Friday, 14 May 2021

Zagreb to be Included in Producing DNA Templates

ZAGREB, 14 May, 2021 - The head of the Zagreb-based Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Alemka Markotić,  said on Friday that the European Commission would in future be authorised for the purchase and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine and that Zagreb would be one of the centres included in producing DNA templates.

That means that only mRNA vaccines will be used in the EU, not because the AstraZeneca vaccine is not of a good quality but to ensure secure production and the possibility of responding quickly to new variants of the virus given that a vaccine can be produced within 100 days, said Markotić.

In addition to a high level of antibodies that remain for about six months, it is worthwhile developing cell immunity, which need not be the case with certain vaccines, she said.

"In 2022 and 2023, Zagreb will be one of the centres that will be included in the phase of producing DNA templates, which is important for Croatia's tradition and for Zagreb regarding the production of vaccines," she underscored.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

US Embassy Donates GeneXpert Machine to Zagreb's Infectious Diseases Hospital

ZAGREB, 30 March, 2021 - The US Embassy in Croatia has donated a medical device to the Fran Mihaljević Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb that can detect the coronavirus in less than 45 minutes, the hospital's director Alemka Markotić said on Tuesday.

Four samples can be placed in the GeneXpert machine at the same time. However, it is not used for mass testing, but is useful in quickly dealing with certain situations, Markotić said.

US Embassy official Victoria Taylor said that this is not about just a piece of equipment, but also about the partnership between Croatia and the United States.

We are happy that our small contribution can help the Fran Mihaljević Hospital and the healthcare system in time of need, Taylor said, commending all Croatian health workers for their tireless work during the pandemic.

Markotić said that most of the patients in the hospital's COVID ward were between 50 and 65 years old and had underlying conditions. She noted that the hospital was nearly filled to capacity.

Markotić said that for now there was no substantial number of young people infected with the British variant of the coronavirus in the hospital, but noted that this variant was proved to be spreading faster among young people because of "their greater nonchalance, mobility and socialising."

She warned that the number of new cases was growing and called on the citizens to avoid "risky situations".

Markotić expressed hope that patients would not be left without medicines, after wholesale drug suppliers warned last week that they might restrict drug deliveries because of HRK 6.5 billion debt owed by the hospitals.

Drug wholesaler Medika said today it had suspended drug deliveries to the hospitals.

Markotić said that her hospital had sufficient drug supplies for now. "We hope that we will not find ourselves in a situation where we, or rather our patients, will be left without medicines."

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said earlier that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Health Minister Vili Beroš would meet with drug wholesalers to discuss the debt and that they would be paid a certain amount of money in the coming days.

For more about health in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Sunday, 19 April 2020

First Step Towards Vaccine: COVID-19 Virus Isolated at Fran Mihaljevic Clinic

The first step is towards developing a vaccine against the new coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as many other research and projects, has been taken at the incredible Dr Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of April, 2020, at the Dr Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases, which has been the topic of a lot of discussion since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have managed to successfully isolate the COVID-19 virus, that is, they managed to grow the virus under laboratory conditions. Otherwise, this is the first step towards the development of a vaccine against the virus, and for Croatian experts, it provides a much needed spring in their step when it comes to further scientific research into COVID-19.

What they have succeeded in doing in the rest of the world - can also be done right here in the Republic of Croatia. The successful isolation of the new coronavirus has taken place, as RTL reports.

"We have grown the virus under laboratory conditions from a patient swab that tested positive for SARS-COV-2," said a biologist at Zagreb's Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases, Zeljka Macak Safranko.

"First of all, this is a matter of sequencing the whole viral genome [of the new coronavirus], seeing what the nucleotide sequence is like, seeing the differences it has when compared to some other strains, and getting better acquainted with some of its general characteristics. As it grows in the culture, we'll see if it's faster, slower, and we'll get to see just how much it multiplies,'' explained Ivan Christian Kurolt, a biologist at the Dr. Fran Mihaljevic Clinic for Infectious Diseases.

For all you need to know about coronavirus in Croatia, from daily updates on press conferences and the latest news to texts by eminent Croatian scientist Igor Rudan, follow our dedicated section.