Criticised if delayed in sharing data, punished for diligently posting data

China was severely criticised for the long delay in sharing information and posting the genome sequence data. But when South Africa and Botswana diligently posted the sequence data on the public database, they were penalised. What incentive will countries have in sharing data on a timely fashion. If China was severely criticised for keeping the … Continue reading Criticised if delayed in sharing data, punished for diligently posting data

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

India scripts history with one billion vaccine doses administered

India could have probably reached this grand milestone earlier if precious time was not wasted by asking States to procure vaccines directly from the two manufacturers at a higher cost to vaccinate the 18-44 age group. India scripted history on October 21 when the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered across the country crossed the … Continue reading India scripts history with one billion vaccine doses administered

Why countries have abandoned the ‘Zero Covid’ strategy

When SARS-CoV-2 virus began spreading globally early last year, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, like mainland China, adopted a “Zero COVID” strategy. A few countries have already abandoned this strategy with the Delta variant changing the ground reality. When SARS-CoV-2 virus began spreading globally early last year, Singapore, Vietnam, … Continue reading Why countries have abandoned the ‘Zero Covid’ strategy

Even as lab leak hypothesis is based on conjectures, it needs to be investigated

China’s secrecy, delay in reporting the outbreak in Wuhan, reluctance to allow quick and free access to the WHO team investigating virus origin, and the delay in finding the natural host or the intermediary has further fuelled the lab spillover hypothesis even in the absence of any compelling evidence. Over 17 months after the World … Continue reading Even as lab leak hypothesis is based on conjectures, it needs to be investigated

Explained: Probing the origin of SARS-CoV-2 virus

The WHO fact-finding team had initially rejected the possibility of a lab-leak saying it is “extremely unlikely” and that further investigation into it was not required. However, at a press briefing on February 12, the WHO Chief Tedros A Ghebreyesus appeared to backpaddle saying that on discussing with a few team members “all hypotheses [including … Continue reading Explained: Probing the origin of SARS-CoV-2 virus

Conspiracy theories about SARS-CoV-2 virus origin put to rest

In contrast to a lab-origin, the investigation by the WHO team now strongly suggests virus origin to a natural reservoir in bats, but unlikely to have been in Wuhan. The virus jumping directly from bats to humans is highly unlikely and initial investigation too suggests the introduction into humans through an intermediary host species. By … Continue reading Conspiracy theories about SARS-CoV-2 virus origin put to rest

With hasty approval, India squanders an opportunity to build trust in COVID-19 vaccine

With the approval to Covaxin even in the absence of efficacy data, the Indian regulator has joined the ranks of China and Russia. What good is a vaccine that is safe but the efficacy is unknown. Transparency in the approval process is vital for gaining the trust of people to avoid vaccine hesitancy and increase … Continue reading With hasty approval, India squanders an opportunity to build trust in COVID-19 vaccine

Why working alongside China to uncover the virus’s origin is important

Even as global focus shifted to therapeutics and vaccine trials, it is reassuring that WHO is determined to discover the origin of the virus. But the pace of investigation leaves much to be desired. In 2003, a World Health Organization team was able to identify the animal source of SARS coronavirus within weeks despite the … Continue reading Why working alongside China to uncover the virus’s origin is important

Why Russia’s rushed-up coronavirus vaccine is mired in ethical, safety landmine

Russia registering a vaccine for novel coronavirus even before beginning a Phase-3 trial and promising to  begin full-scale production of the vaccine in September to make it available by November is riddled with safety and ethical issues. But virologist Dr Jacob John feels a vaccine using a recombinant adenovirus construct to ferry the synthetic genetic … Continue reading Why Russia’s rushed-up coronavirus vaccine is mired in ethical, safety landmine