Death toll in India building collapse jumps to 39

This photograph provided by India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) shows rescuers at the site after a residential building collapsed in Bhiwandi in Thane district, a suburb of Mumbai, India, Monday, Sept.21, 2020. (AP)
Updated 23 September 2020

Death toll in India building collapse jumps to 39

  • A senior NDRF official told AFP that recovery teams, aided by sniffer dogs, retrieved 39 bodies buried under brick and concrete

MUMBAI:The death toll from an apartment block collapse in western India jumped to 39 Wednesday, officials said, as hopes of finding anyone else alive dimmed.
Emergency workers from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have so far pulled 20 survivors from the rubble of the three-story building in Bhiwandi, near Mumbai.
A senior NDRF official told AFP that recovery teams, aided by sniffer dogs, retrieved 39 bodies buried under brick and concrete after the block came crashing down before dawn on Monday.
“Five people are still missing so... operations are ongoing,” NDRF Commandant Anupam Srivastava said.
An official with the Thane city authority, which oversees Bhiwandi, said the dead included at least eight children.
The cause of the incident was not immediately clear, but building collapses are common during India’s June-September monsoon season, with old and rickety structures buckling under days of non-stop rain.
Heavy overnight downpours in the Mumbai region forced railway authorities to reschedule or cancel trains in the city Wednesday due to waterlogging on tracks.
Mumbai city officials also declared Wednesday a holiday, advising residents to stay indoors after the rain caused flooding and disrupted traffic in some areas of the financial capital.


Study finds AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructions

Updated 22 October 2020

Study finds AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructions

  • Bristol University virology expert David Matthews: The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness
  • AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19

LONDON: AstraZeneca’s Oxford COVID-19 vaccine accurately follows the genetic instructions programmed into it by its developers to successfully provoke a strong immune response, according to a detailed analysis carried out by independent UK scientists.
“The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness,” said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, who led the research.
AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
The first data from late-stage large-scale clinical trials being conducted in several countries around the world, including Brazil, the United States and Britain, are expected to be released before the end of the year.
The vaccine — known either as ChAdOx1 or AZD1222 — is made by taking a common cold virus called an adenovirus from chimpanzees and deleting about 20% of the virus’s instructions. This means it is impossible for the vaccine to replicate or cause disease in humans.
The Bristol researchers’ focus was to assess how often and how accurately the vaccine is copying and using the genetic instructions programmed into it by its designers. These instructions detail how to make the spike protein from the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
Once the spike protein is made, the immune system reacts to it, training the immune system to identify a real COVID-19 infection.
“This is an important study as we are able to confirm that the genetic instructions underpinning this vaccine ... are correctly followed when they get into a human cell,” Matthews said in a statement about the work.
His team’s research was not peer reviewed by other scientists, but was published as a preprint before review.