarkably, unlike South Korea, which has spent considerable funds on aggressive testing, or Singapore, which has established strong epidemiological surveillance, Vietnam has followed a budget-friendly approach that has proven equally effective. Despite expectations of high rates of transmission, owing to a shared border with China and the high volume of bilateral trade, Vietnam has recorded only one-fifth the number of infections that much-lauded Singapore has, with no reported deaths to date. Our recent study of Vietnam’s COVID-19 policy response attributed the country’s initial success in slowing the rate of infection to the authorities’ focus on communication and public education through technology platforms and systematic tracing of pathogen carriers.

With 65% of Vietnam’s 96 million people online, official news outlets and social media channels (60% are on Facebook) successfully shared information about the new virus. In an age when it is difficult to track and stop the spread of mis-/disinformation, understanding the threat, particularly its contagion rate, has been key to citizens’ willingness to cooperate, whether through social distancing or self-isolation.

Since January 3, Vietnamese media have described the disease emerging from Wuhan as a “strange” or “mysterious” pneumonia. Between January 9 and March 15, an average of 127 articles on the topic were published daily in 13 of the most popular online news outlets, leaving little room for rumors and fake news to spread. As a result, Vietnamese generally have not viewed COVID-19 as just another seasonal flu, but as a serious illness as menacing as the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The public’s experience with SARS, as well as with the swine and avian flus, have helped to shape perceptions of COVID-19, and likely influenced people’s readiness to respond.

Comprehensive contact tracing works only when individuals understand the urgency of the issue and are willing to provide an honest and detailed account of their travel and interactions. This is true even in countries under single-party rule. In Vietnam, citizens have been voluntarily sharing personal health information via a government-launched app called NCOVI. It has become the top free app in Vietnam since its launch on March 10.

Although there is no Vietnamese equivalent to community-developed apps tracking compromised locations or individuals with suspected symptoms, as in Taiwan and South Korea, tech-based platforms have proved valuable. They provide up-to-date information on the outbreak and tips for disease prevention, quickly correct misinformation, collect information systematically, and identify case clusters as early as possible.

Technology is also helping those fight the pandemic. In the three months since the beginning of the outbreak, local hospitals, research institutes, and universities have created reliable platforms to track COVID-19 quarantine cases, increase production of hand sanitizers, publish important clinical findings on the disease, and develop low-cost test kits for the virus that causes it.

Hmm…


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