S. Korea to fast-track Covid-19 vaccines approval - MENAFN.COM
(MENAFN - IANS) Seoul, Dec 27 (IANS) South Korea's medicine regulator on Sunday said that it will shorten an approval process of Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, as the nation signed deals to import coronavirus vaccines amid the winter wave of the pandemic. It usually takes about 180 days for a vaccine to be approved under a standard licensing procedure in South Korea, but the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it aims to shorten the approval process to as low as 40 days due to the pandemic's urgency, Yonhap News Agency reported. In South Korea, a vaccine must win additional approval before it is distributed and sold. Such an approval process takes two or three months, but the ministry said it plans to shorten the process for sale to as low as 20 days. Last week, the government said South Korea has signed deals with Johnson & Johnson's Janssen and Pfizer to purchase Covid-19 vaccines for a total of 16 million people. South Korea added 970 more Covid-19 cases on Sunday, raising the total caseload to 56,872, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. --IANS gb/vd MENAFN27122020000231011071ID1101345228 Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information as is without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.
COVID-19 Vaccine Can Turn People Into 'Crocodiles': Brazilian President - MENAFN.COM
Brasilia- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has launched an attack on coronavirus vaccines, even suggesting that the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech could turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies.
The far-right leader has …
(MENAFN - Kashmir Observer) Brasilia- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has launched an attack on coronavirus vaccines, even suggesting that the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech could turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies. The far-right leader has been sceptical of the coronavirus since it first emerged late last year, branding it "a little flu." This week he insisted he would not be vaccinated, even while launching the country's mass innoculation program. "In the Pfizer contract it's very clear: ‘we're not responsible for any side effects.' If you turn into a crocodile, it's your problem," Bolsonaro said on Thursday. That vaccine has been undergoing tests in Brazil for weeks and is already being used in the United States and Britain. "If you become superhuman, if a woman starts to grow a beard or if a man starts to speak with an effeminate voice, they will not have anything to do with it," he said, referring to the drug manufacturers. When launching the immunization campaign on Wednesday, Bolsonaro also said it would be free but not compulsory. But the Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the vaccine was obligatory, although could not be "forced" on people. That means authorities can fine people for not being vaccinated and ban them from certain public spaces, but not force them to take it. Brazil has recorded more than 7.1 million cases and almost 185,000 deaths from Covid-19 amongst its 212 million population. Bolsonaro said that once a vaccine has been certified by Brazil's regulatory agency Anvisa, "it will be available for everyone that wants it. But me, I won't get vaccinated." "Some people say I'm giving a bad example. But to the imbeciles, to the idiots that say this, I tell them I've already caught the virus, I have the antibodies, so why get vaccinated?" There have been a small number of cases of apparent reinfection although there is no certainty over whether a person can be reinfected or how long immunity lasts. Bolsonaro caught the virus in July but recovered within three weeks. Brazil is in the middle of a second wave of coronavirus infections. After peaking in June to August cases had been dropping but that changed in November. On Thursday, Brazil surpassed 1,000 daily deaths from covid-19 for the first time since September. The country's immunization program has been widely criticized for being late and chaotic, not least given Bolsonaro's opposition.
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As COVID-19 vaccines come into sight, experts stress on continued handwashing - MENAFN.COM
y Siddhi Jain
New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANSlife) Just as vaccine manufacturers announce positive updates that could help bring the Covid-19 pandemic to a culmination, experts continue to stress on the need of handwashing to safeguard against the spread of other po…
(MENAFN - IANS) y Siddhi Jain New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANSlife) Just as vaccine manufacturers announce positive updates that could help bring the Covid-19 pandemic to a culmination, experts continue to stress on the need of handwashing to safeguard against the spread of other potential infections and diseases. December 1-7 is National Handwashing Awareness Week. "Handwashing practices have always been an effective way to prevent infectious diseases, especially new ones like the one caused by coronavirus. Studies have found that washing one's hands with soap can prevent 1 in 3 people getting diarrhoea, and 1 in 5 people from respiratory illness -- both the diseases are a major reason of child mortality in India. "Handwashing before cooking and eating, after using a toilet, and after handling garbage or waste of any kind is a must. We must try to foster and support a culture of handwashing in the society and raise awareness about its benefits. Handwashing is equally important in hospital settings where it can reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infections (HAIs) to a great extent," Krishnan Kasturirangan, Operations leader at StepOne, told IANSlife. Adding more on handwashing in the Indian context, Dr Ramani Ranjan, Consultant - Pediatrics & Neonatology, Motherhood Hospital, Noida says: "In India, we have the culture of eating food with hands, which makes it more important to keep our hands clean. Keeping nails short, trimming them regularly and washing hands for at least 20-30 seconds, will make the chance of acquiring any infection/diseases less likely and will prevent most microbes. According to Global Health Observatory (GHO) data, in 2018, 5.3 million children died around the world before seeing their fifth birthday. Washing hands with soap and water has been proven to be one of the most powerful shields for humanity against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these infections could have been prevented through the simple act of handwashing with soap water as regular hand washing also prevents fomite born respiratory infections by 16 percent. Through a rigorous handwashing awareness program, our world can save millions of lives of children who are dying of infection because of the poor hand washing practices." There are a few situations where washing hands are a must to keep infections at bay. Always wash hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after being in a public place; and before and after caring for a sick person to prevent COVID, suggests Dr. Pratibha Walde, Consultant - Internal Medicine, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune. She adds: "These are in addition to existing norms of handwashing after using the toilet or latrine or changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste and touching garbage, before, during, and after preparing food, and before eating food. In areas where the quality of water is poor, washing hands with soap and water may need to be followed up by antiseptic hand rubs. Avoid sharing towels after washing hands; use individual towels, paper towels or hand dryers." "Two most important aspects of handwashing are: rubbing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying hands completely with disposable paper towels or hand dryers as the friction is critical to kill the germs. It helps to save us from infectious bacteria and viruses that we may carry in our hands and which can enter our body through the mouth, eyes or nose. Washing hands is particularly helpful for people who do not have a fully-developed immunity such as children and those with low immunity such as patients of autoimmune diseases or cancer, elderly people, or pregnant women. Hand washing helps in preventing severe gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. Washing hands must be inculcated as a healthy habit, just like brushing teeth in the morning," Dr Harpreet Kaur, HOD of Transfusion Medicine (Blood Bank) & Consultant Pathology, Aakash Healthcare, New Delhi, concluded. (Siddhi Jain can be contacted at ) --IANS sj/tb/ MENAFN05122020000231011071ID1101237693 Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information as is without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.
This galaxy surviving a black hole's feast - MENAFN.COM
Washington, Nov 28 (IANS) Researchers have discovered a galaxy that has been managing to survive a black hole's hunger by continuing to birth new stars, about 100 Sun-sized stars a year.
The discovery from NASA's telescope on an airplane, the Stratos…
(MENAFN - IANS) Washington, Nov 28 (IANS) Researchers have discovered a galaxy that has been managing to survive a black hole's hunger by continuing to birth new stars, about 100 Sun-sized stars a year. The discovery from NASA's telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), can help explain how massive galaxies came to be, even though the universe today is dominated by galaxies that no longer form stars, according to the study published in the Astrophysical Journal. "This shows us that the growth of active black holes doesn't stop star birth instantaneously, which goes against all the current scientific predictions," said study co-author Allison Kirkpatrick, Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, US. "It's causing us to re-think our theories on how galaxies evolve." SOFIA, a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR, studied an extremely distant galaxy, located more than 5.25 billion light years away called CQ4479. At its core is a special type of quasar that was recently discovered by Kirkpatrick called a "cold quasar." In this kind of quasar, the active black hole is still feasting on material from its host galaxy, but the quasar's intense energy has not ravaged all of the cold gas, so stars can keep forming and the galaxy lives on. This is the first time researchers have a detailed look at a cold quasar, directly measuring the black hole's growth, star birth rate, and how much cold gas remains to fuel the galaxy. "We were surprised to see another oddball galaxy that defies current theories," said Kevin Cooke, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and lead author of this study. "If this tandem growth continues both the black hole and the stars surrounding it would triple in mass before the galaxy reaches the end of its life." As one of the brightest and most distant objects in the universe, quasars, or "quasi-stellar radio sources," are notoriously difficult to observe because they often outshine everything around them. They form when an especially active black hole consumes huge amounts of material from its surrounding galaxy, creating strong gravitational forces. --IANS gb/in MENAFN28112020000231011071ID1101199843 Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information as is without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.
Why loss of smell, taste is godsend for many Covid patients (Ld) - MENAFN.COM
New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) Amid the growing Covid-19 scare is light at the end of the tunnel. If you experience true loss of smell and taste along with gastric trouble (read diarrhoea) as Covid-19 symptoms begin to appear, have heart as this generally means …
(MENAFN - IANS) New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) Amid the growing Covid-19 scare is light at the end of the tunnel. If you experience true loss of smell and taste along with gastric trouble (read diarrhoea) as Covid-19 symptoms begin to appear, have heart as this generally means a good prognosis and no severe respiratory attack that normally sets in in the second week of the 14-day virus cycle. Observed worldwide, the phenomenon has now been documented by Indian health experts -- as we enter the 10th month of Covid-19 pandemic -- and according to them, Covid-19 patients who show severe symptoms or end up in the ICU do not generally give a history of true loss of smell or taste. Those who observe coronavirus-induced loss of smell and taste generally feel an overpowering salty or sweet taste, and water tastes extremely sweet. If they try perfume, the alcohol part dominates the olfactory senses sans any fragrance. And it takes 3-4 weeks for smell or taste or both to come back. According to Dr. Arun Lakhanpal, chest physician, Interventional pulmonologist and Critical Care specialist, at Noida-based Yatharth Hospital, if true loss of smell and taste happens in the setting of Covid disease, which he is observing more often now, then it does indicate a good prognosis. "It is being increasingly noticed that people with loss of smell and taste which happens in about 40 per cent patients is generally a good prognostic sign," said Dr. Lakhanpal, who and his team has helped thousands of Covid-19 patients recover and go back home healthy. Dr. Sushila Kataria, Senior Director, Department of Internal Medicine, Medanta who is also leading the Covid team at the Gurgaon-headquartered hospital, seconded Lakhanpal's observation. "Yes, most patients who have loss of smell and taste in my observation do not get severe disease. They do not require oxygen support and most of them do not require hospitalisation," Kataria told IANS. "So in a way I feel a loss of taste and smell sensation is a good sign. And that is kind of a prognostic factor that the patient will not deteriorate further". The reason for a loss of smell and taste and diarrhoea in Covid disease is not really known. "Sometimes the taste can go because there is a loss of smell as the two senses are linked. And it is said that the cause of it is the coronavirus infecting the cells around the nerves for smell and taste. This can recover within a week or even after the patient turning covid negative," Lakhanpal explained. It may take three to four weeks to get your smell and taste back, but reassuringly, the condition is reversible. One has to be aware that loss of smell and taste is not unique to coronavirus. It can also happen in a number of conditions, such as rhinitis, sinusitis, brain tumours, with some medications and diarrhoea can happen with various infections of the chest or abdominal infections. Another observation is that most of the people who have loss of smell and taste sensation are young. "But I have also observed few elderly patients also complaining of this loss of sensation, and they're usually mild cases. If someone is experiencing sudden loss of taste and smell sensation, then they should isolate themselves. This is invariably Covid and as these patients may themselves be mildly symptomatic but they do have a potential to spread the infection," Kataria advised. Do not take these symptoms lightly and isolate yourself, get tested for Covid-19 and follow all infection control practices. Monitor your temperature with a thermometer in the mouth every four hours and oxygen levels with the help of a pulse oximeter and seek medical advice if there is fever or a drop in oxygen saturation. "We are still learning about coronavirus and seeing newer and newer complications," said Lakhanpal. --IANS na/ MENAFN22112020000231011071ID1101165783 Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information as is without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.
India- Jupiter's icy moon Europa may glow in dark: NASA researchers - MENAFN.COM
A team of researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has discovered that Europa, the icy moon of Jupiter, possibly emits a blue-white and blue-green glow—through its icy crust and a salty subsurface ocean—even in the dark.
They found that t…
India- Jupiter's icy moon Europa may glow in dark: NASA researchers Date 11/12/2020 8:17:58 AM (MENAFN - NewsBytes) A team of researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has discovered that Europa, the icy moon of Jupiter, possibly emits a blue-white and blue-green glowthrough its icy crust and a salty subsurface oceaneven in the dark. They found that the high-energy radiation from Jupiter likely makes Europa's icy shell glow mysteriously, even on its night side, without the sun's help. Here's more.
Approval of a coronavirus vaccine would be just the beginning huge production challenges could cause long delays - MENAFN.COM
The race for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is well underway . It's tempting to assume that once the first vaccine is approved for human use, all the problems of this pandemic will be immediately solved. Unfortunately, that is not exactly the case.
Developing a …
(MENAFN - The Conversation) The race for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is well underway . It's tempting to assume that once the first vaccine is approved for human use, all the problems of this pandemic will be immediately solved. Unfortunately, that is not exactly the case. Developing a new vaccine is only the first part of the complex journey that's supposed to end with a return to some sort of normal life . Producing hundreds of millions of vaccines for the U.S. and billions for the world as a whole will be no small feat. There are many technical and economic challenges that will need to be overcome somehow to produce millions of vaccines as fast as possible. I am a professor of health policy and management at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health and have been working in and studying the worlds of vaccine development, production and distribution for over two decades. The issues the world is facing today regarding the coronavirus vaccine are not new, but the stakes are perhaps higher than ever before. There are four main challenges that must be addressed as soon as possible if a vaccine is to be produced quickly and at a large scale. Existing manufacturing capacity is limited The shrinking and outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing capacity has reached into all sectors. Vaccines are no exception. The number of U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical companies involved in vaccines development and production has fallen from 26 in 1967 to just five in 2004 . There are many causes relatively low profit margins, smaller markets compared to those of other medications, corporate mergers, liability risks and the anti-vaccination movement but the result is that in some years, companies have struggled to meet need even for existing vaccines. Just take a look at the flu vaccine shortages of 2003-2005 and the childhood vaccine shortages of the early 2000s . When a coronavirus vaccine is approved, production of other vaccines will need to continue as well. With the flu season each year and children being born every day, you can't simply reallocate all existing vaccine manufacturing capacity to COVID-19 vaccine production. New additional capacity will be needed. Many of the most promising vaccine candidates are using new technology, like RNA vaccines, that would require entirely new manufacturing processes. BSIP/Contributor via Getty Images The type of vaccine is still unknown While there are a few frontrunners at the moment , it is still unknown which of the more than 160 vaccines in development will get approval first, and therefore, what kind of manufacturing needs to be put in place. Producing a COVID-19 vaccine will not be the same as adding a new strain to an existing flu vaccine or simply tweaking how other existing vaccine are made. Most existing vaccines, like those for flu and measles, use either inactivated or weakened forms of those specific viruses to generate immunity, but researchers can't simply swap the flu virus for SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine may not even use inactivated or weakened virus, but instead could incorporate a protein or genetic material from the coronavirus. Manufacturing such pieces of the virus in large amounts may require new processes that never been tried before, since the Food and Drug Administration hasn't ever approved any DNA vaccines for human use . Some companies are developing mRNA or DNA vaccines . Others are working with inactivated SARS-CoV-2 or even other types of viruses like the chimp adenovirus . Then there are those targeting different protein subunits of the virus . Each vaccine may have very different manufacturing requirements and it is impossible to know which of these candidates will reach the market and when. Governments and other funders face a difficult choice. If they gamble and provide funding to scale up manufacturing for a particular vaccine now, they could save time and thus lives. Picking wrong, though, could end up costing much more in money, suffering and lives. Ultimately, manufacturers will seek financial assurances like upfront payments or commitments to buy the vaccine when it is available from governments and funders to make sure that the time, effort and resources dedicated to vaccine development and manufacturing will not be wasted. For example, the U.S. government's US$2.1 billion deal with Sanofi and GSK will include scaling up of manufacturing capacity and the purchase of 100 million doses of the vaccine. The size of the problem is unprecedented As the saying goes, knowing is not the same as doing. Producing a completely new vaccine at such a large scale so quickly is unprecedented. Numerous delays occurred in the production of the H1N1 flu vaccine in 2009. Consider what may happen with a novel vaccine that could require new reagents, production processes, equipment and containers, among other things. Rollouts of the smallpox and polio vaccines occurred decades ago with less urgency and when populations were significantly smaller. Today, assuming that the herd immunity threshold is at least 70% , manufacturers would need to produce at least 230 million doses to cover the U.S. population and over 5.25 billion doses to cover world's population. And that's if only one dose is required. Requiring two doses per person would double the doses needed. Never before has humanity tried to produce something for every person on Earth as quickly as possible. There are going to be problems. Pharmaceutical companies in the vaccine race, like Moderna, might face a choice between what is best for shareholders and what is best for public health. AP Photo/Bill Sikes Economic poker game Ultimately, most potential vaccine manufacturers are businesses, seeking to minimize costs and maximize revenue where possible. They will want incentives to forego other more lucrative opportunities, such as continuing to develop or produce medications that have higher profit margins . For example, companies may not readily reveal current and potential manufacturing capacity. After all, these can be major bargaining chips in negotiating contracts with governments and other possible funders. Revealing that you have too little capacity right now may jeopardize confidence in your ability to make the vaccine. Revealing that you already have enough capacity can hinder your bargaining for more funding and resources. During the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic while I was working within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services , we had to continuously deal with changing vaccine production schedules as manufacturers continued to renegotiate the terms with the government. Moreover, the extent of the pandemic brings this poker game to the world stage. Different countries may be negotiating with or even against each other and manufacturers. For example, high-income countries may be angling to get ahead of other countries seeking to receive vaccines. A plan and a systems approach Ultimately, vaccine production is only one part of a complex, interconnected system whose ultimate goal is to prevent people from getting a disease. [Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation's newsletter .] The type of vaccine developed, size and location of the initial target populations, the way the vaccine is administered, the number of doses and the storage requirements for the vaccine are all interconnected and just some of the factors that affect the production requirements. For example, work done by my team at the City University of New York has shown that that the number of vaccine doses that you put in a single vial can have a variety of cascading effects on vaccination and disease control programs . People's lives, and life as we know it, are on the line. All of the complexities of producing a vaccine need to be addressed through open worldwide discussions and extensive mapping and modeling of these scenarios. Without proper planning and preparation, society may be left in a situation where production cannot meet demand or vaccines are shoddily produced. And even when enough vaccines are manufactured, there's still the challenge of actually getting them into hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. and billions around the world . There are worries that there won't be enough glass vials to store the vaccines or syringes to administer them , as well as concerns about the temperature controlled supply chain . These challenges of production and distribution, though large, are not insurmountable. The more planning governments and businesses do now, the better they will be able to deliver the vaccines the world so desperately needs. MENAFN2408202001990000ID1100687915 Legal Disclaimer: MENAFN provides the information as is without warranty of any kind. We do not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, images, videos, licenses, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in this article. If you have any complaints or copyright issues related to this article, kindly contact the provider above.
Have you got what it takes to become an astronaut in the new era of human spaceflight? - MENAFN.COM
(MENAFN - The Conversation) Millions of people watched breathlessly as astronauts for the first time successfully travelled to the International Space Station (ISS) in a privately funded spacecraft, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule, on May 30.…
(MENAFN - The Conversation) Millions of people watched breathlessly as astronauts for the first time successfully travelled to the International Space Station (ISS) in a privately funded spacecraft, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule, on May 30. The historic launch, which marks a new chapter in human spaceflight, is likely to lead to renewed interest in spaceflight. So, what exactly does it take to become an astronaut? And can we expect the requirements to change as more private companies get involved and we go on longer journeys? During the space race of the 1960s, NASA selected an elite group of air force and test pilots to orbit the Earth and to ultimately land on the moon. These pioneers were well accustomed to taking risks and pushing their hardware to the limit. They were later described as having ' The Right Stuff ' when it came to the physical and psychological characteristics required to be a space farer a term that is now synonymous with astronaut selection. Crew dragon docks with the ISS. NASA Nowadays, thanks to advances in technology and a greater understanding of the requirements of spaceflight, scientists, doctors, engineers and even journalists have all joined the most exclusive club on (and off) Earth. Of the estimated 100 billion people who have ever lived, fewer than 600 individuals have travelled into space. It is therefore a unique profession and one that not all of us are suited to. Current criteria Currently, NASA stipulates that applicants must meet certain criteria . First, you must be a US citizen, though some have changed their nationality to fulfil this requirement including UK-born Michael Foale and Piers Sellars . You must also possess a master's degree in science, technology, engineering, or maths, or a Doctor of Medicine degree. In addition to that, you should have at least two years of related professional experience. Alternatively, 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time on a jet aircraft will do, which is particularly important for the pilot and commander roles. And finally, you have to pass NASA's long-duration flight astronaut physical test. Similar criteria are set by other nations, including the European Space Agency (ESA) . Essentially, candidates must demonstrate aptitude in a range of attributes. These can generally be broken down into four distinct areas, and may change going forward. Education: The pilot and commander roles for a space mission will always favour those from a military/test pilot background. But modern spaceflight crews have to undertake a far wider range of duties pertaining to science and engineering than their pioneering predecessors. While on the ISS, crews have to ensure the integrity of experiments and keep the station operating efficiently and safely. Therefore, having a detailed knowledge of scientific processes and engineering principles is essential and will continue to be so. Psychology : Emotional stability is a crucial trait for any astronaut to have, but the psychological requirements are much more comprehensive than simply controlling one's emotions. An ability to demonstrate good reasoning, high levels of concentration and memory, spatial orientation (especially crucial when there is no up or down in space) and manual dexterity are also important factors. With longer-term flights to the ISS and eventually Mars planned, it will be increasingly important for astronauts to be able to work well as a member of a team, be flexible in their approach to resolving problems and have empathy for their fellow crew. Physical : Whether it be due to the high g-forces during launch or the microgravity environment in Earth orbit, the human body is pushed to its limit throughout a spaceflight mission. Therefore, it is fundamental to mission success that astronauts are medically and physically capable of surviving such diverse and challenging conditions. In addition to successfully enduring a barrage of physical fitness tests, astronauts must also have 20/20 eyesight (correction allowed) and a seated blood pressure of 140/90 or below. While there is technically no age restriction, the average astronaut candidate is around 34 years old. So long as you are fit enough there appears no limit to this John Glenn flew on the space shuttle aged 77. Training : To be able to go to space, astronauts also have to complete an assortment of activities designed to prepare them for the various aspects of their mission. Exposure to high speed manoeuvres in jet planes and increased g-force in specially constructed centrifuges prepare the astronauts for some of the physical challenges they will experience during launch and landing procedures. Training in water. NASA They also practice in-flight procedures like eating, drinking and using the lavatory during short periods (~25s) of simulated 'zero-g' flights using converted passenger jets. Longer periods of weightlessness can be created in vast swimming pools such as NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory . There, astronauts, kitted out in full spacesuits, can train alongside full-size mock-ups of ISS modules. This allows crews to carry out run-throughs of upcoming missions. Space tourism The official space agency route to becoming an astronaut is no longer the only way to get a ticket into space though. Since the early 2000s, the ISS has hosted private paying guests. The success of NASA's Commercial Crew Program will continue to facilitate safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the ISS. This will likely include an increase in visiting private astronauts. As these guests will not be as 'hands-on' as their fellow astronauts, they will not have to fulfil as stringent criteria. This will likely allow more people access to space. However, this private option will not come cheap. NASA estimates that, in addition to launch costs, these space tourists can expect to pay around US$35,000 per night. Becoming an astronaut is probably, and not surprisingly, one of the most difficult career paths to pursue. That said, those who have achieved their astronaut 'wings' describe it as a hugely rewarding profession. So, if you have the required passion and related characteristics then perhaps you too have The Right Stuff. MENAFN1106202001990000ID1100309610