Monday March 25, 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

Micro-blogging Site Twitter to Audit Developers Using Data From App

Twitter says it suspended 1,62,000 apps in the second half of 2018, showing it is willing to play hardball with developers that endanger its ecosystem

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Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Micro-blogging site Twitter has decided to audit app developers who use data from its platform, as business and research boosting tools to make sure it gets paid for the information delivered.

Starting June 19, developers that use recent tweets from or mention a user more than 100,000 times per day, will have to submit their apps to Twitter for review.

“The goal is ensuring that our platform is safe and promoting the privacy and safety of our users, and providing a level playing field commercially,” TechCrunch quoted Yoel Roth, Head of site integrity, Twitter as saying on Tuesday.

Developers found to be violating Twitter’s policies would be booted from the platform, while those who fail to file for review will be capped at 100,000 requests per day for the user timeline and mentions application programming interfaces (APIs) of Twitter.

“We’re fundamentally different than other platforms that have APIs since almost everything that happens on our service is public,” Roth explained.

donald trump
FILE – A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

Developers who use Twitter data as business tools for customer services or social media monitoring, will have to pay and enter a commercial licencing agreement with the platform with an undisclosed custom price-range based on usage.

“Twitter refused to even specify the range those prices fall into, which won’t win it any extra trust,” the report said.

Also Read- HP to Focus on Industry 4.0, Emerging Markets

If a developer in question presents legitimate consumer-use cases, like running a third-party Twitter client or doing research, it will be granted free access to the API at the same rate they have today.

Twitter says it suspended 1,62,000 apps in the second half of 2018, showing it is willing to play hardball with developers that endanger its ecosystem, the report added. (IANS)