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.
Should you be nervous about the Omicron variant?
It has been two weeks since South Africa reported the Omicron variant to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which has since spread to over 50 countries.
The variant sparked concern in researchers given the high number of mutations – a total of 32 in the spike protein – raising fears that the mutations may help the virus evade immunity.
What do we know so far about the Omicron’s transmissibility, severity and ability to evade vaccines?
Transmissibility: Early data coming from South Africa is showing the Omicron to be much more transmissible, and could overtake Delta as the dominant variant in a few weeks. A study in Japan found that Omicron is four times more infectious than Delta in its early stage.
Severity: Anecdotal reports have linked Omicron to less severe disease. The South African doctor who first spotted the variant has found its symptoms to be very mild. Experts however have warned against premature conclusions. The coming weeks will prove if this is true.
Ability to evade vaccines: Lab studies by Pfizer and BioNTech show that a third booster shot will be needed to induce sufficient antibodies against the Omicron, and a fourth dose may be needed sooner than expected. It can also develop a vaccine specifically targeting Omicron by March 2022 should that prove necessary.
The twists and turns in the COVID-19 pandemic have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. With early data showing that Omicron causes less severe disease and that vaccines still provide protection, we can be cautiously optimistic to enjoy the festive cheer this year.
Healthcare in the Spotlight
The Conversation: How can scientists update coronavirus vaccines for omicron?
A microbiologist answers 5 questions about how Moderna and Pfizer could rapidly adjust mRNA vaccines to better fight new variants like omicron.
World Food Programme: 2021 Nobel Peace Prize lecture by David Beasley, Executive Director of WFP
45 million people in the world today are in hunger emergencies. Conflict, climate change and COVID-19 have created an unprecedented perfect storm. What can we do about it?
World Bank Blogs: Mobilising against child malnutrition
World Bank and Save the Children International highlight how global action against malnutrition can help save millions of children and billions in economic losses.
MedPage Today: Will ‘Climate Change’ soon feature on more patient charts?
Research has shown that extreme weather events and temperature changes can exacerbate chronic illnesses. One doctor has gone further to list climate change as part of a clinical diagnosis.
The Brighter Side of News: Groundbreaking new blood test can spot up to 50 types of cancers
Developed in partnership with the Mayo Clinic, the multi-cancer early cancer detection (MCED) test called Galleri™ has the potential to transform cancer care by reducing cancer deaths and decreasing health care costs by detecting more cancers earlier.
The Straits Times: Singapore to build third national supercomputer for healthcare research
It is set to train artificial intelligence (AI) to predict a patient’s future disease condition, such as COVID-19 and kidney disease, within hours.
The Guardian: Viagra could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, study finds
Scientists say users of sildenafil – the generic name for Viagra – are 69% less likely to develop the form of dementia than non-users.
The best teas to drink for your health
Source: Cleveland Clinic
With the overwhelming types of tea out there, which are the best teas to aid your health condition? Read on to find out what tea options there are, and their health benefits.