Disease-sniffing device that rivals a dog’s nose

Image credit : Bechewy

But it takes time to coach such dogs, and their availability and time is limited. Scientists are looking for ways of automating the amazing olfactory capabilities of the canine nose and brain, during a compact device. Now, a team of researchers at MIT and other institutions has come up with a system which will detect the chemical and microbial content of an air sample with even greater sensitivity than a dog’s nose. They coupled this to a machine-learning process which will identify the distinctive characteristics of the disease-bearing samples.

The findings, which the researchers say could someday cause an automatic odor-detection system sufficiently small to be incorporated into a cellphone, are being published today within the journal PLOS One, during a paper by Clare Guest of Medical Detection Dogs in the U.K., Research Scientist Andreas Mershin of MIT, and 18 others at Johns Hopkins University, the prostatic adenocarcinoma Foundation, and a number of other other universities and organizations.

“Dogs, for now 15 years approximately , are shown to be the earliest, most accurate disease detectors for anything that we’ve ever tried,” Mershin says. And their performance in controlled tests has in some cases exceeded that of the simplest current lab tests, he says. “So far, many various kinds of cancer are detected earlier by dogs than the other technology.”

What’s more, the dogs apparently obtain connections that have thus far eluded human researchers: When trained to respond to samples from patients with one sort of cancer, some dogs have then identified several other sorts of cancer — although the similarities between the samples weren’t evident to humans.

These dogs can identify “cancers that do not have any identical biomolecular signatures in common, nothing within the odorants,” Mershin says. Using powerful analytical tools including gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) and microbial profiling, “if you analyze the samples from, let’s say, carcinoma and bladder cancer and lung cancer and breast cancer — all things that the dog has been shown to be ready to detect — they need nothing in common.” Yet the dog can somehow generalize from one kind of cancer to be ready to identify the others.

Mershin and therefore the team over the previous couple of years have developed, and continued to enhance on, a miniaturized detector system that comes with mammalian olfactory receptors stabilized to act as sensors, whose data streams are often handled in real-time by a typical smartphone’s capabilities. He envisions each day when every phone will have a scent detector inbuilt , even as cameras are now ubiquitous in phones. Such detectors, equipped with advanced algorithms developed through machine learning, could potentially acquire early signs of disease far before typical screening regimes, he says — and will even warn of smoke or a gas leak also .

In the latest tests, the team tested 50 samples of urine from confirmed cases of prostate cancer and controls known to be freed from the disease, using both dogs trained and handled by Medical Detection Dogs in the U.K. and therefore the miniaturized detection system. They then applied a machine-learning program to tease out any similarities and differences between the samples that would help the sensor-based system to spot the disease. In testing an equivalent samples, the synthetic system was ready to match the success rates of the dogs, with both methods scoring quite 70 percent.

The miniaturized detection system, Mershin says, is really 200 times more sensitive than a dog’s nose in terms of having the ability to detect and identify tiny traces of various molecules, as confirmed through controlled tests mandated by DARPA. But in terms of interpreting those molecules, “it’s 100% dumber.” That’s where the machine learning comes in, to undertake for finding the elusive patterns that dogs can infer from the scent, but humans haven’t been ready to grasp from a qualitative analysis .

“The dogs do not know any chemistry,” Mershin says. “They don’t see an inventory of molecules appear in their head. once you smell a cup of coffee, you do not see an inventory of names and concentrations, you are feeling an integrated sensation. That sensation of scent character is what the dogs can mine.”

While the physical apparatus for detecting and analyzing the molecules in air has been under development for several years, with much of the main target on reducing its size, so far the analysis was lacking. “We knew that the sensors are already better than what the dogs can neutralize terms of the limit of detection, but what we’ve not shown before is that we will train a man-made intelligence to mimic the dogs,” he says. “And now we’ve shown that we will do that . We’ve shown that what the dog does are often replicated to a particular extent.”

This achievement, the researchers say, provides a solid framework for further research to develop the technology to A level suitable for clinical use. Mershin hopes to be ready to test a far larger set of samples, perhaps 5,000, to pinpoint in greater detail the many indicators of disease. But such testing doesn’t come cheap: It costs about $1,000 per sample for clinically tested and authorized samples of disease-carrying and disease-free urine to be collected, documented, shipped, and analyzed he says.

Reflecting on how he became involved during this research, Mershin recalled a study of bladder cancer detection, during which a dog kept misidentifying one member of the control group as being positive for the disease, albeit he had been specifically selected supported hospital tests as being disease free. The patient, who knew about the dog’s test, opted to possess further tests, and a couple of months later was found to possess the disease at a really early stage. “Even though it’s only one case, I even have to admit that did sway me,” Mershin says.

The team included researchers at MIT, Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, Medical Detection Dogs in Milton Keynes, U.K., the Cambridge Polymer Group, the prostatic adenocarcinoma Foundation, the University of Texas at El Paso , Imagination Engines, and Harvard University . The research was supported by the prostate cancer Foundation, the National Cancer Institute, and also the National Institutes of Health.

Source: Materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Original written by David L. Chandler. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Danish top court to decide if coughing a crime in COVID-19

In an appeal hearing to start on Thursday, Denmark’s top court are going to be asked to make a decision if coughing at someone while shouting ‘corona’ constitutes threatening behavior.

The 20-year-old defendant within the case was arrested in March, when the country was under a full coronavirus lockdown, after subjecting police to what prosecutors called the ‘ruthless and thoughtless’ actions during a routine traffic stop. He subsequently tested negative for Covid-19.

First acquitted during a local court, he was later convicted of the offense at Denmark’s Western supreme court , and, at his Supreme Court appeal against that conviction, prosecutors are seeking a jail term of three to 5 months. The Supreme Court is predicted to offer its verdict within the coughing case on February 18.

Other similar incidents of coughing directed at police were reported in Denmark last year, partially a mirrored image of simmering public discontent in some quarters against the government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

The government, which says it follows a ‘precautionary principle’ in managing the virus, enjoyed almost unequivocal public support for swift action against Covid-19 early last year.

But opposition parties have begun to question what some consider an excessively cautious approach as infection rates fall, and 30 percent of Danes now think, the government’s measures are too far-reaching, consistent with a recent Aarhus University study.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in the week said lifting the lockdown required ‘complete epidemic control’.

In recent months, thousands have taken to the streets in protests, some violent, calling for authorities to ease lockdown curbs which they assert limit their freedom and are crippling businesses.

Virologists, health authorities, and therefore the government have defended the present curbs – which have locked down most of the county aside from essential shops – as vital to contain more infectious coronavirus variants, notably ones first identified in Britain and South Africa , that have reached Denmark.

Clinical trials of Ayurvedic formulations for COVID-19


Coronavirus vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )

The Ayurvedic practitioners and researchers in India and therefore the US are getting to initiate joint clinical trials for Ayurveda formulations against the novel coronavirus, the Indian envoy here has said.

In a virtual interaction with a gaggle of eminent Indian-American scientists, academicians, and doctors on Wednesday, Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu said the vast network of institutional engagements have brought scientific communities between the 2 countries together within the fight against COVID-19.

“Our Institutions have also been collaborating to market Ayurveda through joint research, teaching and training programmes. The Ayurvedic practitioners and researchers in both the countries are getting to initiate joint clinical trials of Ayurvedic formulations against COVID-19,” Sandhu said.

“Our scientists are exchanging knowledge and research resources on this front,” he said.

The Indo-US Science Technology Forum (IUSSTF) has always been instrumental in promoting excellence in science, technology, and innovation through collaborative activities.

To address COVID-19-related challenges, the IUSSTF had given a call to support joint research and start-up engagements. sizable amount of proposals are being reviewed on means mode by the experts on both the edges , he said.

“Indian pharmaceutical companies are global leaders in producing affordable low-cost medicines and vaccines and can play a crucial role within the fight against this pandemic,” Sandhu said.

According to the ambassador, there are a minimum of three ongoing collaborations between Indian vaccine companies with the US-based institutions.

These collaborations would be beneficial not just to India and therefore the US, but also for the billions who would wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 across the planet , he noted.

Asserting that innovation are going to be the key driver in pandemic response and recovery, he said tech-companies and start-ups have already begun to require the lead during this direction.

“Telemedicine and telehealth will evolve as will other digital platforms across sectors,” he said.
Noting that there has been longstanding collaboration between India and US in health sector, he said scientists are working together in several programmes to know important diseases at basic and clinical level.

Many such programmes are focused on translational research to develop new therapeutics and diagnostics.

There are over 200 ongoing NIH funded projects in India involving 20 institutions from NIH network and a number of other eminent institutions in India engaged during a wide spectrum of research areas to make health care solutions, the senior diplomat said.

The collaboration under Vaccine Action Programme (VAP) resulted in development of ROTAVAC vaccine against rota virus which causes severe diarrhea in children.

The vaccine was developed by an Indian company (Bharat Biotech) at a reasonable cost. it’s been commercialised and introduced within the Expanded Programme on Immunisation.

Development of the many other vaccines like TB, Influenza, Chikungunya also are ongoing under the VAP, he said.

“As I speak, the VAP meeting is ongoing where experts from both countries are deeply engaged in technical discussions to expedite development of COVID-19 vaccine,” Sandhu said in his remarks.

During the interaction, the eminent experts appreciated India’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and offered their valuable suggestions and best practices.

They shared their ideas on deepening the knowledge partnership between India and therefore the US.

The experts who took part in interaction, were drawn from a wide-ranging fields including AI , quantum informatics , biomedical engineering, robotics, engineering , earth and ocean science, virology, physics, astrophysics, and health sciences.

Prominent among those that attended the virtual interaction were Subhash Kak Regents Professor at Oklahoma State University, Dr Vijay Kuchroo, Samuel L Wasserstrom Professor of Neurology at Harvard school of medicine , Dr Ashish M Kamat, Professor of Urology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Ashutosh Chilkoti, Alan L Kaganov Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University; and Prof Manu Prakash, professor in Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University , among others.

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China has caused great damage to United States fumes Trump

Trump Fumes on China because of global economy slow down

US President Donald Trump lashed out at China once more saying that the country has caused “great damage to the us and therefore the remainder of the world!”
Trump had earlier called coronavirus “China virus” in yet one more dig at China because the number of coronavirus cases within the us shot up to over 2.8 million.
The us has reported over 129, 947 deaths thanks to the virus with several states including Texas and California experiencing new outbreak.

Several states within the US cancelled the annual fireworks displays on Independence Day thanks to the virus outbreak. a minimum of 15 US states have reported record increases in coronavirus cases.

Florida, Arizona are hit with rising cases within the past month worrying officials and putting health services under severe strain.

In Florida’s Miami Beach hospitalizations have reportedly doubled within the last 14 days with states like South Carolina, Alabama, Nevada, Texas, Georgia, Idaho and Kansas reporting huge surge in cases.

Amid the rising cases, however, Trump claimed that 99 per cent of COVID-19 cases within the us were “totally harmless.”

According to Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the US recorded 39,379 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours along side 234 fatalities on Monday.

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Alert for bubonic plague in Chinese city

Plague causing pests living on rodents. image from WHO

A city in northern China on Sunday sounded an alert after a suspected case of plague was reported.

The suspected plague case was reported on Saturday by a hospital in Bayannur, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

The city announced A level III warning of plague prevention and control, state-run People’s Daily Online reported — the second lowest during a four-level system.

The alert forbids the hunting and eating of animals that would carry plague and asks the general public to report any suspected cases of plague or fever with no clear causes, and to report any sick or dead marmots.

Bubonic plague may be a bacterial disease that’s spread by fleas living on wild rodents like marmots. It can kill an adult in but 24 hours if not treated in time, consistent with the planet Health Organization (WHO).

At present, there’s a risk of a person’s plague epidemic spreading during this city. The local health authority announced that the warning period will continue until the top of 2020.

On July 1, state-run Xinhua press agency said that two suspected cases of plague reported in Khovd province in western Mongolia are confirmed by lab test results.
The confirmed cases are a 27-year-old resident and his 17-year-old brother, who are being treated at two separate hospitals in their province, it quoted a health official as saying.

The brothers ate marmot meat, the health official said, warning people to not eat marmot meat.

A total of 146 people that had contact with them are isolated and treated at local hospitals.

A couple died of plague within the western Mongolian province of Bayan-Ulgii last year after eating raw marmot meat.

The news of plague came after Chinese researchers issued an early warning over another potential pandemic caused by an influenza virus in pigs.

Scientists from China Agricultural University, the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and other institutes detected a pig influenza virus bearing genotype 4 (G4), which is contagious among pigs and has the likelihood of jumping to humans, because the G4 virus is in a position to bind with human cells, state-run Global Times reported last week.

The researchers are concerned that it could mutate further in order that it can spread easily from person to person, and trigger a worldwide outbreak, BBC reported.

The new diseases were reported whilst China grappled with the second attack of COVID-19 in Beijing after controlling it in Wuhan where it had been first reported in December last year.

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Ivanka by Trump supporters slam for wearing face mask

Representative image from NBC news

US President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka posted a photograph on Instagram on Wednesday showing herself wearing a light-weight blue mask as she posed outside with Republican Leader of the House Kevin McCarthy and Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman from Arkansas.

But while Ivanka’s caption encouraged others to imitate and wear their own masks publicly , her father’s supporters aren’t convinced — and are chastising the primary daughter, telling her to get rid of the mask.

The photo shows Ivanka and therefore the two representatives outside. Rep. Westerman wears a suit and surgical mask, Rep. McCarthy features a gray cloth mask, and Ivanka is modeling a reasonably blue watercolor mask.

The caption — which Ivanka copied from Rep. McCarthy — reads ‘Wear a mask. Plant a tree,’ and includes both a tree and a mask emoji.

Ivanka has been pictured wearing face masks before during the pandemic. She donned a black one while accompanying her father to a photograph op outside St. John’s Church, after he’d had protesters cleared away with smoke canisters and pepper balls.

This, however, appears to be the primary time that she has encouraged others to wear masks too — and Trump voters aren’t pleased.

Many criticised her for wearing a mask.

‘Please don’t wear a mask that’s not what we were created to try to to ,’ wrote one, while another told her to ‘take the mask off.’

‘I love POTUS but this mask bs must stop,’ said another, while others called her ‘silly’ and ‘stupid’ and posted sheep emojis.

More comments have poured in, with countless Trump supporters telling her to lose the mask.

‘Why are you reppin the mask? Take that off…….’ wrote one commenter

‘Mask are bs if you where a mask why social distance all bs political bs,’ wrote another.

‘The administration must concentrate more on health, vitamins, and exercise to assist fight Covid-19,’ said yet one more .

‘You don’t got to wear a mask to plant a tree. Fresh air is far healthier for you than inhaling what’s therein mask. Plant a tree while breathing fresh air enjoy mother nature. i’m a supporter of you and your family but the mask issue possesses to finish ,’ added another .

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Drunk people can’t socially distance, UK police

Drunk People for representation

Britain’s police said Sunday that revellers who packed London’s Soho district the night pubs finally reopened made it “crystal clear” that drunk people cannot socially distance.

England’s hospitality sector sprung back to life after a three-month coronavirus hiatus on what the media dubbed as either “Super Saturday” or “Independence Day”.

Pubs and restaurants were allowed to start out seating clients and barbers could get their clippers out for the primary time since March.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced queries about why he decided to schedule the grand reopening for a Saturday rather than a potentially less chaotic Monday.

Johnson said Friday that it might not have made much of a difference either way.

But the top of Britain’s police federation said he ended up handling “naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks” while on shift.

“What was crystal clear is that drunk people can’t/won’t socially distance,” John Apter told London radio.

He said his own local department within the southern city of Southampton “managed to cope”.

“I know other areas have had issues with officers being assaulted,” Apter said.

A scan of police reports from Saturday night showed an identical level of mischief-making across England.

Officers within the southwestern Devon and Cornwall region had logged up nearly 1,000 reports of “drink-related disorder and anti-social behaviour” by late Saturday.

There were also reports of illegal raves in London and therefore the northeast that resulted in mass arrests also as disorder within the north Midlands.

Pubs in Wales and Scotland will partially reopen by mid-July while those in Ireland have had service since Friday.

GOVERNMENT ON DEFENSIVE

Britain’s lockdown lasted longer and ended later than in most European countries due to a soaring price that’s now the world’s third highest.

The official fatality figure is around 44,000 and one during which COVID-19 is mentioned on the death certificate is above 50,000.

Either measure makes Britain’s toll Europe’s worst.

A safe reopening that averts the necessity for second lockdowns over large areas is seen as vital to Johnson’s long-term success.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock defended the government’s decision-making and played down any immediate safety concerns.

“From what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very, very largely people have acted responsibly,” Hancock told Sky News.

“So overall I’m pleased with what happened yesterday. it had been specialized to ascertain people out and about and largely, very largely social distancing.”

Johnson’s government re-shuttered stores within the city center of Leicester last week due to an area infections spike.

The outbreak has been traced to local food and garment producers that reportedly did not observe social distancing measures and violated other rules.

The National Crime Agency launched an investigation after The Sunday Times reported one among the factories operated a sweatshop that paid illegally low wages.

The agency said officers had “attended variety of business premises in Leicester area to assess concerns of recent slavery and human trafficking”.

No charges are delivered to date.

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Clothing factory faces modern slavery probe in UK

Reference imge from the hindu

A clothing factory named Jaswal Fashions based within the eastern England city of Leicester faces a contemporary slavery investigation after an undercover reporter alleged sweatshop-like conditions and below wage payments to its workers, many of them from India.

According to ‘The Sunday Times’, its undercover reporter found that workers were being paid as little as 3.50 pounds an hour as against the UK’s legal wage of 8.72 pounds an hour and was also operating last week during the localised coronavirus lockdown imposed on the town .

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel described the allegations as “truly appalling” and commended the undercover investigation for its role in “uncovering such abhorrent practices”.

“I won’t tolerate sick criminals forcing innocent people into slave labour and a lifetime of exploitation,” said Patel.

“Let this be a warning to those that are exploiting people in sweatshops like these for his or her own commercial gain. this is often just the beginning . What you’re doing is against the law , it’ll not be tolerated and that we are coming after you,” she said.

Last week, the senior Cabinet minister had directed the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) to research modern slavery allegations in Leicester’s clothing factories after alarm was raised that they were a key source of the spike in coronavirus infections within the region, which led to England’s first localised COVID-19 lockdown for the town .

“Within the previous couple of days NCA officers, along side Leicestershire police and other partner agencies, attended variety of business premises within the Leicester area to assess concerns of recent slavery and human trafficking,” the NCA said, which is looking into the undercover reports.

The UK’s Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015, making it a criminal offense to take advantage of labour and not pay the wage .

The newspaper’s undercover reporter spent two days at Jaswal Fashions, a factory which supplies garments to at least one of Britain’s fastest-growing online retailer Boohoo, which owns labels like Nasty Gal, PrettyLittleThing, MissPap, BoohooMAN, Karen Millen and Coast.
A statement from Nasty Gal said the corporate would investigate the newspaper’s claims, but insisted that Jaswal Fashions wasn’t a “direct supplier”.

“Nasty Gal doesn’t allow any of its suppliers to pay but the wage and features a zero-tolerance approach to incidences of recent slavery,” said Nasty Gal during a statement.

“We have terminated relationships with suppliers where evidence of non-compliance with our strict code of conduct is found. we’ll take immediate steps to completely investigate the allegations raised and if the allegations are substantiated we’ll make sure that our suppliers immediately cease working with Jaswal Fashions,” it added.

The boxes packed at the factory displayed the name Morefray Limited, another Leicester-based clothing manufacturer. The newspaper said that the person who was identified because the boss of the factory refused to answer questions intimately , but said: “We have legit staff.”

The campaign group Labour Behind the Label alleged recently that factories in Leicester making Boohoo garments had put staff in danger of contracting COVID-19, by pressuring them to figure without proper personal protective equipment (PPE) or social distancing.

“Emerging evidence indicates that conditions in Leicester’s factories, primarily producing for Boohoo, are putting workers in danger of COVID-19 infections and fatalities as some factories have remained open for production during the lockdown, whilst others are now re-opening,” the group claimed in its report.

The allegations are denied by Boohoo, which said it uses about 150 factories in Leicester, employing 50 people each on the average . Company CEO John Lyttle told the newspaper that he had “personally written to all or any the factories”, outlining company standards and what they have to try to to in terms of following the “government guidelines”.

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Man kicked out from the airline for not wearing mask

A man was captured on video being faraway from a Florida-bound flight at LaGuardia Airport Friday for not wearing a mask .

The tense standoff unfolded when a person , whose name wasn’t known, “took his face covering off and refused to place it back on,” a spokesman for Spirit Airlines said.

A video from inside the plane shows a part of an exchange between a Port Authority cop and therefore the man, during which the officer asks the passenger to urge off the plane and therefore the man argues with him.

“I don’t want to force you, I’m asking you,” the cop are often heard saying while asking the person to urge off the fight, which was headed for Fort Lauderdale .

A spokesman for the airline said the person eventually agreed to “deplane on his own rather than risking legal consequences.”

“Spirit will always err on the side of caution when it involves the health and safety of our guests,” the spokesman said. “Wearing a face covering is straightforward , it’s easy, and it’s critical to Spirit and therefore the airline industry as an entire .”

A rep for Port Authority police didn’t immediately respond.

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Queen Mary cancels Dark Harbor haunt amid of wuhan virus

Monsters wait for guests at the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor haunt, which is canceled for 2020.(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Come Halloween, the Queen Mary transforms into a haunted spectacle filled with monsters and frightened folks. This year, the old boat are going to be a true town .

The ship’s Dark Harbor 2020 season has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a post on the annual attraction’s Facebook page announced.

“With the uncertainty that lies ahead within the coming months, this unfortunate decision couldn’t be avoided,” the post said.

The horror spectacle’s website highlights the horde of creatures that haunt the ship: an undead captain, a demonic drowned child, an evil maniac chef. The monster-characters aren’t allowed to touch guests, the web site adds, but even that hint of social distance won’t be enough for would-be-wraiths this year.

“To make Dark Harbor the successful event that it’s , our partners undertake months of preparation and diligence . We don’t believe that California will meet the wants to start Phase 4 of reopening by September, which allows events and enormous gatherings to require place, and that we believe other 2020 large events will soon be announcing cancellations,” said a press release from Urban Commons, the corporate that manages the Queen Mary.

The event typically welcomes about 140,000 guests over its season, which runs from the top of September until the beginning of November, and may rise up to 9,500 guests on a busy night, the statement said.

The event’s platform and centerpiece — the historic Queen Mary — once held the record for the fastest transatlantic voyage by a passenger liner. During war II, it ferried troops across the ocean.

Now a tourist attraction docked in Long Beach , the ship suspended operations on May 6. because the pandemic continues, the Queen Mary’s closures extend too.

But Dark Harbor promises to rise from the dead next year. The attraction’s Facebook post said it “[looks] forward to the 2021 haunt season.”

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