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COVID Update: How Puerto Rico Became the Most Vaccinated Place in the United States



Members of the Scientific Union, who advise the Government of Puerto Rico on the coronavirus pandemic, have recently joked about the island’s high Covid-19 vaccination rate, resulting from a surge in the island’s drugstore chain.

Rafael Irizzary, a professor of biostatistics at the TH Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, said: “Everywhere you go, you have everything you need. Rum. Coffee. Get the fireworks and then the vaccine.”

Irizzary was joking about vaccination rates and over 100 Walgreens stores in Puerto Rico.

Caribbean islands have been hit by deadly hurricanes, earthquakes, political instability and debt in recent years, but even in the state of New England, which has the highest vaccination coverage in the country. Is quietly surpassing.

“All these emergencies and collective trauma have stimulated Puerto Rico and its leaders, the scientific community and the medical community,” said Daniel Colon Ramos, a professor of Yale Medical School who presides over the Coronavirus Coalition, which advises the government. rice field. “There was a sense of urgency. Many of the people I worked with had the following attitudes: not on my watch. Never again.”

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Puerto Rico has fully vaccinated more than 73% of its 3.3 million inhabitants. That’s over 2.3 million people.

The island has the highest total vaccine dose, at 154,563 per 100,000. According to the CDC, 4.9 million doses were given as of Friday.

On the mainland, Vermont is fully vaccinated in 70.8% of the population, followed by Connecticut at 70.2% and Maine at 70%, according to the CDC, and 57% of the total US population as of Friday. He adds that Strong is fully vaccinated. ..

Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health at Brown University, wrote on Twitter that Puerto Rico’s “great” vaccination efforts have “not received much attention.”

“As far as I know, they’ve done this primarily by not linking vaccines to politics,” Ja wrote last weekend. “They pay less attention to mainland politics. All their parties actively support vaccination. And in general, politics (identity) and vaccination are not mixed. . “

Jha pointed out that Puerto Rico is not only poorer than much of the mainland, but also more populous than 21 states. It’s about “five times bigger” than Vermont, he wrote. According to the US Census Bureau, the poverty rate on the island was about 43% in 2018, but at the national level it was 13%, more than double the 19.7% in Mississippi.

“Many saved lives”

“It represents a lot of saved lives,” Colonramos said of the successful vaccination of the island. “It’s really about the fact that hundreds (if not thousands) are currently roaming somewhere in Puerto Rico, and without these efforts they wouldn’t be there.”

Dr. Iris Cardona, Chief Health Officer of the Island’s Department of Health, said the success was due to teamwork by leaders from the scientific community, the private sector, government agencies, medical associations, schools, national guards, religions and local governments. Said.

“This is a collaboration,” said Cardona, who oversees the vaccination program. “Given the difficulties the world knows that Puerto Rico has endured over the last five years, people of all levels of Puerto Rico have worked together, including hurricanes, earthquakes, political and financial crises.”

Its cooperation includes both vaccine education programs and vaccination events.

Throughout the pandemic, the island government enforced blockades and other restrictions, issued mask and vaccination obligations, and introduced strict indoor diet and social distance rules, according to members of the Covid-19 Union. Did.

“In the Puerto Rican cultural context, social distance is not easy for us as Puerto Ricans. We want to be intimate,” said Colonramos. “But people were able to navigate it well.”

“Consistent message … based on scientific evidence”

Some states are fiercely resisting Covid-19 restrictions and vaccine obligations, but US territories are not.

“Currently, the legislature is governed by one party and the governor is governed by another, but despite those differences … the desire to save lives during a pandemic is in Puerto Rico. It was never politicized, “said Colon Ramos.

“Difficult decisions were made and criticized,” he said. “But, for example, Mask’s obligations were never actually politicized. The importance of vaccination did not become a political issue. Send a consistent message based on scientific evidence. It helped me to do it. “

According to the island’s health department, at least 151,245 Covid-19 cases were identified and 3,219 deaths were reported during the pandemic in Puerto Rico. In Connecticut, which is about the same size as Puerto Rico, more than 400,000 Covid-19 cases have occurred and 8,721 have died.

Dr. Victor Ramos, a pediatrician and chairman of the Island Doctors and Surgeons Association, said the mass vaccination center was set up by the National Guard in shopping malls across the island.

There was a door-to-door vaccination event in a remote rural town, especially in the elderly and bedridden homes.

“We go wherever we need to go to vaccinate people,” Ramos said. “After (Hurricane) Maria, many people were trapped in remote towns and we had to go there to help them. We are now doing the same with vaccines. increase.”

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COVID Update: How Puerto Rico became the most vaccinated place in the United States

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Antibodies Help Control Harmful Forms of Intestinal Fungi



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Antibodies protection against harmful forms of fungi in the intestine can be disrupted in some patients with Crohn’s disease, a condition caused by chronic inflammation of the intestine, according to a new study by researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine. ..

Previous studies have shown that the immune system plays an important role in maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria.The new study was published on November 22nd Nature microbiology, Senior author Iliyan Iliev, associate professor of immunology in medicine, and his team investigated whether it could also play a role in the management of intestinal fungi.

Unlike bacteria, fungi can change shape depending on environmental conditions, and certain forms are harmful to humans. In particular, a type of fungus called Candida albicans changes from a non-pathogenic yeast type to a type that produces hyphae that can invade tissues and cause damage.

Researchers have found that antibodies secreted in the intestine help control the etiology of candida albicans in healthy people, disabling this protective mechanism in people with Crohn’s disease and harmful overgrowth of pathogenic fungi. I have discovered that it can cause. Candida albicans intestinal excess is associated with inflammatory bowel disease and several other conditions that directly or indirectly affect the gastrointestinal tract.

“Anti-intestinal antibodies are involved in maintaining certain intestinal fungi, such as Candida albicans, in a benign, so-called symbiotic form,” said Iriev, a scientist at the Zil Roberts Institute for Inflammatory Intestines. I found that. ” Weil Cornell Medical illness. “This process is interrupted in patients with Crohn’s disease.”

In their experiments, researchers found that an antibody called secretory immunoglobulin A (slgA) in the feces of healthy mice selectively binds to the form of C. albicans in hyphae and stops its spread. discovered. They also found that these antibodies also bind to the hyphae of healthy human feces.

“These antibodies preferentially bind to the hyphae,” said Itai Delon, a PhD student in the lab. Specifically, they bind to sites on the hyphae and produce the virulence factors that these fungi use to harm host tissues. However, the antibody does not preferentially bind to harmless yeast. This suggests that antibodies may help the body maintain a healthy balance of intestinal fungi by preventing the inheritance of harmful forms of fungi.

Researchers also found that patients with Crohn’s disease, who develop severe inflammation of the colon and small intestine, have higher levels of antifungal antibodies in their blood compared to healthy adults. However, these antibodies do not appear to be secreted at high levels in the intestine to counter Candida albicans hyphae. Samples from the colon of these patients reveal an excess of fungi with hyphae.

“Impairment of this regulatory mechanism in mice and patients with Crohn’s disease can contribute to increased hyphal growth in the intestine,” Iriev said.

When researchers added antifungal antibodies to human cells grown in culture with C. albicans, the fungi produced fewer hyphae.

“These antifungal antibodies appear to have some degree of” disarmament “in the hyphae,” Delon said.

The result is that the therapeutic search for antifungal antibodies can be C. It suggests that it may be a way to help patients who develop overgrowth of albicans. Not all patients with this inflammatory bowel disease have overgrowth of this type of fungus, but some may be an important cause of the disease, Iriev said.

“The intestinal fungi in the gut, especially the Candida albicans community, form our immunity,” Iriev said. “We are developing these antibodies and they appear to play a protective role in certain situations.”

The major immune fungus of the intestine against infection

For more information:
Jordan Hindson, Intestinal Mycoviota Modulates Immunity mediated by Antifungal Antibodies, Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41575-021-00439-z

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Cornell University

Quote: Antibodies help control harmful forms of enteric fungi obtained on November 30, 2021 from https: // ( November 30, 2021)

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Researchers Are Developing Fast, Accurate Tests to Detect Viruses Like SARS-COV-2



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Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a device that detects viruses such as SARS-COV-2 in the body more accurately and as quickly as the rapid detection tests commonly used today.

Optical sensors use nanotechnology to accurately identify viruses in seconds. Blood sample..Researchers say the device can tell if someone has it with 95% accuracy virusSignificant improvements to the current rapid testing, which experts warn, may be less accurate. Testing for the virus is important for early treatment and prevention of the spread of the virus.

The results are detailed in a new study in the journal Nano letter..

Researchers tested the device with a sample of dengue virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen that causes dengue fever and poses a threat to people in the tropics. However, this technology can be easily adapted to detect other viruses such as SARS-COV-2, says Debashis Chanda, a professor at UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, co-author of the study. ..

“High-sensitivity optical sensors, along with the rapid manufacturing approach used in this task, can transform this promising technology with a high degree of specificity and accuracy for detection of any virus, including SARS-COV-2 and its mutations. I promise, “says Chanda. “Here we have demonstrated a reliable technique that combines a genetic code such as PCR with an optical system on a chip to accurately detect the virus directly from the blood.”

This device closely matches the accuracy of gold standard PCR-based tests, but with near-instantaneous results rather than days of reception. Its accuracy is significantly improved over the current rapid antigen test warned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is inaccurate if the viral load is low or if the test instructions are not followed correctly. Results may occur.

The device works with a gold nanoscale pattern that reflects the virus’s signature that is set to detect on blood samples. Different viruses can be detected by using different DNA sequences that selectively target a particular virus.

The key to device performance is the ability to detect viruses directly from blood samples without the need for sample preparation or purification. This speeds up testing and improves accuracy.

“Most of the biosensor demonstrations in the literature use buffers as a test matrix to contain targeted analytes,” says Chanda. “But these approaches are not practical in real-world applications. Complex body fluids containing target biomarkers, such as blood, are the main cause of sensing, while at the same time the main cause of protein contamination leading to sensor failure. Because it is the cause. “

Researchers have confirmed the effectiveness of the device in multiple tests using different viral concentration levels and solution environments, including the presence of non-target viral biomarkers.

Abraham Vazquez Guardard, a postdoc at Northwestern University who was the lead author of the study and worked as a postdoctoral student in Chanda’s lab, said he was excited about the possibility.

“There was a previous demonstration of optical biosensing with human serum, but it requires offline complex and dedicated sample preparation by skilled personnel. This is a product not available in regular point of care applications.” Vazquez-Guardado says. “This study demonstrates for the first time an integrated device that separates plasma from blood and detects target viruses without pretreatment, with potential for practical use in the near future.”

According to Chanda, the next step in the study will include adapting the device to detect more viruses.

Portable, Affordable, Accurate, Fast: Team Invents New COVID-19 Test

For more information:
Abraham Vazquez-Guardado et al., DNA-modified plasmon sensor for detecting viral biomarkers directly from blood, Nano letter (2021). DOI: 10.1021 / acs.nanolett.1c01609

Quote: The researchers obtained SARS-COV-2 (2021, November 29, 2021) from https: // on November 29, 2021. ) Develop fast and accurate tests to detect viruses like. sars-cov-.html

This document is subject to copyright. No part may be reproduced without written permission, except for fair transactions for personal investigation or research purposes. Content is provided for informational purposes only.

Researchers are developing fast, accurate tests to detect viruses like SARS-COV-2

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Drivers to Face Traffic Delays This Week on I-25 Near Colorado Springs



A paving project on Interstate 25 south of Colorado Springs will delay traffic during the next several days, according to a Colorado Department of Transportation news release.

The paving project, which includes filling potholes with asphalt and making road repairs between Santa Fe Boulevard and South Academy Boulevard near Fort Carson, will reduce traffic to a single lane during daytime hours (9 a.m.-3 p.m.), with a speed limit of 55 mph, Tuesday through Thursday, the agency said.

Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes during the maintenance period and those who drive through the construction zone are advised to slow down, allow extra space between vehicles and build in extra travel time. Fines will be doubled in the work zones, the release said.

1 killed in Pueblo County crash

The maintenance is a facet of a larger project designed to improve safety around military facilities in the Pikes Peak Region, the release said.

For more traffic information visit

Colorado Springs weather: Record-breaking temps possible Monday, throughout week

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