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#Breaking: Rife COVID-19 variants fuel Africa’s surging wave

Rife COVID-19 variants fuel Africa’s surging wave The third wave of COVID-19 in Africa Brazzaville, 1 July 2021 – As COVID-19 case numbers in Africa climb faster than all earlier peaks, new and faster spreading variants are fuelling the continent’s surging third wave. COVID-19 Cases have increased in Africa for six weeks Cases have increased in Africa for six weeks running and rose by 25% week-on-week to almost 202 000 in the week ending on June 27th, reaching nine-tenths of the continent’s previous record of 224 000 new cases. Deaths rose by 15% across 38 African countries to nearly 3000 in the same period. Delta variant is spreading in African countries With case numbers doubling in Africa every three weeks, the Delta variant is spreading to a growing number of countries. It has been reported in 16 countries, including nine with surging cases. It is the most contagious variant yet, an estimated 30%–60% more transmissible than other variants. It is in three of the five countries reporting the highest caseloads for the week ending 27 June. And it is dominant in South Africa, which accounted for more than half of Africa’s cases in the same period. According to the latest country reports, the Delta variant was detected in 97% of samples sequenced in Uganda and 79% of samples sequenced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The speed and scale of Africa’s third wave is like nothing we’ve seen before. The rampant spread of more contagious variants pushes the threat to Africa up to a whole new level. More transmission means more serious illness and more deaths, so everyone must act now and boost prevention measures to stop an emergency from becoming a tragedy,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. In Uganda, 66% of severe illness in people younger than 45 years is attributed to the Delta variant. With rising case numbers and hospitalizations across the continent, WHO estimates that oxygen demand in Africa is now 50% greater than for the first wave peak one year ago. The Alpha and Beta variants have been…

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IITR has now taken up three verticals against COVID-19

New Delhi, May 01 (Umashankar Mishra ): Testing is the key component in the fight against COVID-19. It helps to monitor and restrict the spread of this coronavirus. This is the reason why there is a constant emphasis on increasing the number of testing for COVID-19. Lucknow-based Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR) is now working on three verticals, out of five taken up by CSIR against the coronavirus, which includes a new COVID-19 testing facility being started from 2nd of May. CSIR has devised a five-pronged strategy in the fight against Covid-19. The five verticals to fight COVID-19 are Surveillance, Rapid and Cheap Diagnosis, Development of New Therapies (including Repurposing of Drugs and New Drugs), Hospital Assistive Devices and Supply Chain and Logistics. Among these verticals, CSIR-IITR  is participating in the three verticals, namely prevention, diagnostics and therapeutics. CSIR-IITR has distributed over 2500 litres of hand sanitizer to frontline workers involved in the fight against Corona at Lucknow, Varanasi and Raebarely. This initiative was accomplished with the Corporate Social Responsibility contributions of various corporates. In the second vertical, CSIR-IITR has set up state-of-the-art facility for COVID-19 testing as per national norms. A team of about 24 personnel will be participating in this exercise and have been imparted training by the Department of Microbiology, King George’s Medical University (KGMU) on issues related to biosafety and handling of samples.  In a meeting held with Suresh Khanna, Minister of Medical Education, and Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh,  Professor Alok Dhawan, Director, CSIR-IITR, apprised them of the Institute’s full preparedness for testing and assured support to the state to enhance the testing capacity for COVID-19. Principal Secretary, Medical Education, has informed that the samples will be sent to CSIR-IITR from 2nd of May. Initially, the institute shall be performing test on 50 samples per day as per the suggestion of KGMU, which will be ramped up in a week or so. Director General of CSIR and Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), as well as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, have given…