India Coronavirus Dispatch: Drones can play a role in vaccine delivery

Many countries have used drones to deploy vaccines, since late 2018.
Drones can play a role in Covid vaccine delivery

As we inch closer to the vaccine roll-out, the debate rages on about how to reach hundreds of millions of people in the most efficient way possible.

It will be a gigantic task even though India has an established vaccination delivery system owing to its universal immunisation programmes. India has the world’s largest railways and road networks but a new, efficient method of transporting vaccines would be required, say Abhishek Chakravarty, an Assistant Professor of Law at Sai University in Chennai, and Abhijit Rajkhowa a mechanical engineer with interest in public policy.

This is where a drone-based distribution system comes in. Many countries have used drones to deploy vaccines, since late 2018. There are instances of drone usage in emergency situations in India as well. The country's goal of an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and a $5 trillion economy isn’t achievable by ignoring a revolutionary technology that can bolster the fight against the pandemic, the writers say. Read more here

Steroids, non-invasive oxygen therapy prevent Covid deaths: Experts

Experts from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and the University College of London Hospital (UCLH) recently discussed treatment protocols in both countries during the National Grand Round, a virtual platform for doctors to get information about the latest treatment protocols for Covid-19.

The experts agreed that non-invasive oxygen therapy, antiviral drug Remdesivir and convalescent plasma therapy in the early stages of the disease, and steroids in the later stages help patients with Covid, the writer of the article says. The doctors did not dismiss Remdesivir or plasma therapy completely. This is despite the WHO’s solidarity trial showing no impact on mortality, duration of hospitalisation, or need for mechanical ventilation with the use of the former. ICMR’s own PLACID trial had shown no impact on mortality or severity of illness with the use of plasma therapy, the writer says. Read more here

Study warns of coronavirus vaccine hesitancy among health professionals

An online survey conducted by Abdul Ghafur, coordinator of the Chennai Declaration, and infectious diseases consultant at Apollo Hospital, Chennai, indicates less than one in two health professions are willing to take the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

Among 1,424 health professionals that took part in the survey, only 45 per cent said they would take the Covid vaccine as soon as it became available. Fifty-five per cent would either delay the vaccination to a later date or were undecided. About one in ten respondents said they would never take the vaccine, the writer of the article says citing the study. Read more here

Covid-19 pushed up spending on essentials by 80% in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has seen an 80 per cent surge in state government's expenditure on food and civil supplies during seven months of the current fiscal, compared to the same period last year, the writer of the article says citing an official at the state's finance department.

The government spent Rs 11,384 crore between April and October to ensure the steady supply of essentials through the public distribution system (PDS). The expenditure of Rs 6,254 crore in 2019. Read more here

‘Age of Pandemics’ to draws lessons for battle against Covid

‘Age of Pandemics’ is a book by author Chinmay Tumbe, a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are the focus of Tumbe's book. This period, mostly known for industrial revolution and imperial conquests, is called the ‘age of pandemics’. It witnessed cholera, the plague and influenza pandemics. 70 million lives were lost between 1817 and 1920. And India was severely affected by all three, the writer of this review says. 

Tumbe presents an account of the “scale of devastation, the likely causes and consequences, and the resilience with which people faced those uncertain times” of the three outbreaks at the time, the writer of the review says. Read more here

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