Faster jabs, surveillance can only tame triple-mutant Indian virus

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By Rachel V Thomas
New Delhi, April 21 |
Increasing efforts towards faster mass vaccination and virus surveillance is the key to ward off dangers posed by a triple-mutant coronavirus now present in the country, health experts said on Wednesday.

The B1617 variant, first detected in Maharashtra, contains mutations from two separate virus variants — E484Q and L452R. The third mutation evolved from the double mutation where three different Covid strains combined to form a new variant.

Two of these triple-mutant varieties have been found in samples collected from Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh.

The RNA virus has the potential to acquire mutations as it replicates and spreads. These mutations can, sometimes, result in virus variants with better adaptability to its environment.

“As the virus spreads, it gets more opportunities to acquire mutations and evolve at a faster rate. This is a natural aspect of virus life-cycle but it is very important that we track these changes (virus surveillance) and follow the important viral characteristics associated with these mutations,” Dr Veena P. Menon, Faculty-In-Charge, Clinical Virology Laboratory, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, told IANS.

While the SARS-CoV2, causing the Covid-19 infections, has evolved at a much slower rate compared to Influenza or HIV viruses but as the number of infections rises, we are observing a rapid emergence of numerous viral variants.

With the increase in the number of infections and spread, there are more opportunities for the virus to mutate.

“As the infections are increasing at an alarming rate, there is a very high likelihood that we will encounter more virus variants in our population. Some of these variants get selected for faster transmissibility (spread) or ‘increased severity’ (more pathogenic) and also “immune (vaccine) escape”, Menon explained.

The evidence so far suggests that none of the important virus variants are associated with increased severity. However, an increased transmissibility is associated with the UK variant (lineage B1.1.7) while the Brazilian and South African variants exhibit ability to escape vaccine-induced immunity.

“Mutation in the respiratory virus is a natural process. This process is augmented in situations of high spread and presence of vaccinated people in the community. We will see more variants in India in future too,” Dr Harshal R. Salve, Associate Professor at Centre for Community Medicine, AIIMS New Delhi, told IANS.

Stricter implementation of public health infection control measures like usage of masks, social distancing and vaccinations are all key to prevent the spread. Besides, the need is to continue monitoring the virus evolution, the experts said.

“Combining genetic surveillance methods with evaluation of the biological and clinical characteristics of these virus variants will aid in better understanding virus variants and its clinical and public health impact,” Menon added.

Vaccinations can play a great role in curbing the spread of Covid.

Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, is able to “effectively neutralise” the double mutant strains, including the UK variant and the Brazil variant of the coronavirus, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said in a report.

(Rachel V Thomas can be contacted at rachel.t@ians.in)

Source: IANS

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How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil : 5 Ways to Getting Nourished, Shiny Strands

How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil : 5 Ways to Getting Nourished, Shiny Strands

There are very few hair care ingredients that are as amazing and trusted as coconut oil. For centuries, coconut oil has been used as a hero ingredient and grandmothers of Indian households swear by it. The buttery, thick oil has managed to make quite an impression among the international fashionistas worried about the health of their hair as well.

Coconut oil brings to you an impressive resume of natural beauty advantages for both the scalp and hair.

If you haven’t yet discovered the wonderful benefits of coating your strands in coconut oil, you are probably wondering why this oil is considered a hair care mainstay. Keep reading to know how exactly coconut oil can nourish your hair and the best ways to apply it for brilliant results.

What is coconut hair oil good for?

How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil
How to Apply Coconut Hair Oil

Here, take a look at some of the reasons that make coconut oil reign supreme in the department of hair care.

  • The oil is super moisturizing for your hair strands. The low molecular weight of coconut oil allows it to easily penetrate the shaft of your hair and get absorbed quickly, much better than other oils.
  • The oil has a high moisture content naturally, and therefore, it is effective in conditioning and moisturizing the strands. The oil doesn’t just sit on top of it.
  • The oil will also help your hair to retain protein because it contains a specific type of fatty acid, known as lauric acid. Nick Stenson, a celebrity hairstylist and Matrix’s artistic director, says that strands hold to proteins better when they are coated in coconut hair oil.

If you need more reasons – coconut hair oil is affordable and found ubiquitously, and does not contain any chemicals.

How to apply coconut hair oil for maximum benefits?

The application of coconut oil to hair entirely depends on how you wish to use it. For instance, a deep conditioning hair mask needs a different application than a split end treatment or detangler.

You’ll find below 5 ways to apply coconut oil.

  1. As a treatment of the scalp

Are you interested in a tension-relieving, relaxing scalp massage? Sounds interesting, right? You can relieve your tensed scalp after a tough day of work by wetting the pads of your fingers with coconut oil. Apply the oil gently onto your scalp and massage it gently for a few minutes. This will help the coconut oil to moisturize your scalp and promote healthy hair growth. A relaxing scalp massage using coconut oil is going to make your hair follicles happy and this will result in speedier and also healthier hair growth.

The reason why scalp massages promote hair growth is because they encourage blood circulation. This helps in delivering your hair follicles all the essential nutrients and also oxygen.

  1. As a hair mask

Coconut oil for hair is known to work wonders when it comes to deep conditioning hair treatments. You can create a DIY at-home hair mask by melting a few tablespoons of the oil over low heat and then transferring the oil to a bowl. Section your hair to properly massage warm coconut oil into the roots of your hair and saturating your strands throughout the tips. After that, use a wide-toothed comb to run through your entire hair so that your hair detangles gently. Then, cover your hair with a warm towel or shower cap, and relax for ten to thirty minutes. You can use your regular or mild shampoo to wash out the oil. Make sure to rinse properly.

Remember not to sleep while you are relaxing. You need to wash out the oil to prevent any build-up.

  1. To define your curls more prominently

Coconut oil is a worthy styler and it can help you look your best. Even if you don’t have the right outfit for the day, your hair is surely going to make heads turn!

A lot of people are partial to wash-and-go or an air-dry. If you are one of them, you can slide the oil through the strands of your hair after taking a shower. The oil will help to define the pattern of your curl while also reducing frizz and moisturizing your hair.

If you want your curls to keep their spring, you can make use of coconut oil in between washes. Your curls will be replenished and have a beautiful shine.

  1. To prevent your hair from tangling or to detangle 

A physical barrier is required for all hair types before detangling the strands, especially for those who have more breakage-prone, drier hair. Coconut oil is a brilliant detangling hair care product that you can use to prevent your hair from breaking. You can apply warm oil or you can use a spray bottle to spritz oil on your hair before detangling.

  1. To treat split ends 

Honestly, you cannot mend split ends forever. There just isn’t a way. You can snip them from time to time, but you cannot say goodbye to them forever. Another way to manage your split end problem is by applying coconut hair oil products. The oil will help to seal the cuticle and make your hair look shinier, healthier, and also less brittle. You might even notice density to your strands, especially if you have been noticing that your hair is tapered toward the bottom and looking thin.

The takeaway

Do you think that your hair can benefit from the use of fatty-rich coconut hair oil? You can give it a try in any one of the 5 ways above. And if anybody was wondering, the oil can also be used straight up on your strands.

However, if you are allergic to coconut in general, you might want to stay away from using this oil. In such cases, applying the oil may result in causing irritation.

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