What's The Buzz


‘Vaccines can fight H1N1 virus mutation’

Health experts in Europe and North America insist that despite reported cases of mutations in the A(H1N1) virus, swine flu vaccines are as effective as they have
been before.

Bruno Lina, Director of the National Flu Virus  Monitoring Centre for southern France, said that mutations in virus was expected but it doesn’t affect the treatment and vaccines.  Anne Schuchat of the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) also insists that the mutation would have no impact on the effectiveness of the swine flu vaccine or the anti-virals.

The World Health Organisation has stressed that the mutation did not appear to cause a more contagious or more dangerous form of A(H1N1). It added that there was no evidence of more infections or more deaths as a result, while antivirals used to treat severe flu - oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) - are effective on the mutated virus.

Majority of Brits never discuss sexual health

A new British survey has found that tens of thousands of people still shy away from talking about sexually transmitted infections, thereby risking their health. According to the Government’s survey of 2,000 people aged 16 to 50, nearly 31per cent people never talk about sexual health with their partners.

Over a quarter confessed that they are too embarrassed to enquire about sex, and 62per cent say they end up joking while discussing about sex. One-sixth of those surveyed did not know that infections like herpes and genital warts could not be cured by the use of antibiotics.

The polls also found that one-fifth of the respondents were unaware that a woman could get pregnant while she was menstruating or if the man withdrew before ejaculation. And over three quarters offered sexual health advice to people without themselves being sure of what they were advising.

“Ignorance is just as transmissible as chlamydia or HIV and we need to take firm steps to prevent all of those things from spreading,” Lisa Power, head of policy at sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said.

Germs on the skin surface are good for us

Staying too clean can harm skin’s ability to heal itself, a new study has revealed.
A research team from University of California, San Diego, have discovered that bacteria living on the skin surface prevent excessive inflammation after injury.

“These germs are actually good for us,” Dr Richard L Gallo, professor of medicine and paediatrics, chief of UCSD’s Division of Dermatology and the Dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System says.

According to the researchers, lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents and microorganisms increases an individual’s susceptibility to disease by changing how the immune system reacts to such “bacterial invaders.”The hypothesis was first developed to explain why allergies like hay fever and eczema were less common in children from large families, who were presumably exposed to more infectious agents than others.

The team suggests that skin’s normal microflora, usually harmless bacteria that live on the skin, includes certain staphylococcal bacterial species that will induce an inflammatory response when they are introduced below the skin’s surface, but do not initiate inflammation when present on the epidermis, or outer layer of skin.

During the study, research team led by Yu Ping Lai, Gallo have found a previously unknown mechanism by which a product of staphylococci inhibits skin inflammation.

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