This Microbe Stops Malaria Transmission

Forest

Researchers discovered that one microbe can effectively stop malaria transmission amongst mosquitoes, and therefore amongst humans. This revelation can have a great impact on efforts to stop the spread of the disease. Microsporidia is a microbe found on the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya where it was discovered that the mosquitoes in the area didn’t carry malaria, which is exceptional since neighbouring populations were carriers. The research team deduced that one specific microbe blocked the acquisition and spread of malaria.

“The data we have so far suggest it is 100% blockage, it’s a very severe blockage of malaria,” Dr Jeremy Herren, from the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Kenya told the BBC.
He added: “It will come as a quite a surprise. I think people will find that a real big breakthrough.”
More than 400,000 people are killed by malaria each year, most of them children under the age of five.
While huge progress has been made through the use of bed nets and spraying homes with insecticide, this has stalled in recent years. It is widely agreed new tools are needed to tackle malaria.

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Make & Wear Masks to Stop the Spread of COVID-19

homemade face mask

A mask shortage hit the Czech Republic early in their efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the people reacted swiftly by making their own masks. Indeed, people in the Czech Republic shared sewing plans and techniques while delivering the final product to hospitals and neighbours. Their joint efforts have proven to be effective when combined with social distancing.

To be clear, the homemade masks aren’t nearly as effective as proper surgical masks. The advantages of homemade masks has been explored by researchers in the past and concludes that homemade masks can help if there is a mask shortage since it lessens exposure.

Can’t make masks, please wear one when out in public even if you’re not sick (but you shouldn’t be in public spaces around other people anyway right now).

As the shortage of masks provided by the government continued, hospitals reached out on social media and asked if people may be able to sew a few masks for them because they were running low. In an unprecedented show of support, many people started making masks, not just for the hospitals but for everybody. The effort was both individual – people making masks by hand sewing or on a sewing machine at home, and organizational – theaters, non-profit organizations, small business and factories which normally produce clothes, linens, accessories redirected their efforts into full-time sewing. Local companies were sewing in bulk, supplying hospitals, senior citizen homes, the police or firemen. Masks were delivered to hospitals or to friends and neighbors who would often find them in their mailboxes. In some areas, people created “mask trees” where they would put available extra masks that were up for grabs for others.

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Sewing guide for making masks.

Canadian Clinical Study to Fight COVID-19 Inflammation Starts Today

Covid-19 Transmission graphic

Researchers are working around the world and around the clock to ensure that we can stymie the spread and harm from COVID-19. Today, a new clinical study run by the Montreal Heart Institute will look at the effectiveness of saving those already infected by using a well-tested drug that holds back inflammation in patients. The body’s response to COVID-19 is runaway inflammation, which makes it one of the causes of death. This study is one of many clinical trials and studies being run right now to figure out the best way to help those with COVID-19, I chose to post this one as many readers are based in Canada and can participate in this study.

The clinical study, named COLCORONA, coordinated by the Montreal Health Innovations Coordinating Center (MHICC) is funded by the Government of Quebec and supported by Pharmascience and CGI.

COLCORONA will evaluate the phenomenon of major inflammatory storm present in adults suffering from severe complications related to COVID-19. The researchers hypothesized that the treatment could reduce the complications associated with COVID-19. The clinical study will involve the recruitment of approximately 6,000 participants followed for 30 days. Initial results will be available a few days after study completion.

Participants eligibility criteria:

  • Be tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Be 40 years and over;
  • Not hospitalized;
  • Be willing to take the drug or placebo daily for 30 days;
  • Be willing to participate in two follow-up calls by phone or videoconference.

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How You Can Help Fight COVID-19

Covid-19 Transmission graphic

The global pandemic of COVID-19 is flooding healthcare systems with more patients than they can handle. There is something you can do about this: stay home. Yes, just stay home.

One of the reasons that people (except boomers) care about the virus is that it spreads so easily by asymptotic individuals. Since we can’t outwardly tell who currently has COVID-19 (unlike most flus) we need to isolate ourselves from others and limit our contact with people outside our household. The easiest thing you can do to help fight COVID-19 is by not physically seeing other people, instead call them.

The Self-Quarantine Manifesto

With no well-studied treatment and no viable vaccine available for at least another year, the only effective way to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay is to give the virus fewer chances of spreading. The following list of actions, ordered from easiest to implement to most effective in the fight against the pandemic, should serve as a set of loose guidelines for people who wish to join the movement and take action that can actually make a difference.

  1. Don’t panic, but be alert.
  2. Wash your hands often and practice good cough and sneeze etiquette.
  3. Try to touch your face as little as possible, including your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  4. Practice social distancing, no hugs and kisses, no handshakes, no high fives. If you must, use safer alternatives.
  5. Do not attend concerts, stage plays, sporting events, or any other mass entertainment events.
  6. Refrain from visiting museums, exhibitions, movie theaters, night clubs, and other entertainment venues.
  7. Stay away from social gatherings and events, like club meetings, religious services, and private parties.
  8. Reduce travel to a minimum. Don’t travel long distances if not absolutely necessary.
  9. Do not use public transportation if not absolutely necessary.
  10. If you can work from home, work from home. Urge your employer to allow remote work if needed.
  11. Replace as many social interactions as possible with remote alternatives like phone calls or video chat.
  12. Do not leave your home unless absolutely necessary.

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3D Printing Respirators to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

drs with 3d print

The Italian health care system finds itself short on parts due to the influx of COVID-19 patients. Due to the nature of the virus people with it are more likely to need breathing support as lungs are in such a bad shape. Some geniuses at one Italian hospital decided to not wait for new parts and make their own instead. They 3D printed a key part of a respirator to help patients get through the worst aspects of COVID-19. Sadly, the company which manufactures the $11,000 part threatened the hospital with legal action so the ~$2 3D printed part won’t be available for other places.

This example is part of a greater movement of hackers, makers, and doers to create open source and 3D printable respirators for the medical system.

While the article uses the term “reanimation device”, it’s clear we’re talking about respirators here, necessary to keep patients alive during respiratory distress. The valve in question is a plastic part, one which likely needs to be changed over when the device is used with each individual patient to provide a sterile flow of air. After the alarm was raised by Nunzia Vallini, a local journalist, a ring around of the 3D printing community led to a machine being sent down to the hospital and the parts being reproduced. Once proven to work, things were stepped up, with another company stepping in to produce the parts in quantity with a high-quality laser fusion printer.

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