India Coronavirus Dispatch: What does '90% efficacy' for a vaccine mean?

Different pharmaceutical companies are now coming out with the success stories of their potential vaccines, and the efficacy rates of these vaccines are reported to be high – 70%, 90%, 95%, and so on. Photo: Reuters
What does ‘90% efficacy’ for a Covid-19 vaccine mean?

Different pharmaceutical companies are now coming out with the success stories of their potential vaccines, and the efficacy rates of these vaccines are reported to be high – 70%, 90%, 95%, and so on.  Such figures for potential vaccines under trial are never very clear to common people unless their implications are clearly illustrated. Here is how we can understand vaccine efficacy. Read more here

Covid hasn’t crushed study abroad plans but students could face ‘more competition’ in 2021

The process to apply to foreign universities for the 2021 academic session has already started, and Indian students, who make up a large chunk of the international students in countries like the United States, Canada, UK, and Australia, are as keen to apply like every other year, despite the fear of Covid-19 still looming large.

Experts in the field of foreign education say 2021 is going to be an interesting year as more students are applying, including those who dropped their plans in 2020 due to Covid. Read more here

Why AstraZeneca is facing tricky questions about its Covid-19 vaccine

Days after grabbing headlines with its Covid-19 “vaccine for the world”, AstraZeneca is facing tricky questions about its success rate that some experts have said could prevent it from being by US and EU regulatory agencies anytime soon.

Several scientists have raised doubts about the robustness of results showing the vaccine candidate was 90% effective in a group of clinical trial participants who accidentally received a half dose followed by a full dose (instead of the planned two full doses). Read more here 

Covid-19 vaccines are being developed in a record time. Is this reason to be wary?

Mark Toshner, director of translational biomedical research at the University of Cambridge, explains we have no reason to be wary. To date, there has not been a single associated death related to Covid vaccines and only a handful of potentially serious events. Just imagine watching everybody in a small city for six months and reporting every single heart attack, stroke, neurological condition, or anything that might be judged serious. How astonishing is this? It has been a triumph of medical science, Toshner says. Read more here

Explained: Takeaways from Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine error 

An error in the trials of the AstraZeneca-University of Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, AZD1222, has called into question the way vaccine clinical trials during the pandemic have been handled. What was the error and why did it happen? What checks and balances are in place for such errors? Does this raise questions for India’s Covishield, which is based on AZD1222? Read more here

Study associates high levels of PM2.5 with the severity of Covid-19 waves

A high concentration of fine particles is already known to be correlated with the severity of influenza waves. Now, scientists have investigated possible interactions between high levels of fine particulate matter and the virulence of Covid-19. The study from the University of Geneva and Meteodat — a spin-off of ETH Zürich —is published in the journal Earth Systems and Environment. Read more here

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