In a breakthrough discovery Bharat Biotech, a vaccine and bio- therapeutic products manufacturer based out of Hyderabad, has claimed to have created the vaccine to combat the rapidly spreading Zika virus outbreak. Zika virus is named after Zika forest of Uganda where it was first identified in Rhesus monkeys in 1947. The virus has recently made headlines all over the world as it is spreading rapidly and has reportedly no vaccines to combat it.
The Impending Threat
The virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegipti mosquito family which causes a mild fever known as Zika fever. The virus has been found to be showing the same symptoms as those caused by Dengue fever and is treated only by taking rest. In the 1950’s the virus was confined to the equatorial belt of Africa and Asia. But since then it has spread to various other regions and as of today has reached pandemic levels. According to World Health Organization, the virus is ‘spreading explosively’ and will infect 4 million people by the end of the year. In Brazil, the virus has been linked to children being born with small heads or microcephaly, but the diagnosis about that has been inconclusive. The virus has been reported in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela. A cluster of infections similar to what occurred in Brazil was also reported in French Polynesia in 2014. Most recently in Texas, the USA the first infection transmitted through sex has been reported.
The Importance Of ‘Zikavac’
Bharat Biotech CMD Krishna Ella said, “We believe we have an early mover advantage in developing the Zikavac and we are probably the first in the world to file for a global patent for Zika vaccine candidates. We have two candidate vaccines in development. One of them is an inactivated vaccine that has reached the stage of pre-clinical testing in animals”. The patent for the vaccine was filed by the company nine months ago, however, the efficacy of the vaccine still needs to be tested. None the less the discovery is essential to combat the virus and is a big inspiration for Indian budding scientists. The world has only recently started research on developing a vaccine after the outbreak came to limelight. Dr. Ella has said that the company at best has the capacity to produce one million doses of vaccine per year. To scale up the delivery of the vaccine it needs intervention from the government, and for this, he has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help fast track the development of the vaccine. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, a pediatrician, and Director General, ICMR has said that they will examine the vaccine from a scientific point of view and take it forward.
The Logical Indian Community congratulates Bharat Biotech for taking the early initiative. This shows that medical prowess of India is immense. By providing vaccine to Brazil and especially to poor African countries India can strengthen its diplomatic efforts in these countries. This ‘vaccine diplomacy’ will definitely be fruitful for India in the long run as it can project itself as a dependable friend.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.