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Centre raises hopes of free COVID-19 vaccine, but benevolence can’t be at the cost of the economy

This article first appeared in the Firstpost.  COVID-19 has assaulted the health of people and economies. The impact on the economy has led to further stress on people’s livelihoods. This unprecedented threat to public health has not been constrained by measures taken by national and state governments. All humankind is...

All Things Policy: Is Herd Immunity a Viable Strategy for COVID-19?

A recent declaration from a group of experts calls for a different strategy to deal with COVID-19: one of achieving herd immunity while protecting the vulnerable. The majority of experts oppose this, pointing out that the idea is impractical and that there are no alternatives to robust public health measures....

Serosurveys point to inadequacies in India’s COVID-19 testing strategy

Over the past few months, a series of serosurveys for detecting the spread of COVID-19 have been carried out in India. The surveys are meant to identify the percentage of the Indian population with antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, as an indicator of how widespread COVID-19 is in the population. The Indian Council of Medical Research...

All Things Policy: Ethics in Clinical Trials

ICMR’s 2017 ethical guidelines need a revision, with more focus on fundamental principles that govern the moral decisions and on ethical dilemmas that arise while conducting clinical trials/biomedical and health research. Sowmya Nandan talks to Sunila Dixit and Shambhavi Naik about the evolution of ethical guidelines in India and about...

Takshashila Discussion Document – COVID-19 Testing Strategy for India

Executive Summary This document proposes “calibrated reopenings” as a means of restoring economic activities in India under the shadow of a Covid-19 outbreak. We suggest continuous ongoing testing in order to gauge the extent of an outbreak in a district. This can then be used to dynamically classify districts into...

All Things Policy: Celebrities and Vaccines, From the 19th Century to the Present

Can celebrities help build trust in a new vaccine? Shambhavi Naik and Anirudh Kanisetti talk to Aditya Ramanathan about the historical role celebrities have played in facilitating vaccinations in India since the early 1800s and why authorities could use platforms like the IPL to do so again. On the Mysorean...

WHO’s COVAX Vaccine Access Initiative Won’t Succeed Without India’s Help

by Ruturaj Gowaikar and Shambhavi Naik Despite multiple lockdowns, forms of treatment and therapies, and intermittently aggressive contact-tracing, countries around the world have failed to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus to the extent they had intended. A vaccine administered to 70-80% of the global population seems now to...

All Things Policy: Serosurveys and the True Picture of the Pandemic in India

India’s national and state/city level serosurveys have come up with concerning results. The disparity between the estimated number of cases based on seroprevalence and the actual number of cases reported is, in some cases, nearly 500 to 600 times off the mark, with serious implications on our knowledge of how...

All Things Policy: How Can We Vaccinate India?

Once a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 is available, who should get inoculated first? And how will India vaccinate at least 800 million of its citizens? Shambhavi Naik and Ameya Paleja discuss their new vaccine strategy with Anirudh Kanisetti.

COVID-19 vaccine deployment in India: Lessons we need to learn from the past

It appears that a vaccine(s) is the only way to stop COVID-19 and return the world to some semblance of normalcy. As the race inches to a close, everybody is waiting for their turn to get the vaccine and go meet their friends for a cup of coffee. However, there...
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