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Global pharmaceutical major Pfizer believes that a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 could be ready by the end of October, the company’s CEO Albert Bourla said. Pfizer is conducting clinical trials in the US and Europe for the BNT162 vaccine programme to prevent Covid-19 in collaboration with German mRNA company BioNTech. Bourla made the comments while participating at a virtual event organised by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) this week.
“If things go well and the stars are aligned, we will have enough evidence of safety and efficacy for us to feel comfortable, for the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) to feel comfortable, and for the EMA (European Medicines Agency) to feel comfortable, to have a vaccine around the end of October,” Bourla was quoted as saying at the event by FierceBiotech. Speakers at the event also included AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot, GlaxoSmithKline chief Emma Walmsley, Johnson & Johnson Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels.
Each of these companies are working with their partners to develop a vaccine to prevent the disease. While GSK has joined forces with Sanofi, AstraZeneca is backing the vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford.
J&J is collaborating with the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to develop its vaccine. So far over 120 vaccines have been proposed across the world. Currently, there are at least 10 candidate vaccines in clinical evaluation and 115 candidate vaccines in pre-clinical evaluation.
According to the WHO, it is important to evaluate as many vaccines as possible as we cannot predict how many will turn out to be viable. To increase the chances of success, it is critical to test all candidate vaccines until they fail, the WHO said. Pfizer and BioNTech’s development programme includes four vaccine candidates, each representing a different combination of mRNA format and target antigen. The novel design of the trial allows for the evaluation of the various mRNA candidates simultaneously in order to identify the safest and potentially most efficacious candidate in a greater number of volunteers, in a manner that will facilitate the sharing of data with regulatory authorities in real time.
“With our unique and robust clinical study program underway, starting in Europe and now the U.S., we look forward to advancing quickly and collaboratively with our partners at BioNTech and regulatory authorities to bring a safe and efficacious vaccine to the patients who need it most,” Bourla said in a statement earlier this month. “The short, less than four-month timeframe in which we’ve been able to move from pre-clinical studies to human testing is extraordinary and further demonstrates our commitment to dedicating our best-in-class resources, from the lab to manufacturing and beyond, in the battle against COVID-19,” he added.
In anticipation of a successful clinical development programme, Pfizer and BioNTech are working to scale up production for global supply. The breadth of this programme should allow production of millions of vaccine doses in 2020, increasing to hundreds of millions in 2021, Pfizer said. (IANS)
By- Sunidhi Beeliya
Internshala Trainings, the e-learning arm of Internshala, recently brought out a report highlighting young graduates' interest to acquire stock market trading and investment skills. The platform has registered an 8X increase in enrolments in their beginner's trading certification training from 2016 to 2021.
As per the report, 60% of the enrolments were made by learners to hone new-age trading skills practically, which indicates positively towards youths' growing risk appetite, interest in unconventional ways of saving, and willingness to build a hefty corpus over time.
They majorly enrolled in an online trading course to understand concepts like share trading, financial and technical analysis, virtual trading, stock exchanges, market myths, and financial ratios. Around 25% of the students registered in the certified training program with the objective of securing an internship or job opportunity in the future.
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Male and female candidates showcased a somewhat equal share of interest in learning trading tactics with 55% and 45% enrolments respectively. 65% of all these students, enrolled in the training, dedicatedly completed all the modules, assignments, and projects and achieved their learning goals.
The growing recruitment and career opportunities are the reason why trading skills is gaining popularity among young graduates. Unsplash
The report suggested that the growing recruitment drives and career opportunities in the field of finance, trading, investment, and stocks are another reason why trading skills are gaining popularity among young graduates. Stock market management was the most popular profile among employers hiring interns in the investment domain, during 2020-21. Apart from core trading, organisations also posted internships majorly for business development (sales), content writing, marketing, and social media marketing profile in trading, mutual funds, or stock market-related domains.
Addressing young graduates' interest in the trading domain, Sarvesh Agrawal, the founder and CEO of Internshala said, "Trading is a valuable life skill that entices youngsters who seek financial independence, are tech-savvy, dare to face challenges, and are willing to take more risks. Our beginners trading certification training is a comprehensive program designed to help students learn investment, buy their own stocks, get a job, or start their own investment-based business."
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He further added, "As we believe that #practicemakesprogress, through our training, young graduates can leverage the power of practice-based, affordable, self-paced, and accessible online trading courses, and become a professional at it. To provide them high-quality practical-first learning experience, our learners also get access to a virtual trading platform with virtual cash and real stock market data from the NSE stock market to constantly practice, strengthen their concepts, and master their trading skills."
Diwali, the festival of light that signifies the victory of good over evil. It brings happiness, progress, prosperity and longevity of life to those who celebrate the festival. People of different faiths, religions, social statuses and other differences come together to light up the moonless night of Diwali with Diyas, lanterns and firecrackers. They share meals and sweets filled with love and joy.
The most widely known story of why Diwali is celebrated is that Hindus, that Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama's return to Ayodhya after rescuing Sita and after 14 years of exile. However, within Hinduism itself, there are variations as to why Diwali is celebrated. Diwali has different but equally significant meanings in different religions.
In Jainism, Diwali holds a very special meaning to it. It commemorates the anniversary of Lord Mahavira's, the last Thirthankar's attainment of Nirvana (final release) or liberation of Mahavira's soul. He attained his freedom from the cycle of reincarnation, Bihar's Pavapur in 527 B.C.E. Lord Mahavira was the 24th and last Thirtankat of Jainism, he gave his spiritual teachings and build the religion as it is today.
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The tales say that Lord Mahavira was aware that his time in this world was coming to end. As soon as the news of his departure spread, the city was drowned in the gloom, the devotees were, grieving, even nature felt the Lord's impending doom and looked crestfallen. Indra the king of Gods, who had prepared himself for Lord's departure, lost his composure and the thought of Lord leaving the world pained him to no end.
Indra, unable to bear the pain and as the advocate of anxious people and natured reached out to Mahavira to persuade him to delay his departure, even if it was just for a moment. However, the Lord calmly told Indra, "Indraraj, lust blinds one. You love my body and hence your request. You are knowledgeable and yet you forget that no one - God, demon, or a human being - can extend the lifeline by even a fraction. The mission for which I was born as a human being is accomplished and a moment more here is a great burden to me. See Indra, there is spring blooming and there is a new dawn of sat, chit, anand. Welcome it." Following the events, the Lord transcended Badar Manyog and Vachan-yog and rested in kayayoga the last vestige of life on the planet. The Lord had achieved Nirvana.
It is said that just as Lord Mahavira attained Moksha, darkness spread all around the world on his loss. The guiding light which had enlightened many souls with his knowledge had burnt out. Indra regaining his composure announced, "Light the lamps. Lord has attained nirvana."
Till this day each year on Diwali, Jains celebrate Diwali to remember their Lord Mahavira and his teachings. In Jain scriptures the occasion was first referred to as dipalikaya meaning light leaving the body, it is said that the earth and the heavens were illuminated with lamps to mark Lord Mahavira's enlightenment.
The place where Lord attained nirvana at Pawanpuri was built into a beautiful picturesque Jain temple, Jal Mandir. It is surrounded by a rectangular tank. People believe that the temple has footprints of Mahavira and that place in the temple is reserved for worship.
Jains offer Nirvan Ladoo to Lord Mahavira after the prayers in all Jain temples all over the worldWikimedia Commons
On the morning of Diwali Jains offer Nirvana Ladoo to Lord Mahavira after the prayers in all Jain temples all over the world. Jains usually avoid firecrackers during Diwali as they have the potential to harm living organisms, which is against one of the most important principles of Ahimsa (non-violence). During Diwali usually, the atmosphere in Jain households is cloaked with austerity, simplicity, serenity, equity, calmness, charity, philanthropy and environment-consciousness. Temples, homes, offices, shops are decorated with lights and diyas. Relatives distribute sweets to each other. These lights symbolize knowledge and the removal of ignorance.
Swetambar Jains observe two days of fasting in remembrance of the penance and sacrifice of Mahavira. Devotees sing and chant hymns and mantras from Jain religious texts in praise of the Tirthankar and congregate for prayer and recite verses from the Uttaradhyayan Sutra which contain the last teachings of Mahavira. The Jain year starts with Pratipada, the next day of Diwali.
Keywords: Jainism, Diwali, celebration, religion, Lord Mahavira, Lanterns lighting, Jain temples, night of Diwali with Diyas.
The Lotus flower is one of the most prominent flowers of India. It holds great importance in Hinduism and Buddhism. Hindu gods and goddesses are often depicted sitting on a bloomed lotus flower. Lord Vishnu, Lord Ganesha, Goddess Laxmi and numerous others are shown holding a lotus flower in one of their hands. What is so important about Lotus? The Lotus flower symbolizes the creation of the universe.
According to Indian philosophies first Lotus plant was born from the navel of Sri Maha Vishnu and upon blooming creator Lord Brahma was born from it, who in turn created the whole universe. This is why it is believed that Lotus is a mythological map of the entire universe.
The Lotus flower is the symbol of purity, spontaneity and divine beauty. In one of his essays, "The Secret of Work", Swami Vivekanand emphasized the significance of lotus leaves as a spiritual detachment from the materialistic work, said, "Just as water cannot wet the lotus leaf, so work cannot bind the unselfish man by giving rise to the attachment to results." Despite blossoming in muddy and unclean water the Lotus flower remains pure and uncontaminated. It is not bothered by its surroundings; it does not try and pretend to be better than it is. It is naturally beautiful; it blooms as it is and withers away. This nature of the Lotus flower teaches us to perform our karma without worrying and being attached to the outcomes of how we'll be perceived. If we free ourselves from external factors which may or may not influence our actions, we'll be able to attain the pristine beauty, grace and purity similar to that of a Lotus flower.
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Hindu deities shown holding a lotus flower in one of their handsWikimedia commons
The transformation of a lotus bud to an enchanting flower can be seen as the path of an individual's consciousness to enlightenment. It represents that to achieve enlightenment an individual must maintain purity in their actions no matter how contaminated the world around them gets, the morality of practical life and practice detachment of spirit from the materialistic illusions of the greedy world. And as the soul develops the petals of the lotus start to unfold. The transformation of the Lotus bud to Lotus flower represents excelling from primal thought to the highest spiritual consciousness. One of the Vedas, Atharva Veda which is the knowledge storehouse of atharvāṇas, the procedures for everyday life, compares a human's spiritual heart to a lotus.
Lotus and the Sun's love is the prime example of unconditional love. The sun showers the lotus with unconditional love and to reciprocate that love the Lotus flower booms out if a smile. With its roots anchored on the bottoms of the muddy lakes, it rises above the surface and as the Sun's rays fall upon the flower the petals unfold slowly one petal at a time. At night when the sun is gone the flower closes itself and sinks underwater to wait for the sun to appear again. This signifies the element of humans that their cognizance flourishes with the radiance of spiritual thought and cripples in its absence. Despite being underwater the untouched petal is often figuratively used in scriptures to indicate the nature of a Jnani (Enlightened Soul) who is ever blissful, untouched by the sorrows and the changes which are characteristic of the world.
In Buddhist philosophies, the lotus is used to represent the preservability of purity of one's soul amidst the grime of mortal, it is often used as an expression to describe someone with pure and delicate attributes.
The Lotus flower was named the national flower of India as it is tied with the culture, history, and heritage of a nation. The flower reinforces the country's image to the world and plays a part in upholding the qualities and core values of the nation.
Keywords: Lotus symbol of purity, Hinduism, Indian values, lotus flower meaning, importance in Hinduism, prominent flowers of India.