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Women may mount stronger COVID-19 immune response: Study | News

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Women are more likely to develop a stronger immune response to the novel coronavirus compared with men, a new study has found, offering a possible explanation for the more severe illness of COVID-19 often observed in men.

The findings published in the journal Nature on Wednesday noted that globally, men account for about 60 percent of COVID-19 related deaths – the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

“What we found was that men and women indeed develop different types of immune responses to COVID-19,” said Akiko Iwasaki, the study’s lead author and a professor at Yale University in the United States.

The immunity specialist said “these differences may underlie heightened disease susceptibility in men”.

Researchers collected nasal, saliva, and blood samples from non-infected control subjects and patients with the disease who were treated at Yale New Haven Hospital in the United States.

They found that women mounted a more robust immune response involving T lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell that can recognise viruses and eliminate them. This was the case even among older women, the study found.

In contrast, older men had weaker T cell activity – the older they were, the weaker the response.

Overall men also produced more cytokines, which are inflammatory proteins that form another part of the body’s natural immune defence.

However, severe cases of COVID-19 have been linked to what is known as a “cytokine storm”, when the immune system goes into overdrive, which is harmful and potentially deadly.

Men who showed high concentrations early on were more likely to have a severe case of the disease, while those women who also showed significant cytokine levels appeared to fare worse, the study found.

According to the authors, this could imply that men and women need different treatments.

For men, for example “we should be enhancing their T cell responses with vaccines”, Iwasaki said, while women could be given treatment to dampen the cytokine response.

Since the start of the pandemic, most countries have reported a higher number of deaths from the new coronavirus among men than women.

Experts have offered a number of possible explanations for this trend. 

“One theory is that men are more likely to partake in unhealthy habits, which are associated with developing chronic diseases,” Dr Sara Kayat wrote in an article for Al Jazeera.

The presence of the extra X chromosome that women have as well as hormones are other possible reasons, she said.

The Yale study, which has been peer-reviewed, has some limitations, however. The sample size was relatively small, with 98 patients in total. The average age of the patients was also high, at about 60 years.

Commenting on the research, Eleanor Riley, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, said some of the divergence noted in the study is likely caused by differences in age or BMI, which measures body fat. The sex differences disappear once these other factors are taken into account.

She said treatments would be better if they were individually tailored, rather than defined solely based on sex.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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