India Coronavirus Dispatch: Twitter showed warning signs before first case

Many users on Twitter flagged cases of an "unknown" pneumonia in the winter of 2019, a study shows | File photo
Study says there were warning signs on Twitter before the first Covid case was declared

Even before the WHO announced the first case of Covid-19, many users on Twitter flagged cases of an "unknown" pneumonia in the winter of 2019, a study has found, according to a report in ThePrint.

Late 2019 and early 2020, the study found that concern (where) was growing about cases of pneumonia across many European countries. The study, which analysed data from Twitter, found that the concerns were displayed in regions which later turned out to be major Covid-19 hotspots. The study was published in the journal Nature. The analysis was carried out by researchers at IMT School for Advanced Studies at Lucca, Italy. The study says governments, policymakers and local authorities can leverage social media to glean relevant region-specific information in real-time. This information can be used to formulate interventions, ThePrint report said. Read more here

How the vaccine travelled 1,700 km to a remote Odisha village

India began one of the world's largest vaccination drives on January 16 in a bid to inoculate possibly over a billion people. One of the challenges the government faces is to get the inoculants to remote hard-to-reach areas across the country. Through photos, this report in Al Jazeera tracks the journey of vaccines transported by plane, truck and van from a factory to a clinic in a tribal hamlet in Odisha state. See here

What Covaxin's effectiveness against the UK strain means for India

Bharat Biotech's Covaxin can work against the new UK variant, a new study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV) has said. A report in The Indian Express explains what this means for India.

Cases of the UK variant have risen in India. On January 23, the central health ministry said 150 people have tested positive for the mutant strain. This is a concern as the UK variant is more infectious than the original strain. The UK strain was a key reason behind the emergency use approval that was granted to Covaxin even though the vaccine has not cleared Phase 3 trials yet to prove its efficacy. The pre-print findings are the first set of evidence of the vaccine’s ability to work against the UK mutant strain.

However, the findings are not peer-reviewed yet. Also, the pre-print findings show Covaxin's ability to protect against the UK variant. There are other mutant strains such as the one from South Africa that is also a source of concern. Read more here 

ALSO READ: Bharat Biotech's Covaxin effective against Covid-19 UK strain: ICMR

51% of Indians willing to take Covid shot immediately: Survey

Vaccine hesitancy for Covid-19 is not as high among Indians as in other countries, an international survey has found, according to a report in ThePrint.

The survey, conducted by a unit of US-based consumer intelligence firm NielsenIQ, found around 49 per cent of Indian respondents said they will wait a while before getting the shots. This compares to around 64 per cent among the overall pool of respondents. The survey involved 15,000 respondents from 15 countries. Over 1,200 of the respondents were from India. 51 per cent of Indian respondents said they will take the vaccine right away. Read more here

OPINION: India must disclose status of probe into death of workers after vaccination

Nine health workers have died (India? following the administration of Covid-19 in the 12 days since the vaccination rollout began on January 16. This is cause for concern and the government must immediately disclose the details of the investigations into these adverse events, an opinion piece in the Scroll said. The piece is written by Sandhya Srinivasan, consulting editor at Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, Amar Jesani, editor at Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, and Veena Johari, an attorney at Courtyard Attorneys. Read more here

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