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Pharmaceutical giant Roche develops monkeypox PCR tests

"As of May 22, more than 250 confirmed and suspected cases had been officially reported to the UN health agency from 16 countries outside endemic nations in west and central Africa."

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Pharmaceutical giant Roche develops monkeypox PCR tests
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Geneva: Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche said Wednesday it had come up with PCR tests that can detect monkeypox, as the virus spreads outside endemic countries.

Roche and its subsidiary TIB Molbiol have developed three test kits which are for use by researchers in most countries worldwide, the Basel-based firm said.

The first kit detects viruses in the wider orthopoxvirus group. The second detects monkeypox viruses only, while the third detects both simultaneously.

"Roche has very quickly developed a new suite of tests that detect the monkeypox virus and aid in following its epidemiologic spread," said diagnostics chief Thomas Schinecker.

"Diagnostic tools are crucial for responding to and ultimately controlling emerging public health challenges as they advance response measures such as tracing efforts and treatment strategies."

Roche said the research test kits could assess the spread of the virus and help monitor the potential impact of treatments, vaccines, and public health measures.

The World Health Organization said that as of May 22, more than 250 confirmed and suspected cases had been officially reported to the UN health agency from 16 countries outside endemic nations in west and central Africa.

The WHO says a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is the "preferred laboratory test given its accuracy and sensitivity". For this, optimal samples are from skin lesions and dry crusts.

It says PCR blood tests are usually inconclusive and should not be routinely collected from patients.

The WHO says antigen and antibody detection methods do not distinguish between orthopoxviruses.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan said Wednesday that countries had been sharing information that was allowing the agency to better understand the spread of monkeypox.

He said its origins at the animal-human interface had not been properly controlled, "and we're paying a price now in monkeypox for an unmanaged, endemic disease which we do not fully understand".

"We have not put in place preventive measures and we're now dealing with a multi-country event directly related to our inability, or unwillingness, to manage those risks earlier," he said.

SOURCE: AFP

 

World

Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water"

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Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

Kabul: Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan health ministry official said on Sunday, days after a U.N. agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region.

At least 1,000 people were killed, 2,000 injured and 10,000 homes destroyed in Wednesday s earthquake, after which the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) warned that cholera outbreaks in the aftermath are of particular and serious concern. 

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water," Afghanistan s health ministry spokesperson Sharafat Zaman told Reuters, adding officials had managed medicines for now but handling those who had lost their homes would be a challenge.

"We ask the international community, humanitarian organisations to help us for food and medicine, the survivor might catch diseases because they don’t have proper houses and shelters for living," he said.

The disaster is a major test for Afghanistan s hardline Taliban rulers, who have been shunned by many foreign governments due to concerns about human rights since they seized control of the country last year.

Helping thousands of Afghans is also a challenge for countries that had imposed sanctions on Afghan government bodies and banks, cutting off direct assistance, leading to a humanitarian crisis even before the earthquake.

The United Nations and several other countries have rushed aid to the affected areas, with more due to arrive over the coming days.

Afghanistan s Taliban administration called for a rolling back of sanctions and lifting a freeze on billions of dollars in central bank assets stashed in Western financial institutions. read more

In Kabul, hospitals more used to treating victims of war have opened their wards to earthquake victims, but a majority of people remain in the areas destroyed by the earthquake.

"Our houses were destroyed, we have no tent... there are lots of children with us. We have nothing. Our food and clothes...everything is under rubble," Hazrat Ali, 18, told a Reuters team in Wor Kali, a village of the hardest-hit Barmal district.

"I have lost my brothers, my heart is broken. Now we are just two. I loved them a lot," he said.

SOURCE: Reuters

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World

Morocco: 27 migrants die in stampede to enter Spain’s Melilla

The incident at the border crossing was the first since Spain and Morocco boosted their bilateral cooperation after Madrid decided to support Rabat’s position on the independence of Western Sahara. 

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Morocco: 27 migrants die in stampede to enter Spain’s Melilla

Moroccan authorities said that 27 migrants were killed and dozens of migrants and police officers were injured in a “stampede” of people trying to cross into the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla.

According to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the death toll of migrants who died trying to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla rose to 27 today (June 25). 

On Friday, around 2,000 migrants—many from Sudan—tried to cross the militarized border fence.

At first, five people were reported dead, but later, Moroccan authorities raised the figure to 18. 

“The victims of the tragedy in Melilla agonized for hours under the cruel gaze of those who were supposed to help them and did not do so,” tweeted founder of Walking Borders Helena Maleno Garzon, who also confirmed the report of 27 dead.

Spanish officials said 49 Civil Guards sustained minor injuries while four police vehicles were damaged by rocks thrown by some migrants. 

Videos from the Moroccan side of the border show what appear to be dead bodies and people with severe injuries strewn out on the ground without receiving medical attention. 

Other images show hundreds of people, some with clear injuries, lying in a pile on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.

Moroccan police used tear gas to disperse those trying to climb the border fence.

Following the horrific incident, several NGOs are calling for an immediate investigation into the treatment of migrants. 

The incident at the border crossing was the first since Spain and Morocco boosted their bilateral cooperation after Madrid decided to support Rabat’s position on the independence of Western Sahara. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday applauded the “extraordinary work of the Moroccan government in coordination with Spain to try to stop a violent assault, which was, in this case, well resolved.”

Last year, Moroccan authorities stood passively by as thousands swam into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta amid a diplomatic spat over Spain treating the separatist leader of Western Sahara for coronavirus.

According to Spanish authorities, just 133 people managed to reach Spain during Friday’s border crossing attempt. 

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Pakistan

Rigging, incidents of violence disrupts Sindh LG polls

Video of public rigging in Sindh local body elections went viral

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Rigging, incidents of violence disrupts Sindh LG polls

Sukkar: Incidents of rigging and violence are being reported during the Polling for the first phase of Local Government elections in fourteen districts of Sindh.

Polling for the first phase of local government elections in Sindh is underway which started at 8am and will continue till 5pm without any break in 14 districts of the province including Sukkur, Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana, Mirpur Khas, Umarkot, Tharparkar, Sanghar, Naushehro Feroze, Kanbar-ShahdadKot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kahmor, Ghoki and Khairpur.

However, as soon as the balloting started, reports of rigging as well as violence poured in.

A video of rigging during polls goes viral on socila media showing that more than one voter are stamping on their votes publically on the Returning Officer's table.

On the other hand, violence in Sukkur, Kandhkot, Nawabshah, Ghotki and Mirpur Mathelo left dozens of people injured. At least one polling station in Kandhkot was attacked by dacoits.

Polling in Municipal Committee Ward 13 was suspended after a conflict resulted in the death of one person in Tando Adam.

The polling station was immediately shut down after the incident.

In Kandhkot, at least 20 people were reportedly injured as a fight broke out between the workers of rival political parties in ward 10 during the local bodies polls in Kandhkot on Sunday.

A large contingent of police and rangers rushed to the scene to restore the law and order.

A scuffle between PPP and JUI candidates also broke out in Sukkur that left two people injured including JUI general councilor candidate Ghulam Mustafa.

The incident was reported in Fareed Mehr polling station in Pano Aqil.

JUI candidate has alleged that the attack was ‘unprovoked’.

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