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Science, Technology
& Innovation

Issue 78: Is it time for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot?

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Every week, HEADlines brings you the latest news, stories and commentaries in education and healthcare. This week, get insights on the latest developments in healthcare. image Is it time for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot? Eight months after the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Israel, the country is seeing a surge of infections, raising questions about the need for a booster shot to lower the risk of infections. Several countries including Israel, Germany and France have decided to give booster shots to the elderly and people with weak immune systems in response to this development. In the US, an advisory has been given for most Americans to receive their COVID-19 booster shot eight months after their second shot. Why an eight-month time frame? The timing was determined based on a confluence of findings on how vaccines have held up over time, including studies showing waning vaccine efficacy against variants. However, some scientists have criticised this decision as premature, citing evidence that vaccines have still kept people from becoming severely sick in breakthrough infections. The reality is, while developed nations have started discussing the need for booster shots for their population, most developing countries have yet to arrive at a 10% vaccination rate – a target the World Health Organisation (WHO) aims to achieve before booster shots are given out. As such, it is calling for a temporary halt to booster vaccines, hoping that the focus can instead be put on ramping up vaccine supply to the billions who are still waiting for their first dose. Healthcare in the Spotlight The Straits Times: Booster jab targeting SARS virus may be effective for all COVID-19 variants: S’pore scientists Recovered SARS patients who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were found to produce antibodies that can neutralise all known COVID-19 variants of concern and other potential animal coronaviruses. The Straits Times: TCM plays big role in tackling Delta strain, say experts in China Combining TCM approaches with Western therapies has played an effective role in saving patients’ lives and accelerating their recovery from the coronavirus. The New York Times: What we think we know about metabolism may be wrong A new international study challenges assumptions about energy expenditure by people. Contrary to popular belief, the study found that adult metabolism remains stable until 60. BBC News: Artificial Intelligence may diagnose dementia in a day Not only can AI diagnose dementia after a single brain scan, but it may also be able to predict whether the condition will remain stable, slowly deteriorate or need immediate treatment. The New York Times: What if you could become invisible to mosquitoes? Using the gene-editing tool CRISPR, scientists have taken the first step toward creating a mosquito that is blind to human hosts by eliminating two of the mosquito’s light sensing receptors. UNICEF: One billion children at ‘extremely high risk’ of the impacts of the climate crisis For the first time, a UNICEF report shows a complete picture of where and how children are vulnerable to climate change, and that picture is almost unimaginably dire. CBC News: It’s not just the smoke — as climate change prompts more wildfires, hidden health risks emerge Climate change is expected to lead to a rise in the number of wildfires, which pose health dangers due to smoke inhalation. But there are also other risks to consider, such as the impact on mental health and clean water supplies. Healthbytes The science of happiness Source: HealthHub How can we be happy even in times of adversity? Find out what science has to say about managing our emotions and feeling happier. Upcoming Webinars image Chinese Medicine Webinar Series by UTAR (Malaysia) Want to know more about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and how it can benefit your health? Tune in to the monthly webinar series by TCM lecturers at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Malaysia. In the month of September, they will be covering the topics “Fight against Acne” and “Chinese Medicine Health and Disease Prevention”. Click here to register. *Please note that the UTAR webinar will be conducted in Mandarin.

About

Leaders and changemakers of today face unique and complex challenges. The HEAD Foundation Digest features insights and opinions from those in the know addressing a wide range of pertinent issues that factor in a society’s development. 

Informed opinions can inspire healthy discussions and open up our imagination to new possibilities. Interested in contributing? Write to us at info@headfoundation

Stay updated on our latest announcements on events and publications

About

Leaders and changemakers of today face unique and complex challenges. The HEAD Foundation Digest features insights and opinions from those in the know addressing a wide range of pertinent issues that factor in a society’s development. 

Informed opinions can inspire healthy discussions and open up our imagination to new possibilities. Interested in contributing? Write to us at info@headfoundation

Stay updated on our latest announcements on events and publications

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Stay updated on all the latest news and events

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