Connect with us

Russia

Russian scientists reveal the cause of COVID-19 complications, work on anti-coronavirus vaccine

Published

on

Yehuda Shoenfeld, a renowned Israeli immunologist, now working at St. Petersburg State University, where he is heading a laboratory of autoimmunity mosaics, has shed light on the cause of coronavirus complications, namely a substance, whose extensive presence in the blood can result in death.

A St. Petersburg State University professor, an honorary professor at Tel Aviv University and a researcher at the Sheba Medical Center (Israel), Yehuda  Shoenfeld, has determined that ferritin is a biomarker of a severe form of coronavirus infection, and that people with a high degree of ferritin present in their body are at risk of developing severe forms of COVID-19 infection, including when complications, such as bilateral pneumonia, start to develop.

“Ferritin is the protein responsible for the absorption of iron in the body,” says Yehuda Shoenfeld, the founder and head of the Autoimmune Disease Center. “Inside human body cells, ferritin serves as reserve storage of iron, binding free ions of iron, thus neutralizing its toxic properties and increasing solubility. If insufficiently present, it causes iron deficiency anemia. When in excess, however, it leads to hyperferritinemia.”

Hyperferritinemia, in turn, leads to impaired swallowing, weakness, decreased reproductive function, pathologies of the liver, heart and pancreas, neurological disorders, and vision problems. It occurs in severe cases of infectious diseases, including coronavirus infection.

Professor Shoenfeld’s team has been studying the hyperferritinemic syndrome for quite a while now, and has already published data on this condition. Sadly, in 50 percent of cases, patients do not survive.

According to Shoenfeld, an overabundance of ferritin in the human body may signal the organism’s response to infection, possibly to coronavirus as well. In case of viral diseases, ferritin is able to activate non-specific immunity cells, such as macrophages, which in turn, secrete cytokines. They sent a signal to other cells, for example, “commanding” them to initiate an inflammatory response and attack foreign agents. When the amount of cytokines is relatively small, it is good for the body, but when the amount becomes exceedingly high, this is fraught with a syndrome called the “cytokine storm” – one of the most dangerous complications of coronavirus infection. The body suffers a severe shakeup, resulting in a 50 percent mortality rate, with seniors and those with severe chronic diseases being at risk.

“As evident from studies made in China, the US and Italy, those infected with COVID-19 showed a high level of ferritin in their system. The increased content of ferritin is a marker indicating the appearance of pathogenic microorganisms inside the body. Our task is to understand how to quickly reduce the level of ferritin in the blood,” Yehuda Shoenfeld concluded.

Today, researchers working at St. Petersburg State University’s Laboratory of Autoimmunity Mosaics are looking for ways to reduce blood ferritin and use antibodies to block the synthesis of CD-143 cytokines, whose presence has been found to be a sign of a high likelihood of serious complications of COVID-19 disease. And most importantly, St. Petersburg State University is working on an anti-coronavirus vaccine based on the use of viral proteins as its main components.

“We are going to use viral proteins as a basic component of the medicine to create a vaccine,” Yehuda Shoenfeld says. “Viral proteins are not to be found inside the human body, which means that they cannot provide an unwanted immune response. The fragment is not rejected by the immune system, which is very inspiring,” he added.

Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld is an internationally renowned Israeli specialist in the study, treatment and prevention of autoimmune diseases, a physician, the founder and head of the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases at the Sheba Medical Center of Tel-Aviv University in Israel, and is President of the International Congress on Autoimmunity. He is editor-in-chief of Autoimmunity Reviews, IMAJ, Harefuah (Israel), co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Autoimmunity and Autoimmunity Network, contributed to the work of the Israeli Medical Encyclopedia, and has organized over 20 international congresses on autoimmunity.

In 2016, this prominent scientist won a contest for mega-grants provided by the government of the Russian Federation for the promotion of scientific research. Since late 2016, Yehuda Shoenfeld has been heading St. Petersburg State University’s Laboratory of Autoimmunity Mosaics.

Slavisha Batko Milacic is a historian and independent analyst. He has been doing analytics for years, writing in Serbian and English about the situation in the Balkans and Europe. Slavisha Batko Milacic can be contacted at email: varjag5[at]outlook.com

Continue Reading
Comments

Russia

Russia: Highlights of the XII BRICS Summit

Published

on

On November 17, under Russia’s BRICS Chairmanship, Vladimir Putin hosted the 12th BRICS Summit via videoconference. The leaders of Brazil, India, China and South Africa participated to discuss the state and prospects of cooperation within BRICS, discussed the global stability and security, and most importantly exchanged views on joint efforts to halt the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

As the Chair of BRICS 2020, President Vladimir Putin reviewed BRICS activities since Russia took over from Brazil, highlighted achievements and set the challenges for the future of BRICS. During the Russia’s Chairmanship the BRICS, Russia has held 130 events, including some 25 ministerial meetings, many of them online.

Within the context of the current global health situation, Putin pointed to the subject of medical cooperation among BRICS, and reminded the Ufa Declaration which was adopted five years ago included an agreement to work together to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Pursuant to that agreement, the BRICS countries created an early warning system for infectious disease outbreaks, which could be used during the COVID-19 pandemic. The BRICS countries promptly responded to the disease outbreak and took practical measures to combat the pandemic.

He said that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has signed agreements with Indian and Brazilian partners on clinical tests of the Sputnik V vaccine and with pharmaceutical companies in China and India on the production of this vaccine not only for own use, but also for third countries. There are Russian vaccines, and they are effective and safe. The next task is to launch large-scale production. It is very important to join forces for the large-scale manufacturing of this product for public use.

Besides this, it important to accelerate the establishment of the BRICS Vaccine Research and Development Centre, as agreed at the Johannesburg summit two years ago at the initiative of South African.

Due to the pandemic, many countries have taken emergency measures to support national industries, finance and the social sphere, to revive their economies and return them to a trajectory of sustainable growth. This is the goal of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership for the period until 2025, prepared for this summit.

The New Development Bank is in great demand in the current situation. The Bank has reserved $10 billion to combat the pandemic, while its overall portfolio of investment projects now exceeds $20 billion. As many as 62 large projects are being implemented in the BRICS countries. Incidentally, a regional branch of the bank will soon open in Moscow to implement lending programs across the Eurasian space. The BRICS countries have a special insurance tool in case of a crisis in the financial markets: the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement, with a $100 billion fund.

The BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism is important in the parties’ cooperation on credit and investment policy. This year, they have agreed on the rules and principles of responsible financing of development institutions within its framework.

The five countries are enhancing cooperation in science, technology, and innovation. Intensive contacts have been underway between our academic and scientific centers. Their coverage is truly impressive – from ocean and polar research to astronomy and artificial intelligence. Experts from the five countries carry out joint energy research: reports have been prepared on the projected development of the fuel and energy sectors in the BRICS countries until 2040.

Putin further highlighted the challenging global and regional security environment. International terrorism and drug trafficking continue to pose serious threats, and cybercrime has greatly expanded its reach.

“We are witnessing dangerous destabilizing trends in the Middle East and North Africa. The armed conflicts in Libya and Yemen are continuing. There is still a lot to be done to bring about a political settlement in Syria, and the risks of escalation persist in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and in the Persian Gulf,” he told the gathering.

It is highly satisfying that the BRICS countries have been closely coordinating their efforts on current international and regional matters. A policy document, the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy, drafted for the summit. The BRICS countries are expanding their cooperation on combating drug trafficking and corruption, as well as on international information security.

During the meeting, the leaders of the BRICS member countries heard reports from other speakers who have overseen the work on each track of the association’s activity.

Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev spoke about cooperation in the coronavirus pandemic response, in combating terrorism and cybercrime.

President of the New Development Bank Marcos Troyjo cited the financial institution’s performance data and plans for next year.

President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sergei Katyrin spoke about the Business Council events, while Chairman of VEB RF Igor Shuvalov covered the BRICS Interbank Cooperation Mechanism.

The report by Chair of the Board of Directors of Global Rus Trade Anna Nesterova addressed the establishment of the BRICS Women’s Business Alliance.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of China Xi Jinping and President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, during the meeting, exchanged views on the state and prospects of the five-sided cooperation.

The 12th BRICS Summit Moscow Declaration was adopted which reflects the five countries’ consolidated approach to the further development of the association, as well as the Strategy for the BRICS Economic Partnership until 2025 and the BRICS Anti-Terrorism Strategy.

“India, China, South Africa and Brazil commend Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020 and express their gratitude to the government and people of Russia for holding the XII BRICS Summit,” the adopted document says. Besides that, Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa extended full support to India for its BRICS Chairmanship in 2021 and the holding of the 13th BRICS Summit.

Continue Reading

Russia

Exchange of Information and Communication Key to Boosting Russian-African Partnership

Published

on

Image source: Valdai Discussion Club

On November 5 to 6, Moscow hosted the Second Russia-Africa Public Forum organized jointly by the World Association of Foreign Alumni of Russian Universities and African Business Initiative Union.

It was held within the framework of Russia’s strategy for the development and strengthening of trade, economic, social and cultural relations with the countries of the African continent, as well as building a stronger institutional foundation for Russian-African cooperation.

Since its creation in October 2018, it has become a platform for discussing ways of interaction between Russia and African countries on a wide range of issues, with special attention to the development of socio-cultural, humanitarian, trade and economic cooperation.

This month, prominent political and public officials, representatives of academic circles, the business community, and student and youth organizations were brought to the forum, which organizers believe provides a platform to exchange views on current issues of developing multifaceted relations between Russia and African countries.

Greeting the participants, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that Russian-African cooperation, which is rooted in the period of the joint struggle against colonialism, is based on the principles of equality and mutual respect.

“Russia’s relations with African countries have always been friendly and multifaceted. However, it is necessary to adjust them to modern realities. We proceed from the assumption that the impetus of the Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi in October 2019 can help us take our interaction to a fundamentally new level,” he stressed with optimism.

Lavrov said: “I believe that our public and the academic community can do a great deal to help choose methods of boosting Russian-African partnership. There is no doubt that the forum will provide a useful platform for developing innovative ideas and proposals in this sphere, and that it will help the Russian public learn more and understand better the needs of Africa, which is a geographically remote but spiritually close continent.”

The two-day forum focused on the modernization of education in the context of globalization and the scientific and technological revolutions.

It reviewed the strategy of economic cooperation in modern conditions, the development and implementation of new effective institutions and mechanisms of interaction.

It discussed, at length, the problems of international cultural cooperation in the context of modern threats and challenges.

It looked at the ever-growing role of public organizations in various aspects of society’s life and the interaction in the field of healthcare as one of the most pressing issues of the Russian-African dialogue. There were plenary sessions.

Plenary Session 1: Russia – Africa: Dialogue of Civil Societies as the Main Driver of the Future World Order and Sustainable Development.

Plenary session 2: Youth of Russia and Africa: a path towards rapprochement

Plenary session 3: Graduates of Russia as a unique human capital. Export of Russian education to Africa. Personnel training: what kind of specialists does the African continent need today?

Panel session 4: Business and Civil Society Institutions. Innovative technologies of Russian companies for the benefit of sustainable development of the African continent.

Panel session 5: Africa: pressing health issues. Public health and welfare. Pandemic shock.

Speakers and participants have, however, acknowledged the significance of the public forum and stressed that it would be impossible to elevate the entire range of relations between Russia and African countries to an entirely new level unless the public at large takes the most energetic part in these efforts.

It is hard to overestimate the role of this in strengthening friendship, trust and mutual understanding between the two parties without adequate and consistent exchange of information. It is necessary to maximize the potential of public, cultural and business diplomacy using the basic instrument of the media, according to the Chairman of the Board of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s Development and Support Foundation Andrei Bystritsky, speaking at the plenary meeting of the Second Russia-Africa Public Forum.

“On the one hand, the Russian public knows little about Africa. And I guess people in Africa know little about Russia,” he noted, and explained that Russia and Africa need to communicate more. Creating necessary conditions for conversation is important, as communication is the foundation of development, and will help strengthen the mutually beneficial ties between Russia and Africa.

As already known, Africa is an important partner for Russia. This fact was highly re-echoed throughout the forum. Speakers and participants explicitly expressed the need to strengthen relations in various fields. Further, most of the issues and diverse opinions expressed there have to improve the current level of relationship. Russia and Africa have to make that mutual desire, in practical terms, to step up cooperation in all areas including social spheres.

In this connection, it requires complete understanding, support for new initiatives and, commitment to expand friendly relations with Africa. These efforts directed not only at consolidating cooperation with the African countries but also at resolving key African problems such as overcoming social inequality and the involvement of young Africans in sustainable economic development.

Despite the challenges, Moscow plans to boost its presence on the continent in the coming years and, as outlined in the Russia-Africa Summit declaration, both Russia and Africa have to begin pursuing targeted goals, continue encouraging exchanges between Russia and African countries.

Continue Reading

Russia

Russia Readies to Host XII BRICS Summit

Published

on

Under Russia’s BRICS Chairmanship 2020, President Vladimir Putin will host Heads of State of Brazil, China, India and South Africa via videoconference on 17 November. Initially planned to take place in St. Petersburg in July, it was cancelled due to current coronavirus pandemic.

The leaders will discuss the strengthening and further development of cooperation within the framework of BRICS, including in the context of the global political and socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, the leaders will focus on significant and complicated issues or questions relating to geopolitical to socioeconomic spheres, transformations on the global landscapes in the 21st century. The meeting will adopt a working document that will further reinforce the position and development of the group.

As stipulated by the guidelines, Russia took over the rotating presidency of the BRICS from Brazil. Since its establishment, BRICS has come a long way from an informal venue for exchanging views on current issues on the international agenda to an absolutely mature and stable network of multilateral interaction on diverse issues on international and domestic agenda of the five BRICS countries.

Now BRICS has a multilateral structure, and become an association pushing for fair, democratic and multipolar world order. Russia has agreed to strengthen and promote strategic partnership in all key areas of BRICS activities, such as politics and security, the economy and finance, educational and cultural ties.

The theme of the Meeting of the Leaders of BRICS is “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth.” They will discuss the enhancement of their countries’ trade and economic collaboration and coordination at international stage or platforms.

It plans to end its chairmanship with a strong set of new agreements, including the already agreed upon BRICS Anti-Terrorism Strategy and the updated Strategy for Economic Partnership to 2025. This document defines guidelines and priorities of cooperation and gives a new impetus to development of trade and investment cooperation among the five countries.

It further provides a number of initiatives to strengthen sector-specific cooperation among the members. The people-to-people and cultural ties, as well as contacts between experts and civil society representatives are already expanding.

Despite the current global situation due to the spread of the coronavirus infection, the activities under the Russian BRICS Chairmanship in 2020 have been carried out in a consistent manner. Since January 2020, a number of events have already been organized, including via videoconferencing.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has reiterated that deepening the strategic partnership in BRICS is one of Russia’s foreign policy priorities.

Over the past decade, the group has proved to be a relevant and well-respected format of cooperation. The BRICS countries maintain solidarity in strengthening collective principles in global affairs; they advocate respect for the sovereignty and sovereign equality of all states, and are deeply convinced that any conflicts should be resolved by peaceful means only.

The group collectively defends the principles of a more just world order based on respect for the norms and principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.

According to procedure, each BRICS member takes over the chairmanship for a year. Russia last chaired BRICS in 2015, held a summit in the provincial city of Ufa. Russia also presided over the group back in 2009, before BRIC turned into BRICS following South Africa’s accession. The five BRICS countries together represent over 3.1 billion people, or about 40 percent of the world population.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Environment13 mins ago

ADB, Indorama Ventures Sign $100 Million Blue Loan to Boost Recycling

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL) signed a $100 million financing package to reduce...

Development2 hours ago

Global leaders to shape the Davos Agenda ahead of ‘crucial year to rebuild trust’

The Davos Agenda is a pioneering mobilization of global leaders to rebuild trust to shape the principles, policies and partnerships...

EU Politics5 hours ago

G20 leaders united to address major global pandemic and economic challenges

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council, Charles Michel, represented the EU...

Tech News6 hours ago

Digitalization: key to implementing an inclusive and sustainable economic model in Latin America

Latin American manufacturing has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with significant decreases in industrial production, intra-regional...

Middle East8 hours ago

World Powers Must Address the Nexus of Iran’s Terrorism and Diplomacy

On coming Friday, a high-ranking Iranian diplomat will stand trial in Belgium along with three co-conspirators in a terrorist plot....

Defense10 hours ago

European security becomes a matter of the EU only

A rift between the U.S. and the E.U. in the military sphere has become wider. On November 22 the U.S....

Eastern Europe12 hours ago

The new border geopolitics of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Azerbaijan

Borders are spatial-political phenomena that have a prominent importance and place in the global political sphere because they have divided...

Trending