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India switches off power, and lights up to thank ‘Corona warriors’

“I request all of of you to switch off all the lights of your house on 5 April at 9 PM for 9 minutes, and just light a candle, ‘diya’, or mobile’s flashlight, to mark our fight against coronavirus,” he said.

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9 Baje Nine Minutes

New Delhi, April 5 : Even as there were over 3,500 coronavirus cases on Sunday and the death count reached 83, India overwhelmingly responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call on Sunday night. Right at 9 p.m., Indians switched off lights and lit candles or flashed mobile torches for nine minutes to express solidarity with “Corona warriors”.

From metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai to tier two cities like Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior or Karnataka’s Mysuru, people rose above their political inclination to respond to PM Modi’s call and project a united front.

In the national capital, Prime Minister Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind lit divas. The PM in fact posted his photos along with a Sanskrit shloka. BJP President J.P. Nadda lit candles along with his entire family. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi released a video holding a candle in hand.

Modi’s mother Hira Ba too took part in this exercise.

Even senior police personnel like Noida Police Commissioner Alok Singh were seen lighting divas along with his family. Among business leaders, Biocon Chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw tweeted a photo, holding a candle. She said: “Lit the flame of unity for universal fight against COVID-19.” Diplomats like Maya Kadosh, Israel’s Deputy Chief of Mission, posted a video too.

However, it is the common men and women who led this initiative, regardless of their views on Modi and his policies. In housing societies, apartment balconies, residences, slum clusters, “normal Indians showed they care for those who care for them — doctors, nurses, and police personnel.

India, like most nations, is manoeuvering through a very delicate time with the nation of 133 crores on a 21-day-long nationwide shutdown, affecting supply of essential goods as well as people’s morale. While various sectors of the economy, especially hospitality and manufacturing industry, have already taken a beating, those who haven’t faced the economic ramifications are overwhelmed with the idea of working from home, often resulting in domestic confrontations, or wors, as per as claimed by the National Commission for Women. However, in this hour of absolute crisis, the Prime Minister and his message seems to have worked well in containing the disgruntlement of people facing hardships who end up rallying around him, including those who have not necessarily voted for his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Friday morning, PM Modi shared a short video clip, as announced by him earlier on Thursday, urging all to light diyas or candles or even flash flights in their balconies or outside their main gate, as a mark of respect to the Corona Warriors.

“I request all of of you to switch off all the lights of your house on 5 April at 9 PM for 9 minutes, and just light a candle, ‘diya’, or mobile’s flashlight, to mark our fight against coronavirus,” he said.

While it was dismissed as unnecessary by many and a diversionby the opposition, its emotional appeal rallied many Indians together immediately. A new hashtag – 9 baje 9 minute started to trend on Twitter almost immediately. And on Sunday, common people went to their balconies to light candles, as a symbolic move.

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Moderna Covid-19 vax shows promise in mouse studies

Recently, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine has shown successful results in monkeys as well.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

New York, Aug 6 : Pharmaceutical company Moderna’s investigational vaccine mRNA-1273 currently in clinical stage has protected mice from the SARS-CoV-2 infection that causes Covid-19.

The findings, published in the journal Nature, show that the investigational vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies in mice when given as two intramuscular injections of a 1-microgram (mcg) dose three weeks apart.

Additional experiments found that mice were given two injections of the 1-mcg dose and later challenged with SARS-CoV-2 virus either five or 13 weeks after the second injection was protected from viral replication in the lungs and nose.

Importantly, mice challenged seven weeks after only a single dose of 1 mcg or 10 mcg of mRNA-1273 were also protected against viral replication in the lungs.

According to the researchers, the investigational vaccine also induced robust CD8 T-cell responses in the mice.

It did not induce the type of cellular immune response that has been linked to vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease (VAERD), they said.

This rare, allergic-type inflammation was seen in individuals vaccinated with a whole-inactivated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine in the 1960s.

VAERD can occur when a vaccine induces an immune response that is not strong enough to protect against infection.

The investigators vaccinated mice with sub-protective doses of mRNA-1273 and then challenged the mice with SARS-CoV-2.

The mice showed no evidence of enhanced lung pathology or excessive mucus production, indicating the vaccine did not cause enhanced disease, the authors write.

The authors noted that the data from these studies, combined with data from studies in nonhuman primates and Phase 1 clinical testing, support the evaluation of mRNA-1273 in clinical efficacy trials.

They also explained how their prior research on a candidate MERS-CoV vaccine paved the way for a rapid response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

“This is a demonstration of how the power of new technology-driven concepts like synthetic vaccinology facilitates a vaccine development program that can be initiated with pathogen sequences alone,” the authors wrote.

Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, along with collaborators from the University of North Carolina, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Texas at Austin conducted the preclinical research.

NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) scientists worked with investigators from the University of Texas at Austin to identify the atomic structure of the spike protein on the surface of the novel coronavirus. This structure was used by VRC and Moderna in the development of the vaccine candidate.

Recently, Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine has shown successful results in monkeys as well.

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Rains lash Mumbai, landslide at Malabar Hill

The IMD has forecast heavy to extremely heavy spells of rain in Mumbai and the coastal Konkan area in the next 24 hours.

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Mumbai Rains

Mumbai, Aug 6 : Intermittent heavy showers continued to lash Mumbai a day after it was battered and shattered by stormy weather that left a trail of destruction, fallen trees or branches, hundreds of vehicles submerged or broken down, officials said here on Thursday.

Overnight rains were reported from most parts of coastal Maharashtra including Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, besides regions of Western Maharashtra like Kolhapur, Satara and Sangli.

A minor landslide occurred when a portion of a hillock at the posh Malabar Hill crashed down near Pedder Road, but luckily there were no casualties.

The IMD Mumbai said that the Mumbai city received 33.1 cms and the suburbs got around half or 16.2 cms rainfall.

In the past 24 hours, many areas of south Mumbai witnessed their maiden floods, including those which had escaped flooding during the July 26, 2005 Great Floods, when the city recorded a staggering 160 cms rainfall in a 24-hour period.

These include: Churchgate, Colaba, Marine Lines, Marine Drive, parts of the congested Kalbadevi, Dongri, Mohammed Ali Road, Byculla, Mazagaon, Grant Road, Charni Road, Mumbai Central, besides the traditional flood hotspots of Dadar, Parel, Sion, Matunga, Kings Circle, Wadala, Kurla, and several suburban areas.

Locals attribute this to the combined effects of the ongoing Mumbai Metro and Coastal Road works, though officials have not commented on the issue.

The gusty winds of upto 70 kmph on Wednesday uprooted over a hundred trees jamming many roads in south Mumbai, which the civic workers were busy clearing since night.

At least 250 commuters stranded in two trains between Byculla and Masjid Bunder stations on the CR were rescued by police and disaster teams with rubber boats sailing on the flooded tracks.

In some areas in south Mumbai, Kandivali, Dahisar, Kurla, Parel, Dadar, Wadala and Sion, water rushed into ground-floor homes, shops or offices in south Mumbai as incessant rains continued all day, and the subways in Dahisar, Malad and Andheri were flooded preventing east-west movement of traffic.

With thousands of commuters getting stranded, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday threw open around 130 civic schools to enable them spend the night there.

The IMD has forecast heavy to extremely heavy spells of rain in Mumbai and the coastal Konkan area in the next 24 hours.

Amid apprehensions of a 2005-like flood situation, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reviewed the monsoon situation and the state government has kept around 15 NDRF teams in readiness for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur to help in any contingencies.

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With 56k new Covid cases, India’s tally mounts to 19.6L

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coronavirus india

New Delhi, Aug 6 : With 56,282 new coronavirus cases and 904 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total tally in India rose to 19,64,537 and 40,699 deaths, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed on Thursday.

Currently, 5,95,501 cases are active and 1,328,336 people have recovered from the disease. The recovery rate has reached a new high of 67.19 per cent. In the last 24 hours, 6,64,949 samples have been tested.

Six major states in India have recorded more than one lakh cases in the last six months since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Maharashtra has the highest number of cases, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state with 4,68,265 cases and 16,476 deaths. Tamil Nadu comes in second with 2,73,460 cases and 4,461 deaths.

On the other hand, with the deadly virus spreading rapidly all over the country, there are eight states and union territories – Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Ladakh, Mizoram, Arunanchal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Andaman and Nicobar Islands where there are less than 1,000 active cases.

In a press briefing earlier this week, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said that 82 per cent of the total cases are limited to ten states and union territories and that fifty districts account for 66 per cent of the total caseload.

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