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President’s call to address healthcare challenges

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Mysuru (Karnataka), Oct 12 President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday called for a multi-pronged approach to address the healthcare challenges due to the triple burden of communicable, non-communicable and emerging diseases in the country.

“Though we have achieved a lot over the years, we are challenged by communicable, non-communicable and emerging diseases. We need to improve access to health services for the people,” said Kovind at a foundation stone-laying event in Karnataka’s Varuna village near Mysuru.

Admitting that malnutrition and neglected tropical diseases put severe constraints on the people, Kovind said cleanliness and sanitation were the basic requirement to tackle many health-related issues and diseases.

Addressing a huge gathering at the JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research in the village on the occasion, the President said the healthcare challenges were a fallout of the larger socio-economic problems across the country.

“Solutions to meet the health challenges need to be broad-based and multi-pronged. The stakeholders should use the power of modern medicine and traditional knowledge. They must focus on body and mind and involve in prevention and cure,” asserted Kovind.

Set up in 2008, the Academy is a tribute to Shivarathri Rajendra Mahaswamiji, whose 104th birth anniversary is being commemorated this year.

Varuna is the home town of former state chief minister and opposition Congress leader Siddaramaiah.

The President is on a three-day visit to the southern state since Thursday to participate in various educational, religious and judicial functions at Mysuru and Bengaluru on Saturday.

Kovind also visited the Hindu goddess Chammundeshwari Devi temple atop a hill on the outskirts of Mysuru.

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Researchers develop coronavirus vaccine candidate

The next stage is to produce this on a larger scale needed for additional testing, to determine its effectiveness against the virus.

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Sydney, Feb 22 : A team of researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia has created their first vaccine candidate in the laboratory for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The team will move immediately into further development before formal pre-clinical testing, the university said on Friday.

The proof-of-concept milestone comes in less than a month after the project’s announcement on January 24 as part of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) rapid response programme.

“There is still extensive testing to ensure that the vaccine candidate is safe and creates an effective immune response, but the technology and the dedication of these researchers means the first hurdle has been passed,” said University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor and President Peter Hoj AC.

The work in the lab shows the feasibility of using the university’s “molecular clamp” technology to engineer a vaccine candidate that could be more readily recognised by the immune system, triggering a protective immune response.

The next stage is to produce this on a larger scale needed for additional testing, to determine its effectiveness against the virus.

Researchers said the early research had gone “as expected” and the material created had the properties which allowed the team to proceed with vaccine development.

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Novel predicted coronavirus 40 years ago, Internet stumped

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

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New Delhi, Feb 17: An excerpt of the Novel “The Eyes of Darkness”, a 1981 thriller by bestselling suspense author Dean Koontz is revolving around the social media which tells of a Chinese military lab that creates a virus as part of its biological weapons programme.

In chapter 39 of his book, Koontz writes that the lab is located in Wuhan, which lends the virus its name, Wuhan-400.

Congress leader Manish Tewari has also tweeted excerpts from a book that went viral on the Internet that the coronavirus involved in the outbreak in China’s Wuhan appears to be man-made.

“Is Coranavirus a biological Weapon developed by the Chinese called Wuhan -400? This book was published in 1981. Do read the excerpt,” Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted.

Tewari highlighted a paragraph that read: “They call the stuff ‘Wuhan-400’ because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan, and it was the four hundredth viable strain of man-made micro-organisms created at that centre.”

As the post went viral, Twitterati flooded the social media with their reactions.

A user wrote, “Haha Infinite monkey theorem. Pick any event and chances are that some book written at some would have a similar plot . Conspiracy theory has no end.”

Another wrote, “Sensational … No doubt China had replaced Russia and USSR as rogue country in Hollywood films and later James Bond movies.”

A post read, “Intriguing for sure, hope the truth comes out.”

A user remarked, “Okay if it is then it surely backfired on them!”

By the end of Sunday, a total of 1,770 people had died of the disease and 70,548 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection had been reported in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps in China.

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WHO underestimates coronavirus’ ability to spread: Study

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

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London, Feb 15 : The novel coronavirus may have greater ability to spread than the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated so far, according to a review of previous studies of the virus’ transmissibility.

“Our review shows that the coronavirus is at least as transmissible as the SARS virus. And that says a great deal about the seriousness of the situation,” said Joacim Rocklov, Professor of Sustainable Health at Umea University in Sweden and one of the authors of the study, published in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

The World Health Organization estimates that the coronavirus has a transmissibility, expressed as a reproduction number, of between 1.4 and 2.5.

A reproduction number is a measurement of how many people a contaminated person transmits the virus to in a previously healthy population.

The higher the number, the more transferable the virus is and the higher the risk of its rapid spread.

When the reproduction number falls below 1.0, the epidemic is likely to die out.

Researchers in Umea in Sweden, Heidelberg in Germany and Zhangzhou in China have carried out a review of several scientific studies of the novel coronavirus.

In total, the researchers found twelve studies of sufficiently high quality.

The studies consisted of estimations of the growth rate based upon the cases observed in the Chinese population, and based upon statistical and mathematical methods.

The earliest studies of the coronavirus indicated a relatively low transmissibility. Thereafter, the transmissibility rose rapidly to stabilise between 2-3 in the most recent studies.

The reproduction number in the studies summed up to a mean of 3.28, and a median of 2.79, which is significantly higher than the World Health Organization’s estimation of 1.4-2.5.

“When looking at the development of the corona epidemic, reality seems to correspond well to or even exceed the highest epidemic growth in our calculations. Despite all intervention and control activities, the coronavirus has already spread to a significantly higher extent than SARS did,” said Rocklov.

The overall death toll in China due to the deadly coronavirus on Saturday increased to 1,523, with a total of 66,492 confirmed cases, authorities said.

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