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*2016 Year in Review.*


*Some Important Advances in Medicine.*

1. *Teixobactin – The First New Antibiotic in 30 Years Brings Hope Against Antibacterial Resistance*

2016 saw the breakthrough discovery of the resistance-fighting antibiotic teixobactin from soil bacteria. This first-in-its-class antibiotic has activity against Gram-positive organisms including MRSA and all mycobacteria, and a novel mode of action inhibiting peptidoglycan biosynthesis. Thanks to its quick bactericidal action and inhibition of cell-wall synthesis, it prevents the development of antimicrobial resistance. The drug is yet to be tested on humans.

2. *The World’s First Artificial Pancreas*

Another one of the most exciting advances of 2016 was the FDA’s approval of Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G, a hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery system – the first device that automatically monitors blood glucose and administers appropriate basal insulin doses. This “Artificial Pancreas” is approved for patients aged 14 years and older with type 1 diabetes. This setup could dramatically reduce instances of hypoglycemia and greatly improve the quality of life of diabetics, who no longer have to constantly check their blood sugar throughout the day.

3. *Nobel Prize in Medicine Goes to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his Work on Autophagy*

Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy. Disruptions in autophagy have been linked to cancer as well as disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Ohsumi’s research pointed to possible therapies for these conditions by identifying the genes that code for autophagy. This knowledge gives researchers clues on how to manipulate the process through drugs and gene therapy.

4. *Exondys 51 Brings Hope to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Patients*

Select sufferers of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) also got great news in 2016. In September, the FDA approved Exondys 51, a therapy designed to treat exon 51-skipping DMD, which affects about 1 in 8 DMD patients. This is the first drug ever approved by the FDA to treat DMD.

5. *FDA Bans Powdered Gloves*

The FDA issued a final rule banning powdered medical gloves beginning on 19 January 2017. The proposed ban applies to powdered surgeon’s gloves, powdered patient examination gloves and absorbable powder for lubricating a surgeon’s glove. It does not apply to not apply to powdered radiographic protection gloves. Non-powdered surgeon gloves and non-powdered patient examination gloves will also not be included in the ban and will remain Class I medical devices.

6. *The World’s First Malaria Vaccine Set for Rollout*

The Vaccine, known as RTS,S, acts globally against the deadly malaria parasite P. falciparum. Based on the results from clinical trials, the new vaccine will provide partial protection against malaria in young children. It will be given in four doses, and will be particularly efficient in preventing complications. Having secured funding, the vaccine is set to begin pilot studies in Africa.

7. *A pan-genotypic Hepatitis C Drug approval*

In June a unique HCV drug, Epclusa, was approved. However, Epclusa isn’t your typical genotype-specific drug. Epclusa is the first pan-genotypic-approved drug, meaning it’s capable of treating all six genotypes of hepatitis. It led to 95% to 99% virologic clearance 12 weeks after finishing treatment for patients with no or mild cirrhosis of the liver, while for those with moderate to severe cirrhosis, Epclusa in combination with a ribavirin led to 94% virologic clearance at the 12-week post-treatment mark.

8. *New Statin Guidelines*

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated its statin guidance in November. It gave a primary prevention recommendation based on strong evidence that:

All adults over the age of 40 with a 10-year CVD risk of more than 10 percent be offered statins at a low to moderate dose if they have one or more of dyslipidemia, diabetes, hypertension, or if they smoke.

If the 10-year risk was lower – between 7.5 percent and 10 percent – and there was at least one of these risk factors, the recommendation that the statin regime be offered was not as strong.

There was insufficient evidence to include any statin recommendation for adults aged 76 years and older.

9. *Limit Fluoroquinolone Use in the Light of Risks, FDA Says*

Patients with uncomplicated infections should no longer receive fluoroquinolones, given the risk for disabling and potentially permanent adverse events, the FDA said in May. Labels for these antibiotics already warn about the risks for tendonitis, tendon rupture, central nervous system effects, peripheral neuropathy, myasthenia gravis exacerbation, QT prolongation and torsades de pointes, phototoxicity, and hypersensitivity. The FDA has updated the labels to state that the serious risks posed by fluoroquinolones generally outweigh their benefits for patients with sinusitis, bronchitis, and uncomplicated urinary tract infections that are treatable by other means.

10. *Empagliflozin Wins Approval for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention*

This December, FDA approved a new indication for Jardiance (empagliflozin) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death in adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. In approving the new indication, the FDA pointed out that cardiovascular disease is 70% higher in adults with diabetes and is often the cause of premature death for people with the condition. In an outcomes trial, Jardiance showed that it could cut the risk of cardiovascular death by 38%.

There’s much more than money that a professional wants.

Money is often called the fuel for living. No wonder it is an important part of employment. But if it was that simple, no HR strategies would have had to exist. A lot of things that do not involve monetary compensation can also affect an employee’s will to work. Here are a few things that employers can do:


Offer cool job titles

Job titles endow every employee with a sense of importance, while making their position unique in the organisation. It is also what employees would identify themselves as, inside and outside the country. Assigning a job title they love to be associated with goes a long way in boosting employee pride and zeal to work.

Provide encouraging work environment

An encouraging work environment has a positive effect on every employee, right from the top of the pyramid, to the bottom. Making your office a place your employees would love to spend time in, is key to ensuring that they put those extra after-hours to work. Gaming corners, pantries and sleeping pods serve as additional bonuses to attract talent in droves.

Avoid shifting blame

No one likes being blamed, especially in front of their team. If the problem is not something that grievously injures the reputation or operations of the company, pinning the blame on any employee should be avoided. Instead, they should be made to realise what went wrong. This will make sure they feel more responsible about their performance.

Encourage and appreciate

A pat on the back is always the best catalyst to hard work. It makes the employee feel like his work is being noticed and recognised and motivates him to work better. The scale of the accomplishment is not a priority as every small bit contributes to building a better organisation.

Develop transparent work culture

A transparent company culture is imperative to retain employees. If the employees feel out of the loop with the vision and goals of the company they are working for, there can be a potential loss of synergy between how the employees carry out work, and how the management wants them to perform. Each employee is a part of the company and knowing how their work affects the company as a whole goes a long way in allowing them to perform smarter and better.

Debarshi Nayak | Mumbai | Wednesday, 16 November 2016

(The author is a member of the Product Marketing team at Mettl, one of India’s fastest growing assessment platforms and skill measurement company. Along with writing articles for HR, he has a tendency to tinker with gadgets in his free time and is also vocal about his love for Android.)

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