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Bill Gates Applauds Indian PM Narendra Modi’s War On Coronavirus

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In a letter written by the billionaire, philanthropist, and co-founder of the software giant Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates has admired the leadership, efforts, and effective utilization of technology of the Indian PM Narendra Modi to flatten the curve of coronavirus cases in India.

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Government sources on Wednesday said that the letter by Bill Gates hailed the measures taken by the Indian PM and said that “we commend your leadership and the proactive measures you and your government have taken to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 infection rate in India, such as adopting a national lockdown, expanding focused testing to identify hot spots for isolation, quarantining, and care, and significantly increasing health expenditures to strengthen the health system response and promote R&D and digital innovation.”

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“I’m glad your government is fully utilizing its exceptional digital capabilities in its COVID-19 response and has launched the Aarogya Setu digital app for coronavirus tracking, contact tracing, and to connect people to health services,” expressed the founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to praise the efforts of the Indian PM to make effective use of technology in the severe times of a pandemic.

The foundation has worked aggressively in India to eradicate polio and to provide other health, sanitation, and financial services for the poor with its extensive programs. The Indian PM was also awarded the ‘Goalkeepers Global Goals Award’ in 2019 by Bill Gates on his ‘Swachh Bharat program’.

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Being the second-largest donor to WHO after The United States, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently announced an extra $150 million of funding above the $100 million pledged earlier to WHO after the US President, Donald Trump blocked the country’s funding to the organization, accusing it of being too “China-centric” in its response to the novel coronavirus.

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Coronavirus In Tibet: Limited Impact Of COVID-19 In High Altitude Regions Like Tibet?

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Scientists are now investigating the link between COVID-19 and high altitude regions like Tibet after a study published in the journal Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology suggested that there is a decrease in prevalence and impact of COVID-19 in populations living at higher altitudes. 

The study takes into consideration the COVID-19 cases in Tibet and high-altitude regions of Bolivia and Ecuador in comparison to the low lying regions. It suggested that the population in Bolivia, Ecuador and Tibet living above 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) reported significantly lower levels of confirmed infections than their lowland counterparts.

In the plateau region of Tibet, Qinghai and part of Sichuan, with a population of 9 million, there are only 134 confirmed cases which are drastically low in comparison to the number of cases in rest of China.

Ecuador is one of the worst-hit countries by COVID-19 in South America with more than 40,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths. The centre of the virus is the Pacific port of Guayaquil. There are fewer infected cases in the capital Quito, which is about the same size but is 2,800 metres above sea level.

Similarly, Bolivia has over 10,000 positive cases with over 300 deaths. The cases are concentrated in Santa Cruz which is 400 metres above sea level. It is home to about 15% of the population of the country but accounts for two-thirds of the virus cases. Whereas, in La Paz and its surrounding area, which is a highland area in Bolivia, has about 500 positive cases.

The reason explored by the study includes environmental factors including dry mountain air, high levels of UV radiation and the possibility that lower atmospheric pressure reduces the virus’s ability to linger in the air.

“The reason for decreased severity of the global COVID-19 outbreak at high altitude could relate to both environmental and physiological factors,” states the study.

“At sea-level, when people get coronavirus and their lungs get destroyed, it is as if they are climbing Mount Everest in just a couple of days, without oxygen,” said Gustavo Zubieta-Calleja, one of the authors of the study published in the journal Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology. But “the low rate of infection in Bolivia’s high-altitude population is remarkable and clearly does not follow the often exponential infection rates reported in many countries”, concluded the scientists.

However, experts have questioned these factors. “The virus likes people. It doesn’t care about altitude,” says Peter Chin-Hong, who studies infectious diseases at the University of California at San Francisco. “But we’re still learning so much about this disease, and this does provide us with some good clues to try and understand its progression,” he added.

According to Clayton Cowl, a pulmonologist at the Mayo Clinic and a former president of the American College of Chest Physicians, that the trend might be related to acclimatization, the body’s ability to adjust temporarily to altitude, than to DNA.

Just three populations in the world have been found to have genetic adaptations to altitude: Himalayans, Ethiopian highlanders and Andeans. This is why the coronavirus is exploding on Peru’s Pacific coast, particularly Lima, where most residents descend from Andean ancestors, while the country’s mountain communities are thus far not greatly affected by the virus.

Andrew Luks, professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said that while the proposed link was “intriguing”, it “by no means establishes that high-altitude residence or high-altitude locations are protective against coronavirus”.

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Pakistan Seeks Bangladesh’s Help With COVID-19; Signs Pact For Importing Medicines

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With growing cases of COVID-19, Pakistan has signed a pact Bangladeshi firm to supply a generic version of remdesivir — a broad-spectrum antiviral medication that has shown to lessen the recovery time in coronavirus patients, reports the Dawn.

The drug – remdesivir, has been permitted emergency use authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and authorities in Japan and the UK to treat patients with severe signs of COVID-19.

According to a statement released by Searle Company Limited, Pakistan, the company has signed an exclusive pact with Beximco Pharmaceuticals, Bangladesh.

It’s the first firm in the world to introduce the generic variant of the drug. Our pact will provide an instant supply of the drug at an economical rate and will assist the medics to treat COVID-19 patients without any delay, said Mohammad Sajid, officials ar Searle.

Remdesivir is a direct-acting viral drug that represses viral RNA (Ribonucleic acid) synthesis. It is administrated intravenously and is approved for the treatment of hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 infection – the Dawn report says.

Searle, Sajid said, was aggressively taking the matter with the government officials of Pakistan for required approvals and was positive that in the current pandemic, the authorities would treat this matter on an urgent basis to support the drug availability.

The report acknowledges that Bangladesh has made extraordinary progress in the pharmaceutical sector in recent years. Some Bangladesh-based pharmaceutical corporations, they said, were approved by the FDA and exported their products to the US.

Remdesivir is presently undergoing clinical trials around the world. Early research indicated it can cut recovery time by about four days, but so far there has been no concrete proof that it will save more lives.

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Donald Trump Suspends Ties With WHO; Slams China For COVID-19, Hong Kong

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US President Trump has announced that he is immediately suspending American membership from the World Health Organization over its response to China’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

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In a press briefing at the White House, Donald Trump said, “We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs.”

The US President said the decision end ties with WHO was because they “failed to make” reformations. Last week, Trump sent a letter to WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressing his views on how the WHO favours Beijing and urged the health body to “commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”

The U.S. is WHOs biggest contributor, providing around $450 million a year, according to Trump. The level of financing the U.S. provides to WHO has been pinching Trump, who growled at the press briefing that the U.S. pays significantly more than China, but it is Beijing that benefits at WHO (with roughly about $40 million funding to the organization).

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1262577580718395393

On Hong Kong, Trump said, “China claims it is protecting national security… Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing’s decision reverses all of that.

The US President also said he will also initiate a ban on Chinese researchers studying in the US who are recognised as possible security risks. “For years, China has conducted elicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which there are many. Today I will issue a proclamation to better secure our nation’s vital university research…,” he said.

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