“Double Mutant” COVID Virus Variant Found

What is the News? Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) has been doing genome sequencing of Covid-19 Variants. It has found a unique “double mutant” virus variant in India. This variant has a unique combination of mutations, not seen anywhere else in the world. What is Double Mutation? Double Mutation is when two mutated strains… Continue reading “Double Mutant” COVID Virus Variant Found

Why Complete Elimination Strategy of COVID virus is not feasible?

Synopsis: The empirical evidence shows that the idea of the complete elimination of COVID viruses in a selected few countries is not feasible. Rather, it will only increase the socioeconomic disparities thereby making the goal of elimination infeasible. Background A recent article published in The Lancet has advocated for “elimination strategy”, it is also known… Continue reading Why Complete Elimination Strategy of COVID virus is not feasible?

Vaccination of manual scavengers must be prioritised

Synopsis:  The government is focussing on the vaccination of frontline sanitation workers. However, the most vulnerable among them, Manual scavengers, did not gethe attention they deserve.  Introduction  India is far behind in understanding sanitation workers and their different categories. Manual scavengers belong to the lowest strata of unprotected sanitation workers. Many people in India believe… Continue reading Vaccination of manual scavengers must be prioritised

ICMR’s 3rd serological survey: Need to rethink on vaccination strategy

Synopsis:  The recent findings of ICMR’s 3rd serological survey can be used to revalidate the vaccination policy of India. Background The ICMR’s third serological survey findings were published at a press conference recently. However, the specific details of the course of the infection are not released. It will be made public later, in a peer-reviewed… Continue reading ICMR’s 3rd serological survey: Need to rethink on vaccination strategy

“ICMR Serological Survey” -One in five Indians have been exposed to coronavirus,

What is the News? Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) has released the third round of the Serological Survey. Facts: Serological Survey: It 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. How was the survey conducted?… Continue reading “ICMR Serological Survey” -One in five Indians have been exposed to coronavirus,

Lessons for India after one year of first Covid case

Source: click here Syllabus: GS 3 Synopsis: One year has been passed when the first confirmed case was reported in India. What are the lessons that India Should learn from this Pandemic? Introduction  India’s first confirmed case of Sars-CoV-2 was reported exactly a year ago. Experts with the help of a modeling-based study predicted that… Continue reading Lessons for India after one year of first Covid case

What is Covid Performance Index?

What is the News? The COVID Performance Index has been released by the Lowy Institute, an Australian think-tank. Facts: COVID Performance Index: The index aims to rank the best-performing countries in their response to the pandemic. It measures the impact of geography, political systems, population size, and economic development on COVID-19 outcomes, for a conclusion.… Continue reading What is Covid Performance Index?

How should India handle the new virus variants?

Source: click here Syllabus: GS 3 Synopsis: Mutation of the coronavirus has become a new threat for the world. India must take precautionary measures to deal with it. Introduction  New SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged independently in several countries and the virus is changing very quickly.  If it continues to change, currently available vaccines will become… Continue reading How should India handle the new virus variants?

“BBV154” A Bharat Biotech’s Intranasal Vaccine vaccine

What is the news? An expert body is looking into Bharat Biotech’s application for testing its  Covid-19 vaccine, BBV154. This is an Intranasal Vaccine. What is Intranasal Vaccine? Vaccines are administered as injectable shots into the muscles(intramuscular). Or the tissue just between the skin and the muscles(subcutaneous). However, with intranasal vaccines, the solution is sprayed… Continue reading “BBV154” A Bharat Biotech’s Intranasal Vaccine vaccine

“Covaxin” is effective against U.K. virus variant

What is the News? Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology(NIV) study found Covaxin effective against the new UK variant of Covid-19. About the Study: The study has found that Covaxin has a good neutralization capacity against the U.K variant of the COVID-19 virus. This capacity was the same against… Continue reading “Covaxin” is effective against U.K. virus variant

 Vaccine Maitri: India Vaccine diplomacy exercise  

Why in News?   India will officially start its vaccine diplomacy with the name “Vaccine Maitri” under  its  Neighborhood First policy.  Vaccine Diplomacy: It is the use of vaccines to increase a country’s diplomatic relationship with  other countries.   Key Features of Vaccine Maitri  India will supply Made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines to its neighboring and key partner countries Under its Neighborhood First policy.  Bhutan and Maldives will be the first to get the vaccines followed… Continue reading  Vaccine Maitri: India Vaccine diplomacy exercise  

Need and ways of Decongesting Indian prisons

Synopsis: Health Experts are calling federal prisons a “breeding grounds for uncontrolled transmission” of the virus. There is an urgent need of decongesting them. What are the ways to decongest Indian prisons? Background In India there are around 1,400 prisons, ‘housing’ over 5 lakh prisoners. These prisoners are facing the threat of Covid pandemic, with… Continue reading Need and ways of Decongesting Indian prisons

Covaxin not to be used in certain cases  

News: Bharat Biotech has come out with a fact sheet about the process involved and who should avoid taking the Covaxin vaccine.   Facts:  Covaxin: It has been indigenously developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR).  Type of vaccine: It is an inactivated vaccine. It means it is made by using particles of the coronavirus that… Continue reading Covaxin not to be used in certain cases  

Over 2.24 lakh vaccinated in 2 days, 447 adverse events: Centre

News: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the data on COVID-19 vaccination. Facts: Key Highlights of the Data: India has vaccinated the highest number of persons on the first day under its COVID-19 vaccination program. This is much higher than many other countries such as the USA, the UK and France. Around… Continue reading Over 2.24 lakh vaccinated in 2 days, 447 adverse events: Centre

Smokers, vegetarians are at lesser risk of getting infected by COVID-19: CSIR serosurvey

News: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) has conducted a pan-India Sero-survey tracking nearly 10,000 employees to study the prevalence of Covid-19. The study concluded Smokers and vegetarians were found to have lower seropositivity. So they may be at a lesser risk of getting infected by the coronavirus. Facts: Key Highlights of the Survey: Source:… Continue reading Smokers, vegetarians are at lesser risk of getting infected by COVID-19: CSIR serosurvey

Factsheet for administration of COVID-19 Vaccine released

Synopsis: Government has released a Vaccine Fact sheet that contains guidelines for administering both vaccines (Covaxin and Covishield).  Background  Union Health Ministry has sent a comprehensive fact sheet for both vaccines (Covaxin and Covishield) to all states and immunisation officer.   The Centre has also asked the states and immunisation officers to disseminate the fact sheet to all programme managers, cold chain handlers, and vaccinators before the… Continue reading Factsheet for administration of COVID-19 Vaccine released

Strategic guidelines for COVID vaccine program: Challenges and suggestions  

Synopsis: Government has issued strategic guidelines for the effective rollout of COVID vaccine program. There are challenges in the way of the Vaccine program that should be tackled as soon possible.  Strategic guidelines for COVID vaccine programme  With limitations of Vaccine related to efficiency and efficacy in mind, government has framed strategic guidelines for COVID vaccine programme  Guidelines were framed using the knowledge… Continue reading Strategic guidelines for COVID vaccine program: Challenges and suggestions  

Issues in the process of COVID Vaccine trial 

Synopsis: Many issues have been highlighted in the Phase-3 trial of Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccines. Those issues could have been avoided after HPV vaccine trial controversy.  Introduction  In a previous case, Human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine trial was carried out on nearly 23,500 girls in the 10-14 age group in Vadodara, Gujarat and Khammam without proper consent. Almost eight years later the Supreme Court of India criticized the government for its inability to… Continue reading Issues in the process of COVID Vaccine trial 

Preparing workforce for COVID vaccination

Synopsis:India is near vaccine roll out, but it lacks trained healthcare workers for the job.   Introduction   The permission of two COVID-19 vaccinats for emergency use is nearing. There is now hope of an end to the pandemic. But for the administration of vaccination and treatment properly and skillfully, a trained and effective workforce is… Continue reading Preparing workforce for COVID vaccination

Pune hub to track vaccine chain across 41 key cities

News: A command and control centre has been set up at Airports Authority of India Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited(AAICLAS) to monitor the movement of COVID-19 vaccines. Facts: Source: The Hindu What will AAICLAS do? It will be the nodal body for coordinating air transportation of the vaccines across a network of 41… Continue reading Pune hub to track vaccine chain across 41 key cities

India approves two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use

News: Central Drugs and Standards Committee(CDSCO) has approved the COVID-19 vaccines COVISHIELD and COVAXIN for restricted use in emergency situations. Initially, the 3 crore medical personnel considered at the highest risk for COVID-19, would be given the vaccine for free. Facts: Source: The Hindu COVISHIELD: It is a vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India… Continue reading India approves two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use

Approval to Covaxin, and Covishield Vaccines: Concerns and way forward

This article has been developed based on the Indian Express article “Turning point”. Synopsis- The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved two vaccines — the indigenously developed Covaxin, and Covishield. There are several concerns associated with the hasty approval of vaccines. About Vaccines COVISHIELD: This vaccine is incubated in the laboratories of Oxford University and… Continue reading Approval to Covaxin, and Covishield Vaccines: Concerns and way forward

Concerns of hasty approval to COVID-19 vaccine

Synopsis- Concerns regarding hasty approval granted to the COVID-19 vaccines despites the lack of adequate efficacy data.   Background-  The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the Subject Expert Committee’s recommendation for emergency use of Serum Institute of India’s Covishieldand Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.   Covishieldis the same vaccine as developed by Oxford- AstraZeneca, which has got emergency use approval in the… Continue reading Concerns of hasty approval to COVID-19 vaccine

Expert panel grants emergency use authorisation for Oxford vaccine

News: The subject expert committee of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization(CDSCO) has recommended COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield for emergency use authorisation. Facts: COVISHIELD: The Oxford vaccine “AZD1222” is being called Covishield in India. Serum Institute of India(SII) has entered into a manufacturing partnership with Oxford University and Pharma major AstraZeneca to produce this vaccine in India. Technology: Covishield… Continue reading Expert panel grants emergency use authorisation for Oxford vaccine

Health Ministry plans communication strategy

News: Union Health Ministry has released a communication strategy to support the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in India that seeks to disseminate accurate and transparent information by alleviating apprehensions and ensuring its acceptance. Facts: About the strategy: The key areas that will be addressed as part of interventions under the strategy are: Giving information on Covid-19 vaccines Addressing… Continue reading Health Ministry plans communication strategy

Government launches Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia(INSACOG) Group

News: Government of India has launched the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia Group(INSACOG). Facts: INSACOG: It has been established to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 on a regular basis through a multi-laboratory network. Composition: It comprises 10 labs (NIBMG Kolkata, ILS Bhubaneswar, NIV Pune, CCS Pune, CCMB Hyderabad, CDFD Hyderabad, InSTEM Bengaluru, NIMHANS Bengaluru, IGIB Delhi… Continue reading Government launches Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia(INSACOG) Group

More genome sequencing to study the spread of the variants

Synopsis- There is need for more genome sequencing from samples from all over the world in order to come up with effective approaches to control and prevent COVID-19 infections.   Background-  A new variant of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Britain and prompting high levels of concern.  Six samples of the recent U.K. returnees have been found… Continue reading More genome sequencing to study the spread of the variants

Mutated virus does not cause more fatalities: report

Source: The Hindu News: According to a study by Public Health England, the new mutated variant of the novel coronavirus does not appear to cause more severe illness than other variants. Facts: About the Study: Under the study, researchers compared 1,769 people infected with the new variant with the same number of people who had different… Continue reading Mutated virus does not cause more fatalities: report

Dry Run and Challenges of Vaccines distribution in India

Synopsis: Indian is one of the world’s leading vaccine manufacturer, thus will have better access to vaccines, but the distribution of manufactured vaccine will prove to be a formidable task. Dry run to test preparedness for the nationwide roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine kicked off in four States — Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab.… Continue reading Dry Run and Challenges of Vaccines distribution in India

Essentiality of Dry run for COVID vaccines

Synopsis:  Dry runs aimed at testing the planned operations are essential for Covid 19 vaccination process. Background In the coming weeks, the Phase-3 data of two COVID-19 vaccines tested by Indian manufacturers are expected to be submitted for emergency use approval. A countrywide rollout to immunize the four high-risk groups will begin soon in India if any of the vaccines gets… Continue reading Essentiality of Dry run for COVID vaccines

Examining the Strategies involved in Distributing Vaccines

Synopsis: The government must examine the principle underlying the triage scheme for optimised use of resources. Background: Over the next 6-7 months, India plans to vaccinate 300 million people against COVID-19 by prioritizing healthcare workers, other front-line workers and everyone who is above 50 years of age. To vaccinate 300 million people, India requires 600 million doses as… Continue reading Examining the Strategies involved in Distributing Vaccines

UNICEF launches the COVID-19 vaccine market dashboard

Source: UNICEF News: As the designated COVAX procurement coordinator and procurement agent, UNICEF has launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Market Dashboard. Facts: Purpose: The dashboard is an interactive tool for countries, partners and industry to follow the developments of the rapidly evolving COVID-19 vaccine market and the efforts of the COVAX Facility to ensure fair and equitable access… Continue reading UNICEF launches the COVID-19 vaccine market dashboard

How COVID-19 revealed the limits of Political Accountability?

Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has put governance under a stress test which exposed how poorly prepared the world’s governments were.  What was the response of the world leaders to the pandemic?  The world’s most powerful leaders failed to do their duty to protect the citizens.  In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro irresponsibly refused to get vaccinated, even as… Continue reading How COVID-19 revealed the limits of Political Accountability?

Mutated’ Covid-19 strain of UK spreads faster

Context- New mutated COVID-19 strain discovered in the United Kingdom underlines the need for adherence to Non-pharmaceutical interventions. More in news- A new variant of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is spreading rapidly in Britain and prompting high levels of concern. Precautionary measures taken by other countries- The United Kingdom stood shut off from the rest of Europe after several nations decided… Continue reading Mutated’ Covid-19 strain of UK spreads faster

Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation on the management of COVID-19 situation

News: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has submitted its report to the Rajya Sabha Chairman on the management of Covid-19 situation. Facts: Key Suggestions given by Panel: Panel has given suggestion on the four aspects: The country’s preparedness Augmentation of health infrastructure Social impact Economic impact Source: The Hindu On Country’s preparedness Separate Wing: A separate wing may… Continue reading Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation on the management of COVID-19 situation

Uttar Pradesh’s strategies to contain the pandemic

Context- Early and systematic tracking of high-risk contacts helped Uttar Pradesh step up the fight against COVID-19. What were the measures taken by UP government to control the outbreak? Uttar Pradesh is the largest state in the country in terms of population and hence, the battle against COVID-19 becomes more challenging. Several factors distinguish the handling of… Continue reading Uttar Pradesh’s strategies to contain the pandemic

India’s plan for Vaccination

Context: Recently unveiled India’s COVID-19 vaccine policy, should make adequate allowances for ground realities. What is India’s plan on vaccinating people? Strategy to slow the virus spread: With a definitive cure not yet available for COVID-19, vaccines present the world with the best strategy to slow the virus down. India’s plan: The U.K. and the U.S. began vaccinating… Continue reading India’s plan for Vaccination

India’s first indigenous vaccine HGCO19 gets nod for human trials

News: India’s first indigenous mRNA vaccine candidate HGCO19 has received approval from Indian Drug regulators to initiate Phase I/II human clinical trial. Facts: HGCO19: It is a novel mRNA vaccine candidate developed by Gennova, Pune and supported with seed grant under the Ind-CEPI mission of Department of Biotechnology of Ministry of Science & Technology. Additional… Continue reading India’s first indigenous vaccine HGCO19 gets nod for human trials

Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility(APVAX)

News: Asian Development Bank(ADB) has launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative—the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX). Facts: Aim: To offer rapid and equitable support to its developing members as they procure and deliver effective and safe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines. Criteria: If a country has to obtain finances under APVAX, then it should fulfil one of the… Continue reading Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility(APVAX)

What is Molnupiravir?

Source : Click here News: A new drug called Molnupiravir has been shown to stop the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in 24 hours. Facts: Molnupiravir: It is an experimental antiviral drug which is orally active (can be taken orally) and was developed for the treatment of influenza. Developed by: The drug is being developed by the biotechnology firm Ridgeback… Continue reading What is Molnupiravir?

Process and Issues linked to Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) of COVID Vaccines in India

Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) This article explains the process of Emergency Use authorization, based on The Indian Express Article “Three Covid-19 vaccine developers seek emergency use approval in India”  Central Drug Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has received applications from 3 vaccine developers seeking Emergency Use Authorisation/Approval (EUA) for their candidate Covid-19 vaccines which are still… Continue reading Process and Issues linked to Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) of COVID Vaccines in India

Authorisation of coronavirus vaccines

Context: Safety and efficacy data for the new vaccine must be known before emergency-use authorisation for vaccines. Why in news? The Pune-based Serum Institute of India has approached the regulator for nod for its vaccine, Covishield, developed by Oxford University. AstraZeneca, which is carrying out the phase-3 trials of the Oxford vaccine in four countries, is… Continue reading Authorisation of coronavirus vaccines

Aspects of vaccine distribution

Context: Aspects of vaccine distribution. Background The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the COVID-19 a pandemic in march 2020 and the most optimistic prediction for a vaccine to be available was by the middle of 2021. Now, the labs around the world are working faster than anticipated and the first vials of a vaccine are likely… Continue reading Aspects of vaccine distribution

Vaccination policy

Context: India’s COVID-19 control plan of actions can be the basis for building a much-needed public health infrastructure. How can vaccine help in eradicating a disease? Preventive medicines: Vaccines play a major role in human mastery over infectious diseases by inducing immunity in individuals. Herd immunity: When a vaccine is rolled out as a national programme and… Continue reading Vaccination policy

Impact of COVID-19 on tribal communities

Context – The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on forest community and their spirited efforts to tackle it.  What are the problems faced by forest community during COVID-19? Losses of livelihood and shelter-Due to sudden lockdown, the forest-dwelling communities who got stuck in the cities without any support system, shelter, food or water. The lockdown measures have badly affected wage employment… Continue reading Impact of COVID-19 on tribal communities

Vaccine nationalism

Context- Problems posed by vaccine nationalism and the possible solutions. What is vaccine nationalism the problems posed by vaccine nationalism? Vaccine nationalism occurs when a country manages to secure doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other countries. This is done through pre-purchase agreements between a government and a vaccine manufacturer. The… Continue reading Vaccine nationalism

Urbanisation and pandemic

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a reimagining of urban planning and development to make cities and towns healthy and liveable after COVID-19. More on news: PM emphasised resetting the mindset, processes and practices for safe urban living, and acknowledged that governments actually do little for the working millions at the Bloomberg New Economy… Continue reading Urbanisation and pandemic

COVID-19, climate and carbon neutrality

Context: Environmental problems have profound public health consequences both in terms of morbidity and mortality and hence demand urgent actions in the post covid-19 world. How are environment and public health inter-related ? Human intrusions: Evidence has gathered that loss of biodiversity and ever-increasing human intrusions into the natural world have contributed heavily to the outbreak… Continue reading COVID-19, climate and carbon neutrality

Cancer treatment – Palliative care

Context- The present diversion of healthcare facilities and resources to COVID-19 has increased anxiety and confusion among people with cancer. What are the issues with dealing in cancer in a wake of COVID-19 pandemic? Treatment disruption– The uncertainty about treatment continuation due to the virus spread was stressful. Halt in Cancer screening programmes– These programmes… Continue reading Cancer treatment – Palliative care

Serological surveys

What are serological surveys Context: The Indian Council of Medical Research conducted two serosurveys: May 11 to June 4 and August 17 to September 22. What is serological survey? Serological surveys are used to detect the prevalence of antibodies against COVID-19/any diseases. Their purpose is to measure the proportion of a population already infected as evidenced… Continue reading Serological surveys