Those already infected may still need vaccination: Medical experts
How sensible is it to put off vaccination or choose not to get the jab at all if one had contracted coronavirus in the past? Medical experts explain why those with prior infection still need innoculation in this report in The Hindu.
Immunologist Dr Satyajit Rath, formerly with the Delhi-based National Institute of Immunology, explains that a small minority of people who were infected and showed symptoms end up not developing high levels of antibodies. Another small minority end up not developing long-lasting antibodies, according to the report.
Dr Gagandeep Kang, professor of microbiology at CMC Vellore, explained that the highest levels of binding antibodies are generally seen in people with the most severe forms of the disease. Asymptomatic infections may result in low antibody levels or even no antibodies spotted in up to 20% of people, according to the report. Read more here
How was the nationwide dry run carried out
India held a nationwide dry run to prepare for the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccines on Saturday. This report in The Hindu explains how it was carried out.
All the crucial steps in the vaccination process were tested in a field set up to identify and plug the gaps. The dry run was carried out in several districts in states. The sessions were held at district hospitals or medical colleges, community or primary healthcare centres, private health facilities, and at outreach sites in urban and rural areas. No actual jabs were given, but the details of every person to be vaccinated are entered into the Co-Win application, the Centre's flagship digital platform to monitor the unprecedented vaccination programme, the report said.
Dummy boxes of vaccines were brought out, cold storage points were also checked to ensure coordination with places where the vaccine will be actually delivered. At the end of the session, all data and feedback were sent back to district, state, and eventually central centres for feedback and analysis. While the dry runs are useful as a warm-up, they will reveal little about the most difficult parts of the vaccination process—the actual inoculation, reactions, severe adverse reactions and potential hospitalisation, the report said. Read more here
Two Covid-19 vaccines approved, what is the next step?
India's national drug regulator announced on Sunday that the Covid-19 vaccines of both Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech have been approved for restricted use in the country. What happens now? This report in the Indian Express explains.
As the next step in the roll-out, the government will procure the vaccines from the two companies. 80 million doses of SII's Covishield, the Indian variant of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, have been stockpiled. Therefore, the rollout can begin fairly quickly. Covaxin, manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), could take a few days or weeks to be available.
In the US and the UK, the first shots were administered within 1-2 days of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines getting regulatory approval. While no concrete timelines have been announced in India, it is reasonable to expect that mass vaccination will begin within a week. Read more here
Luxury cruise liners queue up at Alang for ship-breaking
The pandemic has ravaged the global economy uprooting many sectors. The cruise industry was among the worst-hit. Now, luxury cruiseliners are starting to line up for ship-breaking at Alang in Gujarat, whose beaches are the world's largest ship graveyard, according to a report in The Indian Express. Read more here
New strain could be tougher to control, large-scale UK study finds
A month-long lockdown has struggled to contain the new UK variant, a large analysis of the infection trends in the country, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. At least 33 countries – including India – have said that they have found the strain among their populations.
The analysis, carried out by researchers from the Imperial College London, University of Edinburgh, among others, found the new variant's R value up till December 6 was 1.74 times its predecessor’s.
R value is a key measure of how quickly the virus is spreading. In simple terms, it is the average number of people catch the virus from an infected individual. Bringing it under 1 is critical to containing the virus. Read more here