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Alzheimer Society launches campaign against stigma – My Muskoka Now



MUSKOKA, ON- The Alzheimer Society of Muskoka is launching this year’s campaign against the misconception and stigma around dementia.

On January 6th, the society is breaking the silence with a campaign called “I live with dementia. Let me help you understand.”

Canadians living with dementia are hoping to change the public’s idea of what it means to live with the condition and to battle the ongoing discrimination they experience.

In an interview with the newsroom, the Executive Director for the Alzheimer Society of Muskoka Karen Quemby said that they are trying to urge better acceptance and support. “I think so many people who are diagnosed with dementia are hesitant to go get help.”

When asked about the discrimination people with dementia face, Quemby said that when people find out someone has dementia, they are not treated as fairly as those who do not have the illness. “We did a study and found out that one in four Canadians would be ashamed if they had dementia.”

She said that this program is more than just discrimination in the workforce or being adequately supported, it’s about giving the community a better understanding and awareness so that they are more inclined to help. “If you see an older person who is having trouble with a debit card, let’s help them out, don’t get angry or frustrated, learn to have patience,” said Quemby.

People with dementia have come forward and shared their stories of living with the disease. One is Amy, a personal support worker who not only encounters stigma in her profession but also sees it in her personal life since her father-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “We need to take dementia out of the shadows. Education is a huge part of understanding,” said Amy.

“We want to put a face to a name so we don’t automatically assume anything,” said Quemby.

Quemby said that last year, the Alzheimer’s Society had 669 clients in Muskoka-Parry Sound. “We want to get the message out that we are here to help with our various programs and campaigns like this one.”

The campaign is in its third year and is part of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and if you would like to read more stories from people with dementia, click here.

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Serum Institute tells Modi govt how pandemic is affecting clinical trials of non-Covid drugs – ThePrint



Serum Institute of India produces 1.5 billion doses of vaccines annually | Twitter | @SerumInstIndia

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New Delhi: The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) — one of the world’s largest manufacturers of vaccines — has reached out to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), highlighting the difficulties it is facing in continuing clinical trials of non-Covid-19 vaccines, ThePrint has learnt.

The company, which produces 1.5 billion doses of vaccines annually, has highlighted difficulties in continuing clinical trials for at least three of its non-Covid vaccines due to the pandemic.

The company has told the DCGI, the apex body that approves vaccines and their clinical trials in India, about difficulties in conducting trials on Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) vaccine, Hexavalent vaccine and Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV). Hexavalent vaccine, as the name suggests, gives immunity against six diseases, whereas HPV protects against various cancers, including cervical cancer. 

“The firm presented the difficulties in continuing the clinical trial due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic and also presented proposed amendment in Phase II/III clinical trial… in already enrolled subjects,” according to the minutes of the meeting of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC), accessed by ThePrint. The SEC has been appointed by the DCGI to review proposals related to clinical trials and advise the regulator on them.

The meeting was held on 6 July and the DCGI has granted the “proposed amendments”.

The SII is among the top companies in the world working on three vaccine candidates for Covid-19. It is working on vaccine candidates developed by the University of Oxford, US-based Codagenix and Austrian biotech firm, Themis.

Also read: ICMR Covid vaccine trial protocol unclear, not enough time, say scientists tasked with job

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What are the difficulties?

Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of the SII, told ThePrint: “Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the hospital authorities have restricted clinical trial activities affecting new enrollment of subjects in clinical trials.”

“Also, some of the hospitals have started Covid wards or have become Covid hospitals, thus affecting the enrollment of subjects in the ongoing clinical trials,” he added. 

Poonawalla, who is also the president of Indian Vaccine Manufacturers’ Association, said: “Due to Covid-19 pandemic, parents or subjects are scared to come for further follow-up visits.”

He added, “The subsequent dosing of the enrolled subjects has been delayed, thus having an impact on the vaccination schedule given in the protocol. Moreover, follow-up visits for vaccination, safety assessment as well as blood withdrawal are delayed.” 

What can be done to avoid delay?

Poonawalla said that “fear psychosis about visiting hospitals should be removed” to avoid delay in trials of non-Covid vaccines.

“People should be encouraged to take part in trials. Hospital authorities should be encouraged to continue routine clinical trials and give adequate support for them. Regulators should adopt a flexible approach,” he said.

Poonawalla also said it’s not only the SII, but “all companies (vaccine makers) must be facing the same issues, not just in India but everywhere in the world”.

What has the government suggested? 

Poonawalla told ThePrint the government is “fully cognisant about the ground reality and have been very supportive”.

The DCGI committee has reviewed the company’s challenges and granted the “extension of window period for follow-up visits”, among other changes requested in the designed protocol, he said.

According to the minutes of the meeting, “after detailed deliberation, the committee recommended for grant of approval for proposed amendments with respect to the subjects already enrolled in the study”. 

It has also advised the company that “further subject recruitment should be carried out after assessing the feasibility of conducting and continuing the study due to the prevailing Covid situation”.

It also said: “The statistical evaluation of the subjects who are continuing in the study after the delayed vaccination should be presented separately.”

Also read: All you need to know about CanSino’s Covid vaccine approved for military use in China

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Five N.S. groups receive federal funding to clean up 'ghost' fishing gear –



Fisheries and Oceans Canada is funding 26 projects – including five based out of Nova Scotia – to help rid the oceans of destructive litter.

The $8.3 million Sustainable Fisheries Solutions and Retrieval Support Contribution program, known as the Ghost Gear Fund, will help support 22 projects in Canada and four internationally over the next two years.  

Marina Petrovic is a senior staff officer at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and says more than eight million metric tons of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every year. She says lost and abandoned fishing gear is one of the largest and most deadly contributors.

“Ghost gear makes up about 46 to 70 per cent of the total weight of plastic in the ocean,” she says  “We are talking about things like fishing nets, crab pots, and lobster traps, which are considered some of the most harmful marine plastic pollution out there because of their ongoing impact of being able to catch fish.”

The projects receiving funding from the federal government are diverse, but all relate to at least one of the following: gear retrieval, responsible disposal, acquisition and piloting of available gear technology, or international leadership.

Petrovic says there was an overwhelming interest in the Ghost Gear Fund.

“This project received more than $39 million in requests for the $8 million, so it was quite challenging to make decisions,” she says. “There were some wonderful projects that we were able to support immediately, and hopefully in the future we might be able to circle back.”

The Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada is one of the Nova Scotian recipients, receiving $352,500 for its project.

The new non-profit was formed in November 2018 and works to develop solutions for abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing and aquaculture gear. Over the next 21 months, it will be working with agriculture waste management charity Cleanfarms to implement a product stewardship program for end-of-life fishing gear across Eastern Canada.

“The idea behind the project stewardship program was to create a self-sustaining, convenient and effective solution to collecting and properly managing end-of-life fishing gear,” says Marquita Davis who is part of the project team for the Fishing Gear Coalition of Atlantic Canada.

Davis says the project will begin by focusing on fishing rope and lobster traps in Nova Scotia, but will hopefully expand to include other gear, and involve more provinces.

“The hope is that if we can do it here in Nova Scotia, which is where we are looking to pilot it first, then we can do it in other parts of eastern Canada as well, and help work with those provinces and fishing industries,” she says.

While the project is in its preliminary phase of planning, Davis says the group is considering ideas like placing bins at various fishing harbours to collect rope and lobster traps. It will then organize transportation for the collected product to recycling or waste management facilities.

“Nothing is confirmed, but we would like to work with organizations who can repurpose or recycle this product before it goes to landfill,” she says.

Other Nova Scotian recipients of the Ghost Gear Fund include Cape Breton Fish Harvesters Association, Coastal Action, and CSR GeoSurveys Ltd, which will all be leading projects relating to ghost gear retrieval.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will also be funding a project organized by The Eastern Nova Scotia Marine Stewardship Society. Its work will include pilot studies of GPS-enabled smart buoy technology and its capability across different fisheries and industries.

Learn more about the projects being supported by the Ghost Gear Fund on this interactive map

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Active COVID-19 cases drop to 1; N.S. goes 6 days without a new case – CTV News



There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia and the number of active cases has dropped to one.

Nova Scotia has now gone six days without a new case of COVID-19. The last positive case was reported last Wednesday, in a Nova Scotia truck driver who travelled outside Canada as an essential worker.

The QEII Health Sciences Centre’s microbiology lab completed 310 Nova Scotia tests on Monday. No new cases were identified.

To date, Nova Scotia has 57,949 negative test results.


The total number of COVID-19 cases remains at 1,066, but 1,002 cases are now considered resolved and 63 people have died, leaving only three active cases in Nova Scotia.

Among the 63 Nova Scotians who died from COVID-19 are 53 residents of the Northwood long-term care home in Halifax.

There are no active cases of COVID-19 in any long-term care facilities and the Northwood outbreak is considered resolved.

According to a news release from the provincial government, there is still one person in hospital, and there has only been one person in hospital for several days. The province says that person’s infection is considered resolved, but they still require treatment.

However, CTV News has learned one man who had COVID-19 was released from hospital on Tuesday after 101 days.

CTV News reached out to the province for clarification on hospital numbers and received the following response:

“Our releases reflect the information we have available at the time of reporting. Any releases or updates that occur after the cut-off period will be included in the following day’s update.”

The province’s confirmed cases range in age from under 10 to over 90.

Sixty-one per cent of cases are female and 39 per cent are male.

There are cases confirmed across the province, but most have been identified in the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s central zone.

The provincial government says cumulative cases by zone may change as data is updated in Panorama, the province’s electronic information system.

The numbers changed slightly on Tuesday, with the central zone reporting one additional case and the eastern zone reporting one less case.

The numbers reflect where a person lives, and not where their sample was collected.

  • western zone: 54 cases
  • central zone: 901 cases
  • northern zone: 57 cases
  • eastern zone: 54 cases

The provincial state of emergency has been extended to July 26.


Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is required to self-isolate at home, away from the public, for 14 days.

Anyone who travels to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region is also required to self-isolate for 14 days and must fill out a self-declaration form online before coming to the province.

Residents of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are no longer required to self-isolate when travelling to Nova Scotia, but they must provide proof of their place of residency at provincial borders.

Anyone who experiences one of the following symptoms is encouraged to take an online test to determine if they should call 811 for further assessment:

  • fever (i.e. chills, sweats)
  • cough or worsening of a previous cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • shortness of breath
  • muscle aches
  • sneezing
  • nasal congestion/runny nose
  • hoarse voice
  • diarrhea
  • unusual fatigue
  • loss of sense of smell or taste
  • red, purple or blueish lesions on the feet, toes or fingers without clear cause

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