Feluda Covid-19 Test Approved, To Enter The Market Soon

Feluda Covid-19 Test Approved, To Enter The Market Soon

The launch of India’s first indigenous, paper-based, Covid-19 testing kit, Feluda has been approved for commercial launch by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). How does it work? What about its availability and cost? Will it be a gamechanger? Let’s find out.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Feluda?
Feluda, an acronym for FNCAS9 Editor-Limited Uniform Detection Assay, is a paper-based test strip to identify the presence of Coronavirus in a sample. The name gets its inspiration from the famous Bengali fictional detective character, Feluda penned by Satyajit Ray.

It was developed by the TATA group and the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), New Delhi by Dr. Souvik Maiti, and Dr. Debojyoti Chakraborty.

What Is The Test Based On?
This indigenous test is based on CRISPR or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, a gene editing technology. It is used in correcting genetic defects and preventing the spread of diseases, by detecting all the pathogens responsible for them.

This is because it can detect specific sequences of DNA within a gene and use an enzyme functioning as ‘molecular scissors‘ to snip it. The US had approved the emergency-use of the world’s first CRISPR-based test for Covid-19, developed by MIT and Harvard, earlier this year, in May.

What About FNCAS9?
It is a protein used by researchers to edit our DNA and is derived from a bacterium, Francisella novicida. In Feluda test, FNCAS9 has been coded to interact with SARS-COV-2, which makes detection and confirmation speedy.

So How Will Feluda Know?
Similar to a pregnancy detection test, Feluda paper kit will change colours, if a positive diagnosis is identified. It shall carry two lines on the kit – one control and a test line to interpret results.

What About Its Accuracy?
As per the Ministry of Science and Technology, Feluda has 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity for detecting Covid-19. Test sensitivity is the ability of the test to correctly identify those with the SARS-COV-2 virus (true positive rate), whereas test specificity is the ability of the test to correctly identify those without the virus (true negative rate).
To know more, check out this piece.

Positive Step For India
The commercialization of Feluda would be an important step for us as it would be a “Made in India” initiative, that would highlight the increasing R&D talent in the country.

Girish Krishnamurthy, CEO, TATA Medical and Diagnostics Ltd, said, “We can then collaborate and contribute to the global healthcare and scientific research world.”

Curiopedia
  • Feludar Goendagiri is a short story written by Satyajit Ray featuring Feluda. It was the very first among the total 35 complete stories/novels of the Feluda series.
  • The Apu Trilogy comprises three Indian Bengali language films directed by Satyajit Ray. They are frequently listed among the greatest films of all time and are often cited as the greatest films in the history of Indian cinema.
  • Sandesh is a Bengali children’s magazine. It was first published by Upendrakishore Ray in 1913. In 1961, the magazine was revived under the editorialship of Satyajit Ray. Ray introduced Feluda in short stories he wrote for Sandesh.

Did Terminology Confusion Lead To Wrong Predictions For Covid Numbers?

Did Terminology Confusion Lead To Wrong Predictions For Covid Numbers?

As per a recent paper published in Cambridge University Press Journal, terminology confusion happened during Congress hearings on Coronavirus in March. This reportedly led to overestimation of Covid-19 case and infection fatality of numbers. So how are these fatalities different? What are the lessons learned for future pandemics?

Crux of the Matter

DISCLAIMER
This story is a simplified explanation of a recent paper that delves into the statistics of COVID-19. It is an ongoing pandemic, with medical fraternities still trying to understand the disease and to find its cure. No cure exists yet.

While the statistics will show a recovery probability greater than 99%, COVID can be deadly in severe cases and for people with comorbidities. With global COVID death figures almost touching the million mark, it goes without saying,
DO NOT TAKE THIS PANDEMIC LIGHTLY AND FOLLOW PANDEMIC PROTOCOLS AND STAY SAFE.

The Cambridge Paper
A recent paper published in Cambridge University Press Journal by Robert B. Brown, claims that a terminology confusion during Congressional hearings on Coronavirus in March led to an over-estimation of the fatality numbers of COVID-19. The paper talks about public health lessons that need to be learned from the incident for future pandemics brought by infectious diseases.

What Went Down In Congress?
In a testimony given by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases before U.S. Congress in March 2020, the estimated mortality for COVID-19 was 10 times higher than for seasonal influenza.

A Case of Apples and Oranges
Confusion between Case Fatality Rate (CFR) and Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) led to the wrong perception being created about the fatality potential of the disease. Seasonal Influenza’s IFR of 0.1% was compared with CDC and WHO’s estimate of COVID-19’s CFR of ~1% to conclude that it is 10x deadlier than influenza – a fallacious comparison. The most recent season of severe influenza (H3N2) in 2017-2018, led to 80,000 deaths in USA.

Key Learnings

  • People need to have a greater voice in a transparent process that influences public health policy during an outbreak.
  • Educational curriculum should include basic research methods to teach people how to be better consumers of public health information.
  • The public should be well-informed about the impacts on psychological well-being, social disruption, and economic costs associated with restrictive public health interventions during a pandemic.

Curiopedia
  • In statistics, sampling bias is a bias in which a sample is collected in such a way that some members of the intended population have a lower or higher sampling probability than others. Medical sources sometimes refer to sampling bias as ascertainment bias.
  • Case fatality ratio is the comparison between two different case fatality rates, expressed as ratio. Sometimes the term case fatality ratio is used interchangeably with case fatality rate, but they are not the same.
  • Immunodeficiency is a state in which the immune system’s ability to fight infectious disease is compromised or entirely absent. A person who has an immunodeficiency of any kind is said to be immunocompromised. An immunocompromised person may be particularly vulnerable to opportunistic infections, in addition to normal infections that could affect everyone

Recycling Woman: Making Mattresses Of Waste

Recycling Woman: Making Mattresses Of PPE Waste

Founder of Pure living, Lakshmi Menon is busy making low-cost mattresses from PPE tailoring cut pieces. She sees this as her role in fighting against the medical waste piling up due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. So how did she do it? What are the current waste statistics worldwide and in India?

Crux of the Matter

Making Mattresses Out Of PPE Waste?
Lakshmi, founder of PURE (Products Upcycled Recycled and Economised) Living has started the production of an eco-friendly and sustainable mattress called ‘Shayya‘ using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tailoring kit cut pieces.

Earlier she made the smiling Chekutty dolls using damaged clothes, to help revive the flood-struck weavers of Chendamangalam handloom during the 2018 Kerala Floods.

What’s The Story Behind This Idea?
When the Covid-19 cases spiked in Lakshmi’s village, the government ordered every panchayat to start First-Line Treatment Centres (FLTCs), each with a capacity of 50 beds. This brought in huge demand for the mattress, pillow, pillow covers, etc.

In Kerala alone, there are around 1,000 panchayats, the demand was for around 50,000 mattresses. Due to the Covid-19 crisis, very few people were willing to come forth with donations. Then she saw the amount of PPE kit waste getting collected and that’s when she put two and two.

So What’s The Process?
The standard size of a Shayya mattress is 6ft x 2.5 ft. The scraps are braided into a long rope form of 35 m in length and 5 cm wide. The braided clothes are then placed and tied together in a zigzag pattern. On plywood, nails are fit with a gap of 2.5 ft.

Screen Recording 2020-09-08 at 01.23.11 PM.gif
Source: PURE

The rope is attached on one end in the top corner and woven around the nails from left to right. From the top to down, the same material is used to keep the entire product intact. So there is no machine, no needle, no thread required to make the mattress. The leftovers of this whole process get converted into pillows.

Waterproof Mattresses
The bedrolls can be easily washed, disinfected, and reused as well. So apart from solving the issue of the lack of bedding at Covid care centres, they can also be used in relief camps and temporary shelters affected by bad weather conditions.

Lakshmi has also employed 10 women at the Pure Living centre in Arayankavu to make Shayya wherein each woman is paid ₹300 per day, the cost of each mattress.

Current Plastic Waste Situation
A study published by the sustainability group, SystemIQ in July reported how if appropriate action against medical waste isn’t taken, the flow of plastic into oceans would increase to 29 mn tonnes per year by 2040.

The WHO also projected that the need for PPE would increase by 40% monthly to meet demand during the pandemic. This includes an estimated 89 mn masks, 76 mn pairs of gloves, and 1.6 mn pairs of goggles.

What’s Up With India
India produced 600 tonnes of biomedical waste per day before Covid-19 started. Findings by Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to SC of India stated how metropolitan cities like Delhi’s biomedical output has risen from 25 tonnes per day in May to 349 tonnes per day in July. Similarly, Mumbai saw a double rise from 12,200 kg waste per day in June to 24,889 kg per day in August.

Curiopedia
  • Gumdrop is an american startup, which collects and recycles chewed gum and converts it into a sustainable material called Gum-tec. Gum-tec is used in rubber and plastic industries.
  • Wu Lien-teh was a Malaysian physician renowned for his work in public health. Wu developed surgical masks he had seen in use in the West into more substantial masks with layers of gauze and cotton to filter the air during the pneumonic plague. It is believed that the N95 mask is the descendant of Wu’s design.
  • A plague doctor was a physician who treated victims of the bubonic plague. In times of epidemics, these physicians were specifically hired by towns where the plague had taken hold. The clothing worn by them was intended to protect them from airborne diseases and is one of the earliest examples of the use of PPE by healthcare workers.

Recycle Man Who Reuses PPE Kits And Masks To Make Bricks

Recycle Man Who Reuses PPE Kits And Masks To Make Bricks

Founder of Eco-Eclectic Technologies, Binish Desai, is making eco-friendly bricks out of used PPE kits and masks created from non-woven fabric. He believes this is his contribution in trying to fight against the medical waste piling up due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Crux of the Matter

What Are P-Blocks 2.0?
Back in 2010, Binish Desai had come in the spotlight for his innovative P-Block bricks, that were created from industrial paper and gum waste. Now P-Block 2.0 bricks are made of 52% of shredded PPE and face mask material, whereas the rest is paper waste, used in their previously manufactured bricks.

Eureka Moment From Chewing Gum
11-years-old Binish, once he found a chewing gum stuck to his pants during a school class. He wrapped it in a piece of paper to throw it away later but forgot about it. At the end of the day, he found that the gum and paper had glued together and hardened into a block. This gave him the idea to make bricks using paper and gum.

Dissecting Each ‘Waste’ Brick
Price – ₹2.8 per piece
Dimensions – 12 x 8 x 4 inches (length x breadth x height)
Strength – Stronger than conventional bricks

So How Are They Made?
1. 7 kg of biomedical waste per square foot is required.

2. ‘Eco Bins’ are placed in different locations such as hospitals, police stations, and bus stops. The bins will collect the PPE and used masks, with an indicator signifying if it’s full.

3. But Is It Safe To Use Medical Waste?
As per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines, the collected material in left in isolation for 72 hours, before being taken to their brick-making premise.

4. They are next put in the disinfectant chamber, disinfected, and then torn down into small pieces.

5. The medical waste is then safe to use and is mixed with the binder and their own paper waste.

6. Finally, the mix is molded in the desired molds and naturally dried till it solidifies and converts into a brick form.

Additionally, the Eco-Eclectic is in collaboration with various colleges who are working on disinfection chambers they have developed. Moreover, all labourers in their manufacturing unit, work in PPE kits for added safety.

What Are Subscription Boxes?
Soon, Eco-Eclectic will be providing users worldwide, a subscription service of their boxes. They can collect their waste like used masks in those boxes and send it back to them for recycling.

The team has worked with over 100 different types of waste such as metal waste, textile waste, coffee waste, and paper waste to make 150+ products like handmade home decor and eco-friendly rakhis.

Curiopedia
  • Gumdrop is an american startup, which collects and recycles chewed gum and converts it into a sustainable material called Gum-tec. Gum-tec is used in rubber and plastic industries.
  • Wu Lien-teh was a Malaysian physician renowned for his work in public health. Wu developed surgical masks he had seen in use in the West into more substantial masks with layers of gauze and cotton to filter the air during the pneumonic plague. It is believed that the N95 mask is the descendant of Wu’s design.
  • A plague doctor was a physician who treated victims of the bubonic plague. In times of epidemics, these physicians were specifically hired by towns where the plague had taken hold. The clothing worn by them was intended to protect them from airborne diseases and is one of the earliest examples of the use of PPE by healthcare workers.

GDP Of India Tanks During Pandemic: Understanding GDP

GDP Of India Tanks During Pandemic: Understanding GDP

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) published India’s GDP numbers of April-June Quarter of 2020. The GDP of India has contracted by 23.9% on a year-on-year basis. But what is this year-on-year basis? How is GDP calculated? And what are the controversies surrounding the right figures of GDP? Let’s find it all.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Gross Domestic Product?
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the sum total of the values of the final goods and services of all sectors of an economy produced during a given period, usually a year or a quarter. They are two types of GDP i.e. Real GDP and Nominal GDP. In simple terms, Nominal GDP is evaluated at current market prices. Whereas Real GDP measures economic output taking into account inflation or deflation. In India, the Ministry Of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MOSPI) releases the GDP deflator number considering 2011-12 as the base year. Statistically, Real GDP is calculated using formula – Real GDP = (Nominal GDP) / (GDP Deflator).

What Is QoQ And YoY?
QoQ stands for Quarter-on-Quarter. It compares a statistic for one quarter i.e period of 90 days to its preceding Quarter. QoQ GDP percentage change in Quater 2 of 2020 can be calculated as [(GDP of Apr-Jun 2020 – GDP of Jan-Mar 2020) / GDP of Jan-Mar 2020] x 100.

YoY stands for Year-on-Year. It compares a statistic for one period to the same period of the previous year. YoY GDP percentage change in the year 2020 can be calculated by [(GDP of Apr-Jun 2020 – GDP of Apr-Jun 2019) / GDP of Apr-Jun 2019 ] x 100.

Let us have a look at some graphs to under the impact of Coronavirus on various countries’ GDP.

Curiopedia
  • Laissez-faire is an economic system in which transactions between private parties are absent of any form of economic interventionism such as regulation and subsidies. The phrase laissez-faire is part of a larger French phrase and literally translates to “let [it/them] do”.
  • The gross world product (GWP) is the combined gross national income of all the countries in the world. Because imports and exports balance exactly when considering the whole world, this also equals the total global gross domestic product.
  • The System of National Accounts is an international standard system of national accounts, the first international standard being published in 1953. The international standard for measuring GDP is contained in it too.
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