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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)
Healthcare startups in India have brought about an uberisation of the secondary care surgery market in the country with a focus on specialist care, personal attention and affordability.
Surgeries are the biggest part of healthcare expenditure with secondary care surgery a growing market.
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Healthcare startups like Pristyn Care, Practo and Mirascare have thus created tech platforms which connect doctors, customers and hospitals at cheaper prices.
These startups offer online medical consultations and thereafter if required non-critical minimally invasive surgeries for ailments like hernia, piles, gall stones etc., in smaller hospitals across the country, which run on lesser capacity than bigger hospitals in metros.
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Pristyn Care, which has grown nearly five times since January 2021, is a pioneer in this space. It has an ecosystem of over 80 clinics, more than 400 partner hospitals, and over 140 in-house super specialty surgeons. It operates in more than 22 cities across the country. A recent entrant, Mirascare Clinic and Centre also offers an array of treatments in advanced general, laparoscopic surgery and proctology.
"Apart from specialist care, the USP of Mirascare and such startups is ultra-modern facilities coupled with technology platforms which connect doctors, customers and hospitals," said a spokesperson for Mirascare.
Bengaluru-based health platform Practo has also unveiled more than 50 Practo Care Surgery Experience Centres at six places (Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad), marking its foray into secondary care in India.
Across India 2,000 large sized hospitals or corporate chains, and about 20,000 small-to-medium sized hospitals already have such facilities.Unsplash
Minimally invasive surgery without extensive hospitalisation, which can easily be done by skilled surgeons outside major hospital chains in smaller/mid-sized units is poised to be a nearly $80 billion market in India.
Across India 2,000 large sized hospitals or corporate chains, and about 20,000 small-to-medium sized hospitals already have such facilities.
Healthcare startups are tapping on to this opportunity by creating a win-win situation for hospitals looking to optimise their OT capacities, patients looking at affordable surgical expenses with personalised medical attention as well as skilled individual surgeons looking for a stable number of monthly surgeries without added insurance and operations related overheads.
(Keywords : healthcare, startup, India, surgery, medical, consultations, expenditure, growth, minimally invasive, hospitalisation, patients, doctors, opportunity.)
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US-based tech giant Google is reportedly working on its own in-house smartwatch that's set to launch in 2022.
According to a new report from Insider, the Pixel watch code-named Rohan is in the works. Renders show the Pixel watch as having a round face with no bezel, as well as a heart rate monitor and step counting.
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The device is expected to cost more than Fitbit's line of products and could compete with the Apple Watch line of devices.
Google apparently wants to ensure that the wearable would be comfortable to wear for the majority of the population, which means it might come in various sizes.
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The watch will have basic fitness tracking features, including step counting and a heart rate monitor, with Google also reportedly working on debuting a Fitbit integration into Wear OS with the new watch when it launches.
Google was earlier expected to unveil its first smartwatch alongside the Pixel 6, but the launch was reportedly delayed.
Google apparently wants to ensure that the wearable would be comfortable to wear for the majority of the population, which means it might come in various sizes.Unsplash
Meanwhile, Google has started rolling out its Camera app version 8.4 to older Pixel phones, bringing camera features from Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
The update includes a few new features, including a Timer light, a manual white balance toggle, and a manual exposure toggle. The new version of the App has added a gear icon next to the "V" icon in the top drop-down menu. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : Google, tech, smartwatch, pixel, device, costly, comfortable, fitness tracker, steps, heart rate.)
As the Omicron variant threat looms, Google is reconsidering its plans to ask full-time employees to return to offices by January 10. According to an email from Google VP Chris Rackow, seen by CNBC, Google will not be requiring its employees to return to offices on January 10 as expected after all. The company has changed its return to work plans several times as the pandemic evolved.
In August, when the delta variant was a top concern, Google had announced plans for hybrid return-to-work till January 10, 2022. Rackow said in the email that full-time employees will wait until the new year to assess when US offices can safely return to a "stable, long-term working environment. "None of the US locations will adopt the hybrid working mandate on January 10 as planned," he added. Rackow said that Google will allow specific locations to decide their timelines for returning their respective local workforces to the office.
Apple is reportedly asking employees to return to offices starting February 1 as part of a hybrid work pilot who will be able to work remotely for four weeks a year. After the first US case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant was reported in California, the federal government was set to announce a bunch of measures to help counter the virus, including campaigns to increase vaccinations and booster shots, additional testing requirements for travellers entering the country from abroad and plans to make rapid at-home coronavirus testing free for more people. International travellers coming to the US will have to test within a day of departure, regardless of vaccination status, rather than the 72 hours currently required for vaccinated travellers, under new protocols early next week. The new testing rules will apply both to US citizens and foreign nationals entering the country. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Office, Google, Omicron variant, apple, january, employees)