Covid 19 performance Index new

India Ranks 86th out of the 98 Countries in a Covid -19 performance index published by Lowy Institute

A COVID-19 performance index by Australia-based Lowy Institute used data available publicly of 98 countries to assess each country’s response against Covid-19.  While India ranked 86th in its coronavirus performance index, New Zealand, Vietnam and Taiwan bagged the top three spots. The bottom five countries in the study were Brazil (with the lowest score), followed by Colombia, Iran, and the United States of America. China was excluded from the Index due to the lack of publicly available data.

The top 10 countries also included Thailand, Cyprus, Rwanda, Iceland, Australia, Latvia, and Sri Lanka, where cases and deaths related to Covid-19 were fewer than other countries.

The countries were broadly categorized based on their economic development, population size, region, and political systems. According to the study, democracies had “marginally” more success in controlling the disease’s spread than countries with other political systems. Countries with a “hybrid” political system like Ukraine and Bolivia had the most challenging time trying to decrease the pandemic’s effect. The economic development did not have much of an impact on a country’s ability to contain the spread of Covid-19. The report further added that small countries with a population of less than 10 million outperformed countries with a larger population through the pandemic but for the end of the period during which the study was conducted (till 9th Jan) The Print. The Index also shows that countries in the Asia-Pacific were more successful in containing the pandemic. At the same time, Europe and the USA were “quickly overwhelmed” by the rapid spread of the disease, as Reuters has pointed out.

The data used by the study included daily figures of confirmed cases, confirmed deaths, and tests conducted by each country independently and in proportion to its population. An average was calculated based on these figures, and each nation received a score between 0 (worst performing) to 100 (best performing). New Zealand received the highest score of 94.4, while Brazil received the lowest score of 4.3. India received a score of 24.3, as indicated by The Print.

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Covid-19: Vaccination and the mobile application.

 

 

The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination will inoculate 30 crore people from priority groups. This includes 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers, along with 27 crore people above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities. India has approved two COVID-19 vaccines – Oxford AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin – for emergency use.

PM Modi called it a “landmark step towards fighting COVID-19” and he also stated “On January 16, India takes a huge step forward in fighting COVID-19 as the nation-wide vaccination drive begins. Priority will be given to our brave doctors, healthcare workers and frontline workers including Safai Karamcharis,”

The health ministry stated that “The vaccination exercise is underpinned by the principles of people’s participation (Jan Bhagidari); utilizing the experience of elections (booth strategy) and Universal Immunization Program (UIP); no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programs and primary health care; no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms, other SOPs; and an orderly and smooth implementation driven by technology,”

Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System/ digital platform will provide real-time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualised tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The platform has been built to assist programme managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule. More than 79 lakh beneficiaries have already been registered on the platform.

The training process for vaccinators and vaccine administrators was also mentioned in detail during the meeting. During national level Training of Trainers, 2,360 participants were trained including state immunisation officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, development partners, etc. More than 61,000 programme managers, 2 lakh vaccinators and 3.7 lakh other vaccination team members have been trained so far as part of training at states, districts and block levels.

 

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The Covid-19 Vaccines are released, but not without side effects.

With the vaccine being distributed in India frontline health workers, over 2 lakh people have been inoculated till day 3. Though a vaccine for Covid-19 means good news, there have already been multiple reports of people experiencing side effects.

According to the Health Ministry, there have been 580 cases with side effects reported on 16th and 17th January, with seven hospitalized and two pronounced dead. The government said that, for the 52-year-old ward boy, who died in UP after receiving the vaccine, the death is not linked to the vaccination as he died due to cardiopulmonary disease as revealed by the post – mortem. The government plans to do a post – mortem in the second case of the 43-year-old man from Karnataka to determine the reason for his death.

On Day 1 of the vaccination, 52 cases of AEFI (Adverse Events Following Immunisation) were reported from Delhi, but only one was severe. On Day 1, Maharashtra reported 14 cases of side effects, as reported by Mint. Due to technical glitches in the Covin App, the vaccination drive had been put on hold in the state. However, the drive is expected to begin again on 19th January after resolving all the glitches.

Two vaccines are being released in India, Covishield and Covaxin. All three trials for Covishield have been completed as per protocol. However, Covaxin is still undergoing stage – III trials, making critics and experts skeptical about the vaccination’s side effects and efficacy. People receiving Covaxin also have to sign a consent form for “clinical trial mode,” implying that the trials are not yet over and the beneficiaries are a part of the clinical trial. The document also says that the beneficiaries will be compensated in case of adverse effects from the vaccine.

Along with India, many other parts of the world have fallen prey to side effects from the vaccine. In Israel, 13 people suffered mild facial paralysis after receiving the vaccine, while in Norway, 29 people have died after being inoculated with the Pfizer vaccine. The Norwegian Medicines Agency said that all the people who died were senior citizens suffering from “serious basic disorders” while others suffered other adverse reactions like nausea and vomiting. Norwegian officials have said that the vaccine trials may be too risky for the elderly and terminally ill patients.

As there have been side effects of the Covid-19 vaccines, it is too early to comment if these vaccines are fruitful in the long run and to determine the actual efficacy of these vaccines. We will have to wait and see if these vaccines provide us with a solution from Covid-19 without causing much harm to its beneficiaries.

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Vaccination: The Truth and Myths

We have all had our set of shots during infancy and childhood and despite the fear of that sharp needle, it felt like we had gained a superpower to fight off the deadliest diseases in the world. Vaccines have been one of the world’s biggest achievements till date and have prevented the death of millions from many deadly diseases like smallpox, polio or even TB (tuberculosis). But in many cases, they have also faltered and have been unable to complete their job.

Even though children have been vaccinated to prevent themselves from getting diseases like malaria, cholera, dengue etc they have still succumbed to these diseases due to the failure of the vaccines. Recently, there have also been rumours floating about a new disease which is even deadlier than the coronavirus which could hit us any time and the world will not be prepared for it.

The task of manufacturing and distributing a vaccine is not an easy process. Along with being time-consuming and expensive, it could be a huge loss if not proven effective. So, how does a vaccine work against these viruses? Well, it is the mechanism and working of the vaccine has definitely got our attention.

Vaccines contain the targeted virus in its weakened or dead form, or proteins from the virus, which after inserting into the body, will eventually stimulate our body into producing the antibodies required, hence making us immune from the respective disease.

There are various side effects that some people may experience after a vaccination which usually include mild fevers, headaches, pain and swelling, muscular pain, fatigue and nausea. They generally go away within a day or two and are not long-lasting. These side effects indicate that the body has started building up immunity against the virus. The problem is many people have the wrong impression that side effects caused by a vaccine can cause further illnesses. This stops them from getting vaccinated which can result in long term health issues.

10 out of 100 people will face mild side effects which disappear with a few hours after being vaccinated and these symptoms are a positive sign indicating that the body is becoming immune to the virus.

People who are against vaccinations believe that it can be the reason behind neurological disorders. When asked, many stated several reasons like conspiracy theories. While most were rumours, some statements are true and such practices are still relevant till date.

Most of the times a sanitary or religious objection have been the reason behind people opposing vaccinations. Many believe that better hygiene and sanitation can help prevent diseases and there would be no need for vaccinations which is not true. A huge percent of the population still fears vaccines as that they are completely unaware of what’s being injected into their bodies and whether it will do its job or not.

Many believe that if the disease is eradicated than a vaccine would not be needed anymore, which is a false theory as a disease will only be prevented if the vaccination continues. When smallpox vaccines were doing the rounds, rumours spread over the world that syringes were being used more than once which could be the reason for the spread of deadly diseases like HIV and can lead to infections which would eventually cause death.

Such conspiracy theories can fog peoples’ minds and create unwanted holes in society’s wellbeing. Currently, many people have opposed the vaccine against coronavirus and won’t be getting themselves vaccinated. Many countries like the USA have not made it obligatory for every citizen to get themselves vaccinated. Can this become a black hole in our fight against Coronavirus?

Soon, the world will be vaccinated against the coronavirus which has been looming across the world for almost a year and with the advancement in technology, we were able to revive ourselves even though there were many barriers. In the current scenario, we have innumerable vaccines available which have been made by various companies. The question remains whether the vaccination means a covid free world or is this the beginning of an era filled with pandemics?

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The new coronavirus strain in the UK is a ‘super-spreader’ says Centre, here’s everything you need to know

The United Kingdom sees a new highly contagious mutation of the coronavirus strain that has become a “super-spreader” with a 70 percent increased transmissibility rate. India so far has not found any such strain, with our caseload falling below 3 lakhs (2,92,518), the lowest it has been in 163 days.

‘This virus mutation is not affecting the severity of the disease, neither the case fatality nor the hospitalization rate,’ said NITI Aayog Member(Health) Dr. VK Paul. Further explaining, ‘Mutation means there is a change in the RNA of the virus. The change in the virus is called drift and has no significance. This behavior is seen in many viruses including this.’ Earlier scientists had also spoken to comfort the alarmed populations that all viruses mutate and it is in their nature to do so, therefore, vaccines need to be updated repeatedly too. So far 17 changes have been seen in the virus with one change – N501Y being responsible for increasing the tendency of the virus to enter the body.

The central government reacted to the situation by taking further precautions – stopping passengers to and from the UK temporarily till the 31st of December. Passengers that traveled to India from the UK are being checked and tested. If they are found to be positive their specimen is taken for cultures and genomic sequencing. As quoted by Dr. Paul ‘…the new strain of COVID-19 in the UK has no impact on the potential of the emerging vaccines being developed in our country and are available in other countries.’ Further adding ‘…there is no need to panic and there is no change in the procedure and guidelines of the treatment due to this mutation,’ stating that people need to be more vigilant.

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USA administers its first COVID-19 vaccine

USA has administered its first COVID – 19 vaccine to a critical care nurse, Sandra Lindsay at Long Island Jewish medical centre in Queens, New York. She received the shot live on television.

The distributor of the vaccine is Pfizer in collaboration BioNtech, a German firm. UK was the first country to administer Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Northwell Health, the largest health system in New York, monitors the hospitals in the USA administering the first dosages of the vaccines.

As of now, the USA has a death toll of over 300,000. The news of the vaccine comes as a relief for everybody who has been suffering. The vaccine has been distributed to 636 locations till now.

The vaccine which is being distributed by FedEx and USP is a challenge to transport and distribute while storing it at -70 degree Celsius as it needs to be stored in ultra-cold freezers at near-arctic temperatures.

‘Senior citizens, health care workers and first responders will be the first to get the vaccine’ said President Donald Trump days after the media criticized that White House senior officials will get the vaccine within 10 days.

Food and drug administration of the USA have authorized the vaccine last Friday, and the shipments have been sent out to each state of the USA with their respective zip code. The governor decides the priority of the group to be administered first. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has recommended the vaccine for those aged 16 years and older in the USA.

Essential and healthcare workers are at immediate risk, which is why they will be given priority in each state to get the vaccines.

The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine is given as two shots within 21-day gaps, although the vaccine has proven to be effective from the first dosage itself.

Although the vaccine has come as a silver lining during these dark times, people are still advised to wear masks and maintain social distancing while they are in public places. It is still a long road to go before the vaccine is administered to a majority of the US population.

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Covid-19 Vaccine is likely to be supplied to Centre at Rs. 250 by the Serum Institute of India

In a much-awaited move, the Serum Institute of India closes in on signing a supply contract for a covid-19 vaccine with the country’s central government. As per reports by the Business Standard, on the 8th of December, the institute, the world’s largest vaccine producer by volume, is likely to fix the vaccine’s price at 250 rupees (per dose).

On the 7th of December, the institute lodged the first formal application for emergency-use approval of AstraZeneca’s shot. With this, the government sees a mass supply by the institute. The vaccine was earlier quoted to be priced at 1,000 rupees per dose in India in the private markets. However, the deals signed with larger supplies by the government make the vaccine available at a lower cost. This development comes as India is accelerating its review of vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca to authorize for emergency use, as quoted by a senior official.

The Chief Executive Officer, Adar Poonawalla, said the institute’s priority would be to supply the vaccine to Indians, then distribute it to other countries. This step is much needed as India is the second most affected country in the world by Covid-19, after the United States, and currently records more than 9.7 million cases.

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G20 leaders ring in unity with a pledge!

Leaders of the 20 biggest economies take the pledge of aiding the world by paying for Covid-19 tests, vaccines and medicines.

The main aim behind this decision was to take into consideration the poor countries and to extend debt relief to them. The leaders conveyed that the global economy has started to improve but the Covid-19 recovery rates continued to stay stagnant.

They stated that the recovery rates were uneven, highly uncertain, and subjected to elevated downside risks.

To improve the employment rates and to safeguard income and lives, the leaders promised to use important policy tools. They also encouraged the strengthening of multilateral development banks so that they can strengthen their efforts in dealing with the crisis. The EU has asked for 4.5 billion dollars from the G20 to pay fir tools for fighting Covid-19 on behalf of the poorer countries.

Private creditors have also been mentioned in the draft to show support and aid the development. They also stated that the private creditors were not supporting them to a great extent and encouraged their participation and support.

 

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Feluda: A faster way of testing Covid-19

There is a new test named ‘Feluda’ which has become the talk of the town in India and will soon flood the markets. Not only is it said to be more cost-effective, but has also been indigenously developed. It will soon be used in many metropolitan cities like Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chennai. The name has been taken from a fictional character created by Satyajit Ray called ‘Feluda’. The acronym of the vaccine is based on FNCas9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay.
The most striking advantage of this paper strip test is that it gives results in less than an hour and is, therefore, a better option over other testing methods like gold standard RT-PCR tests. Pricing of this test has not been declared yet. The test will be launched by the TATA Company. It was approved by Drug Controller of India (DCGI) in September. Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that Feluda has shown 98 percent specificity in declaring the novel coronavirus. The test is based on CRISPR (Clustered regularly Interspace Short Palindromic Repeats) which is a genome editing technology.
According to reports, the test will soon be available in Apollo hospitals and TATA Medical and Diagnostics. This test has been a great development as it will make the testing process stringent, faster and is reliable to look forward to.

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The bizarre reason behind India’s low rate of Covid-19 Cases

Since the birth of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have been forced to change our lifestyles, implement rigorous cleaning habits which has turning almost everyone into hygiene freaks.
Covid-19 has boosted the sales of sanitizers, face masks and other cleaning products over the last few months. But there is another factor which is protecting us with its hidden shield even though it’s one of the most prominent issues which most Indian cities face today.
We have been told to stay clean and wash away the dirt and dust from time to time. Disgust covers our face when we see the filth in the nooks and alleys of our congested towns and we frown at the living conditions which the poor are forced to live in, but somehow the conditions that we Indians are so used to living in and around might be the reason for the decline in the number of cases, thus putting old theories in this fight against coronavirus to shame.
India’s poor hygiene is the reason behind the country holding the least number of cases in the world. At first, it sounds extremely bizarre but when thought about, this bizarre theory has proven to be an outstanding discovery. Scientists and researchers state that most Indians have a naturally trained immune system to fight this deadly disease. In comparison to people of other nations, people living in third world countries especially Indians, have an immune system that is capable of fighting off the virus. Developing nations are a step ahead in the race to overcome coronavirus as poor sanitation and bad hygiene has elevated our control over Covid-19.
Most Indians living in slums or rural areas are prone to numerous viruses which help in strengthening the immune system which is one of the major factors contributing to the low number of cases is poor sanitation systems. They have even brine used to the polluted air which is released by surrounding industrial areas.Around 40% of the households in India don’t have access to clean water and washing hands with soap regularly are impossible or unheard of. As our bodies become use to our polluted surroundings we are less likely to be infected by viruses.
The Counsel of Scientific Research (CSIR) in India states that most Indians are living in hostile and unsafe environments which hold millions of pathogens and viruses that can give birth to communicable diseases and horrifying infections which although dangerous, has helped in building up strong immunity levels in Indians. They also stated that a low presence of certain viruses and pathogens is due to better hygiene standards and this is linked to a higher rate of low immunity.
First World countries like the USA and UK are known for their cleaner and healthier environment but this is considered to be a drawback as one’s body is hardly exposed to any bacteria or viruses and hence is not trained to fight off diseases which makes the people more prone to various illnesses, especially Covid-19.This is the reason behind children being able to fight against coronavirus as they have immune systems that are smarter and more active and hence work cleverly to protect their body.

Most developed nations face an “immune hypothesis” or a sudden increase in autoimmune troubles which not only makes them more prone to communicable diseases but also more prone to allergies. While developing nations continue to fight the age-old battle against poor sanitation and clean water, developed nations are trying to overcome the problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and smoking.
Even though staying clean and practising good hygiene is the key to keep the virus at bay, poor sanitation has also aided in strengthening the immune systems which has greatly contributed to the low rate of coronavirus infections in India.

In India the vaccine won’t be available to all before 2021,and even though some countries like Russia have already vaccinated a majority of its citizens,still it has not brought in any drastic change in the number of cases,rather it has had many side effects like fever,cough and headache which is somewhat similar to the Covid-19 symptoms. And scientists state that the vaccine won’t have a long lasting effect as the virus keeps on mutating to a great extent. Covid-19 has truly changed our lives along with our lifestyles and has definitely become the ‘new normal’.