The Daily Dose: Scientists call for the release of more COVID-19 data in India.

Data is one of the best ways of understanding and combating a pandemic. this is why more and more scientists are calling on the Indian Prime Minister to release data regarding the covid-19 pandemic in the country. according to the Associated Press, “Indian scientists appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to publicly release virus data that would allow them to save lives as coronavirus cases climbed again Friday, prompting the army to open its hospitals in a desperate bid to control a massive humanitarian crisis. With 386,452 new cases, India now has reported more than 18.7 million since the pandemic began, second only to the United States. The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 3,498 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 208,330. Experts believe both figures are an undercount, but it’s unclear by how much.” it will be interesting to see whether the Prime Minister, who has been accused of mismanaging the pandemic in India, listens to his critics.

 the World Health Organization is set to rule on whether to Chinese vaccines can be widely distributed under its program. affordable vaccines, such as the ones made in China, are important in  The global response to the covid-19 pandemic.  However, questions still remain about the vaccine’s effectiveness. According to Nature, “Researchers want more data on how well they protect older people, children, pregnant women and immunocompromised groups. They also want to know what types of immune response the jabs trigger, how long protection lasts and how well they work against emerging variants.”  These questions have been lingering for some time now.

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 It is believed that a so-called double mutant variant has been responsible for the alarming spread of covid-19 in India. An article in the scientist reviews what is currently known about it. “B.1.617 is now the dominant variant in India’s hardest-hit state, Maharashtra, according to Nature. In its most recent epidemiological update, released April 27, the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that multiple other variants are also circulating in the country, and that ‘Preliminary modelling by WHO based on sequences submitted to GISAID suggest that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, suggesting potential increased transmissibility.’ It has also been found in at least 16 other countries, the organization notes. WHO still lists B.1.617 as a ‘variant of interest’ rather than a ‘variant of concern,’ because its effects on epidemiology or vaccine effectiveness, if any, are uncertain.” if the covid-19 pandemic has exposed anything, it’s the World Health organization’s inability to pivot quickly.

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

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