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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT CORONA-VIRUS (COVID-19)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will no longer block the import of KN95 masks, due to a shortage in personal protective equipment, or PPE, in the United States, an agency official first told Buzzfeed News.
The masks have been described as the Chinese equivalent of an N95 mask which U.S. health care workers use to protect themselves from airborne bacteria and viruses. Though they are allowing imports of the KN95 mask, the product is not FDA-approved, meaning those who use it do so without legal protections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has included the KN95 mask as an alternative to other certified masks that should be used on an emergency basis.
The FDA has not authorized models of KN95 masks made in China under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) previously due to concerns of fraudulent products.
“Because of this, the FDA generally would not object to the importation and use of KN95 masks without an EUA,” an FDA official told The Hill. “Although not required, if a KN95 mask does not have an EUA, importers may want to take appropriate steps to verify the authenticity of these products. The FDA is ready and available to engage with importers to minimize disruptions during the importing process.”
The agency announced Thursday that it was loosening regulations on face masks but did not specifically name the KN95 mask.
“Most recently, the FDA issued an EUA to help increase the supply of filtering facepiece respirators by authorizing the use of certain imported disposable respirators that are not National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-approved for use by health care professionals,” the FDA said in a statement.
“We are continuing to work on strategies to increase the availability of these devices,” the statement continues.
The agency also said it is working with manufacturers to produce masks as the demand has increased for both health care workers and civilians.
“We are providing maximum regulatory flexibility where we can,” the agency added.
The move to allow the import of KN95 comes as GOP lawmakers have shown concern over the U.S.’s dependence on China for medical supplies and various pharmaceuticals.
Doctors are reporting they now understand the behavior of the COVID 19 virus due to autopsies that they have carried out. This virus is characterized by obstructing respiratory pathways with thick mucus that solidifies and blocks the airways and lungs. So they have discovered that in order to apply a medicine you have to open and unblock these airways so that the treatment can be used to take effect however all of this takes a number of days. Their recommendations for what you can do to safeguard yourself are …
1) Drink lots of hot liquids – coffees, soups, teas, warm water. In addition take a sip of warm water every 20 minutes bc this keeps your mouth moist and washes any of the virus that’s entered your mouth into your stomach where your gastric juices will neutralize it before it can get to the lungs.
2) Gargle with an antiseptic and warm water like vinegar or salt or lemon every day if possible
3) The virus attaches itself to hair and clothes. And detergent or soap kills it but you must take bath or shower when you get in from the street. Avoid sitting down in your home and go straight to the shower. If you cannot wash your clothes daily, hang them in sunlight which also helps to neutralize the virus
4) Wash metallic surfaces very carefully bc the virus can stay viable on these for up to 9 days. Take note and be vigilant about touching hand rails, door knobs, etc. and keep these clean in home home
5) Don’t smoke
6) Wash your hands every 20 minutes with any soap that foams and do this for 20 seconds
7) Eat fruits and vegetables. Try to elevate your zinc levelS
8)Animals do not spread the virus to people. Its a person to person transmission.
9)Try to avoid getting the common flu as this already weakens your system and try to avoid eating and drinking any cold things.
10) If you feel any discomfort in your throat or a sore throat coming on, attack it immediately using the above methods. The virus enters the system through the throat but will sit in the throat for 3-4 days before it passes into your lungs.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on Saturday night, the FDA approved a fast new coronavirus test and a naval hospital ship left Norfolk, Virginia, for New York City.
President Donald Trump said earlier Saturday he was considering imposing a two-week quarantine on New York and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut to deal with the rapid spread of COVID-19. He later tweeted “a quarantine will not be necessary,” saying the CDC’s advisory would follow.
The U.S. counted more than 124,000 cases of coronavirus Saturday, with at least 2,100 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard. More confirmations are expected as the U.S. ramps up testing.
About 660,000 people are known to have been infected with COVID-19 globally, and more than 30,000 have died.
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WHO to accelerate research and innovation for new coronavirus
credits to WHO https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
WHO is convening a global research and innovation forum to mobilize international action in response to the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
“Harnessing the power of science is critical for bringing this outbreak under control,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “There are questions we need answers to, and tools we need developed as quickly as possible. WHO is playing an important coordinating role by bringing the scientific community together to identify research priorities and accelerate progress.”
The forum, to be held 11-12 February in Geneva, is organized in collaboration with the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness.
The forum will bring together key players including leading scientists as well as public health agencies, ministries of health and research funders pursuing 2019-nCoV critical animal health and public health research and the development of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, among other innovations.
Participants will discuss several areas of research, including identifying the source of the virus as well as sharing of biological samples and genetic sequences.
Experts will build on existing SARS and MERS coronavirus research and identify knowledge gaps and research priorities in order to accelerate scientific information and medical products most needed to minimize the impact of the 2019-nCoV outbreak.
The meeting is expected to produce a global research agenda for the new coronavirus, setting priorities and frameworks that can guide which projects are undertaken first. “Understanding the disease, its reservoirs, transmission and clinical severity and then developing effective counter-measures is critical for the control of the outbreak, to reduce deaths and minimize the economic impact,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, WHO Chief Scientist.
This will also fast-track the development and evaluation of effective diagnostic tests, vaccines and medicines, while establishing mechanisms for affordable access to vulnerable populations and facilitating community engagement.
“The WHO R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness platform that drives coordinated development of drugs and vaccines before epidemics, and allows the rapid activation of R&D activities during epidemics. It speeds up the availability of the diagnostics, vaccines and treatments and technologies that ultimately save lives,” added Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme.
Setting clear global research priorities for the novel coronavirus should lead to more efficient investments, high-quality research and synergies among global researchers.
Online training as a weapon to fight the new coronavirus
WHE has been investing in learning and training to strengthen preparedness and real-time response to health emergencies. The programme developed its first-ever learning strategy in 2018 and has a small dedicated Learning and Capacity Development Unit that allows WHE to develop trainings quickly and get know-how to those who most need it at the front line.
Medical advisers are now warning the public to wear a kn95 mask or similar when going outside
For the latest information on the new coronavirus, visit the 2019-nCoV page.
Coronavirus: Expert panel to assess face mask use by public
Should more of us wear face masks to help slow the spread of coronavirus?
This question is to be assessed by a panel of advisers to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The group will weigh up research on whether the virus can be projected further than previously thought; a study in the US suggests coughs can reach 6m and sneezes up to 8m.
The panel’s chair, Prof David Heymann, told BBC News that the new research may lead to a shift in advice about masks.
The former director at the WHO explained: “The WHO is opening up its discussion again looking at the new evidence to see whether or not there should be a change in the way it’s recommending masks should be used.”
What is the current advice?
The WHO recommends keeping a distance of at least 1m from anyone coughing or sneezing to avoid the risk of infection.
It says people who are sick and show symptoms should wear masks.
But it advises that healthy people only need to wear them if they are caring for others suspected of being infected or if they themselves are coughing or sneezing.
It emphasises that masks are only effective if combined with frequent hand-washing and used and disposed of properly.
The UK, along with other countries including the US, advises that social distancing should mean staying at least 2m apart.
This advice is based on evidence showing that viruses can only be transmitted while carried within drops of liquid.
The understanding is that most of those drops will either evaporate or fall to the ground near to the person who released them.
So what does the new research say?
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, US, used high-speed cameras and other sensors to assess precisely what happens after a cough or sneeze.
They found that an exhalation generates a small fast-moving cloud of gas that can contain droplets of liquid of varying sizes – and that the smallest of these can be carried in the cloud over long distances.
The study – conducted in laboratory conditions – found that coughs can project liquid up to 6m away and that sneezes, which involve much higher speeds, can reach up to 8m away.
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- LOOK-UP TOOL: Check cases in your area
- MAPS AND CHARTS: Visual guide to the outbreak
- VIDEO: The 20-second hand wash
What are the implications?
The scientist who led the study, Prof Lydia Bourouiba of MIT, told me that she is concerned about the current concept of “safe distances”.
“What we exhale, cough or sneeze is a gas cloud that has high momentum that can go far, traps the drops of all sizes in it and carries them through the room,” she said.
“So having this false idea of safety at one to two metres, that somehow drops will just fall to the ground at that distance is not based on what we have quantified, measured and visualised directly.”
Does this change the advice about masks?
Prof Bourouiba’s view is that in certain situations, especially indoors in poorly ventilated rooms, wearing masks would reduce the risks.
For example, when facing someone who’s infected, masks could help divert the flow of their breath and its load of virus away from your mouth.
“Flimsy masks are not going to protect from inhaling the smallest particulates in the air because they do not provide filtration,” Prof Bourouiba said.
“But they would potentially divert the cloud that is being emitted with high momentum to the side instead of forward.”
What do the WHO advisers think?
According to Prof Heymann, the new research from MIT and other institutions will be evaluated because it suggests that droplets from coughs and sneezes could be projected further than originally thought.
He said that if the evidence is supported, then “it might be that wearing a mask is equally as effective or more effective than distancing.”
But he adds a warning that masks need to be worn properly, with a seal over the nose. If they become moist, Prof Heymann explained, then particles can pass through. People must remove them carefully to avoid their hands becoming contaminated.
He adds that masks need to be worn consistently.
“It’s not on to wear a mask and then decide to take it off to smoke a cigarette or eat a meal – it must be worn full time,” he said.
The panel, known as the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards, is due to hold its next virtual meeting in the next few days.
A spokesperson for Public Health England said there was little evidence of widespread benefit from wearing masks outside clinical settings.
“Facemasks must be worn correctly, changed frequently, removed properly, disposed of safely and used in combination with good universal hygiene behaviour in order for them to be effective.
“Research also shows that compliance with these recommended behaviours reduces over time when wearing facemasks for prolonged periods.”
Aren’t countries changing their advice on masks anyway?
Long popular in many countries in Asia, masks are now being assessed for public use by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
In Austria, the police now wear them and anyone dealing with the police will have to wear one too. Supermarkets there will insist that customers do too.
A once-rare sight in Europe is becoming more common, and new advice from the WHO would accelerate that change.