May 17, 2020

E-games can be a valuable weapon in the fight against child obesity

George Washington University
valuable weapon
drawbacks of
Admin
3 min
E-games can be a valuable weapon in the fight against child obesity
The researchers from George Washington University has discovered that e-games can increase the amount of physical activity children participate in and...

The researchers from George Washington University has discovered that e-games can increase the amount of physical activity children participate in and could potentially be a valuable weapon in the war against child obesity in the U.S.

The study also investigated the benefits rather than drawbacks of video games in relation to childhood obesity. Researchers also believe that some video games can increase energy expenditure for inner city kids.

Todd Miller, PhD, an associate professor at George SPHHS’ Department of Exercise said, “A lot of people say screen time is a big factor in the rising tide of childhood obesity.” He also said, “But if a kid hates playing dodge ball but loves Dance Dance Revolution, why not let him work up a sweat playing E-games?”

The past studies have also looked at the impact of video games, specifically those that require users to dance or play virtual sports games-on children in terms of increasing their energy expenditure.

The team of investigators noted that hundreds of school throughout the U.S., including campuses in West Virginia, has been utilizing video games in their physical education courses.

They hope that these kind of exercise may motivate children to be more physically active and even if they do not enjoy traditional sports. For this project, the researchers specifically looked at the effect of e-games on kids in urban public schools. They said this is the first study to look at the effect of active gaming on African Americans and other minority children in inner cities.

The scientists hired 104 participants who were students at a public school in the District of Columbia.

The researchers observed students, who ranged in age from third to eighth grade, and their response to traditional PE activities and video games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Winds of Orbis: An active Adventures (Orbis).

During the study, the children attended their regularly scheduled P.E. classes but were then also randomly given three 20-minutes sessions of either DDR, Orbis or another regular gym class. For those kids who participated in DDR, they were engaged in dance routines with complicated movements to an electronic dance beat.

For those who participated in Orbis, they were given the role of a virtual superhero and participated in active adventures where they had to climb, jump and slide around the room. A researcher attended the study session and measured the amount of energy that the children expended.

Based on the findings, the researchers found that, on average, the children used more energy when they were involved in P.E. activities. However, they also observed that students between grades three to five were more motivated by the e-games to continue their vigorous activity throughout the day.

However, for the older kids and teens, the team noted that the video games were not enough to inspire them to continue pursuing physical activity throughout the day.

The teenage girls barely engaged with the game or the activities in the P.E. class. Teenage boys, however, did play enough to meet the intensity requirements of recommended physical fitness for their age group.

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Apr 30, 2021

The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone

covid-19vaccine
vaccinesupply
Supplychain
Blockchain
Jonathan Colehower
5 min
The challenges to vaccine distribution affecting everyone
Jonathan Colehower, CEO at CargoChain, describes the COVID-19 vaccine distribution challenges impacting every country, organisation and individual...

While it is comforting to know that vaccines against COVID-19 are showing remarkable efficacy, the world still faces intractable challenges with vaccine distribution. Specifically, the sheer number of vaccines required and the complexity of global supply chains are sure to present problems we have neither experienced nor even imagined. 

Current projections estimate that we could need 12-15 billion doses of vaccine, but the largest vaccine manufacturers produce less than half this volume in a year. To understand the scale of the problem, imagine stacking one billion pennies – you would have a stack that is 950 miles high. Now, think of that times ten. This is a massive problem that one nation can’t solve alone.  

Production capacity 

Even if we have a vaccine – can we make enough? Based on current projections, Pfizer expects to produce up to 1.3 billion doses this year. Moderna is working to expand its capacity to one billion units this year. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, is likely to produce 60% of the 3 billion doses committed by AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi. This leaves us about 7 billion doses short. 

Expanding vaccine production for most regions in the world is complicated and time-consuming. Unlike many traditional manufacturing operations that can expand relatively quickly and with limited regulation, pharmaceutical production must meet current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) guidelines. So, not only does it take time to transition from R&D to commercial manufacturing, but it could also take an additional six months to achieve CGMP certification. 

The problem becomes even more complex when considering the co-products required. Glass vials and syringes are just two of the most essential co-products needed to produce a vaccine. Last year, before COVID-19, global demand for glass vials was 12 billion. Even if it is safe to dispense ten doses per vial, there is certain to be significant pressure on world supply of the materials needed to package and distribute a vaccine.

It is imperative drug manufacturers and their raw material suppliers have clear visibility of production plans and raw material availability if there is any hope of optimizing scarce resources and maximising production yield.

Distribution requirements

It is widely known by now that temperature is a critical factor for the COVID-19 vaccine. Even the regions with the most developed logistics infrastructures and resources needed to support a cold-chain network are sure to struggle with distribution.

For the United States alone, State and local health agencies have determined distribution costs will exceed $8.4 billion, including $3 billion for workforce recruitment and training; $1.2 billion for cold-chain, $1 billion vaccination sites and $0.5 billion IT upgrades.  

The complexity of the problem increases further when considering countries such as India that do not have cold-chain logistics networks that meet vaccine requirements. Despite India’s network of 28,000 cold-chain units, none are capable of transporting vaccines below -25°Celsius. While India’s Serum Institute has licensed to manufacture AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which can reportedly be stored in standard refrigerated environments, even a regular vaccine cold chain poses major challenges.

Furthermore, security will undoubtedly become a significant concern that global authorities must address with a coordinated solution. According to the Pharmaceutical Security Institute, theft and counterfeiting of pharmaceutical products rose nearly 70% over the past five years. As with any valuable and scarce product, counterfeits will emerge. Suppliers and producers are actively working on innovative approaches to limit black-market interference. Corning, for example, is equipping vials with black-light verification to curb counterfeiting.

Clearly, this is a global problem that will require an unprecedented level of collaboration and coordination.

Disconnected information systems 

While it is unreasonable to expect every country around the world will suddenly adopt a standard technology that would provide immediate, accurate and available information for everyone, it is not unreasonable to think that we can align on a standard taxonomy that can serve as a Rosetta Stone for collaboration. 

A shared view of the situation (inventory, raw materials, delivery, defects) will provide every nation with the necessary information to make life-saving decisions, such as resource pooling, stock allocations and population coverage.

By allowing one central authority, such as the World Health Organization, to organize and align global leaders to a single collaboration standard, such as GS1, and a standard sharing protocol, such as DSCSA, then every supply chain participant will have the ability to predict, plan and execute in a way that maximises global health.

Political influence and social equality 

As if we don’t have enough stress and churn in today’s geopolitical environment, we must now include the challenge of “vaccine nationalism.” While this might not appear to be a supply chain problem, per se, it is a critical challenge that will hinge on supply chain capabilities.

In response to the critical supply issues the world experienced with SARS-CoV-2, the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) formed Covax: a coalition dedicated to equitable distribution of 2 billion doses of approved vaccines to its 172 member countries. Covax is currently facilitating a purchasing pool and has made commitments to buy massive quantities of approved vaccines when they become available.  

However, several political powerhouse countries, such as the United States and Russia, are not participating. Instead, they are striking bilateral deals with drug manufacturers – essentially, competing with the rest of the world to secure a national supply. Allocating scarce resources is never easy, but when availability could mean the difference between life and death, it becomes almost impossible.

Global production, distribution and social equality present dependent yet conflicting realities that will demand global supply chains provide complete transparency and an immutable chain of custody imperative to vaccine distribution. 

The technology is available today – we just need to use it. We have the ability to track every batch, pallet, box, vile and dose along the supply chain. We have the ability to know with absolute certainty that the vaccine is approved, where and when it was manufactured, how it was handled and whether it was compromised at any point in the supply chain. Modern blockchain technologies should be applied so that every nation, institution, regulator, doctor and patient can have confidence in knowing that they are making an impact in eradicating COVID-19.

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