Thursday May 23, 2019

Zika virus data to be shared by global health communities

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Zika virus

New Delhi: The leading global health bodies, on observing the outbreak of Zika virus, have committed to sharing the data of the same and future public health emergencies as rapidly and openly as possible, said the Wellcome Trust.

This will also include India’s Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

According to a statement by Wellcome Trust on Thursday, a joint declaration has been signed by organisations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Medecins Sans Frontieres, and the US National Institute of Health.

It is believed that soon, other such bodies will come on board to strengthen the battle against the Zika outbreak, it added.

“Research is an essential part of the response to any global health emergency. This is particularly true for Zika, where so much is still unknown about the virus, how it is spread and the possible link with microcephaly,” said Dr Jeremy Farrar, director of the trust and a signatory to the declaration.

“It’s critical that as results become available they are shared rapidly in a way that is equitable, ethical and transparent. This will ensure that the knowledge gained is turned quickly into health interventions that can have an impact on the epidemic,” Dr Farrar added.

The joint declaration seeks to make “all content concerning the Zika virus free to access”.

“Funder signatories will require researchers undertaking work relevant to public health emergencies to set in place mechanisms to share quality-assured interim and final data as rapidly and widely as possible, including with public health and research communities and the World Health Organisation,” it said.

The Zika virus, which is known to occur in parts of Africa and Asia, is now spreading among the local American who have not traveled abroad.

Currently, no vaccine has been introduced to prevent the virus.

Zika virus is spread through the mosquito biting leading to fever, rash, pain and conjunctivitis. The symptoms can last from days to the week.

Zika virus is supposed to be associated with the infected mothers in Brazil giving birth to babies with small heads and underdeveloped brains. However, this remains unproven yet.

There has been a 20-fold increase in the number of babies born with this condition, known as microcephaly since Zika first appeared in Brazil in May 2015, researchers said.

More than 22 countries in the Americas have reported the sporadic Zika virus infections, indicating its rapid geographic expansion.

Luckily, no case of the virus has been reported till now in India but there is definitely the need to remain alert. (IANS)

Next Story

Beware! Hackers Are Watching Your Every Move As You Shop Online

Be wary of clicking on emails from unknown sources or deals that look too good to be true.

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Cyber criminals use look-alike spam to lure in victims with links to bogus websites. Businesses should train employees on how to "spot a phish". VOA

With more and more Indians going online and generating never-heard-before kind of data, hackers have turned their focus on a country with over 450 million smartphone users and more than 550 million Internet users.

The country has 366 million Internet subscribers in urban locations and 194 million in rural areas, says the latest report by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

According to Sophos Senior Security Advisor John Shier, organisations are struggling with phishing and other user-focused attacks in India.

hackers
Cyber criminals use look-alike spam to lure in victims with links to bogus websites. Businesses should train employees on how to “spot a phish”.
Pixabay

“Most people don’t believe that computer-based training (CBT) is effective and are looking for ways to improve their defenses against users being tricked into inviting malicious attackers into their network,” Shier said in a statement.

A KPMG report in April revealed that nearly 86 per cent of the consumers in India are concerned about eavesdropping of their conversations or theft or misuse of their messages through their devices.

“The proliferation of connected and IoT devices will have a cross-sector impact on areas around data security and privacy. In response to this, regulators will need to establish mandatory data security requirements,” said Atul Gupta, Leader-IT Advisory and Cyber Security Leader, KPMG in India.

Around 87 per cent of the consumers are concerned that retailers will misuse or improperly distribute their information.

According to Gauri Bajaj, Director, Cybersecurity (APAC), Tata Communications, the adoption of cyber security remains a key challenge.

“The recent spate of cyber attacks only highlight the security risk that takes place both within and without the organisation. It is imperative that employees are sensitised to the risk of security breaches and trained to respond in such a scenario,” Bajaj said.

Not just phones, wearable devices like smartwatches are the next frontier for cyber security.

“The future of wearable tech in the world of AI and predictive technology will be highly individualized, data driven and analytics intensive. One of the bigger applications of this will continue to be in the healthcare and fitness sector.

“However, what is key to make this happen is also building a holistic ecosystem that tracks, guides and designs individualized plans for each individual, at a low cost,” said Vishal Gondal, CEO and founder GOQii.

It isn’t enough to have an IT security team and having a strong culture around security is the next step in maturity for security awareness programmes, say experts.

hackers
According to Sophos Senior Security Advisor John Shier, organisations are struggling with phishing and other user-focused attacks in India. Pixabay

“Use a unique, complex password for banking and other financial online accounts. For others, use a password manager to keep them organised and readily available. Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) when available to provide an extra layer of security on accounts,” Shier said.

Be wary of clicking on emails from unknown sources or deals that look too good to be true.

Also Read: Social Media Giant’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg Rejects The Claim ‘Time To Break Up Facebook’

Cyber criminals use look-alike spam to lure in victims with links to bogus websites. Businesses should train employees on how to “spot a phish”.

“Use a layered business security strategy to provide protection at multiple levels to avoid attacks from different angles. Be wary of IoT devices on any network. Change factory default passwords immediately out of the box,” the Sophos executive added. (IANS)