Corona Virus Covid 19

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First Covid case may have emerged in China in Oct 2019: Study
Source: PTI - Edited By: Roshneesh Kmaneck
June 25, 2021 12:27 IST


The SARS-CoV-2 virus, that causes COVID-19, may have started spreading in China as early as October 2019, two months before the first case was identified in Wuhan, according to a modelling study.



The research, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens on Thursday, suggests that the first case of COVID-19 arose between early October and mid-November, 2019 in China, with the most likely date of origin being November 17.
The origins of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic remain unclear. The first officially identified case occurred in early December 2019.


However, mounting evidence suggests that the original case may have emerged even earlier.

David Roberts from the University of Kent, United Kingdom, and colleagues repurposed a mathematical model originally developed to determine the date of extinction of a species, based on recorded sightings of the species.
They reversed the method to determine the date when COVID-19 most likely originated, according to when some of the earliest known cases occurred in 203 countries.
"This novel application within the field of epidemiology offers a new opportunity to understand the emergence and spread of diseases as it only requires a small amount of data," Roberts said.
The analysis suggests that the first case occurred in China between early October and mid-November of 2019.
The first case most likely arose on November 17, and the disease spread globally by January 2020, according to the researchers.
The findings support growing evidence that the pandemic arose sooner and grew more rapidly than officially accepted, they said.
The analysis also identified when COVID-19 is likely to have spread to the first five countries outside of China, as well as other continents.
The results suggest that the virus spread beyond China by January 2020 with the estimated first case being in Japan on January 3, 2020, and followed by Thailand on January 7, 2020.
The third earliest origination date, outside of China, suggests that the virus had left eastern Asia and arrived in Europe, with an estimated first case on January 12, 2020, in Spain.
The virus appears to have continued spreading to other countries in eastern Asia with the fourth earliest origination date outside of China being in South Korea on January 14, 2020, the researchers said.

Following the spread to Europe, the virus appears to have spread to North America with an estimated first case being in the US on January 16, 2020, making the US the fifth country, they said.
The researchers noted that their novel method could be applied to better understand the spread of other infectious diseases in the future.
Better knowledge of the origins of COVID-19 could improve understanding of its continued spread, they added.


First Covid case may have emerged in China in Oct 2019: Study
 

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Explained: What is Delta Plus, the variant of Covid-19 with K417N mutation?
Covid 19 Delta Plus Variant: Delta Plus is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant first detected in India, which has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N. Some scientists worry that the mutation could make it more transmissible.

By: Reuters |
Updated: June 28, 2021 9:40:51 am

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A health worker takes a nasal swab sample from a person for Covid-19 tests inside a mobile van, in Amritsar. (PTI Photo/File)
India said on Wednesday it has found around 40 cases of the Delta coronavirus variant carrying a mutation that appears to make it more transmissible, and advised states to increase testing.
Below is what we know about the variant.


What is Delta Plus?

The variant, called “Delta Plus” in India, was first reported in a Public Health England bulletin on June 11.
It is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant first detected in India and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Some scientists worry that the mutation, coupled with other existing features of the Delta variant, could make it more transmissible.
“The mutation K417N has been of interest as it is present in the Beta variant (B.1.351 lineage), which was reported to have immune evasion property,” India’s health ministry said in a statement.
Shahid Jameel, a top Indian virologist, said the K417N was known to reduce the effectiveness of a cocktail of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.


Where all has it been found?

As of June 16, at least 197 cases had been found from 11 countries — Britain (36), Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), the United States (83).
India said, on Wednesday, around 40 cases of the variant have been observed in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with “no significant increase in prevalence”. The earliest case in India is from a sample taken on April 5.
Britain said its first 5 cases were sequenced on April 26 and they were contacts of individuals who had travelled from, or transited through, Nepal and Turkey.
No deaths were reported among the UK and Indian cases.





What are the worries?

Studies are ongoing in India and globally to test the effectiveness of vaccines against this mutation.
“WHO is tracking this variant as part of the Delta variant, as we are doing for other Variants of Concern with additional mutations,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“For the moment, this variant does not seem to be common, currently accounting for only a small fraction of the Delta sequences…Delta and other circulating Variants of Concern remain a higher public health risk as they have demonstrated increases in transmission,” it said.
But India’s health ministry warned that regions where it has been found “may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination.”
There are worries Delta Plus would inflict another wave of infections on India after it emerged from the world’s worst surge in cases only recently.

“The mutation itself may not lead to a third wave in India — that also depends on Covid-appropriate behaviour, but it could be one of the reasons,” said Tarun Bhatnagar, a scientist with the state-run Indian Council for Medical Research.




Explained: What is Delta Plus, the variant of Covid-19 with K417N mutation?
 

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Delta plus variant of Covid-19 found in 48 samples in 10 states, Delta now in 174 districts
Data released by the Health Ministry showed that the Delta variant was present in 52 districts across the country in March, and had spread to 174 districts by June.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |

The highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus is present in at least 174 districts of the country — and its sub-lineage, Delta plus, has been detected in 48 samples in 10 states, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

The Delta variant was a major contributor to the second wave of infections that peaked in April-May, the government said. Data released by the Ministry showed that the variant was present in 52 districts across the country in March, and had spread to 174 districts by June.

ICMR chief Dr Balram Bhargava warned that even though more than 500 districts were now reporting less than 5 per cent test positivity, the second wave of the epidemic should not be assumed to have ended.


“The second wave is not yet over in the country. We have still got 75 districts that have more than 10 per cent prevalence, and we have 92 districts that have between 5 per cent and 10 per cent prevalence,” Dr Bhargava said.

“These districts are important, and it is possible for us to avert a big third wave provided individuals and the society adhere to Covid-appropriate behaviour, and avoid mass gatherings… Any indicative hotspot that we find, they need to be identified and isolated,” he said.

The Health Ministry categorised the Delta plus variant of the coronavirus as a Variant of Concern (VOC) on Tuesday, and directed states to take up immediate containment measures in clusters where it had been detected.

Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that of the 48 cases of Delta plus in 10 states, Maharashtra had 20, followed by Tamil Nadu (9), and Madhya Pradesh (7).

Dr Singh clarified that there was no evidence currently to suggest that the Delta plus variant was significantly more dangerous than Delta.

Its transmission potential was currently the same as that of Delta, Dr Singh said. And at this point, given the limited scientific evidence and only a small number of cases, nothing can be said on concerns over the additional mutation in Delta plus — K417N — which has been linked with immune escape mechanism and a potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response, he said.

“Since the Delta variant is already a VOC, its sub-lineage will also be called VOC. I also want to clarify that the Delta plus variant signifies Delta variant with an additional mutation — the ‘plus’ does not signify that it is more transmissible or will cause more severe disease than the Delta variant. When there is any such scientific evidence (on increased transmissibility) we will inform you,” Dr Singh said.

“There are very limited cases of Delta plus variant in India as well as across the globe; therefore, we cannot say that in any of these districts, the Delta plus variant is causing an increasing trend in cases,” he said.

Dr Bhargava announced that ICMR would, in about a week, come out with results of the effectiveness trial of vaccines against the Delta plus variant.

“Delta plus is present in 12 countries; 48 cases have been detected in India, however they have been very localised. This virus has been isolated and is being cultured. Laboratory tests to check vaccine effect are ongoing and we should have these results in seven to 10 days’ time,” he said.

Dr Singh said that as of June, 174 districts were affected by the Delta variant. “In all of these districts, we continue to monitor the trend… The proportion of cases with Variants of Concern (Delta and Delta plus) has risen from 10.31 per cent in May to 51 per cent on June 20… In some states, the Delta variant has slowly replaced the Alpha variant. This shows that the Delta variant is a stronger variant than the Alpha variant,” he said.

Variants of Concern had been detected in 21,109 sequenced samples in the country, Dr Singh said. According to official data, the prevalence of the Delta variant had gone up from only 10 per cent of samples in March to a staggering 90 per cent in May.


Eight states have reported approximately 50 per cent of the total VOCs in the country: Maharashtra (3,117), Delhi (2,973), Kerala (2,382), West Bengal (1,553), Punjab (1,431), Telangana (1,127), Haryana (945), and Andhra Pradesh (829).



Delta plus variant of Covid-19 found in 48 samples in 10 states, Delta now in 174 districts
 

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A healthcare worker administers a dose of Covid-19 vaccine to a sex worker, at Wadia hospital in Mumbai on Monday.(PTI Photo)


A healthcare worker administers a dose of Covid-19 vaccine to a sex worker, at Wadia hospital in Mumbai on Monday.(PTI Photo)

INDIA NEWS

Delta Plus variant very localised, 48 cases found till now in India, says govt
To check the spread of Delta Plus variant, the Maharashtra government has tightened restrictions with effect from Monday, allowing essential shops to remain open only till 4 pm on all days.

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON JUN 28, 2021 05:42 PM IST


The central government on Monday gave an update on the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus, saying it is present in 12 states. The update was based on the data given by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which said that 48 cases of the variant have been identified from more than 45,000 samples collected during April, May and June.

The ICMR also said that the Delta Plus variant is very localised in the country, adding that it has been isolated and cultured at National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.


This comes on a day when Union minister Jitendra Singh urged medical professionals "not to create a panic" about a possible third wave of Covid-19 infection and stressed that the basic approach should be "precaution, no panic".
The minister's remarks were in response to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria's comments who said the country has to prepare for a third wave of Covid-19 and new variants like Delta Plus.
The Delta Plus variant is a mutated form of the Delta variant of coronavirus, which was first found in India. The government has said that Delta Plus is present in 12 countries. What makes this variant a worry is the fact that it spreads more rapidly than the previous known variants. Delta Plus also has the ability to fight some vaccines and therapies being offered in different countries, and shows greater affinity towards lung tissues.

Most of the cases of Delta Plus variant have been found on three states - Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. The Maharashtra government has tightened restrictions with effect from Monday, allowing essential shops to remain open only till 4 pm on all days.
The entire state has been put under 'level 3' restrictions, a state government notification said.
Restaurants are allowed to operate dine-in facility with 50 per cent capacity till 4 pm on weekdays and takeaways and home deliveries after that, according to the order.
Former ICMR chief Dr Raman Gangakhedkar said on Sunday that there is no need to panic due to the spread of the Delta Plus variant. He was speaking at a webinar on Covid-19, where another doctor said that ICMR data shows 70 per cent of people have developed immunity against coronavirus, and the country appears to be heading towards herd immunity.

Delta Plus has already been declared a variant of concern by the Indian government.

Delta Plus variant very localised, 48 cases found till now in India, says govt
 

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INDIA NEWS
Explained: Delta Plus variant symptoms and how to protect yourself
The Delta Plus variant is the mutated form of the Delta variant, earlier found in India. The Delta variant has so far been found in 85 countries, according to health experts, and has been the driving force behind a surge in infection in South Africa.

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON JUN 27, 2021 12:52 PM IST


The Delta Plus variant of coronavirus has been wreaking havoc across the world, with increased transmissibility and resistance to some drugs and therapies. India has already declared it as the variant of concern, with the strain found in 49 samples from 12 states. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases of the Delta Plus variant.

Vaccination and safety measures such as wearing of face masks are essential when it comes to fighting the Delta Plus coronavirus variant, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic said.
"We need to make an effort over a short period of time, otherwise there would be a lockdown," Vujnovic said on the Soloviev Live YouTube show.
The Delta Plus variant is the mutated form of the Delta variant, earlier found in India. The Delta variant has so far been found in 85 countries, according to health experts, and has been the driving force behind a surge in infection in South Africa.
In fact, the infectious disease experts in South Africa believe that the country is already experiencing a third wave of the infection due to the Delta variant.

Earlier this month, the WHO included Delta in its list of coronavirus variants of concern.


Why is Delta Plus variant a cause of concern?
This new variant of coronavirus, also known as AY.1, spreads almost 60 per cent faster than its predecessor, the Delta variant. It also binds more easily to the lung cells and shows higher resistance to some of the drugs being used against Covid-19.
Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, former head scientist of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR, said there are two graded mutations which have occurred in the Delta variant, which was the dominant strain of coronavirus in the country till now. These graded mutations L452R and P871R.
"These particular mutations add to the higher transmission efficiency so that the variant can spread quickly from one person to another or can enter into the cells much more efficiently compared to other strains that exist," said Dr Gangakhedkar, terming Delta Plus as one of the most critical mutations of coronavirus.


What are the symptoms?
India's top virologists have said that the Delta Plus variant carries symptoms of the Delta as well as its partner the beta variant. Some of these symptoms include cough, diarrhoea, fever, headache, skin rash, discolouration of fingers and toes, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Other symptoms listed by the experts and attributed to the Delta Plus variant are: stomache ache, nausea and appetite loss.


Explained: Delta Plus variant symptoms and how to protect yourself
 

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Hai...............it looks it is again closed in HP.....non of the sites respond for registratin and also the permit it looks...........
Himachal opened border for tourists and there are no hotels available in Kullu Manali and Shimla due to huge rush.
LOL !


Uttarakhand also asking for ePass but rarely checking it till Rishikesh or check on occasions only at Borders.
RTPCR Report is must for visiting Uttarakhand on papers.
Char Dham Yatra is only for locals not for other state people.
 
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Happytrips: Fully vaccinated Indians can now travel to Switzerland.

But not Uttarakhand.
LOL !

 

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Himachal Pradesh reports 76 cases of Delta variant of COVID-19
ANI | Updated: Jun 29, 2021 12:33 IST

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], June 29 (ANI): Himachal Pradesh has reported 76 cases of Delta variant of COVID-19, as per the data released by the State Health Department on Tuesday.
As per the data, out of the total cases, Dr Y S P Nahan reported 49, Dr RKGMC Hamirpur reports 2 cases, IGMC Shimla 1, SLBSGMC Nerchowk 4, Dr RPGMC Tanda 1, HBT Palampur 19.
The B.1.617.2 variant of COVID-19 is believed to have led to a devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, crippling healthcare infrastructure in the country and resulting in thousands of deaths every day.

The WHO earlier this month informed that the B.1.617 variant of COVID-19, first found in India in October last year, had been detected in sequences uploaded "from more than 40 countries in all six WHO regions".
The coronavirus variant, first identified in India last year, has been classified as a "variant of global concern", with some preliminary studies showing that it spreads more easily, a senior WHO official informed. It is the fourth variant to be designated as being of "global concern".
The WHO also revealed that the variant has three sub-lineages. "Our team has been discussing with our virus evolution group. Everything we know about it in terms of transferability, studies that are being done, in India as well as in other countries where this virus is circulating. It is important to note that B.1.617 has three sub-lineages- .1, .2, .3," Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical lead COVID-19 at WHO. (ANI)
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Himachal Pradesh reports 76 cases of Delta variant of COVID-19
 

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Superhero vaccine will give body-wide genetic upgrade, says Stanford scientist

'It is not only possible, but probable, that such a jab will become available in the next 10 to 15 years'


By
Max Channon
Ollie Buckley, SWNS
  • 13:42, 24 JUN 2021
  • UPDATED17:07, 24 JUN 2021

A groundbreaking "superhero" vaccination based on the DNA code of Olympic athletes could transform society within a decade, a top genetic scientist has claimed.

The jab would provide lifelong protection against three of the top ten leading causes of death, according to one of the world’s most cited experts.


The so-called “superhero” jab could offer simultaneous, long-term protection against heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease - as well as liver disease - thanks to advances in genetic engineering.

It will deliver the blueprint of ‘ideal’ cells from men and women whose genes are more disease-resistant than those of the average person, together with an ‘instruction manual’ to help the body “repair, tweak and improve” its own versions.

A single dose could lead to a “body-wide genetic upgrade” that would cut the risk of premature death in some adults by as much as 50 per cent.

The vaccine would be administered to those in serious clinical need before being rolled out— possibly on the NHS—to the wider population, potentially including to children, he added.


Clinical trials of individual components are expected to begin by 2026, and the combination vaccine to become available within 10 to 15 years.

If breakthroughs in genome research and technology continue to evolve at the same rapid pace, the vaccine could be widely available worldwide in just 10 years, according to Euan Ashley, Professor of Medicine and Genetics and the Associate Dean at Stanford University.

Professor Ashley, 49, is the founding director of Stanford’s Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and its Clinical Genomics Program.

He said: “Genomic medicine has been promised for decades, but thanks to advances in the field we are now reaching the stage where that promise is set to become reality, ushering in a bold new era of medical treatments.

“We will soon have the genetic engineering tools to repair, tweak and improve DNA associated with a host of life-limiting diseases, to make us all less prone to developing these illnesses across our lifetimes.

“This isn’t, of course, to say that we can make people live forever, and we can’t guarantee life expectancy will increase, but it is likely premature deaths could be avoided in many cases.



Professor Euan Ashley

Professor Euan Ashley (Image: Professor Euan Ashley / Palamede SWNS)


“Advances in DNA modification mean the number of people with ‘superhuman’ genes—those who are more disease resistant—is no longer science fiction but, in the coming years, absolute science fact.”

“Potentially millions of people could be impacted by this technology - a superhero jab, for want of a better description.

“This has the potential to greatly reduce the burden of diseases with a genetic component such as Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, coronary heart disease and associated conditions such as strokes, and vascular dementia.

“It is not only possible, but probable, that such a jab will become available in the next 10 to 15 years, with the benefits of that treatment becoming apparent within the next two to three decades.

“If we modelled on fatal heart attacks alone then the new treatment could lead to as much as a 50 per cent reduction in incidence.”

Traditional vaccines work by teaching the immune system to recognise a foe by delivering a dead or weakened pathogen into the body.

This triggers the immune system’s own guided missiles—antibodies—to seek out the pathogens and the foreign proteins they carry and destroy them.

But most genomic vaccines, including the slated “superhero” jab, work by delivering strings of genetic code to certain cells.

This code includes multiple versions of a ‘gene editor’, a tool like a word processor, which alters just one letter of DNA from a disease-prone version to a disease-resistant version.

To ensure that the gene editors reach the right organs safely and are not destroyed en-route by the body’s immune system, they are carried by inactivated targeting viruses or encased in lipid nanoparticles—tiny bubbles of fat—to the precise destination.

The lipid technique is used by Pfizer-BioNTech to package its Covid-19 vaccine.

Scientists liken gene editing to the ‘find and replace’ feature used to correct spelling mistakes in documents written on a computer.

Instead of rewriting words, gene editing rewrites corrupt DNA.


The technique is not new but remains relatively untested, at least in humans.

Professor Ashley said ongoing advances in the genome editing tool CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) will lead to “very significant” developments in the treatment of serious disease within the next decade.

They are already considered to be easier and cheaper to make at scale.

He said: “Gene editing is now coming of age, bringing with it the exciting possibility of preventing serious diseases in the population before they develop.

“Not everyone will be susceptible to these diseases but, for those who are, this will be a revolutionary new approach to preventing disease.

“There is still much to do, not least in terms of ensuring the medicine is safe, and nothing in genetic medicine is ever guaranteed, but as it now stands it looks likely that we may be able to avert a large number of heart attacks and strokes and perhaps many other diseases to keep people healthy and happy for longer.”


'Superhero vaccine will give body-wide genetic upgrade'
 
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