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Tripura HIV cases are tip of the iceberg: Experts

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Tripura HIV cases are tip of the iceberg: Experts

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Even as the Government of Tripura issued a clarification on misleading reports of HIV cases in the state, health experts on Wednesday said that it “is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Earlier this month, a senior official from the Tripura AIDS Control Society (TSACS) claimed that 828 students tested HIV positive in Tripura and 47 of them died. The official stated that 572 of the students are still alive, while many also left the state for higher education.

In a post on the social media platform X.com, the Health & Family Welfare Department of the Tripura Government called it “misleading.”

“The total figures are cumulative from April 2007 to May 2024,” it said.

According to TSACS officials, the spike in HIV cases could have stemmed from injectable drug abuse among students.

Speaking to IANS, Dr Ishwar Gilada, a noted HIV expert said that it “is just the tip of the iceberg — whether you consider only HIV infection or other infections that can be easily transmitted through injection drug use (IDU).”

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IDU is known to have a quicker and stronger effect than drugs that are swallowed, smoked, or inhaled.

Dr Gilada stated that in addition to HIV, Hepatitis-C, Hepatitis-B, and syphilis among others, also get easily transmitted through IDU, rather more efficiently than HIV.

“In addition to sharing needles, IDUs have another risk in sizable proportion, that is, indiscriminate sex and that too unprotected. That further fuels the spread of other STIs as well as HIV infection,” the expert said.

Dr Basavaraj S. Kumbar, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Aster Whitefield Hospital, Bengaluru, called the incident of losing 47 young people and having hundreds more infected “a terrible tragedy.”

“The issue also raises concerns on the usage of injectable drugs and should serve as a commercial for not doing this,” he told IANS.

HIV is a devastating disease. It is a serious infection that erodes the quality of life by impairing the immune system thus making its victims susceptible to opportunistic infections besides other health complications.

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“Although modern medicine makes it possible for individuals with HIV to live long and productive lives, it requires consistent medications and monitoring by medical experts. The virus weakens the body’s immunities thereby exposing people to attacks from other disease-causing agents. This is a lifetime struggle,” Dr Kumbar said.

Meanwhile, Dr Gilada, a Consultant in HIV/STDs, Unison Medicare and Research Centre, Mumbai, called on the state health authorities for a “comprehensive look and check-up of all children and to deal efficiently with each infection.”

“The major HIV awareness and prevention campaigns that were seen during 2000-2010 in India are now missing. The children born during that period and afterwards, now grown up to teenage and adulthood have escaped prevention campaigns and now thus become victims of HIV and other STIs.

“There is poor thrust on diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of other STIs. All these have fuelled new infections, all over India. More than 70 per cent of new infections are in marginalised communities; which face an extreme degree of stigma and discrimination,” the doctor noted.

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Dr Kumbar said that prevention is key and stressed the need to educate young people about the dangers of drugs and reinforce the message of unsafe injection practices.

“Making sure they have access to support systems and positive outlets for their energy is also important. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please seek help. Counselling and rehabilitation centres can provide the support needed to overcome addiction and live a healthy life,” he said.

–IANS

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Nasscom, Meta launch open source GenAI challenge for Indian startups, developers

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Nasscom, Meta launch open source GenAI challenge for Indian startups, developers

Nasscom, Meta launch open source GenAI challenge for Indian startups, developers

Bengaluru, July 25 (IANS) IT industry’s apex body Nasscom on Thursday partnered Meta (formerly Facebook) to launch the ‘Open-Source Generative AI Grand Challenge’, aimed at providing opportunities to startups and the developer community to build GenAI solutions.

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), under the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY), will be the technology partner and support with computing infrastructure.

For the challenge, Nasscom and Meta are inviting generative AI startups and developers to create impactful solutions in domains such as education, enterprise and e-governance. The winners in each category will get prize money up to Rs 4 lakh and runners-up in each category will get up to Rs 1 lakh each.

“By empowering developers with open-source tools, we can drive significant socio-economic impact. We look forward to seeing creative solutions that address real-world problems and contribute to the broader AI ecosystem,” said Ankit Bose, Head, Nasscom AI.

GenAI is transforming digital landscapes, enhancing efficiency, innovation, and growth and open-source AI tools democratise technology, enabling developers to create advanced solutions with minimal resources, thereby increasing AI awareness and adoption.

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“Open innovation can further develop India’s AI capabilities while promoting safety and innovation for unlocking economic growth,” said Shivnath Thukral, Vice President and Head of Public Policy (India), Meta.

Through this initiative, participants will need to provide a proof-of-concept explaining their technology stack and eventually showcase a working demo of their solution. The investment in India’s GenAI startups saw an increase of two times in the first six months of 2024 compared to the second half of 2023.

–IANS

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13-yr-old girl receives life-saving heart transplant after 5-hour long surgery in Kerala

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13-yr-old girl receives life-saving heart transplant after 5-hour
 long surgery in Kerala

13-yr-old girl receives life-saving heart transplant after 5-hour
 long surgery in Kerala

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) A team of doctors in Kerala performed a five-hour heart transplant operation, giving a new lease of life to a 13-year-old girl suffering from severe cardiomyopathy — a disease of the heart muscle.

The procedure was carried out at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST). Paediatric heart transplants are rare due to the limited availability of donor hearts and high costs, making such treatment inaccessible to many.

The young patient had been on a ventilator for two months, confined to the ICU.

The breakthrough came when the Kerala State Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (K-SOTTO) allocated a donor heart to SCTIMST.

The organ came from a 47-year-old school teacher declared brain dead following a ruptured intracranial aneurysm at KIMSHEALTH hospital. The Kerala Police facilitated a green corridor to ensure the swift transport of the organ.

A multidisciplinary team led by Baiju S Dharan, from the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery performed the complex operation.

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The successful operation underscores the importance of collaboration and advanced medical capabilities, offering hope to patients with severe heart conditions.

–IANS

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Tech Mahindra posts 1.2 pc revenue drop in Q1, PAT up 23 pc at Rs 851 crore

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Tech Mahindra posts 1.2 pc revenue drop in Q1, PAT up 23 pc at Rs 851 crore

Tech Mahindra posts 1.2 pc revenue drop in Q1, PAT up 23 pc at Rs 851 crore

Mumbai, July 25 (IANS) Global IT services and consulting provider Tech Mahindra on Thursday reported a 1.2 per cent decrease in revenue for the April-June quarter (year-on-year) at Rs 13,005 crore.

On a quarterly basis, the revenue went up 1 per cent for the IT company.

The consolidated PAT was at Rs 851 crore, up 23 per cent (YoY), for Q1 FY25, while EBITDA reached Rs 1,564 crore, up 16.9 per cent YoY.

The company reported total headcount at 147,620, down 677 annually, for the June quarter.

Tech Mahindra’s stock closed marginally up at Rs 1,540 apiece on Thursday.

“It is encouraging to see positive momentum in most industry verticals which has led to revenue growth and margin expansion in an otherwise seasonally weak quarter. We continue to focus on execution and are on track to achieve our stated goals for FY27,” said Mohit Joshi, CEO and Managing Director, Tech Mahindra. According to Rohit Anand, CFO, Tech Mahindra, the Q1 results are a positive start, both for the current turnaround year as well as for their medium-term strategy.

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“Our focus continues to be on investing in the business for long-term sustainable performance,” he added.

–IANS

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Global Capability Centres to absorb 26 mn sqft of office space in India by 2027: Report

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Global Capability Centres to absorb 26 mn sqft of office space in India by 2027: Report

Global Capability Centres to absorb 26 mn sqft of office space in India by 2027: Report

Bengaluru, July 25 (IANS) Driven by India’s potential to enhance processes amid improved business sentiments, Global Capability Centres (GCCs) are estimated to reach 26 million square feet by 2027, up from 19.69 million square feet in 2023, a report showed on Thursday.

Transaction activities have increased by 16 per cent from 16.99 million square feet in 2018 with GCCs completing 6,667 office leasing deals across eight major cities between 2018 and 2023, according to the report by Knight Frank India.

IT/ITeS sector GCCs lead the chart, followed by the BFSI and Consulting GCCs.

For BFSI, Mumbai leads with the highest percentage of GCCs under the BFSI sector and Bengaluru leads with the highest percentage of GCCs in the IT/ITeS sector. Around 80 per cent of the GCCs in India are currently servicing international facing clients, said the report.

“India’s GDP growth continues to be the fastest among major economies in the world, attracting attention for its strong infrastructure, and a consistent influx of top-tier talent and corporate entities,” said Shishir Baijal, Chairman and Managing Director, Knight Frank India.

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In the dynamic landscape of global business, India’s GCCs have evolved beyond traditional roles to become pivotal hubs of global strategy and local ingenuity.

“As India solidifies its position as a cornerstone of global GCC networks, these centres emerge as unparalleled hubs of creativity and collaboration,” said Baijal.

The growth of GCCs highlights India’s potential to enhance processes and drive business innovation.

Between 2018 and 2023, around 5,349 GCC-focused office deals were finalised under 50,000 sqft across the eight cities.

“The future of GCCs in India is promising, with projections showing over 1,900 centers by 2025, employing around 2 million people,” said Sameer Dhanrajani, CEO, 3Ai.

India remains a key hub for GCCs, alongside other destinations such as the US, Latin America, China, Europe, and the APAC region.

–IANS

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Agricultural pesticide may pose cancer risk as bad as smoking: Study

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Agricultural pesticide may pose cancer risk as bad as smoking: Study

Agricultural pesticide may pose cancer risk as bad as smoking: Study

New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) While pesticides are essential for ensuring high crop yields and food security, they also increase the risk of cancer akin to smoking, finds a study.

The research published in the journal Frontiers in Cancer Control and Society found that even non-farmers living in areas with heavy agricultural activity are exposed to many pesticides.

The study revealed that in such environments, the impact of pesticide use on cancer incidence rivalled that of smoking, particularly for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukaemia, and bladder cancer.

“In our study, we found that for some cancers, the effect of agricultural pesticide usage is comparable in magnitude to the effect of smoking,” Isain Zapata, associate professor at the Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Colorado, US.

“We present a list of major pesticide contributors for some specific cancers, but we highlight strongly that it is the combination of all of them and not just a single one that matters,” Zapata emphasised.

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The study included data on 69 pesticides from the US Geological Survey, acknowledging that people are generally exposed to a “cocktail” of pesticides rather than just one.

This comprehensive evaluation marks the first large-scale study to assess cancer risk from a population-based perspective, comparing it with a well-established risk factor like smoking.

Zapata noted the importance of considering the broader impact of pesticide use, including geographic factors. For example, regions like the Midwest, known for corn production, showed more pronounced associations between pesticide exposure and cancer incidence.

The study aims to raise awareness of the risks posed by pesticide use, even for those not directly involved in agriculture.

–IANS

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