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Alternative News – Man with rare Sars coronavirus in intensive care in Manchester

Sars Virus

First UK resident to contract acute respiratory illness, from which five have died, travelled recently to Middle East and Pakistan – daily alternative news

A man who returned recently from the Middle East and Pakistan is under intensive care in a Manchester hospital where he has been confirmed as the first UK resident to be infected by a new form of virus.

He is only the 10th confirmed case with this type of acute respiratory illness, from which five people have died.

The latest case is the second to be identified with the coronavirus in Britain. Authorities notified the World Health Organisation on Friday. A 49-year-old Qatari man who was flown from Doha to London in September is still in hospital.

The man involved in the latest case is reported to have first fallen ill on 26 January and was diagnosed with a severe illness on 31 January.

John Watson, of the Health Protection Agency (HPA), said it was providing advice to healthcare workers “to ensure the patient under investigation is being treated appropriately and that healthcare staff who are looking after the patient are protected”.

Family, friends and others who had been in contact with the man were being followed up to check on their health, said Watson, head of the agency’s respiratory diseases department.

“Our assessment is that the risk associated with novel coronavirus to the general UK population remains extremely low and the risk to travellers to the Arabian peninsula and surrounding countries remains very low. No travel restrictions are in place but people who develop severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath, within 10 days of returning from these countries should seek medical advice and mention which countries they have visited.”

Maria Zambon, director of reference microbiology services at the HPA, said: “A battery of laboratory tests have been developed by the HPA to test for coronavirus infection when cases of severe respiratory illness are identified, which are not explained by other infectious causes. These tests, which detect the presence of virus in the body, are available for use by selected frontline HPA laboratories.”

The agency published the full genome sequence of the virus from the first UK patient in November, enabling scientists around the world to understand more about the virus. This would help with efforts to determine the origin of the virus and develop strategies for treatment and prevention, said Zambon.

Coronaviruses are causes of the common cold but can also include more severe illness, such as Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome). The virus was first identified in September 2012 in a man who died from a severe respiratory infection in Saudi Arabia in June 2012. The virus has so far only been identified in a small number of people who presented with fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Half the cases so far confirmed by laboratory tests were in Saudi Arabia, where three of the five people have died. Two people have died in Jordan, and one patient from Qatar who was treated in Germany was discharged from hospital.

 

dailyalternative | alternative news – Man with rare Sars coronavirus in intensive care in Manchester

via Man with rare Sars coronavirus in intensive care in Manchester | Science | guardian.co.uk.

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Health & Science

Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records

A controversial deal between tech giant Google and the National Health Service (NHS) will allow artificial intelligence units access to 1.6 million confidential medical records. Since 2014, Google has partnered with several scientists in an attempt to understand human health, but a new report reveals the data gathering goes far beyond what was originally anticipated.

According to documents obtained by the New Scientist, the data sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust gives access to the sensitive healthcare data of millions of NHS patients. The chilling and wide-reaching deal allows DeepMind access to the medical records of the 1.6 million people passing annually through the three London hospitals owned by the Trust — Barnet, Chase Farm, and the Royal Free.

The Google-owned A.I. firm announced in February it was working with the NHS to build an app called Streams — intended to help hospitals monitor patients with kidney disease. However, the new information has revealed that the extent of the data being shared goes much further and includes logs of day-to-day hospital activity, records of the location and status of patients, and even logs of who visits them and when.

Results of pathology and radiology tests are also shared, as is information from critical care and accident and emergency departments. In addition, DeepMind’s access to the centralised records of all NHS hospital treatments in the U.K. means the tech company can access historical data from the last five years, all while receiving a continuous stream of new data.

At the same time, DeepMind is developing a platform called Patient Rescue, which uses hospital data streams to build tools to carry out analysis and support diagnostic decisions. The New Scientist explained how it works:

Comparing a new patient’s information with millions of other cases, Patient Rescue might be able to predict that they are in the early stages of a disease that has not yet become symptomatic, for example. Doctors could then run tests to see if the prediction is correct.

While the Royal Free has not yet responded to the question of what — if any — opt-out mechanisms are available to patients, the New Scientist suggests this is unlikely to be a straightforward process. Despite the agreement stating Google cannot use the data in any other part of the company’s business, many will be seriously wary of the access the online tech giant now has to the confidential data of millions of people.

As the New Scientist wrote:

Data mining is the name of the game in the burgeoning field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and there’s no company in the world better at that than Google.

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records

via Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records.

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