The writer is CEO of The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, New Delhi.
Over the past week, significant new research has been published on the variants of the novel coronavirus that have emerged in several countries. Two of India's most eminent virologists, who have been explaining a range of issues around the virus and vaccine in The Indian Express, summarise the new findings and evaluate the concerns they raise.
Covid-19 vaccine: Five days into India's mass vaccination programme, there are some concerns over vaccine hesitancy. At this crucial moment in the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic, two of the country’s most eminent vaccine scientists weigh in on some old and new questions.
Fast-spreading UK-type variants of SARS-CoV-2 could also develop independently in India. Ignorance cannot be bliss. One basic element of disease surveillance is adequate coverage and density to catch events before they spread widely. Much more genome sequencing is critical.
High levels of safety and efficacy in a large and diverse volunteer population are still based on short-term analyses, without having gone through either a longer follow-up or the scrutiny of peer review.
With multiple cities in China under a public health lockdown, global supply chains of various essential products and consumer goods are likely to be affected. This should be particularly worrisome for India, which has a roughly $93 billion total trade and about $57 billion trade imbalance with China.
Media has been wanting in building public interest in science.
Independence without adequate funds, leadership will not help universities flourish