Written by: Sakina Nazarali, SFU Student


New drug proves itself a 99% effective cure for HIV/AIDS

After the first clinical trial of the drug Gammora, results indicate that in four weeks, it can destroy up to 90% of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within four weeks. Upon being mixed with another antiretroviral treatment, the drug was then shown to eliminate 99% of the disease within another four weeks.

The study was conducted by researchers from Zion Medical, which is a biotech company from Israel, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The head of development at Zion Medical, Dr Esmira Naftali, said that Gammora’s impact was assessed at Ronald Bata Memorial Hospital in Uganda. The test  involved randomly assigning different dosages of the drug to nine patients, over a period of four to five weeks.

The study shows that Gammora destroys infected cells while leaving healthy cells intact. Previous drugs used to treat HIV, known as antiretroviral drugs, cannot do this; instead, they stop the virus from spreading to more cells.

Gammora comes at a time when 36.9 million people live with HIV globally.

With files from PR Newswire, Daily Nation, and Pulselive.co.ke.


Armed men abduct students in Bamenda, Cameroon

In a boarding school in the west of Cameroon, 78 students, along with their principal, were kidnapped on November 4.

As of November 7, the kidnapped students were released, although the principal and a teacher are still being held captive.

There is confusion with regards to the identity of the abductors. Authorities of Cameroon have made allegations against Anglophone separatist militias. These groups are supposed to be fighting for English-speaking regions in Cameroon to secede and form an independent state called Ambazonia.

However, the Ambazonia International Policy Commission (AIPC), which is an Anglophone group, has denied the involvement of any separatists in the kidnapping.

With files from New York Times and The Telegraph.



In Beijing, Bill Gates beholds a jar of poo

Billionaire and Microsoft founder Bill Gates stood in front of a crowd at the Reinvented Toilet Expo while carrying a jar of human feces to showcase reinvented toilet technology.

“I have to say, a decade ago I never imagined that I’d know so much about poop,” joked the billionaire, who has since spent over US$200 million on researching the field.

The expo hosted many kinds of innovative sanitation technology, each designed to partition liquid and solid waste while removing harmful byproducts.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.3 billion people in the world are lacking basic sanitation facilities — resulting in public defecation.

“And that’s what kids when they are out playing, they are being exposed to all the time, and that’s why we connect this not just with quality of life, but with disease and death and with malnutrition,” noted Gates.

Deadly diseases linked to poor sanitation include cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. To emphasize the uncleanliness and dangers of unfiltered feces, Gates looked at the jar and stated that it could contain “as many as 200 trillion rotavirus…20 billion Shigella bacteria, and 100,000 parasitic worm eggs.”

According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the annual cost of poor sanitation amounts to the deaths of about half a million children under the age of five and US$200 billion a year in healthcare costs and lost income.

With files from The Irish Times and BBC News.



Japan sees suicide rates amongst young people hit a 30-year high

Child suicide rates in Japan have been deemed the leading cause of death amongst young people in the country.

    In the 2016/17 fiscal year alone, 250 children ranging in ages from elementary to high school reportedly took their own lives. This number is the highest it has been since 1986. A larger percentage of these students were students of high school age.

In 2015, a study held from 1972–2013 found that national child suicide peaked massively on September 1: the start of the second term of the Japanese school year. Academic pressure has been determined as one of the possible causes of increased suicide rates, among others such as bullying, family problems and social anxiety.

Overall suicides in Japan in 2017 accounted for 21,000 deaths — about 58 per day.

If you are experiencing emotional distress and would like to reach out, you can contact SFU Health and Counselling through 778-782-4615, or drop in in-person at Maggie Benston Centre, Room 0101, at the bottom floor. A 24/7 calling line is also available at 1-800-784-2433 (in relation to suicide) and 310-6789 (no need to dial area code) for emotional support, information and resources specific to mental health provided by BC Provincial Health Services Authority.

With files from BBC News and Japan Today.

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