About vaccines for children and Covaxin…

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I don’t understand his penchant for late-night announcements, much less one at 10 pm on Christmas night, but Prime Minister Narendra has just said the government will roll out vaccines for young adults aged 15-18 years from January 3, 2022 – around the same time I received a press release from Bharat Biotech saying the…… Continue reading About vaccines for children and Covaxin…

The vaccine that was built from scratch

I have no plans to read ICMR chief Balram Bhargava’s new book, Going Viral, about the “inside story” of Covaxin’s making, and am grateful for that reason for Dr Jammi Nagaraj Rao’s quick but seemingly thorough review in The Wire Science. My lack of interest in the book itself also means I’m going to take…… Continue reading The vaccine that was built from scratch

The toxic affair between Covaxin and The Lancet

That Covaxin has been leading a ceaselessly beleaguered life is no mystery – but The Lancet journal may not know that it has been pressed into the questionable service of saving the vaccine’s reputation on at least three occasions. In the latest one, for example, Bharat Biotech, some clueless media outlets and their hordes of…… Continue reading The toxic affair between Covaxin and The Lancet

Is Covaxin’s WHO approval guaranteed?

I suspect after reading this PTI report that the WHO is practically helping Bharat Biotech put together a better application to have its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, get the body’s approval for international use, instead of simply considering what Bharat Biotech chooses to submit. The overall tone of the report is mollificatory – as if the…… Continue reading Is Covaxin’s WHO approval guaranteed?

It’s great that the WHO isn’t just ‘not cutting corners’

Call me anti-national (and I’m sure many will) but I’m glad that the WHO isn’t just “not cutting corners” in the process of considering Bharat Biotech’s application for the UN body’s stamp of approval Covaxin but is also openly calling for more and more information from the company at periodic intervals. This isn’t just a…… Continue reading It’s great that the WHO isn’t just ‘not cutting corners’

Where the atmanirbharta in spine?

https://twitter.com/CSIR_IND/status/1451156798958829572 Truth be told, I didn’t expect CSIR chief Shekhar Mande could be so disingenuous. “India didn’t have to depend on western countries,” he says. What is this abject refusal to thank other countries for help – and preferring instead to take their help and rewriting the past to pretend we didn’t need any? Of…… Continue reading Where the atmanirbharta in spine?

Bharat Biotech gets 1/10 for tweet

Edit, 6:59 am, January 6, 2022: I’ve edited this article to make my point better. If I had been Bharat Biotech’s teacher and “Where is your data?” had been an examination question, Bharat Biotech would have received 1 out of 10 marks. https://twitter.com/BharatBiotech/status/1403649561353015296 The correct answer to “where is your data?” can take one of…… Continue reading Bharat Biotech gets 1/10 for tweet

Magic bridges

The last two episodes of the second season of House, the TV series starring Hugh Laurie as a misanthropic doctor at a facility in Princeton, have been playing on my mind off and on during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of its principal points (insofar as Dr Gregory House can admit points to the story of his…… Continue reading Magic bridges

What the DNA Bill needs

The following article has been published in The Wire, but since it began as a blog post and because I haven’t published anything else in a while, I’m using it here as well. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on S&T, Forests and Climate Change has submitted its review on the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation…… Continue reading What the DNA Bill needs

Pandemic: Science > politics?

By Mukunth and Madhusudhan Raman Former Union health secretary K. Sujatha Rao had a great piece in The Indian Express on January 14, whose takeaway she summarised in the following line: Science, evidence and data analytics need to be the bedrock of the roll-out policy, not politics and scoring brownie points for electoral advantages. However,…… Continue reading Pandemic: Science > politics?