Thiruvananthapuram, June 18 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday noted that the Delta variant of coronavirus and its new mutant are there, hence utmost caution has to be exercised by all and there should be no callous attitude shown post the easing of lockdown norms.With regards to opening of religious places, a final decision will be taken on Tuesday, he said.Since Thursday, there has been a graded lifting of lockdown, depending on the incidence of Covid cases in each local body in the state.The state has been divided into four categories based on the test positivity rate and on Friday, there were six local bodies with a test positivity rate of above 30 per cent."There has been a talk of a third wave and experts points out that it could affect our children. We have made elaborate arrangements in all hospitals to ensure that proper paediatric care facilities are there, but there need be no fear about it. We are only making things ready," added Vijayan.He said that on Friday, 11,361 people turned Covid positive after 1,11,124 samples were tested in the past 24 hours and there were 1,07,682 active cases in the state.Meanwhile, 12,147 people turned negative, taking the total cured to 26,65,354.Vijayan also pointed out that 40 per cent of Kerala population has been given the first dose."Depending on the arrival of vaccines, it will be given to all. All should ensure that there should be no crowding at vaccination centres," he said.He also pointed out that so far there were 73 cases of black fungus in the state, of which 53 still under treatment, while 15 patients died."There have been reports of people disobeying the directives of the police besides there are cases of people who are under quarantine walking out. Both these will not be tolerated and very strict action will be taken against the lawbreakers," said Vijayan.Vijayan also warned of strict action against those educational institutions which are harassing students who have not paid the fees and are not allowing them to take part in online classes.--IANSsg/vd
New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the second wave of the pandemic illustrated the kind of challenges that the virus may present to us and the country needs to stay prepared to meet these challenges.The Prime Minister was speaking at the launch of a 'Customized Crash Course Programme for Covid-19 Frontline Workers' via video conferencing. The training programme will be conducted at 111 centres spread over 26 states.About one lakh frontline workers will be trained under this initiative. Union Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Mahendra Nath Pandey, many other Union Ministers, Ministers from the states, experts and other stakeholders were also present on the occasion.Addressing the event, the Prime Minister said that this launch was an important next step in the fight against coronavirus. He cautioned that the virus is present and the possibility of mutation is also there."The second wave of the pandemic illustrated the kind of challenges that the virus may present to us. The country needs to stay prepared to meet the challenges and training more than one lakh frontline warriors is a step in that direction," said the Prime Minister.He reminded everybody that the pandemic has tested the strength of every country, institution, society, family and person. "At the same time, this alerted us to expand our capabilities as science, government, society, institution or individuals," he said.He pointed out that India took up this challenge and the status of PPE kits, testing and other medical infrastructure related to Covid care and treatment bears testimony to the efforts."Amidst all these efforts, skilled manpower is critical. For this and to support the current force of corona warriors one lakh youth is being trained. This training should be over in two-three months," the Prime Minister said.He informed that top experts of the country have designed these six courses, launched on Friday, as per the demands of the states and union territories. The training will be imparted to Covid warriors in six customised job roles namely Home Care Support, Basic Care Support, Advanced Care Support, Emergency Care Support, Sample Collection Support, and Medical Equipment Support.This will include fresh skilling as well as upskilling of those who have some training in this type of work. This campaign will give fresh energy to the health sector frontline force and will also provide job opportunities to the youth."Corona period has proved how important the mantra of skill, re-skill and up-skill is. The Skill India Mission was started separately for the first time in the country, a Skill Development Ministry was created and the Prime Minister's Skill Development Centers were opened across the country. Today Skill India Mission is helping millions of this country's youth every year in providing training according to the needs of the day," he said.The Prime Minister said given the size of our population, it is necessary to keep increasing the number of doctors, nurses and paramedics in the health sector."Work has been done with a focused approach over the last 7 years to start new AIIMS, new medical colleges and new nursing colleges," he said.The Prime Minister lauded the ASHA workers, ANM, Anganwadi and health workers deployed in the dispensaries in the villages.Modi said many guidelines have been issued related to the campaign which is to start from June 21."People below 45 years of age will get the same treatment for vaccination as for people above 45 years of age from June 21st. The Union Government is committed to give free vaccines to every citizen while following corona protocol," he said.--IANSssb/dpb/bg
Take the example of Telangana, where health authorities recently stated that 37,332 children were infected with the virus between March and May 2021. This coupled with the fact that 19,824 children got infected from August-November 2020 tells us how we grossly underestimated the impact of Covid-19 on children.
Compared to the first wave, the number of positive cases and their severity has increased among children this time. Why is this concerning?
This is in contrast to what was earlier perceived globally that children will not suffer from the severe direct symptoms of the virus, the indirect fallout on their lives and rights is a topic for another discussion.
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Direct Impact on Children
Arrival of the mutant strain, delayed diagnosis and treatment, challenge of access to healthcare services, lack of space for social distancing are making children vulnerable. Children are showing symptoms of high grade fever, severe body aches, diarrhoea, coughing and abdominal pain requiring hospitalisation. In some cases, children are also showing symptoms of multi-system inflammatory syndrome.
The fear of a third wave affecting children more than the adults has set alarm bells ringing. To safeguard children, the Union Health Ministry has listed guidelines for Covid-19 treatment for those below 18 years of age. According to government data, around 26 per cent of people infected with Covid-19 in India since May 1 are in the 18-30 age group.
Debate- Is Vaccination safe for Children?
Vaccination for people above 18 in India has been anything but smooth with reports of acute vaccine shortage and difficulty in registering for vaccination online. Globally, a conversation around vaccination for children has started with countries like the US taking the lead. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6,00,000 children in the US between age 12 and 15 have received the Pfizer shot. Studies showed that the vaccine is 100 per cent effective in kids in the same age group.
Canada, Singapore and the UAE, too, approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in the 12-15 age group. Moderna is currently conducting age de-escalation studies. Johnson & Johnson also plans to do the same.
Meanwhile, in India the Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials of Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for 2-18 age group will begin in June, which will include 525 subjects across canters in AIIMS (Delhi and Patna) and Meditrina Institute of Medical Sciences, Nagpur. India is also developing nasal vaccines which could prove to be a game changer. But these won't be ready until next year.
Vaccination and Covid Protocols For Children
Before vaccination for children is rolled out, it is imperative that trials are conducted following compliances and guidelines to prove the effectiveness of the vaccine and how safe it is. Instead of hastening the process, protocols and standard norms need to be maintained.
At this point, equitable access to a suitable and effective vaccine is critical and it is upto the global leaders to continue dialogue on this. Meanwhile, stringent public health measures like social distancing, wearing masks, sanitising hands and avoiding gathering of crowds need to be maintained.
Vaccination alone cannot help in ending the pandemic.
While it may take some time for vaccines to be available for children, early testing and detection are key to treating children with Covid and preventing hospitalisation. Simultaneously efforts have to be made to strengthen hospitals and other health facilities for providing quality care to those children who might require hospitalization. Management of the infection will depend on the severity of the case.
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Another issue to address is vaccine hesitancy as a large sample of the population are hesitant about receiving the vaccine owing to concerns about side effects or potential adverse outcomes and misinformation; especially when it concerns children. History shows that vaccine hesitancy has always existed; the experience of polio eradication in India has shown how it adversely impact the health of other children. An interesting fact: In the 19th Century, Charles Dickens had published several essays advocating the small pox vaccine and other public health initiatives in his weekly journal Household Words.
India is not alone, many Americans are hesitant to get the Covid-19 vaccine and to convince them the US government, the states and the local businesses are offering all kinds of incentives. Free doughnuts, lottery tickets, cash prizes, free to tickets to events and parks, even beer are being offered. With the looming fear of a third wave in India, vaccinating parents is important to ensure we protect our children.
Though rapidly changing, perceptions are that children have lower risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19, however, the infection can still impact children and be passed on from infected family members. While India has recently initiated vaccination trials for under 18, it is imperative that our central and state government agencies conduct mass awareness campaigns in rural and semi-rural areas to tackle vaccine hesitancy; to ensure the caregivers of children are protected.
Moreover, to bust the myths and rumours around vaccinations and the ongoing trials, the government needs to create and disseminated data on public forums for scientists, medical experts and parents to study.
In 2020, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s director-general, had said, "We're not just fighting a pandemic we're fighting an infodemic." Countries, healthcare workers and scientists need accurate data to design an effective response to control the pandemic.
"The first thing you could do is collect data on transmission and its severity among youth and children in your district, and analyse them on a regular basis. I urge all officers to make an assessment yourself; this will help you in preparing for the future," Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently told district collectors and field officials of 10 states.
The government should ensure the data collection is disaggregated by sex, age and disability, prioritising the most vulnerable and marginalised children, including those who are orphaned, living in street situations, those in child care institutions, belonging to migrant families, refugees and those internally displaced.
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New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Science & Technology said on Monday that a study conducted by Indian scientists have recently found that cancer-causing Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) affects the glial cells or the non-neural cells in the central nervous system (CNS) and alters molecules like phospho-inositols (PIP) when the virus infects the brain cells.
The findings could pave the way towards understanding the probable role of the virus in neurodegenerative pathologies, especially given the fact that the virus has been detected in the brain tissue of the patients suffering from neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and multiple Sclerosis.
The EBV can cause cancers like nasopharyngeal carcinoma (a type of head and neck cancer), B-cell (a type of white blood cells) cancer, stomach cancer, Burkett's lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, post-transplant lymphoid disorders, and so on.
However, the infection is mostly asymptomatic, and very little is known about the factors which trigger the development of such a disease. It was the detection of the virus in patients with neurodegenerative diseases that triggered the search for the mechanism of propagation of the virus.
Scientists' teams from the Departments of Physics nd Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering at IIT Indore along with their collaborator, Fouzia Siraj, at the National Institute of Pathology (ICMR), New Delhi, used the Raman Spectroscopy System supported by the Fund for Improvement of S&T Infrastructure (FIST), a scheme of the Department of Science and Technology, to trace the propagation mechanism of the virus.
The study, based on spatial and temporal changes in the Raman signal, was helpful in advancing the application of Raman Scattering as a technique for rapid and non-invasive detection of virus infection in clinical settings.
New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Science & Technology said on Monday that a study conducted by Indian scientists have recently found that cancer-causing Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) affects the glial cells or the non-neural cells in the central nervous system (CNS) and alters molecules like phospho-inositols (PIP) when the virus infects the brain cells.The findings could pave the way towards understanding the probable role of the virus in neurodegenerative pathologies, especially given the fact that the virus has been detected in the brain tissue of the patients suffering from neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and multiple Sclerosis.The EBV can cause cancers like nasopharyngeal carcinoma (a type of head and neck cancer), B-cell (a type of white blood cells) cancer, stomach cancer, Burkett's lymphoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma, post-transplant lymphoid disorders, and so on. However, the infection is mostly asymptomatic, and very little is known about the factors which trigger the development of such a disease. It was the detection of the virus in patients with neurodegenerative diseases that triggered the search for the mechanism of propagation of the virus.Scientists' teams from the Departments of Physics nd Biosciences and Biomedical Engineering at IIT Indore along with their collaborator, Fouzia Siraj, at the National Institute of Pathology (ICMR), New Delhi, used the Raman Spectroscopy System supported by the Fund for Improvement of S&T Infrastructure (FIST), a scheme of the Department of Science and Technology, to trace the propagation mechanism of the virus.The study, based on spatial and temporal changes in the Raman signal, was helpful in advancing the application of Raman Scattering as a technique for rapid and non-invasive detection of virus infection in clinical settings.--IANSmiz/arm
Pratapgarh (UP), June 13 (IANS) A ‘Corona Mata temple that had come up in Juhi Shukulapur village under the limits of Sangipur police station in Pratapgarh district has been demolished by the district administration.A probe has also been ordered regarding the construction of 'Corona Mata' temple.According to Inspector general of police, Prayagraj range, K P Singh, the police administration has removed the 'Corona Mata' temple from the village to prevent people from getting trapped in superstitious activities.He said that the police teams are also making efforts to create awareness among masses regarding Covid-19, claiming that it is a deadly virus and they should not get involved themselves in such superstitious things.The IG also said that police administration has also ordered a probe into issue after a man from village, Nagesh Kumar Srivastava, has submitted an application to Sangipur police station claiming that his brother, Lokesh Kumar, staying in Ghaziabad, had set up 'Corona Mata' temple without consultation of other family members and went back to Ghaziabad after construction of the temple.Police said that ‘Corona Mata' temple had come up at Shuklapur village in Pratapgarh district three days back and hundreds of villagers had started offering prayers to ward off Corona virus.The temple was in fact built by a group of villagers after collecting donations. The villagers had started offering prayers to Corona Mata praying that the "shadow of Covid-19 should never fall on Shuklapur and adjoining villages".Not only this, they also highlighted the importance of Covid-19 protocol like use of masks and social distancing while offering prayers at the temple. The idol too wore a mask.Villagers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed, "After witnessing the Corona virus pandemic and its deadly impact which snatched lives of thousands of people, we decided to set up Corona Mata mandir under a ‘neem' tree with full belief that praying to the deity would definitely offer respite to people from the deadly disease."The little white stone idol has been placed on the wall in the open temple.With the installation of the idol, daily prayers were being organised and villagers were seeking blessings to save people from the deadly disease.Radhe Shyam, the temple priest, said, "We have earlier heard the name of ‘Chechak Mata' (smallpox mother) who cured the disease. Similarly, we had set up Corona Mata mandir with the belief that Mata would solve all the difficulties. We collected funds from the villagers."He said, however, this was not the first time such a temple has come up in the country. "When plague and other deadly diseases like smallpox spread across villages and towns and killed many people years back, people also worshipped in a similar manner."Villagers claimed that devotees were not allowed to touch the idol and offered only yellow flowers to the goddess.--IANSamita/pgh