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Here are Tuesday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Home Depot, Boeing, Roku, Dollar General & more

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Explainer-What we know about the Indian variant as coronavirus sweeps South Asia By Reuters

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Explainer-What we know about the Indian variant as coronavirus sweeps South Asia By Reuters



© Reuters. A patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) receives treatment inside the emergency ward at Holy Family hospital in New Delhi, India, April 29, 2021. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India has recorded the world’s sharpest spike in coronavirus infections this month, with political and financial capitals New Delhi and Mumbai running out of hospital beds, oxygen and medicines.

Scientists are studying what led to the unexpected surge, and particularly whether a variant of the novel coronavirus first detected in India is to blame. The variant, named B.1.617, has been reported in 17 countries, raising global concern. Here are the basics:

WHAT IS THE INDIAN VARIANT?

The B.1.617 variant contains two key mutations to the outer “spike” portion of the virus that attaches to human cells, said senior Indian virologist Shahid Jameel.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the predominant lineage of B.1.617 was first identified in India last December, although an earlier version was spotted in October 2020.

On May 10, the WHO classified it as a “variant of concern,” which also includes variants first detected in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. Some initial studies showed the Indian variant spreads more easily.

“There is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said, adding it needs more information about the Indian variant to understand how much of it is circulating.

ARE VARIANTS DRIVING THE SURGE IN CASES?

It’s hard to say.

Laboratory-based studies of limited sample size suggest potential increased transmissibility, according to the WHO.

The picture is complicated because the highly transmissible B.117 variant first detected in the UK is behind spikes in some parts of India. In New Delhi, UK variant cases almost doubled during the second half of March, according to Sujeet Kumar Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control. The Indian variant, though, is widely present in Maharashtra, the country’s hardest-hit state, Singh said.

Prominent U.S. disease modeller Chris Murray, from the University of Washington, said the sheer magnitude of infections in India in a short period of time suggests an “escape variant” may be overpowering any prior immunity from natural infections in those populations.

“That makes it most likely that it’s B.1.617,” he said. But Murray cautioned that gene sequencing data on the coronavirus in India is sparse, and that many cases are also being driven by the UK and South African variants.

Carlo Federico Perno, Head of Microbiology and Immunology Diagnostics at Rome’s Bambino Gesù Hospital, said the Indian variant couldn’t alone be the reason for India’s huge surge, pointing instead to large social gatherings.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been criticised for allowing massive political rallies and religious festivals which have been super-spreader events in recent weeks.

DO VACCINES STOP IT?

One bright spot is that vaccines may be protective. White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said that preliminary evidence from lab studies suggest Covaxin, a vaccine developed in India, appears capable of neutralizing the variant.

Public Health England said it was working with international partners but that there is currently no evidence that the Indian variant and two related variants cause more severe disease or render the vaccines currently deployed less effective.

“We don’t have anything to suggest that our diagnostics, our therapeutics and our vaccines don’t work. This is important,” said Van Kerkhove at WHO.





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NASA spacecraft starts trip back to Earth after collecting asteroid samples By Reuters

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NASA spacecraft starts trip back to Earth after collecting asteroid samples By Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A mosaic image of asteroid Bennu, composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on December 2, 2018 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Handout via REUTERS

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(Reuters) – A NASA spacecraft, which scientists believe has collected samples from an asteroid, began its two-year journey back to Earth on Monday.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is attempting to complete a mission to visit Bennu, a skyscraper-sized asteroid some 200 million miles (320 million km) from Earth, survey the surface, collect samples and deliver them back to Earth.

Staff celebrated at the OSIRIS-REx control room in Colorado as the space vehicle pushed away from the asteroid, whose acorn-shaped body formed in the early days of our solar system. OSIRIS-REx arrived at Bennu in 2018.

The spacecraft found traces of hydrogen and oxygen molecules – part of the recipe for water and thus the potential for life – embedded in the asteroid’s rocky surface, said Dante Lauretta, the OSIRIS-REx mission’s principal investigator, in 2018.

The trip back to Earth will take about two years. The spacecraft will then eject a capsule containing the asteroid samples, which NASA says will land in a remote area of Utah.

NASA says samples will be distributed to research laboratories worldwide, but 75% of the samples will be preserved at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for future generations to study with technologies not yet created.

The roughly $800 million, minivan-sized OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin (NYSE:), launched in 2016 to grab and return the first U.S. sample of pristine asteroid materials. Japan is the only other country to have accomplished such a feat.

Asteroids are among the leftover debris from the solar system’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago. A sample could hold clues to the origins of life on Earth, scientists say.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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Japanese prefecture says deaths at home surge amid 4th COVID-19 wave By Reuters

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© Reuters. Medical workers prepare to put on personal protective equipment (PPE) as they work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients at St. Marianna Medical University Hospital in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo, Japan May 4, 2020. REU

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Eighteen people have died from the COVID-19 respiratory disease outside of hospitals in Japan’s Osaka Prefecture, officials said, amid calls for tougher restrictions on movement to halt a fourth wave of infections ahead of the Olympics.

All but one of the deaths occurred since March 1 as highly infectious strains of the virus caused a spike in new cases, the prefecture reported late on Monday for the first time. Most were 60 years old or more, but one fatality was in their 30s.

Japan on Friday extended a state of emergency for much of the country to try to contain the fourth wave of the pandemic, with the start of the Tokyo Olympics a little more than two months away.

The declaration covers Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures, encompassing nearly a quarter of Japan’s population, and will last until May 31.

Some prefectural governors called for stronger emergency measures to be put in place nationwide at an online meeting on Monday, the Kyodo news agency reported.

The western region of Osaka has been particularly hard hit, becoming the epicentre of infections from the variant first identified in Britain that is more infectious and causes more serious conditions. More than 96% of Osaka Prefecture’s critical care hospital beds are now occupied.

At one nursing home in Osaka, 61 residents were infected and 14 died while waiting to be hospitalised, public broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.

Osaka Prefecture had 668 new cases on Monday while Tokyo had 573.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.





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