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A child is vaccinated against Ebola in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo, July 13, 2019. VOA

Gavi, the global vaccine alliance that targets developing countries, said Friday that it was appealing for $7.4 billion to immunize 300 million children in 2021-25.

Gavi’s latest fundraising drive is its most ambitious to date. Officials said they expected huge returns from what would be the agency’s most comprehensive and cost-effective preventive health package ever.

Gavi said the vaccines would protect against 18 diseases, saving up to 8 million lives. Spokeswoman Frederique Tissandier said sustainable investment was needed for the project because there still are 1.5 million people dying every year from vaccine-preventable diseases.

“The situation is increasingly fragile because of climate change, because of wars, because of the rise of the population in the urban slums,” she said. “So you have more and more epidemics that are spreading around.”

Gavi, the global vaccine alliance that targets developing countries, said Friday that it was appealing for $7.4 billion to immunize 300 million children in 2021-25. Pixabay

Tissandier said Gavi planned to introduce new vaccines to prevent deadly diseases. For instance, she said, Gavi is ready to invest up to $150 million in a new Ebola vaccine stockpile once it is prequalified by the World Health Organization.

She told VOA that Gavi also would help the Democratic Republic of the Congo obtain the lifesaving vaccines it needs to immunize children against other killer diseases.

“We are going to fund, for instance, starting in September, measles campaigns in DRC to cover — I think the number is close to 18 million kids — to strengthen routine immunization, because we really focus on routine immunization,” Tissandier said. “We fund the stockpile against cholera, yellow fever or meningitis to respond to outbreaks.”

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She said support for the global polio eradication program remained a priority. Tissandier said Gavi would invest up to $800 million to accelerate the rollout of inactivated poliovirus vaccine. This would protect against a re-emergence of the disease in areas such as Africa, which is on the cusp of becoming polio-free, and other regions that already have achieved that status. (VOA)



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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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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