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The Round-Up: Week Of 8 June

A weekly digest of health and wellness stories from Singapore and around the world.

As we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you'll find articles that help you stay informed about the novel coronavirus.

Sex hormones signal why coronavirus hits men harder

The story

Data from around the world indicates that men face a greater of severe illness and death from Covid-19 than women, and that children are largely spared. Androgens – male hormones such as testosterone – appear to boost the virus’ ability to get inside cells.

Tell us more

Emerging date supports the hypothesis; including preliminary observations from Spain suggest that a disproportionate number of men with male pattern baldness which is linked to a powerful androgen end up in hospitals with COVID-19.

“Everybody is chasing a link between androgens … and the outcome of COVID-19,” says Howard Soule, executive vice president at the Prostate Cancer Foundation

Epidemiological data from around the world have also confirmed the early reports of male vulnerability. In Lombardy in Italy, for example, men comprised 82% of 1591 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) from 20 February to 18 March.

What's next?

Researchers are on the trail of a mechanism for this male bias an effort led by prostate cancer researchers, who have a deep acquaintance with androgens.

Read more in Science Mag

Two huge Covid-19 studies retracted after scientists sound alarms

The story

Scientific journals The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine retract coronavirus reports led by a Harvard professor over irregularities and questions about the provenance of the data used in the analysis.

The two studies in question:

1. Certain antimalarial drugs cure Covid-19, concluding that the medications were dangerous.

2. Blood pressure drugs did not increase the risk of Covid-19 and might even be protective.

Both were retracted because the authors could not verify the data on which the results depended.

What this means

The retractions may breathe new life into the anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, touted by US President Donald Trump as a remedy for Covid-19. After pausing the hydroxychloroquine arm of one such study in May because of the Lancet results, the World Health Organisation has resumed it. A panel reviewing preliminary data from the trial did not find any obvious evidence of harm to patients.

Read more in The New York Times

Restaurants in a post-Covid-19 world

The story

CEOs and experts from the F&B industry weigh in on the new food order.

What are they saying?

Some things most people already guessed – restaurants in a lot of countries aren’t going to open in the near future.

There will obviously be emphasis on safety and hygiene, and extra measures to provide protection for workers and customers, like hand sanitisation protocols, disposable menus, in in addition to masks and physical distancing.

Some other possible measures include: Individual rooms within a restaurant, not dissimilar to Japanese traditions; installing plexiglass sheets or have areas configured to follow social distancing norms and staggering number of people allowed into restaurants.

The reality of the situation

The impact of the coronavirus has been very bad. A lot of restaurants will come out of coronavirus in a dire situation. There will be debt from paying bills without working, and it’ll be hard for people to get supplies they can’t pay for or when they don’t know how much foot traffic there will be.

But also there’s some optimism

“Everyone talks about the last time something like this happened, in 1918, with the Spanish flu. What no one talks about is what happened after 1918: the roaring twenties, one of the best moments in business and mindset in the U.S,” says Brian Niccol, CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Read more in Fast Company

Plant-Based Fish is The New Vegan Trend

The story

You’ve tried or heard of meat alternatives, next comes plant-based fish. There’s TUNO, a fishless tuna alternative made from soy, yeast and sunflower extract, and Impossible Foods (of Impossible Burger fame) announced last year it was working on plant-based fish.


Two reasons.

First, from concerns about the environment to fears about mercury, the fish industry has faced multiple challenges in recent years. The recent coronavirus outbreak has created additional pressures, including shortages of items in grocery stores

According to the United Nations, nearly 90% of the world's marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted, with fisheries subsidies playing an integral part,” says one company, Good Catch.

Second, they’re reacting to the trend towards vegan, plant-based alternatives.

Read more in Forbes

Not a story but watch this time-lapse of a wounded finger healing. The human body is amazing.


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