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A third shot at least partially restores that antibody protection.

Cellular immunity elicited by existing Covid-19 vaccines can fight the Omicron Covid variant, according to a study. The yet to be peer-reviewed study, which focused on Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson's Covid shots, showed that vaccines will protect against severe disease even if the antibody responses against the strain are not as strong or durable, the Financial Times reported.

"These data suggest that current vaccines may provide considerable protection against severe disease with the Sars-Cov-2 Omicron variant despite the substantial reduction of neutralizing antibody responses," the researchers from Harvard medical school wrote in the study. Previous evidence suggests that the existing vaccines lose antibody response when pitted against Omicron. A third shot at least partially restores that antibody protection, and countries have been racing to scale up their booster programmes to avoid new restrictions.

Also Read : Vaccine isn't sufficient

But vaccines are still expected to protect against severe disease, and health authorities have said they would closely examine evidence such as the one contained in the new study to decide whether a switch to Omicron-targeted vaccines is necessary, the report said. Early findings from studies in South Africa, the US, and the UK suggest that Omicron spreads faster but appears to be milder than previous variants. However, it is not clear yet if this is because of the variant itself, or because most of the world has either been infected or vaccinated, or a combination of the two factors.

However, scientists have said that its high transmissibility, coupled with uneven vaccine coverage, could still mean health systems worldwide come under pressure as many more people get infected. The World Health Organisation has repeatedly called for a more equitable distribution of vaccines. The global health body has set a target of 70 per cent coverage in all nations by mid-2022. (IANS/SP)

(Keywords : cellular, immunity, vaccine, COVID, Omicron, severe, disease, protection, antibody, health, authority, examine, evidence, World Health Organization, transmissibility, researchers.)



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.

Also read: Antiviral Remdesivir Receives FDA

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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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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