The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA ) has allayed fear over the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
The government gave the assurance against the backdrop of the suspension of the use of the vaccine by several European nations on Thursday due to reports of serious blood clot incidents.
But the NPHCDA said no such reactions had been reported in Nigeria.
Several European nations suspended the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday due to the reports that the vaccine caused about 30 incidents of harmful blood clots in patients who received it, including at least one case in Denmark where the patient died.
In a press statement posted on its Twitter handle on concerns about the safety of the vaccine, the NPHCDA, however, said it was monitoring the situation.
“We are aware of precautionary concerns that have been raised regarding one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, namely ABV5300.
“We understand that investigations are being conducted to determine if the batch is in any way linked to an observed side effect. While we await the outcome of the investigations, it is important to clearly state that Nigeria did not receive any doses from the batch of vaccines that is at issue.”
The statement further noted: “Vaccinations in Nigeria started earlier this month and we have not observed any similar adverse reactions. All side effects reported by those who have been administered the vaccine have been mild. We are satisfied that the clinical evidence indicates the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to be safe and effective.
“Our assessment is in line with countries such as Spain and the UK who have indicated that they will continue to administer the vaccine because it remains an important tool to protect against COVID-19. The safety of vaccines delivered to Nigeria is paramount to the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
“For this reason, it has enhanced multi-sectoral collaboration among stakeholders and technical entities such as the FMOH, NPHCDA, NAFDAC, WHO, and UNICEF whose cooperation ensures the highest global standards are met for vaccines delivered to Nigeria before they are distributed to Nigerians. Clear, rigorous protocols are being followed to safeguard the health of Nigerians.
“We are continuing to monitor the developments regarding the ABV5300 batch and will share further information as it becomes available. In the meantime, we encourage Nigerians who are among those being prioritised in the current phase to continue their confidence and enthusiasm for our important national vaccine programme. Together, we can save lives.”
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How To Identify Fake Friends
Most people surround themselves with fake friends who are killing them subtly and are smiling with them. You need to identify the genuineness of your so- called friend before he/she destroys you.
Identifying a fake friend can involve noticing certain behavioral patterns:
1. Lack of Support: They might be absent or unsupportive during your challenging times, showing disinterest or avoiding your needs.
2. One-sided Relationships: They tend to benefit more from the friendship without reciprocating care or effort.
3. Gossip and Betrayal: Fake friends might gossip about you behind your back or betray your trust.
4. Inconsistent Behavior: Their actions and words may not align consistently, making it hard to trust them.
5. Conditional Friendship: They’re around only when it suits their interests or when they need something from you.
6. Manipulative or Self-centered:They may manipulate situations for their benefit or constantly talk about themselves without considering your feelings or experiences.
Being mindful of these traits can help distinguish between genuine friends and those who may not have your best interests at heart. Trusting your instincts and observing behaviors over time often reveals the authenticity of a friendship.
Miniaturized Ultrasound Scanner Could Help Detect Breast Cancer Earlier
A wearable ultrasound scanner that could help detect breast cancer earlier – and thus improve survival rates – has been developed by a research team headed up at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Breast cancer is the most common cancer to affect women, with around 2.3 million new cases diagnosed worldwide in 2020. When caught in its early stages, the survival rate is nearly 100%, but this drops to 25% among patients whose tumours are detected at a late stage. Regular self-checks and mammograms can help secure positive outcomes.
However, in the UK, an estimated 39% of women do not regularly check their breasts for the signs of cancer – which can include shape changes, lumps or swelling.
On the screening front, notes surgical oncologist Tolga Ozmen of the Massachusetts General Hospital, “One of the main obstacles in imaging and early detection is the commute that people have to make to an imaging centre.” Yet even when people do undergo regular mammograms, breast tumours can still sneak up between screenings. These “interval cancers” make up 20–30% of all breast cancer cases, and their tumours tend to be more aggressive than those found during routine scans.
Galvanized by the death of her aunt – who was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer at 49, despite regular check-ups – MIT engineer Canan Dagdeviren set about designing an easy-to-use device that could enable more frequent and even at-home screening.
“My goal is to target the people who are most likely to develop interval cancer,” explains Dagdeviren. “With more frequent screening, our goal is to increase the survival rate to up to 98%.”
To realize this vision, Dagdeviren, Ozmen and colleagues developed a miniaturized ultrasound scanner using a novel piezoelectric material fashioned into a phased array. The scanner fits inside a small tracker that’s inserted into a flexible, 3D-printed patch with a honeycomb-like pattern. The tracker can be moved along a path in the patch to provide imaging from six different positions, together affording coverage of the entire breast.
The whole set-up is worn by attaching the patch, via magnets, to a special bra containing openings where the scanner can contact the skin. The researchers note that the device, which they describe in Science Advances, does not require any special expertise to operate.
“We changed the form factor of the ultrasound technology so that it can be used in your home. It’s portable and easy to use, and provides real-time, user-friendly monitoring of breast tissue,” Dagdeviren explains.
To demonstrate the scanner’s potential, the team tested it on a 71-year-old patient with a known history of breast cysts. The wearable enabled the researchers to detect the cysts, which were as small as 3 mm in diameter, the same scale as early-stage tumours. Furthermore, the researchers report, the device achieved a resolution comparable to that of traditional ultrasound systems used in medical imaging centres and could image tissue to a depth of 8 cm.
At present, the scanner has to be connected to a traditional imaging system for its data to be visualized. However, the researchers are developing a miniaturized version – about the size of a smartphone – to add to their scanner. Other developments being planned include the integration of artificial intelligence-powered diagnostics and adaptation of the ultrasound technology for use on other parts of the body.
Sheng Xu – a materials scientist from the University of California San Diego who was not involved in the present study, but is also working on conformable ultrasound patch designs – called the device “impressive”. He adds: “The tracker in the bra could help standardize the ultrasound imaging procedure and minimize operator dependency, which plagues conventional ultrasound technology.”
Researchers demonstrate the positioning of the wearable BraCoil
Wearable coil vest could change the game in breast MRI
“This would be of great benefit to individuals and health services alike,” agrees biophysicist Jeff Bamber of the Institute of Cancer Research, who says that in the UK, pressure on imaging services in hospitals has helped generate waiting lists that are millions of patients long. Bamber notes that the low profile needed for wearables makes it difficult to build ultrasound transducer arrays without compromising on image quality.
He adds: “This group has incorporated single crystal piezoelectric array technology with advanced doping of the crystal, as used in modern conventional ultrasound probes. The result is good electromechanical coupling, good sensitivity and wide bandwidth, enabling them to achieve relatively good image quality to practically useful imaging depths.”
“With further development to produce images of diagnostic quality, the potential for use in home monitoring would be considerable,” Bamber tells Physics World.
. Physics World
Israeli Doctors Reattach Boy’s Decapotated Head
Israeli doctors have performed a miraculous feat of reattaching a boy’s head after he suffered internal decapitation in a road accident.
According to The Times of Israel, a 12-year-old Palestinian named Suleiman Hassan, suffered a serious injury in which his skull got detached from the top vertebrae of his spine- officially known as a bilateral atlanto occipital joint dislocation.
Hassan was riding his bike when he was hit by a car. He was brought to Hadassah Medical Center and was immediately operated upon via surgery in the trauma unit.
Dr. Ohad Einav, an orthopedic specialist led the operation which took several hours. He informed that the doctors used “new plates and fixations in the damaged area.”
“Our ability to save the child was thanks to our knowledge and the most innovative technology in the operating room,” said Einav as quoted by New York Post.
As per the doctors, Hassan’s head was “almost completely detached from the base of his neck” in what is known as an internal decapitation. The operation actually happened in June but doctors revealed about it only now.
Meanwhile, Hassan was discharged with a cervical splint and doctors will continue to monitor his recovery.
“The fact that such a child has no neurological deficits or sensory or motor dysfunction and that he is functioning normally and walking without an aid after such a long process is no small thing,” said Einav.
“This is not a common surgery at all, and especially not on children and teens. A surgeon needs knowledge and experience to do this,” he explained.
Israel’s TPS news agency quoted Hassan’s father as thanking the doctors: “Bless you all. Thanks to you, he regained his life even when the odds were low and the danger was obvious.”
“What saved him were professionalism, technology and quick decision-making by the trauma and orthopedics team,” said the father.
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