Saturday 2 May 2020

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

02 May  2020


The real estate agent called to touch base with me. I said we were not selling. He reminded me that few years back, we had thought of selling. I said that back then we were thinking of settling down in Sri Lanka; but not any more. Later yesterday, when I heard on the news that real estate prices were dropping, the penny dropped. It was however exercise of undue influence and confirms lack of feelings for fellow Australians.

Natural forces however helped me appreciate where I was needed more right now. I was needed more here in Australia due to my family’s and community’s need to sustain themselves with lesser cash resources but stronger human resources which we have become more aware of due to the lockdown and our natural acceptance of it.

Yesterday, I heard from a Sri Lankan relative who watches Indian TV – that India had returned Virus test-kits  donated by China to China. But this morning when I was directed by a Tamil Diaspora coordinator to the Sri Lanka Guardian  article headed ‘Test Kits From China: Yet Another Blindfolded Business?  by N.S.Venkataraman, I felt disappointed with India. As per that report:
[India ordered from China more than half a million kits to boost its screening. After receiving the test kits, the top agency dealing with Coronavirus outbreak in India said that the performance of the test kits received from China are not reliable]
India and China are known to oppose each other. By ordering the ‘Test kits’ at this time, during this humanitarian crisis,  India became an ‘insider’ with China. A tailor in Northern Sri Lanka was producing masks out of ordinary material and distributing them locally – as part of his service. The standard would have been poor; but the feeling with which it was done was rich.
Trade with China becomes an issue to many nations until we know the causes and take measures to prevent recurrence. But apparently not so to India. As per the above report:
[After receiving the test kits, ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) , the top agency dealing with Coronavirus outbreak in India, said that the performance of the test kits received from China are not reliable and therefore, asked all states in India not to use the Chinese test kits anymore.]
That was their decision and ought to have been kept confidential because it was India’s mistake to order from China – a nation that India does not trust. The principle of Caveat Emptor applies under such circumstances.
As per the article :
[This decision of ICMR not to use test kits from China has provoked angry reactions from China , which termed Indian decision as unfair and irresponsible. China gave itself self certification that Chinese authorities have validated the equipment produced by the two Chinese firms namely Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics.
Like a typical seller who would like to save his skin after supplying bad quality products , China has virtually accused Indian medical practitioners of not having enough expertise to use the equipment. China said “ the tests needed to be carried out in a professional manner to produce accurate results. There are strict requirements for the storage, transportation and use of COVID 19 antibody rapid test kits. Any operation which is not carried out by professionals in accordance with the product specifications will lead to the testing accuracy variations”….
…Earlier, when countries like Spain rejected the test kits from China due to quality issues , China responded by offering to replace them. However, when India rejected test kits , China has termed it as irresponsible decision. Does this mean that China has different yardsticks for different countries and views India’s decision with contempt ?]
China is India’s largest trading partner, while USA is China’s largest trading partner. Then comes the EU which Spain is a part of. India’s order could have been to maintain its advantage with China. One must have the full picture in a global crisis like this and not ‘judge’ prematurely. By judging prematurely we do not get to the root of the problem because we are distracted by quick and easy benefits on the way.
As per India Today article ‘Coronaviruses found in two Indian bat species: ICMR study dated 15 April 2020
[As the world grapples with coronavirus, researchers have found the presence of a different kind of coronavirus -- bat coronavirus (BtCoV) --in two bat species from Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, according to a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
There is no evidence or research to claim that these bat coronaviruses can cause disease in humans, said Dr Pragya D Yadav, Scientist at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune and also the first author of study.]

As per Virology Journal article ‘Bat origin of human coronaviruses’ published on 22 December 2015:

[Based on genomic sequence analysis, these bat coronaviruses were grouped into lineage C of the genus Betacoronavirus. After the outbreak of MERS, MERS-CoV related coronaviruses were found in more bat species and countries . Among these viruses, full-length or near full-length genomes of BtCoV-HKU4, BtCoV-HKU5, SC2013 and NeoCoV have been characterized. By genomic analysis of lineage C betacoronaviruses, MERS-CoV derived from camels show high similarities to human MERS-CoV with >99.5 % nt identities, confirming that the human and camel isolates belong to the same coronavirus species.]
To my lay mind, BtCoV specified in the India Today article is a ‘ betacoronavirus’
Wikipedia confirms as follows:

[The Beta-CoVs of the greatest clinical importance concerning humans are OC43 (which can cause the common cold) and HKU1 of the A lineage, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 (which causes the disease COVID-19) of the B lineage,[3] and MERS-CoV of the C lineage. MERS-CoV is the first betacoronavirus belonging to lineage C that is known to infect humans]

How Credible in the certification by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)?

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