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Out of the X and under the MRI scanner

Disease X, global health’s latest buzzword, meets resistance and conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, the US’s helium handover could leave MRI machines gasping for breath.

user profile picture Ivor Jan 29, 2024
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The World Economic Forum recently hosted a panel on “Disease X,” a term that has been gaining traction in global health discussions. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General referred to COVID-19 as the first Disease X, underscoring the need for global unity in combating pandemics. The WHO’s 194 member nations are slated to meet in May to adopt the Pandemic Agreement and International Health Regulations (IHR). However, concerns about potential loss of sovereignty have led to resistance from some nations. The UN has indicated that the agreement may not be finalized in May due to lack of consensus, with the WHO Director-General attributing the delay to conspiracy theories.

In the realm of immunology, the immune system’s response to acute respiratory viruses involves a complex interplay of cells and proteins. Natural Killer cells, part of the innate immune system, attack the virus, while cytokines and Interferons create an anti-viral environment. Antigen Presenting Cells facilitate antibody production, and the production of Neutralizing antibodies and Steric immune refocusing-created antibodies play a crucial role. However, in a highly vaccinated individual, the immune system’s reliance on these antibodies can lead to unsustainable adjustments, potentially leaving vaccinated individuals defenseless against new variants.

In other news, the US government’s sale of the Federal Helium Reserve to industrial gas company Messer has raised concerns in the healthcare industry. The reserve, which supplies up to 30% of the country’s helium, is crucial for MRI machines that require liquid helium to function. The transition of ownership could lead to a temporary shutdown of the facility, exacerbating an existing helium supply shortage. This could increase reliance on foreign sources like Qatar and Russia, posing potential geopolitical and logistical challenges. While alternatives to traditional helium-dependent MRI machines exist, many hospitals still rely on their current equipment, and the demand for MRI machines continues to rise. As such, the healthcare industry is closely watching the future of helium supply.

Sources

Sale of U.S. Federal Helium Reserve Raises Concerns for MRI Machines and Healthcare

“From a health care perspective, MRI machines are the No. 1 concern.”

Source | Submitted by permiegirl

The Immune System’s “War” Against SARS-CoV-2: An Armed Forces Analogy

The strategy of the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign has been to rely almost solely on vaccine-triggered production of great quantities of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This strategy has sidelined the NK cells of vaccinated individuals. It is as if the NK cells of vaccinees were forced to “stand down,” stay out of the way, not participate in the battle against SARS-CoV-2.

Source | Submitted by FrAnkh

World Economic Forum Panel on “Disease X” Sparks Debate on New Pandemic and WHO’s Pandemic Agreement

The World Economic Forum’s recent panel on “Disease X” has sparked debate around claims of an inevitable new pandemic and the the World Health Organization’s Pandemic Agreement.

Source | Submitted by Slin

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