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Fraudsters offering blood plasma as COVID-19 cure on Dark Net

Plasma therapy is being used on experimental basis to treat serious cases of COVID-19 in India and other countries. Taking advantage of the hype surrounding it, fraudsters are offering to sell plasma (a component of blood) of recovered patients, which is supposed to contain antibodies for the virus, as a "miracle cure" on Dark Net, said Yashasvi Yadav, Special Inspector General of Police, Maharashtra Cyber.

May 23, 2020 / 08:04 PM IST
Representative Image

Representative Image

Cyber racketeers are duping people by offering to sell blood plasma of recovered COVID-19 patients, advertising it as a miracle cure for coronavirus infection, a senior police official said on Saturday.

Plasma is being used on experimental basis to treat serious cases of COVID-19 in India and other countries. Taking advantage of the hype surrounding it, fraudsters are offering to sell plasma (a component of blood) of recovered patients, which is supposed to contain antibodies for the virus, as a "miracle cure" on Dark Net, said Yashasvi Yadav, Special Inspector General of Police, Maharashtra Cyber.

"Our team is investigating this. We have got screen shots of such claims," he said.

The sites were on Dark Net, the unlisted and secretive networks within Internet, he said.

Besides monitoring such illegitimate activities, cyber police are also monitoring spread of objectionable content and misinformation on social media, he said. In a first in the country, Maharashtra cyber police are sending notices under section 149 of the Criminal Procedure Code to those circulating objectionable content online, he said.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Section 149 gives police the power to take steps to prevent a possible offence.

So far notices have been sent to 122 online users, and offensive content posted or shared by more than 60 people has been deleted, Yadav said.
PTI
first published: May 23, 2020 07:35 pm

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