Lateral flow tests accurate enough for community use, Oxford University and PHE announce

first_imgPilots of the tests have been launched across England, including a city-wide programme in Liverpool. Since the rollout of mass testing, which includes the use of lateral flow tests, 700 cases where an individual was asymptomatic have been discovered. Currently swabbing must be done by trained professionals at a designated testing site. However, given that the tests are easier to use and analyse than traditional methods, scientists are now investigating whether it is possible to introduce self-testing.  Image credit: Vesna Harni / Pixabay However, other leading scientists have questioned whether the tests are accurate enough to be useful. Professor Sebastian Johnson of Imperial College London said: “This single test will not be good enough to say you are almost certainly negative, as its sensitivity is not good enough, especially in the hands of the general public.”  “The data in this validation report demonstrates that these inexpensive, easy to use tests can play a major role in the fight against COVID-19. They identify those who are likely to spread the disease and when used systematically in mass testing could reduce transmissions up to 90%. They will be detecting disease in large numbers of people who have never previously received a test.” New rapid coronavirus tests are accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community, Public Health England and Oxford University have announced.  Professor Jon Deeks, an expert in coronavirus testing, agrees: “It is basic epidemiology that tests which miss cases like Innova are not fit for use to rule out disease – such as is needed to decide whether students are safe to travel home at the end of the year.” The lateral flow tests allow samples to be processed without laboratory equipment and on site, producing results in just thirty minutes. Importantly, the tests are able to detect asymptomatic carriers who could potentially be spreading the disease without realising.  Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, said the trials showed the part lateral flow tests could play in defeating coronavirus.  Data so far shows that just 0.32% of tests give false positives. This was lowered further to 0.06% when conducted in a laboratory setting. Overall, the tests were successful in identifying over 75% of positive cases of coronavirus. Crucially, several of the tests have proved effective in catching those with high viral loads, who are the most infectious carriers of the disease. Swifter identification of such individuals should prevent the spread of the disease in the population.  “I am really concerned that people are not given information to understand what the results mean. A negative test indicates your risk is reduced to between one quarter and one half of the average, but it does not rule out Covid. It would be tragic if people are misled into thinking that they are safe to visit their elderly relatives or take other risks”.  The research was conducted by Public Health England’s Porton Down laboratory alongside the University of Oxford. Initially forty tests were developed, nine of which were judged to advance to a full evaluation. Six of these tests have now successfully reached the third part of a four-stage assessment, with the most advanced, Innova, being used in the Liverpool trial. last_img read more

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Eleven medals for Guyana Swim Team in Suriname

first_imgEIGHT-year-old Ariel Rodrigues and Trumaine Cole topped the list of Guyanese medal-takers at the De Vos End of the Year Swim Meet in neighbouring Suriname which concluded last Sunday.Guyana swimmers carted off a total of 11 medals, including five gold, and four silver. Other medal winners were Shaqueel Amin and Leon Seaton.Swimming out of the Girls’ 7–8 age category Rodrigues brought home a gold medal in the 100 Individual Medley, 50 freestyle and 50 backstroke, improving her times in all three events.In the 100 IM she entered with a time of 1:34.84 and finished with a time of 1:33.87s. She clocked 35.16 seconds, beating over 20 other swimmers. In the backstroke she touched the wall at 43.71 seconds, again trouncing a host of other competitors.However, the most improvement in times came from Trumaine Cole, who competed in the 18-and-over category. Cole medalled in all of his events finishing with two gold medals, two silver and a bronze. His best performance came in the 100 breaststroke, where he shaved 8 seconds off his entry time of 1:29.77s to finish in 1:21.22s.In the 100 IM it was another improved swim, after he clocked 1:00.34s after entering with a time of 1:16.04s.Amin, who also competed in the 18-and-over category, ended with silver medals in both the 100 breaststroke (1:22.95s) and 50 freestyle (25.46s), while Leon Seaton who competed in the Boys’ 11-12 category took home a bronze in the 50m freestyle (27.65s).last_img read more

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Couple who ran drug-dealing business from home spared jail

first_imgA couple who ran a drug-dealing business from their Letterkenny home have been given a second chance by a Judge.Alison Denton and Kevin O’Neill were caught with a range of drugs including heroin and cannabis at their home at Meadowbank Park, Letterkenny. Letterkenny Circuit Court heard how the pair had both previously been drug addicts who left Dublin to get clean.But they claimed that they were tempted back onto drugs when a man called to their home asking them to sell drugs for them in Letterkenny.Detective Garda Joe Keely told the court that Gardai received information about the couple’s drug-dealing business and raided their home.They found heroin buried in a container n their back garden as well as various amounts of cannabis resin hidden in a wheelie bin and in a spice jar.Ms Denton was found to have a ‘tick list’ of all the people whom they were supplying and selling drugs to.The couple claimed that they were trying to get clean but that a stranger had called to their home who knew of their past connection with drugs and said he wanted to know if the drugs he had were good enough to sell.They began dealing together and the man, whose identity was not revealed in court, would give O’Neill €100 worth of heroin for every €500 he would sell.The court heard how both had come from difficult backgrounds but were dedicated to eachother and were now keeping a roof over their heads and had a daughter.O’Neill, aged 50, had married at just 16 years old, tried heroin at 17 and become an addict while growing up in Portarlington in Co Laois.He had 50 previous convictions for a range of offences including burglary, assault, drugs and public order.Ms Denton, aged 33, was originally from Tallaght and her brother had also died from drug addiction.The court was told that neither had since come to garda attention since being caught with the drugs haul – €972 worth of heroin and cannabis resin with a value of €16,256.Judge John O’Hagan said he had a decision to make if he was to jail the couple but said he was going to take a “leap of faith.”He sentenced them to two and half years each but said he was suspending that sentence in each case.However, he warned them “I’m going to give you a chance. I’m leaving the decision up to you. – I’m going to give you a suspended sentence but if you do commit a crime then you will serve two and half years then that little daughter of yours will have to go into care.”Couple who ran drug-dealing business from home spared jail was last modified: June 14th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Alison DentoncourtdonegaldrugsGardaiKevin O’Neillletterkennylast_img read more

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The artist at work: Mbongeni Buthelezi makes beauty out of waste

first_imgSouth African artist Mbongeni Buthelezi recycles plastic litter, adds some heat and melts it all on to his canvas to create some of the most audacious pieces of art. A regular exhibitor on the local and international art scenes for almost 20 years, he has been hailed as one of the country’s most innovative artists.‘Self Portrait’ by South African artist Mbongeni Buthelezi, who creates Pollockesque canvases using recycled plastic. (Image: Mbongeni Buthelezi)• South African art: a history • African art scene blooms in South Africa• Artists give their impression of Madiba• Using the arts to build an inclusive South Africa• South African artists draw international interest “I use rubbish to create something beautiful from it. I collect something that has no value and give it new life. That’s what we can do with ourselves and our lives,” is how artist Mbongeni Buthelezi introduces himself on his website portfolio, and for 16 years he’s made a name for himself as one of South Africa’s boldest and most original artists.He chose to work with plastic during his art school days as a way to draw attention to the medium and as a way to stand out in the often crowded local art scene. The combination of the tangible method of sculpting plastic on to canvas was also a way for him to work through his creative process. He told Euronews recently: “With watercolour and other mediums… that I have experimented with in the past, there was a time where I felt that I’m hitting the ceiling, I’m not growing anymore. I wanted to be noticed and I wanted to catch attention, because I knew also that I’m moving into a career where you have to be really special to be able to even make a living out of it.”‘Winter in Kliptown’ by Mbongeni Buthelezi, exhibited at the Seippel Gallery in Koln, Germany. (Image: Mbongeni Buthelezi)Buthelezi has been a regular and popular exhibitor on the South African art circuit for years, and has garnered positive attention from international galleries and art schools. Art lovers are intrigued by his use of discarded consumer plastic in crafting vibrant and engrossing African story-portraits. In these works, he makes bold statements about the world as he sees it, addressing social and environmental issues.In 2010, the Live Out Loud website said Buthelezi’s work “reflects humanity’s often detrimental impact on the environment, but his original use of discarded objects to depict an often forgotten group of people truly sets him apart”.His artistic process involves melting down strips of coloured plastic on to the canvas surface, itself often also made from plastic. He understates the creation process as simple and haphazard, but the final Pollockesque pieces speak for themselves, enjoyable and provocative on all levels, from all distances. “I’m interested in finding the details in the painting, but also, as you step away from the piece it really comes together,” Buthelezi told BBC News at his latest exhibition in Johannesburg this week.‘Hula Hoop III’ by Mbongeni Buthelezi is an example of the artist’s attention to detail. He uses melted recycled plastic to tell engrossing African story-portraits. (Image: Mbongeni Buthelezi)Buthelezi may be the only artist – that he knows of – who works in this medium, but he appreciates this singularity as it doesn’t give him an outside point of reference that may hinder his originality. Yet he still believes the melted plastic method is a way to make art creation easily available to anyone who wants to experiment, but who may not be able to access or afford traditional art materials. “(Anyone) can gather waste plastic and start painting,” he says, “and construct something out of nothing.”When it comes to appreciating the role art has played in his life, Buthelezi is philosophical, telling the BBC he sees himself as “a mirror for the society I live in, and I want to make a meaningful impact on that society”.‘Church’ by Mbongeni Buthelezi. Of his art he says he is interested in “(finding) the details close up, but also see the whole story as you view it from afar”. (Image: Mbongeni Buthelezi)In addition to being recognised with a number of local art awards during his career, including semi-finalist in the 2007 Sasol Wax Art Awards, Buthelezi has also won a Visi Design award and a Mail & Guardian Green Trust award for “commitment and contributions to the environment (with) social conscience and creativity”.He is artist-in-residence at the Omni International Arts Centre in New York City and for the South African National Arts Festival. He has exhibited in Germany, the US and Holland, and has been commissioned to make exclusive works by companies such as Mercedes Benz South Africa and the Daimler art collection in Stuttgart, Germany.last_img read more

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Torontos St Michaels Hospital says it plans to create worlds leading MS

first_imgTORONTO – A Toronto hospital says it plans to create the world’s leading treatment and research centre for multiple sclerosis.St. Michael’s Hospital says the BARLO MS Centre will occupy the entire top two floors — about 2,300 square metres — of a 17-storey tower under construction at the downtown Toronto facility.The hospital says it already has the largest multiple sclerosis clinic in Canada, with about 7,000 patients, and is home to some of the world’s leading MS clinicians and researchers.The $30-million BARLO MS Centre is expected to open in 2020 and focus on patient-centred, personalized care and applying and generating leading-edge research.MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of co-ordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.It is known as “Canada’s disease” because the country has the highest prevalence of the neurological disease in the world, with one in every 340 Canadians living with MS. It affects three times as many women as men.“Our goal in creating the world’s premier multiple sclerosis centre is to stop the disease and provide the best clinical care and outstanding research,” Dr. Xavier Montalban, a Spanish clinician and researcher recruited to lead the centre, said Wednesday in a release.“Every day, three more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis,” Montalban said. “Early diagnosis means we can start people on promising new treatments and give them hope they can live fulfilling and productive lives.”Montalban said the centre will offer “one-stop care” for patients who will be diagnosed, treated and offered the opportunity to participate in research, all in the same location.The centre will have its own infusion clinic, so that patients can receive more of the new treatments that have been developed in the last decade, many of which are given intravenously.last_img read more

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