Monday March 19, 2018
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Modi to Putin: Russia trusted friend of India in hour of need


Moscow: India sees Russia as a reliable friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin as the 16th annual summit between the two countries got underway here on Thursday.

After exchanging greetings at the start of the talks with the Putin, Modi said India and Russia were now cooperating in the international and political arenas more actively, TASS news agency reported.

The prime minister said he saw Russia as a reliable friend that had always supported India at difficult times, adding that his country aimed to continue its strategic partnership with Russia.

Putin, on his part, said that Russia and India were consistently and confidently developing the strategic partnership.

“I am pleased to note, and I am happy to do that, that we are consistently and confidently developing the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia,” Putin said.

The Russian president noted that the bilateral relations were developing in all directions – in international politics, economy and the humanitarian area.

He added that a number of issues required special attention, “especially in today’s challenging economic environment.”

According to Putin, Modi’s visit was very timely and would make it possible to “synchronise watches” on the main areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Modi also offered his condolences to Putin over a terrorist attack against a Russian A-321 passenger airliner in the Sinai and the downing of a Su-24 warplane over Syria saying the Indian people were mourning together with Russia.

Russian Kogalymavia Flight 9268 came down about half-an-hour after leaving the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh while on its way to St. Petersburg in a terrorist attack on October 31. All 224 people on board the plane were killed.

In another tragic development on November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber, which, Ankara alleges, violated the country’s airspace near the Syrian border. The Russian defence ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory and had never violated Turkey’s airspace.

Ahead of Thursday’s talks, Modi laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located by the Kremlin wall in the Alexandrovsky Garden.

Earlier in the day, Modi visited Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC), also known as EMERCOM, in Moscow and was given a rundown on how its works.

Modi and Putin are scheduled to meet a delegation of Indian and Russian CEOs in the Kremlin.

Modi will address a gathering of Friends of India and also meet members of the Indian community in Russia.

Modi arrived in Moscow on Wednesday and was hosted for a private dinner by President Putin.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

Also Read: With Medicine Running Out, Venezuelans With Transplant Live in Fear

According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS