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In a first, Surgeons Transplant Pig Heart Into Human Patient

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In what is dubbed as a ‘first-of-its-kind surgery’, the US surgeons have performed a successful transplant of a ‘porcine’ heart into an adult human with end-stage heart disease.

The 57-year-old Maryland resident with terminal heart disease received a successful transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart and is said to be still doing well three days later.

“It was the only currently available option for the patient,” the University of Maryland Medicine said on Monday (January 10, 2022) after performing the historic surgery.

“This organ transplant demonstrated for the first time that a genetically-modified animal heart can function like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body,” the University said in a statement.

The patient, David Bennett, is currently being monitored over the next days and weeks to determine whether the transplant provides lifesaving benefits.

He, the University said, had been deemed ineligible for a conventional heart transplant at UMMC as well as at several other leading transplant centres that reviewed his medical records.

“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” Bennett, who had been hospitalized and bedridden for the past few months, said before the surgery.

Bartley P Griffith, MD, who surgically transplanted the pig heart, said that this was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis.

“We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first-in-the-world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future,” Griffith said.

It is noteworthy that the US Food and Drug Administration had granted emergency authorization for the surgery on New Year’s Eve through its expanded access (compassionate use) provision.

It is used when an experimental medical product, in this case, the genetically-modified pig’s heart, is the only option available for a patient faced with a serious or life-threatening medical condition.

 

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People suspected of having COVID-19 confined to metal boxes in China

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People contracting COVID-19 in China are being forcefully confined to cramped metal boxes with videos of quarantine camps going viral on social media.

China largely controlled its initial outbreak with a mix of lockdowns, border closures and mass testing, but a spike in COVID-19 in some major cities just weeks before the Beijing Winter Olympics is a serious cause of concern for the Communist country.

Few residents from cities under lockdown narrated their ordeal to the BBC saying they were part of a ‘big transfer’ of thousands of people to the camps.

Pregnant women, children and the elderly have also been sent to the camps in Xi’an in Central China’s Shaanxi Province and they are forced to stay there for as long as two weeks.

Video clips going viral on social media show people living in tiny metal boxes with wooden beds and attached toilets.

According to a report by the Daily Mail, 20 million have been confined to their homes in China and they can’t even leave their home even to buy food.

The Mail reported that 5.5 million people in China’s Anyang were locked down late Monday after two cases of the omicron variant were reported.

According to a report by Xinhua, Xi’an reported 13 new confirmed locally transmitted COVID-19 cases on Monday.

The city had registered 2,017 local cases amid the latest resurgence. Of these, 417 had recovered by Monday.

The city kicked off a new round of mass testing in key areas at 9 a.m. Tuesday to further curb the spread of the virus, said Lyu Yongpeng, deputy director of the city’s health commission.

On Saturday, Xi’an had downgraded the classifications of five areas from medium-risk for COVID-19 to low-risk. The city currently has a total of three high-risk areas and 55 medium-risk areas.

Meanwhile, a leading epidemiologist has projected that another major resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases in Xi’an is unlikely.

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Woman spends Rs 11 lakh on dog’s birthday

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A woman from China has raised eyebrows after spending almost 1,00,000 yuan (Rs 11 lakh) on drones to celebrate her dog’s 10th birthday.

The pet lover from central China’s Hunan province reportedly hired 520 drones to spell out “Happy 10th birthday to Doudou” in the sky over Xiangjiang River in Changsha, according to a report by South China Morning Post.

The electronic flying machines were also programmed to form other patterns like a birthday cake and a jack-in-the-box like present in the sky.

The report added that the woman chose the number 520 because its Mandarin pronunciation sounds similar to the phrase, “I love you”.

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The celebration didn’t go down too well with the authorities as the drones were flown in a no-fly zone and near a number of high-rise apartments. Local police said they would’ve shot down the machines had they spotted them.

According to an official, all citizens are required to seek police approval before flying drones in residential areas.

This isn’t the only drone-related news from China that has raised eyebrows.

In October, a light show to celebrate a shopping mall descended into chaos and horror after brightly lit electric drones fell from the sky to send people scrambling in all directions to find cover.

More than 200 drones took to the skies at the Wanda Plaza shopping mall in Zhengzhou High-tech Zone in Henan Province. But just a few minutes into the light show, many of the drones started malfunctioning before dropping to the ground.

The footage of the incident showed the brightly lit machines plummeting to the street below. Pedestrians were heard screaming and shouting as they ran for cover.

No injuries were reported after the incident, but there are claims and reports that foul play could be the reason behind the failed light show. Reports said around 5,000 people, including children, gathered on the streets to watch the show.

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125 flyers on charter flight from Italy test positive for Covid in Amritsar

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A total of 125 passengers on a Milan-Amritsar charter flight were found to be Covid-positive when tested on arrival, government officials said on Thursday.

Officials said there were a total of 179 passengers on the charter flight YU-661 that landed at the Amritsar airport at around 1.30 PM on Wednesday.

Since Italy is one of the “at-risk” countries according to the Union Health Ministry, all eligible passengers — 160 in this case — were tested for COVID-19 and 125 of them were found to be positive, they mentioned.

Out of a total of 179 passengers, 19 were children or infants so they were exempt from on-arrival RT-PCR testing, they said.

The charter flight between Milan in Italy and Amritsar in Punjab was operated by Portuguese company EuroAtlantic Airways, they mentioned.

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Covid-19 Stats

19 Jan 2022, 7:28 AM (GMT)

Coronavirus Stats

37,901,241 Total Cases
487,226 Death Cases
35,583,039 Recovered Cases

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