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After Recovering From COVID-19, Don’t Ignore the PTSD Symptoms – The Wire Science
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After Recovering From COVID-19, Don’t Ignore the PTSD Symptoms – The Wire Science

Photo: Pixabay/Pexels. It was 7 in the evening. I had taken my niece out for a stroll when I received a call from Prema (name changed), the staff nurse at our hospital. With a sense of urgency, she exclaimed, “Sir, there is a 40 year old man who is shaking vigorously. He seems distressed and anxious. You are urgently needed in the emergency room.” I rushed back to the hospital to attend to Mahesh, a businessman from Bangalore who had now relocated to Hubli, amidst the lockdown. This was the first time Mahesh was visiting a psychiatric hospital. No one in his family had any history of mental illness. He had been accompanied by a bevy of anxious family members. During detailed clinical examination, he remarked: “Doc, the nightmares just won’t stop. I wake up e...
Will Indian Scientific Temper Survive 2021? – The Wire Science
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Will Indian Scientific Temper Survive 2021? – The Wire Science

Illustration: Satwik Gade for The Wire. 2020 was a disaster year for almost everyone – but it was a unique opportunity for Indian science. An oft-neglected enterprise, it received unprecedented attention as scientists tried to innovate in the diagnostics, treatment and vaccine spaces. Taken together, this was an opportunity to demonstrate India’s capabilities and expertise – not just for a domestic audience but the international one as well. The obstacles 2020 brought were a ladder for Indian science to rise up to a leadership position and become a driver of the Indian economy. But opacity, ambiguity and distrust have squandered this opportunity. Only two weeks into 2021 and India has claimed a major casualty – scientific temper – and the suspects are not th...
Researchers find how cancer can be killed by body’s own immune system – Times of India
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Researchers find how cancer can be killed by body’s own immune system – Times of India

WASHINGTON: A new way to help the body's immune system get past that deception and destroy cancer, has been found by a University of Missouri researcher. "Normally, your body's immune cells are constantly on patrol to identify and destroy foreign entities in the body," said Yves Chabu, an assistant professor in the Division of Biological Sciences. "Normal cells put up a 'don't-eat-me' molecular flag that is recognized by immune cells, thereby preventing the destruction of normal tissues. But some cancers have also developed the ability to mimic normal cells and produce this 'don't eat me' signal. As a consequence, the immune system fails to recognise cancer as a defective tissue and leaves it alone, which is bad news for the patient," added Chabu. Immunotherapies are cancer drugs that e...
Allergy-Like Reactions To COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates an ‘Expected Effect’ – The Wire Science
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Allergy-Like Reactions To COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates an ‘Expected Effect’ – The Wire Science

Healthcare workers watch PM Narendra Modi address them by video to launch India’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Kolkata, January 16, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri. Mumbai: On January 16, as the first day of India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive concluded, the government of Delhi released official data of its efforts. Among the numbers were 51 “minor” and one “severe” cases of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). They were all among health workers who had been shortlisted to receive vaccine candidates in the first phase of the country’s vaccination drive – the world’s largest. According to Delhi officials, almost all cases were “transient” and “minor”. Only one person – a 20-something security guard at the city’s All India Institute of Medica...
India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Hits Bump Due To App Glitch – The Wire Science
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India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive Hits Bump Due To App Glitch – The Wire Science

Satara/Bhubaneswar: India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive hit a bump on the first day due to glitches in an app called Co-Win that is being used to coordinate the campaign, according to several officials involved in the immunisation programme. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched what his government has described as the “world’s largest vaccination programme” on Saturday to rein in the pandemic in India, which has reported the second highest number of cases after the United States. Co-Win, developed by the government, is supposed to help by alerting healthcare workers who are first in line to get shots, and by allowing officials monitor and manage the entire drive. But many health workers, who were to receive the vaccines, did not get the message on Saturday, ...
In Botanic Gardens, the Lineage of a Famously Smelly Plant Is Threatened – The Wire Science
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In Botanic Gardens, the Lineage of a Famously Smelly Plant Is Threatened – The Wire Science

Due to a shallow genetic pool, corpse flowers in botanic gardens and in the wild are at risk of being wiped out. Photo: US Botanic Garden. The alien-like blooms and putrid stench of Amorphophallus titanum, better known as the corpse flower, draw big crowds and media coverage to botanical gardens each year. In 2015, for instance, around 75,000 people visited the Chicago Botanic Garden to see one of their corpse flowers bloom. More than 300,000 people viewed it online. But despite the corpse flower’s fame, its future is uncertain. The roughly 500 specimens that were living in botanical gardens and some university and private collections as of 2019 are deeply related – a lack of genetic diversity that can make them more vulnerable to a host of problems, such as d...
Israel Is Refusing To Give Palestinians COVID-19 Vaccines – The Wire Science
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Israel Is Refusing To Give Palestinians COVID-19 Vaccines – The Wire Science

A healthcare worker checks a trainee as she arrives to attend a workshop at the office of Press House-Palestine, a media institution, Gaza, June 2020. Photo: Reuters/Mohammed Salem/Files. In the first day of the new year, Bloomberg ran an opinion article by Daniel Gordis, senior vice president at Jerusalem’s Shalem College, titled ‘Vaccination Miracle Brings Israel Back to Its Roots’. The “miracle” in question refers to Israel’s aggressive coronavirus vaccination drive, thanks to which it currently leads the world in per-capita vaccinations. And while Israel’s literal “roots” lie in the uprooting and slaughter of Palestinians, Gordis prefers a more mythological version of the Israeli past: “early socialist roots” that cultivated a “sense of social cohesion [an...
When Will Science Journal Titles No Longer Influence a Paper’s Perceived Quality? – The Wire Science
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When Will Science Journal Titles No Longer Influence a Paper’s Perceived Quality? – The Wire Science

In November, Springer Nature, one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific journals, made an attention-grabbing announcement: More than 30 of its most prestigious journals, including the flagship Nature, will now allow authors to pay a fee of $11,390 (Rs 8.33 lakh) to make their papers freely available for anyone to read online. This move, by a company that publishes more than 3,000 academic titles, has been hailed as a landmark step – and a victory for an open-access movement that seeks to supplant the traditional subscription-based model of academic publishing. And at first glance, Springer Nature’s open-access option appears to be a positive development. Most scientific articles are paywalled, accessible only to readers and institutions that can affo...
COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Outs: FAQ of What We Know So Far – The Wire Science
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COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-Outs: FAQ of What We Know So Far – The Wire Science

Medics at a vaccination centre in Patna. Photo: Moniza Hafizee India’s vaccination COVID-19 formally began today, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the behemoth effort via video at 11 am. On January 3, the country’s drug regulator approved two COVID-19 vaccine candidates for distribution, named Covaxin and Covishield. In the first phase of the vaccination drive, the government plans to inoculate 3 crore frontline workers, by July 2021. To this end, the government has purchased 5.5 million doses of Covaxin from its maker, Bharat Biotech, and 11 million doses of Covishield from the Serum Institute of India. The following Q&A breaks down what we do and don’t know about different aspects of the drive. What did the regulator approve Covaxin and C...
Prime Minister Modi Launches India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive – The Wire Science
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Prime Minister Modi Launches India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive – The Wire Science

People watch the live telecast of Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the COVID -19 vaccination drive in Varanasi, January 16, 2021. Photo: PTI New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive, saying that the programme is driven by “humanitarian concerns” as those exposed to maximum risk will be given priority. Addressing the nation ahead of the launch, Modi reminded people that two doses are required for inoculation and said people should continue wearing masks and maintaining social distancing even after receiving the jabs. “Normally, it takes years to make a vaccine but in such a short span of time, not one, but two ‘Made in India’ vaccines are ready,” Modi said, adding work on other vaccines is also prog...
Curious Timing: As Sci-Hub Case Takes off in India, Twitter Suspends Its Account – The Wire Science
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Curious Timing: As Sci-Hub Case Takes off in India, Twitter Suspends Its Account – The Wire Science

Left: Alexandra Elbakyan at a conference in the US in 2010. Photo: Apneet Jolly/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0. After Twitter suspended US president Donald Trump’s account on the microblogging platform on January 8, following the Capitol riot, debates bloomed across the Indian media. But even as pundits contested each other on whether Twitter could have acted sooner or done more, the din drowned out another permanent account suspension on the same day: that of Sci-Hub. Sci-Hub is a website that allows users to freely access otherwise paywalled scientific research papers. Academic publishers Elsevier Pvt. Ltd., Wiley India Pvt. Ltd. and the American Chemical Society sued Sci-Hub for copyright infringement in India last year. The Delhi high court conducted the fir...
Illegal and Unnecessary – but Adani Port Proposal Makes it to Public Hearing Stage – The Wire Science
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Illegal and Unnecessary – but Adani Port Proposal Makes it to Public Hearing Stage – The Wire Science

An aerial view of a part of the Ennore-Pulicat wetlands. Photo: Palani Kumar. Chennai: Adani Ports and SEZ’s subsidiary Marine Infrastructure Development Private Ltd has submitted a “Draft Comprehensive EIA/EMP Report Proposed Revised Master Plan Development of Kattupalli Port.” The submissions are in three volumes. The current application is for environmental clearance for a Rs 4,000 crore port and harbour project that is part of a Rs. 53,400 crore masterplan. It additionally contains port back industries, an industrial area and associated infrastructure. Set to come up on wetlands and ecologically fragile sand dunes on the Kattupalli Barrier island near the Pulicat Wildlife Sanctuary, the company’s proposal for a megaport is illegal on several counts. By fal...
DNA test can quickly identify pneumonia in Covid-19 patients, aiding faster treatment: Study – Times of India
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DNA test can quickly identify pneumonia in Covid-19 patients, aiding faster treatment: Study – Times of India

CAMBRIDGE/UK: A team of scientists and doctors from the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have developed a DNA test which they claim will quickly identify secondary infections in Covid-19 patients, who have double the risk of developing pneumonia while on ventilation. For patients with the most severe forms of Covid-19, mechanical ventilation is often the only way to keep them alive, as doctors use anti-inflammatory therapies to treat their inflamed lungs. However, these patients are susceptible to further infections from bacteria and fungi that they may acquire while in the hospital, as per the research. A team of scientists and doctors at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, led by Professor ...
Scientists Urge Govt to Release Covaxin Phase 3 Trial Data Before Rollout – The Wire Science
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Scientists Urge Govt to Release Covaxin Phase 3 Trial Data Before Rollout – The Wire Science

A health worker holds a vial of the Covishield vaccine candidate, after it arrived at a hospital in Ahmedabad, January 12, 2021. Photo: PTI. New Delhi: After the Union health ministry released a statement by 49 doctors and scientists endorsing the safety of the Covishield and Covaxin vaccine candidates, 13 scientists issued an independent statement urging the government and Bharat Biotech to release data from phase 3 clinical trials of Covaxin, ahead of distributing it to frontline workers in the first phase of India’s vaccination drive, set to begin on January 16. According to The Telegraph, the 13 scientists include six fellows of the Indian Academy of Sciences. They emphasised the need for transparency vis-à-vis the vaccine candidates’ trials. While noting ...
How Data in India Went From Being a Tool of Planning to a Tool of Control – The Wire Science
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How Data in India Went From Being a Tool of Planning to a Tool of Control – The Wire Science

Representative image of a person authenticating their biometric data. Photo: Reuters. The following is an excerpt from Lives of Data: Essays on Computational Cultures from India, edited by Sandeep Mertia, foreword by Ravi Sundaram, Institute of Network Cultures (Amsterdam, 2020). This book is published under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and is available here. § It is not difficult to see what is wrong with official statistics in India. There is gap between theory and practice. There is gap between the means and the end in the absence of any clearly perceived purpose. ~ P. C. Mahalanobis, Statistics as Key Technology, 1965 Data is its own means. It is an unlimited non-rivalrous resource. Yet, it isn’t shared freely. What began as a differentiator is now the mode...
Exploring the Association Between Women Empowerment and Sanitation in India – The Wire Science
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Exploring the Association Between Women Empowerment and Sanitation in India – The Wire Science

Women near the Jama Masjid in Delhi. Photo: Flickr/Riccardo Maria Mantero, CC-BY NC ND 2.0. Open defecation (OD) disproportionately affects women’s safety and dignity in India. Inequitable gender norms dictate that unlike men, women cannot be seen during OD. This is why they tend to travel to isolated places in the dark (before sunrise and after sunset) to relieve themselves. The inopportune timing and remoteness of the OD spots make them an easy target. The unsettling incident of the rape and hanging of two young girls, who were on their way to practice OD in Uttar Pradesh, in May 2014 shook the nation. This incident was instrumental to bring forth the issue of rampant sexual harassment and abuse face by women while practising OD. At the same time, traditiona...
Dear Health Ministry – Do You Know What Good Science Is? – The Wire Science
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Dear Health Ministry – Do You Know What Good Science Is? – The Wire Science

In this illustrative photograph, vials labelled ‘Covaxin’ rest on a table. Photo: Reuters. On the evening of January 14, the Union health ministry shared a letter signed by 49 “eminent scientists and doctors” assuring readers that the “two COVID-19 vaccines approved by the national regulator are safe”. However, the statement’s only point is that those who are raising questions about Covaxin and Covishield, the two vaccine candidates in question, have “vested interests”. The letter itself doesn’t bother with clinical trial data, transparency or public accountability, and further entrenches the problem it claims to counter. #IndiaFightsCorona#CovidVaccine The two #Covid19 vaccines approved by the National Regulator are SAFE. 49 eminent scientists & doctors ...
What Does Treating Covaxin and Covishield ‘Equally’ Entail? – The Wire Science
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What Does Treating Covaxin and Covishield ‘Equally’ Entail? – The Wire Science

Vinod K. Paul, head of a government panel on vaccine strategy and member of the Indian government think tank NITI Aayog. Photo: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis. Bengaluru: NITI Aayog member Vinod K. Paul has said that the two COVID-19 vaccine candidates that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Dr V.G. Somani approved on different terms will actually be treated “equally”. Reuters reported that Paul also said those who line up to receive the vaccines won’t have a choice of which candidate to receive. The DCGI approved Covishield on the back of preliminary efficacy data from phase 3 clinical trials and bridging trials in India, supplied by its manufacturer, Serum Institute of India. However, at the time of approval, Bharat Biotech didn’t provide efficacy data f...
Depression, Stress May Reduce Efficacy of Vaccines, Scientists Say – The Wire Science
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Depression, Stress May Reduce Efficacy of Vaccines, Scientists Say – The Wire Science

A needle is filled from a phial of Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, Britain December 8, 2020. Photo: Owen Humphreys/Pool via Reuters New Delhi: Depression, stress and loneliness can weaken the body’s immune system, and lower the effectiveness of certain vaccines, including the new COVID-19 preventives that are in development and the early stages of global distribution, scientists say. According to a report accepted for publication in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, simple interventions, including exercise and getting a good night’s sleep in the 24 hours before vaccination, may maximise the vaccine’s initial effectiveness. The researchers noted that even though rigorous testing has shown that th...
India Will Treat Both Vaccines ‘Equally’, Recipients Won’t Get a Choice: V.K. Paul – The Wire Science
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India Will Treat Both Vaccines ‘Equally’, Recipients Won’t Get a Choice: V.K. Paul – The Wire Science

India will treat Covaxin and Covishield ‘equally’. Photos: bharatbiotech.com/Reuters/PTI New Delhi: India will treat a domestic COVID-19 vaccine “equally” with a prominent global one, even though the homegrown drug’s efficacy has not been proven, and people will have no choice which one they get, a top government vaccine official told Reuters. The government on Saturday will launch one of the world’s biggest vaccination programmes with shots manufactured in India – one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca Plc, the other by Bharat Biotech International Ltd with a state-run institute. Administering Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, a move cheered by nationalist politicians, has worried some health experts who consider it rushed, as the vaccine has only limit...