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India Coronavirus Dispatch: What sero surveys say about urban-rural divide

Public sharing of coronavirus genome data, using community-based health infra, why Pfizer withdrew its emergency-use request-news relevant to India's fight against Covid-19

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Bharath Manjesh  |  New Delhi 

coronavirus pandemic
It is key to understand how connectivity, the nature of housing, employment and travel, might contribute to accelerating rural spread

What do the serosurveys say about urban-rural divide?

The second and third national serosurveys and several local serosurveys suggest the rural spread of Covid-19 has been slower, in general, than the urban spread. However, the trends are not uniform, according to a report in the Scroll. For instance, higher seroprevalence was observed in more rural districts of Bihar covered in the second national serosurvey. Therefore, while urban areas will see more infections, it does not necessarily mean the rural spread will always be slow. It is key to understand how connectivity, the nature of housing, employment and travel, might contribute to accelerating rural spread, the report said. Read more here

EXPLAINED: Why did Pfizer withdraw its emergency authorisation request?

US drugmaker Pfizer withdrew its request for emergency authorisation of its Covid-19 vaccine in India after an expert committee under the country's drug regulator recommended against the approval. The decision was based on concerns over certain serious adverse events together with the fact that additional safety information had not been generated through local trials, according to a report in The Indian Express. The serious adverse events in question include palsy and anaphylaxis. However, this does not necessarily mean the vaccine will never be used in India. The drugmaker said it will "continue to engage" with the country's drug regulator and resubmit its request as additional information becomes available "in the near future." Read more here

OPINION: Using community-based health infra will be key

In an opinion piece in The Indian Express, professor of political science at Hindu College Chandrachur Singh highlighted some measures to beat the pandemic. Singh said a safe, effective, and reasonably priced vaccine will be critical. Involving the local health ministry and using community-based health infrastructure wherever it exists will be key as well. A communication management system involving the private medical sector should be put in place to improve the immunisation environment. And, if the government wants to remove barriers to immunisation, it should make clinical trials data public. Read more here

Scientists urge public sharing of Covid-19 genome data

Hundreds of scientists have urged that genome data of the novel should be shared publicly as it would allow scientists to better analyse how variants are spreading around the world, according to a report in The Indian Express. The most popular data-sharing platform, Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), hosts nearly half a million genomes of the novel But the platform does not currently allow sequences to be reshared publicly. The scientists, in an open letter, urged their colleagues to share genome data in databases that don't restrict resharing such as the US GenBank. Read more here

Weekly tests, 14-day isolation most cost-effective way to check Covid spread: Study

According to a new study published in The Lancet, weekly testing for Covid-19 and a two-week isolation is the most cost-effective strategy to check the transmission of the virus, a report in ThePrint said. The modelling study is “the first to identify cost-effective strategies based on local transmission rates, the cost of testing and hospitalisations, and a societal willingness to pay in order to prevent Covid-19 deaths”. Read more here

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First Published: Sun, February 07 2021. 14:41 IST