Monday, December 20, 2021

Nasal spray developed by Australian scientists STOPS cancer patients catching Covid with a bigger trial to find if it can be the next weapon to fight the pandemic

Another one of those evil nasal sprays. But this one uses a well recognized therapeutic ingredient so will be harder to dismiss

A trial for a nasal spray that has prevented cancer patients getting Covid-19 could be a new weapon to fight the pandemic.

Some 175 patients have tested the drug by taking daily doses of a nasal spray containing cancer drug interferon developed by scientists at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

None of the participants in the C-SMART trial have contracted Covid so far, despite several waves of the virus plunging Melbourne into six lockdowns.

Scientists are seeking more volunteers to take part in the free trial, which will be expanded to Austin and St Vincent's hospitals in Melbourne, along with Westmead Hospital in western Sydney.

Anyone with a past or current cancer diagnosis is eligible to take part in the four month trial.

Scientists hope the nasal spray will be an extra protection for vulnerable patients until better preventions are developed.

'We have not had any patient on the trial actually report back to us that they have developed Covid infection,' National Centre for Infections in Cancer director Professor Monica Slavin told the Herald Sun.

'But we have had about 10 per cent of people on the trial sending in a swab due to some sort of viral illness.

'We know that there are groups of patients, because of the immune system being suppressed, that don't make a good response to the vaccination.'

But it hasn't all been smooth sailing for the trial, which began a year ago.

Scientists were forced to press pause on the trial for five months earlier this year when access to chemicals and sending samples of the drug for testing were hampered by international border closures.

The expanded trial will determine whether the drug can also prevent other respiratory viral illnesses.

Studies have shown cancer patients make up 10 per cent of severe Covid-19 cases, and about 20 per cent of those who die from it, according to the trial's website.

They are also more likely to rapidly develop severe infections and be admitted to ICU compared to cases without cancer.


Omicron is an inferior variant of Covid and the worst of the surging outbreak will be over for Australia within weeks, top expert claims

Australia's Omicron outbreak will peak in just a few weeks and new restrictions will only be necessary if hospital cases 'go through the roof', a top Covid expert predicts.

Australian National University professor Peter Collignon said the new strain appeared to be milder or no worse than previous ones even though it spread quicker.

He said Australia is seeing a spike in cases due to the Christmas party season, with people enjoying 'high-risk activities' such as eating and drinking in pubs and clubs.

'I suspect we'll have more numbers over the next week or two,' he said.

'I suspect [cases] will go up until the first or second week of January, then it will gradually go down or at least stay stable, then next winter it will go up again.'

Professor Collignon said the growth in cases in Britain and the US was primarily because 'they are going into winter'.

'But the big note there, as well as here, we are not seeing huge numbers of hospital admissions,' he said.

'Yes you can get mild disease more frequently or even reasonably frequently even if you're vaccinated... but the real crunch is the deaths of people and hospital admissions, and they're not going up because vaccines work.'

Professor Collignon said the new Omicron wave was 'the new reality' for the next four or five years. 'Omicron spreads a bit more but it doesn't seem to be worse in severity of disease so this is what we've got to expect,' he said.

'Provided we keep the hospitalisations down, that's good news because it means we can get on with life without that huge risk hanging over our heads.'

He said re-imposing Covid restrictions in NSW such as mask wearing indoors, as Queensland and Tasmania did, would only be necessary if hospitalisations 'go through the roof'.

'The main precaution we should be taking is to be outdoors more than indoors. Outdoors there's much less transmission than indoors,' he said.

'Have a barbecue during the day instead of a dinner at night. Avoid crowded indoor venues as much as you can decrease the time you go there.

'If you have people unwell make sure nobody is unwell who comes over, they should be getting tested and not coming over.'

Thousands of Australians face spending Christmas locked in their homes as Omicron seeps though the country, sending patients and their close contacts into isolation.

Health officials in NSW admitted they have no clue how many cases of the highly infectious mutant strain are active in the state because it is too expensive and time consuming to test each case for its strain - but there are likely thousands.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has so far refused to bring back any restrictions despite mounting pressure, just days after removing density limits and allowing the unvaccinated the same freedoms as those who've had the jab.

The daily infection rate in the state soared to a record 2,566 cases on Sunday with another 21 admitted to hospital. There were 2,501 more cases on Monday.


High-priced coal and LNG sets Australia up for $380 billion windfall

A nation that has a whole continent to itself is bound to find underground riches somewhere

Surging prices for Australian coal and LNG coupled with record exports of iron ore will deliver almost $400 billion worth of resource exports to the nation this year that will translate into stronger economic growth.

Figures to be released today by the Industry, Resources and Energy Department show that over the past three months, expected exports for minerals and energy have been revised upwards by $30.6 billion with the largest risks posed by China’s economy and a possible global lift in interest rates to deal with higher inflation.

Strong LNG exports are tipped to help Australian resource exports reach $380 billion this financial year.
Strong LNG exports are tipped to help Australian resource exports reach $380 billion this financial year.

In 2020-21, the resources sector exported a record $310 billion of product, topped by an all-time high $153 billion worth of iron ore. Mineral exports were worth $228.6 billion, and energy exports were worth $81.2 billion.

In its December quarter export report, the department expects total resource exports this year to reach $379.2 billion. In its September report, it had forecast $348.6 billion.

The big change has been in energy with exports from commodities such as thermal coal and LNG now tipped to reach $170.7 billion. Last quarter they had been forecast to reach $128.6 billion.

High prices for both metallurgical and thermal coal are expected to press exports of these to $54 billion and $35 billion respectively. In September, they were tipped to bring in $33 billion and $24 billion.

It’s a similar story for LNG with better prices a key factor in lifting forecast exports to $63 billion. In September, LNG exports had been predicted to reach $56 billion.

Better prices for oil mean exports of crude are tipped to jump by more than 75 per cent to $13 billion in 2021-22.

Copper, aluminum, alumina, lithium and zinc exports have all been revised upwards.

The only major export revised down is iron ore, due to an expected fall in prices, but it will still bring in $118 billion.

The department said there were ongoing positives for the mining sector, with capital spending expected to rise. It reached $1 billion in the September quarter, the fifth consecutive quarterly rise, and 25 per cent higher than its recent low set in June last year.

“In the coming two years, it is likely that the resources and energy sectors will make a significant contribution to real GDP growth, as producers lift output and exports in response to high prices and margins,” the department found.

The lift is expected to flow into 2022-23. Total resource exports are now forecast to reach $310.6 billion after being tipped to reach $299 billion in the September report.

It did caution that there were risks ahead tied to China which remains Australia’s most important export market. Another risk related to the state of the global economy, with concerns mounting world interest rates will be pushed up to deal with higher inflation.

“Higher global interest rates — in response to persistent inflation — pose a downside risk to global economic activity and hence the resource and energy export forecasts,” it said.

Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the figures showed the importance of the sector to the national economy as well as the regions.

“These are outstanding results that will provide further jobs and opportunities in our regions and benefit all Australians,” he said.

“Hundreds of new projects in the pipeline, including 60 new or expanded coal mines, will deliver thousands of new jobs, especially in regional areas. The higher forecast earnings are expected to keep the benefits flowing to the broader community, including through royalties the states use to pay for the hospitals, roads and schools, the services we all rely on.”


Greenie thugs protected by Leftist Qld. government

Protesters are hurling sex slurs at female miners, chasing staff in cars and even flying in booze at Adani’s Carmichael coal site.

Cashed-up activists are hurling sex slurs at female mine workers, chasing staff in cars and even flying in booze as part of an almost daily confrontation of abuse and intimidation at Adani’s Carmichael coal site

The tension created by environmental protesters is putting lives at risk, CEO Lucas Dow said, with staff forced to wear body-worn cameras and the mine company forced to spend $9000 a day on security to keep workers safe.

The “outrageous” display of abuse included one female worker being called a “slut” by activists, merely for going to work.

Protesters also chartered a helicopter stocked with beer and wine to their camp.

In another shocking act, activists drove a 4WD at a female staffer as conflicts become more aggressive in what Mr Dow describes as attempts to “create a confrontation with our people for their PR cameras”.

With protest activity dragging into its fourth month, Mr Dow said it was “outrageous” the Queensland Police Service and state government were valuing the sensitivities of activists above worker safety.

“They’ve verbally abused and threatened our employees, often targeting women, they recently chased one of our female workers in a four-wheel-drive, and flew a helicopter onto the mine to deliver supplies including alcohol to their camp,” he said.

“We’ve made several complaints to the Queensland Police Service about the presence of the activists and their behaviour, however, after nearly four months, police refuse to move them on.

“This is outrageous given the camp is within 200m of our operational open-cut mining pit.”

A spokesman for Queensland police acknowledged they had received several complaints relating to incidents involving people associated with the camp.

“The Queensland Police Service continues to investigate these complaints as part of an overall engagement and negotiation strategy,” he said.

The spokesman said the service would ensure public safety while working towards an appropriate resolution.

“The QPS also acknowledges the response to these issues are complex, we have and will continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders,” he said.

About 10 million tonnes of coal will be extracted each year from Adani’s $2bn Carmichael Mine in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Following a decade of controversy and rigorous approvals construction of the mammoth mine, which will employ 2000 workers, started in June 2019.

Mr Dow questioned why protesters were exempt from strict site rules imposed on workers, and called for the government to step in and protect miners.

“It’s the behaviour of the professional activists using it that makes a mockery of the workplace health and safety laws the tens of thousands of people who make up the resources industry abide by every day,” he said.

“Like any other business in Queensland that operates within the law and within its approvals and conditions we expect our government to enforce the rule of law and protect our operations and our people from premeditated activist intimidation, harassment, or sabotage – that shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive officer Ian Macfarlane called for tougher penalties for protesters who illegally disrupt mining activities and abuse and harass workers.

“It’s no exaggeration to say people’s lives are being placed in danger – not only the lives of protesters, but that of honest, hardworking people whose workplace safety is being threatened on a regular basis,” he said.

“Protesters are entitled to lawfully express their views, but they’re not entitled to abuse or harass people or to disrupt our workplaces and make them unsafe just because they don’t like our industry.

“The constant harassment, abuse and law-breaking happening on Queensland mine sites and at port and rail facilities has got to stop.”

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said Adani could apply to the Land Court for an order to have people removed from their lease. “Those people then have to show why they shouldn’t be removed, Bravus have been informed of this multiple times,” he said.

Mr Dow argued Mr Stewart’s proposal to file proceedings in the Land Court was an abrogation of responsibility.

“The failure of the Queensland Government to propose an immediate and effective solution shows a lack of leadership by politicians who are more worried about protecting inner-city seats from the Greens than protecting hard working people in Queensland’s coal communities,” he said.

Police Minister Mark Ryan declared he would not order the Queensland Police Service to act, but acknowledged investigations into the protest activity were ongoing.

“While people have the right to protest, they don’t have the right to do so in such a manner that impinges upon the rights of others to go about their lawful business,” he said.

“The fact is Queensland has some of the toughest laws in the nation and protesters who damage certain types of infrastructure could go to jail for 14 years and face substantial fines.

“I am advised the Queensland Police Service is continuing to investigate this matter.”




No comments: