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Pfizer, Moderna effective against new Covid variant in India: Study

The new research has found that Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines should be highly effective against two coronavirus variants first identified in India, said the US scientists.

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Pfizer corona vaccine

The new research has found that Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines should be highly effective against two coronavirus variants first identified in India, said the US scientists.

NYU Grossman School of Medicine and NYU Langone Center, conducted the lab-base study, which is considered preliminary since it has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

According to the senior author Nathaneil Ned Landau, the vaccine’s antibodies are a little bit weaker against the new variants, but not enough that it will affect the protective ability of the vaccines, he said.

The study was performed on people who were vaccinated with either of the two shots of Pfizer and Moderna. The researchers took blood samples from these people and exposed them in a lab to engineered pseudovirus particles that contained mutations in the spike region of the coronavirus, which were particular to either the B.1.617 or B.1.618 found in India.

The mixture was then exposed to lab-grown cells, to find out how many could become infected. In order to know how many cells are infected, the engineered pseudovirus particles contained an enzyme called luciferase which helps to know based on light measurements.

The results showed that for B.1.617, there is almost four-fold reduction in the amount of neutralising antibodies-Y shaped proteins the immune system creates to stop pathogens from invading cells. For B.1.618, the reduction was found to be three-fold.

Some of the antibodies don’t work anymore against the variants, but you still have a lot of antibodies that do work against the variants. There is enough work that we believe that the vaccines will be highly protective,  said Landau, adding that this kind of lab investigation cannot predict what the real world efficacy might look like. 

Landau’s team showed the India-dominant Covid variants were able to bind more tightly to the receptor called ACE2, like other variants of concern. This might be linked to its increased transmissibility compared to the original strain. The recent lab-based results lend confidence that current vaccines will provide protection against variants identified to date, the team concluded.

Read Also: India lost 50 doctors in a day due to Covid second wave, IMA claims over 200 doctors death

However, the they do not preclude the possibility that newer variants that are more resistant to vaccines will emerge. In addition, they highlighted the importance of widespread vaccination at the global level.

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Enforcement Directorate says Arvind Kejriwal is deliberately eating mangoes, sweets, taking sugar with tea to increase his blood sugar level and create ground for bail

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made the claim before special judge for ED and CBI cases, Kaveri Baweja, who gave directions to the Tihar jail authorities to file a report in the matter which should also include Kejriwal’s diet chart.

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The Enforcement Directorate told the court on Thursday that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, arrested in liquor policy case, is taking high sugar intake like mangoes and sweets every day deliberately in spite of suffering from type 2 diabetes so that he can create grounds for medical bail. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) made the claim before special judge for ED and CBI cases, Kaveri Baweja, who gave directions to the Tihar jail authorities to file a report in the matter which should also include Kejriwal’s diet chart.

Kejriwal had moved court and also sought permission to consult his regular doctor via video conference because his sugar levels were fluctuating. The judge directed the authorities concerned to file the report by tomorrow, when the court will take up the matter again.

 Advocate Vivek Jain, counsel for Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal responded to the ED’s argument and said this is an issue made by Enforcement Directorate so that home-cooked food should also be stopped. He said this would have a major impact on his health. Advocate Jain added that whatever Kejriwal is eating is as per his doctors prescribed dietary chart. He said the matter is sub judice and they do not have anything to say.

Advocate Vivek Jain objected to the Enforcement Directorate’s submission and said that the agency is making these allegations only for the media. He said that some toffee and other things are given to diabetic patients so that they can maintain their sugar levels. Jain added that Kejriwal is withdrawing his application and will file a better one later.

AAP minister Atishi Marlena said that Arvind Kejriwal had fallen ill and lost about 4.5 kg since his arrest on March 21. She addressed a press conference where the AAP leader said, Arvind Kejriwal is a severe diabetes patient but he never lets his health issue come as the way of his in the service to the nation.

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Enforcement Directorate seizes Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra’s properties worth Rs 97 crore

The Enforcement Directorate said in a statement that the Mumbai zonal office of ED has provisionally attached immovable and movable properties of Kundra under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

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The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday seized businessman Raj Kundra’s properties worth Rs 97.79 crore. The siezed properties include a residential flat in Mumbai’s Juhu, which is named after his wife and Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty.  The Enforcement Directorate said the seized properties include another property which is a residential bungalow in Pune and Equity shares in the name of Raj Kundra.

The Enforcement Directorate said in a statement that the Mumbai zonal office of ED has provisionally attached immovable and movable properties of Kundra under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. The Enforcement Directorate began the investigation on the basis of a number of FIRs which were registered by Delhi Police and Maharashtra Police. It is being said that Kundra collected large sums of money in the form of bitcoins which were worth Rs 6,600 crore in 2017 from the public with the false promises of 10 % monthly return in the form of bitcoins.

The ED said that it was planned that the collected bitcoins will be used for bitcoin mining and investors will get to get a large return in Crypto assets. But the promoters cheated the investors as they concealed the ill-gotten bitcoins in obscure online wallets. The Enforcement Directorate revealed in its investigation that Raj Kundra received 285 bitcoins from the mastermind and promoter of Gain Bitcoin Ponzi Scam Amit Bhardwaj for setting up bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine.

The Enforcement Directorate in its statement said that the bitcoins were sourced out of proceeds of crime collected by Amit Bhardwaj from gullible investors. Since the deal did not go through, so Kundra is still in possession and enjoyment of 285 bitcoins which are valued at more than Rs 150 crore. Earlier a number of search operations were conducted in connection with this case, leading to the arrest of three people — Simpy Bhardwaj on December 17, 2023, Nitin Gaur on December 29, 2023, and Nikhil Mahajan on January 16, 2023.

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Religious outfit vandalises The Blessed Mother Teresa High School in Telangana after teachers object to students wearing Hanuman Deeksha dress

The Religious group broke glass windows and flower pots and pelted stones on the statue of St. Mother Teresa at the school’s entrance. The religious outfit also attacked Father Jaimon Joseph, the school manager.

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A religious group shouting Jai Shri Ram has vandalised a Catholic school and assaulted a priest in Telangana’s Mancherial district on Tuesday. The saffron mob staged protest and vandalised The Blessed Mother Teresa High School in Kannepally village. They broke glass windows and flower pots and pelted stones on the statue of St. Mother Teresa at the school’s entrance. The religious outfit also attacked Father Jaimon Joseph, the school manager.

The priest who is a member of the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS) said some of members of the mob even slapped and threw punches at him while others attacked him from behind. The religious outfit accused the school management of not allowing Hindu students to wear their religious costumes. The school authorities said the allegation made by the mob is misleading and has no truth in it.

Earlier, the students who wore religious costumes had informed the school principal that it was part of a 21-day special religious practice. The principal said he had only asked the students to bring their parents to school after noticing that they are not wearing the school uniform.

Later, members of the religious outfit started protesting outside the school. They demanded action should be taken against the management for stopping the students from entering the school and appearing for their annual examinations as they were wearing the Hanuman deeksha dress.

The priest said soon after the video started circulating on social media and became viral with hate messages against Christians. After this incident many Hindus reached the school and vandalized it. A complaint has been lodged at the local police station by the school management, but no arrests have been made so far. Instead of taking action against the miscreants, the police have filed a case against the school management for hurting religious sentiments of the local people.

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