Videos with cute animals reduce stress, and China starts vaccines against coronavirus

Videos with cute animals reduce stress, and China starts vaccines against coronavirus

The University of Leeds (UK), in collaboration with the Australian Tourism Authority, conducted a study that found watching cute animals can reduce stress and anxiety.

According to CNN, watching the pictures and videos for 30 minutes affects blood pressure and heart rate. Dr. Andrea Utley edited the animal images into a half-hour video, which was then shown to the subjects. “There were kittens, puppies, little gorillas, quokkas – in short, whatever you would expect,” Utley said.

The experiments were carried out in December 2019. The video was shown to 15 students and 4 teachers. The time for the study was not chosen by chance – exams are held in winter, respectively, the stress level of the subjects was deliberately increased.

After watching a video with animals, the participants’ blood pressure dropped from an average of 136/88 to 115/71 – close to the ideal indicator, the scientists noted. The heart rate dropped 6.5% to an average of 67 beats per minute. The level of anxiety, measured using a special technique, decreased by as much as 35%.

Subjects reported that they prefer video over static images. They especially liked the clips where animals interact with people. The coronavirus pandemic interfered with a series of similar experiments, but Utley promised that research would resume as soon as possible.

China begins mass vaccination against coronavirus

Although the third phase of clinical trials of the Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 has not yet been completed, hundreds of thousands of people in the PRC have already received the vaccine. On September 25th, a spokesman for the PRC’s National Health Commission, Zheng Zhongwei, said that the country’s authorities had secured the understanding and support of the World Health Organization, writes Reuters. The official did not give details about the vaccination program, specifying that the country is ready to produce 610 million doses by the end of the year.

Hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers and others at high risk of infection have been vaccinated, according to the agency. WHO Assistant Director-General Mariangela Simao, at a press conference in Geneva on September 25th, clarified that China has an autonomous right to use medicines in emergencies, which does not require approval, Reuters reported.

Experts interviewed by The New York Times expressed concern about the massive vaccination with a drug that has not been proven safe. It turns out that vaccine testing is carried out outside the usual drug testing process and on an unprecedented scale, such a rush in China is incomprehensible, the newspaper writes. In addition, it is not clear whether there is pressure on employees of pharmaceutical companies and government departments in China when they are offered to be vaccinated, the publication said.

In China, four companies have announced that they are entering the final stages of testing for a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the WHO, there are 31 companies in the world developing vaccines against coronavirus that have already moved to clinical trials in humans. At the same time, the organization says it does not expect widespread vaccination before mid-2021.