Scientific conclusion: Life expectancy fell globally under COVID-19 but increased in Denmark

Scientific conclusion: Life expectancy fell globally under COVID-19 but increased in Denmark

An analysis of data from Europe, the USA and Chile carried out by researchers at the University of Southern Denmark and the University of Oxford reveals a large-scale reduction in life expectancy in 2020, except in Denmark and Norway, where it actually increased.

The pandemic caused the largest one-year decline in life expectancy in Western Europe since World War II. Overall, the study showed the largest decline among men in the United States, whose life expectancy fell by 2.2 years compared to 2019, followed by Lithuanian men (1.7 years).

Nordic outliers
During the same period, life expectancy in Denmark and Norway increased for both men and women.

The number of COVID-related deaths was relatively low in both countries, and the small increase in mortality due to the virus was offset by a decrease in overall mortality.

Early non-medical treatments combined with a strong health system may have contributed to the abnormal statistics of the two Nordic countries.

What is life expectancy?
Life expectancy is a snapshot of current mortality. The number refers to the average age a newborn can expect to live to if current mortality continues through the person’s life.

It allows a comparison of the magnitude of the deadly impact of the pandemic between different countries and populations.

José Manuel Aburto, an assistant professor at the University of Southern Denmark, who is one of the main authors of the study, put the figures in context: “Before COVID-19, it took an average of 5.6 years for the countries we studied to reach an annual increase in life expectancy. That progress was lost in a single year during the pandemic. ”

New acid inhalation treatment effective against corona and other viruses
A new treatment for COVID-19, developed by the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet in collaboration with the Norwegian company SoftOx, has been approved by the Danish Medicines Agency for clinical trials in humans. It involves inhaling a mild acid solution, which helps the immune system fight infections in the respiratory tract caused by bacteria or viruses, and has shown great success so far, according to Professor Thomas Bjarnsholt from the University of Copenhagen.

DTU researchers are testing a new CO2 capture method
Existing CO2 capture is based on introducing biogas into a liquid solution that traps the carbon dioxide. Now researchers at DTU are testing a new method that makes it possible to capture it in a solid material using ionic liquid – a substance that does not evaporate when heated. The new collection project aims to reduce the cost and energy consumption of CO2 collection, and it will be installed and tested at one of the Swedish company Wärtsilä’s biogas plants.

Fast, inexpensive COVID-19 test method shows potential
Researchers from DTU Health Technology have developed a simple, fast and inexpensive method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA called NISDA assay. Unlike existing tests, it is not dependent on biological enzymes, which facilitates transport and storage needs. Samples can be analyzed in 30 minutes, and in clinical trials it showed 100 percent specificity as well as 96.77 percent and 100 percent sensitivity in the laboratory and in the hospital, respectively. The method can be designed to detect other diseases.

SDU researchers develop “elegant” water purification method
Drinking water is often purified with chlorine, which kills microorganisms but does not remove other chemicals and potentially harmful trace elements. A method developed by chemists James McPherson and Professor Christine McKenzie of SDU to do both has been described as “elegant” in Journal of the American Chemical Society. First, chlorine is used to kill the microorganisms. Then chlorine is used to catalyze a reaction between iron and carbon, which removes harmful compounds, produces CO2 and turns chlorine into table salt, thus eliminating all the dangerous by-products. The method is promising, but difficult to scale up.

HRH Crown Prince Frederik inaugurates the scientific LIFE Campus in Lyngby
LIFE is a scientific education initiative and a foundation, established by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which aims to improve scientific education, training and research in Denmark and promote young people’s interest in science. HRH Crown Prince Frederik was invited to the opening of the new 5,400 square meter campus building, which houses high-tech laboratories for teaching primary and secondary students. The Novo Nordisk Foundation will provide grants to the LIFE Foundation totaling almost DKK 1.9 billion for the first 10 years.

Horse beans can become one of our primary sources of protein
At the moment, the import of plant proteins to Denmark – especially soy – is a challenge. But horse beans – which do well in Danish and a wider European climate – absorb CO2 and do not need fertilizer. In addition, their composition of amino acids — along with rice and wheat — forms a complete amino profile that eliminates the need for meat-based dietary protein. The results of a new European research project called ProFaba predict that legumes will play a major role in the transition to a plant-based diet. Additional plant breeding will be required to ensure disease resistance and other bioadaptations before they become an agricultural staple in Denmark.

Denmark and India strengthen ties for new technology partnership
Aarhus University’s Department of Computer Science and the Indian IT company Infosys have signed a strategic partnership agreement to strengthen collaboration on research and innovation in artificial intelligence, cryptography and data security. The collaboration between Infosys and Aarhus University follows a recent strengthening of political, economic and commercial relations between the two countries, which entered into a green strategic partnership agreement in September 2020.

Nursing home residents receive third shot
The revaccination of Danish nursing home residents began on 9 September. At that time, there were 45 infected. By October 7, about 94 percent had received a third shot, with only four confirmed cases. The level of immunity – especially among the elderly – decreases over time, which may explain the increase in corona cases in nursing homes during August.

Outdated legislation is blocking the development of new agricultural technologies
In agriculture, self-propelled devices and robots are already used to remove or spray weeds and to harvest crops, although only a few systems are commercially available. However, according to researchers at the Department of Food and Resource Economics at the University of Copenhagen, the current safety rules for machines in agriculture prevent the spread of robot technology. They require, for example, that self-propelled robots be monitored on site, even though it is primarily very large farms that will benefit from the technology. To accelerate the development and roll-out of robots, the industry needs new rules and standards.

Source: The Nordic Page

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