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Covid Virus To Stay With Us For Next 10 Years: BioNTech CEO - OdishaTV
Amid the origin of newer and potentially lethal strains, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin has said that the deadly virus is going to stay with us for the next decade at least.
London: As the world grapples with the pandemic amid the origin of newer and potentially lethal strains, BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin has said that the deadly virus is going to stay with us for the next decade at least. In a virtual press conference this week, Sahin spoke about the potential virus deadline when asked when life could return to normal. “We need a new definition of normal. The virus will stay with us for the next 10 years,” he told mediapersons. BioNTech’s vaccine, developed with the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, has been authorised for use in more than 45 countries, including Britain and the US. Sahin also said that the vaccine can be adjusted for the new UK variant in about six weeks. “In principle, the beauty of the messenger technology is that we can directly start to engineer a vaccine which completely mimics this new mutation – we could be able to provide a new vaccine technically within six weeks,” he was quoted as saying in media reports. Sahin said he was confident that the new variant of the Covid-19 strain in the UK would not impact the efficacy of the vaccine. The new strain of Covid is causing worry all around the world including in India, and it remains to be seen what effect it could have. After the discovery of a second new variant of the novel coronavirus in Britain, the UK has reported the highest number of Covid-19 fatalities this week, since late April. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the second new variant was reportedly related to travellers from South Africa, and two cases have been reported so far. “This new variant is highly concerning because it is yet more transmissible and it appears to have mutated further than the new variant that has been discovered in the UK,” he said this week. On December 19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced the discovery of a first mutant Covid-19 strain which is said to be about 70 per cent more transmissible. As a result, Johnson imposed Tier Four restrictions om London and other parts of England. (With IANS Inputs)
Indian-American Astronaut Raja Chari To Lead SpaceX Mission To ISS - OdishaTV
NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) have selected three astronauts, including Indian-American Raja Chari, to serve as crew members for SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which is expected to launch in the autumn of 2021.
Washington: NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) have selected three astronauts, including Indian-American Raja Chari, to serve as crew members for SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station (ISS), which is expected to launch in the autumn of 2021. Raja Chari will serve as commander while NASA’s Tom Marshburn will be pilot and ESA’s Matthias Maurer will serve as a mission specialist, NASA said on Monday. A fourth crew member will be added at a later date, following a review by NASA and its international partners. This will be the first spaceflight for Raja Chari, who became a NASA astronaut in 2017. He is a colonel in the US Air Force and joins the mission with extensive experience as a test pilot. He has accumulated more than 2,500 hours of flight time in his career. Chari was among the 18 astronauts selected last week to form the Artemis Team and help pave the way for the next lunar missions, including sending the first woman and next man to walk on the lunar surface in 2024. His father Sreenivas V. Chari immigrated from Hyderabad. Marshburn is a Statesville, North Carolina, native who became an astronaut in 2004. Prior to serving in the astronaut corps, the medical doctor served as flight surgeon at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and later became medical operations lead for the International Space Station. The Crew-3 mission will be his third visit to the space station and his second long-duration mission. Marshburn previously served as a crew member of STS-127 in 2009 and Expedition 34/35, which concluded in 2013. Maurer comes from Sankt Wendel, in the German state of Saarland. Like Chari, Maurer will be making his first trip to space with the Crew-3 mission. When Chari, Marshburn, and Maurer arrive at the orbiting laboratory, they will become expedition crew members for the duration of their six-month stay. This will be the third crew rotation mission of SpaceX’s human space transportation system and its fourth flight with astronauts, including the Demo-2 test flight, to the space station through NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. (With IANS Inputs)
Researchers Discover Galaxy Surviving A Black Hole’s ‘Hunger’ - OdishaTV
Researchers have discovered a galaxy that has been managing to survive a black hole's hunger by continuing to birth new stars.
Washington: Researchers have discovered a galaxy that has been managing to survive a black hole’s hunger by continuing to birth new stars, about 100 Sun-sized stars a year. The discovery from NASA’s telescope on an airplane, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), can help explain how massive galaxies came to be, even though the universe today is dominated by galaxies that no longer form stars, according to the study published in the Astrophysical Journal. “This shows us that the growth of active black holes doesn’t stop star birth instantaneously, which goes against all the current scientific predictions,” said study co-author Allison Kirkpatrick, Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, US. “It’s causing us to re-think our theories on how galaxies evolve.” said Kirkpatrick. SOFIA, a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center, DLR, studied an extremely distant galaxy, located more than 5.25 billion light years away called CQ4479. At its core is a special type of quasar that was recently discovered by Kirkpatrick called a “cold quasar.” In this kind of quasar, the active black hole is still feasting on material from its host galaxy, but the quasar’s intense energy has not ravaged all of the cold gas, so stars can keep forming and the galaxy lives on. This is the first time researchers have a detailed look at a cold quasar, directly measuring the black hole’s growth, star birth rate, and how much cold gas remains to fuel the galaxy. “We were surprised to see another oddball galaxy that defies current theories,” said Kevin Cooke, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, and lead author of this study. “If this tandem growth continues both the black hole and the stars surrounding it would triple in mass before the galaxy reaches the end of its life.” As one of the brightest and most distant objects in the universe, quasars, or “quasi-stellar radio sources,” are notoriously difficult to observe because they often outshine everything around them. They form when an especially active black hole consumes huge amounts of material from its surrounding galaxy, creating strong gravitational forces. (With IANS Inputs)
COVID-19 Battle: Govt Announces Package To Ramp Up Health Infra - OdishaTV
The government has announced a financial package of Rs 15,000 crore to ramp up the overall health infrastructure for tackling coronavirus pandemic. The package will be utilised for COVID-19 battle.
New Delhi: The government on Thursday announced a financial package of Rs 15,000 crore to ramp up the overall healthcare infrastructure in tackling the coronavirus pandemic that has infected nearly 6,500 people and has left at least 196 dead in the country. The government said an amount of Rs 7,774 crore out of the package will be utilised for COVID-19 battle with immediate response to the pandemic while rest of it will be spent in the medium-term (1-4 years) under mission mode approach. The health ministry, in a statement, said key objectives of the package include mounting emergency response to slow and limit the growth of COVID-19 through the development of diagnostics and dedicated treatment facilities. The announcement of the financial package came as several states are reeling under mounting pressure to provide healthcare support to rising number of people infected by the virus. Read:Lockdown Cannot Be Lifted In One Go: PM Modi Separately, a Group of Ministers (GoM) chaired by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan carried out a comprehensive review of the overall containment as well as management of COVID-19 in the country. The GoM also deliberated on social distancing measures as well as strategy to check spread of the infection. “The GoM was informed that all districts have been asked to prepare and strengthen their contingency plans to combat COVID-19,” the health ministry said. It said the several other measures including ways to boost healthcare infrastructure and devoting adequate resources to the states to create dedicated hospitals to treat coronavirus patients were discussed. The amount of Rs 15,000 crore has been sanctioned under ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’. The funds will also be utilised for centralised procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients as well as to build resilient national and state health systems to effectively deal with future disease outbreaks. In his address to the nation on March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “The central government has provisioned Rs 15,000 crore for treating coronavirus patients and strengthening the medical infrastructure of the country.” A PTI tally of numbers reported by various states and union territories at 6.30 PM showed as many as 6,475 people having contracted the virus and at least 196 losing their lives so far. Nearly 600 have so far been cured and discharged. However, the Union Health Ministry‘s evening update said at least 169 people have died across the country with 5,865 total cases so far. The ministry said 591 new cases and 20 deaths have been reported since Wednesday. The ministry said the funds will also be used for setting up of laboratories as well as in pandemic research besides proactively engaging communities and conduct risk communication activities. “These interventions and initiatives would be implemented under the overall umbrella of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” it said. The ministry said major share of the expenditure will be used for mounting a robust emergency response system and strengthening national and state health systems followed by strengthening pandemic research and multi-sectoral institutions. Also Read:Fighting Coronavirus: Nirmala Sitharaman Announces Rs 1.7 Lakh Crore Relief Package “The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is authorised to re-appropriate resources among components of the package and among the various implementation agencies as per the evolving emergent situation,” it said. As on date, a total of 223 labs comprising a network of 157 government and 66 private laboratories are conducting rigorous screening process of the suspected cases. The ministry said Rs 4,113 crore has already been disbursed to all the states and union territories to help them deal with COVID-19 cases. (With Agency Inputs)