Going under the knife can save your life, says lung specialist

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Surgery can reduce the chance of death from lung cancer by a third, lung specialist Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs said on Monday.

Going under the knife can save your life, says lung specialist

He was citing the case of an 84-year-old man who was treated for third-stage lung cancer in 2019.

Dr Manoon explained that the patient had stopped smoking for 35 years, but still had high blood pressure and higher than normal carcinoembryonic antigen level.

“We decided to cut the patient’s lower left lung and lymph nodes in the chest cavity after a 5-centimetre tumour was found,” he said, adding that the tumour was a poorly differentiated nonkeratinizing squamous cell cancer.

He said cancer had spread to lymph nodes near the tumour but not to lymph nodes in the chest cavity.

“After the surgery, the patient recovered gradually without having to rely on chemotherapy or radiation,” he said, adding that the patient is healthy three years later.

Lung cancer, or lung carcinoma, usually involves a malignant tumour characterised by uncontrolled cell growth in the lung tissues.

Up to 85 per cent of the cases of lung cancer are due to long-term smoking, though 10-15 per cent of cases have occurred in persons who have never smoked.

These cases are often caused by a combination of genetic factors, exposure to radon gas, asbestos, second-hand smoke or other forms of air pollution.

In 2020, lung cancer was diagnosed in 2.2 million people across the world, resulting in 1.8 million deaths. It is the most common cancer among both men and women.

Published : May 23, 2022


Type A influenza may be returning to Thailand after two years: expert

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Type A influenza is rearing its head again after having disappeared for two years, a lung specialist warned on Friday.

Type A influenza may be returning to Thailand after two years: expert

In a Facebook post, Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs warned people to beware of the virus as their immunity may have dropped over the past two years. This is because there were no infections and most people will not have taken their annual flu vaccine.

Hence, he said, people in the high-risk group, namely the elderly, people with underlying diseases, small children and pregnant women should get their flu shots as soon as possible.

He also said that both Covid-19 and Type A influenza have similar symptoms, namely fever, coughing, sore throat and runny nose. Thus, he said, people with these symptoms should be tested for both Covid-19 and influenza and take relevant drugs immediately.

Dr Manoon cited the case of a 75-year-old patient who suffers from hypertension and hyperlipidaemia. She visited a doctor on Wednesday, complaining of high fever, phlegm, sore throat, dizziness and nausea for four days. She said she had been with her three grandchildren, who all caught the flu from May 14 onwards.

The patient had no fever when she visited the doctor, and her oxygen levels and chest X-ray were normal. She tested positive for Type A influenza but not Covid-19 and was prescribed the relevant medication.

Dr Manoon added that another family had been hit by Type A influenza at around the same time.

Published : May 20, 2022


Monkeypox not of immediate concern in Thailand, says top virologist

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Monkeypox will continue spreading among humans for a while, the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology director Dr Anan Jongkaewwattana said on Thursday in response to new cases being detected in Europe and Canada.

Monkeypox not of immediate concern in Thailand, says top virologist

Meanwhile, leading virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan said on Friday that monkeypox can only be transmitted through close contact, adding that a case was also detected in Singapore recently. As for the monkeypox case in Britain, he said the authorities are still checking to see if it was transmitted through sexual intercourse.

The first human case of monkeypox, a viral zoonotic disease, was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has since been found primarily in Central and West Africa, and occasionally in other parts of the world.

The symptoms typically are fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes, and may lead to a range of medical complications.

Dr Anan said the monkeypox variant found in Africa is far more severe than the one currently infecting people in Europe and Canada. He added that the virus comes from the same family as smallpox, which was eradicated by 1980 thanks to widespread vaccination.

When monkeypox was first detected in 1958 among monkeys kept for research, “it was not a big issue because many people had been vaccinated against smallpox”. He said that though the smallpox vaccine can effectively prevent monkeypox infection, “it may spread among humans again as it has been a long time since people have been jabbed against smallpox”.

Separately, Dr Yong supported Dr Anan’s belief that smallpox vaccines can prevent monkeypox, but also urged Thais not to worry about this issue as monkeypox has not been found in Thailand before.

However, he said, surveillance is necessary, especially among travellers from Central and West Africa as well as imported animals.

Published : May 20, 2022


IFC supports Princ Hospital Suvarnabhumi in public health expansion

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Executives from IFC, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank Group, visited Princ Hospital Suvarnabhumi to promote and support the public health expansion into secondary provinces in Thailand.

IFC supports Princ Hospital Suvarnabhumi in public health expansion

May 10, 2022, Samut Prakan – International Finance Corporation (IFC) Managing Director Mr. Makhtar Diop, along IFC Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Mr. Alfonso Garcia Mora, visited Princ Hospital Suvarnabhumi. The party was welcomed by Mr John Lee Koshun, Principal Capital Pub Co., Ltd.’s chairman of the board, Dr. Satit Viddayakorn, Principal Capital’s managing director along with other company executives and the hospital’s healthcare and support staff.

IFC supports Princ Hospital Suvarnabhumi in public health expansion

IFC Managing Director Makhtar Diop at this occasion announced IFC’s willingness to support Principal Capital’s healthcare network’s plan to expand and improve the quality of public health and make healthcare more accessible to the Thai people in the secondary provinces’ per the company’s target.

Mr. Tanee Maneenut, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Principal Capital (PRINC) revealed the company’s 2023 plan to expand the hospital network to 20 hospitals, Klai Baan Klai Jai Clinic, a primary care clinic network to 40 clinics, alongside the plan to become a sustainable health network.

He also emphasized the company’s willingness to work with local investors that have the capability to expand the health network together with PRINC towards the common goal of improving Thai public health.

IFC supports Princ Hospital Suvarnabhumi in public health expansion

About IFC

The institution has made an investment as a partner in Principal Capital Public Co., Ltd. or PRINC since 2019. PRINC is the first private hospital network in Thailand that IFC has invested in. IFC is a financial institution under the World Bank Group which provides financial and management support to organizations in the private sector, especially in emerging markets. This is in line in order to achieve sustainable developments. This is aligned with the organization’s vision, goal, and code of conduct of PRINC’s healthcare network, that is to become an organization that creates people that are “givers”, and to enhance access to healthcare for people in the area of secondary provinces in Thailand.

About Principal Healthcare Group (PRINC)

Principal Healthcare is a healthcare management company operated under a Principal Capital Group or PRINC which is the fastest growing healthcare provider in Thailand and ASEAN. Found in 2017, the company’s mission is being a corporation that attracts and nurtures people with compassion, in order to provide care to our customers, the community and society, which is not only focus on the healthcare services but also extend assistance to the surrounding community to grow together with the company. With emphasis on digitalization and efficiency for highest client’s satisfaction, the company is staffed with highly experienced & highly qualified medical and healthcare practitioners, enabled by state-of-the-art diagnostic and medical/surgical equipment and provide our patients with safety care, effectively meaningful healthcare environment.

For further information on the Principal Healthcare, please visit www.princhealth.com.

Published : May 18, 2022


Fewer cases means Covid will soon become endemic in Thailand: expert

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Covid-19 will soon be declared endemic in Thailand, leading virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan announced on Tuesday.

Fewer cases means Covid will soon become endemic in Thailand: expert

In a Facebook post, he pointed out that the number of Covid-19 infections in the country is declining and very soon this virus will become endemic like influenza.

For instance, he said, influenza spread widely in 2009 before becoming endemic in 2010. Influenza still exists and there is a regular outbreak, especially during the rainy season from May to September, he said.

Hence, Dr Yong said students should be given their flu shots now that schools have reopened and the rains have started.

He also said that if it becomes necessary to administer Covid-19 vaccines every year, jabs should be given before schools open.

Published : May 17, 2022


Thai health official raises travel alert over 2 new subvariants

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Thailand has been advised to consider quarantining travellers from South Africa and Portugal after recent reports show that the more infectious BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants are fast spreading there.

Thai health official raises travel alert over 2 new subvariants

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) recently named BA.4 and BA.5 as variants of concern.

Public Health Commission vice-chairman Chalermchai Boonyaleephan said on Monday that the Omicron BA.2 subvariant is the dominant strain in many countries, including Thailand.

However, both BA.4 and BA.5 that have been found in South Africa spread faster than the BA.1 subvariant and can infect people despite them being vaccinated or being infected with Covid-19 earlier.

He also predicted that the BA.5 subvariant will become the dominant strain in Portugal by Sunday (May 22) as 37 per cent of the population is already infected with the BA.5 subvariant.

“Thailand should consider quarantining tourists from Portugal and South Africa or at least having them undergo RT-PCR tests to prevent these subvariants from entering the country,” he said.

He added that ECDC has warned European countries to beware of these subvariants and has advised both countries to give the elderly and people with chronic diseases a fourth jab.

“The World Health Organisation, however, has not named BA.4 and BA.5 as variants of concern yet,” he added.

Thai health official raises travel alert over 2 new subvariants

Separately, leading virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan said an mRNA booster for people whose first two jabs are inactivated vaccines helps boost immunity against Covid-19 effectively.

“The immunity provided by a Pfizer booster after receiving two Sinovac or Sinopharm jabs is similar to three Pfizer jabs,” he said, citing a study conducted by Chulalongkorn University’s Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology, which he heads. He added that this combination should also provide high immunity to children.

Published : May 16, 2022


Hepatitis B, C antiviral drugs included on National List of Essential Medicines

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The national drug system development committee included antiviral drugs for hepatitis B and C, both of which could trigger liver cancer, on the National List of Essential Medicines on Wednesday.

Hepatitis B, C antiviral drugs included on National List of Essential Medicines

Food and Drug Administration deputy secretary-general Surachoke Tangwiwat said 916 drugs are mentioned on the list.

He said the move aimed to enable more people to access hepatitis B and C antiviral drugs as both diseases could trigger liver cancer.

The price of hepatitis C antiviral drugs will become cheaper as the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation is now able to produce them, he noted.

“Patients who have hepatitis B will receive new drugs which can treat the virus effectively,” he said.

Surachoke added that the rising median price of some drugs has been “improved” to facilitate procurement and enable more people to access the drugs, such as granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, a glycoprotein that stimulates bone marrow.

On Wednesday, the National Communicable Disease Committee approved a strategy to eliminate hepatitis B and C between 2022 and 2030 as these diseases are considered a global public health problem.

Separately, expert virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan pointed out on his Facebook page on Thursday that the number of children with chronic hepatitis has increased in more than 20 countries.

Published : May 12, 2022


Booster dose for elders via intradermal injection gives lower immunity but fewer side effects: study

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Administering a Covid-19 vaccine booster dose to elders via an intradermal injection (ID) provided lower immunity but also fewer side effects, the Siriraj Institute of Clinical Research (SICRES) said.

Booster dose for elders via intradermal injection gives lower immunity but fewer side effects: study

SICRES announced the study result on the necessity for elders to receive a Moderna or Pfizer booster dose.

The institute said elders face the risk of suffering from severe Covid-19 symptoms so they need the booster dose for protection.

However, some of them are worried about side effects so they might not go in for vaccination.

The institute explained that ID used only one-fifth of a vaccine dose when compared to the intramuscular injection (IM) while also reducing side effects.

According to the study of 210 elders aged over 65 who received two doses of AstraZeneca, all of them gained immunity after a booster dose against the Omicron variant.

The study also confirmed that the immunity and side effects of ID is lower than IM, with the Moderna vaccine providing a higher immunity response than Pfizer.

SICRES concluded that elders need a booster dose to protect themselves from Covid-19.

Booster dose for elders via intradermal injection gives lower immunity but fewer side effects: study

Published : May 11, 2022


Almost 1 in 5 children in Thailand have had Covid: Dr Yong

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Almost one out of every five young children in Thailand has already been infected with Covid-19, a leading virologist said on Monday.

Almost 1 in 5 children in Thailand have had Covid: Dr Yong

Dr Yong Poovorawan said about 8 per cent of children aged 5-6 were infected during the Delta outbreak, citing an infection survey conducted by Chulalongkorn University’s Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology, which he heads.

“The infection among this group of children increased to 17 per cent during the Omicron outbreak,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday.

“More than half of them were asymptomatic,” Yong added, explaining that their previous infection was shown by the presence of Covid-19 virus antibodies in their blood.

Almost 1 in 5 children in Thailand have had Covid: Dr Yong

He said that 8 per cent of children aged 6-11 years who participated in the centre’s research study had also shown previous infection with asymptomatic Covid-19.

“This proves that small children may have already been infected with Covid-19 and these infections are likely to increase.”

However, most of them were asymptomatic and will have generated immunity against the virus in future, Yong added.

He believes many teenagers and adults have already been infected with Covid-19 unknowingly after experiencing no or only mild symptoms.

However, this should help create herd immunity and reduce the virus’s severity in the future.

Meanwhile, the Chula centre’s Covid-19 infection survey was a useful tool for making disease-control plans, he said.

Published : May 09, 2022


Virologist advocates 4th vaccine dose for Covid high-risk group

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It is advisable for people considered in the Covid-19 high risk group to take a fourth vaccine dose, a leading virologist said on Tuesday.

Virologist advocates 4th vaccine dose for Covid high-risk group

Dr Yong Poovorawan was responding on Facebook to a question on whether a fourth vaccine dose is necessary.

He said the first two doses of vaccines are fundamental vaccines while the third dose is the booster dose.

In his opinion, all people must receive two doses of fundamental vaccines and a booster dose.

He explained that an additional booster dose — the fourth dose — is necessary for people aged over 50, or people with congenital diseases.

He added that it is necessary for people with chronic diseases such as kidney ailments, cancer, or diseases related to the immunity system, to receive the fourth jab.

Also, people in high-risk situations such as medical personnel should also receive the fourth vaccine dose, he said.

Published : May 03, 2022