Knowledge Update

Blog post

Introduction

A new phase in the COVID-19 pandemic has arrived. It is a period for trust yet additionally for alert. The finish of the lockdown won't spell a re-visitation of the old "normal", nor will it be widespread. The initial will take various shapes, with various nations, various locales, and diverse business areas opening up in various manners and at contrasting paces. The infection actually hides and the capacity to contain its spread will direct what occurs straightaway; any resurgence will probably achieve recharged limitations. Large-scale testing and following, the expansive accessibility of covers, and adequate escalated care limit in medical clinics will decide the pace of recovery. By what method can organizations explore this troublesome climate, particularly in the following barely any weeks, as the limitations are released? Their energy to restart and reconstruct is justifiably huge, yet so are the issues that a re-visitation of business raises. What is the financial health—and state of mind—of suppliers and consumers? How can employees be motivated to return to work and reassured about their safety? How quickly will demand return? What will health and safety stipulations mean for the organization of operations and supply chain?

 

Ten key stratagems for restarting MSMEs 

Companies will need to take a holistic approach to restarting. This short paper is based on the secondary sources of information collected from news media - conversations and interview given by CEO and Chairman of large European and Asian companies from all sectors, who provided a broad view of their issues and concerns about the end of lockdown.

1. Creating a detailed re-launch map - The emergency has broken huge numbers of the presumptions and devices that business chiefs depend on for dynamic, however for the restart, they should characterize a strong structure for activity in a profoundly unpredictable climate. The best approach is to develop a detailed re-launch map—country by country, site by site, segment by segment, customer by customer, and product by product—in order to prioritize recovery opportunities. This guide will manage creation, flexibly chain, and advertising and deals endeavors, and help decide a recuperation timetable for each site.

2. Government’s economic responses to COVID-19 pandemic - have incorporated a variety of measures to help individuals and organizations endure the hardship. MSMEs are in a particularly troublesome position. Plunging request has constrained them to lay off laborers, and many don't have the monetary assets to get by in this atmosphere. In numerous nations, up to 33% of MSMEs could become penniless inside a quarter of a year of when the pandemic started in their nations. MSMEs represent 66% of worldwide business and half of worldwide GDP. An inability to secure them could put the whole worldwide economy in danger.

3. Reshape customer experiences for the new normal - A change that won't just be impermanent for a pretty much long period of restart, yet that will likely be authoritative. Presently it's an ideal opportunity to reshape your customer experience, designing fast new products and services to be distributed through every channel, with communication plans coherent with these times. Answer aptitude and information in the plan of advanced encounters will uphold clients to comprehend and plan the new needs, issues and openings brought up in this absolutely new setting.

4. Providing customers with safety guarantees that restore trust

In Asia, this has prompted the presentation of new practices, for example, temperature controls at the passage of stores, the arrangement of hydro alcoholic gel in retail outlets and on open vehicle, the summed up utilization of contactless strategies for both installment and conveyance. In the Middle East, the aircraft Emirates has presented thermal screening of all travelers getting onto its trips in Dubai and is requesting that they wear face covers ready. The carrier means to send similar measures on a more extensive scale.

5. Safeguarding the health of employees - Many employees are anxious to re-visitation of work, yet many are additionally stressed over having the option to do so securely. Organizations should both console workers about security and discover approaches to spur them in a post-lockdown world. Two simultaneous actions will be needed like-

  • Ensure employee safety in the workplace
  • Extend protection measures to employees outside the office, as has been done by multinationals in Southeast Asia and China. For example, provide employees with safety equipment (hydro alcoholic gel, masks, and gloves) for personal use.

6. Phases of resilient business from the COVID-19 crisis - Now is an ideal opportunity to turn your consideration toward Recover, to guarantee your business is prepared to Thrive. We accept that business systems in the recuperation stage will be best coordinated through three basic activities: reflect, restart, and revive. These activities can assist organizations with spanning the emergency reaction to an effective future, by establishing the framework to flourish in the fallout of the crisis.

7. Understand Investment Trade-offs - Lastly, understand risks of capital debt versus reinvestment. We suggest organizations apply for minimal effort credits on the off chance that they are strapped for cash. The assets, for instance, can be utilized to buy new equipment for a line that will set you up for accomplishment later on. In this way, so, it may be better to get the loan rather than fighting the good fight only to see moderate equipment gainfulness and confining development openings.

8. The plan of action for returning to work sites -

9. Embrace the cultural and behavioral shifts that COVID-19 introduced - While online sales and services were already growing rapidly in many countries, the pandemic has catapulted online retail into overdrive. Something other than food and home remedies, interest for administrations, going from instructional classes and amusement have all expanded. Organizations have a valuable opportunity to capitalize on the significant behavioral and social movements of the previous barely any weeks with the goal that they convey across into a non-COVID world. This may mean creating Omni-channel plans of action that join advanced and up close and personal contributions.

10. Establish credibility with your clients - Differentiate yourself from your competitors in some way, shape or form. Sharpen that advantage. Consider what that promoting message will be, and how you need to begin setting up correspondence with your customers. Many operators as of now have that arrangement set up and communicated constantly.

 

Conclusion - What separates the winners from the losers is how well they capture, process, disseminate and leverage their unique knowledge. Reinforce your insight the executive’s framework or, in the event that you don't have one, create it. What does that look like to an operator that’s in a state about to open up? As you begin to identify a path to profitability, it might begin by planning two to four weeks at a time, then looking at the next four weeks, quarter or six months. Understand the trigger points in which you need to either retreat or begin to bring more people back and grow. The economy is not going to open up as fast for us as it will for some industries, yet we should be ready for that and comprehend that the customers' needs will be unique in relation to what they were before this begun.

 

References

  1. Abdulaziz A. Tarek M. Tarek R. and Jorg S. (2020) “Setting Up Small and Medium-size Entreprises for Restart and Recovery”, (Online Source) Assessed August 9, 2020, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/setting-up-small-and-medium-size-enterprises-for-restart-and-recovery
  2. Business Facilities Blog, (2020) “Back to Work: How to Reboot in a Post-COVID-19 World”, (Online Source) Accessed August 9, 2020, https://businessfacilities.com/2020/04/back-to-work-how-to-reboot-in-a-post-covid-world/
  3. Andy Baldwin, (2020) “How to plan your company’s future during the pandemic” (Online Source), Assessed August 9, 2020, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/how-to-plan-company-future-during-pandemic/
  4. Shandra Martinez, (2020) “An 8-point plan for restarting your business after COVID-19” (Online Source), Assessed August 9, 2020, https://www.busandmotorcoachnews.com/an-8-point-plan-for-restarting-your-business-after-covid-19/ 

Dr. Senthil Kumar, is an Associate Professor of Finance and Business Management in Skyline University Nigeria. He has a PhD. in Business Management from Bharathiar University, India.

You can join the conversation on facebook @SkylineUniversityNG and on twitter @SkylineUNigeria

 

Blog post

Viral hepatitis is an infection that causes liver inflammation and damage. Inflammation is swelling that occurs when tissues of the body become injured or infected. Inflammation can damage organs. Researchers have discovered several different viruses link that cause hepatitis, including hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. Out of these hepatitis C is the most dangerous type. Hepatitis C is a global health problem as the World Health Organization (WHO), reported 3-4 million people are newly infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) every year and 71 million people have a chronic (prolonged) infection. Over four hundred thousand people die from hepatitis C - related liver diseases every year [1]. There is still no effective vaccine against hepatitis C.

Among various genotypes of HCV, genotype 1 is the most prevalent which accounts for 46% of all HCV infections, followed by genotype 3, which is 22% prevalent. Genotype 2 and 4 each has 13% prevalence [1]. A significant number of those who are chronically infected will subsequently develop cirrhosis or liver cancer. Antiviral medicines can cure more than 95% of persons with hepatitis C infection, thereby reducing the risk of death from cirrhosis and liver cancer, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low and quite expensive [2]. Harvoni is a combination drug containing both ledipasvir and sofosbuvir which is approved to treat patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection is priced around $87,000 in USA [3].

Transmission

The hepatitis C virus is a blood borne virus. It is most commonly transmitted through:

  • Injecting drug use through the sharing of injection equipment;
  • The reuse or inadequate sterilization of medical equipment, especially syringes and needles in healthcare settings;
  • The transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products;
  • Sexual practices that lead to exposure to blood (for example, among men who have sex with men, particularly those with HIV infection or those taking pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV infection).

HCV can also be transmitted sexually and can be passed from an infected mother to her baby; however, these modes of transmission are less common.

Discovery

In the 1940s, doctors knew there were two main types of infectious hepatitis. The first, transmitted by the hepatitis A virus, spread via contaminated food and water and tended to have little long-term impact on people. The second, spread by blood and body fluids, was more insidious. Patients could be silently infected for years before serious complications emerged – liver cancer and liver scarring is known as cirrhosis.

Researchers discovered hepatitis B in the 1960s, but it quickly became clear that it was not the only cause of the blood-borne infections. While studying hepatitis spread by blood transfusions, it was found that some patients were being infected by an unknown agent. By the mid-1970s, researchers had ruled out two known liver-damaging viruses, hepatitis A and hepatitis B, as the mystery contaminant. But without having determined what was infecting the blood-transfusion recipients, scientists referred to the blood-borne disease by what it wasn’t: ‘non-A, non-B hepatitis’.

Harvey J. Alter at the US National Institutes of Health was studying the occurrence of hepatitis in patients who had received blood transfusions. It was a great source of concern that a significant number of those receiving blood transfusions developed chronic hepatitis due to an unknown infectious agent. Alter and his colleagues showed that blood from these hepatitis patients could transmit the disease to chimpanzees, the only susceptible host besides humans. Subsequent studies also demonstrated that the unknown infectious agent had the characteristics of a virus [4].

The next breakthrough came from Michael Houghton and his colleagues at Chiron. Houghton and his co-workers created a collection of DNA fragments from nucleic acids found in the blood of an infected chimpanzee. The majority of these fragments came from the genome of the chimpanzee itself, but the researchers predicted that some would be derived from the unknown virus. On the assumption that antibodies against the virus would be present in blood taken from hepatitis patients, the investigators used patient sera to identify cloned viral DNA fragments encoding viral proteins. Following a comprehensive search, one positive clone was found. Further work showed that this clone was derived from a novel RNA virus belonging to the Flavivirus family and it was named Hepatitis C virus [4].

The discovery of Hepatitis C virus was decisive; but one essential piece of the puzzle was missing: could the virus alone cause hepatitis? To answer this question the scientists had to investigate if the cloned virus was able to replicate and cause disease. Charles M. Rice, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, along with other groups working with RNA viruses, noted a previously uncharacterized region in the end of the Hepatitis C virus genome that they suspected could be important for virus replication. Rice also observed genetic variations in isolated virus samples and hypothesized that some of them might hinder virus replication. Through genetic engineering, Rice generated an RNA variant of Hepatitis C virus that included the newly defined region of the viral genome and was devoid of the inactivating genetic variations. When this RNA was injected into the liver of chimpanzees, virus was detected in the blood and pathological changes resembling those seen in humans with the chronic disease were observed. This was the final proof that Hepatitis C virus alone could cause the unexplained cases of transfusion-mediated hepatitis [4].

For their seminal discoveries Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton, and Charles M. Rice were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2020. Their discovery also allowed the rapid development of antiviral drugs directed at hepatitis C. For the first time in history, the disease can now be cured, raising hopes of eradicating the Hepatitis C virus from the world population. To achieve this goal, international efforts facilitating blood testing and making antiviral drugs available across the globe is essential.

References:

  1. Jefferies M, Rauff B, Rashid H, Lam T, Rafiq S. Update on global epidemiology of viral hepatitis and preventive strategies. World J Clin Cases. 2018 Nov 6; 6(13): 589–599.
  2. Hepatitis C. World Health Organization. Assessed from: https://tinyurl.com/yx75t732
  3. Sarah Hand. The Top 4 Most Expensive Drugs in the US are Hepatitis C Treatments. July 31, 2017 in Blogs. https://tinyurl.com/y39l9avl
  4. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2020. Accessed from: https://tinyurl.com/y5sbqwv3

 

Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Pal is a Professor of Biology in Skyline University Nigeria. He has a PhD. in Animal Genetics from Indian Veterinary Research Institute, India.

 

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