Restrictive voluntary license of COVID-19 antivirals compromises access, says Leena Menghaney

On the face of it, the agreement signed between the Medicines Patent Pool and the two pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer appear to be making it easy to access COVID-19 antiviral drugs molnupiravir and Paxlovid, respectively. Yet, the voluntary license restricts the countries and population that have easy access to the antivirals. It even restricts … Continue reading Restrictive voluntary license of COVID-19 antivirals compromises access, says Leena Menghaney

New cases and deaths rising again globally

Ever since the new daily cases globally touched a new peak of over 0.9 million on April 28, the daily recorded cases have been steadily dropping before rising again from the fourth week of June. The highly transmissive Delta variant has been driving the cases in most countries. Brazil, India, Indonesia, the U.K and Colombia … Continue reading New cases and deaths rising again globally

Reneging on the ‘no-profit pledge’ to supply Oxford vaccine

After promising on multiple occasions that Oxford vaccine will be provided on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the pandemic across the world, and in perpetuity to low- and middle-income countries, AstraZeneca came up with riders while signing an agreement with Brazil. And Serum Institute has been brazenly violating the spirit of the agreement … Continue reading Reneging on the ‘no-profit pledge’ to supply Oxford vaccine

Brazilian researchers remain anonymous on research paper

Due to fear of losing their job, researchers from Brazil have preferred to remain anonymous in a paper on Amazon forest fire. The acknowledgement section of the paper published last month carries the message. There have been several instances when authors of scientific papers have tucked in their marriage proposal in the acknowledgement section. One … Continue reading Brazilian researchers remain anonymous on research paper

NBRC-led team deciphers how Zika virus causes microcephaly

The NBRC-led team of researchers has identified the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which Zika virus causes microcephaly. The envelop protein of the virus was responsible for arresting the proliferation of human foetal neural stem cells and also killing the cells that were becoming neuron-like. The combined effect reduces the pool of foetal brain cells leading to … Continue reading NBRC-led team deciphers how Zika virus causes microcephaly

No complacency on Zika

The World Health Organisation has declared that the Zika virus no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. This brings to an end the heightened global focus on the virus that has caused about 2,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly (a birth defect manifesting in a smaller head size) since May 2015. The WHO … Continue reading No complacency on Zika

Infectious Zika virus found in saliva and urine

If researchers had earlier reported the presence of Zika virus in urine and saliva samples (besides semen, blood and breast milk), a new study has been able to find infectious Zika virus particles in urine and saliva samples of two patients during the acute phase of infection. While in theory the presence of Zika virus … Continue reading Infectious Zika virus found in saliva and urine

Many Zika cases will be missed if microcephaly screening alone is used

The Zika virus landscape has got a little more complicated. Zika virus infections cannot be accurately diagnosed solely on the basis of microcephaly screening, reveals a study published today (June 30) in the journal The Lancet. “Substantial proportion” of newborns with definite or probable Zika virus infection had normal head circumference. According to the study, … Continue reading Many Zika cases will be missed if microcephaly screening alone is used

Getting pregnant in the time of Zika

With the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirming that Zika virus infection during pregnancy causes microcephaly and other severe foetal brain defects, the federal health officials in the U.S. are not sure whether to advise women living in areas where the virus is circulating locally to delay pregnancy. The virus is circulating locally in … Continue reading Getting pregnant in the time of Zika

A ‘turning point’ in the Zika outbreak

More than 50 years after the infectious pathogen, rubella virus, was identified as the cause of an epidemic of congenital defects, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States confirmed on April 13 that Zika virus infection during pregnancy causes microcephaly and other severe foetal brain defects. The confirmation of causal … Continue reading A ‘turning point’ in the Zika outbreak