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Takshashila Policy Advisory — Managed Reopening After Lockdown: Recommendations for State Governments

Download the Policy Advisory Executive Summary To prudently resume social and economic activity in accordance with outbreak risks, healthcare capacity, and vaccination progress, we recommend that State governments: Designate Gram Panchayats/Wards or groups of Gram Panchayats/Wards as Public Health Management Units (PHMUs) and apply restrictions at this level. Follow an...

The banal geopolitical fallout of the laboratory leak hypothesis

On 11 September 2001, the US suffered four coordinated terrorist attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives, injured over 25,000 people and caused at least $10 billion in property damage. Within hours, the US National Security Agency had intercepted phone calls that led them to suspect Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda of...

Preparing for the waves

Just over a hundred years ago, the Spanish Flu pandemic devastated many parts of the world. An estimated 100 million people died; India accounted for 15-18 million of them. It was the second wave that was deadly. So far, the official death toll in India due to Covid-19 is over...

Don’t ignore our young healthcare workers

Medical interns and postgraduates have traditionally occupied the lowest rungs in the hierarchy of training. From an academic standpoint, this seems fair and in congruence with any professional training pathway. Unfortunately, decades of exploitation of this structure have resulted in a system that is indifferent at best and malignant at...

Focus on getting on most of India vaccinated as quickly as possible

Let’s say a Mr Melon Rusk, one of the world’s richest billionaires, approaches the Indian government and makes an offer to deliver 2 billion doses of a covid vaccine within 2 months for ₹2 trillion. At ₹1,000 per dose, Mr Rusk’s price is at least three times that of domestic...

Blaming the government’s pandemic response? Do it for the right reasons

The Union government has received a lot of flak over its management of the pandemic response, and deservedly so. But I want to look at three incorrect — or at least problematic — frames being used to blame the government’s pandemic response, inadequate and confused as it already is. The...

Can India lead global health diplomacy?

The conventional forum of global diplomacy tends to be dominated by the issues of trade and security. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the light the importance of health diplomacy. Health security cannot be limited to the engagement at national level. Today, global level engagement is needed more than...

Why India will not see a big second wave of Covid-19

There will not be a significant second wave of Covid-19 in India. Last August, using a Cynically Optimistic Back Of The Envelope, or COBOTE, calculation, I estimated that Covid-19 will end its epidemic phase in India by January 2021. Karthik Shashidhar, my collaborator, used the curve-fitting technique to predict that...

DCGI’s Covaxin ‘approval’ is political jumla. It reinforces idea of Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat

Other than to the highly credulous, it is pretty obvious that the Drugs Controller General of India’s ‘approval’ for Bharat Biotech’s indigenous vaccine candidate, Covaxin, was announced for extra-scientific reasons. It has neither completed Phase 3 clinical trials, nor has the safety and efficacy data been published. In fact, the...

Testing and Tracing: Case for a Relook

The Drug Controller General of India has given emergency approvals to vaccine candidates being manufactured in India. The Government of India is also keen on a nationwide rollout through a mass vaccination campaign.  While the focus should be on ensuring an effective and equitable strategy for vaccine deployment, India must...
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