Omicron Variant and Our Concern

Covid-19 pandemic across the globe has taken a new turn on the discovery of a new variant, named Omicron. While there are many other variants of Covid-19, both active and inactive, the Omicron variant has taken the world media by storm. Let us find out in this article what exactly are the concerns in most people’s minds regarding this Omicron strain.

It is known that viruses not only transmit but also change their mutations in each transmission. Usually, these changes are too minute to be detected. However, large variations do occur, and in some cases may lead to a stronger virus with higher transmissibility, greater resistance to vaccines, or even more deadly. Covid-19 coronavirus also underwent several changes since its first detection in Wuhan. At first, the variants were popularly nicknamed from the country of origin. As they caused some kind of racism against a particular country or a particular race, the nomenclature shifted to Greek letters, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.

WHO classified these variants into two categories – Variants of Interest and Variants of Concern. Variants of Interest are those variants that may in the future cause community transmissions or has the potential to become out of control. Variants of concern are those which have greater transmissibility, can cause severe symptoms, are more fatal, or develop resistance to vaccination. To date, only five of these variants – alpha, beta, gamma, delta and the newly added Omicron have been recognised as Variants of Concern. Variants of Interest at present are only two variations, lambda and mu.

Transmissibility of Omicron is considered much greater than delta, one of the most fatal and widely circulated variants of Covid-19 discovered to date. However, it is yet to be proved as data remains insufficient on the spread of this virus. Neither it has been proved that it is more harmful as it is still under research level. However, preliminary research suggests that it may be much less dangerous than the delta variant despite having greater transmissibility. Omicron has also not gone out of control in most countries, including Botswana and South Africa, the countries of origin of this variant.

South Africa did well to report globally that a new variant of Covid-19 has been detected within its borders. South Africa also did well to make sure awareness and research studies can spread to other nations to initiate effective measures to contain this strain. However, most countries around the world, except for African and some South American ones, are looking at South Africa with suspicion. Most countries have responded with travel bans to South Africa and other African countries, shutting down flights, ships, and different modes of transportation and communication.

This may set an example to other countries to remain silent on new variations, only to save their economy. Also, many countries around the world have significant Covid-19 caseload and high fatality rates from delta variants, who do not have even mandatory Covid-19 protocols such as mandatorily wearing a mask in public. Hence, it is not the right time to panic and stand against South Africa, but work all together to end the pandemic once and for all.

Written by – Himadri Paul

India at 75: A Nation Marching towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat

Better late than never. It took us 75 years, but we have finally begun our journey towards self-reliance. An ongoing pandemic overflowing with uncertainty, Covid-19 has impacted lives and livelihoods across the globe. Even as the best minds in the world race towards finding preventive and curative solutions to combat and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the current crisis has been an eye-opener to several opportunities that have presented themselves during this time. To this end, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi made a much-needed call for an Aatmanirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant India that would be a source of local ingenuity creating global impact. He exhorted fellow citizens to utilize this time of crisis to be vocal for local and be self-reliant. Atmanirbhar Bharat is the vision of making India a self-reliant nation.

The first mention of this came in the form of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharata Abhiyan’ or ‘Self-Reliant India Mission’ during the coronavirus pandemic-related economic package announcement on 12 May 2020.[1] This self-reliant policy does not aim to be protectionist in nature. It does not mean isolating away from the world. Foreign direct investment is welcome, technology is welcome, self-reliant India translates to being a bigger and more critical part of the global economy. He eloquently identified five pillars on which Aatmanirbhar Bharat would stand and on which a New India could pole-vault to an era of sustainable economic prosperity and societal good, bridging the financial as well as digital divides between the haves and the have-nots. Creating a nation of job-creators and not just job-seekers is the key. And central to this is the need for extensive collaboration between corporate industry, academia, and governments at the village, district, state and central levels. Such synergies have indeed gained momentum with the Covid-19 crisis and need to be further capitalized on. We begin with the pillar of demographic dividend. With over 65% of our country under 35 years of age, more than 1.4 million schools and 10,500 engineering and related institutions, a whopping 39,000 colleges and universities, India enjoys a demographic dividend like no other in the world.

We must enable the channelization of this youthful energy towards nation-building activities by focusing on developing vocational, technical and managerial skills while fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship at the school, university and industry levels. The recent announcements of private sector participation for innovations in space and defence sectors open up a flood of new opportunities for the MSME industry. Any solution developed for 1.3 billion people can also be a possible solution for the 7+ billion people on the planet. The recently launched Bharat App Innovation Challenge by MeitY, MyGov, and Atal Innovation Mission is a welcome step to identify and create world-class apps that can be used by the rest of the world too. India has the perfect environment. It has over 1.3 billion people, a youthful population, a growing middle class, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and affordable, available advanced technology to re-imagine new solutions to existing and emerging consumer needs. An ideal situation for thousands of startups and companies to capitalize on and fulfil pent-up demand for new solutions and consumer- or citizen-centric services in every vertical— agriculture, healthcare, education, water management, clean and renewable energy, affordable housing, defence, space, transportation, or retail. The following few examples prove the need and efficiency of a long due movement which will go on to rake supreme growth for our country:

1)The growth of India’s personal protective equipment (PPE) sector from zero before March to 1,50,000 pieces a day by the beginning of May, is considered a fine example of a self-reliant India. The PPE industry in India has become 7,000 crores (US$980 million) in two months, the second largest after China.[9]

2) The largest fund in the country worth 21,000 crores (US$2.9 billion) was set up by the IIT Alumni Council with the aim of supporting the mission towards self-reliance.[10]

3) India’s own ‘Made in India’ 5G network was also announced in July 2020 by Reliance JioMukesh Ambani announced in mid-July that “Jio has created a complete 5G solution from scratch, that will enable us to launch a world-class 5G service in India, using 100 per cent homegrown technologies and solutions”.

4)For the first time, in July 2020, it was announced that Apple would manufacture one of their premium iPhone models in India.[12]

5)August 2020, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that the Defence Ministry is “now ready for a big push to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative” by imposing an “import embargo on 101 items” in a staged manner over a period of 5 years. 

 Aatmanirbhar Bharat provides a truly watershed moment in our history to ignite the innovative entrepreneurial spirit of New India by focusing on strengthening the above pillars, which will ensure an unprecedented wave of long-deserved growth, prosperity and well-being that can serve the interests of the rest of the world as well.

Written by – Radhika Ahuja


What is black fungus:-.

Black fungus targeting covid-19 patients in India:-

India has reported infections with mucormycosis, often termed “Black fungus”, in patients with covid-19 positive and recovering from coronavirus. In March 2021, 41 cases of covid-19 associated with mucormycosis had been documented around the world, with 70 per cent in India. Reports recommended the number of cases is presently a lot higher, which is evident given the current flood of covid-19 disease in India. Earlier mucormycosis was not notified like malaria, and hence its cases were not recorded and not stored in a database. Till now, there is no official figure on the total points of black fungus. The union health ministry for state and union territories to declare black fungus as an epidemic.

Specialists accept mucormycosis, which has a general death pace of half, might be being set off by using steroids, a daily existence saving treatment for extreme and fundamentally sick Covid-19 patients.

Steroids lessen aggravation in the lungs for Covid-19 and seem to help stop a portion of the harm that can happen when the body’s insusceptible framework goes into overdrive to fend off Covid. However, they additionally lessen invulnerability and push up glucose levels in the two diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients.

It’s the idea that this drop in resistance could be setting off these instances of mucormycosis.

Symptoms of mucormycosis:-

According to medical experts, the primary fungus infection refaces, which is referred to as “rhino cerebral mucormycosis”, and may even cause different facial deformities.

1) Black crust around the nose- the formation of black crust, swelling in and around the nasal passage and the eyes in a particular attribute.

2) Headache and swelling around the forehead-perhaps the most extreme confusions with black fungus happens when it spreads to the cerebrum and causes anxious aggravation. Headaches, swelling redness, pain in the forehead could be initial signs.

3) Swelling in cheeks eyes are parts of the face- pain in the cheekbone are experiencing one-sided facial pain sore short of numbness, and it may also lead to skin infections.

4) Vision loss / partial blindness- Some office may undergo symptoms like redness in the eye, eye pain, partial blindness or loss of vision.

5) Pulmonary functions-as the moulds are inhaled by the patient, the fungi can spread and grow through the respiratory passage and affect the lungs. It causes nose bleeds, nasal blockage, cough, chest pain which are some respiratory systems connected to covid-19.

Challenges in treating black fungus:-

The treatment requires multidisciplinary skill because the contagious disease spreads through the nose and eyes and can arrive at the cerebrum.

Treatment included precisely eliminating all the dead and contaminated tissue. In certain patients, this may bring about loss of the upper jaw sometimes, even the eye.

The fix may likewise include a 4-6 week course of intravenous antifungal treatment. Since it influences different parts of the body, therapy requires a group of microbiologists, inside medication specialists, intensive nervous system specialists, ENT subject matter experts, ophthalmologists, dental specialists and others.

Controlling diabetes is one of the preeminent anticipation strategies proposed by ICMR. Thus Coronavirus patients who are diabetic need to take the most extreme consideration. The prevention is checking our sugar levels on time and proper intake of food. Patients recovering from covid-19 should be tested in time to keep their right diabetic level. Doctors have to be precise with the black fungal infection treatment drugs on intravenous antifungal injection that is said to be effective in preventing the black fungus. The price of this medicine is said to be around 3500 INR. According to the data, there has been a reduction of 99 per cent of the disease in patients after introducing this drug. Self medicine and over measurements of steroids can bring about lethal occasions, and consequently, specialists’ solutions ought to be stringently followed.

Source:- The Indian express, NDTV, BBC, CNN

Written by – R Mohamed Irfan


       The SPUTNIK V vaccine was found by Gamaleya National research institute, Moscow, Russia. The covid-19 vaccine SPUTNIK V [ Gam-COVID-vac ] is an adenoviral-based two-part vaccine against the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus. SPUTNIK V uses weakened viruses to deliver small parts of pathogens and stimulate an immune response. It is a vector vaccine based on adenovirus DNA in which SARS – COV -2 coronavirus gene is integrated.

Third vaccine launch in INDIA; when and how much all you need to know? 

                     Deepak Sapra, the CEO of API and services at Dr. Reddy’s laboratories, which are manufacturing the Russian vaccine in India, confirmed the launch of the SPUTNIK V vaccine on Friday. It is the second most expensive vaccine to be launched in India as it has been priced at rupees 995.40, including goods and service tax. As the Russian vaccine is also to be manufactured in India, No word on pricing for the India-made shots yet, but the company aims to cut input costs as much as possible to offer it at the lowest price. A company has said the production of enough vaccines is expected to begin in mid-June. “We are pleased to announce that the first consignment of 1,50,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine has landed in Hyderabad from Russia,” said Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories CEO-API and Services Deepak Sapra. 

When will the SPUTNIK V be available? 

Since it has to be stored at a temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius, the vaccine will be available in 35 cities across India. As the tests are underway for keeping the wax in between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, and if results are favorable, a wide rollout is expected but faster. Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), the Russian sovereign wealth fund that has funded the vaccine, has signed pacts with five Indian companies to produce 850 million doses. The doses will not only be made in India but also exported to third countries. Between June 2021 to March 2022, around 238 million doses will be produced in the country. India is also expected to get 11 million doses in the form of fill and finish. After getting clearance from the Drug regulator in the country, the vaccine was finally launched in the country on Friday. The first dose of the vaccine was administered to an adult in Hyderabad on Friday. 


●    COVISHEILD, manufactured by the serum institute of India, costs rupees 300 per dose and rupees 600 in private hospitals. International clinical trials of COVISHEILD have shown 90 % efficiency when people are given half doors and then full dose.

● A 24-year-old vaccine maker manufactures COVAXIN with a portfolio of 16 vaccines and exports to 123 countries – BHARAT BIOTECH used a sample of coronavirus, isolated by India’s National Institute of virology. The Covaxin is priced at rupees 600 for a single dose and 1200 rupees for private hospitals. COVAXIN has 81 percentage efficiency as for the final trials.


        ACCORDING TO A PUBLICATION IN A SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL, SPUTNIK V has an efficiency of 91.6%, The Lancet. In real-world data, SPUTNIK V compares ” very very favorable” with other global vaccines and is among the top two.

Denis Logunov, deputy director of the Gamaleya research centre, said that a study has shown the SPUTNIK V vaccine is working well against new coronavirus mutations. Experts have said SPUTNIK V will be more effective in India. Yes, four deaths are reported after the vaccination trials, but the deaths are not related to the vaccination. As a total of 20000 volunteers have participated in the three trials of the SPUTNIK V vaccine, the study found no strong allergies caused by Sputnik V.

                       Sources :- NDTV , THE INDIAN EXPRESS , THE HINDU

Written by – R Mohamed Irfan

Covid-19 Vaccination Drive

Originated in Wuhan, China, in the year 2019, coronavirus Covid-19 caused havoc throughout the world, causing deaths to millions of people and severely damaging the lives of many. Covid-19 shows no signs of fading away from most countries in the world anytime soon. Thus the need of the hour is a vaccine that can protect us from this deadly disease. For the past one year, scientists in every country are trying their best to procure a vaccine to save people from dying.

The first ray of hope came in Russia, which invented a vaccine for coronavirus way back in August 2020. Named Sputnik V, it became the first and, to date, one of the best vaccines suitable for Covid-19 disease. Other countries have tried to produce vaccines, and now there are many vaccines in circulation across different countries. USA, UK, India have created their own indigenous vaccines that are quite as effective as Sputnik V.

In India, two vaccines are prescribed by the Government to be taken by all individuals in a phased manner. Covishield and Covaxin are the two vaccines in circulation among the public. Covaxin is recommended for those who have prior diseases or comorbidity, while Covishield is recommended for all others. Two doses of vaccination are required. Covaxin requires a gap of 4 weeks in between two doses. Covishield needs a greater interval of 6 to 8 weeks between the doses. Both the vaccines are working very well against Covid-19 strains present in India (except one ‘Bengal Variant’ maybe), with Covishield shown by many studies as having a slight edge over Covaxin. People getting vaccinated reported little or no side effects, the minor side effects being not more than slight fever or weakness. Thus, it is advised to all register and take the vaccine as soon as it is made available.

Now the most important question comes, when will I get the vaccine. If your age is above 45 years, then you are eligible to take the vaccine anytime. Register and wait for your slot. The date and venue (usually the nearest vaccination camp) of vaccination will be updated soon after you register. You may be asked to carry an identification card (Aadhar Card or something like that). Maintain social distancing, wear a mask, and wait for your turn. You may be required to spend a few minutes (usually half an hour) at the camp to see if the vaccine produced any weird side effects. Don’t worry; the vaccine is completely safe, and this is just for your safety only. Registration for the vaccine has begun for 18 to 45-year-old people, as of 28th April, and vaccination will start by 1st May. It is advised to register via registered accounts, Aarogya Setu app, or the Government vaccination drive website,, and be available at your vaccination drive camp on the vaccination day. We wish everyone to be safe and cooperative to win the hard-fought battle against the deadly virus.

Written by – Himadri Paul