“It’s a great Indian success story,” said Dr. Jacob John, a former virologist of the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore. He was referring to MenAfriVac, a meningitis A vaccine manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India. The vaccine passed the litmus test during a large-scale vaccine campaign in Banikoara district in the Republic of Benin, West Africa.
In the first-ever use in a developing country, the vaccine remained stable outside the cold chain at temperatures not exceeding 40 degree C for not more than four days. The vaccine should normally be kept in a cold chain at 2-8 degree C. The results of the vaccination programme funded by GAVI and WHO/PATH (which also provided training, supervision, evaluation) were published recently in theVaccine journal.
An independent body under the guidance of the Ministry of Health in Benin conducted active monitoring for adverse events following immunization (AEFI) by comparing the rate and severity of AEFIs in the study area and a control area. “The results of the study, which have been submitted for publication, indicated there was no increase in AEFIs with the CTC practice, and no serious AEFIs reported at all,” Dr. Simona Zipursky, first author of the paper from OPTIMIZE, a WHO/PATH Collaboration, Switzerland noted in an email to this Correspondent.
The fact that controlled temperature chain (CTC) would increase the efficiency of the vaccination campaign was amply demonstrated in Banikoara district, Benin — about 1,50,000 people aged 1-29 years were vaccinated for meningitis A from November 15-25, 2012.
The CTC vaccine greatly helped in increasing vaccination coverage in a few areas where access was a problem and electricity was unreliable. According to the paper, the health workers stayed in the villages for three consecutive days before returning for a refill.
“100 per cent of the vaccinators surveyed felt CTC was either ‘extremely’ useful or ‘relatively useful’. They reported that the biggest benefit from the CTC practice was the fact that it enabled them to vaccinate more people. Other key benefits included: no need to return to health centre every night (hence, able to reach more remote areas), reduced logistic burden (no need to worry about cold chain or ice packs) and reduced wastage,” said Dr. Zipursky.
Another big advantage is the huge savings in cost. “A study published in the WHO bulletin showed that using a CTC approach can reduce the cold chain related campaign costs by 50 per cent. To put it in perspective, for the remaining MenAfriVac campaigns between 2014 and 2016, [the savings would translate] to over $12 million dollars,” Dr. Zipursky noted.
The vaccine was originally meant to be kept at 2-8 degree C at all times. But WHO approved the CTC use after Serum Institute successfully demonstrated its stability and potency even when exposed to higher temperatures. According to the paper, this was the first time WHO had approved a vaccine to be used at ambient temperature in developing countries
“Even prior to the request, we had done trials of up to 40 degree C,” said Dr. Suresh Jadhav, Executive Director of Serum Institute. “As it is a heat-stable vaccine, we wanted to see if it remains potent even when exposed to 40 degree C.”
But the test period was restricted to one week. “We conducted this study even when it was not required,” he said. But the duration of test was extended to one month when the company was requested to test its stability and potency when exposed to 40 degree C.
“We found the potency was getting reduced after three weeks [of exposure to 40 degree C],” Dr. Jadhav said. “But there was a clear indication that the concept worked.”
The reason why the vaccine remains stable even at 40 degree C is because the freeze drying of the vaccine makes it heat stable or thermostable.
The 40 degree C upper temperature limit has come as a boon to people in the sub-Saharan African belt where about 200,000 people suffer from meningitis every year during the dry season when wind spreads the bacterial spores. Mortality is about 10-15 per cent and morbidity is very high.
“The ambient temperature reached [during the campaign] was 39 degree C,” Dr. Zipursky noted. “Luckily in the African meningitis belt, temperatures during the MenAfriVac campaign season are usually below 40 degree C.”
The dry season during January to June throughout the sub-Saharan belt is when meningitis outbreaks occur. “MenAfrivac has been introduced in 12 countries just before the dry season (November/December since 2010) to protect populations before the meningitis season,” Dr. Olivier Ronveaux, from the Meningitis Focal Point, Control of Epidemic Diseases Team, WHO, Geneva noted in an email.
Besides other huge gains, the cost of the vaccine per se is incredibly low. According to Dr. Jadhav, the cost of one dose is just $0.60 cents (Rs.36). A polysaccharide vaccine, on the other hand, cost about $5 dollars and is not effective as the polysaccharide provides only short-term immunity and hence given during an epidemic. MenAfriVac vaccine is a polysaccharide conjugate vaccine.
“There is a great sense of satisfaction… there is a great sense of achievement,” said Dr. Jadhav “as you can not only save lives but also avoid morbidity.”
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> S & T> Health> Medicine / by R. Prasad / March 05th, 2014
The students created 2,493 handmade pollution masks in 30 minutes
Students of the Sri Krishna College of Engineering and Technology have created a record for making 2,493 handmade pollution masks in 30 minutes, says a release from the college. Elite World Records has recognised the feat and issued a certificate.
The release said that the students made the attempt as part of the Entrepreneurship Week 2014 celebrations, which the National Entrepreneurship Network promoted. Santikar Young, Designated Adjudicator, South Asia, Elite World Records, was present to judge the attempt.
The students created 2,493 masks between 11 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.
The release quoting S. Malarvizhi, Chairperson and Managing Trustee, said that the objective was creation of awareness in the people that pollution prevention masks could be easily made.
The college principal and the vice-principal received the record certificate from the designated adjudicator, the release added .
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Coimbatore / by Staff Reporter / Coimbatore – March 04th, 2014
March 3rd, 2014Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Green Initiatives/ Environment, Historical Links, Pre-Independence, Nature, Records, All
Members of the Krishnagiri-based Indian Rivers Knit Movement (IRKM), an NGO creating awareness about the need for inter-linking and networking of rivers, who are on a ‘paadayatra’ from Hosur to Chennai to meet Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, passed through Vellore on Tuesday evening.
They were received by the members of the National Waterways Development Technologies, another Vellore-based NGO, led by president K K Sridhar and secretary Venkatesan.
The paadayatra has been undertaken to highlight the importance of the inter-linking of rivers and the protection of farmers, said Sardhar, director of the IRKM who organized the event.
Floods and droughts plaguing India, drive farmers to commit suicide and the only solution, to ensure protection to the farmers, is to link all the rivers, he said.
The NGO would appeal to the CM to come up with a policy to set up waterways by linking the rivers in the country.
source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Tamil Nadu / by Express News Service – Vellore / February 20th, 2014
Chetan Bhagat ’s ‘Revolution 2020’ was reviewed
The intercollegiate book review competition organised by the GC Pattabiraman Book Club of Urumu Dhanalakshmi College here on Friday brought to the fore the fact that given an opportunity, students can do anything in style.
The 24 book-reviewers from 12 colleges reviewed Robin Sharma’s ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’, Chetan Bhagat ’s ‘Revolution 2020’, and Shiv Khera’s ‘You Can Win’.
It was evident that the students had closely read the texts and proved their mettle by enthusing the listeners to read the books , said Prof. R. Panchanadhan, Director, Talent Consultancy, chief guest-cum-judge. He congratulated the college for organising the event and gave away the prizes to winners.
A.J. Rufina Amreen of Cauvery College for Women secured the first place winning the cash award of Rs.1,000. The second prize of Rs.750 went to Josephin Shamini of St. Joseph’s College, and the third prize Rs.500 was bagged by A. Vinodhini of Cauvery College for Women.
Cauvery College for Women won the over-all team championship, followed by St. Joseph’s College, and Holy Cross College.
S.Sekar, principal, Urumu Dhanalakshmi College, presided.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Tiruchirapalli / by Syed Muthahar Saqaf / Tiruchi – March 01st, 2014
A convict had killed the judge of the erstwhile Trichinopoli district on the court premises on February 22 in 1916
February 22 was an important day for the judicial officers and advocates of Tiruchi district. It was on this day in 1916 that H.O.D. Harding, the District and Sessions Judge of the erstwhile Trichinopoli, was murdered by a convict for a judgement he delivered, minutes before boarding a chariot on the court campus. The English judge from London had assumed office in October 1913.
The judge, known for his uprightness, had convicted an accused to life sentence in a murder case. The accused, who was subsequently granted bail by the High Court, reached Trichinopoli court with a deadly weapon and attacked Harding. The judge died on the spot.
Later, his body was flown to London. A monument was erected on the court premises in recognition of his service and every year on February 22 judicial officers and lawyers assemble at the memorial to pay their respects to the slain judge. This year too, P.Velmurugan, Principal District and Sessions Judge, along with Poornima, First Additional District Judge, A.R. Rahman, Second Additional District Judge, Balachandar, Chief Judicial Magistrate, and members of the Bar, placed a wreath at the memorial.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Tiruchirapalli / by M. Balaganessin / Tiruchi – February 23rd, 2014
After ‘Kancheepuram Silk’, ‘Madurai Malli’, and Coimbatore wet grinders, makers of “Tirunelveli Halwa”, famous for its taste and long shelf life, and Tuticorin macaroons, an Indianised dish of European macaroons, are trying to get Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
With the GI tag helping the producers in better marketing, especially overseas, more and more producers are seeking to get the registration conferred on products definite to a geographical territory. Speaking at a meeting attended by 20 halwa manufacturers from Tirunelveli and three macaroon manufacturers from Tuticorin to discuss the possibility of getting the GI tags, officials said whether it was ‘Madurai Malli’ (jasmine) or wet grinder of Coimbatore, the tag had made them more famous and helped farmers and manufacturers to get a better price both in the country and abroad.
Additional Public Prosecutor Sanjay Gandhi said GI tag for the halwa or macaroon was possible only if the makers come together and apply for the tag as an association. The officials said there was a problem in getting GI tag for halwa since it was doubtful whether the owners of “Iruttukadai”, whose halwa is the most famous, would join others to get the recognition.
Assistant Registrar of Trade Chinnaraja G.Naidu said 21 products from Tamil Nadu had so far received GI tag while an equal number of others, including makers of ‘Srivilliputhur Palgova’ (milk sweet) have applied for it.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National> Tamil Nadu / by PTI / Tirunelveli – March 01st, 2014
February 26th, 2014Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Business & Economy, Inspiration/ Positive News and Features, Records, All
With chapathis to be served in all the Amma Unavagams, more than 1,600 women employees have begunworking in the canteens to roll out chapathis.
More than two lakh chapathis were prepared by them on Friday. Nearly eight more women will be working in each canteen.
Later, machines which were purchased for the purpose would be used, according to an official of Chennai Corporation.
A plate of two chapathis and dal is priced at Rs. 3.
Tree planting scheme
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday launched a scheme for planting 66 lakh banyan saplings. This is to mark Ms. Jayalalithaa’s 66 birthday, which falls on February 24.
The Chief Minister planted a sapling on the premises of the office of Director General of Police here. In each of the districts, as many as 2.06 lakh saplings would be planted by the Forests Department. Totally, the scheme would cost Rs. 49.18 crore, according to an official release.
source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Chennai / by Special Correspondent / Chennai – February 22nd, 2014
A PhD student from Bodi in Theni district has become the first woman from Tamil Nadu to bag the prestigious Bharat Siksha Ratan award.
U Umadevi (26) daughter of Dr Umakanthan, a veterinary surgeon is a research scholar at the Krishnammal College in Coimbatore. She has six patents in her pocket for drug designs including four for potentiators. She was instrumental in establishing a new branch in science called potentiology.
According to her, the wonder chemicals known as ‘potentiators’ discovered by her with the help of her father can enhance the performance of almost anything from vehicle fuel, cement, rubber and also reduce emission to a large extent.
“When mixed with petrol or diesel it enhances the performance of the latest engines known as multipoint fuel ingestion engines by 12% and that of older engines more. Emission is also reduced by 60 to 90%, reducing the exhaust and also the NOS and hydrocarbons and this has been proven at laboratory level,” she said.
When mixed with cement, it increases the strength of the concrete compression by 36% hence reducing the use of cement by an equal amount. Similarly, the tensile strength of rubber is enhanced by 42% so the durability of rubber goes up so much. When mixed with chicken feed, the broilers harvested in six weeks show just two per cent fat in their body while that of the normal broilers show 20 per cent. When sprayed on cigarettes and then inhaled, the nicotine levels in the cigarettes are reduced by nearly 90%, she said.
She was awarded the Bharat Siksha Ratan award given by the Global Society for Health and Education at a glittering function in New Delhi recently. She received the award from former Tamil Nadu governor Bhishma Narain Singh in the presence of Dr G V G Krishnamurthy (former election commissioner of India), Sardar Joginder Singh (former CBI director). Umadevi says she is proud to be the recipient of this prestigious award and that serving the nation is her vision in life.
Her father adds that they have six different types of potentiators for which they have patents for four. “We have approached major rubber manufacturers and cement industries with this chemical and explained its benefits, but they are not so happy with it. Some of them openly told us that we were finding means to reduce their business and not develop it. This is a really low-cost chemical which would be affordable and economical,” he added.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Madurai / by Padmini Sivarajah, TNN / February 18th, 2014
February 26th, 2014Amazing Feats, Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Historical Links, Pre-Independence, Records, All, World Opinion
The battle for the title of ‘oldest family in the world’ may not be over soon. Just when 13 Manja siblings from Shimoga had staked their claim in the Guinness Book of Records for the spot, another family originally from Thanjavur wants to correct that. While the Shimoga family’s collective age is 880 plus years, the new contenders – a family of 11 siblings – say their ages total a whopping 899 plus years, adding up the months and days too.
On Monday, K V Rajagopal, an 87-year-old retired railway executive currently living in Bangalore, responded to a report in TOI dated February 16 on the Manja family, and claimed that his family beat them in the age battle.
Their family hailed from Thanjavur but later migrated to Nagpur, said Rajagopal, elaborating, “We are a family of 12 siblings of whom 11 are alive. The eldest is 92 years old and youngest, 73. Both live in the US. The collective age of the Manja family adds up to 880 plus and it struck me that we 11 siblings are older by 19 years.”
Rajagopal, the third son of G V Rajagopal and Ranganayaki who are now deceased, says all his siblings were born before Independence. “We have witnessed the freedom struggle as our father was a freedom fighter. All my five aunts studied on scholarships abroad during those days itself,” says Rajagopal.
Theirs is a cosmopolitan family, pipes in his daughter Priyamvada Srinivasan. “Gujaratis, Marathis, Jews, Americans, a German and Punjabi are all in it. I am happy to be a part of this rich old family,” she says.
Currently the family has 43 members. But they have never met at one place together. “We all have flown the nest. We had an ancestral house in Nagpur, where no one lives now. Even our childhood photographs are not with us. As six of my siblings live in the US, one each in the UK and Geneva and other two in Nagpur, we hardly get to meet together at one place, but we are in touch with each other,” says Rajagopal.
“But we are not in any race. I am yet to decide on giving a representation to the Guinness authorities,” he adds. The current holders of the record are London-based Brudennel family with a collective age of 855 years.
NEWEST AND OLDEST?
Rajalakshmi Raghavan (92) lives in the US
V Srinivas (89) lives in Nagpur
K V Rajagopal (87) lives in Bangalore
V Kannan (84) lives in the UK
Kalyani Raghavan (82) lives in Geneva
Dr Maithili Schmidt (80) lives in the US
Sulochana Glazer (79) lives in the US
Rangachari Raghavan (77) lives in Nagpur
Dr Renuka Sethi (76) lives in the US
Badra Raghavan (75) lives in the US
Susheila Bhagat (73) lives in the US
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Bangalore> Namma Metro / by Sunitha Rao, R – TNN / February 18th, 2014
February 24th, 2014Amazing Feats, Arts, Culture & Entertainment, Historical Links, Pre-Independence, Inspiration/ Positive News and Features, Leaders, Records, All, World Opinion
People of Thillaiyadi village in the district have urged the Tamil Nadu government to observe the death centenary of Thillaiyadi Valliammai, a close aide of Mahatma Gandhi during his satyagraha struggle in South Africa .
When Gandhiji started his satyagraha against racial discrimination in South Africa , Valliammai, a 15-year old daughter of an immigrant worker from Thillaiyadi, joined him in the agitation.
She was imprisoned for three months during which she suffered from viral fever. She died on her 16th birthday – Feb 22, 1914.
The Thillaiyadi village panchayat has sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister urging the government to observe the death centenary, falling on coming Feb 22, in a fitting manner.
Soon after his return from South Africa, in 1915, Gandhiji visited the ancestral home of Valliammai in Thillaiyadi.
Years later, Gandhiji had once remarked that it was Valliammai’s sacrifice that increased his resolve to fight for India’s independence.
In 1971, the then DMK Government headed by Chief Minister M Karunanidhi built a spectacular memorial for Valliammai at Thillaiyadi where a statue of the girl, manuscripts of Gandhiji and several rare photographs have been kept.
source: http://www.business-standard.com / Business Standard / Home> PTI Stories> News / by Press Trust of India / Nagapattinam (TN) – February 15th, 2014