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Machine Learning identifies bat species that can spread Nipah

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NIPAH VIRUS

Kochi, June 28 (IANS) Researchers have developed a model using Machine Learning (ML) to identify bat species with the potential to host the Nipah virus, with a focus on India. Four new bat species were flagged as surveillance priorities.

“While there is a growing understanding that bats play a role in the transmission of Nipah virus in Southeast Asia, less is known about which species pose the most risk.

“Our goal was to help pinpoint additional species with a high likelihood of carrying Nipah, to target surveillance and protect public health,” said Barbara Han from Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in the US.

India is home to an estimated 113 bat species. Just 31 of these species have been sampled for the Nipah virus, and 11 have been found to have antibodies that signal host potential, according to the study published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

The Nipah virus is a highly lethal, emerging henipavirus that can be transmitted to people from the body fluids of infected bats. Eating fruit or drinking date palm sap that has been contaminated by bats has been flagged as a transmission pathway. Domestic pigs are also bridging hosts that can infect people.

Once infected, people can spread the virus directly to other people, sparking an outbreak. There is no vaccine and the virus has a high mortality rate.

For the study, Machine Learning, a form of Artificial Intelligence, was used to flag bat species with the potential to harbour Nipah.

“By looking at the traits of bat species known to carry Nipah globally, our model was able to make predictions about additional bat species residing in India with the potential to carry the virus and transmit it to people. These bats are currently not on the public health radar and are worthy of additional study,” Han said.

For the study, the research team compiled published data on bat species known to carry Nipah and other henipaviruses globally.

Data included 48 traits of 523 bat species, including information on foraging methods, diet, migration behaviours, geographic ranges and reproduction.

During the study, their algorithm identified known Nipah-positive bat species with 83 per cent accuracy.

It also identified six bat species that occur in Asia, Australia and Oceania that have traits that could make them competent hosts and should be prioritised for surveillance. Four of these species occur in India, two of which are found in Kerala.

“We set out to make trait-based predictions of likely henipavirus reservoirs near Kerala. Our focus was narrow, but the model was successful in identifying Nipah hosts, demonstrating that this method could serve as a powerful tool in guiding surveillance for Nipah and other disease systems,” said Raina K. Plowright from Montana State University in the US.

“Identifying which species harbour disease is an important first step in surveillance planning. We also need to prioritise research on which virus strains pose the greatest risk to people. Ultimately, the goal is to extinguish risk, not fight fires,” Han concluded.

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Over 1700 challans issued on Dussehra for violating Covid norms

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Dussehra

New Delhi, Oct 25: The Delhi Police issued over 1,793 challans on Sunday on the occasion of Dussehra for violation of COVID-19 norms, officials said.

A total of 1,711 challans were issued to those who were found not wearing masks, 18 challans for spitting and 64 challans were issued to those found violating social distancing norms, according to the Delhi Police data.

A total of 1,793 challans have been issued for various violations till 4 p.m. on Sunday, officials said.

Citing the collective data, the Delhi Police said since June 1,54,26,561 challans have been issued for mask violation, 3,112 challans for spitting and 33,439 challans for violation of social distancing norms.

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Uttar Pradesh: 5-yr-old raped by teenager

The FIR was lodged on the charges of rape (section 376 of the IPC) and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the SHO said.

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Minor Girl rape

Fatehpur (UP), Oct 25 : A five-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a teenage boy in a village in the Khaga area of Fatehpur district.

Khaga station house officer (SHO) RK Singh said, “An FIR was registered on Saturday on a complaint against a 13-year-old boy, who allegedly raped the girl. We have detained the accused.”

The girl was playing near her house when the accused took her to a secluded place and allegedly raped her, the family members alleged.

According to the FIR, the incident took place at around 2 p.m on Saturday and the locals tried to settle the matter but, later, the family members of the victim informed the police about it.

The FIR was lodged on the charges of rape (section 376 of the IPC) and under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the SHO said.

The victim has been sent for medical examination.

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Delhi University releases third cut-off list

A total of 52,183 students have deposited their fees in Delhi University so far.

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Delhi University

New Delhi: Delhi University on late Saturday released the third cut-off list for its ongoing admission process.

Zakir Hussain College released the cut-off list first, followed by Aryabhatta College and Rajdhani College.

A marginal dip of only 0.5 per cent was seen in the third cut-off as compared to the second as the cut-off for BA Hons (Economics), for the General category, of Aryabhatta College stands at 95.75 per cent.

Rajdhani College’s cut-off for BA Hons (Economics) for the General category stands at 95 per cent.

The cut-off for BSc (Mathematics) in the third cut-off list is 93.25 per cent, 92 per cent for Chemistry and 88 per cent for Botany. Admissions to Zoology have been closed.

A total of 52,183 students have deposited their fees in Delhi University so far.

The first cut-off of 100 per cent created a buzz across the nation. However, cut-off for the courses like BA Hindi, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Urdu, Persian etc came down to 45 per cent in many colleges in the second and third list.

Professor Hansraj Suman, in-charge of the Delhi Teachers Association and a former member of the Delhi University Admission Committee, said: “Half of the students were worried after seeing the first cut-off. In some colleges, the cut-off was 100 per cent while in some it was 99 per cent. Now, some colleges have reduced the merit so as to get some admissions.”

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