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Successful Ebola Cure In Monkeys Offers Hope To Humans

In what could be called as a breakthrough study, monkeys infected with the deadly Ebola virus have been treated successfully-a feat that could possibly bring humans a step closer to a cure.

According to a new study, a team of scientists used special gene-silencing drugs to selectively “knock out” viral proteins in Chinese rhesus macaques infected with a lethal dose of the Zaire Ebola virus.

Zaire is the most virulent strain of Ebola-90 percent of infected people die during outbreaks.

Ebola spreads via bodily fluids or tainted needles and razors, and it’s highly contagious.

Infections in humans and other primates typically cause acute fever and headaches, followed by uncontrollable bleeding from the body’s openings. Shock from heavy internal and external bleeding usually proves fatal.

“Ebola is not only of interest because it can cause high mortality, but also because it can be used as a bioterror weapon,” National Geographic quoted study leader Thomas Geisbert, a virologist at Boston University, as saying.

“There are a lot of groups working on preventive vaccines, but this is the first time someone has developed a post-exposure treatment,” he added.

The researchers used drugs based on synthetic versions of small interfering RNA, or siRNA, a type of molecule in the body that can interfere with the expression of particular genes. (Get a genetics overview.)

Since genes are the codes the body uses to make proteins, interfering with specific viral genes should stop production of proteins the Ebola virus needs to survive.

“We specifically targeted the L protein, as it kick-starts virus replication. If you knock out that protein, you can really inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate,” said Geisbert.

The team also targeted the VP24 and VP35 proteins, which are involved in disabling an infected host’s immune response.

Seven of the nine monkeys in the study received the same amount of the drug over a six-day period.

Three of the seven monkeys got the drug every other day, while four received it daily.

One monkey in each group served as a control animal and didn’t receive the drug.

On analysing the treated monkeys, it was found that ten days after having been infected with Ebola, the first group of monkeys had very low levels of the virus in their blood.

Researchers could not detect the virus at all in the group that had received daily doses.

“The siRNAs inhibited the replication of the virus and completely protected the monkeys against death from hemorrhagic fever. This has never been done before,” noted Geisbert.

Geisbert thinks the real novelty of the study-is that the scientists were able to deliver the drug to infected cells, which can be a challenge, because synthetic siRNA drugs can activate the body’s immune system, triggering inflammation.

To ferry the drug into cells while preventing unwanted side effects, the researchers packed the drug inside fat molecules.

“This capability offers a therapeutic option that has been lacking with certain hemorrhagic fever viruses that have a high level of mortality associated with infections,” said Anthony Sanchez, an Ebola researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The interesting part of the technique is that the [siRNA drug] can be quickly synthesized for a specific strain of Ebola virus. Thus, if a new strain suddenly appears, whether in Africa or in another region of the world, a therapeutic solution can be quickly generated and deployed for use,” added Sanchez.

In a commentary on the study, Heinz Feldmann of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases wrote that the new work is “long overdue and should be considered a milestone in what has been a difficult and frustrating specialty of filovirus research.” Newstrack India
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Low Cost Medical Insurance

An important measure to ensure good health is to buy low cost medical insurance that will take care of any healthcare financing required to ensure you have access to the best treatments available. Many people thought that only rich people can afford the spare cash to buy health insurance but that is a very wrong misconception.

Major medical plan and especially HMO health insurance are all considered low cost medical insurance whose monthly preimum is around $30 a month from Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross etc. That is around a dollar a day, which makes it affordable for just about any working adults.

The problem is some unethical insurance salesmen try to push too hard and sold inappropriate medical insurance, such as unnecessarily high coverage or GOLD plans to unknowing consumers at higher than they can afford premiums. When word spreads around, many people become disillusioned and think that there is no low cost medical insurance that are designed for their lower incomes.

Deductibles For Medical Insurance

The reason why insurers can come up with low cost medical insurance is because of the use of co-payment and deductibles schemes. Whenever you make a claim for some medical services, the insurer will process the claim and if valid, pay around 70 to 80% of the covered expenses while the insurance claimant will pay the remaining. This simple but effective strategy puts a stop to people that try to abuse the benefits of their medical insurance and increase the expenses of the insurers. When that is not controlled, the only result is higher monthly premiums to offset these fraud cases.

However, the co-payment nature of low cost medical insurance may be a problem for some low income families as they may need to come up with a substantial amount of money for long term treatments or expensive surgeries. Although there are some health plans with lower deductibles, these means the monthly premium will be correspondingly increased hence it is essentially equivalent. Nevertheless, either plans are still better than having zero health insurance coverage which means you must pay the very expensive hospital bills in full which can be typically several hundred times compared to the total amount of premiums paid on average.

Buy Medical Insurance

When you are considering to buy health insurance, be sure to compare the medical insurance quotes from Humana, Aetna, Blue Cross, etc and examine the features and disadvantages of each plan. Do not buy more than what you can afford and it is definitely better to ensure everyone in the family is insured with the basic family medical insurance plans than to leave someone out while using that saved money to upgrade to a GOLD plan.

A subtle difference between the health policies quoted by different insurers can be found in the list of catastrophic illnesses covered and the amount claimable per annum. Some cheaper quotations may conveniently leave out coverage for some expensive surgical procedures and ordinary consumers may not be able to tell the differences.

If you have some special family medical history that make you belong to the high risk group of developing a particular health condition, make sure you choose a medical insurance that does insure you against it. You also need to be upfront about your medical status when applying such that the insurer can send you for more in-depth examinations to review your case.

Even though leading a healthy lifestyle and eating a sensible diet is perhaps the most important prevention against the onset of diseases, the low costs associated with health insurance have made it a no brainer decision, especially when you have taken a look at any recent hospitalization expenses.

By the way, do not get confused with the low cost group insurance plans that you may have bought in at your company or neighborhood. Such plans only provide protection against death and is used as a form of dependant protection to ensure your family has some monetary support in the event that you are no longer around. Low cost health insurance is more towards protecting you from the financial difficulties of not being able to foot the medical bills necessary to nurse you back to health.
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Herb garden

The herb garden is often a separate space in the garden, devoted to growing a specific group of plants known as herbs. These gardens may be informal patches of plants, or they may be carefully designed, even to the point of arranging and clipping the plants to form specific patterns, as in a knot garden.

Herb gardens may be purely functional, or they may include a blend of functional and ornamental plants. The herbs are usually used to flavour food in cooking, though they may also be used in other ways, such as discouraging pests, providing pleasant scents, or serving medicinal purposes (e.g., a physic garden), among others.

A kitchen garden can be created by planting different herbs in pots or containers, with the added benefit of mobility. Although not all herbs thrive in pots or containers, some herbs do better than others. Mint, is an example of herb that is advisable to keep in a container or it will take over the whole garden.

The culinary use of herbs may result in positive medical side-effects. In addition, plants grown within the garden are sometimes specifically targeted to cure common illnesses or maladies such as colds, headaches, or anxiety. During the medieval period, monks and nuns developed specialist medical knowledge and grew the necessary herbs in specialist gardens. Now, especially due to the increase in popularity of alternative medicine, this usage is heavily increasing. Making a medicinal garden however, requires a great number of plants, one for each malady.

Herbs grown in herb gardens are also sometimes used to make herbal teas.

Some popular culinary herbs in temperate climates are to a large extent still the same as in the medieval period.

Examples of herbs used for specific purposes (lists are examples only, and not intended to be complete):

* Annual culinary herbs: basil, dill, summer savory
* Perennial culinary herbs: mint, rosemary, thyme, tarragon
* Herbs used for potpourri: lavender, lemon verbena
* Herbs used for tea: mint, lemon verbena, chamomile, bergamot, Hibiscus sabdariffa (for making karkade).
* Herbs used for other purposes: stevia for sweetening, feverfew for pest control in the garden.

However, herbs often have multiple purposes. For example, mint may be used for cooking, tea, and pest control.
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Chrysanthemum tea

Chrysanthemum tea is a flower-based tisane made from chrysanthemum flowers of the species Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum indicum, which are most popular in East Asia. To prepare the tea, chrysanthemum flowers (usually dried) are steeped in hot water (usually 90 to 95 degrees Celsius after cooling from a boil) in either a teapot, cup, or glass; often rock sugar is also added, and occasionally also wolfberries. The resulting drink is transparent and ranges from pale to bright yellow in color, with a floral aroma. In Chinese tradition, once a pot of chrysanthemum tea has been drunk, hot water is typically added again to the flowers in the pot (producing a tea that is slightly less strong); this process is often repeated several times.

Several varieties of chrysanthemum, ranging from white to pale or bright yellow in color, are used for tea. These include:

* Huángshān Gòngjú, literally "Yellow Mountain tribute chrysanthemum"); also called simply Gòngjú
* Hángbáijú, originating from Tongxiang, near Hangzhou; also called simply Hángjú
* Chújú, originating from the Chuzhou district of Anhui
* Bójú, originating in the Bozhou district of Anhui

The flower is called gek huay in Thai. In Tamil it is called saamandhi.

Of these, the first two are most popular. Some varieties feature a prominent yellow flower head while others do not.
Medicinal use

Chrysanthemum tea has many purported medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza, acne and as a "cooling" herb. According to traditional Chinese medicine the tisane can aid in the prevention of sore throat and promote the reduction of fever. In Korea, it is known well for its medicinal use for making people more alert and is often used to waken themselves. In western herbal medicine, Chrysanthemum tea is drunk and used as a compress to treat circulatory disorders such as varicose veins and atherosclerosis.

In traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum tea is also used to treat the eyes, and is said to clear the liver and the eyes. It is believed to be effective in treating eye pain associated with stress or yin/fluid deficiency. It is also used to treat blurring, spots in front of the eyes, diminished vision, and dizziness. The liver is associated with the element Wood which rules the eyes and is associated with anger, stress, and related emotions.

Commercially available chrysanthemum tea

Although typically prepared at home, chrysanthemum tea is also available as a beverage in many Asian restaurants (particularly Chinese ones), and is also available from various drinks outlets in East Asia as well as Asian grocery stores outside Asia in canned or packed form. Due to its medicinal value, it may also be available at Traditional Chinese medicine outlets, often mixed with other ingredients.
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The History of Penicillin

Penicillin is one of the earliest discovered and widely used antibiotic agents, derived from the Penicillium mold. Antibiotics are natural substances that are released by bacteria and fungi into the their environment, as a means of inhibiting other organisms - it is chemical warfare on a microscopic scale.

Sir Alexander Fleming

* Alexander Fleming
* born August. 6, 1881 , Darvel, Scotland
* died March 11, 1955 , London, England

In 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming observed that colonies of the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus could be destroyed by the mold Penicillium notatum, proving that there was an antibacterial agent there in principle. This principle later lead to medicines that could kill certain types of disease-causing bacteria inside the body.

At the time, however, the importance of Alexander Fleming's discovery was not known. Use of penicillin did not begin until the 1940s when Howard Florey and Ernst Chain isolated the active ingredient and developed a powdery form of the medicine.

History of Penicillin

Originally noticed by a French medical student, Ernest Duchesne, in 1896. Penicillin was re-discovered by bacteriologist Alexander Fleming working at St. Mary's Hospital in London in 1928. He observed that a plate culture of Staphylococcus had been contaminated by a blue-green mold and that colonies of bacteria adjacent to the mold were being dissolved. Curious, Alexander Fleming grew the mold in a pure culture and found that it produced a substance that killed a number of disease-causing bacteria. Naming the substance penicillin, Dr. Fleming in 1929 published the results of his investigations, noting that his discovery might have therapeutic value if it could be produced in quantity.

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Hodgkin used x-rays to find the structural layouts of atoms and the overall molecular shape of over 100 molecules including penicillin. Dorothy's discovery of the molecular layout of penicillin helped lead scientists to develop other antibiotics.

Dr. Howard Florey

It was not until 1939 that Dr. Howard Florey, a future Nobel Laureate, and three colleagues at Oxford University began intensive research and were able to demonstrate penicillin's ability to kill infectious bacteria. As the war with Germany continued to drain industrial and government resources, the British scientists could not produce the quantities of penicillin needed for clinical trials on humans and turned to the United States for help. They were quickly referred to the Peoria Lab where scientists were already working on fermentation methods to increase the growth rate of fungal cultures. One July 9, 1941, Howard Florey and Norman Heatley, Oxford University Scientists came to the U.S. with a small but valuable package containing a small amount of penicillin to begin work.

Pumping air into deep vats containing corn steep liquor (a non-alcoholic by-product of the wet milling process) and the addition of other key ingredients was shown to produce faster growth and larger amounts of penicillin than the previous surface-growth method. Ironically, after a worldwide search, it was a strain of penicillin from a moldy cantaloupe in a Peoria market that was found and improved to produce the largest amount of penicillin when grown in the deep vat, submerged conditions.

Andrew J. Moyer

By November 26, 1941, Andrew J. Moyer, the lab's expert on the nutrition of molds, had succeeded, with the assistance of Dr. Heatley, in increasing the yields of penicillin 10 times. In 1943, the required clinical trials were performed and penicillin was shown to be the most effective antibacterial agent to date. Penicillin production was quickly scaled up and available in quantity to treat Allied soldiers wounded on D-Day. As production was increased, the price dropped from nearly priceless in 1940, to $20 per dose in July 1943, to $0.55 per dose by 1946.

As a result of their work, two members of the British group were awarded the Nobel Prize. Dr. Andrew J. Moyer from the Peoria Lab was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and both the British and Peoria Laboratories were designated as International Historic Chemical Landmarks.

Andrew J Moyer Patent

On May 25, 1948, Andrew J Moyer was granted a patent for a method of the mass production of penicillin.

Resistance to Penicillin

Four years after drug companies began mass-producing penicillin in 1943, microbes began appearing that could resist it.

The first bug to battle penicillin was Staphylococcus aureus. This bacterium is often a harmless passenger in the human body, but it can cause illness, such as pneumonia or toxic shock syndrome, when it overgrows or produces a toxin.
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Professor Alexander Fleming

In 1928, Professor Alexander Fleming, a bacteriologist working at St Mary’s Hospital in London accidentally discovered Penicillin. It was the first of the antibiotics but failed to stabilize the substance because the germ-destroying qualities lasted for only a few days.

The next major breakthrough was achieved when stabilization was achieved by Australian-born pathologist Howard Florey and the German-born Ernst Chain, a chemist, working at Oxford University in 1940

Over the years new antibiotics have been discovered such as streptomycin (effective against tuberculosis) ,chloramphenicol (effective against typhoid fever) and terramycin (effective against many diseases.)

An antibiotic is a germ-killing substance derived from a living source, often a mould. The penicillin takes the form of a living mould, producing an antibiotic, which could have a place in treatment. It is effective against a wide range of serious diseases and at the same time it has virtually harmless to normal tissues.

The invention of antibiotic has proved to be the "miracle drug" for which the medical world of that time was hoping for. It has helped prevent against various diseases that without it, people could have died from the disease. It has also saved many lives especially during the World Wars for treatment on soldiers. Without this great invention, many more would have died.
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