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COVID-19 scales Mount Everest, over 19 climbers test positive

Nepal has reported 8,970, cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total tally of infections to 3,68,580.

May 07, 2021 / 01:48 PM IST
Representative picture

Representative picture

Even Mount Everest has not been spared from the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus has spread to the remote Himalayas with multiple climbers testing positive at the base camps of Mount Everest and surrounding peaks.

As per a BBC report, 17 cases have been sent from the base camp and higher camps to be treated at hospitals in Kathmandu.

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While the Nepal government has so far denied any outbreak of COVID-19 at Mt Everest and other peaks, according to Pawel Michalski, a climber from Poland, over 30 people have contracted the virus.

He wrote on Facebook that more than 30 people who had difficulty breathing had been airlifted by helicopter to Kathmandu — and "later found to be positive for coronavirus".

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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.

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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.

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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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More than a thousand people are typically camped at the foot of Everest, including foreign climbers and the teams of Nepali guides that escort them to the peak.

Nepal's tourism industry suffered a devastating blow last year when the pandemic prompted a complete shutdown of its summits, costing millions in lost revenue.

This year, authorities eased quarantine rules in an effort to lure foreign adventurers and have issued climbing permits to more than 400 people, a new record.

The outbreak at peaks has coincided with the second wave of COVID-19 infections, with active cases in the country rising six-fold in the last two weeks.

Nepal has reported 8,970, cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total tally of infections to 3,68,580, the health ministry said on May 6. The health ministry said that the nation also reported the deaths of 54 new patients suffering from COVID-19.

Local authorities have re-imposed lockdown in most parts of the country including Kathmandu valley by one more week till May 12.

(With inputs from agencies)

Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak
first published: May 7, 2021 01:48 pm

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