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Leading Western experts believed a lab leak in Wuhan was the 'likely' origin of Covid.

New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS): Leading Western experts believed a lab leak in Wuhan was the 'likely' origin of Covid but were silenced because it could cause harm to Chinese scientists, bombshell emails show, the Daily Mail reported. Sir Jeremy Farrar, who publicly denounced the theory as a 'conspiracy', had admitted in a private email in February 2020 that a 'likely explanation' was that the virus was man-made.

The then-UK government advisor said at the time he was '70:30 or 60:40' in favour of an accidental release versus natural origin, the report said. In the email, sent to American health chiefs Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins, Farrar said it was possible that Covid had been evolved from a Sars-like virus in the lab. He went on that this seemingly benign process may have 'accidentally created a virus primed for rapid transmission between humans'.


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But the British scientist was shut down by his counterparts in the US who warned that further debate about the origin of the virus could damage 'international harmony', the report said. He was told by other scientists with links to virus manipulation research that it could cause 'unnecessary harm to science in general and science in China in particular'.


Image of a scientist using a microscope Mike Farzan, the Harvard researcher who first discovered how the original Sars virus binds to human cells. National Cancer Institute / Unsplash


Farrar claimed in his emails that other respected scientists also believed the virus could not have emerged naturally. The names included professor Mike Farzan, the Harvard researcher who first discovered how the original Sars virus binds to human cells, the report said. Despite his concerns, Farrar went on to sign letters in The Lancet a fortnight later denouncing anyone who believed in the lab leak theory as bigoted. (IANS/SP)


(Keywords : western, experts, China, laboratory, leak, COVID, virus, accidental, debate, manipulation, research, science, scientists, Sars, transmission, human, American, British.)


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IANS

As the economy continues to recover from the prolonged pandemic.

By Rohit Vaid
The Centre might bestow infrastructure as well as industry status to new sectors to boost several pandemic hit industries in the upcoming Union Budget. Industry insiders said that several sectors and sub-industries such as hospitality, automobile retail, specific diganotics facilities and companies engaged in installation of EV charging stations amongst others might get the status.
The infra tag will enable these sectors to avail tax breaks, incentives and credit on lower interest rates. "Sectors which are in greenfield or which would need capex augmentation to help them overcome the pandemic can be looked from the lens of an infrastructure sector," said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Director and Practice Leader, Transport & Logistics, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory. "Also many of the already identified sectors need a sustained policy push which will help them get visibility both in terms of quantum and the time period of applicability."

Till now, activities associated with laying of power and telecom transmission and distribution lines, roads, highways, railways and construction of facilities such as hospitals, affordable housing, power generation units, water treatment plants, SEZs and certain type of hotels amongst others were given such status.

Besides, these sectors are a part of harmonised master list for infrastructure sub-sectors. However, in April 2021, exhibition-cum-convention centre was included in the list. "Given the focus around electric vehicle, and need for significant investment in charging stations, if the government adds the sector in infrastructure list, the benefits arising out of it will be significant," said Vishal Kotecha, Director, India Ratings and Research. "Infra tag on sectors increases ability to raise funds, access to dedicated funds and lenders, foreign capital, lower interest rates among others."

Electric car Given the focus on electric vehicles, the advantages of including the industry in the infrastructure list will be enormous. Free SVG

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A team is working to produce safest medicine for covid treatment.

A team led by chief scientist Ravi Shankar, is working on two combinations to provide the safest medication to coronavirus patients. "Experts say that a combination of antivirals with different mechanisms can be more effective to counter the viral pandemic. We are working on two combinations - Umifenovir with Molnupiravir (an antiviral) and Umifenovir with Niclosamide (anti-parasitic)," he said.

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Molnupiravur drug has received only Emergency Use Authorisation in India and abroad. Though its usage showed reduced hospitalisation during clinical trials, its biggest drawback are the side-effects, he added.

"Now, we are trying to keep a low dosage of Molnupiravir in its combination with Umifenovir which may weed out the side-effects such as the risk of cartilage and muscle damage. If successful, it will make Umifenovir more effective in Covid-19 treatment," said the chief scientist. The other combination is Umifenovir with Niclosamide.

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Wikipedia

MEA Jaishankar instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, "to urgently respond to the situation."

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Friday instructed Indian envoys to Canada and the US, Ajay Bisaria and Taranjit Singh Sandhu, "to urgently respond to the situation" where four Indian nationals including an infant have lost their lives on the US-Canada border. The minister said this in a public tweet. Neither of the two missions have responded on the microblogging site till the time of filing of this report.

In a statement Thursday without identifying the victims, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated that "on the morning of January 19, 2022, RCMP officers with the Integrated Border Enforcement Team received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States".

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) RCMP officers received concerning information from their counterparts in the United States.Wikipedia

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