Maharashtra Vaccine News

Cattle disease mortality rate high in Pune, Kolhapur, Akola
Times of India | 2 days ago | |
Times of India
2 days ago | |

PUNE: The spread of Lumpy Skin Disease has slowed down in many parts of Maharashtra, but data on Tuesday showed that mortality rates in Pune (4.6%), Kolhapur (4.8%) and Akola (5%) and a few other districts continued to be higher than the state average of 3.5%. Officials from the state animal husbandry department said they have ramped up vaccination to bring down the number of deaths. So far, 2,192 infected animals have died in the state. Jalgaon has reported the most deaths, at 326, followed by Akola (308). Buldhana and Ahmednagar districts have reported 270 and 201 deaths respectively. Officials said complete vaccination of local cattle populations — with the goat pox vaccine — has been achieved in Kolhapur, Akola, Washim, Jalgaon and Mumbai sub-urban districts. “We have already vaccinated over one crore cattle in the state. The target population is 1.4 crore. A ramping up of the vaccination drive will further reduce the disease mortality rate,” an official from the animal husbandry department said. Sachindra Pratap Singh, commissioner of the state animal husbandry department, said a fund of Rs 1 crore per district has been made available through the district planning committees for purchase of medicines needed to treat the disease. An honorarium of Rs 5 per vaccination has also been approved for private veterinary practitioners, vaccinators and interns with the Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (MAFSU). Singh added: “The government has not imposed any ban on treatment of LSD by private veterinary practitioners. Government and private veterinary practitioners should treat infected animals as per the revised protocol of Maharashtra Animal and Fisheries Science University dated September 24.” Some 2,150 villages, across 31 districts, have reported cases of Lumpy Skin Disease. Data till October 4 showed 52,955 cattle have been infected. A total of 27,403 animals have recovered. Hundreds of animals are also undergoing treatment. Across the country, Lumpy Skin Disease has been reported in 250 districts, in at least 15 states. Officials have said the infection — transmitted among cattle by insects such as certain types of flies and mosquitoes and ticks — does not spread to humans. According to scientists and researchers, the disease originally affected cattle in parts of Africa. But since 2012, infections have been reported in some countries in the Middle East and Europe. In Asia, the disease has been reported in parts of Bangladesh, India, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Malaysia. The outbreaks have been classified as epidemics. But scientists are currently trying to understand unexplained gaps of several years between the reported mass infections, which occurred regardless of humidity levels or seasons.

Cattle disease mortality rate high in Pune, Kolhapur, Akola
India reports 3,011 new Covid cases and 28 deaths in last 24 hours
Times of India | 4 days ago | |
Times of India
4 days ago | |

NEW DELHI: India logged 3,011 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 4,45,97,498, while the active cases dipped to 36,126, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday. The death toll climbed to 5,28,701 with 28 fatalities which includes 20 deaths reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am stated. The active cases comprise 0.08 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate increased to 98.73 per cent, the ministry said. A decline of 1,318 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.23 per cent and the weekly positivity rate at 1.31 per cent, according to the ministry. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,40,32,671, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19 per cent. According to the ministry, 218.77 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide vaccination drive. India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. The country crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23 last year. It crossed the four-crore mark on January 25 this year. The eight fatalities reported in the last 24 hours include two from Kerala and one each from Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha and West Bengal.

India reports 3,011 new Covid cases and 28 deaths in last 24 hours
  • Covid cases in hospitals below 100 across Pune Metropolitan Region
  • Times of India

    PUNE: Though a marginal increase has been seen, hospitalisations related to Covid-19 remained below 100 on Sunday in the Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR), with 93 patients admitted. The number of patients in hospitals was 60 on September 25 (last Sunday). Recoveries at 206 were higher than positive cases at 78. No death was reported, said the district administration. Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) areas saw 37 fresh cases, while Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) recorded 24 new cases; 14 fresh cases were seen in rural areas and 3 patients added in cantonments. No new cases were recorded in councils. Among recoveries, 119 were discharged under PMC, 54 under PCMC, 5 in cantonments, 2 in councils and 26 patients in rural areas recovered.

  • Maharashtra reports 379 new Covid-19 cases, one death
  • Times of India

    MUMBAI: Maharashtra on Sunday reported 379 Covid-19 cases and one death, which took the state's tally to 81,22,252 and the toll to 1,48,347, a health official said. The addition to the tally on Saturday was 460 and the fatality count was three, he pointed out. Mumbai circle led with 171 of the new cases, followed by 95 in Pune circle, Latur (29), Nagpur (22), Nashik (20), Akola (17), Kolhapur (14) and Aurangabad (11). The lone death took place in Mumbai, the official added. The recovery count rose by 496 in the last 24 hours to touch 79,70,989, leaving the state with an active caseload of 2,916, he said. Pune leads with 954 active cases, followed by 699 in Mumbai and 327 in Thane. State health department data showed the recovery rate was 98.14 per cent and the fatality rate was 1.82 per cent. So far, 8,48,42,287 coronavirus tests have been conducted in Maharashtra, including 18,723 in the last 24 hours, as per official data. Coronavirus figures of Maharashtra are as follows: Positive cases 81,22,252; fresh cases 379; death toll 1,48,347; recoveries 79,70,989; active cases 2,916; total tests 8,48,42,287.

  • India reports 3,375 new Covid-19 cases and 18 deaths in last 24 hours
  • Times of India

    NEW DELHI: India logged 3,375 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 4,45,94,487, while the active cases declined to 37,444, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Sunday. The death toll climbed to 5,28,673 with 18 fatalities which includes 11 deaths reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am stated. The active cases comprise 0.08 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate increased to 98.73 per cent, the ministry said. A decline of 849 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.28 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 1.35 per cent, according to the ministry. The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,40,28,370, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19 per cent. According to the ministry, 218.75 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide vaccination drive. India's Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. The country crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23 last year. It crossed the four-crore mark on January 25 this year. The seven fatalities reported in the last 24 hours include three from Maharashtra and one each from Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

Coverage only 27% as Centre’s 75-day free precaution dose drive ends
The Indian Express | 6 days ago | |
The Indian Express
6 days ago | |

The Government’s 75-day drive to provide free precaution doses of Covid-19 vaccines ended on Friday with 15.92 crore such doses administered during the period.A commemoration of India’s 75 years of Independence, the drive started mid-July. Before it began, only 8 per cent of adults in the country had received the third vaccine dose. At the end of the drive, that number stands at 27 per cent. Three-fourths of India’s adult population is yet to receive the third dose.During the 75-day period, more than 13.01 lakh vaccination camps organised in the country, including 4,451 organised on the routes of religious yatras, according to data provided by the Health Ministry. Most of the camps — 11.03 lakh — were organised at private and government workplaces.Ever since India started administering the third dose in January this year, it has remained free for those above 60 years of age. It was also available for free to all healthcare and frontline workers. From April, the government has allowed the third dose to be administered to those in the 18-59 age group at private vaccination centres upon payment.Experts say that the reduced fear of a Covid-19 infection, as well as instances of infection — even if mostly mild — despite vaccination have led to low demand for the third vaccine dose. Also lowering demand is the fact that a precaution dose certificate is not mandatory for travel or entry into many places that has required double-vaccination proof.Last week, The Indian Express reported that the coverage of the third dose across states was varied. It ranges from 92.1 per cent coverage in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to 6.11 per cent in Meghalaya.With almost the entire population of the country having received the first dose of the vaccine, the coverage of precaution doses in the states has been calculated considering the number of first dose given to adults to be the total eligible adult population.In Delhi, the only state to provide free precaution dose to all adults even before the Centre’s 75-day drive, the precaution dose coverage stood at 19.6 per cent — behind bigger states such as Odisha (38 per cent), Gujarat (37.7 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (28 per cent), Bihar (23.4 per cent), West Bengal (22.98 per cent), and Madhya Pradesh (24.4 per cent).The coverage of precaution doses in states like Maharashtra and Kerala, which have been dealing with a consistently high number of Covid-19 cases throughout the pandemic, was among the lowest at 10.7 per cent and 11.09 per cent, respectively.

Coverage only 27% as Centre’s 75-day free precaution dose drive ends
  • Free drive perks up 3rd dose, but adult coverage just 21%
  • The Indian Express

    DESPITE A MARKED increase in the number of Covid-19 precaution doses administered after the government started offering the vaccine free to all adults beginning July 15, just over a fifth of the eligible population in the country has taken it. The 75-day drive for those eligible in the 18-59 years age group ends coming Friday (September 30).So far, only 22.24 per cent of the adult population in the country has received the third precaution dose, with the coverage among those above 60 years more than double that of those in the 18-59 years bracket.While only 17.58 per cent of 77 crore persons in the 18-59 years group have received the third dose, it is much higher in percentage terms – 48.5 per cent – in the 60-plus age group which has 13.7 crore persons, according to data from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Till mid-July i.e. before the start of the free vaccination drive for adults, only 8 per cent of those in the 18-59 years group and 27 per cent of those over 60 years, had taken the precaution dose.Since the free drive commenced, 14.6 crore precaution doses have been administered; of this, 12.7 crore were between 18 years and 59 years, according to the data. So far, India has administered a total of 20.2 crore precaution doses.Explaining the possible reasons for the low precautionary dose numbers, Dr Suneela Garg, Professor of Community Medicine at Maulana Azad Medical College and a member of the Lancet Commission on Covid-19 in India, said: “You see the number of cases and the severity of the infection has gone down, so vaccination is no longer a priority for people. We always see an increase in vaccination when cases increase. Another reason for the hesitancy is people see that even those who have taken both the doses are getting the infection. To reduce this, we will have to look at newer versions of the vaccines that are better able to protect against infections caused by the current variants in circulation.”NOT many people are queueing up for the third precaution dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. There are many reasons for this, the primary being low number of cases and less severity. To reduce hesitancy, a sharper awareness campaign will help, as also introduction of new effective vaccines against the existing virus variants.A senior official involved in Delhi’s vaccination drive said, “With people needing only primary vaccination certificates for entry to various places or travel, they do not feel the need for getting the precaution dose.”Ever since India started administering the third dose in January this year, it has remained free for those over 60 years – they are at a higher risk of severe disease and death. It was also available free to all healthcare and frontline workers, who are at an increased risk of being exposed to the infection. The government allowed the use of precaution doses in the 18-59 years group at private vaccination centres upon payment in April.During the free vaccination drive, states were asked to make an “ambitious” push by organising camps in big office complexes, industrial establishments, railway stations, inter-state bus stations, and schools and colleges. The announcement for the free drive came days after the Union MoH&FW reduced the duration between the second and precaution doses to six months from nine months. Through its door-to-door ‘Har Ghar Dastak 2.0’ campaign too, the government urged people to take the precaution dose in June-July.While the national coverage of precaution dose stood at 21.54 per cent, the performance of states has been varied –from 91.9 per cent coverage in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to 6 per cent in Meghalaya.With almost the entire population of the country having received the first dose of the vaccine, the coverage of precaution dose in the states has been calculated considering the number of first doses given in adults to be the total eligible adult population. Besides Andaman, the states with the best precaution dose coverage were Ladakh (52.38 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (41.13 per cent), Pudducherry (39.73 per cent), and Sikkim (37.48 per cent).After Meghalaya, the states with the lowest coverage were Jharkhand (7.14 per cent), Nagaland (7.41 per cent), Punjab (7.75 per cent), and Haryana (8.59 per cent), according to data from the MoH&FW.In Delhi, the only state to provide free precaution dose to all adults even before the Centre’s 75-day drive, the precaution dose coverage stood at 19.22 per cent — behind bigger states such as Gujarat (36.84 per cent), Odisha (35.93 per cent), Uttar Pradesh (25.57 per cent), Bihar (22.82 per cent), West Bengal (22.78 per cent), and Madhya Pradesh (22.67 per cent).Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxThe coverage of precaution doses in states like Maharashtra and Kerala, which have been dealing with a consistently high number of Covid-19 cases through the pandemic, was among the lowest at 10.63 per cent and 11.03 per cent, respectively.“This is to be expected; the states are the ones that implement the programme. The vaccines are available aplenty, so that cannot be the reason for low coverage. There is a need for aggressive awareness campaigns,” said Dr Garg. People over 60, those with diabetes, hypertension, and obesity, must get the precaution dose, she said.

Maharashtra: Cattle disease slows in state, 70% animals vaccinated
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

PUNE: Officials from the state animal husbandry department said on Thursday that the spread of Lumpy Skin Disease seems to be slowing in the state. Around 90 lakh animals have been vaccinated across the state, out of an estimated population of 1.4 crore. So far, state authorities have recorded 35,000 cases of the disease, which does not transmit to humans. "The state has covered nearly 70% of the cattle population with vaccines. Due to this coverage, cases seem to be slowing down. We have noticed a decline in the last three to four days," said commissioner of the animal husbandry department, Sachindra Pratap Singh. Officials said mortality is low if infected animals are treated immediately. "All cattle owners should watch out for symptoms. Most animals respond well to treatment," one official said, adding that the disease cannot spread to humans through milk. Singh said vaccinations have been completed in the worst-hit Jalgaon and Akola districts. A total of 2,023 villages in 31 districts of the state have been impacted by the disease. Out of 35,710 infected livestock, 16,302 livestock have recovered after treatment. The rest continue to receive care. Lakhs of vaccine doses have been dispatched to the affected districts, to be given out free of cost, officials said.

Maharashtra: Cattle disease slows in state, 70% animals vaccinated
  • Lumpy skin disease: Worry over vaccine duopoly
  • The Indian Express

    EVEN AS lumpy skin disease has already killed nearly 1 lakh cattle and infected over 20 lakh animals across 15 states, governments are having to depend on just two companies for the vaccine whose use has been authorised against the virus.At present, Ahmedabad-based Hester Biosciences Ltd and the National Dairy Development Board’s Hyderabad-based subsidiary Indian Immunologicals Ltd (IIL) manufacture goatpox vaccine.Goatpox, sheeppox and lumpy skin disease viruses belong to the same capripoxvirus genus. The vaccines developed for the first two, and already being commercially produced in the country, offer up to 60-70 per cent cross-protection against lumpy skin disease in cattle.But as of now, only goatpox vaccine has been authorised for administering against lumpy skin disease. In an advisory issued to states on September 2, 2021, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) said that “cattle and buffaloes should be vaccinated with available Goat pox vaccine”. At the time of authorisation, Hester Biosciences was the sole manufacturer of goatpox vaccine in the country; IIL launched its goatpox vaccine in December 2021.On the other hand, there are a dozen or so manufacturers of sheeppox vaccine, including six state-owned manufacturers. They include, apart from Hester Biosciences and IIL, the Hyderabad-based Brilliant Bio Pharma Pvt Ltd, Bio-Med Pvt Ltd in Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) and state-owned producers such as the Veterinary Biological & Research Institute (Hyderabad), the Institutes of Animal Health & Veterinary Biologicals in Bengaluru and Mhow (Madhya Pradesh), Indian Veterinary Research Institute or IVRI at Izatnagar near Bareilly (UP), Haryana Veterinary Vaccine Institute (Hisar), and the Institute of Animal Health & Biological Products (Zakura, Srinagar).Asked why only use of goatpox vaccine has been authorised for control of lumpy skin disease, Praveen Malik, Animal Husbandry Commissioner at DAHD, said the decision was taken based on IVRI’s recommendations. “Scientists there recommended that the goatpox vaccine (Uttarkashi strain) is effective against lumpy skin disease. It is for scientists at IVRI or NIHSAD to recommend whether or not sheeppox vaccine can also be used,” Malik told The Indian Express.In a reply to an RTI query filed by one Sandeep Kumar Gupta from Hisar, the Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosis at IVRI-Izatnagar stated that “none of [the centre’s] scientists was involved in advising use of goat pox vaccine in cattle and buffaloes to control lumpy skin disease”.IVRI and the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease, Bhopal (NIHSAD) are both under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).Two of ICAR’s own institutes — the National Research Centre on Equines in Hisar (Haryana) and IVRI –have jointly developed Lumpi-ProVacInd, a live attenuated lumpy skin disease vaccine. It is homologous and it is claimed to provide 100 per cent protection against lumpy skin disease virus in cattle. These are unlike goatpox and sheeppox vaccines that are heterologous and offer only partial cross-protection of 60-70 per cent against lumpy skin disease.On September 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed concern over the loss of livestock on account of lumpy skin disease in several states. Speaking at the IDF World Dairy Summit in Delhi, he mentioned that “our scientists have developed an indigenous vaccine for lumpy skin disease”.ICAR transferred the technology for manufacture of Lumpi-ProVacInd to Biovet Private Limited (BPL) through an MoU signed on September 15. The Bengaluru-headquartered BPL, an associate of Bharat Biotech (developer of ‘Covaxin’), has sought the Drug Controller General of India’s (DCGI)approval for veterinary use of Lumpi-ProVacInd. It has already obtained a licence from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, a regulatory body under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, to manufacture test batches of this vaccine contingent upon DAHD issuing an NOC.BPL has approached DAHD, seeking NOC for testing the vaccine on cattle.DGCI has, in turn, written to DAHD seeking data on vaccine trials.“Things are moving very fast at our end and we are trying to expedite the process of commercialisation,” Malik said.However, a senior ICAR scientist questioned the need for further trials at this stage. “We conducted experimental trials of Lumpi-ProVacInd on 15 male cattle at IVRI’s Mukteshwar campus as per the World Organisation for Animal Health’s guidelines,” the scientist said. “Subsequently, the vaccine has been administered in field trials to 12,000 animals in five states where lumpy skin disease has been widespread. The vaccine has been found 100 per cent effective. Why can’t emergency use authorisation be granted similar to that for Covid-19 vaccines?”The scientists, who did not wish to be identified, also alleged that goatpox vaccine was “not used on a single cattle head before being authorised for use as protection against lumpy skin disease”. Nor was any data submitted to DGCI, he claimed. “Its use was recommended based on existing literature, which could also have applied for sheeppox vaccine,” he added.

  • Maharashtra: Don’t just offer food to stray dogs, get them vaccinated too
  • Times of India

    NAGPUR: With humans getting inoculated against Covid and cattle undergoing vaccination against the lumpy skin disease, it’s high time that a large-scale campaign is undertaken to vaccinate cats and dogs against rabies, said experts on the eve of World Rabies Day, which will be celebrated for the 16th time on Wednesday. Stray dogbites and attacks have increased significantly in the last few days. Many stray dog lovers feed these canines as their mission and passion. While they spend a significant amount of money on feeding these dogs, some of these ‘Good Samaritans’ should take the lead to get the canines vaccinated, said Dr Tejas Wankhede, founder-secretary of the Private Pets Practitioners Association, Maharashtra. Dr Wankhede said he runs this campaign multiple times a year. “We have our pet clinic in Pratap Nagar where we host stray dogs and vaccinate them for free,” he added. On the eve of the World Rabies Day, around 70 dogs — most of them strays — were vaccinated in his clinic. “I am grateful to the dog lovers who brought these canines to my clinic. It is difficult to catch them and bring for vaccination,” he said. A good quality rabies vaccine costs around Rs600 and the dogs need to be jabbed once in a year. Government authorities said there may be a mechanism to catch and sterilize the dogs, but there is no scheme or system to vaccinate them annually. According to data from the divisional health department, more than 4,500 dogbite cases have been reported this year. This number is three times last year’s 1,500-odd cases (though the figure was low due to Covid restrictions and lockdowns). Thankfully, no death due to rabies has been reported this year in Nagpur division. “This suggests we have anti-rabies vaccines for humans available in the system. All dogbite victims get jabbed and rabies deaths are not happening,” said a senior official from the divisional health department. Stray dog feeder Vinod Ghate said vaccination is important, but a concrete system needs to be formed. “We dog lovers can sponsor vaccination too, but it’s not a one-time exercise. A better option is animal birth control, coupled with vaccination of strays,” he said. SOME FACTS ABOUT RABIES Vaccine must | Post dogbite, doctors recommend rabies immunoglobulin, an injection made of antibodies against rabies virus 100% fatal | No medicine for rabies and admitting patients doesn’t help 100% preventable | Rabies potentially fatal but 100% preventable if immediate medical treatment is received Standard format | Vaccines are given on day of bite, 3rd, 7th, 11th and 21st day. Completing course important

  • Timely decision helped curb lumpy skin disease deaths, says Vikhe-Patil
  • Times of India

    Kolhapur: State animal husbandry and dairy development minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Monday said timely intervention by the state government helped in keeping a check on deaths of cattle infected by the lumpy skin disease in Maharashtra, unlike in non-BJP ruled states like Rajasthan and Punjab.Vikhe-Patil was on tour of Kolhapur and Sangli districts on Monday where he visited the epicentres of the disease outbreak and interacted with the farmers. Speaking at Hatkanangle in Kolhapur, the minister claimed the low mortality rate was due to the proactivity of the state.“We have successfully managed to keep the death tally low in Maharashtra. The spread of lumpy skin disease is rapid and as many as 30 districts have been affected by it as on today. We have 1.5 crore cattle across the state and so far 800 have died due to the disease. Vaccination drive at a massive scale has helped in bringing down the mortality rate. We have so far vaccinated around 60 lakh cattle in the state and have 1.10 crore vaccines available with us,” Vikhe-Patil said.The BJP ruled states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have also been badly affected due to outbreak of the infection. Gujarat is now among the states with high mortality rate, but Vikhe-Patil blamed the delayed response by the Rajasthan and Punjab governments as the the reason for the spread of the infection.“Rajasthan government showed laxity in handling the outbreak and around 65,000 cattle have died in the state. Punjab has reported around 30,000 deaths. Despite high number of cattle in Maharashtra we have managed to keep mortality rate low,” the minister said.Vikhe-Patil, a senior BJP leader, also slammed farmers’ leader Raju Shetti who has moved a petition with the Bombay High Court over the lack of serious steps taken by the state government against the disease.“He (Shetti) is a senior leader. He should get proper information from the government before making the epidemic a political issue,” Vikhe-Patil said.

  • Cattle disease: 58 lakh animals vaccinated, more than 700 dead in Maharashtra
  • Times of India

    PUNE: The state animal husbandry department has so far vaccinated nearly 58 lakh animals as a part of its efforts to contain the spread of Lumpy Skin Disease. Officials said on Sunday that some 11 lakh cattle were being vaccinated every day across districts. Maharashtra has an estimated bovine population of 1.4 crore. As per data, 81.62 lakh doses of the goat pox vaccine have been released to districts. A total of 58.14 lakh animals, including 40.34 lakh in infected areas and 17.8 lakh in unaffected regions, have been vaccinated so far, officials said. The state government has also approved ‘clean inoculation’ — vaccination of all animals instead of just those in affected zones — in areas under the jurisdiction of state veterinary institutes. Accordingly, vaccination is in progress at 4,850 veterinary institutes. Officials said the disease does not transmit to humans through milk or from animals. Around 24,466 animals have been infected in the state and 796 have died. Over 8,911 livestock have recovered. Sachindra Pratap Singh, commissioner of the state animal husbandry department, said the spread is limited to cows and oxen. Villagers have been asked to disinfect sheds using insecticides as the disease is carried by flies, mosquitoes and cockroaches, he said. Singh also said the state has banned LSD treatment by private vets. “Veterinarians should treat animals as per revised protocol. Farmers have been told to avail free treatment and vaccines by alerting nearby dispensaries,” he said.

  • Lumpy skin disease death toll in Maha at 750: Vikhe-Patil
  • Times of India

    Aurangabad: State animal husbandry and dairy development minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Sunday said the lumpy skin disease has spread in as many as 30 districts of the state, leading to the death of 750 cattle.During his official tour to Nanded, the minister said the cases of cattle deaths are lesser in Maharashtra as compared to states like Rajasthan and Punjab.“We have relaxed the norms for vaccination and areas beyond 5-km radius from the affected areas will also witness vaccination of cattle,” he said.“We target to complete vaccination of all the cattle in the next 15 days,” Vikhe-Patil said, adding that special instructions have been issued to the district collectors for managing the outbreak.Vikhe-Patil said around 70,000 head of cattle have died in Rajasthan due to the disease while in Punjab the number is over 28,000. “The zilla parishads (ZPs) have been asked to declare an ex gratia of Rs 10,000 for death of every cattle in addition to the help being provided as per the NDRF norms,” he said.“As per the NDRF norms, Rs 30,000 is given to the owner after a death of a cow and Rs 25,000 for the death of a bull, besides Rs 16,000 for the death of a calf. The necessary relief aid is being offered to the affected farmers,” he added.The minister said state government has adequate stock of vaccines and other medicines to deal with the outbreak of the infection. “Timely measures taken by the government have arrested the spread of the disease in different parts of the state. We value the life of each and every cattle and taking all possible measures. We appeal to the farming community that they should not panic and follow the guidelines issued by the animal husbandry department,” the minister said.

Special Covid vaccination drive saw merely 10% of total beneficiaries getting jabbed in Maharashtra: Data
The Indian Express | 1 week ago | |
The Indian Express
1 week ago | |

The special immunization drive saw a mere 10 per cent beneficiaries getting the booster shot against coronavirus disease in Maharashtra from July 15-September 29. The special drive was taken up as a part of the 75-day-long nationwide Covid vaccine drive to mark the Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. The drive will end on September 30.As a part of the campaign, free precaution doses were administered at government Covid Vaccination Centres for persons aged 18 years and above.In Maharashtra, more than five crore beneficiaries were eligible for booster doses but the special immunization drive saw only 10 per cent (47 lakh) taking the precautionary dose, said health department officials. “The campaign, however, was successful in getting more than five lakh citizens, who had not taken any shot of Covid-19 vaccines, jabbed while over 11 lakh got their second doses,” they added.Talking to The Indian Express, Maharashtra immunization officer Dr Sachin Desai said, “Overall, around 65 lakh beneficiaries across Maharashtra participated in the special drive and took their booster, first and second doses.”There were 1.7 crore beneficiaries who were due for the second shot of Covid vaccines and as a part of the drive, the authorities were able to reach out to more than 11 lakh persons to complete the protocol of being immunised with the second dose. The drive was also able to encourage more than 5 lakh people who had not been immunized at all to get their first shot of Covid-19 vaccines.State health department authorities admitted that the response was low as the number of fresh Covid cases had dropped in Maharashtra. “Around 500 new Covid-19 cases are being reported daily now. There are several people who had contracted Covid-19 and hence feel they have immunity against the disease. As a result, the response to take the precautionary dose wasn’t high,” a health official said.According to the officials, Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Nagpur were among the districts that had the maximum number of beneficiaries due for the second and booster doses. In Pune, of the 59 lakh beneficiaries due for the precaution dose, authorities said an approximate 3.2 lakh got jabbed. There were more than 15 lakh beneficiaries in Pune who were due for the second dose. The drive saw the participation of 65,000 beneficiaries who were administered the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine while there were 30,000 beneficiaries who took the first shot of Covid-19 vaccines.Mumbai had an estimated 72 lakh beneficiaries due for the booster shot and as a part of the drive, over four lakh were administered the precautionary dose. More than 10 lakh beneficiaries in Mumbai were due for the second dose of the covid vaccine and around 66,000 took the second shot. Of the 44 lakh beneficiaries due for the precaution dose in Thane around 3.8 lakh took the booster dose while 49,000 took the second dose from among at least 10 lakh who were due.

Special Covid vaccination drive saw merely 10% of total beneficiaries getting jabbed in Maharashtra: Data
Of big states, Maharashtra is 10th in booster dose coverage
Times of India | 1 week ago | |
Times of India
1 week ago | |

MUMBAI: Maharashtra ranks 10th among big states in booster coverage of the Covid-19 vaccine, as per Cowin data. As the 75-day free booster drive for the 18-59 age group ends on September 30, 5 crore eligible people in this age group are still to take the shot. Worryingly, barely 30% of senior citizens have taken the shot. The state has administered 90.4 lakh precautionary doses in all, way less than the 4 croregiven in UP, 1.83crore in Gujarat, 1.7crore in Andhra, 1.5crore in Bengal, 1.4crore in MP and 1.16crore in Odisha, among others. Over 50lakh doses were delivered in Maharashtra since the Amrit Mahotsav drive started on July 15. As per the latest data, only 10% of adult population in Maharashtraeligible for the third dose have taken it. Just 12% between 18-59 years and 30% aged over 60 have taken the booster shot. Experts world over have been unanimous that the elderly, those with co-morbidities and underlying chronic conditions must take the booster to prevent a severe disease and hospitalisation. Dr Shubhash Salunkhe, a technical advisor to the state, said diminishing fear of Covid and lack of constant public messaging of the importance of vaccination was responsible for low booster coverage. "It's not just the unlettered, even educated people haven't taken the booster shot," he said. At the district level, the one-on-one education through health volunteers didn't happen at most places, he said. A breakup of district-wise coverage shows only Mumbai and Pune crossed the 10lakh-mark in number of booster doses given. Mumbai delivered 14.2lakh doses and Pune10.1lakh doses. However, at least 10 districts didn't even administer 1 lakh doses. Dr Sachin Desai, state immunisation officer, said vaccination is voluntary, so the state can do little to push people. Sindhudurg administered the lowest number (42,551) of booster shots. Mahesh Khalipe, district health officer, said they tried to convince people. "But people said if there is no Covid, why should they take the vaccine," he said, adding that a big share of the population hasn't taken the second dose either.

Of big states, Maharashtra is 10th in booster dose coverage
Maharashtra: Private vets, retired Animal Husbandry officers told to volunteer in Lumpy Skin Disease vax campaign
The Indian Express | 2 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
2 weeks ago | |

Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh Tuesday asked private veterinary practitioners as well as retired technical officers and employees of the Animal Husbandry Department to voluntarily participate in the vaccination campaign against Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) virus.According to the latest official figures, the contagious disease has so far infected over 11,000 cattle and killed over 300 in Maharashtra.Although LSD is a rapidly spreading infectious disease among the livestock, it is almost certainly curable if treated promptly, Singh said in Pune Tuesday.“At present, the mortality rate of cows and bulls due to this disease is very low. So, animal owners should not panic. However, they should keep a close vigil for possible symptoms of lumpy disease,” Singh said in a video from the Pune-headquartered Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Department office.Lumpy Skin Disease has been noticed in 839 villages of 27 districts in Maharashtra till September 20. Out of the 11,251 infected livestock, 3,855 have recovered and the rest of the livestock are being treated.According to an official statement, a total of 352 infected animals have died till September 20 in Maharashtra, which includes 122 in Jalgaon district, 33 in Ahmednagar, 12 in Dhule, 54 in Akola, 25 in Pune, 5 in Latur, 8 in Aurangabad, 15 in Satara, 25 in Buldhana, 29 in Amravati, 9 in Kolhapur, 2 in Sangli, 4 in Washim, 2 in Jalna, 3 each in Thane and Nagpur and 1 in Raigad.A total of 49.83 lakh vaccine doses have been made available in the various districts of the state. “Vaccination has been carried out free of cost in 19.55 lakh animals within a 5-km radius of the infected area of villages. Vaccination is being done in ‘Gaushalas’ (cow shelters) and large dairies,” an animal husbandry department official said.According to Singh, farmers have been directed to avail free treatment and vaccinations for the infected cattle at doorstep by intimating the nearby government veterinary dispensaries about the disease symptoms.Singh also asked grama panchayat and Nagar Parishad officers to carry out large scale public awareness against the disease. A fund of Rs 1 crore per district has been made available through the District Planning Committee for purchasing medicines needed in treatment of the disease, he said.

Maharashtra: Private vets, retired Animal Husbandry officers told to volunteer in Lumpy Skin Disease vax campaign
27 deaths due to lumpy skin in Satara, Kolhapur & Sangli
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

Kolhapur: A total of 27 cattle deaths due to the lumpy skin disease (LSD) has been reported in south Maharashtra districts. The Satara district has reported the highest number of casualties (15).With 321 infections, the district also has reported the highest number of cases of which 242 are active. After Satara, Kolhapur has, so far, reported nine deaths and has reported 108 cases (76 active). Third on the list is Sangli with 105 cases and three deaths.Authorities, meanwhile, have decided to vaccinate all the cattle in these three districts. Kolhapur collector Rahul Rekhawar on Tuesday said he has asked the local administration to carry out vaccination of the stray cattle that are not registered.“We have started vaccinating the stray cattle as well. The Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) has set a target to complete the vaccination of the stray cattle by Saturday. People should come forward and get their cattle vaccinated against the infection. We have 2.8 lakh cattle registered in the district and have more than the required number of vaccine doses. The vaccination should be done as soon as possible to avoid other cattle from getting infected,” Rekhawar said.So far, in Kolhapur district, around 1.5 lakh cattle have been vaccinated. Private dairies have also been roped in to accomplish this mammoth task. Sangli district have the highest (8.3 lakh) population of cattle. “Utmost care should be taken by the cattle owners. They must ensure that cattle are not transported. The sheds should be kept free from flies and mosquitoes and other carriers. The dead animals should be buried by digging a pit — eight to 10 feet deep. Chemicals should also be dusted on the layered soil,” Rekhawar added.

27 deaths due to lumpy skin in Satara, Kolhapur & Sangli
Bombay HC asks BMC on what basis did it fine mask violators
Times of India | 2 weeks ago | |
Times of India
2 weeks ago | |

MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Monday directed BMC to explain on what basis it collected spot fines from those who violated its directive to wear masks during the pandemic. Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Madhav Jamdar heard a PIL that had initially opposed mandatory vaccination to travel by public transport, mainly the local trains. It had also urged to prosecute former CM Uddhav Thackeray and BMC commissioner Iqbal Chahal and for return of fines alleging that the money was misappropriated. The petitioner’s advocate Nilesh Ojha argued that vaccination was unlawfully imposed. To the judge’s query whether fines were imposed only in Maharashtra, senior advocate Anil Sakhare, for BMC, said it was “throughout India.” Senior advocate SU Kamdar, for the State, said, “Fines for not wearing masks were collected by the Corporation.” He said the vaccine mandate was discussed by the Supreme Court in the context of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It took note that containment measures are withdrawn by most of states including Maharashtra and if required, it can be reintroduced keeping in mind the principle of proportionality. Kamdar said the apex court held that the vaccination programme cannot be faulted. The judges questioned under what provision of law did the BMC collect fines. Seeking time to reply, Sakhare said under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 “there are some provisions.” But Ojha said under section 51 of the Disaster Management Act and section 3 of Epidemic Disease Act unless there is a conviction, fines can be imposed by the court. The judges asked parties to look up the SC judgment that says that if action is taken for the greater good, the court must not interfere. They referred to BMC's directives on wearing masks to prevent the pandemic and the consequent fine for violating it. “There is no data to show that wearing masks helps us,” said Ojha, adding the international studies show “more masks, more deaths.” The matter will be heard on October 3. — Rosy Sequeira

Bombay HC asks BMC on what basis did it fine mask violators
Active Covid-19 cases in country decline to 47,176
The Indian Express | 3 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
3 weeks ago | |

India logged 5,221 new coronavirus infections taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,45,00,580, while the active cases dipped to 47,176, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Monday.The death toll climbed to 5,28,165 with 15 fatalities which includes four deaths reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am stated.The active cases comprise 0.11 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 98.71 per cent, the ministry said.A decline of 769 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.82 per cent and the weekly positivity rate at 1.72 per cent, according to the ministry.The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,39,25,239, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19 per cent.According to the ministry, 215.26 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.The country crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23 last year. It crossed the four-crore mark on January 25 this year.The 11 new fatalities include three from Maharashtra and two each from Chhattisgarh and Delhi.

Active Covid-19 cases in country decline to 47,176
  • Maharashtra records 734 Covid-19 cases, one death
  • Times of India

    MUMBAI: Maharashtra on Saturday reported 734 new coronavirus infections and a single pandemic-related death, a health department report said. The tally of Covid-19 cases reported in Maharashtra so far rose to 81,10,131 and death toll increased to 1,48,285. The state witnessed a dip in daily Covid-19 cases as a day before it had reported 955 new cases and four fatalities. On Saturday the highest 444 cases were reported from the Mumbai circle, followed by Pune circle (132), Nashik circle (45), Latur circle, (44), Kolhapur (25), Nagpur circle (21), Akola circle (18) and Aurangabad circle (5). Each administrative circle comprises four-six districts. The sole death was reported from Pune circle. The number of recovered coronavirus patients rose to 79,55,268 with 1,216 patients recovering since previous evening. Maharashtra has 6,578 active Covid-19 cases now, including the highest 1,900 in Mumbai, followed by 1,560 and 1,416 cases in Pune and Thane districts. The recovery rate in the state is 98.09 per cent and case fatality rate is 1.82 per cent. With 22,092 new coronavirus tests conducted since previous evening, the number of samples tested so far rose to 8,43,52,282. Coronavirus figures of Maharashtra: Total cases 81,10,131; fresh cases 734; death toll 1,48,285; total recoveries 79,55,268; active cases 6,578; total tests 8,43,52,282.

  • Maharashtra: Covid cases dip in all districts
  • Times of India

    NAGPUR: New Covid cases dropped below 10 in all districts, keeping the overall count at 31 for the region on Tuesday. Total 45 patients were discharged in the day, while no Covid casualty was reported from anywhere in Vidarbha. The new cases were fewer though more number of tests were done. Nagpur made all the difference in the final tally of the day. The district reported 9 cases, probably first time after cases started spiralling. However, the district still has over 200 patients. The Covid count also fell after dip in cases in Chandrapur, where the numbers had ‘exploded’ for the last couple of days. Now only Nagpur and Chandrapur have active patents above 100. No new Covid patient was reported from Washim, while two recoveries were reported there in the day.

  • Maharashtra: Covid active tally dips below 10,000 after 3 months
  • Times of India

    PUNE: Maharashtra's tally of active Covid cases has now dropped below the 10,000-mark for the first time in over three months. It's a major development, considering the state had over 25,000 active cases around June-end. Officials attributed the drop to clear skies and reduced rainfall. The break in the weather has also caused swine flu cases to fall. "Transmission of influenza and Covid is nearly similar. Increased rainfall and humidity can boost transmission as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses can piggyback on moisture droplets in the air," said state surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate. Data showed that around June 9, Maharashtra had 11,571 active Covid cases. The number rose to 23,746 around June 19 and by June 27, active caseload was at 25,570. But by August 8, number of patients fell by more than half to 11,900 and by August-end, it was at 10,633. On Tuesday, the state's active caseload was at 7,701. As for SARS-CoV-2 variants, Maharashtra seems to have dodged the more serious BA.5 subvariant - its prevalence is now less than 5% in samples from the state. Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, a member of India's INSACOG network, said, "BA.5 had triggered severe infection in patients in some countries." Maharashtra is reporting a 75% prevalence of the milder BA.2.75 subvariant, which has not caused a spike in hospitalisation rates. Dr Awate said, "We are seeing a rise in BA.2.75 infections, but cases are largely mild and people are recovering at home. BA.2.75's prevalence is high in samples from Pune, Mumbai, and Thane." According to labs, the state reported 21 BA.5 patients and 216 BA.2.75 cases between August 20 and September 1. Dr Sidram K Raut, director of Noble Hospitals, said, "There has been no rise in the number of people reporting to the hospital. Widespread vaccine coverage may be a factor. But at the same time, there has been no major drop in the number of patients, which suggests many still haven't taken boosters."

  • Maharashtra: Active Covid tally dips below 10,000 after 3 months
  • Times of India

    PUNE: Maharashtra's tally of active Covid cases has now dropped below the 10,000-mark for the first time in over three months. It's a major development, considering the state had over 25,000 active cases around June-end. Officials attributed the drop to clear skies and reduced rainfall. The break in the weather has also caused swine flu cases to fall. "Transmission of influenza and Covid is nearly similar. Increased rainfall and humidity can boost transmission as SARS-CoV-2 and influenza viruses can piggyback on moisture droplets in the air," said state surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate. Data showed that around June 9, Maharashtra had 11,571 active Covid cases. The number rose to 23,746 around June 19 and by June 27, active caseload was at 25,570. But by August 8, number of patients fell by more than half to 11,900 and by August-end, it was at 10,633. On Tuesday, the state's active caseload was at 7,701. As for SARS-CoV-2 variants, Maharashtra seems to have dodged the more serious BA.5 subvariant - its prevalence is now less than 5% in samples from the state. Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, a member of India's INSACOG network, said, "BA.5 had triggered severe infection in patients in some countries." Maharashtra is reporting a 75% prevalence of the milder BA.2.75 subvariant, which has not caused a spike in hospitalisation rates. Dr Awate said, "We are seeing a rise in BA.2.75 infections, but cases are largely mild and people are recovering at home. BA.2.75's prevalence is high in samples from Pune, Mumbai, and Thane." According to labs, the state reported 21 BA.5 patients and 216 BA.2.75 cases between August 20 and September 1. Dr Sidram K Raut, director of Noble Hospitals, said, "There has been no rise in the number of people reporting to the hospital. Widespread vaccine coverage may be a factor. But at the same time, there has been no major drop in the number of patients, which suggests many still haven't taken boosters."

  • At 4,417, India records lowest single-day rise in Covid cases in 3 months
  • The Indian Express

    India saw a single day rise of 4,417 new coronavirus infections, the lowest in last three months, taking the tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,44,66,862, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday.Active Covid cases have further declined to 52,336, while the death toll has climbed to 5,28,030 with 23 fatalities, including one death reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am showed.India had reported 3,714 new cases in a span of 24 hours on June 6.The active cases comprises 0.12 per cent of the total infections while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 98.69 per cent, the health ministry said.A decline of 1,638 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.The daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.20 per cent while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 2.06 per cent, according to the health ministry.The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 4,38,86,496, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.19 per cent.According to the ministry, 213.72 crore doses of Covid vaccines have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive.India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16.It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4, three crore on June 23 last year and four crore on January 25 this year.The 22 new fatalities include four from Delhi, three from Maharashtra, and two each from Bihar, Haryana, Karnataka and West Bengal among others.

Maharashtra: Big drop in daily Covid-19 vaccination amid festivities
Times of India | 4 weeks ago | |
Times of India
4 weeks ago | |

PUNE: Daily Covid vaccination across the state has plunged 50% over the last few days, data showed. State officials said that in August, Maharashtra was recording some 1 lakh daily vaccinations. But in the first week of September, as Ganesh festivities began, that fell to just over 50,000. Even the number of vaccination centres has reduced in the state. There were 6,000 centres giving out shots a few months ago, but on Thursday, only 3,827 centres were open. “We tried to boost vaccine coverage by tying up with Ganesh mandals, but the plan didn’t get the desired response,” said Dr Sachin Desai, state immunisation officer. This plan involved getting festival organisers to host vaccination drives at their pandals. But not many organisers signed up for the programme. Dr Desai added that officials were not surprised by the drop in daily vaccinations. “It has been the trend for months now,” he said. Dr Sanjay Patil, chairperson of the Indian Medical Association’s Hospital Board of India (Pune chapter) said it’s now time the government made the vaccines available in the open market. “It should be just like the swine flu vaccines. Covid cases have dropped and many people are not turning up for the shots,” he said. On Thursday, only 58,000 people were vaccinated across Maharashtra. In Pune district, the number was at just 2,000. As for Covid cases, the Pune Metropolitan Region recorded 238 cases and two deaths on Thursday. Some 150 new cases were from PMC areas. Pimpri Chinchwad reported 60 new patients. Only 80 Covid-19 patients are currently hospitalised in the PMR. The two deaths took the region’s overall toll to 19,742.

Maharashtra: Big drop in daily Covid-19 vaccination amid festivities
  • Bharat Biotech’s intranasal Covid vaccine gets DCGI nod for restricted emergency use
  • The Indian Express

    THE NATIONAL drug regulator has given the green signal to the country’s first intra-nasal Covid vaccine for emergency use in adults, the Government said on Tuesday.Called iNCOVACC and manufactured by Bharat Biotech, the company behind Covaxin, the new vaccine has been approved for primary immunisation — it can be administered only to the unimmunised.Officials said those who have already received the first and second doses of other vaccines will not be eligible to get iNCOVACC as the “precaution” third dose.Yet, Tuesday’s approval by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) is significant: iNCOVACC will be delivered through the nasal route, which would potentially trigger an immune response in the mucosal membrane. It has been designed to not only protect against infection but also reduce transmission of the virus.Taking to Twitter, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya posted: “Big Boost to India’s Fight Against COVID-19! Bharat Biotech’s ChAd36-SARS-CoV-S COVID-19 (Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vectored) recombinant nasal vaccine approved by @CDSCO_INDIA_INF for primary immunization against COVID-19 in 18+ age group for restricted use in emergency situation.”The vaccine uses a modified chimpanzee adenovirus, which cannot replicate in the body, to carry the Covid spike protein to induce immunity.Big Boost to India’s Fight Against COVID-19!Bharat Biotech’s ChAd36-SARS-CoV-S COVID-19 (Chimpanzee Adenovirus Vectored) recombinant nasal vaccine approved by @CDSCO_INDIA_INF for primary immunization against COVID-19 in 18+ age group for restricted use in emergency situation.— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) September 6, 2022Bharat Biotech developed the new vaccine in partnership with Washington University-St Louis. While the US university developed the vector that carries the spike protein and evaluated it in pre-clinical studies, Bharat Biotech is handling product development and manufacturing. The development of the vaccine was partly funded by the Department of Biotechnology’s Covid Suraksha programme.“iNCOVACC has the double benefit of enabling faster development of variant specific vaccines and easy nasal delivery that enables mass immunization to protect from emerging variants of concern,” Bharat Biotech said in a statement. “Being an intranasal vaccine, BBV154 (iNCOVACC) may produce local antibodies in the upper respiratory tract, which may provide the potential to reduce infection and transmission.”Stable at 2-8°C, which makes it easy to store and distribute, the vaccine will be manufactured at multiple sites in the country, including Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana.Delivered through a nasal drop, the vaccine will do away with the need for needles and syringes that are currently required for all available Covid vaccines. It will also reduce dependence on trained personnel to administer the shots.According to Bharat Biotech, the vaccine was found to be “safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic” when compared to its own Covaxin in a phase III trial of nearly 3,100 participants across 14 sites in India. The company also conducted a trial with 875 participants to see whether the vaccine may be used as a booster in those who received Covaxin or Covishield as their primary vaccine.India has, so far, administered a total of 213 crore vaccine doses, of which 102 crore are first doses, according to the Government’s CoWIN portal. Nearly 98 per cent of adults in India had received at least one dose by the third week of July, according to the Union Health Ministry.Currently, Covishield, Covaxin and Corbevax are part of the Government’s Covid immunisation drive while vaccines like Covovax and Sputnik are available at private centres.Dr Krishna Ella, chairman and managing director of Bharat Biotech, said, “We are proud to announce the approval of iNCOVACC, a global game changer in intra nasal vaccines technology. Despite the lack of demand for COVID-19 vaccines, we continued product development in intra nasal vaccines to ensure that we are well prepared with platform technologies for future infectious diseases.”(With ENS/Pune)

UPSC Key-September 7, 2022: Why you should read ‘Section 66A’ or ‘Rawls theory of Social Justice’ or ‘Welfarism and Freebies’ for UPSC CSE
The Indian Express | 4 weeks ago | |
The Indian Express
4 weeks ago | |

Important topics and their relevance in UPSC CSE exam for September 7, 2022. If you missed the September 6, 2022 UPSC key from the Indian Express, read it hereFRONT PAGEDelhi, Dhaka sign river pact, first in 25 years; Hasina praises ModiSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: India and its neighbourhood- relations.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- Visiting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Tuesday that “as long as Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi is here, Bangladesh and India will resolve” problems between them. She said this in the context of sharing river waters as the two countries signed an interim water sharing agreement for the Kushiyara river, the first such pact between them in over 25 years — the Ganga water treaty was signed in 1996.• Personality in News– Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina• Map Work-Bangladesh• Map Work-Kushiyara River and Teesta River (Mark both source and mouth)• Which States of India share boundaries with Bangladesh?• For both Delhi and Dhaka, the reinvention of the bilateral relationship has been one of the most significant successes of their recent foreign policies-Know bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh• Know in detail about India’s Water Disputes or rather India’s water issues with Bangladesh• The issue of water-sharing remains a key irritant in the bilateral relationship between India and Bangladesh-discuss• What was the Ganga water treaty between India and Bangladesh?• According to many experts, the Teesta river remained the most contentious issue between two India and Bangladesh- Can you elaborate further on this?• What is the status of the Teesta dispute?• Teesta aside, how has the relationship with Bangladesh evolved over the years?• What are the recent irritants in the bilateral relationship?• Why engagement with Bangladesh is of the immense benefits of deeper economic for the India’s north-eastern states?• What is Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).• Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)-Compare and Contrast• India and Bangladesh-how is the trade relations between both the countries? can you attest your points by presenting data’s and statistics?• For Your Information-In 2021-22, Bangladesh has emerged as the largest trade partner for India in South Asia and the fourth largest destination for Indian exports worldwide. Exports to Bangladesh grew more than 66 per cent from $9.69 billion in FY 2020-21 to $16.15 billion in FY 2021-22. India is Bangladesh’s second biggest trade partner, and its largest export market in Asia. Despite Covid-19 related disruptions, bilateral trade grew at an unprecedented rate of almost 44 per cent from $10.78 billion in 2020-21 to $18.13 billion in 2021-22. India’s main exports to Bangladesh are raw cotton, non-retail pure cotton yarn, and electricity, and its main imports from the country are pure vegetable oils, non-knit men’s suits, and textile scraps.• Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) objectives between India and Bangladesh-know in detail• What is the current institutional frameworks for trade and investment between India and BangladeshOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Trade between India and Bangladesh, now set for CEPA boost📍Time To Look At Teesta📍As Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina arrives, taking stock of India-Bangladesh ties: the achievements and the irritantsRegulator gives nod for first intra-nasal Covid-19 vaccineSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Main Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-The National drug regulator has given the green signal to the country’s first intra-nasal Covid vaccine for emergency use in adults, the Government said on Tuesday. Called iNCOVACC and manufactured by Bharat Biotech, the company behind Covaxin, the new vaccine has been approved for primary immunisation — it can be administered only to the unimmunised.• iNCOVACC-Know its features• India’s first intra-nasal vaccine iNCOVACC-Why it is significant?• Why Nasal Spray can be effective?• Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO)-Role, Nodal MinistryOther Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍India gets first Covid-19 nasal vaccine. Why it could reduce infection, stop transmissionStudy: 11% of Class 3 kids lack basic maths skills, 37% have limited skillsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- A nationwide study carried out by the Centre in March has found that 37 per cent of students enrolled in Class III have “limited” foundational numeracy skills, such as identifying numbers, while 11 per cent “lack the most basic knowledge and skills”.• Do You Know-Unlike the National Achievement Survey (NAS), which evaluates learning outcomes of students in Classes III, V, VIII and X through a test based on multiple choice questions (MCQs) every three years, the findings of the Foundational Learning Study (FLS) were based on one-to-one interviews with each participant.• What are the other key findings of the Foundational Learning Study (FLS)?• Why the findings of the Foundational Learning Study (FLS) is crucial?• What is the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat?• What are the important goals of NIPUN Bharat?• How this report and its finding will help policymakers to frame appropriate policies and programmes?• Constitutional Provisions Regarding Education- What Article 28, Article 29, Article 30, Article 21A, Article 45 and Article 46 says about Education?• How National Policy on Education (NEP) 2020 and NIPUN Bharat are linked?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy GOVT & POLITICSUse of Sec 66A despite it being struck down matter of concern: SCSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Mains Examination: • General Studies II: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.• General Studies II: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the JudiciaryKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed “serious concern” over states continuing to register FIRs for offences under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act despite the court holding it unconstitutional in 2015.• For Your Information-On March 24, 2015, in the case Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in its entirety, and ruled that it was violative of Article 19(1)(a). The court ruled that “it is clear that Section 66A arbitrarily, excessively and disproportionately invades the right of free speech and upsets the balance between such right and the reasonable restrictions that may be imposed on such right”.• What do you know about Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000?• What did Section 66A do?• Why was the law criticised?• How did Section 66A come under the Supreme Court’s scrutiny?• What were the grounds for the challenge?• What did the Supreme Court decide?• Why did the Supreme Court of India struck down the Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000?• Why the Section 66A of the IT Act, 2000 continued to came back in news?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Ghost of Section 66A📍Explained: The Shreya Singhal case that struck down Section 66A of IT ActEXPRESS NETWORKDiversity furthers our grasp of fairness, social justice: SC judgeSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies IV: Accountability and ethical governance, strengthening of ethical and moral values in governanceKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- There is still a need for “structural changes” to ensure that the “positive legal effects” of the top court’s ruling decriminalising same-sex relations are extended to “marginalised queer people”, Supreme Court judge, Justice D Y Chandrachud, said on Tuesday.• What do we mean by social justice?• What is social justice examples?• What are the 4 types of social justice?• What John Rawls said about social justice?• What is Rawls theory of social justice?• What is fairness in social justice?• Free Markets versus State Intervention and social justice-connect the dots• What does it mean to give each person his/her due? How has the meaning of “giving each his due” changed over time?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:  📍Social Justice📍John RawlsPM to launch cheetah project on Sept 17 in MPSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate ChangeMain Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story– Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurate the intercontinental cheetah translocation project at the Kuno National Park in Sheopur district of Madhya Pradesh on September 17. With the release of eight cheetahs being brought from Namibia, the big cat species will be reintroduced in India after 70 years since being declared extinct in 1952.• Action Plan for Introduction of Cheetah in India-Important Highlights• National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)-Role, Area of Work and Chairman• Wildlife Institute of India-Under which Ministry?• Cheetah in India- Background• Extinction of Cheetah from Indian Landscape-know the reasons• Know the difference between cheetah and Leopard and African cheetah and Asiatic cheetah• Know the Difference between Extinct, Extinct in the Wild and Critically Endangered• Supreme Court of India on Translocating Animals• Translocating Animals-Issues and Challenges• Map Work World-South Africa, Namibia and Botswana• Map Work India-Kuno Palpur National Park (Madhya Pradesh)Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍Explained: Why India wants to bring the African cheetah to India📍Cheetah: The world’s fastest cat is returning to India📍70 years after big cat’s extinction, India prepares to welcome cheetahs from AfricaTHE EDITORIAL PAGEThe next reformsSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development-Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilisation, of resources, growth, development and employment.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story-Ashima Goyal writes: The Indian economy was expected to collapse due to the pandemic. But its recovery has been better than that of most countries. In the recent past growth suffered because of an excessive focus on structural reforms while neglecting the smoothening of shocks. Current policy has responded to the latter. But talk of the necessity of reforms is again in the air. So what reforms are required?• What is India’s Economic Growth after the Pandemic?• India’s Economic Growth and Global Economic Growth-Compare and Contrast• How does IMF, WB and WTO define economic liberalisation and globalisation?• The definition of economic liberalisation and globalisation by IMF, WB and WTO is “One size fits all”-Do you agree?• “The IMF-WB-WTO holy trinity of structural land, labour and other market-opening reforms harms many domestic citizens and, beyond a point, runs into severe resistance that imposes large political costs”-Analyse the statement• What are the reform suggestions given by the author?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic: 📍30 years of economic liberalisation: Road ahead more daunting, need to recalibrate priorities says Manmohan Singh📍ExplainSpeaking | How to read India’s GDP growth achievements📍India overtakes the UK as world’s fifth-largest economy: 5 charts to put this in perspectiveA MORE NURTURING FORCESyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Indian Polity and Governance-Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.Main Examination: General Studies IV: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administrationKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- Rahul Gupta writes: Dignity at the workplace and pride in uniform compensate for lack of resources. But they need to be nurtured and reinforced with proactive interventions• Why Indian Police needs Reforms?• “The stress affecting the mental well-being of uniformed personnel is downplayed and overlooked”-Elaborate• “The constabulary accounts for around 85 per cent of state police and CAPFs. These personnel perform their duties as directed by their seniors. They mostly remain in the background of the organisation with less recognition for their achievements and more frequent persecution for failure”-Account the importance of constabulary• Which committee is established for the police system reform in India?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍UPSC Ethics Simplified: Indian Police and EthicsTHE IDEAS PAGENot a debate for EC and SCSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.Mains Examination: General Studies II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemesKey Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- S Y Quraishi writes: Given poverty and inequality in India, it is important that we reaffirm the value and necessity of welfare programmes and the urgent need to expand them• What the everyday plight of the common citizen in India?• What is “Freebies”?• Is there any definition of the term “freebies” given in the existing legal/policy framework?• What is wrong with freebies?• Promises made by the political parties, often driven by short-term electoral calculations, can be divided into two types-What are those two types of promises?• The Supreme Court of India in its judgment dated July 5, 2013, accepted that the promises in manifestos cannot be construed as “corrupt practice” under the RP Act. However, it conceded that they do “influence the people and shake the roots of free and fair elections”-Know in detail about this verdict• “India is a welfare state and the citizens are entitled to welfare schemes, but distributing things free can never be the only way of welfare”-Where to draw the line between welfarism and freebies?• Oxfam’s 2022 annual report on inequality in India has many troubling, stark revelations-Know in detail• For Your Information-According to Oxfam’s 2022 annual report on inequality in India, the number of poor doubled to 134 million as its dollar billionaires’ wealth doubled. The richest 1 per cent have amassed 51.5 per cent of the total wealth while the bottom 60 per cent of the population a mere 5 per cent.• Critics have pointed out that provisions to poor beneficiaries are termed as “revdi” while state-sponsored support to the rich is called “incentive”-Compare and Contrast between “Revdi” and “Incentive”• How freebies Impact Union and State budgets?• Why the word ‘Freebie’ is almost sounds pejorative especially in political and policy circle?• The political dialogue built around freebies is fraught with danger. What ‘danger’ is associated with Freebies scheme?• How Budget is managed for Freebies schemes and Programmes?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍As constitutional office, may not be apt to be part of SC panel on poll freebies: EC📍Election monitor does well to refrain from stepping into debate on freebies. That discussion must remain in the political domain📍From freebies to welfareEXPLAINEDThe idea of climate reparationSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: General issues on Environmental ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change – that do not require subject specialization.Mains Examination: General Studies III: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- Facing the worst flooding disaster in its history, Pakistan has begun demanding reparations, or compensation, from the rich countries that are mainly responsible for causing climate change.• Know in detail-Historical emissions argument• The demand for compensation for loss and damage from climate disasters is an extension of the universally acknowledged “Polluter Pays” principle-what is “Polluter Pays” principle?• Why Historical responsibility is important?• While the impact of climate change is global, it is much more severe on the poorer nations-How?• “The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 1994 international agreement that lays down the broad principles of the global effort to fight climate change, explicitly acknowledges this differentiated responsibility of nations”- What is differentiated responsibility of nations?• What is a superflood?• Why the floods in Pakistan has been described as a ‘superflood’?• Map Work-Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan• According to the Scientists, the “superflood” was made more likely by global heating, which drove fiercer rains-establish the link between global heating, southwest monsoon and floods in Pakistan• What is ‘Global Climate Risk Index’?• What is the rank of India and other south Asian countries in Global Climate Risk Index 2022?Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍The floods in Pakistan highlight the imminent need for friendlier relations with our neighbourAt threat from Pak monsoon, 5,000-yr-old heritage of Mohenjo DaroSyllabus:Preliminary Examination: History of IndiaMains Examination: General Studies I: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.Key Points to Ponder:• What’s the ongoing story- In the 1960s, hydrologist Robert L Raikes and archaeologist George F Dales put forward the theory that a series of catastrophic floods in the Indus around c. 1800 BC had wiped out the great urban centres of the Harappan civilization. Last week, Pakistan’s Department of Archaeology warned that heavy rainfall in the Sindh province threatened the World Heritage status of Mohenjo Daro, one of the largest of Indus Valley Civilization sites.• Map Work-Mohenjo Daro, Sutkagen Dor in Balochistan, Rakhigarhi in Haryana’s Hisar district, Manda in Jammu, Daimabad in Maharashtra, Lothal and Dholavira in Gujarat, and Kalibangan in Rajasthan.• For Your Information-The prehistoric antiquity of Mohenjo Daro, which flourished on the right (west) bank of the Indus river in the 3rd millennium BC was established by Rakhal Das Banerji of the Archaeological Survey of India in 1922. The ruins of the sprawling city of unbaked (burnt) brick 510 km north-east of Karachi and 28 km from Larkana in Sindh were recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.• Do You Know-Along with Harappa, Mohenjo Daro is the best known site of the bronze age urban civilization that flourished in the valley of the Indus between roughly 3,300 BC and 1,300 BC, with its ‘mature’ phase spanning the period 2,600 BC to 1,900 BC.• Indus Valley Civilization or Origin of Harappan Civilization-Know the date and Area and Areas of extension• Harappan-Know the Urban infrastructure and architecture• Harappan- Know about Harrapan society and religion• Know in detail-Harappan art, craft and pottery• Know in detail-Harappan Language and Scripts• Reasons for Decline-Various Debates (Perspective-Left, Marxists and Conservatives etc)Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:📍 Explained: What UNESCO heritage site Dholavira tells us about Indus Valley Civilisation Previous Year Prelims Questions Covering the same theme:📍Which one of the following is not a Harappan site? (Paper 1-2019)(a) Chanhudaro(b) Kot Diji(c) Sohgaura(d) Desalpur📍Which one of the following ancient towns is well known for its elaborate system of water harvesting and management by building a series of dams and channelising water into connected reservoirs? (Paper 1-2021)(a) Dholavira(b) Kalibangan(c) Rakhigarhi(d) RoparFor any queries and feedback, contact priya.shukla@indianexpress.comThe UPSC KEY Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Updates.

UPSC Key-September 7, 2022: Why you should read ‘Section 66A’ or ‘Rawls theory of Social Justice’ or ‘Welfarism and Freebies’ for UPSC CSE
Lumpy skin disease is not a normal viral outbreak. A coordinated effort is needed
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Lumpy skin disease (LSD) has infected around 11.25 lakh cattle, caused nearly 50,000 deaths and spread to 165 districts in 12 states. Despite this officially confirmed data, there seems to be no coordinated national effort for dealing with what’s clearly more than a normal viral outbreak. The LSD virus, transmitted by mosquitoes and other blood-feeding arthropod vectors, was first detected in Odisha in August 2019 and the neighbouring eastern states by the year-end. Over the next two years, sporadic cases were seen, including in Maharashtra and Gujarat. The recent wave, since May-June 2022, is unusual not only for morbidity or the rate at which animals are contracting the disease, but also mortality. The symptoms, too, aren’t restricted to the mere appearance of skin nodules. In many cases, infected animals are experiencing acute pain, swelling in limbs and bleeding, alongside fever and loss of appetite.For now, it looks that susceptibility to the disease is more among the cattle with hampered immune systems. That would include stray animals or even those in gaushalas not properly fed and looked after. To that extent, there may be no immediate impact on milk production (LSD hasn’t also been reported much in buffaloes). It is, moreover, possible that the current surge may have largely to do with an increase in vector population from the monsoon — and could subside for the same reason. But that only adds to the urgency to act now and launch a concerted vaccine-cum-awareness drive on the lines of the fight against Covid-19. The dairy sector, which accounts for over a fifth of the gross value added from Indian agriculture, needs to be prepared for a fresh resurgence that might come sooner than later — with deadlier consequences.Three things should be done on a priority basis. The first is to step up supply of goat pox and sheep pox vaccines. Since LSD belongs to the same capripoxvirus genus, these vaccines can provide at least partial cross-protection against the former even if that is specific to cattle. At present, only the goat pox vaccine has been approved for administering to cattle against LSD. The same may be extended to sheep pox vaccines, for which there are many more manufacturers. Secondly, the government must expedite the commercialisation of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s recently-developed live attenuated homologous vaccine that is said to provide full protection against LSD. It could consider granting emergency use authorisation to enable large-scale production and roll-out, similar to that for Covid vaccines. Third, the vaccination should be done on mission mode, with the push coming from the top and not the department of animal husbandry and dairying.

Lumpy skin disease is not a normal viral outbreak. A coordinated effort is needed
Govt to set up NCDC centres in all states; foundation stone laid for six
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

TO BOOST outbreak disease surveillance in the country, a new lab complex with 50 laboratories was inaugurated at the National Centre for Disease Control-Delhi. Along with that, foundation stones were also laid for six state centres in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday.At present, there are eight such regional centres of NCDC that conduct surveillance for a few diseases at the state level. The government plans to set up an NCDC centre in each state, with the entire network monitoring for 33 outbreak diseases, and any other new or re-emerging diseases.“These branches will better help in surveillance, monitoring, and initiating public health activities for control of an outbreak. It will also boost the state’s diagnostic capabilities,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at the virtual event.Director General of Health Services Dr Atul Goel said at the event that it is envisioned that the NCDC plays the role similar to CDC in the US. There will be 10 Bio-Safety Level-3 laboratories, with at least one BSL-2 laboratory in each state.“Some bigger states such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, or Madhya Pradesh will have up to four BSL-2 laboratories. This will ensure that patient samples do not have to be sent to the NCDC in Delhi and can be tested locally,” said an official.The NCDC centres are being set up, with the land being provided by the states and Centre pitching in for construction, equipment, and manpower.Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya said, “Disease surveillance plays a crucial part in disease prevention, control and management. Towards this end the regional branches of NCDC will pay a pivotal part. They will provide a boost to public health infrastructure with prompt surveillance, rapid detection and monitoring of diseases thereby enabling early interventions.”He said the government was working towards enhancing indigenous vaccine research, increase in health sector research, and strengthening of the second and tertiary care facilities in India, while increasing access to the primary care facilities.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxAt NCDC Delhi, the new laboratory complex houses 50 laboratories, of which 30 are BSL-3 laboratories, five RT-PCR laboratories, and 15 other laboratories.NCDC director Dr Sujeet Singh said there were a lot of learning from Covid-19 and there was a need to enhance laboratory capacity at the Centre.

Govt to set up NCDC centres in all states; foundation stone laid for six
Mahar Regiment veterans mark valour and sacrifice of 9th batallion in 1965 war
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The Pune-based veterans of the Mahar Regiment of the Indian Army organised a ceremony on Saturday to honour the gallant action of Nine Mahar displayed on September 3, 1965 during the Indo-Pakistani War. It was on this day when under the leadership of the then Lieutenant Colonel, later Brigadier DN Singh, the Commanding Officer of Nine Mahar Regiment, the Battalion successfully defended the treacherous feature of Troti in Akhnoor sector of Jammu and Kashmir in Operation Riddle.The 9th Battalion the Mahar Regiment was raised on October 1 in 1962 at Saugor as a Medium Machine Gun (MMG) formation. One year after raising, the battalion was converted into an infantry battalion and this involved changes in weapons, equipment, training, organisation and basic functioning of the formation.In June 1965, Nine Mahar within just three years of its raising was deployed in the Samba Sector of Jammu and Kashmir. With commencement of hostilities, the battalion was moved overnight under 41 Mountain Brigade at Jaurian, Akhnoor and was ordered to guard the Troti feature dominating the main Chamb-Jaurian Road.On reaching Troti on the intervening midnight of September 1 and 2, the battalion barely got four hours to prepare its defences when it faced heavy air attacks the next morning. On September 3, starting at 7 am, Pakistan used all its might to capture Troti, including bombardment by air, artillery and later in the night attacking the valiant Nine Mahar troops with overwhelming numbers of infantry supported by a regiment of Patton tanks. Best of ExplainedWhy NASA aborted the launch of its Moon rocket again, and what nowIn perspective: India overtakes UK as world's fifth-largest economy How ICAR's new vaccine against Lumpy Skin Disease will workClick here for more The battalion under the leadership of Lt Col DN Singh and officers like Major SV Sathe and Major Vikram Chavan blunted the attack in a bloody battle of close support enemy fire, hand-to-hand fighting and trench warfare. Nine Mahar stood its ground resolutely and never gave an inch to the enemy. In this ferocious battle that lasted three consecutive nights, seventeen men made the ultimate sacrifice and helped the unit earn the prestigious battle honour ‘Jaurian Kalit’ and ‘Theater honour Jammu and Kashmir.’Major General P Sherlekar and Brigadier Arun Adhikari, both veterans of Mahar Regiment, were present during the function to honour the two war heroes, Major SV Sathe and Lt Col Vikram Chavan, who were the examples of bold leadership in this battle under adverse conditions. To commemorate this function, Lt Gen Bansi Ponnappa, Colonel of the Mahar Regiment, released a social video message for the battalion and exalted the spirit of Mahar Regiment and its soldiers for their splendid performance in the Battle of ‘Jaurian Kalit’.

Mahar Regiment veterans mark valour and sacrifice of 9th batallion in 1965 war
How ICAR’s new vaccine against Lumpy Skin Disease, the viral infection killing India’s cattle, will work
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is aiming to commercially launch in “four-five months” its indigenously-developed vaccine against the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) virus that has killed around 50,000 heads of cattle in several states since April.Bhupendra Nath Tripathi, Deputy Director-General (Animal Sciences) of ICAR, said that Agrinnovate India, the commercialisation arm for products and technologies developed by ICAR institutes, had issued an expression of interest document for the vaccine, ‘Lumpi-ProVacInd’, last month, and that three companies had shown interest.The vaccine, which has been jointly developed by ICAR’s National Research Centre on Equines (NRCE) at Hisar, Haryana and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) at Izatnagar, UP, is a live attenuated vaccine, similar to those used against tuberculosis, measles, mumps and rubella.“It is also homologous, providing 100 per cent protection against LSD in cattle. Currently, we are only administering goat pox and sheep pox virus vaccines. These are heterologous vaccines offering only cross-protection (up to 60-70 per cent) for cattle against LSD, by virtue of all the three viruses belonging to the same capripoxvirus genus,” Tripathi explained to The Indian Express.Inactivated virus vaccines, such as Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin that is being used to inoculate people against Covid-19, are less effective, with just 5-6 months efficacy against capripox viruses. Hence, the choice of a live attenuated vaccine for LSD.Naveen Kumar, veterinary virologist and principal scientist at NRCE, said that the institute had collected skin nodule samples from LSD-infected cows near Ranchi in December 2019. The virus was isolated at the Hisar-based institute by early-January 2020. This was a period when cases of the disease were coming in from Odisha and eastern states. “These weren’t leading to any mortality. But being a virus totally new to India, we decided to work on it,” he said.The next step was to propagate the isolated virus in African green monkey kidney (Vero) cells used in cultures. The culturing was done over 50 generations (“passages”) and took about 17 months. As the virus mutated after repeated passages, its virulence or disease-causing ability weakened. The pathogenicity loss started from around the 30th passage, although the mutated virus could induce the necessary immune response from its host.“We did sequencing of the virus genome at the start and the 10th, 30th and 50th passages. The attenuated live virus was identified as a vaccine candidate after the 50th passage and tested on our laboratory mice and rabbits,” Kumar said.In April this year, experimental trials of the vaccine candidate on the natural host (cattle) was undertaken at IVRI. These included 10 male calves that were administered the vaccine and five “control” animals that weren’t. After a month, both sets of calves were injected with the virulent virus. The control calves showed most of the LSD symptoms, whereas the vaccinated animals had developed full immunity.Since July, field trials have also taken place, starting with 140-odd cattle (lactating and pregnant cows as well as calves, heifers and bulls) at a gaushala at Banswara in Rajasthan. The vaccine has also been administered to animals in 35 other gaushalas and dairy farms in Udaipur, Alwar and Jodhpur, besides Hisar and Hansi (Haryana) and Mathura (UP).“We have not seen the disease in any of these animals, even while it has spread everywhere around them,” said Kumar.LSD is caused by the lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), which is a virus of the capripoxvirus genus in the poxviridae family. Sheeppox virus and goatpox virus are the other members of the genus capripoxvirus. The LSDV mainly infects cattle: cow and its progeny, and the Asian water buffalo.According to a 2021 report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), LSD outbreaks occur as epidemics several years apart. There is no known specific reservoir of the virus, and it is also not known where and how the virus survives between epidemics, the FAO report said.The FAO report said that after being restricted for long to sub-Saharan Africa, the virus has spread to the Middle East and Turkey over the past decade. From 2015 onward, it has infected cattle in southeastern and Eastern Europe and in Russia.LSD entered India, Bangladesh and China in July 2019. Since then, outbreaks of the disease have been reported from 20 Indian states and UTs, including Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.How does LSD spread, and what are the symptoms of the disease?LSDV spreads through blood-sucking vectors like ticks, mites, and mosquitoes, and also through contaminated water, fodder, and feed. Mosquito and housefly infestations reach their peak during the monsoon, and veterinary scientists and government officers blamed the very wet July for the rapid spread of the infection this year especially in Gujarat, where the outbreak started.Scientists have been advising that infected animals be isolated; however, the large numbers of stray cattle makes this task difficult, and has possibly been contributing to the rapid spread of the disease.LSDV attacks the circulatory system of an animal and causes vasculitis or inflammation of blood vessels and lesions in organs like liver, lungs, spleen, lymph nodes etc, Prof R M Patel, head of the department of medicine at the College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (CVSAS), Dantiwada, said.The epidermis, the outer surface of the skin, gets separated from the dermis or inner layer, leading to the formation of lumps or nodules on an animal’s body. Fever, increased mucus secretion, and loss of appetite are among the other symptoms.Autopsies carried out by Prof Patel’s team on eight carcasses in Kutch and Banaskantha found that the virus had caused necrotising vasculitis, or the death of tissues, and fibrosis in various organs of the infected cattle, leading to their death.Also, the nodules may burst due to outer pressure or friction as the skin covering such nodules is very thin. The open wounds make the animals susceptible to secondary bacterial and protozoal infections, and maggot infestations can prove fatal.There were small outbreaks in Gujarat’s Kheda and Anand in 2020 and 2021, which the state animal husbandry department controlled by treating the infected cattle and giving goat pox vaccine to healthy animals in peripheral areas. But this year has been very different.Since the first case was reported from Kaiyari, a village on the Indo-Pak border in Lakhpat taluka of Kutch, LSD has swept through the state, infecting cows of all breeds, and spread to at least 11 other states and Union Territories. Buffaloes have been largely safe.According to official data, LSD has infected about 11.21 lakh cattle and caused 49,628 deaths across India as on August 31. The virus has been reported in Rajasthan (31 districts), Gujarat (26), Punjab (24), Haryana (22), Uttar Pradesh (21), Jammu & Kashmir (18), Himachal Pradesh (9), Madhya Pradesh (5), Uttarakhand (4), Maharashtra (3), Goa (1), and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (1).Government officials said the actual numbers of both infections and deaths could be much higher — many dairy farmers and cattle herders may not be reporting cases, or they could be consulting private veterinarians.

How ICAR’s new vaccine against Lumpy Skin Disease, the viral infection killing India’s cattle, will work
  • Indigenous vaccine against lumpy skin disease to hit markets soon, says ICAR
  • The Indian Express

    THE INDIAN Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is confident about commercialising its indigenously-developed Lumpi-ProVacInd vaccine against the lumpy skin disease (LSD) virus infecting cattle within “four-five months”.“Agrinnovate India, which is  commercialisation arm for products and technologies developed by our institutes, issued the expression of interest document last week. Three companies have already shown interest,” Bhupendra Nath Tripathi, Deputy Director-General (Animal Sciences) of ICAR, told The Indian Express.Lumpi-ProVacInd – jointly developed by ICAR’s National Research Centre on Equines (NRCE) at Hisar, Haryana and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) at Izatnagar, UP — is a live attenuated vaccine, similar to those used against tuberculosis, measles, mumps and rubella.“It is also homologous, providing 100 per cent protection against LSD in cattle. Currently, we are only administering goat pox and sheep pox virus vaccines. These are heterologous vaccines offering only cross-protection (up to 60-70 per cent) for cattle against LSD, by virtue of all the three viruses belonging to the same capripoxvirus genus,” explained Tripathi. While in the case of Covid-19, inactivated vaccines such as Covaxin were used, these are less effective, with just 5-6 months efficacy against capripox viruses. Hence, the choice of a live attenuated vaccine for LSD.According to official data, LSD has infected about 11.21 lakh cattle and caused 49,628 deaths across India as on August 31. The virus — mainly spread by biting flies, mosquitoes and ticks, with symptoms ranging from fever, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, watery eyes and hyper-salivation to severe skin eruptions and inflammatory nodules – has been reported in 12 states. These include Rajasthan (31 districts), Gujarat (26), Punjab (24), Haryana (22), Uttar Pradesh (21), Jammu & Kashmir (18), Himachal Pradesh (9), Madhya Pradesh (5), Uttarakhand (4), Maharashtra (3), Goa (1), and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (1).Giving details on the vaccine’s development, Naveen Kumar, veterinary virologist and principal scientist at NRCE, said that the institute had collected skin nodule samples from LSD-infected cows near Ranchi in December 2019. The virus was isolated at the Hisar-based institute by early-January 2020. This was a period when cases of the disease were coming in from Odisha and eastern states. “These weren’t leading to any mortality. But being a virus totally new to India, we decided to work on it,” he said.The next step was to propagate the isolated virus in African green monkey kidney (Vero) cells used in cultures. The culturing was done over 50 generations (“passages”) and took about 17 months. As the virus mutated after repeated passages, its virulence or disease-causing ability weakened. The pathogenicity loss started from around the 30th passage, although the mutated virus could induce the necessary immune response from its host.“We did sequencing of the virus genome at the start and the 10th, 30th and 50th passages. The attenuated live virus was identified as a vaccine candidate after the 50th passage and tested on our laboratory mice and rabbits,” said Kumar.Experimental trials of the vaccine candidate on the natural host (cattle) was undertaken at IVRI in April this year. These included 10 male calves that were administered the vaccine and five “control” animals that weren’t. After a month, both sets of calves were injected with the virulent virus. The control calves showed most of the LSD symptoms, whereas the vaccinated animals had developed full immunity.Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inboxSince July, field trials have also taken place, starting with 140-odd cattle (lactating and pregnant cows as well as calves, heifers and bulls) at a gaushala at Banswara in Rajasthan. The vaccine has also been administered to animals in 35 other gaushalas and dairy farms in Udaipur, Alwar and Jodhpur, besides Hisar and Hansi (Haryana) and Mathura (UP). “We have not seen the disease in any of these animals, even while it has spread everywhere around them,” said Kumar.Commercial scale production of the Lumpi-ProVacInd vaccine is, however, going to be a challenge. Major veterinary vaccine manufacturers include Indian Immunologicals Ltd, Hester Biosciences, Brilliant Bio Pharma, MSD Animal Health and Biovet Private Ltd. The first two companies are already supplying goat pox and sheep pox vaccines against LSD in cattle. So far, some 65.17 lakh doses have been administered across the country.India’s cattle population totaled 193.46 million, as per the 2019 Livestock Census. According to Tripathi, at least 80 per cent population has to be covered to achieve herd immunity – ideally through a vaccine that provides not just partial protection.

Man seeks Rs 1,000 cr as relief after daughter’s death following vaccination against Covid
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The Bombay High Court recently issued notice in connection to a plea filed by a man seeking compensation of Rs 1,000 crore from the Maharashtra government, the Union government, the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, for the death of his daughter, who he claimed died due to the side effects she suffered after she was administered vaccines against Covid-19.Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice Madhav J Jamdar, on August 26, sought response from the authorities during the next hearing on November 17.Petitioner Dilip Lunawat has made Gates a party to the case, as the Bill Gates Foundation had funded SII’s efforts in manufacturing the Covishield vaccine.Lunawat has claimed that his daughter Snehal, a medical student in Nashik, was given both doses of Covishield under the state’s initiative to vaccinate healthcare workers. He added that due to side effects of the vaccines, Snehal passed away on March 1, last year.He claimed that health workers like his daughter were compelled to take the vaccines due to “false narratives created by the Drug Controller General of India, the director of AIIMS as well as the Maharashtra and the Union governments.The petition claimed that the Union government’s Adverse Events Following Immunisation Committee, last October, had admitted that his daughter died due to the side effects of Covishield. Lunawat sought from the court a declaration that the authorities have “callous criminal attitude, as they have continued with their narrative that they have treatment for side effects of anti-Covid vaccines”.The petition filed through advocate Abhishek Mishra also sought directions to the state to pay an interim compensation of Rs 1,000 crore, which can be recovered from SII. It also sought a direction to the Centre to take steps against social media companies, which are involved in the “conspiracy of suppressing correct data about deaths caused due to vaccine side effects”.

Man seeks Rs 1,000 cr as relief after daughter’s death following vaccination against Covid
Delhi Confidential: Facing Flak Within
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The tussle in the Congress between pro-establishment leaders and the emaciated G-23 group is turning interesting by the day. A day after Kumari Selja wrote to the AICC, seeking action against her Haryana arch-rival Bhupinder Singh Hooda for meeting former party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, an AICC functionary has now approached the disciplinary action committee with a complaint against Prithviraj Chavan. Hooda had met Azad with G-23 colleagues Anand Sharma and Chavan on Tuesday. Now, Indian Overseas Congress secretary Virender Vashisht has written to the disciplinary panel and stated that some of the comments made by Chavan, a former Maharashtra CM, to the media on the party’s organisational elections falls in the purview of indiscipline. He has claimed that Chavan has spoken falsely against Rahul Gandhi. Vashisht confirmed having approached the disciplinary panel, but did not disclose which remarks of Chavan he found objectionable. Hooda, meanwhile, proclaimed his loyalty to the Gandhi family to counter Selja.An MP from Kerala has managed to get into the Guinness Book of World Records with a good cause. On Wednesday, Lok Sabha MP from Ernakulam in Kerala, Hibi Eden, created a world record by distributing the most number of sanitary products in 24 hours — 1,00,001 menstrual cups were distributed free in his constituency in that time. Eden had the backing of the Indian Medical Association’s Kochi chapter, the district administration, and CSR funds from Muthoot Finance. The Congress MP, who was a two-term MLA before he won the Lok Sabha polls, now wants to spread the campaign to the entire state.It may have been an event to launch India’s first cervical cancer vaccine, but Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh used the opportunity to thank the real heroes of the achievement — the scientists. Singh said the event was organised to recognise those who worked to achieve the feat. Citing the example of an actor, Singh said people talk about the actor once the film is released, but the story would be different if the scriptwriters had not done their job. The minister said that it is essential to prevent non-communicable diseases among the young, as they will be architects of the India of 2047. He also said many diseases were not found earlier because most people died early, adding, in jest, that “many superannuated without a farewell”.

Delhi Confidential: Facing Flak Within
Covid-19: Maharashtra gives third dose to 40 lakh people, unlikely to meet target
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PUNE: Over the last 45 days, Maharashtra has given Covid-19 boosters to 40.86 lakh citizens in the 18-59 age group, as part of the 75-day special drive that began nationwide on July 15. This pace is unlikely to help the state achieve the target it had set of 1 crore beneficiaries by September 30, the day the drive ends. Health activists have now urged the state government to get Ganesh mandals to host vaccine drives. The Centre had decided to offer free booster doses for the 18-59 age group at government vaccination sites as part of the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' celebrations. State immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai said, "A total of 40,86,283 people in the 18-59 group received a booster shot between July 15 and August 29 as part of the special drive." Dr Desai said officials are doing their best to boost turnout at public centres. "We are conducting awareness activities. We have also urged district and municipal health authorities to involve Ganesh mandals in the Covid vaccination drive as the pandals draw a large number of citizens during the 10-day festival." Mumbai so far has recorded the highest number of precaution doses (3.65 lakh beneficiaries) between July 15 and August 29. Thane follows with 3.49 lakh beneficiaries and next comes Nashik (3.17 lakh), Nagpur (2.99 lakh) and Pune (2.89 lakh). Officials said the response was impressive during the first few days of the free booster drive. "Between April 10 and July 14, only 8.1 lakh people in the 18-59 group had taken the booster at private hospitals in Maharashtra. The number of beneficiaries then hit the 22 lakh-mark in just 15 days, after the Centre made boosters free at civic sites from July 15," Dr Desai said. The daily count of booster shots was about 1.4 lakh during this period. Now, the daily number has dipped to 50,000 beneficiaries. Health activist Dr Sanjay Dabhade said, "Officials can use mass media tools to publicise boosters. Ganesh mandals can play a big role." There are 7.5 crore people in the state's 18-59 group. Of them, about 75% (5.62 crore) have taken both doses. All these people are eligible for a booster shot.

Covid-19: Maharashtra gives third dose to 40 lakh people, unlikely to meet target
11.2-lakh cattle across 12 states, UTs in lumpy skin grip: Union minister Sanjeev Balyan
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The lumpy skin disease (LSD) has affected 11.2-lakh cattle, including 49,682 deaths, in 165 districts across a dozen states and Union Territories in the country till August 30 this year, Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Sanjeev Kumar Balyan said on Wednesday.The LSD cases this year were reported from Andaman & Nicobar islands, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra and Goa, Balyan told The Indian Express, adding Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana were the worst affected states.Sharing details of the steps taken to contain the spread of the disease, Balyan said goat pox vaccine is being administered to check the spread of the disease in several states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.Balyan said that around 25-lakh doses of goat pox vaccine are available and the manufacturing companies have been asked to increase the production. As of now, about one crore doses of the goat pox vaccine are required, Balyan said, adding that the Central government has floated tender for procuring more vaccine doses.Balyan said that the Indian Immunologicals Limited (IIL), a subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board, and a Gujarat-based private firm Hester are the two vaccine manufacturers and both have been asked to increase their production of the goat pox vaccine.Besides, a control room has been set up at the ministry to monitor the situation and the Centre is providing all possible help to the states, he said, adding that the disease will be controlled soon.Meanwhile, sources in the ministry said that a fresh case has been reported from Andhra Pradesh even as new cases are on a decline.Sources said that about 68-lakh goat pox vaccine doses have been administered till date across the country, 50.99 lakh in Gujarat, 5.94 lakh in Punjab, 4.74 lakh in Haryana, and about 3.91 lakh in Rajasthan.Earlier on August 10, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had launched the indigenous vaccine Lumpi-ProVacInd to “protect” livestock from lumpy skin disease. This vaccine has been developed by the National Equine Research Center, Hisar (Haryana), in collaboration with the Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izzatnagar (Bareilly).

11.2-lakh cattle across 12 states, UTs in lumpy skin grip: Union minister Sanjeev Balyan
Maharashtra: Vaccination slows in 15-17 group, only 49% given both shots
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PUNE: In the eight months since Covid-19 vaccinations started for the 15-17 age group, only 49% of eligible beneficiaries have taken both doses, a report by the state immunisation office has said. First-dose coverage stands at 67%. Health officials said response to the vaccine has been lacklustre. There are nearly 60 lakh eligible beneficiaries in the 15-17 group. Going by coverage data then, only 40 lakh people have taken their first dose and 30 lakh have taken both. The report from the immunisation office said Palghar district, with 83% first-dose and 60% second-dose coverage, is currently leading in 15-17 group vaccination in the state. It's followed by Bhandara district, with 82% first-dose and 70% second-dose coverage. In Pune, only 48% of people in the 15-17 age group have taken both doses. First-dose coverage in the group is currently at 68%. Mumbai's numbers are even lower - 59% given their first dose and 47% given both doses. Experts said parents are no longer bringing their children to vaccination centres due to the drop in Covid cases. The 15-17 group is being administered Covaxin. The drives started on January 3 this year. Suryakant Devkar, the chief immunisation officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) said the district has enough doses of Covaxin in its reserves. "But response continues to be low. Children are not getting their shots because of hesitancy among parents," Devkar said, adding that 68 vaccination centres are offering Covaxin for the 15-17 group. Response to Covid-19 vaccination for younger beneficiaries is yet to pick up pace in many parts of the state and district. Corbevax coverage, for instance, is slow too. Early in August, it was revealed that the PMC, in five months, has lost more than 17,000 doses of the vaccine due to low uptake. Officials said the shot's addition as a booster for adults is likely to improve its numbers in the coming months. According to the new heterologous schedule (announced by the Centre on August 12), people who have taken two doses of Covishield or Covaxin now have the option of taking Corbevax as the third dose. As for daily coverage, only 9,300 doses were administered across the state on Sunday. Officials said coverage was low as Sunday is a holiday for many government and private centres.

Maharashtra: Vaccination slows in 15-17 group, only 49% given both shots
  • Mumbai, Pune struggle in 12-14 age group Covid-19 vaccination
  • Times of India

    PUNE: The Nashik district with 94% first dose coverage is in the top position in the state in the 12-14 age group's Covid vaccination, while Mumbai and Pune are struggling to get past the Maharashtra average. The 12-14 age group vaccination started in March this year with Corbevax, but failed to gain momentum in Mumbai, Pune and 12 other districts with less than 70% first dose vaccination coverage. The state average is at 71%. Nashik is also on the top of the list in the second dose vaccination in the same age group. Around 73% beneficiaries have received both the doses in the district. Mumbai, in fact, ranks at the bottom of the list. Only 47% beneficiaries have taken the first dose and just 27% have availed the second shot there. Pune is comparatively better placed with 62% first dose and 37% second dose coverage. Sangli district, according to the public health services data, ranks second in terms of the first and second doses administered in the 12-14 age group. Around 92% of the beneficiaries have received the first dose there, while 73% have received both the doses. The health officials in Pune said the hesitancy among parents to vaccinate their children and the drop in Covid cases were some of the reasons behind the drive not picking up the pace despite special camps. Laxman Gophane, assistant health officer, Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), told TOI, "We have been trying hard to increase the daily vaccination response, including the dedicated camps, but the fear of the contagion is no more there among residents. It has resulted in lethargic or no response to the drive." On the daily vaccination front, the state recorded just 59,807 doses till 7pm on Friday, one of the lowest vaccination figures this month.

  • ICMR-NIV study tracks gaps between Covid-19 reinfection and vaccination, argues for booster
  • The Indian Express

    There has been very little information on the occurrence and premise for reinfection caused by Omicron variants in patients who have been vaccinated and had breakthrough infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants. But now scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV) have presented four cases where patients had breakthrough infection from the Kappa or Delta variant, and several months later were reinfected with Omicron variants, after receiving two doses of vaccine.The details have been published in a letter in the Infectious Diseases journal on August 23. According to a systematic review in the May 2021 issue of the same journal, the recurrence of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection has been reported to vary between 2.3 per cent and 21.4 per cent. In cases of reinfection, the disease severity was found to decrease or remain unchanged at 97.3 per cent. The authors called for studies to clarify the underlying preconditions for reinfection.The situation has become even more complicated due to the appearance of the Omicron variant with increased transmissibility and immune escape potential. The variant has now evolved into 283 sub-lineages including the most predominant BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.4 and BA.5, according to the authors Rima Sahay, Deepak Patil, Gajanan Sapkal, Anita Shete and Pragya Yadav.They identified four Covid-19 naive persons, who had taken two doses of the Covishield vaccine, which were administered four weeks apart. It was followed by a breakthrough infection during the second wave (April 2021) and subsequent reinfection during the third wave (January 2022) in Maharashtra. The sera were obtained at first infection, pre-reinfection, after reinfection and evaluated for the neutralising antibody responses against the prototype strain (B.1), Delta (B.1.617.2) and Omicron (BA.1).The complete genome sequence revealed the infection with Kappa and Delta variants. Two cases of breakthrough infection (Kappa variant) were asymptomatic; while two cases (one Kappa and Delta variant each) were symptomatic with patients developing fever, sore throat, productive cough, headache, myalgia, generalised weakness, loss of appetite, loss of smell and taste. These four cases got reinfected with SARS-CoV-2 BA.2 sub lineage post breakthrough infection at a mean of 275 days. Of the reinfection cases, one patient was asymptomatic; while three other patients had mild fever, cold, cough and sore throat. The pre-reinfection sera (collected after eight months of breakthrough) for antibodies, suggested waning immune response at the pre-reinfection period.“Even with complete doses of vaccination followed by breakthrough infection, reduced immune responses were observed at pre-reinfection. This emphasises the need for the booster vaccination dose. Apparently, the known immune escape of Omicron and its sub-lineage could also be the reason for the reinfection amongst these breakthrough cases,” say the experts.Irrespective of the immune status with vaccination or the natural infections, many breakthrough infections and re-infections have been observed across the globe. Considering this along with booster dose vaccination, the continuation of non-pharmaceutical interventions i.e. use of mask, hand hygiene and physical distancing would be the good strategy to curb the spread of infection, the scientists urged.

Scientists emphasize on mask use, hand hygiene and physical distancing to curb spread of infection
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

There has been very little information on the occurrence and premises for reinfection caused by the Omicron variants in the patients, who have been vaccinated and had breakthrough infection with SARS-CoV-2 variants.The scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology have presented four such cases where a few weeks after receiving two doses of vaccine, these patients underwent breakthrough infection with Kappa or Delta variant and several months later reinfection with the Omicron variants.The scientists have published details in a letter in the Infectious Diseases journal on August 23.According to a systematic review in the May 2021 issue of the same journal, recurrence of SARS-CoV-2 virus infection has been reported to vary between 2.3 per cent and 21.4 per cent.In cases of reinfection, the disease severity was found to decrease or remain unchanged in 97.3 per cent.The authors called for studies to clarify the underlying preconditions for reinfection. The situation has become even more complicated after that mainly due to the appearance of the Omicron variant with increased transmissibility and immune escape potential.The variant has now evolved into 283 sub lineages, including the most predominant BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.4 and BA.5, authors Rima R. Sahay, Deepak Patil, Gajanan Sapkal, Anita Shete and Pragya Yadav have written in the letter ‘Cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection with Omicron BA.2 post breakthrough infection with Delta and Kappa variants’.They identified four Covid 19 naive persons, who had taken two doses of Covishield vaccine administered at four weeks apart.It was followed by breakthrough infection during the second wave (April 2021) and subsequent reinfection during the third wave (January 2022) in Maharashtra. The sera were obtained at first infection, pre-reinfection, after reinfection and evaluated for neutralising antibody responses against the prototype strain (B.1), Delta (B.1.617.2) and Omicron (BA.1).The complete genome sequence revealed the infection with Kappa and Delta variants. Two cases of breakthrough infection (Kappa variant) were asymptomatic, while two cases (One Kappa and Delta variant each) were symptomatic presented with fever, sore-throat, productive cough, headache, myalgia, generalised weakness, loss of appetite, loss of smell and taste.These four cases got reinfected with SARS-CoV-2 BA.2 sub lineage post breakthrough infection at a mean of 275 days.Of the reinfection cases, one patient was asymptomatic, while three other patients had mild fever, cold, cough and sore-throat.The pre-reinfection sera (collected post eight months of breakthrough) for antibodies suggested waning immune response at the pre-reinfection period.“Even with complete doses of vaccination followed by breakthrough infection, reduced immune responses were observed at pre-reinfection. This emphasizes the need for the booster vaccination dose. Apparently, the known immune escape of Omicron and its sub lineage could also be the reason for the reinfection amongst these breakthrough cases,” the experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology have said.Irrespective of the immune status with vaccination or natural infections, many breakthrough and reinfections have been observed across the globe.Considering this along with booster dose vaccination, the continuation of non-pharmaceutical interventions i.e. use of mask, hand hygiene and physical distancing would be a good strategy to curb the spread of infection, the scientists have urged.

Scientists emphasize on mask use, hand hygiene and physical distancing to curb spread of infection
Explained: Why the Lumpy Skin Disease continues to spread among cattle
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Several states, including Gujarat and Rajasthan, have been battling the outbreak of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a viral infection of cattle.Since the first LSD case was reported on April 23 this year in Kutch, the disease has spread to 26 of Gujarat’s 33 districts and has claimed more than 4,000 cattle heads. In Rajasthan, around 27,000 cattle heads have reportedly succumbed to the virus. Since 2019, outbreaks of the disease have been reported in 20 states of India.The LSD virusLSD is caused by the lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), which is a virus of the capripoxvirus genus in the poxviridae family. Sheeppox virus and goatpox virus are the other members of the genus capripoxvirus. The LSDV mainly affects cattle — cow and its progeny, and the Asian water buffaloes. According to a 2021 report of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, LSD outbreaks occur in epidemics several years apart. As per the report, the existence of a specific reservoir for the virus is not known, nor is it known as to how and where the virus survives between epidemics.PrevalenceAccording to the FAO report, LSD was long restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. However, over the past decade, it spread to the Middle East and Turkey. From 2015 onward, it has impacted the Balkan (southeast Europe) countries, Caucus (eastern Europe) and Russia. LSD entered India, Bangladesh and China in July 2019. Since then, outbreaks of the disease have been reported from 20 Indian states – Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.Outbreaks in GujaratThere were small outbreaks in Kheda, Anand in 2020 and 2021, but the state government managed to control them. The state animal husbandry department treated infected cattle and gave goat pox vaccine to healthy animals in peripheral areas and no casualty were reported back then. However, in 2022, since the first case was reported from Kaiyari, a village on the Indo-Pak border in Lakhpat taluka of Kutch on April 23, the LSD has virtually swept the entire state, infecting cattle of all breeds with buffaloes remaining safe largely. As of August 23, the number of officially reported cases stood at 1.11 lakh and 4281 deaths. Thus, the fatality rate is around 4 percent. However, government officers concede actual figures of infections and deaths could be higher as not every dairy farmer or cattle-herder is reporting infections among his herd and in some cases, prefer to contact private veterinarians for treating their cattle instead of seeking government help via helpline No. 1962. Gujarat government officers claim the infectious disease entered the state from Rajasthan where the number of cases reportedly stands at 11 lakh and casualty 27,000.How it spreadsThe LSDV spreads through blood-sucking vectors like ticks and mites like houseflies, mosquitoes, etc. It also spreads through contaminated water, fodder and feed. Mosquito and housefly infestations remain at their peak during the monsoon, and veterinary scientists and government officers blame a very wet July for the rapid spread of the infection in Gujarat this year. Scientists have been advising isolation of infected animals from the healthy ones in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. However, there is a problem of feral cattle in Gujarat, the state where cow slaughter is prohibited, and scientists say these free-ranging cattle could also be a reason for rapid spread of LSD.SymptomsLSDV attacks the circulatory system of an animal and causes vasculitis or inflammation of blood vessels and lesions in various organs like liver, lungs, spleen, lymph nodes etc, says Prof RM Patel, head of the department of medicine in College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry (CVSAS), Dantiwada, an affiliate college of state government-run Kamdhenu University (KU).In turn, it causes epidermis, making the outer surface of the skin to get separated from dermis – the inner layer of the skin. This, in turn, leads to formation of lumps or nodules on an animal’s body. Fever, increased mucus secretion, loss of appetite etc are among other symptoms.How does it lead to deathProf Patel’s team has conducted post-mortem on eight carcasses in Kutch and Banaskantha and found that the virus had caused necrotic vasculitis or death of living tissues in local areas and fibrosis in various organs of infected cattle. Such a situation leads to failure of various organs, and eventually death.Also, the nodules may burst due to outer pressure or friction as skin covering such nodules is very thin. Such open wounds make animals susceptible to secondary – bacterial and protozoal – infections and development of magots and can prove fatal. Animals may also develop bronchopneumonia, impairing their respiratory system. Prof Patel says the animal falls in a vicious cycle as it loses stamina due to loss apatite and due to edema (swelling caused by accumulation of excess fluid in body tissues) in brisket and in turn, the disease becomes worse.Risk to indigenous breedsAs per the 2019 Livestock census, total bovine population of Gujarat is 2.60 crore, including 1.49 crore cattle (1.14 crore of indigeneous breeds and 35.19 lakh exotic) and 1.10 crore buffaloes. So, the majority are of indigenous breeds like Kankrej, Gir, Sahiwal, etc. but the state also has a sizable population of exotic/crossbred Jersey and HF cows. Kankrej, the coveted indigenous cattle breed of Gujarat known for being resistant to diseases and parasites, has been the worst hit by LSD. However, Prof DV Joshi, dean of CVSAH, Dantiwda says that it could be due to the larger population size of this breed in the state. LSD infection has spread among Gir, another important cattle breed in Junagadh, Amreli, Jamnagar among other places. Prof Joshi says the higher mortality rates among these breeds could be due to genetic or hereditary susceptibility.Government responseThe state government has been ring-vaccinating healthy cattle heads in the five-km radius of an outbreak by administering them goat pox vaccine. Officers say LSD being a viral disease, there is no specific cure once an animal contracts the virus and therefore vaccination is the most effective tool. As of August 23, the government had vaccinated 47.53 lakh cattle heads and around 87,000 cattle heads have already recovered from LSD. Animal husbandry department has been providing free treatment to infected cattle and has been appealing to dairy farmers and cattle-herders to contact it via its helpline number 1962.Veterinarians are also administering drugs to alleviate symptoms of LSD in cattle. The government has facilitated setting up isolation centres for feral cattle in urban areas while prohibiting cattle fairs and exhibitions and transportation of cattle in the affected areas. On August 3, the government also set up a seven-member task force headed by Kamdhenu University (KU)vice-chancellor Prof Naresh Kelawala.Why the infection continues to spreadProf Kelawala says the taskforce has been focusing on why there were no casualties in the previous outbreaks in the state and why the mortality rate is high in the current wave.“We have visited Kutch, Jamnagar, Devbhumi Dwarka and other places, collected samples of infected animals and sent them to Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) for genome sequencing of the virus to ascertain if there is a new mutant of LSDV at play,” Prof Kelawala said. He added that another reason could be the interplay between LSDV’s incubation period of around eight to 10 days when animals do not display any symptoms and around three-weeks’ time that the vaccine takes to give protection to a cattle. According to him, it takes around 21 days post the administration of vaccine dose to achieve immunity.Economic impactIn cases of aggravated symptoms, cows stop producing milk and pregnant cows suffer miscarriages. Valamji Humbal, vice-chairman of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), that markets dairy products under brand name Amul, concedes their cow milk collection has gone down. He says that in August, it had reduced by around five percent in Kutch, the worst affected district. Amul also raised prices of milk on August 17, but Humbal denies that LSD is the reason. Besides, Kankrej bullocks are a prized breed among farmers and loss of any bullock in the mid of Kharif season can affect agricultural yields indirectly.

Explained: Why the Lumpy Skin Disease continues to spread among cattle