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Studies suggest role of bats, snakes in outbreak of China virus

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Studies suggest role of bats, snakes in outbreak of China virus

A study in the Journal of Medical Virology has
A study in the Journal of Medical Virology has identified snakes as a possible ‘intermediate host’ of the coronavirus. PHOTO | FILE 

A new strain of coronavirus that emerged in China may have originated in bats or snakes, according to genetic analysis of the virus that has so far killed 17 people.

The theories are based on examination of the genome sequence of the virus released by authorities in the wake of the outbreak, with two studies pointing to the likely role of bats in the outbreak.

One study, published Tuesday in the journal Science China Life Sciences, which is sponsored by Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Sciences, looked at the relations between the new strain and other viruses.

It found the coronavirus that emerged from China’s Wuhan was closely related to a strain that exists in bats.

“Bats being the native host of the Wuhan CoV (coronavirus) would be the logical and convenient reasoning, though it remains likely there was intermediate host(s) in the transmission cascade from bats to humans,” the researchers from several institutions in China wrote in the paper.

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That study did not speculate about which animal could have been an “intermediate host,” but a second study published Wednesday in the Journal of Medical Virology identifies snakes as the possible culprit.

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“To search for (a) potential virus reservoir, we have carried out a comprehensive sequence analysis and comparison. Results from our analysis suggest that snake is the most probable wildlife animal reservoir,” the paper says.

The researchers caution that their conclusions require “further validation by experimental studies in animal models”.

Neither study explained how the virus may have been transmitted from animals to humans.

But they could offer clues to Chinese authorities as they hunt for the source of the outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people in the country and has been confirmed as far afield as the United States.

The food market where the deadly virus surfaced offered a range of exotic wildlife for sale, including live foxes, crocodiles, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, rats, peacocks, porcupines, camel meat and other game.

Gao Fu, director of the Chinese centre for disease control and prevention, said in Beijing on Wednesday that authorities believe the virus likely came from “wild animals at the seafood market” though the exact source remains undetermined.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, was linked to Chinese consumption of civet meat.

Many exotic species are still widely consumed in China or other Asian countries where they are considered a delicacy — like the civet or some rats or bats — or for purported health benefits unproven by science.

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Capital Markets industry plans to manage COVID 19 pandemic.

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The capital markets industry stakeholders have unveiled a raft of measures designed to ensure business continuity and manage effects of COVID 19 pandemic.

Top on the list is to ensure trading and settlement systems continue functioning to support transactions.

The CMA Acting Chief Executive, Mr Wyckliffe Shamiah, said the Authority is allowing the progression of some of the activities usually sanctioned during Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for listed companies.

Given the need to postpone AGMs, to help eligible shareholders access dividends during these difficult circumstances, the respective Boards of issuers of securities have been allowed to proceed to declare and pay the dividends to their shareholders. This will be subject to the companies’ dividend policies, procuring all other relevant internal approvals, and making available the audited financial statements to CMA, Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and the public in the prescribed channels as explained in an earlier guidance

Mr Wyckliffe Shamiah, CMA Acting Chief Executive

The Boards of listed companies have also been allowed to progress the appointment and remuneration of auditors.
Board decisions on these matters will need to be tabled at the AGMs, once convened, for ratification.

To ensure normal operations continue at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), the NSE Chief Executive, Mr. Geoffrey Odundo, said the business continuity plan of the Exchange has been operationalized to support online and mobile trading.

Additionally, market players have successfully been working remotely with trading systems accessed via Virtual Private Networks.

The Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC) Chief Executive, Mr. Nkoregamba Mwebesa, adds that through its Business Continuity Plan, CDSC has ensured settlement continues through secure remote links with all settlement participants.

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Mr. Mwebesa added that CDSC is still offering all other depository services to Central Depository Agents and other stakeholders. These measures are aimed at ensuring that investors have remote access to the market through various channels, with the ability to easily buy or sell their securities with minimal physical movement and contact in line with the Ministry of Health Directives.

The Kenya Association of Stockbrokers and Investment Banks (KASIB) Chief Executive, Mr. Willie Njoroge, welcomes the support from the Authority, which has authorized and shall continue to guide, monitor and regulate the use of Automated customer onboarding processes to reduce the need for physical verification of documents and in-person visits while facilitating easy access to the market by investors.

The Fund Managers Association (FMA) Chairman, Mr. Jonathan Stichbury, says the association through its member firms will continue to operate and actively invest in the Kenyan capital markets on behalf of their institutional and retail clients – and to support the proper functioning of the capital markets.

RELATED;

CMA Relaxes Disclosure Obligations

NSE Opens Remote Access to Its Platforms

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Outcry as people quarantined in hotels cite huge bills : The Standard

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Hundreds of people quarantined for observation for coronavirus are staring at huge bills following the directive extending their stay for another 14 days.
Among them is a family of five that is putting up at Pride Inn, a four-star hotel in Nairobi’s Westlands hub, whose bill has already hit Sh400,000.
Continued forced stay means the bill would double for the three rooms occupied by the family. 

SEE ALSO: China virus cases spike, 17 new infections reported

Extension of the quarantine period is linked to a supposed failure to observe the strict rules to avoid infection from the confirmed patients who have since been moved to hospital.
At the heart of the concerns is the failure by the observing medics in enforcing social distancing rules while unfairly punishing the diligent ones who followed the guidelines.
It also would raise major concerns whether the State should come in and subsidise the costs considering that these are unplanned expenses.

For More of This and Other Stories, Grab Your Copy of the Standard Newspaper.  

Shakir Yassin, whose family jetted into the country on March 23 after a visit to Ethiopia, is devastated by the soaring hotel bill. His family had to cut short the trip to make it home within the window allowed by the State for returning citizens.
“It is going to be quite costly for us. I am really hopeful that we would be allowed to go home today,” Yassin told The Standard on phone.

SEE ALSO: China confirms virus spreading between humans

Daily cost for the three rooms is Sh28,000, an amount he said should have been more than sufficient to cater for police officers to ensure they self-quarantined in their home for the last two weeks.
He fears that the conditions at their hotel could actually be helping spread the virus, terming the facility as an “coronavirus incubation centre” rather than hotel.
Yassin’s concerns are echoed by Bonface Ombui who is putting up at a nearby hotel that is also on the list approved by the State as an isolation facility.
Ombui retraces his anguish to the day when he landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after a business trip to Nigeria.
“We were all lumped into the National Youth Service bus, without social distancing and very poor ventilation,” he laments.

SEE ALSO: Factbox: What we know about the new coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

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At his hotel, where two cases have since tested positive, the guests have been cleaning their own rooms but still paying the full rate of Sh9,200.
“It is unfair that they would be charging us as if we are on holiday here while it is not our wish,” Ombui said.
Mutahi Kagwe, the Health Cabinet Secretary, has since directed that the guests in hotel would stay on for another two weeks, regardless of the results of a test scheduled for today.
Guests in Ombui’s hotel had earlier yesterday written an appeal to the CS complaining about the decision to extend the quarantine.
“What evidence do you have that we have not been complying by the MoH guidelines? From our understanding, the only way to disprove this statement is by testing all of us again,” they wrote to the CS.

SEE ALSO: Travelers to be screened for ‘Chinese’ coronavirus- Government

Quarantine facilities where no one has tested positive are likely to have their subjects released within the week.


Are you suspecting that you have coronavirus? Before you rush to the hospital, do this quick easy self-assessment test. #StayHome #WashYourHands HERE.

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KPC joins coronavirus fight : The Standard

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Kenya Pipeline Company has joined the fight against the spread of coronavirus.

Managing Director Macharia Irungu said they had produced and dispatched free hand sanitisers to the counties from 185,000 litres of ethanol-blended from the initial 600,000 litres provided by different State agencies. 
“We usually do not produce hand sanitisers, but were able to flexibly and quickly adapt our facilities to be able to respond to this urgent need,” said Dr Irungu.


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