Wuhan Coronavirus Thread

Is coronavirus a biological warfare agent released by China?

  • yes

    Votes: 137 90.1%
  • no

    Votes: 15 9.9%

  • Total voters
    152

sorcerer

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Russia Covid Deaths: Russia posts record virus deaths for fourth straight day | World News - Times of India

MOSCOW: Russia on Friday reported a high for coronavirus deaths for a fourth day running as infections continue to surge.
A government tally reported 887 fatalities over the past 24 hours. Over the same period there were 24,522 new cases -- the highest total since late July.
The new figure brings the country's total deaths from Covid-19 to 208,142 -- the highest in Europe.
The world's fifth worst-hit country with more than 7.5 million infections, Russia has seen cases climb since August as vaccinations stalled.

 

sorcerer

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covishield: 'I got Covishield from India': President of the 76th UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid | India News - Times of India
PTI / Oct 2, 2021, 12:45 IST

4 minutes


UNITED NATIONS: President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid has said he had received the two doses of the Covishield vaccine manufactured in India, as have a “large portion” of other countries around the world.
The Covishield vaccine, which has been developed by British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, is manufactured in India by Pune-based Serum Institute of India.


 

sorcerer

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India’s Cumulative COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage crosses the landmark of 90 Cr

More than 73.76 Lakh doses administered in the last 24 hours

Recovery Rate currently at 97.87%; Highest since March 2020

22,842 New Cases reported in the last 24 hours

India's Active Caseload (2,70,557) is 0.80% of Total Cases

Weekly Positivity Rate (1.66%) less than 3% for last 100 days



Posted On: 03 OCT 2021 9:25AM by PIB Delhi
 

sajobajo

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Some positive press for Molnupiravir.


Hope we start producing it in copious amounts ASAP. Believe there were 5 companies in talks with MERCK about producing it.
 

sajobajo

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Had a candid discussion with a North American ex-colleague of mine. His inlaws are resolute anti-vaxxers, but only for COVID. They seem to have taken many other vaccines without any issues. But not for making a political statement, but because they dont trust the Moderna/Pfizer shots due to their mRNA mechanism. They firmly believe both have got something to do with altering (atleast temporarily) a person's DNA. They and many like them called these big pharma vaccines as "poison". J&J didnt fly and seems to be mostly a stillborn.
Enter COVAXIN and its enormous potential in such a market. Even for boosters for people who already had 1 round of mRNA but now dont trust them due to breakthroughs. No wonder WHO is blocking it. Aap chronology samjhiye.
Sinopharm is also a similar option, but count on the current batch of anti vaxxers to trust them even less than mRNA.
 

doreamon

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Imagine a country that can keep a covid surge in secret for months.. thats china for u ..


TOKYO -- Purchases of PCR tests in China's Hubei Province surged months before the first official reports of a novel coronavirus case there, according to a report from researchers in the U.S., the U.K. and Australia.

About 67.4 million yuan ($10.5 million at current rates) was spent on PCR tests in Hubei during 2019, nearly double the 2018 total, with the upswing starting in May. The report, released by a research team that includes former intelligence officers, is based on records from a website aggregating information on bids for public sector procurement contracts.

The report casts further doubt on China's official line about the origins of the virus, a topic that has fueled tensions between Beijing and Washington.

PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, tests are used to detect the presence of a particular genetic sequence in a sample, and they have applications beyond COVID-19 testing. But the report alleges the unusual uptick likely signals awareness of a new disease spreading in the area in and around Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province.

Orders doubled from universities, jumped fivefold from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and surged tenfold from animal testing bureaus. Purchases from hospitals declined by more than 10%.

Monthly procurement data shows a spike in orders in May, especially from CDC buyers and the People's Liberation Army.

"We believe the increased spending in May suggests this as the earliest start date for possible infection," the report said.

Purchases rose sharply from July through October as well, in particular from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology. The institution spent 8.92 million yuan on PCR tests in 2019, about eight times its total for the previous year.

The university, along with local hospitals and public health authorities, plays a direct role in responding to outbreaks of new diseases, according to the report.

The involvement of these groups provides evidence that "the increase of purchasing was most likely linked to the emergence of COVID-19 in Hubei Province in 2019," the report said. "We assess with high confidence that the pandemic began much earlier than China informed the [World Health Organization] about COVID-19."

The U.S. and China have butted heads over the issue since the early days of the pandemic. Beijing told the WHO that the first symptomatic case was recorded Dec. 8, 2019. But some in the U.S. allege that the virus was circulating in humans before then, with claims that it leaked from a research laboratory.

"We can't say for sure with just" the public procurement information, said Akira Igata, a visiting professor at Tama Graduate School of Business in Tokyo who examined that data independently, "but it's strong information for making the case that there was awareness of a virus outbreak around Wuhan several months to half a year before that December."

"This report could provide an opportunity for countries to press China for information again," Igata said.

Satellite images from Wuhan hospital parking lots show a sharp increase in activity starting in August 2019, according to a study last year by researchers from Harvard and other institutions. But a report in August by U.S. intelligence agencies found no confirmation as to whether the disease spilled over from an animal host or leaked from a lab.

"There has been no sharing of usable data from China regarding how and when COVID-19 started," said David Robinson, one of the authors of the latest report. "Zero transparency has fueled a lot of hypothesis, theory, misinformation as well as heartache for the victims."

"Internet 2.0 has used our skills to try and provide some reliable data for the world coming to terms with the impacts of this pandemic," he added, referring to the cybersecurity company that published the report.


How come agencies like CIA dint knw abt this ..
 
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Indrajit

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The UK-India Vaccine Spat: When New India Meets The Old World
by Suraj S - Oct 5, 2021 02:30 PM
  • The British government appears to look at CoWin with the same skeptical eye of an Indian man in the early 1800s looking at a strange noisy smoke-belching monstrosity called a ‘steam engine’.
Recently, a diplomatic spat has ensued between India and the United Kingdom. It centers upon a COVID-19 vaccination status-checking programme for visitors released by the British government in mid-September. The rules govern unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated travelers. This article focuses on the latter.

These guidelines are a bureaucrat’s dream. It divides the handling of vaccinations by country, by vaccine type and even by formulation and manufacturer. It then proceeds to define what permutations of vaccine type, formulation and certifying nation are acceptable. Let us overview these.

Vaccine vs Vaccine
While there are 22 vaccines that have received EUAs in at least one country, the British policy recognizes only four - Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen. No scientific reason is offered for this choice.

Cumulative J&J/Janssen production has stalled at 45 million doses to date, less than the number of doses India vaccinates in a typical week. The Biden White House wrote off Johnson&Johnson as an option back in April, due to a string of production problems. Incremental use of this vaccine in both the US and EU are currently negligible.

Selectively approving vaccines has no scientific basis, when each and every one of them has to go through multiphase approval trials.

Manufacturer vs Manufacturer / Formulation vs Formulation
The original policy only approved formulations produced in the UK, EU and US. This meant that Astra-Zeneca in the UK (brand name Vaxzevria) was approved but the production in India (Covishield) was not. This has the same scientific foundation as asserting that paracetamol in Bangalore will not work but one in Birmingham will. The UK imports paracetamol from India.

India currently exports $25 billion worth of generic pharmaceuticals. In any given year, the UK is the second or third biggest importer of Indian made pharmaceuticals. The UK was the recipient worth $280 million between Apr-Aug 2021, $610 million in FY 2020-21 (ended March 2021), $446 million in FY2019-20 and $524 million in FY2018-19, as per data from the Commerce Ministry FTPA database. Drug exports to the US for the trailing three fiscals read $7.3 billion, $6.25 billion and $5.2 billion.

Despite this, the UK proceeded to first decline Covishield - which is not even a generic variant, but the AZ vaccine contract made - then did an about face and changed its mind. All of this makes one wonder how they deal with someone in the UK who received Covishield when the UK had manufacturing problems in April (UK to import vaccine doses from India amid global jabs race).

It’s not clear how the processes work. Let’s say there are 190 countries, 25 approved vaccines, each with 3 manufacturing sites. Their own rules compel them to navigate 190*25*3 = 14,250 possible permutations for each and every visitor. To ‘simplify’ this, they use red-amber-green lists and various other ad hoc choices.

This is a carryover of the WHO EUL controversies where prequalification isn’t just by vaccine but by manufacturer/formulation, as the latest WHO EUL status document shows. As with the British rules, the WHO processes are a case of bureaucrats running amuck - tortuous months long ‘reviews’ after a vaccine has both cleared phase 3 and been administered under EUA - effectively the Phase 4 - more than 100 million times, as is the case with Covaxin.

Certification vs Certification
This is perhaps the most controversial part of the diplomatic spat. Alex Ellis, the UK High Commissioner in India, waded in with the assertion that the problem lay with the CoWin platform and that efforts were underway to resolve it, as detailed in another great article here.

This is curious. The UK guidelines approve US proof of vaccinations. They are paper cards with the name, date of birth, vaccine name, batch and date of dose handwritten. Sometimes the batch number is pasted. There is no security feature or anti-forgery protection, and fakes are rampant. The data cannot be verified in real time due to US data/health privacy laws. Some US states have a digital certificate. Only two states require their use. Nearly half explicitly bantheir use.

The UK also approves Australian proof of vaccinations. These are digital but easily forged for a going sum of A$270 (Rs.15,000). They have no QR code based system like CoWin does.

Mr Ellis proceeded to expand upon his disastrous interview with NDTV with exercise at false equivalence between British and Indian quarantine rules. India is not singling out the UK - not even in the MoHFW guidance that Ellis quotes. Part B(xv) imposes a quarantine of those traveling through the sources of variants Alpha, Beta and Gamma. All three remain official Variants of Concern (VOCs) according to the WHO. The newest two variants - lambda and mu - are still only Variants of Interest (VOIs).
It does not look good on a diplomat to get into disputes on social media when they clearly are misinformed. A diplomat is not an equal participant in any such conversation - their job description literally requires them to present a particular view on behalf of their government, and it is inadvisable to editorialize - again because it’s a clear part of their job description to not publicly insert their foot in their mouth.

For the head diplomat to pick arguments online with private citizens of the host nation, especially well known journalists, reflects poorly on their own professionalism. It would be interesting to see if British diplomats in DC, Beijing or Moscow do this - do they pick fights on Weibo for example ?
Meanwhile, the UK has ditched plans to use their own NHS app - among other options - as an internal vaccine passport (BBC: England vaccine passport plans ditched, Sajid Javid says). To summarise, the UK will:

-Accept paper certificates from some, unreliable non-QR based digital options from others, but not a QR-based digital platform from India.
-It will not accept its own app as an internal vaccine certificate, despite being in discussions with India to ensure CoWin’s interoperability with it.

It’s quite easy to feel offended at all this. ‘Racism’, ‘discrimination’, assorted other words have been used. Viewed in unemotional terms, a racist would love to manipulate their victim. Act arbitrarily. Force an emotional reaction. Offer a small sop. The victim sees some justice done and sees the offender as some sort of benefactor who has turned a new leaf, or has been compelled to repudiate their actions.
It’s true that the British establishment continues to carry a paternalistic view of India. It is unlikely to change soon. But such an emotional response is unwarranted, if one looks clinically back at the UK. A popular phrase goes “don’t ascribe to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence”. A corollary to this is “when someone demonstrates so much incompetence, it reflects rather poorly on their attempt at maliciousness”.

JAM : The Vast Ecosystem In Which CoWin Sits
The British view of CoWin sees it as some sort of sketchy vanity project pushed by someone whom they characterise as a sort of despot. The reality is quite far removed. CoWin is a small cog that fits into the world’s biggest ID/fintech ecosystem - the JAM project.

This vast authentication, identification and transaction platform connects over 1.25 billion Aadhaar IDs, 800 million smartphones, 440 million Jan Dhan bank accounts, well over 600 million RuPay cards and more. Aadhaar IDs connect to voter ID, ration and subsidy accounts, and more.

The Indian digital Unified Payments Interface is by far the world’s biggest real time ID and payment platform. It reported 36 billion digital transactions in the prior 12 months to September, almost 20 billion more than 2nd-placed China and over a third of the world total. Total transaction value is a likely fiscal year-end $1.2 trillion, given rate of growth and $90 billion in transactions in Sept 2021.

The JAM infrastructure was critical to delivering essential benefits during the Covid lockdown. This infrastructure also underpins the CoWin platform, which uses the mobile number and Aadhaar, though one may use other ID forms (which all can be linked to Aadhaar). The CoWin system maintains vaccination status against the linked ID. The QR code is simply to access the digital certificate.

The CoWin digital interface is public (github). Anyone can write an app to access their records or register for vaccination. Engineering students wrote apps to find vaccination sites in May when vaccines were scarce. The NHS app is not public; only the contact tracing app is, and that is simply built on the Google/Apple GAEN platform.

It’s a little strange to wonder about the authenticity of a certificate on an infrastructure that is on track to handle over $1 trillion (>40 per cent of UK GDP) in digital transactions this year. Of course, the technology could have bugs. There are straightforward processes by which this can be reported and addressed.
99 per cent of Indians have an Aadhaar ID now. Any resident in India is eligible for one. Mr Ellis has been resident for 6 months. He’s eligible. If he has one and has used UPI, he’s already part of a system he has a problem with, but it’s not clear whether he’s aware of that.

This digital ecosystem has replaced large parts of a previously graft and corruption-ridden interface with government. At one time, getting a subsidy or even a birth certificate involved a trip to a public office, lubrication of greedy hands and waiting.

Much of that is gone. Several places don’t even involve a sub-registrar in birth, death and marriage certification. In Bangalore among several other places, one gets a birth certificate online. It involves all particulars printed for free, and an access code to access the website and verify. If you want more copies you do that in the print menu on a computer.

In the UK one gets a certificate from GRO (approx Rs.1,000/copy) and then makes copies by attestation - the old fashioned way using a gazetted person. Authenticated paper is medieval technology; a GRO birth certificate offers no option for real time access-code based authentication on the website, and protects against counterfeiting with only an impressively stern verbal warning at the bottom.

Conclusion
India recognises that many old identification, authorization and transactional processes do not work. It handled the problem by building out the world’s biggest digital infrastructure specifically for this. When Covid hit, this infrastructure was used to transfer tens of billions in benefit payments to the accounts of the poor, electronically. Today, the same infrastructure also accommodates vaccination registration and records.

Britain looks at CoWin today with the same skeptical eye of an Indian man in the early 1800s looking at a strange noisy smoke-belching monstrosity the British called a ‘steam engine’. It has seemingly no idea of the scale of this system and all that it already does. Some talk about things like ‘fake certificates’, apparently unaware the paper in hand is just a means to access the digital certificate and faking the printout serves no purpose. It’s analogous to listening to two Indians describe a steam engine in the 1820s.

From an Indian perspective we should never expect acknowledgment of these advancements. If anything, the very opposition to it is a sign of a good thing on our hands. We’re in a position to independently evaluate them. Rising up the ranks to great power status does not entail a collegial ‘here pull up a chair and join us at the table’ interaction. It’s up to us to apply the costs of getting in our way, and therefore it is heartening that the government understands this (Govt to roll out customised visa policy based on how Indian tourists are treated outside).
 

sorcerer

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china coronavirus: Isolated China becomes last country still chasing Covid zero | World News - Times of India
For much of the pandemic, a group of places in the Asia-Pacific brought infections to zero, becoming virus-free havens in a world ravaged by the pathogen. Now, with the rise of the delta variant and the proliferation of vaccines, only one is still holding fast to that goal of eliminating Covid-19: China.

 

sorcerer

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Imagine a country that can keep a covid surge in secret for months.. thats china for u ..


How come agencies like CIA dint knw abt this ..
CIA knew..but they would have tried to milk china with the information when they was in the clear and then china decided to spread it across the world deliberately.
 

sorcerer

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New technology promises to eliminate airborne COVID virus --India Science Wire
By India Science Wire

3-4 minutes




Biomoneta, a Bengaluru-based startup funded by Government of India and Karnataka Government has developed an air decontamination technology which promised to eliminate airborne COVID-19 virus with 99.9999% efficiency in any closed setting. The company has conducted validation studies at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, with support from The Department of Biotechnology’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (DBT-BIRAC).

The technology, developed under the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP)’s COVID-19 Innovations Deployment Accelerator programme (C-CIDA), is pathogen agnostic. In previous studies conducted by ICMR/NABL-accredited labs, it had destroyed other airborne microbes with 99.999% efficiency as well.

Among other things, it has proven to be effective against pathogens notorious for causing secondary infections in hospitals, including bacteria such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, fungi such as Candida, and viruses such as H1N1 which cause influenza.

Biomoneta, a Bengaluru-based startup funded by Government of India and Karnataka Government has developed an air decontamination technology which promised to eliminate airborne COVID-19 virus with 99.9999% efficiency in any closed setting. The company has conducted validation studies at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, with support from The Department of Biotechnology’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (DBT-BIRAC).
Its activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen causing TB, is particularly important as TB remains a neglected disease with no preventive vaccine. The causative pathogen is airborne, highly transmissible and can spread through variants that cannot be treated easily with currently available antibiotics.

Janani Venkatraman, co-founder and CEO of Biomoneta, noted that post-COVID, there is a realization that air treatment needs microbe-specific standards. “The methods used to disinfect air even in state-of-the-art medical environments focus on particulate matter removal as a surrogate for microbial decontamination. Our medical and surgical procedures have evolved significantly. We aspire to bring air sterilization to the same level.”

Arindam Ghatak, CTO and co-founder, said, “Lab data is important but real impact is measured by how the technology translates for the end user. We have worked with hospitals, clinics, IVF labs, offices and cafeterias to demonstrate this.”

Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, CEO & Director of C-CAMP, said that Biomoneta, as a C-CAMP incubated startup, is testimony to what deep-science led innovations can do to solve a crucial problem for COVID and looking beyond, for non-COVID airborne infections.

India Science Wire
 

sorcerer

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Sikkim declared as first fully vaccinated state of India


2 minutes



Sikkim is declared to be the first fully vaccinated state of India, where 100 per cent of the population have received the first dose of vaccine and 74 per cent of the population has received the second dose as well.
On average, till now 9,12,325 people were vaccinated. From health workers, front line workers, 45 years and above, to 18 to 44 years all the categories were well taken care of. In addition to this, 4770 doses were provided to the Indian army.

 

Spitfire9

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The UK-India Vaccine Spat: When New India Meets The Old World
by Suraj S - Oct 5, 2021 02:30 PM
  • The British government appears to look at CoWin with the same skeptical eye of an Indian man in the early 1800s looking at a strange noisy smoke-belching monstrosity called a ‘steam engine’.
Recently, a diplomatic spat has ensued between India and the United Kingdom. It centers upon a COVID-19 vaccination status-checking programme for visitors released by the British government in mid-September. The rules govern unvaccinated, partially vaccinated and fully vaccinated travelers. This article focuses on the latter.

These guidelines are a bureaucrat’s dream. It divides the handling of vaccinations by country, by vaccine type and even by formulation and manufacturer. It then proceeds to define what permutations of vaccine type, formulation and certifying nation are acceptable. Let us overview these.

Vaccine vs Vaccine
While there are 22 vaccines that have received EUAs in at least one country, the British policy recognizes only four - Oxford/AstraZeneca, Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen. No scientific reason is offered for this choice.

Cumulative J&J/Janssen production has stalled at 45 million doses to date, less than the number of doses India vaccinates in a typical week. The Biden White House wrote off Johnson&Johnson as an option back in April, due to a string of production problems. Incremental use of this vaccine in both the US and EU are currently negligible.

Selectively approving vaccines has no scientific basis, when each and every one of them has to go through multiphase approval trials.

Manufacturer vs Manufacturer / Formulation vs Formulation
The original policy only approved formulations produced in the UK, EU and US. This meant that Astra-Zeneca in the UK (brand name Vaxzevria) was approved but the production in India (Covishield) was not. This has the same scientific foundation as asserting that paracetamol in Bangalore will not work but one in Birmingham will. The UK imports paracetamol from India.

India currently exports $25 billion worth of generic pharmaceuticals. In any given year, the UK is the second or third biggest importer of Indian made pharmaceuticals. The UK was the recipient worth $280 million between Apr-Aug 2021, $610 million in FY 2020-21 (ended March 2021), $446 million in FY2019-20 and $524 million in FY2018-19, as per data from the Commerce Ministry FTPA database. Drug exports to the US for the trailing three fiscals read $7.3 billion, $6.25 billion and $5.2 billion.

Despite this, the UK proceeded to first decline Covishield - which is not even a generic variant, but the AZ vaccine contract made - then did an about face and changed its mind. All of this makes one wonder how they deal with someone in the UK who received Covishield when the UK had manufacturing problems in April (UK to import vaccine doses from India amid global jabs race).

It’s not clear how the processes work. Let’s say there are 190 countries, 25 approved vaccines, each with 3 manufacturing sites. Their own rules compel them to navigate 190*25*3 = 14,250 possible permutations for each and every visitor. To ‘simplify’ this, they use red-amber-green lists and various other ad hoc choices.

This is a carryover of the WHO EUL controversies where prequalification isn’t just by vaccine but by manufacturer/formulation, as the latest WHO EUL status document shows. As with the British rules, the WHO processes are a case of bureaucrats running amuck - tortuous months long ‘reviews’ after a vaccine has both cleared phase 3 and been administered under EUA - effectively the Phase 4 - more than 100 million times, as is the case with Covaxin.

Certification vs Certification
This is perhaps the most controversial part of the diplomatic spat. Alex Ellis, the UK High Commissioner in India, waded in with the assertion that the problem lay with the CoWin platform and that efforts were underway to resolve it, as detailed in another great article here.

This is curious. The UK guidelines approve US proof of vaccinations. They are paper cards with the name, date of birth, vaccine name, batch and date of dose handwritten. Sometimes the batch number is pasted. There is no security feature or anti-forgery protection, and fakes are rampant. The data cannot be verified in real time due to US data/health privacy laws. Some US states have a digital certificate. Only two states require their use. Nearly half explicitly bantheir use.

The UK also approves Australian proof of vaccinations. These are digital but easily forged for a going sum of A$270 (Rs.15,000). They have no QR code based system like CoWin does.

Mr Ellis proceeded to expand upon his disastrous interview with NDTV with exercise at false equivalence between British and Indian quarantine rules. India is not singling out the UK - not even in the MoHFW guidance that Ellis quotes. Part B(xv) imposes a quarantine of those traveling through the sources of variants Alpha, Beta and Gamma. All three remain official Variants of Concern (VOCs) according to the WHO. The newest two variants - lambda and mu - are still only Variants of Interest (VOIs).
It does not look good on a diplomat to get into disputes on social media when they clearly are misinformed. A diplomat is not an equal participant in any such conversation - their job description literally requires them to present a particular view on behalf of their government, and it is inadvisable to editorialize - again because it’s a clear part of their job description to not publicly insert their foot in their mouth.

For the head diplomat to pick arguments online with private citizens of the host nation, especially well known journalists, reflects poorly on their own professionalism. It would be interesting to see if British diplomats in DC, Beijing or Moscow do this - do they pick fights on Weibo for example ?
Meanwhile, the UK has ditched plans to use their own NHS app - among other options - as an internal vaccine passport (BBC: England vaccine passport plans ditched, Sajid Javid says). To summarise, the UK will:

-Accept paper certificates from some, unreliable non-QR based digital options from others, but not a QR-based digital platform from India.
-It will not accept its own app as an internal vaccine certificate, despite being in discussions with India to ensure CoWin’s interoperability with it.

It’s quite easy to feel offended at all this. ‘Racism’, ‘discrimination’, assorted other words have been used. Viewed in unemotional terms, a racist would love to manipulate their victim. Act arbitrarily. Force an emotional reaction. Offer a small sop. The victim sees some justice done and sees the offender as some sort of benefactor who has turned a new leaf, or has been compelled to repudiate their actions.
It’s true that the British establishment continues to carry a paternalistic view of India. It is unlikely to change soon. But such an emotional response is unwarranted, if one looks clinically back at the UK. A popular phrase goes “don’t ascribe to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence”. A corollary to this is “when someone demonstrates so much incompetence, it reflects rather poorly on their attempt at maliciousness”.

JAM : The Vast Ecosystem In Which CoWin Sits
The British view of CoWin sees it as some sort of sketchy vanity project pushed by someone whom they characterise as a sort of despot. The reality is quite far removed. CoWin is a small cog that fits into the world’s biggest ID/fintech ecosystem - the JAM project.

This vast authentication, identification and transaction platform connects over 1.25 billion Aadhaar IDs, 800 million smartphones, 440 million Jan Dhan bank accounts, well over 600 million RuPay cards and more. Aadhaar IDs connect to voter ID, ration and subsidy accounts, and more.

The Indian digital Unified Payments Interface is by far the world’s biggest real time ID and payment platform. It reported 36 billion digital transactions in the prior 12 months to September, almost 20 billion more than 2nd-placed China and over a third of the world total. Total transaction value is a likely fiscal year-end $1.2 trillion, given rate of growth and $90 billion in transactions in Sept 2021.

The JAM infrastructure was critical to delivering essential benefits during the Covid lockdown. This infrastructure also underpins the CoWin platform, which uses the mobile number and Aadhaar, though one may use other ID forms (which all can be linked to Aadhaar). The CoWin system maintains vaccination status against the linked ID. The QR code is simply to access the digital certificate.

The CoWin digital interface is public (github). Anyone can write an app to access their records or register for vaccination. Engineering students wrote apps to find vaccination sites in May when vaccines were scarce. The NHS app is not public; only the contact tracing app is, and that is simply built on the Google/Apple GAEN platform.

It’s a little strange to wonder about the authenticity of a certificate on an infrastructure that is on track to handle over $1 trillion (>40 per cent of UK GDP) in digital transactions this year. Of course, the technology could have bugs. There are straightforward processes by which this can be reported and addressed.
99 per cent of Indians have an Aadhaar ID now. Any resident in India is eligible for one. Mr Ellis has been resident for 6 months. He’s eligible. If he has one and has used UPI, he’s already part of a system he has a problem with, but it’s not clear whether he’s aware of that.

This digital ecosystem has replaced large parts of a previously graft and corruption-ridden interface with government. At one time, getting a subsidy or even a birth certificate involved a trip to a public office, lubrication of greedy hands and waiting.

Much of that is gone. Several places don’t even involve a sub-registrar in birth, death and marriage certification. In Bangalore among several other places, one gets a birth certificate online. It involves all particulars printed for free, and an access code to access the website and verify. If you want more copies you do that in the print menu on a computer.

In the UK one gets a certificate from GRO (approx Rs.1,000/copy) and then makes copies by attestation - the old fashioned way using a gazetted person. Authenticated paper is medieval technology; a GRO birth certificate offers no option for real time access-code based authentication on the website, and protects against counterfeiting with only an impressively stern verbal warning at the bottom.

Conclusion
India recognises that many old identification, authorization and transactional processes do not work. It handled the problem by building out the world’s biggest digital infrastructure specifically for this. When Covid hit, this infrastructure was used to transfer tens of billions in benefit payments to the accounts of the poor, electronically. Today, the same infrastructure also accommodates vaccination registration and records.

Britain looks at CoWin today with the same skeptical eye of an Indian man in the early 1800s looking at a strange noisy smoke-belching monstrosity the British called a ‘steam engine’. It has seemingly no idea of the scale of this system and all that it already does. Some talk about things like ‘fake certificates’, apparently unaware the paper in hand is just a means to access the digital certificate and faking the printout serves no purpose. It’s analogous to listening to two Indians describe a steam engine in the 1820s.

From an Indian perspective we should never expect acknowledgment of these advancements. If anything, the very opposition to it is a sign of a good thing on our hands. We’re in a position to independently evaluate them. Rising up the ranks to great power status does not entail a collegial ‘here pull up a chair and join us at the table’ interaction. It’s up to us to apply the costs of getting in our way, and therefore it is heartening that the government understands this (Govt to roll out customised visa policy based on how Indian tourists are treated outside).
Yes, UK government and bureaucracy have been STUPID in their handling of vaccination proof and quarantine rules.
 

SKC

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Delta variant could have originated in places other than India: Research
Neetu Chandra Sharma

4-5 minutes


NEW DELHI : There is a possibility that the origin of the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be more than just India, scientists have indicated in a new research.
Weren't there more than 600 cases of Delta variant first registered in Scandinavian country in 2020 itself.
It spread in India like wildfire once people moved back home.
 
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Russia Covid Deaths: Russia posts record virus deaths for fourth straight day | World News - Times of India

MOSCOW: Russia on Friday reported a high for coronavirus deaths for a fourth day running as infections continue to surge.
A government tally reported 887 fatalities over the past 24 hours. Over the same period there were 24,522 new cases -- the highest total since late July.
The new figure brings the country's total deaths from Covid-19 to 208,142 -- the highest in Europe.
The world's fifth worst-hit country with more than 7.5 million infections, Russia has seen cases climb since August as vaccinations stalled.

Seems like Sputnik vaccine is all fakery
 

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