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South Africa hails COVID vaccine patent waiver

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South Africa hails COVID vaccine patent waiver

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Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

South Africa on Saturday hailed a WTO agreement to allow developing countries to start producing their own COVID vaccines following a near two-year battle.

“We secured an agreement. It was a strongly-fought agreement,” said Minister of Trade Ebrahim Patel, who along with India and NGOs had been calling for an intellectual property rights waiver on COVID-related treatments.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) announced a relaxation of intellectual property restrictions on vaccines on Wednesday in a move aimed at a providing more equitable access to jabs but which many observers criticised for being limited in time and scope.

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After months of wrangling, and talks going down to the wire this week to win over some major players in pharmaceutical manufacturing to a compromise text, the United States and China finally clinched the deal by agreeing on which countries would benefit from the waiver.

Both South Africa and India had been vocal in their demands for such a move which they said was needed to stop “vaccine apartheid”.

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According to the WTO, 60 percent of the world’s population has received two doses of anti-COVID vaccine but there are glaring examples of inequity with only 17 percent having been jabbed in Libya, with the figure just eight percent in Nigeria and less than five in Cameroon.

In a statement, the South African government saluted a waiver designed to provide local vaccine manufacturers with the right to produce either vaccines or ingredients or elements that are under patents, without the authority of the patent holder, hailing this as a notable step forward—even if limited to five years.

Pretoria added that “to scale up the production on the continent, further partnerships will be needed including access to know-how and technologies”.

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The accord for the time being excludes, however, tests and costly therapeutic treatments against COVID on which the WTO is to pronounce in the coming six months.

Commercialisation in Africa will be a challenge, however.

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Durban-based South African pharma giant Aspen, which clinched a deal last November with US-based Johnson & Johnson to manufacture a “made in Africa for Africa” Aspen-branded COVID vaccine Aspenovax, said last month it could pull the plug owing to lack of orders.

“Our focus now is to ensure we address demand by persuading global procurers for vaccines to source from African producers,” said Patel.

South Africa has three sites under the aegis of Aspen in Durban, Afrigen in Cape Town and Biovac, also in Cape Town, which makes the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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Afrigen’s biotech consortium makes the messenger RNA jab based on the Moderna formula, the first to be made based on a broadly used vaccine that does not require the developer’s assistance and approval.



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How to Feel Hopeful, Even When It’s Really, Really Hard

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How to Feel Hopeful, Even When It’s Really, Really Hard

And for those with mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety, cultivating hope and resilience can be key to managing their symptoms, Dr. Tedeschi says. In depression, for instance, a persistent feeling of hopelessness is often a defining symptom. In the case of anxiety, fear is one of the driving factors. “In both cases, they’re drawing the conclusion that things are out of their control and things aren’t going to work,” Dr. Tedeschi says. Figuring out a way to become more hopeful, even—or especially—when life is difficult, is usually a necessary component of treatment.

Being hopeful can help you build resilience.

Putting in the work to be hopeful has other psychological benefits too. In particular, hope helps build resilience, which “is the ability to either recover quickly from events that are challenging, or traumatic, or a crisis or to be relatively unaffected by these events,” Dr. Tedeschi explains.

But resilience isn’t just being able to withstand a difficult situation. “It has to do with living a fuller life,” Lillian Comas-Diaz, PhD, a psychologist specializing in trauma recovery and multicultural issues, tells SELF. “Resilience is a way of coping with adversity and being able to get some knowledge from that adversity,” which might help you improve your coping mechanisms for the future.

From there, it’s easy to see how hope, optimism, and a generally more positive outlook might develop with resilience. It works like a feedback loop, Dr. Tedeschi says: “If you have success in managing these situations, you become more optimistic about how you’re going to do in the future,” he explains. And as you develop some optimism and hope, that might help you persist and manage in the face of the difficulties we all inevitably face.

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How to be hopeful when things feel hopeless

Here are a few tips from our experts:

If it’s really hard to feel hopeful right now, start by just acknowledging that.

Some people are just naturally optimistic, even in a situation like this. But, generally, resilience is something that’s learned—first through our experiences in childhood, potentially, and then later as we go through the inevitable challenges of life, Dr. Tedeschi says. So for those of us who maybe feel a little silly trying to look for a silver lining in, you know, these Unprecedented Times, trying to be hopeful just doesn’t feel genuine. And if it’s not authentic, it isn’t very helpful.

If you’re someone who finds it difficult or even feels silly trying to be optimistic right now, know that hope doesn’t necessarily mean thinking that everything will always be amazing. Being hopeful doesn’t have to be about looking for the bright side or deluding ourselves into thinking everything will be just fine, Dr. Comas-Diaz says. Hope is really just a (realistic) expectation that something good will happen—and that you have some control over it.

For some people, it might be difficult to be hopeful because they don’t have a source of hope they can immediately point to, Dr. Comas-Diaz says. In those cases, she will ask her patients to do an inventory, asking what sources of hope their friends, family, or larger culture draw upon and if the patient can “borrow” from that source as well. Think about, say, your mom or a close friend—what brings them hope? Can you share that with them or get some hope vicariously through them? Or is there a particular cause you’re really passionate about that you can draw some sense of optimism from?

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Gelato recalled in Ontario after testing find norovirus contamination of raspberries

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Gelato recalled in Ontario after testing find norovirus contamination of raspberries

Angelo’s Italian Market Inc. is recalling Gelato Artigianale al gusto di Raspberry Gelatois from the marketplace because of possible norovirus contamination of the raspberries used in this product.

This recall was triggered by Canadian Food Inspection Agency test results.

The recalled product has been sold at Angelo’s Italian Market Inc. in London, Ontario.

Recalled product:

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Brand Product Size UPC Codes
None Gelato Artigianale al gusto di Raspberry Gelato 1 L 0 000000 067430 None – Sold at Angelo’s Italian Market Inc., 755 Wonderland Road North, London, ON up to and including June 14, 2022

As of the posting of this recall, there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product.

Recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the location where they were purchased

About norovirus infections

People with norovirus illness usually develop symptoms of gastroenteritis within 24 to 48 hours, but symptoms can start as early as 12 hours after exposure. The virus can live on surfaces for long periods of time and survives freezing temperatures. It is highly contagious.

The illness often begins suddenly. Even after having the illness, you can still become reinfected by norovirus. The main symptoms of norovirus illness are diarrhea, vomiting (children usually experience more vomiting than adults), nausea, and stomach cramps.

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Other symptoms may include low-grade fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, and fatigue (a general sense of tiredness). Most people feel better within one or two days, with symptoms resolving on their own, and experience no long-term health effects.

As with any illness-causing diarrhea or vomiting, people who are ill should drink plenty of liquids to replace lost body fluids and prevent dehydration. In severe cases, patients may need to be hospitalized and given fluids intravenously.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

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10 Luxe Mattresses You Can Get Right on Amazon

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10 Luxe Mattresses You Can Get Right on Amazon

It should come as no surprise that Amazon, retail behemoth that it is, has a fantastic range of bedding available—in fact, some of the best mattresses on Amazon come from high-quality brands like Casper, Nectar, and Tuft & Needle. In other words, while you’re perusing early Amazon Prime Day deals on vacuums, furniture, outdoor gear, and wellness products, you can pick up a new mattress for yourself too—how’s that for one-stop shopping? Before you get to scrolling, here’s a quick rundown on what mattress type might suit your sleeping style and give you the best sleep you can get.

Mattresses for Side Sleepers

You should look for a medium-firm mattress that will prevent pressure points from building around your shoulders, hips, and knees (which can lead to back pain). All-foam or hybrid innerspring mattresses will work for you, as long as they provide contouring and support.

Mattresses for Stomach and Back Sleepers

These might be opposite sleep positions, but stomach sleepers can benefit from the same type of mattress as back sleepers: A firm bed that won’t let your lower back arch out of alignment. Again, a memory foam mattress can fit the bill as well as a hybrid mattress, but bear in mind that foam mattresses tend to be on the softer side (making uncomfortable sinkage a risk).

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Overall you want to find a mattress that provides pressure relief and, most of all, nightlong comfort. And Amazon has plenty of options to choose from. From beloved bed-in-a-box mattress brands to best-selling beds at affordable price points, we’ve highlighted our top Amazon mattress picks here. 

All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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