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Days after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that COVID-19 was no longer a global health emergency, marking an end to the pandemic that claimed millions of lives, experts fear that “Disease X” can lead to an “even deadlier” pandemic. According to the WHO, “Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease.” The term, which was coined in 2018, is on WHO’s shortlist of ‘priority diseases’. To prevent and tackle the outbreak of Disease X, experts are clamouring for a rise in funds to support the surveillance of, and research into, potential pandemic agents, according to a report in the New York Post.
The World Health Organization on May 15 released a new guideline that recommends against the use of non-sugar sweeteners to control body weight or reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases. The Geneva-based WHO based the recommendation on a systemic review of available evidence, which suggests the use of non-sugar sweeteners does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children. The review also suggested the long-term use of non-sugar sweeteners potentially may have undesirable effects such as an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and mortality in adults.
Health Department anticipates spurt in dengue cases, intensifies control measures in Coimbatore district
Anticipating a spurt in the number of dengue cases after a week or so, the Health Department has intensified control measures in Coimbatore district. The counter measures are primarily aimed at preventing the breeding of aedes aegypti mosquito, the primary vector of the virus causing dengue. P. Aruna, Deputy Director of Health Services, Coimbatore district, said the spurt was anticipated as the district received good spells of summer showers. “Chances of an increase in the breeding of mosquitoes are high as the rains have stopped. Health inspectors have been instructed to contact administrations of temples, mosques and churches to circulate village-specific awareness messages. Health inspectors have been asked to tie-up with scrap dealers who will collect waste materials, which may turn breeding ground for mosquitoes. The scrap dealers will visit a specific day in a village to collect such materials,” she said
Breakthrough in microbial recycling! Scientists discover microbes that can digest plastics at low temperatures
Several microorganisms that can perform this have already been found, but they usually only work at temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, which effectively means using them in the industrial sector would be expensive because of the additional heating cost, reported the Guardian.
In a rare occurrence, on April 25, Abbot, a multinational pharmaceutical company, published a public notice in newspapers alerting people about a mislabelled batch of medicine that it had inadvertently shipped to the market. While such recalls take place regularly in the U.S., including by Indian companies, we have never witnessed domestic or foreign pharmaceutical companies recall substandard or mislabelled drugs in India.