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Context: Scientists of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jodhpur have explored the neuroinvasive nature of the COVID 19 virus SARS-CoV-2 highlighting that loss of smell and taste of infected patients makes their entire Central Nervous System (CNS) and the underlying structures in the brain more prone to viral infection with devastating effects. The paper recounts a recently conducted study on the brain scans (CT and MRI) of a patient infected by COVID-19 virus that shows a rare encep
How to tackle the new strain of COVID? Constant monitoring is the only way India can build up its defences against new virus strains In less than a month, it will be a year since India confirmed its first SARS-CoV-2 cases in Kerala. From then and now, India looks infinitely more prepared in terms of testing capacity, vaccine candidates in development, public awareness and the kaleidoscopic experiences of those who have been exposed to the virus. However, the report of the new varia
Covishield and COVID Vaccine Covishield, the vaccine candidate from the Pune-based Serum Institute of India, was approved by a subject expert committee (SEC) of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). The SEC gives its recommendation to the DCGI which is the approving authority for drugs and vaccines. Similar to that in the United Kingdom, we’ve approved the vaccine to be given in two doses 4-12 weeks apart. #joinourtelegram# Covishield, which is similar to t
Covishield and Covaxin approved for emergency use as COVID vaccines The Central Drugs and Standards Committee (CDSCO) formally approved the COVID-19 vaccines by Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India (SII). This allows the vaccines — Covishield by SII and based on the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and Covaxin by Bharat Biotech — to be offered to healthcare workers and frontline workers in India. The Health Ministry had said that 3 crore such personnel, considere
Emergency in Malaysia due to COVID-19 Malaysia’s king declared a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday to fight a coronavirus surge and Parliament was suspended, with critics charging that it was a bid by the unstable government to cling to power. The surprise move came a day after the Prime Minister announced sweeping new curbs across much of the Southeast Asian nation, including the closure of most businesses, and warned the health system was “at breaking point”.
SOP for COVID Vaccination The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Immunisation Division) has issued a Standard Operating Procedure for the Ministry of Home Affairs in case of Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI). The vaccination drive will start from January 16. The Hindu has a copy of SOP that provides a step by step guide to the police and other response agencies. The SOP is meant to help the investigator ensure appropriate handling of the vaccine, victim assistanc
What is Co-WIN? In good measure, the dry runs were not only a step to test the operational feasibility of various States to roll out the vaccine programme effectively, but also a recce to see if the electronic vaccine intelligence network, eVIN, used during routine immunisation programmes, and remodelled as Co-WIN, was functional at the field-level. Co-WIN aspires to be a comprehensive digital database of every COVID-19 vaccine that will be administered in India — tracking benefici
India sends COVID-19 vaccines to 6 countries: Vaccine diplomacy and SAARC India on Wednesday began the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to six “neighbouring and key partner countries”. They are Maldives, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles. The delivery began with two special flights carrying the first consignments of Covishield to the Maldives and Bhutan. Sources said Bangladesh and Nepal will receive two large consignments of the same vaccine on Thursda
CoWIN software enhanced for vaccine rollout An enhancement in Co-WIN software has been introduced to cater to the creation of more session sites, more sessions per site, and a change in site location, which is now allowed. “The enhanced version also allows planning and scheduling the sessions for entire week and works for the enhanced safety of the beneficiaries, tagging of contraindications. These new features are being enabled in vaccinator module,. Health Minister Harsh Vardh
World’s largest vaccination programme Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the first phase of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive. The world’s largest vaccination programme will begin at a total of 3,006 session sites across all the States and the Union Territories, which will be connected virtually throughout the exercise. Nearly 100 beneficiaries will receive the vaccine at each of the session sites on Saturday. #joinourtelegram# A dedicated 24x7
COVID-19 vaccines and possible side effects Two COVID-19 vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, after being granted emergency use authorisation, were rolled out on January 16 across India to inoculate three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase of the vaccination drive. Both the vaccines have been manufactured in India. While Covaxin is produced under a collaboration between Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research, Covishield has been developed by Ast
Nasal SARS-CoV-2 vaccine What is a nasal vaccine? An intranasal vaccine does exactly what it says it does — deliver a vaccine through a spritz through the nostrils. The advantages of this method of vaccine delivery over the injection and oral forms are quite apparent. The method comes with the guarantee of better compliance and the advantage of lower costs. But only clinical trials can determine whether such a vaccine with an easy delivery mechanism can be efficacio
Vaccines are safe for those who are on blood thinners: ICMR Both COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use in India — Covaxin and Covishield — are safe for people on blood thinners, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Balram Bhargav said on Thursday. At a Health Ministry press conference, he said manufacturers of both the vaccines had approached the Drugs Controller-General of India (DCGI) for revision of this contraindication on their fact sheets.
COVID-19 “performance index” New Zealand and Vietnam were ranked the best performing countries in their response to the pandemic, according to a COVID-19 “performance index” put together by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, which sought to assess the impact of geography, political systems and economic development in assessing outcomes. The index, which was based on six different indicators, including confirmed cases and deaths per million people and th
Inequality Virus Report: Oxfam Indian billionaires increased their wealth by 35% to ?3 trillion during the lockdown, ranking them behind their counterparts in U.S., China, Germany, Russia and France, says the “Inequality Virus Report” brought out by Oxfam, a non-profit organisation. The rise in fortunes of the top 100 billionaires is enough to give every one of the 138 million poorest Indian people a cheque for ?94,045, the report released on the opening day of the World Eco
Novavax American company Novavax, whose COVID-19 vaccine is set to be made in large numbers by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), has reported that its vaccine has proved to have 89% efficacy in preventing the infection in some trial volunteers in the United Kingdom. However, the efficacy dropped to 60% when it was tested in volunteers in South Africa, a likely consequence of a mutant coronavirus variant that is now deep-rooted there. Since December, scientists have raised
Serological survey of ICMR Context The results of the ICMR’s third serological survey to ascertain the spread of COVID-19 show that nearly one in five Indians — about 270 million — may have been infected. Serological Survey A serological survey is conducted to assess the prevalence of a disease in a population. It is done by detecting the presence of specific antibodies that are produced against the virus.
What is an Oxygen Concentrator? How does a concentrator help? With the demand for medical oxygen continuing unabated and several States struggling to keep pace with demand, the oxygen concentrator has emerged as a sought-after device. Unlike medical oxygen sourced from industrial units, which are supplied via cylinders, concentrators are devices that can be operated at home. When is an oxygen concentrator needed? The device can aid those whose oxygen saturation levels are
Vande Bharat Mission (VBM) It is the biggest civilian evacuation exercise to bring back Indian citizens stranded abroad amidst the coronavirus-induced travel restrictions. It has surpassed the large-scale airlift of 1,77,000 people in 1990 at the onset of the Gulf War. The mission is undergoing its 10th phase and has carried 32 lakh passengers approximately both inbound and outbound. National carrier Air India, alongwith its budget carrier Air India Express (AIE) carried out the
What does Community transmission (CT) mean? CT happens when new cases in the last 14 days cannot be traced to those who have an international travel history, when cases cannot be linked to a specific cluster. The WHO guidelines further suggest four subcategories within the broader definition of CT. CT-1 implies “low incidence of locally acquired, widely dispersed cases... and low risk of infection for the general population” with the highest, a CT-4 suggesting “very
IIT Ropar develops nation's first power-free CPAP device 'Jivan Vayu' Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a device ‘Jivan Vayu’ which can be used as a substitute of CPAP machine. What is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)? CPAP is a treatment method for patients having breathing problems during sleep called sleep apnea. The machine uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open for easy breathing. It is also used to treat i
AI-powered Contact-free Health Monitor & Step-Down ICU Dozee, a Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and its PSU Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) funded start-up offers 'contact-free monitoring of the vital parameters of the patients on a normal bed. About DBT The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, boosts and augments the development of the biotechnology ecosystem in India through i
Project O2 for India The second wave of COVID-19 saw an increase in demand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country. While meeting the current demand, manufacturing medical oxygen also became important to ensure we have adequate supply in the future. ‘Project O2 for India’ of the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India, is to enable stakeholders working to augment the country’s ability to meet this rise in demand for medical oxygen. Un
Why do new waves of COVID-19 happen? Dr. V.K. Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog was explaining the reasons behind emergence of new pandemic waves and how it can be controlled or even avoided by following COVID appropriate behaviours and taking measures such as vaccination. Dr. Paul said that there are four elements leading to the formation of a new wave. Behaviour of the virus: The virus has the capacity and ability to spread Susceptible host: Virus keeps looking for susceptible hosts
Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 What is the Delta variant? How is it different from the Delta Plus variant? Why has it become a global concern? A mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.617.2 is now named the Delta variant. It has mutations in its spike protein, which makes it more transmissible and able to evade immunity. It has already spread to 80 countries across the world. After India, now it is spreading fast in the U.K., some States in the U.S., Singapore and southern China. When t
Rs. 6.28 lakh crore stimulus post 2nd COVID wave Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced some fresh relief measures for the economy, the first such package after the second COVID-19 wave, focusing largely on extending loan guarantees and concessional credit for pandemic-hit sectors and investments to ramp up healthcare capacities. The government pegged the total financial implications of the package, which included the reiteration of some steps that were already announced, such as
Delta and Delta Plus Variants: Frequently Asked Questions Q. Why does a virus mutate? Virus by its very nature mutates. It is part of its evolution. The SARS-Cov-2 virus is a single-stranded RNA virus. So, changes in the genetic sequence of the RNA are mutations. The moment a virus enters its host cell or a susceptible body, it starts replicating. When the spread of infection increases, the rate of replication also increases. A virus that has got a mutation in it is known as a
1.5 Lakh units of Oxycare Systems to be procured through PM CARES Background: In India, the spread of coronavirus has been increasing and is posing serious challenges for the health and economic security of millions of people. There have been calls for citizen donations to support the government in the wake of this emergency with people from all walks of life expressing their desire to donate to India’s war against COVID-19. Details: Catering to the need for having a
Pregnant women can take vaccination Pregnant women in India are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Union Health Ministry giving the approval based on recommendations of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI). The decision empowers pregnant women to make an informed choice on taking the COVID-19 vaccination, the Ministry said, adding these women can now register on CoWIN or walk into the nearest vaccination centre to get themselves inoculated.
Clinical Trials Registry – India (CTRI) Clinical Trials Registry – India (CTRI) is the government of India's official clinical trial registry. The National Institute of Medical Statistics of the Indian Council of Medical Research established the CTRI on 20 July 2007. Since 2009 the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization has mandated that anyone conducting clinical trials in India must preregister before enrolling any research participants. The CTRI requests all
Rajasthan govt. declares mucormycosis an epidemic Amid the increasing instances of mucormycosis or black fungus, which is primarily affecting people recovering from COVID-19, the Rajasthan government declared it an epidemic and a notifiable disease. What is Mycormycosis? It is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes, which is abundant in the environment. It mainly affects people who have health problems or take m
COVID Transmission through Aerosols Aerosols can be carried in the air for up to 10 m and improving the ventilation of indoor spaces will reduce transmission, a government advisory on stopping the spread of COVID-19. The advisory, issued by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said there was a need to remember the simple measures that could reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. “Ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission from one infe
Rajasthan govt. declares mucormycosis an epidemic Rajasthan, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have declared it an epidemic. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said black fungus had claimed 90 lives in the State so far. Eight people had died of the infection in Haryana, which has reported 316 cases. Rajasthan has 100 patients, while Tamil Nadu has reported nine cases. Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 The colonial government introduced the Act to tackle the epidemic of bubonic plague
Center tells State to declare Mycormycosis an epidemic Rajasthan, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have declared it an epidemic. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said black fungus had claimed 90 lives in the State so far. Eight people had died of the infection in Haryana, which has reported 316 cases. Rajasthan has 100 patients, while Tamil Nadu has reported nine cases. Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 The colonial government introduced the Act to tackle the epidemic of bubonic pl
PM CARES for Children scheme Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched the web based portal pmcaresforchildren.in to facilitate submission of applications, identification of children eligible to receive support under the 'PM CARES for Children' scheme and processing of applications for securing benefits to them. 'PM CARES for Children' scheme was announced by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for supporting children who have lost both parents or surviving
PM CARES for Children Scheme UPSC The Union government announced a special “PM-CARES for Children” scheme for all those orphaned due to COVID-19. It will include a corpus of ?10 lakh for each child till he or she reaches the age of 18. Children who have lost both parents or the lone surviving parent or their legal guardian or adoptive parent due to COVID-19 will be supported under the scheme. The Women and Child Development Ministry has said that there are a total 577 C
PM SVANidhi is a Central Sector Scheme. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is implementing Pradhan Mantri Street Vendors’ Atma Nirbhar Nidhi Scheme (PM SVANidhi) since June 01, 2020 to facilitate working capital loan of upto?10,000 of 1 year tenure to Street Vendors, vending in urban areas, to resume their businesses, adversely impacted by the pandemic. On prepayment or repayment, they are eligible for an enhanced working capital loan of upto ?20,000 and ?50,000 in the
SATYAM Programme and Cognitive Science Research Initiative Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has initiated the Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) programme. Under SATYAM, DST has invited proposals to study appropriate intervention of yoga and meditation in fighting Covid-19 and similar kinds of viruses. Aim: To provide assistance to society in today’s critical condition arising due to pandemic Covid
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