In this section of the newsletter, we provide excerpts of and links to relevant and topical studies, opinion pieces, blogs, and other articles published on leading scientific platforms on health systems, medicine, and allied social sectors, and reputed media platforms.

Where did Omicron come from? Three key theories

News Feature published January 28, 2022 in Nature

The highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 emerged with a host of unusual mutations. Omicron is different from the earlier variants, Alpha and Delta. The article focuses on the current work by scientists in figuring out how it evolved. Understanding the conditions under which this highly transmissible variant arose will help scientists  understand the risk of new variants emerging, and suggest steps to minimize it.

COVID-19 will continue but the end of the pandemic is near

Comment article published January 29, 2022 in The Lancet            

The unprecedented level of infection caused by the Omicron variant suggests that more than 50 percent of the world will have been infected with omicron between the end of November, 2021 and the end of March, 2022. With continued increases in COVID-19 vaccination, the use in many countries of a third vaccine dose, and high levels of infection-acquired immunity, the author is of the opinion that the era of extraordinary measures by government and societies to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission will likely be over. After the omicron wave, COVID-19 will return but the pandemic will not.

Improving hospital-based processes for effective implementation of Government funded health insurance schemes: evidence from early implementation of PM-JAY in India

Research study published January 15, 2022 in BMC Health Services Research The study aims to understand how the processes put in place to manage hospital-based transactions, from the time a beneficiary arrives at the hospital to discharge are being implemented in PM-JAY and how to improve them to strengthen the scheme’s operation. The study concluded that There is a need to broaden capacity-building efforts from enabling frontline staff to operate the scheme’s IT platform to developing the technical, managerial, and leadership skills required for them.

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