KARE COVID-19 Response Bulletin 33
Kumaraguru Action for Relief and Empowerment (KARE), was founded in Nov, 2015 during the Chennai floods. KARE supports the victims of natural disasters such as floods, cyclone and other calamities and has supported during Kerala floods & Gaja Cyclone. This is a volunteer movement of Kumaraguru Institutions where many join hands when the need arises.
KARE COVID 19 Response Bulletin is an effort by a group of Kumaraguru alumni, students & informed citizens alike to clear the clutter around COVID 19 by providing informative, insightful news, articles & data around the world under various tags such as Research, Technology, Education, Economy & Insights with a short summary for each.
COVID19 Basic Info & Previous Bulletin Link: tinyurl.com/blog-KARE
India vs the World – War against a virus
|COVID-19||Active Cases||Recovered||Casualties |
The above graph denotes the status of COVID-19 vaccinations across the country as of February 19. It is observed that the vaccination curve continues to grow. More than 10 million people have been vaccinated so far.|Prof. Shamika Ravi
The graph shows the COVID-19 cases across the country as of February 19. An upswing of active cases is observed in the states of Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab. The number of cases in Gujarat have also increased in a smaller scale. |Prof. Shamika Ravi
VACCINE & TESTING
WHO Panel recommends Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine for people over 65 years
In Interim recommendations on the Oxford -Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine, the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) panel has recommended the vaccine shots for all, including people aged 65 and older. The panel said that the vaccine should be given in two doses, with an interval of around 8 to 12 weeks between the first and the second doses. According to the expert group, the preliminary analyses showed that the vaccine had reduced effectiveness against the variants, however this cannot be a reason to not recommend the vaccine. |Live Mint
The connection between COVID-19 vaccine and immunity
The immune system plays an integral part by warding us off from various infections and diseases. One of the major questions we have come across during the pandemic is on the efficacy and necessity of COVID-19 vaccines. Dr. Sandeep Patil, Chief intensivist at Fortis Hospital Kalyan, says that the vaccination has become a critical addition to our COVID-19 defense. He points out that, concerns on vaccine safety relate to how vaccines interact with the immune system or how the immune system functions in different situations. By considering natural immunity versus vaccination, the doctor adds that natural vaccination causes better immunity than vaccines. However, it is not advisable to wait until more people get infected. He concludes by saying that vaccines induce long term immunity and the vaccine candidates that have received approval are safe and efficacious.| Indian Express
Biological E to produce 60 crore doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccines
Hyderabad-based Biological E which entered into an agreement in August with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV for the creation and enhancement of manufacturing capacities of drug and drug product for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine candidate, is looking for a contract to manufacture 60 crore doses of the vaccine a year. Johnson &Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate is currently under regulatory review in the US. In contrast to Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines, this is a single dose vaccine and can be stored in a refrigerator. In its global trial, the vaccine is said to have a 66% rate of preventing infections. | Live Mint
Infection curve down at long last: Is the COVID-19 pandemic ebbing?
At a time when the world’s biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway with nearly 120 million doses delivered in 67 countries, a recession such as this may well mark the beginning of the end of a virus outbreak that has changed the world. At least 105 million people have been infected with Sars-CoV-2 across the world, but a new threat has been looming on the horizon: variants of the virus have taken hold in multiple countries. It’s very hard to predict if we will see a resurgence of cases. |Hindustan Times
The risk of dying from the new COVID-19 variant
B.1.1.7, a new variant of COVID-19, which was first identified in September in Southern England has become the dominant variant in the United Kingdom and has spread to more than 30 countries. Some researchers had also suggested that B.1.1.7 could contribute to an increase in deaths because of its fast spread, which would overwhelm hospitals and affect the quality of treatment. Despite the fact that the B.1.1.7 variant was new, the researchers were able to identify people infected with it because of a glitch in a standard diagnostic kit used in the United Kingdom. The test normally looks for three SARS-CoV-2 genes to confirm the presence of the virus. But, in the case of B.1.1.7, changes to the spike protein mean that people who are infected still test positive, but for only two of these genes. Researchers are in need of some data to understand what’s going on.|Nature
SARS-CoV-2 mutates to escape antibody binding
According to a research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine the SARS-CoV-2 evades immune response by selectively deleting small bits of its genetic sequence in a recurring pattern of evolution. This deletion in the sequence that codes for the spike protein inactivates the antibody binding to the virus. The variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa have such deletions and it is reported that the deletions happened in the same spot of the sequence where it can tolerate change, without affecting the virus’ ability to invade cells. The molecular proofreader that usually catches errors is blind to fixing such deletions and hence they become cemented into the variants’ genetic material. How far the deletions determine protection is yet to be determined.|Science Daily
Convalescent plasma therapy patients had UK mutant
A recent study has revealed that the dominant COVID-19 variant, emerged after the convalescent plasma therapy possessed mutations which was also present in the first one identified in the UK. The findings suggest the possibility that the evolution of COVID-19 or the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be from immunosuppressed individuals when prolonged viral replication takes place. According to the study, two alterations were found in the spike protein. One of the changes was a deletion of a building block at the position 69/70 of the spike protein’s amino acid molecule chain -a mutation also present in the UK variant. Researchers found another mutation that leads to a substitution of a molecule in the 796th position of protein’s amino acid chain.|India Today
Unequal allocation of vaccines could cost the world economy $9.2 trillion
A recent study commissioned by the International Chamber of Commerce concluded an unequal allocation of injections could deprive the world economy of as much as $9.2 trillion. With the virus mutating, no country is safe until the whole world is inoculated and achieves herd immunity. Global growth this year could be less than half the World Bank’s 4 percent estimate if vaccine distribution doesn’t move quickly says experts. Emerging and developing economies are vulnerable to richer countries. That means emerging economies risk falling further behind economically and limits room for rebound even in fully-inoculated countries by depriving them of demand for their goods and a supply of manufacturing parts. |Business Standard
Power demand remains higher in First week, crosses record peak of Feb’20
India’s peak in demand for power during the first week of February till Friday surpassed the record high supply from February last year. Experts are of the view that if power supply is higher than the monthly record peak a year ago, then electricity consumption would not only register high growth but would remain at much higher level than that in 2020. Peak power demand had touched an all-time high, breaching the previous records. The rising power demand shows revival in economic activities leading to higher commercial and industrial demand, which was affected due COVID-19. The pandemic affected power demand for five months in a row from April to August 2020.|Business Standard
Gearing up for board exams
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) finally announced the date sheet for class 10 and class 12 board examinations for 2021. The class 10 exams will be held from May 4 to June 7 and the class 12 examinations, from May 4 to June 11. The CBSE, along with the date sheet, also issued a health protocol to be followed by the exam centres and invigilators. The number of exam centres for the boards, too, have been increased keeping the pandemic in mind and more teachers have been deputed for the exam duty. With about three months’ time on hand, practical exams will begin from March 1. The schools have prepared a special timetable for the students to have physical hands-on practice taking all requisite precautions—inside the premises and in the laboratories.|India Today
COVID-19’s impact on education in India: It’s not all bad news
By the end of March 2020, the pandemic was everywhere, resulting in the closure of most of the schools, colleges and universities in India. Though there were many negative impacts from the COVID-19 outbreak on the field of education, there was also a positive impact which could take the education system and its methods a step higher. The pandemic has opened gates to innovative methods of transmission of knowledge. Though very challenging to India as many people live in areas without proper internet accessibility, Many efforts were made to continue education at all levels with online methods. Despite the hurdles, Soft technology, online, webinars, virtual class rooms, teleconferencing, digital exams and assessments became common phenomena, which otherwise might have come into practical use a decade later or more. |Global Sisters Report
Coronavirus’ mental-health toll: how scientists are tracking a surge in depression
As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, new fast-spreading variants have caused a surge in infections in many countries, and renewed lockdowns. The distress in the pandemic probably stems from people’s limited social interactions, tensions among families in lockdown together and fear of illness, says psychiatrist Marcella Rietschel at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany. The high levels of anxiety and depression were found to be reduced during the early weeks of lockdown, rather than increased as some had anticipated.|Nature
Pollution Reduction in Ganges
A new study by a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur shows a significant reduction of heavy metal pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Ganga water, informed the Ministry of Science and Technology. The scientists analysed daily geochemical record of the Ganga river and showed that reduced industrial discharge during 51 days of mandated nationwide lockdown decreased the dissolved heavy metal concentrations by a minimum of 50 per cent. In contrast, inputs from agricultural runoff and domestic sewage like nitrate and phosphate remained almost the same as these sources were not impacted by the nationwide confinement.|Hindustan Times
Responsible Whatr (water)
Responsible Whatr offers Indian consumers spring water in infinitely recyclable aluminium cans made by Ball Corporation (‘Ball’), the world’s leading producer of aluminium packaging. The canned water is sourced directly from the Himalayas and offers naturally balanced essential minerals with a pH of ~7.4. When packaged in aluminium cans, this pure water does not alter the freshness when exposed to light or heat. The eco-friendly alternative to plastic packaging is available on Responsible Whatr own website and Amazon. COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst in pushing the cause of moving towards a sustainable society by making intelligent choices.|ANI
Where can we get authentic information about Coronavirus?
KARE COVID-19 Response
KARE is now supporting the front-line workers through local government by providing Food, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) & sanitizers made in-house at the Kumaraguru Institutions. KARE is also connecting the farmers with communities who would required vegetables in bulk.
KARE COVID-19 Response So Far
43038 Cooked meals
2279 Volunteering hours clocked.
10 Tons of Vegetables transacted so far.
28+ Number of Farmers impacted so far.
555 Helpline Calls.
500 Grocery Kits & 500 kg Rice
50+ hours of student mentoring & 8 Gadgets
1400 Liquid sanitizer packs
₹ 4,95,141 Funds Raised.
₹ 6,50,000 Funds Spent.
63000+ Lives Impacted
Chinnavedampatti, Saravanampatty, Vellaikinar, Sathyamangalam, Sulthanpet, Paapampatti, Sulur, Thondamuthur, Narasipuram, Kangayam, Coimbatore & Pollachi.
TO MAKE A DONATION
KARE Bank Account Details
Account name: KCT KARE
Account number: 1245155000078376
Bank: Karur Vysya Bank
Branch: KCT Extension Counter
Bank address: Kumaraguru College of Technology, Chinnavedampatti, Coimbatore – 641036