Coronavirus: Community Transmission and Herd Immunity

Many countries went in lockdown mode as early as in the stages of community spread of Covid19, to keep the number of cases low. Lockdown has eased now in many parts of the world as we need to recover from the economic impact of it. But the ease of work means a higher progression leading to community transmission as we step out of our homes and meet people. Looking at the Indian numbers and traceability, its seems India is already in community transmission stage, but government just not announcing it.

I would like to explain two things here: Community transmission and community spread which are linked to different stages of disease spread. There are four stages of disease spread. Stage 1 comprises of cases which come from a foreign land and show no origins of disease in that local area. In the case of covid19, mostly passengers who flew from other countries were reported positive. Community spread is stage 2, in which these foreign returned people met others locally, hence circulating the disease. The most important thing here to note is that in this stage we can contact trace the patient or carrier who exposed this virus to locals with whom he/she came in contact. In this stage p who were tested, positive are those who had contact with a foreign returned person, like for example in a family get together, or dinner, etc. This stage is manageable and cases can be tracked, though numbers keep rising. The control measure in this stage generally includes finding people who came in contact with a person with travel history or disease positive, identifying them, isolating them, and quarantine. Community spread was the stage when nations went in complete lockdown.

Community transmission is stage 3 in which, one can not track the source of infection in a patient. During this stage person who doesn’t have travel history or met people with covid19, will start testing positive for the disease. The outbreak will escalate faster in clusters and communities, with people randomly start testing positive for the disease. Stage 4 is even more severe when the disease outspreads to the whole county with several clusters and communities of infection across parts of the country. A huge number of people start falling sick due to infection and deaths will increase. In the last two stages, managing disease becomes very difficult. Once the country has entered community transmission, stage 4 is inevitable. Many countries have crossed the community spread stage and entered community transmission, the most famous example being of Italy and China. Numbers for India also looks that it is entering community transmission (or we are not acknowledging the fact that we are already in this phase). Once community transmission happens, it will be difficult to stop the disease, and herd immunity might come in play, although it is debatable in the case of COVID.

To understand herd immunity, let us quickly look into an individual’s immunity and understand what happens when an infection (or pathogen or foreign agent) hits our body. When a foreign particle is recognized in the body, immune systems get alerted and starts a defense mechanism to get rid of a foreign particle with the help of specialized immune cells and parallelly prepares the body for adaptive immune response, to remember this foreign particle to prevent future infection. This memory is stored in the form of antibodies that our immune system makes against the foreign particle. Antibodies are very specific and will not work against novel foreign particles. So for each novel infection that body encounters, our immune system makes these sensitive antibodies so that it can fight specific pathogens in the future. This adaptive immunity can last for long periods to lifetime. For example, in the case of chickenpox, the immunity lasts for a lifetime, but for some pathogens (like hepatitis, common cold, etc), antibodies do not guarantee lifelong immunity. A vaccine is a technology that helps the body makes antibodies without getting an infection, this is generally done by exposing human to a non-functional form of the pathogen ( disease-causing micro-organism). When the immune system is exposed to a non-functional form of the pathogen, it is recognized as a foreign particle, and memory in the form of antibodies is generated against it, thus preventing any future infections from the pathogen.

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Herd immunity means that a large proportion of the population (typically around 70%) has developed immunity to a contagious disease, this can happen via vaccination, as in case of polio, where massive vaccination programs were carried by countries or it can happen when people have had an infection and after recovery they get immunity to infection, for example, if someone had chickenpox once, then they get immunity to it and chances of getting chickenpox again are low. In the case of Covid19, we don’t have a vaccine yet, so the first scenario of herd community is not possible. Community transmission will lead to a large population getting infected by coronavirus and people who will recover from it will gain immunity, thus leading to herd immunity. The way the body’s immune system works is that it makes antibodies against the infectious agent when introduced to it and stores it as a memory for fighting future infections.

Now the obvious question a lot of you might be thinking, that if people will get immune after recovery, then why did we have lockdown and we were focusing on reducing the number of patients. The reason being, Covid19 is highly contagious, even though it is not as deadly as some other disease, death has been about 5% of patients (worldometer), but people who are dying are not able to fight the virus and dying within days of infection, if we don’t take measures to stop this, 5% of the population is a huge number, and we cannot let our elderly, young kids, immunosuppressed people, etc. to die because of this. We don’t have treatment for Covid19 till now, so we can’t let disease fan out in our population. Also, this virus can mutate very fast, so there will be many different strains of this virus as it advances in people.

There are a lot of challenges with herd immunity and its effects. We need to know at what thresholds will we reach herd community, does it has to be 50% of the population getting infected or more? What is that threshold percentage? How much load does such high percentages of people infected at the same time put on the healthcare system? Will the antibodies made by recovered people, be effective in fighting the Coronavirus infection in the future, knowing that it is mutating fast? Also, how robust will be this memory of the immune system, and how long will this immunity last? There have been cases reported in japan that people got reinfection within few weeks after recovery.

Most importantly how fast will we reach herd immunity ? It might take several months to years to reach herd immunity. It cannot be reached with a day or weeks, it will take a long time till we attain immunity? Also, does it make sense to attain herd immunity by exposing the whole world population to such a contagious disease?

These uncertainties and limited understanding of Coronavirus make it scary to go towards herd community, as it might not be beneficial and might not help in this long fight against novel Coronavirus. Maybe we can’t even attain herd immunity by this way and focus on vaccine development. Thus, the best option we have to fight this virus is to reduce the spread of it. With the ease of movement and work, we must take necessary measures to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from exposure to this microscopic infectious agent. We must continue following safe and hygienic practices and restrict meeting people (if possible) as humans are the spreader of this disease.

 Resources

https://www.jhsph.edu/covid-19/articles/achieving-herd-immunity-with-covid19.html

https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/who-chief-scientist-soumya-swaminathan-interview-data-is-key-to-control-coronavirus-pandemic/article31319156.ece

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/japanese-woman-reinfected-with-coronavirus-weeks-after-initial-recovery

image from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/herd-immunity/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/13/opinion/coronavirus-immunity.html

Coronavirus: What is/will be “New Normal” ?

I have had many discussions with friends and family on how long will we be living like this? Under lockdown, quarantine, restricted travel, long ques for groceries and essential, always wearing masks, limited entertainment, no movie dates or dinner dates, always sanitizing surfaces, thermal scans everywhere, etc. But most importantly with fear of falling sick or fear of having your loved ones falling sick and maybe losing them. The government has not been telling when things can get back to normal, but what does this normal look like? Will we be able to socialize the way we used to be, will the business be able to operate the same way, will office space be the same? There are many such questions. As an entrepreneur I face this issue all the time, how do I get my company going ahead, I don’t want lockdown as it affects operations for us, but as a scientist, I understand the importance of not entering community transmission stage. Jiggling between a practical view of freedom to work to another practical view of saving our health, I have accepted this new normal during the COVID pandemic. Though lockdown is a stringent and unusual mechanism, it cannot be followed for long periods as the socio-economic consequences are massive, that’s why the government is now easing it. This would mean all (or most) of us will be able to get back to what we were doing before, but it will be different this time, NEW NORMAL.

SARS-Cov2Let us understand one thing, this novel Coronavirus will not disappear one day when the lockdown is lifted, viruses can stay for a very long time outside the human body as well. This virus needs a host to replicate and multiply, once it is outside, it is as good as a non-living thing. But the virus does not die out. Virus is amazing, a packet of genetic information which is alive only when it is inside a host. I would like to mention a breakthrough which happened on 9 December 1979 when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the world has eradicated smallpox because of a global vaccine initiative that was started in 1959. Smallpox is one of the deadliest infectious disease caused by a virus known to humankind with about 30% mortality and history dating back to 3000 years old Egyptian mummy. In the 20th century, it caused death in about 300-500 million people. The first vaccine ever to be made was for smallpox in 1796 by Dr. Edwerd Jenner. Coming to the point that I wanted to make with this example, is the timeline in this case. Smallpox virus is known for thousands of years, the first vaccine developed in 1796, and eradication happened about 183 years later in 1979 with an effort of 30 years of a global initiative. Those were old times, with less technology and pace.

Now the world is fast-moving and technology is getting better, but till now we don’t even have a vaccine or drug to treat this novel coronavirus pandemic. Even if vaccines are developed faster, scaling it up even faster and implementing it quickly on the world population is a huge challenge. People like you and me, who are not at high risk of viruses, will have to wait a while before we will receive a vaccine. WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan in an interview said with an optimistic view it can take four to five years to control this virus. Sharing her words, “Let’s say we have a vaccine and we’re able to cover the world’s entire population, which may take, I don’t know, three years, four years. So, I would say in a four- to the five-year timeframe we could be looking at controlling this.”

CEDXQXH5MZGE7JLPXUC2APZ4FASo, does that mean we wait optimistically for four to five years? We have seen what two months of lockdown has done to the business, economy, physical and mental well being of individuals. In a month, cities were not able to support migrant workers, who out of hunger, poverty, and no safe shelter decided to start walking to their villages. Things got expensive as manufacturing stopped (or reduced) and inventory prices went higher. On the other end people lost their jobs or got reduced salaries. Many businesses filed for bankruptcy, all form of business are affected- the tourism sector is hit hard, agriculture is hit, the construction sector is hit hard (as we know from migrant worker plea), yet a lot of us had the option of working from home. If two months of lockdown can affect our economy so badly and working scenarios are restricted with norms of physical distancing, how do we work?

Phone and video calls work for remote working but are we working so efficiently. A lot of us have faced issues of poor internet while working remotely, getting distracted by household chores, unable to get the teamwork done fast as we are not able to contact another person smoothly as we would be if both were sitting next to each other in the office. Leave all these operational challenges, not being able to see your teammates while working with them also have an adverse effect on our mind. Apart from working challenges, getting daily essentials like groceries, going out for recreation, meeting your friends have been limited; always wearing masks, and sanitizing surfaces out fear of virus infection has taken a toll on our mental health as well. Humans are social being and we need to interact with other people for our well-being.

Having said all these, we know the virus will not be gone so soon. We all want to be able to go and get groceries without wearing masks or standing in long ques, we don’t want uncertainties of lockdown and curfew. We want to work from our offices like old times. We don’t want to be always worrying about our or loved ones’ lives. Time has come that we start thinking about how do we co-exist with this virus, without fearing it, without it taking a toll on our mental health and being able to work smoothly. We all will adapt to this change in our own ways, the one that helps us the best. It will be a lifestyle change and work culture shift. People who live with elderly or immunocompromised person have to find a way of keeping themselves safe and less exposed to the virus. Sanitization will become a routine of daily chores. The business which can go digital will try that. Offices will see people in a new avatar, with everyone carrying sanitizers and wearing masks while working, flexible working hours might be introduced so that not many people are present at once in office. Eating together as a group might not be possible soon, so everyone will be having solo lunch and coffee breaks. Dates, movies and leisure activities will have to be limited. This is a general change that will affect all of us, more specific will be defined by industry, stage, and what you do. I hope we all start looking at ways to get going instead of halting, so that we adapt faster.

Resources

https://www.who.int/csr/disease/smallpox/en/

https://www.cdc.gov/smallpox/history/history.html

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/14/coronavirus-who-warns-it-could-take-up-to-5-years-to-control-pandemic.html

The tale of metamorphosis, Batra srishtensis

It is an amazing feeling to be part of such a wonderful group for my PhD. Before covid, when defence use to happen in person and not over zoom meetings. When celebrations were not virtual and social gatherings with fun games was a thing.  I got late in  sharing this, its from December 2019

NICE

This week was very special for the NICE lab as the first student from the lab, Srishti Batra, metamorphosed into Dr. Srishti Batra by successfully defending her thesis. As part of her PhD, she worked on a promiscuous volatile, extracted from Artimesia plant, named coffee furanone and showed its function in stimulating the insect olfactory system using tools from neurophysiology, animal behavior and bioinformatics, highlighting its role as a potential insect repellent.

But apart from the thesis defense, she also had to face a “real” defense, which tested her skills at a whole new level.

Congratulations on your metamorphosis, Dr. Srishti Batra!

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Coronavirus: Food Safety in times of Pandemic

Hello readers, I hope you are having a great time and in the best of health during the tough pandemic times. Today I am writing about Safe food practices in times of Coronavirus. I see a lot of crazy things happening around and so many myths regarding what to eat or not, so I thought of writing out only scientifically proven things. Trust me I am a biologist, scientist, and agritech entrepreneur. I will talk only about facts and will share reliable sources at the end of blog

European Food safety authority has issued that they did not find evidence that Coronavirus spreads from food or their packaging material. Coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets of a sick person. It can be sticking on surfaces for a few hours to a couple of days, like on cardboard for 24 hours, steel knobs, and plastic for 3 days. But in this time virus is inactive and does not grow or multiply increasing in number. It can multiply only inside the human body. It cannot grow or multiply in fruits, vegetables, poultry, etc. Thus, making it very difficult to spread via food. But if people who handle food are sick can be a problem and can increase the transmission of the virus.

All sorts of food like meat, poultry, eggs, fish, fruits, and vegetables are safe to consume and one does not need to stop eating them because of fear of this virus. Many people have told me that they stopped eating chicken or meat because the virus spreads from it. The virus does not spread from it, if you eat clean and properly well-cooked meat, it is safe to eat. Wash your raw meat with potable running water and cook properly. Do not wash with soap water. This applies for eggs as well, don’t wash eggs with disinfectant, chemicals can go through the shell and will remain inside the egg. If you are super nervous, just wash eggs with running water. When you are cooking an egg, heat will kill all microbes.

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Another important thing, many people have asked me about washing food, some are even washing them with soap/dettol water. To this, I would like to say, that it’s an overkill to wash eatables with disinfectant substances. Wash your food with potable running water, that will remove most of the microbes, and cook your food well, as cooking will kill microbes. Virus, bacteria, and other microbes generally become inactive or die at high temperatures (70˚+ Celsius), which is attained while cooking. The food which you prefer to eat raw, take extra care in washing them properly, you can wash them with saltwater and there are other methods as well (see attached WHO link for details).

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When it comes to food, keep one important thing in mind, food will not have a virus, it is human who can transmit. So before preparing food, wash your hand properly, keep your kitchen area clean. Also, if someone is sick, then that person should not cook food and be quarantined alone in a room with a private toilet. The food should be served to the sick person in room and dishes washed properly with soap afterward.

We all are receiving amazing WhatsApp forwards, So let us see the reality of a few them and find out if they are true or false. I am sharing these myths bursting clips from IndSciCov, which is an initiative by Indian scientists to fight Covid19 misinformation and World health organization (WHO).

Resources:

Matrabhasha Vigyani Group 

https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/news/coronavirus-no-evidence-food-source-or-transmission-route

https://covid-gyan.in/

https://indscicov.in/

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

food decontamination WHO:

https://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/food-decontamination/en/

Food safety guidelines WHO:

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/covid-19-and-food-safety-guidance-for-food-businesses

WHO myth buster:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

Coronavirus- Flatten the Curve

In my previous blog, I talked about Cornonviruses and COVID19 in general. I touched three major diseases- SARS2002, MERS-2012, COVID19, and how Covid19 is unique.

For this blog, I will talk about what does it mean to “flatten the curve”. To understand this, first, I will explain the symptoms and spread of this virus.

This virus affects the respiratory tract of humans. Most people who get infected show flu-like symptoms- cough, fever, tiredness, headache, etc. in many cases, diarrhea is also reported. Another symptom that has been reported by patients across globe is the loss of smell and taste. This last symptom is very interesting though we don’t have much understanding about it right now. Globally scientists (including me as well) in the field of taste and smell are working on understanding what is the correlation between virus and these two senses. Most people (about 80%) have very mild symptoms and only 1 in 5 people get a serious illness. The chunk of population who are immunocompromised, or have a pre-existing medical condition like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc. are at high risk of becoming severely ill due to this virus.

The disease spread via respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes releasing virus particles in the air. Once the virus comes in the air, it can spread easily. If it lands on a surface, it can be sticking there for a few hours to a couple of days, and if someone touches that, they might catch the virus via contact with the infected surface. Sometimes, a person might be having coronavirus infection and does not show any symptoms (asymptomatic patient), thus making it very difficult to track the virus spread.

To summarize, virus spread via two ways: via coming in contact with someone infected with virus or contact with surfaces where virus might be sticking. To stop the spread, the best way is to isolate (Quarantine) infected, avoiding social interactions and disinfect surfaces.

Curve
No of cases over time worldwide

Now let’s come to the CURVE and what does it mean to FLATTEN THE CURVE ? The Curve here refers to the graph of number of patients over a period of time. If we see today’s worldometer graph, the number of patients is increasing over time and within 3-4 months, more than 4.3 million people worldwide are infected. Looking at these number come the question, can our health care system take care of so many patients? To quantify the potential of health care system, we use the metric of number of hospital beds available. Let us understand with an example, every country like India has only limited number of hospital beds which is generally way less than the population of country and these health care facilities are also not uniformly distributed across country. for instance rural areas have less facilities as compared to cities. India has already crossed the patient mark of 70 thousand since March and the count is increasing, with ramped-up testing in progress. Everyday about three thousand individuals are tested positive in India and this is at a stage when country is under lockdown for 50+ days and strict social/physical distancing protocols are implemented. Really soon India will reach the mark that it will not have have enough ICU beds for patients. This is exactly what happened in Italy, the number of Covid 19 patients rose sharply that there was not enough spaces or beds in hospital to treat patients.

daily-cases-india - CopyTill now I have been only talking about Covid19 patients, now let’s think about other diseases and emergencies. Healthcare system has to cater to other patients and emergencies as well. There are patients who come with chronic illness and emergencies to hospital and require medical care, like diabetes, strokes, heart problems, accidents etc. If all our health care is focused on Covid19, a lot of these patients will be neglected. India on an annual basis sees about 5 million patients requiring ICU services, this number is from before Covid19 pandemic. We have to make sure that our health system is not overloaded and we are able to provide care to patients in need. We can not assume that in a short period we will have enough hospital beds, doctors, nurses and health care professionals to treat people, that is impractical, so the only way we can make sure that patients are treated is that we keep their number on any single day low. If all of a sudden number of patients increases on a given day, that particular day health care services will not be able to provide them support and people will start dying.

Flatten the curve
This graph shows two scenarios 1. Blue color: when number of cases are above the capacity of health care system 2. Orange color: When number of cases on any given day is less then threshold capacity of health care system

We as society have to make sure that number of patients in any single day does not cross the threshold capacity of our health care system. By reducing the spread of virus, we are reducing the number of cases per day, thus helping our medical system in taking care of fewer patients each day. If we are able to reduce spread, a smaller number of patients will be added every day and the graphs shape will change to a flat plateau, thus making the popular phrase “FLATTEN THE CURVE”.

By following the measures of social distancing, we can reduce this number and flatten the curve. By flattening this curve, we are keeping disease under control and our scientific teams can work on finding therapeutics, drugs and vaccines against this Virus. These researchers need time to work on vaccines, drugs and testing which makes it even more crucial that we keep the disease spread under control and get some more time to work on these research areas.

Links :

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/worldwide-graphs/

https://cddep.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/State-wise-estimates-of-current-beds-and-ventilators_24Apr2020.pdf

Coronavirus : An Introduction

As the whole world is under lockdown due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19), I am writing this blog about the virus. Trust me, I am a biologist and will try to provide only scientific proven facts. So, all (or most) of us have seen in news and media that Covid 19 is a deadly virus disease and we have no cure for it.

I am not sure how many of you remember the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic which started in 2002. I was 11 years old when SARS epidemic hit the China and some other countries. I vaguely remember that I wanted to attend India International Trade fair that year and warning were being issued about SARS. I don’t remember if it hit India and as a kid, I never bothered to figure out more at that time. I would just go with my routine of school, study and play as usual. Today, I found out, India had 3 patients of SARS back in 2002, who recovered later.

When this year Covid19 was declared pandemic, I immediately went into flashback mode and memory of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) came back, Covid19 didn’t remind me of recent epidemics like, MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), Ebola or H1N1 and I don’t know why. I got curious to know if something is common in between SARS  2002 and COVID19. A little research led me to an answer of “YES”. SARS which happened in 2002 was also by a coronavirus, not the same though which we are encountering now. Also, MERS, epidemic which hit middle east in 2012 was by a coronavirus

For this blog I will try to focus on two things; What are corona viruses? and how different COVID19 is from diseases caused by other Coronaviruses

Coronaviruses belongs to the family of viruses called Coronaviridae and they typically affect respiratory tract of birds and mammals. The word corona means “Crown”, these coronaviruses have crown like shape and spike like proteins which attach to host cells. Coronaviruses have zoonotic origin, meaning they came from animals. The genetic material of these viruses is RNA. There are 7 types of coronaviruses (see picture) which are known to infect human and cause respiratory problem. Four of these are common coronaviruses (HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43 and HKU1) which causes common flu and the other three types have gone on to become epidemic worldwide- SARS-2002, MERS-2012 and Covid19. The 2002 strain is called SARS-Cov and 2019 strain is called SARS-Cov-2, and both these viruses have origin from bats. MERS had origin in bats too, and it’s spread was via  infected camels. If we look into their genomes, SARS-Cov and SARS-Cov-2 share 86% homology, sort of cousins.

pathogens-09-00231-g002
Animal origins of Human Coronaviruses

SARS 2002 caused death in about 9% of patients, with number of reported cases to be 8098 across 26 countries. MERS-CoV outbreak that originated in 2012 in Saudi Arabia spread to 27 countries with 2494 infections and 858 deaths, with a case fatality rate of 34.4%. Till now, Covid 19 has caused death in about 7% patients, with reported cases surging high and presently about 3.42M cases and 244K deaths in over 213 countries and territories. The major organ SARS-Cov-2 affects is lungs, but has potential to affect other organs like liver, intestine etc. Common symptoms are flu like fever, cough, headache cold etc. and in severe cases it causes pneumonia. The rate of transmission of Covid 19 really sets it apart from MERS 2012 or SARS 2002, thus making it a pandemic. MERS 2012 was a deadly disease, but its spread was limited as the illness spreads through close contact with people who already had an infection. SARS-2002 was deadly as well and affected upper and lower respiratory tract, it spread to over 26 countries, but transmission was contained by July 2003 after rigorous infection control practices which included isolating and quarantine. Covid 19 has spread all over the world in less than 3 months since the first reported cases in December 2019. It is airborne-virus, which makes the transmission fast. It is transmitted via air droplets when someone with virus coughs or sneezes. Sometimes, people might be carrying virus and not get any symptoms at all, but these people are able to transmit the virus and infect others. The incubation period, which is the time virus is spends in body before any symptoms are visible is about 5-7 days for SARS-Cov-2, which is longer than MERS and SARS. This incubation period also makes it difficult to identify if someone is sick. Alongwith this SARS- Cov-2 can stick to surfaces and remain on them for few hours, leading to transmission via contact with these surfaces. All these features added, make the transmission fast and difficult to contain the virus. Currently, the best solution we have to minimize transmission is that we avoid our contact with others and avoid going to places, this is called social distancing. For this reason, the countries have opted out drastic step of lockdown, so that we can stop the spread of this virus. We don’t have any cure yet for it and our medical services are not equipped to tackle such high number of cases at once. With lockdown, we are slowing the spread so that we don’t overwhelm our medical services and patients get treatment.

I will end this here and will discuss more on Covid19 in next blog. Remember the best way to combat Covid19 is by not spreading it, STAY HOME and STAY SAFE

Resources:

Photo by CDC

Javier A. James et al. Phylogenetic Analysis and Structural Modeling of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Reveals an Evolutionary Distinct and Proteolytically Sensitive Activation Loop. Journal of Molecular Biology, 19 April 2020. Doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2020.04.009

Firas A. Rabi et al. SARS-CoV-2 and Coronavirus Disease 2019: What We Know So Far.

Pathogens. Link : https://www.mdpi.com/2076-0817/9/3/231/htm

World Health Organization. Summary of probable SARS cases with onset of illness from 1 November 2002 to 31 July 2003. 2004.

 

How I met the world of research: A personal blog of my research journey

A personal journal 🙂 Hope you enjoy reading

NICE

by Srishti Batra – My thesis defense last year marked a milestone in my decade-long research studies. Wait, I didn’t spend 10 years doing a PhD! I spent only 5 and the other half was spent on a Bachelors and Masters of Science (BS- MS) from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research – IISER, Mohali. Today I am sharing my journey into the research world.

I was preparing for conventional engineering programs after school finished and everyone was shocked when I choose IISER-Mohali for pure sciences. To be honest, even I was doubting myself at the beginning. I had joined IISER-Mohali as that was the first admission offer I had, added to that was a scholarship from Department of Science and Technology (DST), which meant I would be financially independent for next five years.

First time exposure to research in chemistry labs during my first semester of undergraduate studies…

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ECRO 2019

Recently I had an opportunity to present at European Chemoreception Research Organisation ECRO2019 meeting. The meeting was hosted by SISSA (International School for Advanced Studies) and International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in the beautiful city of Trieste, Italy.

I had been to this city previously and its always a pleasure to come back to ICTP, which is situated just next to the beautiful Miramare castle. This time I had an opportunity to preset my research work at one of the symposium of the conference. I am glad that ICTP supported my travel and made it possible for me to attend ECRO 2019

Sharing some pictures from the amazing chemoreception meeting

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Let’s Talk

An important read for everyone.

NICE

EDITOR’S NOTE: We often think of the sciences as objective and unemotional fields, but the stress and uncertainty of being in research means that mental health issues are common. More than 40% of postgraduate researchers face some form of depression or stress-related problem, as do many students. If you or someone you know needs advice, help, or simply an ear to listen to, please contact these numbers in India.

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by Srishti Batra – How many people do you know around yourself who are battling mental health issues – be it anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), delusions or even depression. I, at least, know a handful of these brave people who are fighting every day to lead a happy life. These people are not weak; they are full of ambitions and brave hearts who are trying to fight these inner monsters of mental health to lead a successful and happy…

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