Can we rely on natural herd immunity to end COVID-19 pandemic?

All previous influenza pandemics — 1918 Spanish flu, 1957 Asian flu, 1968 Hong Kong influenza, and 2009 H1N1 — came to an end when herd immunity acquired naturally reached a certain threshold. So can India and other countries rely on this to tackle COVID-19 till effective vaccines and anti-virals become available? With the number of … Continue reading Can we rely on natural herd immunity to end COVID-19 pandemic?

Sewage surveillance can help know coronavirus spread in the community

Researchers have found that sewage surveillance can help in understanding the circulation of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the community. Sewage surveillance becomes particularly useful as a large percentage of infected population is either asymptomatic or show only mild symptoms, and may not be tested. Sampling sewage for viral particles is a time-tested method of environment … Continue reading Sewage surveillance can help know coronavirus spread in the community

Polio continues to remain a public health emergency

With the continued risk of international spread, WHO has announced that polio will remain a public health emergency for three more months. Polio was declared as public health emergency of international concern in 2014 and has continued to remain one since then. Based on the risk of international spread of poliovirus, the World Health Organization … Continue reading Polio continues to remain a public health emergency

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, stop spreading vaccine misinformation

At the United Nations, talking about the importance of vaccines and how they have saved millions of children from debilitating illnesses across the world, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev ends up spreading the very misinformation that anti-vaxxers spread on social media. I was today alerted about a dangerous tweet and message on vaccination by Jaggi Vasudev. The … Continue reading Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, stop spreading vaccine misinformation

Focus must be on reducing vaccine-associated polio cases

Now that wild poliovirus type 3 has been officially declared as eliminated, the only way to reduce the risk of vaccine-associated polio cases is by switching over to oral vaccine containing only type 1 or making polio vaccine injection as part of the national immunisation programme. The world polio day on October 24 marked an … Continue reading Focus must be on reducing vaccine-associated polio cases

Nigeria on the brink of becoming polio-free

On August 21 this year, Nigeria crossed an important milestone in the eradication of polio when it successfully completed three successive years without a single case of wild poliovirus. The official announcement by the World Health Organisation is expected by early next year. On August 21 this year, Nigeria crossed an important milestone in the … Continue reading Nigeria on the brink of becoming polio-free

Litchi toxin kills over 100 children in Muzaffarpur

The death of over 100 children in about a month in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar due to low blood sugar level is caused by a toxin present in litchi fruit. When under-nourished children eat the fruit and go to bed on empty stomach, the blood glucose falls sharply causing severe brain malfunction (encephalopathy) and … Continue reading Litchi toxin kills over 100 children in Muzaffarpur

India eradicated wild polio virus but at what cost

Despite oral polio vaccine causing vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) and vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) cases, India did not switch over from OPV to inactivated polio vaccine (IPV). While circulating VDPV strains are tracked, and outbreaks and cases recorded, little is known about VAPP cases. The justification that VAPP cases are “sporadic and pose little or no … Continue reading India eradicated wild polio virus but at what cost

Polio outbreaks in Congo raise global concern

The polio endgame is proving to be much more challenging with 28 children becoming paralysed by the circulating type 2 vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPVs) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It has spread to five more provinces since June 2017. And there are three different polio outbreaks in the country. Efforts to immunise all children have failed, and … Continue reading Polio outbreaks in Congo raise global concern

Number of wild poliovirus cases drop in Pakistan, Afghanistan

In the last six months, there have been only eight wild-type poliovirus (type 1 and type 3) cases reported in Afghanistan and Pakistan, down from 32 cases during the same period last year. “The overall situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan has significantly improved in common corridors of transmission,” says a summary report of a April … Continue reading Number of wild poliovirus cases drop in Pakistan, Afghanistan