VA-SenaOctober 6, 2020


The CDC said the coronavirus can sometimes be spread through small particles that can linger in the air and infect people separated by distances previously considered safe.



The novel coronavirus can spread through the air to people who are more than 6 feet away from an infectious person, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday, in guidance that could raise new challenges for safely re-opening businesses and schools.

In an update to its website, the CDC said the coronavirus can sometimes be spread through small particles that can linger in the air and infect people separated by distances previously considered safe. Many social-distancing guidelines adopted by workplaces, restaurants and stores advise people to stand at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart to avoid transmitting the pathogen that causes Covid-19.

“Today’s update acknowledges the existence of some published reports showing limited, uncommon circumstances where people with Covid-19 infected others who were more than 6 feet away or shortly after the Covid-19-positive person left an area,” the agency said in a news release.

The change follows months of mounting scientific evidence that Sars-CoV-2 can be transmitted through the air at greater distances than understood in earlier stages of the pandemic. There have been indications the CDC was moving toward updating its guidance. Last month, it posted and then removed a guideline on airborne transmission, later describing it as a draft posted in error.

The new guidance arrives as the pandemic appears to be shifting into a more intense phase in the US In 34 states, the seven-day average of new cases is higher than it was a month ago, and an outbreak of the virus at the White House appears to be widening. At the same time, schools are reopening, states such as Florida have lifted restrictions on restaurants and other businesses, and the approach of cooler weather and holidays is expected to push more people indoors to socialize.

Ventilation Issues A recent archived version of the CDC’s web page made no mention of airborne transmission, emphasizing that the main way the virus spreads is through close contact among people who are within six feet of each other, through respiratory droplets emitted by coughing, sneezing, and speaking. It acknowledged that the virus may spread in other ways, including on contaminated surfaces.

The CDC’s updated site includes a section acknowledging that virus particles also sometimes spread through the air, particularly in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. Scientists believe that in these cases, airborne virus particles emitted “became concentrated enough to spread the virus to other people,” including sometimes shortly after the infectious person left.

The transmissions sometimes occurred when the infected person was breathing heavily, while singing or exercising, the agency said.

Linsey Marr, an expert on the airborne transmission of viruses at Virginia Tech, in a tweet called the update “an accurate, sorely-needed update acknowledging airborne spread and importance of masks at all times around others and of ventilation.”

Recommendations Unchanged In a Senate hearing last month, CDC Director Robert Redfield acknowledged there was evidence of airborne spread, but said the CDC document that was removed hadn’t been cleared for publication by agency staff.

“I just want to stress for the American public and for everyone here that that document that went up was a draft, had not been technically reviewed by CDC,” Redfield said on Sept. 23. He said the agency reverted to the one that had been reviewed.

The CDC Monday reiterated that it’s more common for the virus to spread through close contact with an infected person. The update doesn’t change the CDC’s recommendations for how to protect against infection by wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart, washing hands, cleaning surfaces, and staying home when sick.

“CDC’s recommendations remain the same based on existing science and after a thorough technical review of the guidance,” the agency said in news release sent to reporters Monday.

It’s unusual for the CDC to alert the media to changes in its guidelines, with updates frequently published to the agency’s website with little fanfare

VA-SenaOctober 5, 2020


New Delhi: TV star Shweta Tiwari, who is now COVID free, celebrated her 40th birthday with daughter Palak, pictures from which the mother-daughter duo shared on their respective Instagram profiles on Sunday night. Sharing her birthday plans in one of her Instagram stories earlier, Shweta Tiwari said, “Kal main bahar jaungi, apne aap ko pamper karungi (Tomorrow, I will go out and pamper myself)” and she did just that. The actress, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, stepped out of her house on Sunday after completing the mandatory quarantine. In the pictures, Shweta and Palak can be seen twinning in red and white outfits.


Shweta Tiwari is married to actor Abhinav Kohli, with whom she has a three-year-old son named Reyansh. Shweta’s teenaged daughter Palak also lives with them – she’s Shweta’s daughter with her former husband Raja Chaudhary. Palak will soon be making her Bollywood debut in the film Rosie: The Safforn Chapter, which is being backed by Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi. Sharing the film’s poster on social media, Vivek Oberoi wrote: “And here’s our mystery girl… glad to launch Palak Tiwari in and as Rosie. Our horror-thriller franchise is based on true events in Gurugram.”


Shweta Tiwari currently features in the TV show Mere Dad Ki Dulhan, co-starring Varun Badola. Shweta participated in Bigg Boss 4 and she was the winner of the season. She is best known for playing Prerna Basu in the first installment of Ekta Kapoor’s popular daily soap Kasautii Zindagii Kay.

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VA-SenaOctober 1, 2020


The news deals a blow to President Donald Trump’s hopes of having an injection ready before the election to give his campaign a much-needed boost.


Washington, United States: US biotech firm Moderna won’t seek an emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine before November 25, its CEO told the Financial Times on Wednesday.

The news deals a blow to President Donald Trump’s hopes of having an injection ready before the election to give his campaign a much-needed boost.

Stephane Bancel told the newspaper: “November 25 is the time we will have enough safety data to be able to put into an EUA file that we would send to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) – assuming that the safety data is good, i.e. a vaccine is deemed to be safe.”

Trump, whose approval has taken a hit over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis, has frequently hinted a vaccine could be ready before the November 3 vote.This has raised concern among experts that his administration may attempt to interfere with the regulatory process for political reasons.The Republican repeated his claim on Tuesday night, during a debate with his Democratic rival, former vice president Joe Biden.”It’s a possibility that we’ll have the answer before November 1,” he said.

VA-SenaSeptember 29, 2020



MHA Unlock 5 Guidelines: Unlock 5 will likely come into effect on the following day – Thursday, October 1 – and is expected to stay in place till October 30

New Delhi: The centre is expected to announce guidelines for the fifth phase of easing of Covid-related restrictions, or “Unlock 5”, in the next couple of days as the current phase – “Unlock 4” – is due to end on Wednesday.

“Unlock 5” will likely come into effect on the following day – Thursday, October 1 – and is expected to stay in place till October 30.

While there is considerable speculation about what will and what will not be reopened, the Uddhav Thackeray-led government in Maharashtra has prepared guidelines to reopen restaurants starting October 1.

Dine-in service at restaurants in Maharashtra – the worst affected state in the country – have been shut since the first lockdown in March. Restaurants (outside containment zones) had been “unlocked” by in July, but the state opted against this given the high active caseload and daily increase.

Under “Unlock 4”, metro train services have been re-started (in a graded manner) across the country, and social, political, academic, sporting, religious and other functions are allowed with an increased limit of 100 attendees.

Swimming pools and indoor movie theatres, however, remain closed.

Metro services in major cities were reopened in stages with emphasis on cashless, or contactless, travel, social distancing and the use of face masks and sanitisers.

Previously metro services had been stopped and the number of people at functions was limited to 50, as part of the government’s attempts to limit physical contact between people and prevent the infectious coronavirus from spreading further.

“Unlock 4” also allowed schools across the country – which had been shut since the first Covid lockdown in March – to partially reopen from September 21.

Guidelines issued by the Home Ministry said students between Class 9 and 12 could come attend school in staggered shifts to clarify doubts from teachers, providing these schools were outside containment zones and they had parents’ permission.

The ministry also said up to 50 per cent of teachers and non-teaching staff could return to schools (while observing required hygiene protocols). The rest, the ministry added, could continue with online classes, as has become the norm in the pandemic.

The phased reopening of schools, however, was not made mandatory so some regions, including national capital Delhi, opted to keep them closed this month. Some others however, like Assam, Nagaland and Haryana, opted to reopen schools, in line with the centre’s guidelines.

Last month the centre issued guidelines for “Unlock 3” (August 1 to 31) that ended night curfew and allowed gyms and yoga institutes to reopen. All other restrictions remained – particularly those that involved large gatherings – remained in place.

Both “Unlock 3” and “Unlock 4” emphasised that inter-state travel is now permitted without the need for prior permission or e-passes.

India has recorded around 80,000 new Covid cases per day so far this month; 82,170 were logged over the past 24 hours, government data showed this morning. The country has logged over 60 lakh cases since the pandemic began in China’s Wuhan in December last year.

A strict lockdown – potentially the world’s strictest – was enforced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March, but the move left the economy in dire condition and prompted the government to begin a series of “unlocks” that started in June.



VA-SenaSeptember 29, 2020


Named after Satyajit Ray’s famed detective, the Feluda test, which is priced at ₹ 500 and can deliver a result in 45 minutes, is able to differentiate SARS-CoV-2 from other coronaviruses.

Feluda test

New Delhi: More accurate than a rapid antigen test and almost as quick, India’s CRISPR ‘Feluda’ COVID-19 test that changes colour on detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be a cheaper, faster and simpler alternative to an RT-PCR diagnosis, say scientists.

Named after Satyajit Ray’s famed detective, the Feluda test, which is priced at ₹ 500 and can deliver a result in 45 minutes, is able to differentiate SARS-CoV-2 from other coronaviruses even if genetic variations between them are minute.

The Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) Feluda test, developed by the New Delhi-based CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and the TATA Group, received regulatory approvals last week from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for commercial launch.

It meets high quality benchmarks with 96 per cent sensitivity and 98 per cent specificity for detecting the novel coronavirus, Debojyoti Chakraborty, a senior scientist at CSIR-IGIB and part of the team that developed the test, told PTI.

In any diagnosis, sensitivity is defined as the ability of a test to correctly identify individuals with the disease, whereas specificity is the ability of the assay to accurately identify those without the disease.

Similar to a pregnancy strip test, Feluda changes colour if the virus is detected and doesn’t need expensive machines for detection.

“The CRISPR technology uses a highly specific CAS9 protein to find and bind to the target COVID signature. This is then coupled with paper-strip chemistry to elicit a visual readout on a paper strip,” Mr Chakraborty explained.

The test can help the country, with the world’s second highest cases of COVID-19 at 60.74 lakh cases, ramp up testing of the disease quickly and economically, the researchers behind the test said in a statement.

Virologist Upasana Ray noted that the CRISPR based COVID-19 detection system is a cheaper option to RT-PCR tests, which cost over ₹ 1,600. The RAT and the Feluda are in the same price bracket.

FELUDA, an acronym for the FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay, uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus, the scientists said.

CRISPR is a gene editing technology and is used in correcting genetic defects and treating and preventing the spread of diseases.

The technology can detect specific sequences of DNA within a gene, and uses an enzyme functioning as molecular scissors to snip it.

According to Mr Ray, Feluda is capable of detecting even low quantities of the genetic material of the novel coronavirus, based on very minute differences in their RNA – the genetic material of a virus

“Feluda is an alternative to the quantitative RT-PCR tests and is highly specific. It is capable of detecting low copy number nucleic acids (less viral RNA quantity) as well as single nucleotide variations,” Mr Ray, a senior scientist at CSIR-IICB, Kolkata, told PTI.

She explained that the tests are so specific that they can distinguish SARS-CoV-2 infections from other coronaviruses such as the one that caused the 2002-03 SARS pandemic.

“It can distinguish between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV sequences which differ by a single nucleotide. Unlike RT-PCR which requires expensive machines, Feluda is simple and can be used in laboratories as well as outside with a quicker turnaround time,” she added.

In May, the US granted emergency-use approval for the world’s first CRISPR-based test for COVID-19, developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University.

The CRISPR Feluda test is the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein, derived from Francisella novicida bacteria, to successfully detect the virus that causes COVID-19, the researchers said.

Other CRISPR?tests, like the one developed in the US, use CAS12 and CAS13 proteins to detect SARS-CoV-2.

Compared with a rapid antigen test, which interprets results in 30 minutes, Mr Ray said the Feluda test would take slightly longer, up to 45 minutes, but is more accurate and specific.

Rapid antigen tests detect the viral proteins or parts thereof whereas CRISPR detects nucleic acids, or RNA in case of COVID-19, Mr Ray said.

Chakaraborty noted that RT-PCR takes about 1.5 hours, trained manpower and a dedicated and expensive RT-PCR machine which is not widely available.

“Feluda gives similar sensitivity and specificity as RT-PCR but is inexpensive, requires a basic widely available PCR machine and doesn’t require extensive trained manpower. The chemistry and biology is of course different,” Mr Chakraborty added.

“This marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from R&D to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days. The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment, and better ease of use,” the researchers said in their statement.

They described CRISPR as a futuristic technology that can also be configured for detection of other pathogens in the future.



VA-SenaSeptember 29, 2020


Ever since the senior BJP leader tweeted about her testing positive for the infection late on Saturday night, the AIIMS management had made arrangements, in-charge of COVID cases at the AIIMS, Madhur Uniyal, said.

Uma Bharti, COVID-19 Positive, Admitted To AIIMS


Rishikesh: Former Union minister and senior BJP leader Uma Bharti, who tested positive for COVID-19 recently, was on Monday admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh.


VA-SenaSeptember 21, 2020


“The second round of countrywide serosurvey led by ICMR has been successfully completed. The final phase analysis of the survey is now underway and will offer a comparison with the results of the first survey #IndiaFightsCOVID19,” the ICMR said in a tweet.

Research Body ICMR

New Delhi [India]: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Sunday informed that the second round of the countrywide serosurvey for COVID-19 has been successfully completed and the final phase analysis of the survey is now underway.

“The second round of countrywide serosurvey led by ICMR has been successfully completed. The final phase analysis of the survey is now underway and will offer a comparison with the results of the first survey #IndiaFightsCOVID19,” the ICMR said in a tweet.

According to the Council, the containment zones, that refer to a specific geographical area where positive cases of coronavirus are found are dynamic in nature and they do not fit into nationally representative sampling



VA-SenaSeptember 21, 2020


Raipur, which is among the worst-hit districts, has been reporting a high number of infections.



Ten districts in Chhattisgarh, including state capital Raipur, have been put under lockdown from today amid spike in COVID-19 cases in these districts. The state capital — which has been reporting 900-1,000 daily cases — has been declared a containment zone.

Apart from Raipur, nine other districts including Jashpur, Baloda Bazaar, Janjgir-Champa, Durg, Bhilai, Dhamtari, Bilaspur,  Bilaspur, will remain under lockdown till September 28, according to the government order.

Raipur, which is among the worst-hit districts, has been reporting a high number of infections.

“Raipur district has so far reported over 26,000 COVID-19 cases and 900-1000 cases are being recorded daily. To break the chain of transmission, it has become necessary to declare the entire district a containment zone. Inter-district borders in Raipur will remain sealed during this duration,” the order issued by Raipur Collector S Bharathi Dasan said.

All Central, state and semi government as well as private offices will remain closed, though government staff engaged in prevention and control of COVID-19 will continue to work as earlier, it said. No public meeting or rally will be allowed during the period, it said.

“All shops and commercial establishments, including grocery shops will be closed. Medical shops will be allowed to remain open while home deliveries of medicines will be given priority. Milk shops will be open from 6am to 8am and then 5pm to 6:30pm,” an official said

Petrol pumps will provide fuel only to government vehicles, private vehicles engaged in medical emergency and ambulances. LPG cylinder distributors are allowed to take orders only via telephone and provide home delivery.

Essential services, like health, electricity and water supply, sanitation works and emergency services have been kept out of the purview of restrictions, and those needing to move out of the district will need an e-pass, an official said.

VA-SenaSeptember 18, 2020


The health ministry’s Covid-19 dashboard showed there were 1,017,754 active cases and the country’s death toll has gone up to 84,372.

96,424 new Covid-19

India’s coronavirus disease (Covid-19) tally surged to 5,214,677 after 96,424 new cases and 1,174 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours from across the country, according to the Union health ministry on Friday.

The health ministry’s Covid-19 dashboard showed there were 1,017,754 active cases and the country’s death toll has gone up to 84,372.

Close to half or 48.45% of the active cases of Covid-19 are concentrated in three states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the ministry said on Thursday. Along with Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, these states contribute nearly 60% of the total active cases in the country, it added.

According to the health ministry’s dashboard at 8am, 87,472 Covid-19 patients recovered between Thursday and Friday morning. With this, the number of recoveries in India has climbed to 4,112,551 and the recovery rate to 78.86%.

India has recorded more than 82,000 recoveries for three days in a row now and the recovered cases exceed active ones by more than 3 million, according to the ministry’s data.

“These high levels of recovery have resulted in a 100% increase in the number of recovered cases in the past 30 days. Maharashtra (17,559) contributed more than one-fifth of the new recoveries (21.22%) while the States of Andhra Pradesh (10,845), Karnataka (6,580), Uttar Pradesh (6,476) and Tamil Nadu (5,768) contributed 35.87% of the new recoveries,” the health ministry said on Thursday.

It added that these states together account for 57.1% of total new recoveries.

Maharashtra accounted for more than 40% of the new deaths related to the coronavirus disease. The following four States of Uttar Pradesh (86), Punjab (78), Andhra Pradesh (64), West Bengal (61) contributed 25.5% of the fatalities in the last 24 hours, the ministry had said on Thursday.

There are more than 30 million coronavirus disease cases worldwide and 944,887 people have succumbed to the viral disease, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 data








VA-SenaSeptember 18, 2020


At least half of the 7,033 Covid-19 cases and 115 deaths recorded in Gujarat’s Rajkot have been reported in the past month, official data shows.

Gujarat health department data shows that the number of Covid 19 cases increased from 3,289 on August 16 to 7,033 on September 16. The number of deaths rose to 115 from 54 in the same period.


According to the official data, Rajkot’s case fatality rate is the lowest in the state but some recent incidents have raised suspicion of there being some discrepancy in the data on the number of deaths. A local Gujarati daily in Rajkot reported on September 3 that 32 bodies were cremated/buried in Rajkot city the previous day as per Covid-19 protocols but only three deaths were recorded in Gujarat’s Covid health bulletin.

Rajkot municipal commissioner Udit Mishra denied hiding real death figures and said that a death audit committee determines the cause of deaths of Covid patients.

“Some people have confused routine deaths with Covid deaths. This may be because suspected Covid patients are cremated following the Covid protocol when they die. Covid death figures are decided by the audit committee,” said Mishra.

Former president of the Rajkot medical association (RMA) Dr Chetan Lalseta said: “One should not attribute all deaths to Rajkot district. Many terminally ill patients coming from the neighbouring districts also contribute to the high death numbers in Rajkot.”

Still, the situation turned so bad that the Gujarat government had to rush its health secretary Jayanti Ravi with a team of health experts and doctors to the home town of chief minister Vijay Rupani on August 31 to bring the situation under control.

“All efforts are being made to reduce fatalities in Rajkot district. Around 15 doctors from other districts would be stationed here and additional ventilators would be provided,” news agency PTI quoted her as saying on August 31.

As the cases have risen exponentially, residents have gone into isolation.

“We had no option but to go for a self-imposed complete lockdown as cases were rising very fast and lockdown is the only way to control the chain of transmission,” said Suresh Kumar, communications in-charge of the Rajkot wholesale textile merchants association.

He said the voluntary lockdown is almost complete with essential good shops opening for limited hours every day. “There is a huge fear among people as the virus is spreading very fast. People are not coming out of their homes voluntarily now,” he said