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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...

Is India really closer to achieving sanitation goals?

This article was first published in Deccan Herald. Views are personal. While the whole world is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is another public health issue which needs to be addressed with equal rigour and that is of sanitation. The WHO, in collaboration with UNICEF, released a report in...

Tracking the COVID-19 Vaccine # 2

A lot has changed since the last blog post. Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have declared preliminary results for their ongoing Phase III trials while the UK has rushed to grant approval to the Pfizer vaccine and aims to begin vaccinations by next week. The Union Health Minister was quick to...

Intelligence agencies must track ecological threats and epidemics

After news of an unusual ‘pneumonia’ outbreak was confirmed on 31 December 2019, the Taiwanese government immediately initiated control measures that ensured that the island nation remained relatively unscathed by the covid-19 pandemic. The country of 24 million has suffered a mere 686 cases to date. Public accounts describe Taiwanese...

World AIDS Day 2020: Despite ambitious global targets, India’s progress in AIDS control falls short in a few crucial aspects

This article originally appeared in Firstpost. Since the inception of the National AIDS Control Program in 1992, India has done a commendable job of raising awareness and of bringing down the number of HIV infections. Still, India has a long way to go in terms of achieving her set targets. Today, on...

Takshashila Discussion Document — A COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Strategy for India

Download the Discussion Document in PDF by Shambhavi Naik, Ameya Paleja, Mihir Mahajan, Narayan Ramachandran, Sunila Dixit, Rahul Matthan, Nitin Pai and Pranay Kotasthane Deploying COVID-19 vaccines once they are available is going to be an unprecedented administrative and logistical challenge. This paper proposes a plan to vaccinate 80% of...

Considerations underlying Prioritisation of COVID-19 vaccine recipients

The scale and rampant spread of COVID-19 has generated a huge challenge for the world. While vaccine candidates are racing through the trial process, countries are gearing up to administer the early vaccines to their populace. It is obvious that initially no country will have enough vaccine supply to vaccinate everyone....
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