Healthcare online Keeping you up-to-date
VOL.  19     ISSUE:  7    July 2021 Medical Services Department

SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.





P G Dip. Business Management








Dear Doctor:

Welcome to our healthcare bulletin 'e-SQUARE' !

Our current issue focused on some interesting features like

"Seroprevalence of Covid-19 !", "Omega-3 & Life expentency !", "Covid-19 Specimen !", "MPeM Hope !", "Heart Tissue Technology !", "Fighting Brain Tumors !".

In our regular feature, we have some new products information of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd. as well.

Please send us your feedback !

Click on to reply mode.

Yours sincerely,


Editorial Team

Reply Mode      : e-square@squaregroup.com

The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of its editor or SQUARE PHARMACEUTICALS LTD.

 Seroprevalence of Covid-19 !

Observed higher rate in slum areas of Dhaka and Chattogram

A recently completed study evaluated the extent of spread of SARS-CoV-2 in individuals residing in the slum and non-slum communities in Dhaka and Chattogram city of Bangladesh. The main objective of the study was to ascertain the seroprevalence of COVID-19 among slum and non-slum dwellers and identify probable risk factors, which were examined included presence of other respiratory viruses, nutritional factors (Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium), and immunological factors. Researchers found that the overall adjusted seroprevalence among 3,220 participants was 68% with higher seropositivity in Dhaka (71%) than in Chattogram (55%). The seropositivity was higher in adults (70%) than in children (65.5%). The presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was higher in females (70.6%) than in males (66%). Among the participants having antibodies (n=2,209), only 35.5% were estimated to have some/mild symptoms of COVID-19. Higher seroprevalence was found in individuals with diabetes, overweight, and hypertension. Lower seroprevalence was found in individuals who frequently washed hands, did not put fingers on the face/ in the nose, have been vaccinated with BCG, and carried out moderate physical activities. Individuals having antibodies appear to have higher serum zinc levels compared to seronegative people. This may be related to mild disease or asymptomatic infection in our study population. The findings concluded that overall seropositivity was slightly higher in Dhaka than in Chattogram. The estimated SARS-CoV-2 antibody seroprevalence was higher in slums than in the adjacent low-to-middle-income non-slum areas. Preventive measure such as frequent washing of hands had a beneficial impact on infection. Other driving factors associated with seropositivity included overweight, diabetes and hypertension. Being engaged in moderate physical activity were associated with a lower probability of seropositivity. The study found a high prevalence (85%) of Vitamin D insufficiency among participants.

SOURCE: icddr,b July, 2021

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 Omega-3 & Life expentency !

Higher levels of omega-3 acids in the blood increases life expectancy

Higher levels of omega-3 acids in the blood increases life expectancy by almost five years Researchers have found that omega-3 levels in blood erythrocytes are very good mortality risk predictors. Having higher levels of these acids in the blood, as a result of regularly including oily fish in the diet, increases life expectancy by almost five years. Data was collected and analyzed on blood fatty acid levels in 2,240 people over the age of 65, who were monitored for an average of eleven years. The aim was to validate which fatty acids function as good predictors of mortality, beyond the already known factors. The results indicate that four types of fatty acids, including omega-3, fulfil this role. It is interesting that two of them are saturated fatty acids, traditionally associated with cardiovascular risk, but which, in this case, indicate longer life expectancy. This reaffirms that not all saturated fatty acids are necessarily bad. These results may contribute to the personalization of dietary recommendations for food intake, based on the blood concentrations of the different types of fatty acids. The findings are not insignificant. It reinforces the idea that small changes in diet in the right direction can have a much more powerful effect than we think, and it is never too late or too early to make these changes. The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish such as salmon, anchovies or sardines twice a week because of the health benefits of omega-3 acids.

SOURCE: Science Daily News, July 2021

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 Covid-19 Specimen !

 IEDCR and icddr,b study finds Saliva as an alternative specimen for detection of Covid-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic erupted, World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the use of nasopharyngeal swab or throat swab for detection of SARS-CoV-2. Collection of nasopharyngeal swab causes discomfort to the person due to invasive collection procedure. There are considerable risks to the healthcare worker while collecting these specimens. Considering all these, an alternative, non-invasive, reliable and self-collected specimen was explored by Institute of Epidemiology, Diseases Control and Research (IEDCR) and International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b). The objective of the study was to investigate the suitability of saliva over the nasopharyngeal swab of suspected COVID-19 patients for detection of SARS-CoV-2. A total of 596 participants including suspected COVID-19 patients and their contacts were chosen. Both nasopharyngeal swab and saliva were collected from each of these participants at the Coronavirus Facility of Dhaka Hospital, icddr,b. Fever, altered smell and loss of appetite were significantly observed as COVID-19 symptoms among the studied participants. Data was analyzed to determine the positivity of nasopharyngeal swab and saliva, and detection of viral load in these specimens. Considering the RT-PCR results as a reference standard, it was found that the sensitivity of saliva specimen is 80.35% which meets the WHO criteria. However, the viral load was higher among the nasopharyngeal swab compared to saliva samples. The study found - saliva is an easy-to-get, convenient and low-cost specimen to diagnose COVID-19 compared to nasopharyngeal swab. Saliva yields better results if it is collected within the first five days of the onset of the symptoms. Saliva samples can be collected from home safely. Hence, there is no need to travel to sample collection points. Self-collected saliva can reduce the cost of sample collection kit as well as minimize sample collection related risk of infection. Other studies conducted in different countries also found similar sensitivity. USFDA has approved this testing method (Saliva Direct) based on analyzing saliva samples. France and Singapore's Health Sciences Authority have approved the method too while many other countries are also evaluating saliva testing as an option for diagnosing COVID-19.

SOURCE: icddr,b July, 2021

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 MPeM Hope !

Drug combination shows meaningful responses for malignant peritoneal mesothelioma

MPeM (Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma) usually follows the same treatment as pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the lung lining, although there are significant differences between the diseases. MPeM is far rarer, understudied, has a weaker association with asbestos exposure, affects women more frequently, occurs at a younger age and is diagnosed more often at an advanced stage. Treatment strategies are varied, but usually include optimal cytoreductive surgery, hypothermic intraoperative peritoneal perfusion with chemotherapy (HIPEC) or early postoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy (EPIC). Patients with MPeM usually are treated following the recommendations for malignant pleural mesothelioma and most studies on chemotherapy drugs have been done for pleural mesothelioma, often excluding MPeM patients. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends first-line platinum chemotherapy for both mesotheliomas, but after disease progression there is no established treatment strategy or any Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for advanced MPeM. A single-center study has been carried out for evaluation of atezolizumab and bevacizumab in a variety of advanced cancers. Atezolizumab is a type of immunotherapy drug called an immune checkpoint inhibitor that targets PD-L1, while bevacizumab is a targeted therapy that slows the growth of new blood vessels by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This publication reports data for the 20 patients in the MPeM cohort. The median age was 63 years, 60% of participants were women and 75% self-reported that they had not been exposed to asbestos. Trial participants were 80% white, 10% Hispanic, 5% Black and 5% other. Progression-free and overall survival at one year were 61% and 85%, respectively. The treatment was well-tolerated, with the most common events being hypertension and anemia. Patients treated on this regimen surpassed outcomes expected with conventional therapies. This data shows that this is a reasonable treatment option and reiterates the importance of clinical trials for rare cancers to extend patient survival.

SOURCE: Science Daily News, July 2021

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 Heart Tissue Technology !

Advances engineered heart tissue technology

Efforts to understand cardiac disease progression and develop therapeutic tissues that can repair the human heart are just a few areas of focus for the research group. The group's latest dynamic model, created in partnership with collaborators in the Netherlands, mimics physiologic loads on engineering heart muscle tissues, yielding an unprecedented view of how genetics and mechanical forces contribute to heart muscle function. Hemodynamic loads, or the preload and afterload are important not only for healthy heart muscle function, but can also contribute to cardiac disease progression. Preload and afterload can lead to maladaptive changes in heart muscle, as is the case of hypertension, myocardial infarction, and cardiomyopathies. In new research group introduces a system comprised of engineered heart muscle tissue (EHT) that is attached to an elastic strip designed to mimic physiologic preloads and afterloads. This first model shows that recreating exercise-like loading drives formation of more functional heart muscle that is better organized and generates more force each time it contracts. However, using cells from patients with certain types of heart disease, these same exercise-like loads can result in heart muscle dysfunction. Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) that often becomes worse with exercise. Researcher have been able to get patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells, differentiate these into heart muscle cells, and then use these in our new EHT model to recreate ACM in a petri dish. Looking to the future, the collaborators aim to use their model and findings to study a wide range of other heart diseases with genetic mutations, develop new therapeutic treatments and test drugs to gauge their effectiveness.

SOURCE: Science Daily News, July 2021

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 Fighting Brain Tumors !

Structures discovered in brain cancer patients can help fight tumors

Researchers have discovered lymph node-like structures close to the tumor in brain cancer patients, where immune cells can be activated to attack the tumor & also found that immunotherapy enhanced the formation of these structures in a mouse model. This discovery suggests new opportunities to regulate the anti-tumor response of the immune system. Glioma is a deadly brain tumor with a dismal prognosis. One reason why brain tumors are very hard to treat is that our immune system, which is designed to detect and destroy foreign cells including cancer cells, cannot easily reach the tumor site due to the barriers that surround the brain. To fight a developing tumor, killer immune cells such as T lymphocytes must be activated and primed in our lymph nodes, before travelling to the tumor site to effectively kill the cancer cells. Because of the barriers around the brain, it is a challenging process for T lymphocytes to reach the tumor. In the study the researchers describe their discovery of structures similar to lymph nodes in the brain where T lymphocytes could be activated. Researcher said that it was extremely exciting to discover for the first time the presence of lymph node-like structures in glioma patients. These structures are known as tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) and they are not found in healthy individuals. They have all the components needed to support lymphocyte activation on-site which means that they could have a positive effect on the anti-tumor immune response. The researchers also showed that the formation of TLS in the brain can be induced by a type of immunotherapy in glioma-bearing mice. Indeed, when they treated the mice with immunostimulatory antibodies called αCD40, the formation of TLS was enhanced and always occurred in proximity to tumors. αCD40 is currently being tested to treat brain tumors in a number of clinical trials. In the study, the researchers found that while αCD40 boosted TLS formation, it also counterproductively inhibited the tumor-killing ability of the T lymphocytes. The study has therefore provided important insights into the multifaceted effects of αCD40 therapy.

SOURCE: Science Daily News, July 2021

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New Products of SQUARE Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

  Product FamotackTM
  Generic Name Famotidine
  Strength 40 mg
  Dosage form Tablet
  Therapeutic Category Antiulcerant
  Product Vardamate TM  
Generic Name Vardenafil HCl
Strength 10 & 20 mg
Dosage form Tablet
Therapeutic Category Anti ED
  Product Camlotel TM
  Generic Name Amlodipine+Telmisartan
Strength 5/40 mg
  Dosage form Tablet
  Therapeutic Category Antihypertensive

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