Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
India and several other countries have been undergoing the deadly second wave of Covid-19 and fear loom large that future waves might predominately infect children.
The world is gearing up to efficiently deal with this dynamic situation. The world is now focusing on a universal vaccination against Covid and a vaccination for children has emerged as a top priority.
Western countries are moving ahead with the vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 and efforts are being made to go even younger than this age group. Given the vulnerability of children against future waves, countries are planning to vaccinate children from 2-years onwards.
During previous waves, children’s risk of becoming very ill or dying with Covid-19 was less and throughout the pandemic, they have very rarely needed hospital treatment. But the situation is expected to change during future waves.
Recently, government leaders, members of civil society, the UN, academia, the private sector from across the world participated in the virtual event ‘Lives in the Balance’ and spoke out about the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic on women’s, children’s, and adolescents’ health, and unveiled targeted, time-bound commitments for focused action.
The e-Summit was organized by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (PMNCH) a multi-constituency partnership hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO), together with the CORE Group, the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children, and Adolescents, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Urging to adopt pro-equity strategies for children and adolescents to accelerated Covid-19 response and recovery, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance called for an extensive childhood vaccination against the infection across the world with special attention on in lower-income countries.
“Covid-19 has exacerbated underlying inequities, with vulnerable populations that are already living on the margins and are so often bereft of basic health services being the hardest hit. The knock-on impact of the pandemic on childhood vaccination in lower-income countries has been devastating, with millions of children missing out on timely, life-saving immunizations.
We look forward to highlighting the imperative of keeping equity at the center of the Covid response, and in particular addressing the urgent needs of women, children, and adolescents,” said Anu Radha Gupta, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, while addressing the Summit.
Healthcare and government leaders emphasize targeted, time-bound commitments for focused action with concrete and measurable commitments to investment and policy change.
Helen Clark, Board Chair of PMNCH and former Prime Minister of New Zealand said, “Covid-19 is deepening and magnifying social inequalities compounded by ethnicity, gender, income, geography, and other factors. We must act now, not just to protect progress previously made, but also to work towards a world that is far more equitable than the one that existed before the pandemic.”
In addition to the ongoing and catastrophic direct impact of Covid-19 in many parts of the world, women, children, and adolescents are affected indirectly because of widespread disruptions to essential health, nutrition, and social services under lockdown conditions. This increases the risk of mortality and morbidity, including from treatable and preventable causes, denying the right to protection and care. A recent Global Financing Facility review of 36 partner countries showed there has been up to a 25 percent drop in coverage of essential health interventions, hitting women and children the hardest. One-third of countries report interruptions to routine immunization services due to lockdown conditions.
India now needs to build on its commitment made at global forums. The Indian government had committed $2 billion for 2020-2021 to strengthen all levels of care in response to the pandemic and to ensure essential public health functions with an enhanced focus on women, children and adolescents, and the most vulnerable. It is now time to act and fast to invest in healthcare systems for children and India needs to ramp up a vaccine program to cover 18+ as soon as possible so that childhood vaccination gets ample attention. (IANS/AD)
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)