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Booster dose of six vaccines for strong immune response?

The new variant – Omicron has given a jolt to all globally since the world had just started to open up and economies showing a positive trend.

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New Variant
Source: @Business Standard

The new variant – Omicron has given a jolt to all globally since the world had just started to open up and economies showing a positive trend. But with 21 confirmed cases in India, there is a need to safeguard ourselves and understand that the pandemic is far from over.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant increased five times overnight as nine people in Rajasthan, seven in Pune and one in Delhi tested positive for the new strain on Sunday. The total count stood at 21. Delhi’s first patient infected with the Omicron variant is a 33-year-old male who returned from Tanzania recently. He is fully vaccinated and is at present undergoing treatment at the Capital’s Lok Nayak Hospital.

Among the nine cases confirmed in Jaipur, health officials are concerned about a surge in infections within a cluster of people associated with a four-member family from South Africa. The family had attended a wedding in Jaipur on November 28, 2021.

In the Pune Metropolitan Region, a woman of Indian origin from Nigeria and her two daughters and their three contacts tested positive for Omicron. Another man who had travelled to Pune from Finland via Mumbai also tested positive for the variant.

Amid questions about whether the Omicron variant may cause milder illness compared to the previous strains, evidence from initial cases is limited. However, among 70 cases reported in Europe that provided information on disease severity, half of the patients were asymptomatic and half had mild symptoms, reported the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

No cases of severe disease were reported and there were no hospitalisations or deaths. The European agency, however, said that data on hundreds of cases will be needed to accurately assess the complications, and it could take weeks. Most cases reported in Europe have been in younger people thus far, who were fully vaccinated, and therefore, less likely to develop severe disease.

This means that there is an urgent need for everyone to get vaccinated. A total of 127.93 crore doses have been administered across the country till Sunday, with over 85% of the 18-plus population covered with at least one dose. This is a positive move.

But there was a case on December 3, 2021, where an Italian man tried to avoid the vaccine. He wore a fake arm. Remember that vaccination is for our good. There have been enough studies that show there are mild symptoms for those who are double jabbed.

Results of the COV-BOOST multicenter phase II trial show that the booster dose of six vaccines generated a strong immune response in persons who had completed their primary vaccination with either the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The vaccines studied included Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech, Novavax, Janssen, Moderna, Valneva and Curevac. The side effects of all vaccines were minor.

For the trial, 2878 participants were enrolled in the month of June; they had received two doses of either Pfizer or Oxford-AstraZeneca (first dose in December 2020, January 2021 or February 2021). The study was conducted at 18 sites in the UK.

“Participants had received their first doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in December 2020, or January, or February, and second doses at least 70 days (for Oxford–AstraZeneca) or 84 days (for Pfizer-BioNTech)” before study entry. Anti-spike protein IgG generated was evaluated at 28 days.

In persons who had taken the Oxford vaccine as their primary vaccination, the mean anti-spike protein antibody (IgG) after 28 days ranged from 1.8 times in the half Valneva group to 32.3 higher in the m1273 group. After two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the booster dose increased the spike IgG (mean) from 1.3 times in the half Valneva group to 11.5 times in the m1273 group.

“GMRs for wild-type cellular responses compared with controls ranged from 1.0 for half VLA to 4.7 for m1273 vaccine”. The response to booster doses was comparable between the participants aged 30–69 years and those aged 70 years and older. The most common reported side effects after booster dose were injection site pain, muscle soreness and fatigue.

This trial has demonstrated the effectiveness of all vaccines tested in boosting immunity following initial immunization with Oxford-Astra and Pfizer vaccines. All the booster vaccines studied were found to increase the immune response 28 days after initial vaccination with both Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine doses. After the two Pfizer vaccine doses, all vaccines except Valneva boosted the immune response. All vaccines were found safe to be used.

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Lifestyle

Here are the miraculous 7 HR trends that will surprise you

The COVID-19 pandemic and the hybrid work model that came because of it has brought in significant disruption in the way the HR function operates. Here are a few trends to watch out for

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HR Trends
Source: @Pixentia

For the year 2022, the HR function will need to reimagine and reinvent itself. This will help to keep pace with the changing time and needs of people. Some of the critical tasks in front of the HR function will be to:

  1. Evolve from being the enforcer of HR Policies to representing people to frame a new set of policies
  2. Building organizational culture in a Physivirtual world
  3. Creating a new paradigm on communication when you don’t see or meet your employees regularly
  4. Address the enhanced anxiety level of employees and help them on their overall well-being

Trends expected

HR practices would be realigned to be in sync with the hybrid work model

A hybrid model of working with some employees working from offices and some from home or away from the office is a reality. It is expected to remain the same. Even when the pandemic recedes, many companies are expected to continue with a hybrid model of working.

The HR function needs to align and rediscover itself to the same. It needs to bring in policies, procedures and practices that support this. Let’s take some examples. Policies on the eligibility of transport allowance for employees may need change.

The process of recruitment would change with fewer in-person interviews. Learning and development programmes may need to be more digital. Companies may be able to offer more attractive work policies for returning mothers with options of work from home.

The benefit and reward management system would need critical refinement

This system would need to look beyond traditional monetary benefits. It will need to bring in aspects that promote mental health and the overall well-being of employees and their families. Organizations that look at the holistic benefit of employees would continue to thrive and grow.

Digital HR will be the need of the hour

The HR function will have to come alive on a robust digital platform. More so, for a mobile app. To ensure easy access to all employees as in-person meetings and discussions will be rarer. Companies will look at investing in a digital platform.

This is to bring the whole HR function, including organization culture, ethos and values into a digital platform. This will help employees to feel and understand the organization they are working in.

HR will need to support the Mental health and well-being of the team

The HR function will move beyond supporting the needs of employees at the office. It will look at the overall well-being of the team. There will be a special focus on mental health. There will need to be strengthened with psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors working with the team.

HR will look beyond supporting the employees and look at the well-being of their family

There will be a need to make a distinction between home and workplace. Since this is becoming hazy and work timings becoming flexible. The HR function will not only have to focus on the mental health and well-being of their employees but even extend it to their families. Initiatives like awareness sessions, counselling sessions, meditation sessions for family members will have to be brought in the future.

There will be a tremendous focus on virtual team bonding

The hybrid working environment has become a reality. The traditional concept of a team working together at the same location or in office premises will change. The HR function will need to reinvent itself. It will have to be able to help teams bond, collaborate and build camaraderie despite distances.

This would be a critical area. It will define the success of companies and organizations which are able to drive, motivate and build a cohesive team. Even though located in separate places it will thrive and win in the marketplace.

The Learning and Development function would need to bring in digital interventions for upskilling

The present pandemic and the hybrid work model and digital drive have ensured that people would need newer skills to succeed. Most of the new skills and upskilling initiatives will need to be delivered virtually and hence the learning and development function will need to change. Bringing in online learning programmes with the use of new-age digital interventions like gamification, simulations and VR will bring an enhanced learning experience.

To sum up quickly, the new year promises to be a special year for the HR function. With a clear need and scope of reimagining and reinventing itself. The focus will be a lot more on digital and the overall health and well-being of employees and their immediate families.

The hybrid work environment will also offer them scope for bringing in numerous benefits. This will include the chance to offer more attractive work options for returning mothers, which they should consider. Organizations that will thrive in these challenging times are the ones where the HR function will be up to the task and meet these challenges.

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Lifestyle

Three popular courses to pursue in Canada

Studying abroad is a dream of every student since it opens a plethora of opportunities. Off late, Canada has become a preferred destination for Indians for certain courses… Read on

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Popular Cases
Source: @ Leverage Edu

Studying abroad is an exciting prospect. It opens so many doors for the aspirants and offers them an opportunity to explore different cultures by giving them international exposure. Besides the advantage of getting an international professional degree, enhancing language skills, building an impactful professional network and expanding different global perspectives are some other benefits.

Studying overseas definitely plays a critical role in a well-rounded education. So, have you been planning to pursue your higher education abroad? If yes, then Canada should be your first choice.

The reasons

First, the country is popular among Indian students. In 2019, Indian students accounted for more than a third of all study permits issued. In 2020, the number rose to almost half, according to the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). Second, the country offers varied courses that could be on a student’s consideration list.

Courses to pursue

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math: STEM, in any vertical, plays a crucial part in the world’s economy. Canadian colleges offer several programmes across various STEM disciplines. Programmes like Mathematics or computer science are quite popular. As per the IRCC, for IT and computing studies in particular, Indian students accounted for 67.4 per cent of all new Canadian study permits issued in 2019 and 2020.

An engineering degree from Canada is a high employability factor. These subjects are taught with hands-on practices by the best faculties in the world. Universities in Canada are among the best globally. They are accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Canadian institutions provide low-cost yet high-quality education. They offer a ton of public and private scholarships for international students. Some of the courses that students can pursue are software or computer engineering, mechanical engineering and chemical engineering.

Business and Finance: When it comes to becoming a successful business leader and entrepreneur, it demands proper skills, innovation and a strong execution strategy. Enrolling in the right business school ensures long-term career success. It will help to develop an individuals’ entrepreneurial skills. It enables them to test their launch ideas. Business management and finance courses are very popular.

The Masters of Business Administration is among the most sought-after programme. The line of management consulting, finance, and banking never goes out of style. There’s also a lot of interest in this field from Indian students based in India. Between the years 2017 and 2019, the number of Canadian study permits issued to Indian students for business, marketing, and management programs grew by 256 per cent according to the IRCC.

Health and Medicine: The present pandemic has wreaked havoc across the world. The need and demand for healthcare workers in every country is rising quickly. Job vacancies in the Canadian healthcare and social assistance industry hit nearly 1.1 lakh in June 2021. Attracting newcomers into these fields will be critical for Canada’s long-term growth. There will also be a dire need for digitally-skilled healthcare workers given health tech jobs are expected to hit nearly 1. 2 lakh by 2022 according to Statistics Canada.

Due to Canada’s high standard of medical education curriculum, many international students prefer Canada as one of their study destinations. Verticals like preventive drugs, human psychology, and managing illness are in higher demand. These help to increase public safety during pandemics and disasters. Employees in these industries have a chance to be forerunners of research and bring valuable services to their communities.

Remember that employers are progressively searching for professionals who possess culturally-diverse abilities and cutting-edge skills. Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience. It has been proven to positively impact your career trajectory. If you’re just starting to plan out the next four years of your post-secondary education, it’s worth it to consult an expert in the international education industry.

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Lifestyle

Five healthy beverages for rest of the year

The New Year always starts with all of us wanting to be a better version of ourselves. Here’s a quick reminder to stay on course with a few healthy beverages.

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Healthy Beverages
Source: ShopBack

We are well into the second week of 2022. Many of us would have already slipped and forgotten all about the resolutions made on December 31, 2021, at midnight. Here’s a quick reminder to stay on course with a few healthy beverages.

The New Year always starts with all of us wanting to be a better version of ourselves. We all want to look good and young. The resolution is the first step we take towards. Be it about being fit and following a healthy eating habit or just boosting immunity.

With the third wave of COVID-19 once again wreaking havoc, it is time for a warm cup of drink. It can refresh us and soothe our souls. We can indulge in a tasty cup of a treat. All this without breaking our resolution and staying healthy.

Adding a cup of tea will do the trick. We can enjoy every moment without the guilt trip. Tea is the oldest and most craved drink. It gives our mood an upswing. No matter how we make it, black, green, infused, or just the plain good old masala tea. Each cup will always tingle our taste buds and fill us with joy. The drink that originated in Asia is now ruling the world.

And it is not just about the taste. Tea has several health benefits. It is a rich source of flavonoids and bioactive compounds. These can lessen stress and relieve inflammation. Here are the five healthy beverages to kickstart the new year.

Lemongrass Masala Chai

It is a blend of warm spices with fresh lemongrass. It is perfect for a cold winter evening. You can enjoy its light, lemony, sweet, and refreshing flavours. All this in one cup of tea. The Tulsi lemongrass tea is preferred for its refreshing taste and aroma.

Just add warm water and sugar/honey to taste. This soothing herb tea relaxes and refreshes your body. The delicate and refreshing infusion of flavours can also be tried with ice.

Teas

This redefines the way you experience your everyday tea. You cannot resist trying out these traditional teas in different ranges. These are: Himalayan green tea, Turmeric spiced herbal tea tisane, Mint Melody green tea and Tangy Tamarind Iced Tea to name a few.

This tea is made from the freshest and the best quality ingredients with climate and plastic neutrality. It also offers a latte with spiced flavours. This helps you to sail through the day. To relish a creamy sweet cup of natural goodness, take your preferred tea and add milk or low-fat dairy milk.

Iced Tea/Matcha

These teas are known for their unique blends. A few varieties of teas range from ice teas, matcha, caffeine-free herbal teas and tea bundles. What’s even better? You can customize your own tea according to your flavours!

The company lets you create your own tea blend choosing a tea blend and up to six ingredients! It also offers tea with concerns for weight loss, sleeps care, hormonal balance, throat care, detox and digestion, skincare immunity-boosting and hair care. What more can you want in the New Year?

Green Tea

We all acknowledge the plethora of benefits that green tea offers. It is more than just a hydrating beverage. It is low in calories; it contains less caffeine than black tea and coffee. Did you know that green tea has the highest concentration of antioxidants? This tea promotes health and well-being and is sure to make you feel great.

Herbal Leaf Teas

Made from dried fruits, flowers, spices or herbs, herbal teas come in a wide range of flavours. It also offers several health properties. Depending on the herbal blend, there are three varieties of herbal teas — rose, chamomile and hibiscus. These have nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As the world is moving towards a healthy regime, this is the go-to drink on a cold winter night.

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