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Scientists developing female condom that’ll dissolve inside the body

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A team of scientists at the University Of Washington are developing a product that women can use to protect themselves from HIV infection and unintended pregnancy.

The only way to protect against HIV and unintended pregnancy today is the condom. It’s an effective technology, but not appropriate or popular in all situations.

A University of Washington team has developed a versatile platform to simultaneously offer contraception and prevent HIV. Electrically spun cloth with nanometer-sized fibers can dissolve to release drugs, providing a platform for cheap, discrete and reversible protection.

The research was published this week in the Public Library of Science’s open-access journal PLoS One. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation last month awarded the UW researchers almost $1 million to pursue the technology.

“Our dream is to create a product women can use to protect themselves from HIV infection and unintended pregnancy,” said corresponding author Kim Woodrow, a UW assistant professor of bioengineering. “We have the drugs to do that. It’s really about delivering them in a way that makes them more potent, and allows a woman to want to use it.”

Electrospinning uses an electric field to catapult a charged fluid jet through air to create very fine, nanometer-scale fibers. The fibers can be manipulated to control the material’s solubility, strength and even geometry. Because of this versatility, fibers may be better at delivering medicine than existing technologies such as gels, tablets or pills. No high temperatures are involved, so the method is suitable for heat-sensitive molecules. The fabric can also incorporate large molecules, such as proteins and antibodies, that are hard to deliver through other methods.

At a lab meeting last year, Woodrow presented the concept, and co-authors Emily Krogstad and Cameron Ball, both first-year graduate students, pursued the idea.

They first dissolved polymers approved by the Food and Drug Administration and antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV to create a gooey solution that passes through a syringe. As the stream encounters the electric field it stretches to create thin fibers measuring 100 to several thousand nanometers that whip through the air and eventually stick to a collecting plate (one nanometer is about one 25-millionth of an inch). The final material is a stretchy fabric that can physically block sperm or release chemical contraceptives and antivirals.

fibers

“This method allows controlled release of multiple compounds,” Ball said. “We were able to tune the fibers to have different release properties.”

One of the fabrics they made dissolves within minutes, potentially offering users immediate, discrete protection against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Another dissolves gradually over a few days, providing an option for sustained delivery, more like the birth-control pill, to provide contraception and guard against HIV.

The fabric could incorporate many fibers to guard against many different sexually transmitted infections, or include more than one anti-HIV drug to protect against drug-resistant strains (and discourage drug-resistant strains from emerging). Mixed fibers could be designed to release drugs at different times to increase their potency, like the prime-boost method used in vaccines.

The electrospun cloth could be inserted directly in the body or be used as a coating on vaginal rings or other products.

Electrospinning has existed for decades, but it’s only recently been automated to make it practical for applications such as filtration and tissue engineering. This is the first study to use nanofibers for vaginal drug delivery.

While this technology is more discrete than a condom, and potentially more versatile than pills or plastic or rubber devices, researchers say there is no single right answer.

“At the time of sex, are people going to actually use it? That’s where having multiple options really comes into play,” Krogstad said. “Depending on cultural background and personal preferences, certain populations may differ in terms of what form of technology makes the most sense for them.”

The team is focusing on places like Africa where HIV is most common, but the technology could be used in the U.S. or other countries to offer birth control while also preventing one or more sexually transmitted diseases.

The research to date was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the UW’s Center for AIDS Research. The other co-author on the paper is Thanyanan Chaowanachan, a UW postdoctoral researcher and longtime HIV expert.

The team will use the new Gates Foundation grant to evaluate the versatility and feasibility of their system. The group will hire more research staff and buy an electrospinning machine to make butcher-paper sized sheets. The expanded team will spend a year testing combinations that deliver two antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV and a hormonal contraceptive, and then six months scaling up production of the most promising materials.

Source: News Release University of Washington

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Himachal Reports 56 Coronavirus Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 60% Had No Comorbidities

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Shimla– On Friday Himachal Pradesh reported 56 deaths due to coronavirus infection taking the total number of casualties in the state to 1,780, according to official data released by the state government. This is the highest number of deaths in a day in the state so far. About 38 patients (over 60%) who succumbed to the infection had no other medical condition.

A total of 4,177 new cases of coronavirus infection were reported on Friday taking the total to 1,22,906.

In Kangra district, a total of 21 Covid-patients succumbed to the severe symptoms, reporting the highest number of casualties. Meanwhile, Sirmaur reported nine casualties followed by Solan district where eight patients died due to the infection.

The youngest patient who died of Covid-19 was a 20-year-old woman from the Mandi district. The patient was also reported to have comorbid pulmonary tuberculosis. One of the patients who died due to severe symptoms of Covid-19 was a 27-year-old woman from Sirmaur district who was pregnant with her second child.

Also Read: Coronavirus Claims Life of 12-Year-Old Boy in Himachal 

Today, a total of 15,495 samples were tested as compared to yesterday’s 18694. The state government had been directing officials to increase testing regularly, but the actual number hasn’t crossed 20,000 per day so far.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 7, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

corona cases in himachal

A total of 122,930 people across the state have been sampled for coronavirus till now. Out of this test results of 5,234 people are awaited while.

After Backlash, HP Govt Increases Incentive for Health Staff

On Thursday, the state government decided to increase the incentive paid to the final year students from MBBS, nursing, and contractual doctors in Covid hospitals who will be roped in to boost the on-ground staff.

Earlier, the state government had announced that it will be paying Rs 3,000 per month to the Junior and Senior Resident doctors and fourth and fifth-year medical students while final year nursing students were to be paid Rs 1,500 per month for their duty in Covid wards. After facing much criticism, the state government has now increased the incentive to Rs 10,000 per month for fourth and fifth-year MBBS students, Junior and Senior Residents, and Contractual Doctors. For third-year Nursing students, the incentive has been increased to Rs 6,000, while Contractual Lab staff, and third-year General Nursing and Midwifery students will get Rs 5000 per month for their Covid duty.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Casualties for May 7, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

COVID-19 report himachal pradesh 2021 l

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COVID-19 Helpline for Himachal Pradesh Launched

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government yesterday launched a dedicated Covid-19 Helpline at ‘Mukhyamantri Sewa Sanklap Helpline 1100 for facilitating the people regarding COVID-19 related issues.

The Information Technology Department informed that caller can call on toll-free number 1100 from 7 am to 10 pm for seeking help regarding COVID-19 related issues.

The call executive would register the complaint and contact the concerned authority for providing necessary help to the person regarding various issues such as test, vaccination, home quarantine, medicines, ambulance and oxygen etc.

Yesterday, the state had reported 45 COVID-19 fatalities and almost 4000 cases. The fatality list also included a 12-year-old boy from Solan district.

Also Read: Himachal Reports 3,942 New Cases, 45 Deaths from Coronavirus Including 12-Year-Old Boy in Last 24 Hours

Further, the government yesterday asked the district administration and police officials to ensure effective implementation of the corona curfew imposed in the wake of a sharp surge of Covid-19 cases in the State.

The government claimed that the state has sufficient production of oxygen but the only constraint was cylinders for transportation of the oxygen. Approval had been accorded for setting up laboratories at Una and Kullu for which Rs. seven crores had been sanctioned. The government said that it’s looking at possibilities for setting up of testing lab in three government universities and IIT Mandi.

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Himachal Reports 3,942 New Cases, 45 Deaths from Coronavirus Including 12-Year-Old Boy in Last 24 Hours

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh reported 45 new fatalities due to coronavirus on Thursday taking the total death toll of the state to 1,724 according to official data provided by the government. Kangra district reported the highest number of deaths with 17 casualties in the last 24 hours while Shimla and Solan reported eight new fatalities separately.
 
On Friday the state’s total Covid cases reached 1,18,729 as 3,942 new infections were reported in the last 24 hours. There are currently 2,7,756 active cases of infection in the state. Solan district also reported a 12-year-old patient of coronavirus who died due to severe symptoms of Covid-19 that included acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). The deceased had no other pre-exiting medical conditions, according to the health department. 

Today, a total of  18698 samples were taken. Till now the state has sampled a total of 15,90, 372 citizens in the state. The Covid test results of  12,630 people are still awaited. 

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 6, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

daily cases may 6
Meanwhile, with the rising number of cases, the Himachal Pradesh government has decided to impose a corona curfew effective from May 7 i.e. Friday. The curfew will come in effect from 6 am on May 7 to 6 am on May 17. During this period the state government will go ahead with its vaccination drives. Assembly of more than five people is not allowed under the curfew, however, in case of a wedding ceremony or a funeral up to 20 people can gather with the permission of the District Administration.

Also Read: HP Govt’s Corona Curfew Guidelines: Read What’s Allowed, What’s Not

With the spike in cases across the country, the government of Himachal Pradesh has introduced some precautionary measures for travellers planning to visit the state. For anyone who wants to travel to Himachal Pradesh during the curfew duration, a negative RT-PCR test report not older than 72 hours is mandatory. This rule is applicable for those travelling to the state by air, rail, and buses.

To boost the number of medical staff on the ground, the state government decided to rope in final year students from MBBS, nursing, and contractual doctors in Covid hospitals. According to a notification, the state will be paying an incentive of Rs 3,000 per month to the fourth-year medical students while final year nurses will be paid Rs 1,500 per month for their duty in Covid wards. On Thursday, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur also launched a dedicated Covid-19 Helpline at ‘Mukhyamantri Sewa Sankalp Helpline’ 1100 for facilitating people regarding covid related issues.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Casualties for May 6, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in Himachal PRadesh on may 6

Coronavirus deaths in himachal in 2021

 

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