Even as the COVID-19 situation continues for more than a year, another virus has started wreaking havoc in India by causing bird flu. As birds- both domestic and wild- continue to drop dead across the country, states have started large scale culling operations in a bid to control its spread. The disease’s timing and its impact on the poultry sector has made it a very significant issue in the beginning of 2021.
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed our fragility, with health systems strained and social safety nets stretched to the limit. The economic downturn caused by the global pandemic may drive more people to substance abuse or leave them vulnerable to involvement in drug trafficking and related crime. According to the World Drug Report, 2020 published by UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently, about 269 million people used drugs in 2018, which was 30% more than the 2009 figure, with adolescents and young adults accounting for the largest share of users and also, it has highlighted the possible consequences of COVID-19 on the production, supply and consumption of illicit drugs. An Annual Action Plan for 2020-21 called Nasha Mukt Bharat was e-launched for the 272 Most Affected Districts by Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment on the occasion of “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”.
With the drastic spread of the Novel Corona Virus, Covid-19 originated from the city of Wuhan of China, Countries started declaring National Emergency and complete lockdown. Almost all sectors of the economy got severely affected by this, in which the most prominent sectors are Tourism and Hospitality sector. The tourism sector of a country generates foreign exchange, drives regional development, and directly supports various businesses and numerous types of jobs such as catering, tourist operators etc. The Hospitality Industry in itself is very vast and includes lodging, food and drink services, event planning, transportations and even theme parks, so the employment capacity is also quite high in this sector. According to the latest UN report, Global tourism which accounts for the 10% of total global GDP lost USD 320 billion in 5 months and more than 120 million jobs at risk due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The impact of the novel coronavirus on India’s tourism and hospitality sector jobs is nothing short of severe.
As Companies race to bring out a vaccine against the Covid-19, Experts are divided on whether the challenge model for vaccine trials should be put to use in the current pandemic. Many people have volunteered to take part in the Human Challenge Trials (HCTs) which involves intentionally infecting volunteers with the novel Coronavirus, in order to speed up the vaccination development. Initiatives like 1DaySooner have seen massive registration of people in many countries who had signed up for such trials voluntarily. Clinical trials are essential to test the safety and efficacy of new treatments in any population. Advocates of HCT believe that such trials could save valuable time in developing vaccines like a Covid-19 vaccine, as researchers would not have to wait for participants to contract the infection under real-world conditions. A paper in The Journal of Infectious Diseases has proposed replacing Phase 3 with human challenge trials which may subtract many months from the licensure process, making efficacious vaccines available more quickly. However, human challenge studies are ethically sensitive and raise several controversial and unresolved issues in research ethics.
In India, 5.41 per cent of the total population and 17.37% of the urban population live in slums. Containing disease outbreaks in overcrowded slums, which are inhabited by economically vulnerable population, is highly difficult. Yet, Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, has succeeded in curbing the COVID-19 spread through a series of innovative measures despite the challenges, making it one of the success stories of COVID-19 containment.
UK government is currently facing criticism for implementing “targeted herd immunity” during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. This strategy involves allowing people to be infected so that they can gain immunity. The government was forced to abandon this controversial strategy after seeing an increase in pressure on the country’s healthcare system. Now, the death toll has surpassed 30,000 due to COVID-19 in the UK. The World Health Organisation has warned that herd immunity strategy is experimental at best and dangerous at worst. Yet, some experts in India are also considering this strategy as a way to reduce the problems faced by the economy, which is suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rudolf Virchow, the father of pathology, had once said, “Between animal and human medicine, there are no dividing lines – nor should there be”. This holds true especially in recent years with the increase in the instances of epidemic outbreaks due to zoonoses. This calls for the use of One Health approach, a paradigm shift in the human and animal health along with the conservation of biodiversity to ensure prevention and mitigation of pandemics like that of COVID-19.
Response to the COVID-19 pandemic needed an all-around approach. Propagating credible information which is easily available is of critical importance in the times of crisis and confusion. Especially, the novelty of Coronavirus made proper information management important as it was new and for a long time, there was an air of confusion regarding its nature, spread, and response. In an attempt to manage information tracking and propagation, Government of India launched Aarogya Setu App.
Recently, a private hospital in Delhi became the first hospital in India to use convalescent plasma therapy to treat two …