Indians On Google Moon Mission To Blast Off Anthem Tomorrow

Indians On Google Moon Mission To Blast Off Anthem Tomorrow

About 120 people involved in TeamIndus mission. 24 are retired ISRO scientists.

New Delhi:  Bangalore-based TeamIndus — the only Indian entrant in an international Google contest for landing a rover on the moon — will start its countdown to the space race worth $30 million in prizes with an anthem to be released tomorrow.

For the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, the Indian aerospace startup will have to successfully place a robot on the moon that will move around for at least 500 metres and send back high-definition videos and images back to earth.

The anthem for the Indian team, composed by music director Ram Sampath, seeks to encourage every citizen to take part in the mission in some form or the other, TeamIndus said.

Sona Mohapatra and the band Sanam will sing the anthem #HarIndianKaMoonshot.

“The team is working day and night to win the competition,” Sheelika Ravishankar of TeamIndus’s marketing and outreach department told PTI-Bhasha.

She said a test would be conducted next month for the robotic launch.

The deadline for the $30-million (about 1946 million rupees) Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge, announced in September 2007, is March 2018.

“The contest seeks to inspire engineers, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration,” the Google XPRIZE website said.

There are about 120 people involved in the TeamIndus mission of whom 24 are retired ISRO scientists.

Five finalist teams — TeamIndus (India), SpaceIL (Israel), Moon Express (USA), Synergy Moon (International) and HAKUTO (Japan) — are in the race, the website said. The grand prize is worth $20 million, and there are two other prizes of $5 million each, it said.

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Huawei Maimang 6 with 5.9-inch FHD+ display, four cameras launched: Price, specifications

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 24, 2017 3:33 pm

Huawei, Huawei Maimang 6, Huawei Maimang 6 price in India, Huawei Maimang 6 launch in India, Huawei Maimang 6 specifications, Huawei Maimang 6 features, Huawei Mate 10 Mini, Mate 10, Vivo V7+ Huawei Maimang 6 is the company’s first smartphone to arrive with an aspect ratio of 18:9.

Huawei has launched the Maimang 6, one of the company’s first smartphone to arrive with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The device is also Huawei’s first phone to feature four cameras, two on each side. Huawei Maimang 6 is priced at CNY 2,399 (or approx Rs 23,604) and will go on sale in China on September 30. The smartphone will be available in a number of colour options: Streamer Gold, Aurora Blue and Obsidian Black.

The phone is powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 659 processor and boasts a 5.9-inch (2160 x 1080) display. The screen has an aspect ratio of 18:9, instead of the regular 16:9. Samsung, Apple and LG have already unveiled phones with slim bezels this year. The processor is further paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. A microSD card slot is also available for memory expansion.

As far as cameras are concerned, Huawei Maimang 6 offers dual cameras on the front and back. The rear rear dual camera system features a 16MP primary camera and a 2MP secondary shooter. Thanks to a dual-camera setup, it can be used to recreate a blurry background “bokeh” effect. The front camera setup has a 13MP main camera and a 2MP secondary sensor. The device is backed by a 3340mAh battery and runs EMUI 5.1 based on Android 7.0 Nougat. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS/A-GPS, and a rear mounted fingerprint scanner.

Huawei has launched the Maimang 6 in China at a time when the company is speculated to launch a new smartphone in India sometime next month. Rumours are rife that the Chinese company could launch the Maimang 6 under a different name, when it goes on sale in India. While we still don’t know the official name, Huawei Maimang 6 will go head to head with Vivo V7+, which also comes with a 5.9-inch display and an aspect ratio of 18:9.

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Cheap treatment should be replaced by valued based healthcare: Dr. AjaiKumar

Cheap treatment should be replaced by valued based healthcare: Dr. AjaiKumar In an interview with ETHealthworld, Dr. AjaiKumar, Chairman and CEO, HCG Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, talks about the transformation of cancer therapies for better diagnosis and treatment. Edited experts:

Transformation in Cancer care and the impact of personalized medicine.

Cancer transformation has happened from evidence based medicine. The transformation that is happening now is what we call as a personalized or precision medicine.

Precision medicine is about knowing why the other five hundred are not responding? What is the story? How can we analyse these patients even before we treat them based on evidence so that we can segregate them to a different level and treat them accordingly.

The personalized medicine has made a huge difference. Studies done in the past has been in the Caucasians and we use the same protocol on our Indian patients. What we are now finding out is that the Indian genomics is different so possibly the type of treatment and even the gene expressions may be different. As we unravel this mystery in our own center by doing over thousand cases of genetic analysis, we have found that 48 percent of the time the treatment is changed because of the gene expressions. This is how DNA sequencing, genomics and basic understanding of the disease help a lot. Once we understand it we create a data bank of that patient which helps us to treat future patients. It is becoming personalized which will help find long term control of disease and answers to even prevention of cancer.

Understanding cancer

We understand that multiple diseases are named as cancer. Complexity of the heterogenicity is what makes cancer treatment a challenge. There is a lot more to learn about cancer, the complexity and the treatment approaches. As we come up with a particular treatment, the cancer is also illusive, as it develops its own form of resistance which again makes it a challenge to retreat and that is why we consider cancer as a chronic disease.

Issues in cancer treatment

One of the fears in cancer patients is when you say stage 4 or advanced disease the patient assume it as death sentence. Lot of patients even drop out of treatment, they say what is the use? But, if you take for example a breast cancer which has gone to single lesion in the bone we still call stage four, breast cancer which has gone to the brain and the liver is also called stage four but the first patient may live for ten years and second patient may live for two years, but still they are stage four so even though it is stage four it is highly treatable. So, we have to segregate. With available high diagnostics like PET scans we can precisely say where the disease is. We are redoing all that in at least HCG format so it gives a better understanding and perception to the patients and to the public at large.

Technology in healthcare

Unfortunately India is lacking behind in big data in medical field because we did not collect proper data. Now as we go forward with India becoming leaders in technology, we have a unique opportunity of collecting data which we are doing. We have now recently collected data for 25,000 patients and the responses and outcomes are amazing.

Today we are very happy to report that we have the concept of virtual tumor board. For example, we had a patient who was sitting in Vijayawada and a group of doctors were consulting about a problem.

We had experts sitting in Bangalore, all of us in tumour board and giving our opinions. We submitted our opinions and said this patient with lung cancer should be treated the following way because of these numbers. So, this is how we can give advice without the patient actually making a trip. This helps provide accessible and affordable care.

Latest Initiatives by HCG

One of the initiatives we have taken which we feel is very important is in the field of molecular diagnostics. In any cancer case, molecular imaging and molecular diagnostics is very important and we are developing new molecules. Some of these new molecules, for example in prostate cancer we use targeted molecules called PSMA. The molecule will attach to the cancer cells, it will highlight the cancer wherever it is and you can also initiate the treatment.
Our aspiration is to do complete human genome sequencing, exome sequencing and with that we will understand more about the Indian human gene.

Affordable care for all

Cancer care has to be made accessible and affordable. The second most important thing is that while we talk about affordability, lot of times we don’t talk about outcome. When Harvard Business school came and did a case study on us, they asked “you are doing a breast cancer treatment for 3000 $ but what about your outcome?

The Harvard reviewed the breast cancer five years study and the outcome was 88% compared to 89% of the best centers in the US. So, value based healthcare is the future. Only emerging market get the treatment and we make our public suffer from it, more side effects, more normal tissue involvement and more recurrence. A poor man gets inferior treatment as it is cheap but infact he ends up having lot more suffering and lot more spending because you provided an inferior treatment. A poor man should get the right treatment in the first time because he has only one chance.

Cheap treatment should be written off and it should be replaced by valued based healthcare. Any person who says that they are providing cost effective care, their effectiveness should be measured. Any center that does treatment should publish their outcome and compare against the global standards. In fact, In India we should have a system where autonomous body like NABH audits the outcome.

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Alarming! 'Super malaria' spreading rapidly in Southeast Asia

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Scientists have warned that an increase in cases of “super malaria” in Southeast Asia is a global threat. According to BBC report, existing anti-malaria drugs won’t work on this deadly form of malaria parasite. After the first case was found in Cambodia, it spread through parts of Thailand, Laos and now southern Vietnam

The team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there was a real danger of malaria becoming untreatable. Proffesor Arjen Dondorp, the head of the unit, told the BBC: “We think it is a serious threat. “It is alarming that this strain is spreading so quickly through the whole region and we fear it can spread further (and eventually) jump to Africa.”

In a letter, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the researchers detailed the “recent sinister development” that has seen resistance to the drug artemisinin emerge. About 212 million people are infected with malaria each year. It is caused by a parasite that is spread by blood-sucking mosquitoes and is a major killer of children, the BBC reported. The first choice treatment for malaria is artemisinin in combination with piperaquine.

But as artemisinin has become less effective, the parasite has now evolved to resist piperaquine too. There have now been “alarming rates of failure”, the letter said. Dondorp said the treatment was failing around a third of the time in Vietnam while in some regions of Cambodia the failure rate was closer to 60 per cent. Resistance to the drugs would be catastrophic in Africa, where 92 per cent of all malaria cases happen.

Singapore may also be affected by the disease, however, rapid spread is unlikely because it has been declared malaria-free by World Health Organisation back in 1982.

(With IANS inputs)

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Twitter tests lightweight Android app in the Philippines

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 24, 2017 4:54 pm

Twitter, Twitter Lite, Twitter Lite Android app, Twitter Lite Android, Twitter Lite Philippines, Twitter Lite India, Linkedin lite, Facebook Messenger lite, social, social media apps Twitter is currently testing a new “lite” version of its Android app.

Twitter is currently testing a new “lite” version of its Android app. The idea is to allow users to use Twitter where mobile data is expensive. Twitter, which has over 328 million total monthly active users — 68 million MAU in the US and 260 million outside — said the app was currently in the test mode in the Philippines, TechCrunch reported.

The app runs Android 5.0 and up, has language support both for English and Filipino and is usable on 2G and 3G networks. “The test of the Twitter Lite app in the Google Play Store in the Philippines is another opportunity to increase the availability of Twitter in this market.

“The Philippines market has slow mobile networks and expensive data plans while mobile devices with limited storage are still very popular there. Twitter Lite helps to overcome these barriers to usage for Twitter in the Philippines,” a Twitter spokesperson said.

The app is  “an experiment” and that the social media company is yet evaluate whether to launch it in further markets. The app has basic functions such as breaking news, sports scores and entertainment updates and options to view Timeline, Notifications, the Explore tab, Messages and to customise profile.

The advantage of downloading a “lite” version of Twitter is simple. It takes up less space, requiring only to take 414KB  to install, in comparison to the standard app which currently runs at 13.38MB. This would not be the first time a social media site is launching a “lite” version of its app. Earlier this year, both Linkedin and Facebook Messenger have launched the stripped-down versions  of its apps in India. Twitter, too, rolled out a lighter version called “Twitter Lite” in India this year. Twitter Lite essentially promises a new mobile experience to users on a browser via smartphones and tablets.

With inputs from IANS

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Cause of bone loss in elderly identified

Scientists have identified a mechanism that causes the body to stop creating bone-producing cells with age, a finding that may help develop therapies to treat age-realted bone loss conditions like osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis — the thinning of bone and the loss of bone density that increases the risk of fractures is a major health problem in older people. This is condition is often accompanied by an increase in fat cells in the bone marrow.

Researchers from University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US found that a protein called Cbf-beta plays a critical role in maintaining the bone-producing cells.

Furthermore, examination of aged mice showed dramatically reduced levels of Cbf-beta in bone marrow cells, as compared to younger mice, researchers said.

They found that when this mechanism malfunctions, progenitor cells stop creating bone-producing cells, and instead create fat cells.

Thus, maintaining Cbf-beta may be essential to preventing human age-associated osteoporosis that is due to elevated creation of fat cells, researchers said.

The team detailed an underlying mechanism leading to osteoporosis.

Bone is a living tissue that constantly rebuilds. Bones need a constant new creation of cells specific to their tissue, including the bone-producing cells called osteoblasts.

Osteoblasts live only about three months and do not divide, researchers said.

They focused on the molecular mechanism that controls the lineage commitment switch between the osteoblast and adipocyte tracks.

“The knowledge of this mechanism can provide targets in the search for novel bone-loss therapeutics to treat human osteoporosis with minimal side effects,” they said.

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Tampering mobile IMEI number to attract up to 3 year jail, fine

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Published:September 24, 2017 6:56 pm

sim card news, tech news, technology news, indian express news Representational purpose.

The government has made tampering of IMEI number — a unique 15-digit serial number of mobile devices — a punishable offence that can attract jail term of up to 3 years as it seeks to curb incidence of mobile theft. The move will help curb issues pertaining to fake IMEI numbers and also ease tracking of lost mobile phones. “It shall be unlawful, if a person, except the manufacturer –- intentionally removes, obliterates, changes, or alters unique Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number,” the Department of Telecom said in a notification dated August 25.

The new rules called “the prevention of tampering of the Mobile Device Equipment Identification Number, Rules, 2017” bar a person from knowingly using mobile device whose IMEI number has been changed unlawfully or software that can change or tamper the unique number.

IMEI is a unique ID of a mobile handset. Whenever a user makes a call, the call record shows phone number of the caller and IMEI number of the handset from which the call has been made. The mobile number in a handset may be changed by changing SIM but IMEI number can be changed by a technical person using special equipment.

The unique number of mobile devices is allocated by global industry body GSMA and bodies authorised by it. When a mobile phone is lost, people are required to mention the IMEI number of the handset for tracking.

The DoT had started consultation in June to frame strict laws around tampering of IMEI numbers which makes it difficult for police or any other security agency in tracking mobile phones.

The DoT barred telecom operators in 2009 from providing service to any mobile phone with fake IMEI number but the operators face problem in identifying handsets with duplicate IMEI number.

In one of the tracking cases of mobile phone, the Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell of the DoT found that there were around 18,000 handsets using same IMEI number.

The rules have been framed in combination of section 7 and section 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act.

The section 7 gives DoT power to make rules for conduct of telecom or telegraph services and section 25 deals with damaging of telegraph line, machines and related equipment with provision of punishments of up to 3 years of imprisonment or fine or both.

Besides, the Department of Telecom is putting in place a new system that will block all services on stolen or lost mobile phones on any network even if the SIM card is removed or IMEI number of the handset is changed.

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12 Flu Season Facts You Need to Know

Fall is officially here, and that usually means three things: pumpkin-spiced everything is back in style, our lush trees are about to become leafless sticks, and that sniffle and cough could be your warning that flu season is upon us.

While you’ve been busy enjoying the summer and taking vacations, drugmakers and researchers around the world have been gearing up by creating vaccines designed to improve your quality of life during the 2017-2018 flu season. But the truth is that misconceptions reign when it comes to understanding the influenza virus, flu vaccines, and flu season in general. Let’s look at 12 flu season facts that’ll help clear up some common confusion about flu season.

A woman under the blankets with a thermometer in her mouth and a cup of tea.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Up to 65 million American could get the flu over the next year 

In any given year, somewhere between 5% and 20% of the U.S. population comes down with the flu. Based on U.S. Census Bureau population estimates from July 1, 2016, it means that around 65 million people, at the top end of the range, or more than 16 million people at the low end, could deal with the flu over the next year.

2. The flu claims 3,000 to 49,000 lives each year

While the flu is an inconvenience for most people, it can be a life-or-death ailment for those with compromised or undeveloped immune systems, such as the elderly or children. In a given year, influenza will claim between 3,000 and 49,000 lives. When combined with pneumonia, it was the eighth-leading cause of death in the United States in 2016. 

3. $10 billion-plus is spent on treating patients

In addition to being potentially deadly, the flu is also a drag on our healthcare system. Each year, more than $10 billion in spent annually treating patients in hospitals as well as outpatient doctor visits. Flu vaccines are the primary line of defense in keeping folks out of hospitals during flu season. Nevertheless, approximately 200,000 are hospitalized annually with the flu and its related symptoms.

A doctor confidently pondering what he's read on a patient's clipboard.

Image source: Getty Images.

4. Flu season never really ends

Though flu season officially begins in October and ends in May, which corresponds with the highest number of recorded cases, people can contract the flu virus at any point during the year. For their part, researchers are unable to concretely pinpoint why the flu spreads so voraciously during the winter months, but some have opined that kids heading back to school provides a perfect arena for quick transmission of the infectious disease. 

5. There are a lot of possible flu virus combinations

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are four types of influenza virus — A, B, C, and D — with D affecting cattle, C responsible for only mild respiratory illnesses, and B and A the primary concern for researchers. Influenza A viruses, which are most often associated with seasonal epidemics, are divided into two subtypes: hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). There are 18 different H-subtypes and 11 different N-subtypes, leaving researchers to do some guesswork when developing vaccines.

6. Flu vaccines don’t offer foolproof protection from the flu

One of the more common misconceptions about the flu vaccine is that it’ll prevent from coming down with the flu. While it is possible that an influenza vaccine could protect you from contracting the flu, that’s not its purpose. It’s designed to train your immune system how to recognize and attack the flu virus, so as to slow down its spread if you do become infected with the virus. In essence, flu vaccines help to reduce the severity of the flu should you contract it.

A doctor administering a flu vaccine to an elderly patient.

Image source: Getty Images.

7. Vaccine effectiveness is between 40% and 60% in most years

The CDC notes that when researchers are spot-on in their efforts to predict which influenza A strains are the likeliest to be present in a flu season, vaccine effectiveness comes in around 40% to 60%. What this suggests is that around half the population that received a vaccine is being kept out of hospitals and doctor’s offices each year. The reason the CDC pushes for healthy adults to get their flu shots each year is to ensure they’re kept out of hospitals and doctor’s offices, so physicians can devote their time to those with weaker immune systems, like the elderly and children.

8. A flu vaccine won’t give you the flu

Here it is, the creme de la creme of influenza misconceptions: “If I get a flu shot, I’ll get the flu!” Incorrect. All flu vaccines, save for one, are made with inactive strains of the flu virus. Note the emphasis on the word “inactive.” These inactive strains are a teaching tool for your immune system, but they can’t get you sick. For those of you who choose to use AstraZeneca‘s (NYSE:AZN) FluMist, it does contain a live attenuated version of the flu virus, but not enough to give you the flu. At worst, you’ll wind up with a cold. 

9. FluMist isn’t recommended for the upcoming flu season

Sticking with AstraZeneca’s FluMist, the CDC has, for a second year in a row, not recommended that physicians or consumers use the nasal spray. Though AstraZeneca’s product is probably preferred by children since there’s no needle involved, data has shown that its vaccine effectiveness is subpar compared to needle-based vaccine, hence the recommendation by the CDC to use needle-based vaccines. On a constant currency basis, sales of FluMist plunged by just shy of 60% last year for AstraZeneca. 

A biotech lab researcher examining a sample with a microscope.

Image source: Getty Images.

10. Quadrivalent vaccines are the next-generation tool in fighting the flu

As noted, there are a lot of possible influenza A combination types, which makes life difficult on researchers and drugmakers in deciding what type of vaccines should be developed for the upcoming season. There’s simply not enough time for drugmakers to wait and see what subtype dominates, and then manufacture that vaccine. That’s why they’ve been turning to quadrivalent vaccines, which are replacing trivalent vaccines. Trivalent vaccines focused on two type A and one type B strain, whereas the quadrivalent vaccines focus on two type A and B strains. Since type B influenza strains dominate toward the end of the flu season, this should provide an added layer of immune protection for consumers.

11. Sanofi’s FluZone is the kingpin of all flu vaccines

In terms of dominance, no product is more popular among physicians and consumers come flu season than Sanofi‘s (NYSE:SNY) FluZone. When lumped in with its other influenza vaccines, Sanofi produced more than $2 billion in sales just from influenza last year.  FluZone has benefited from being offered in a half-dozen dosing options, including one option featuring a needle that’s 90% shorter than a traditional needle, which should make kids and needle-phobic adults a lot happier. Until recently, it was also one of the only vaccines approved to treat children as young as six months, but GlaxoSmithKline‘s (NYSE:GSK) FluLaval quadrivalent vaccine has also been given the green light to treat children as young as six months, too, in the upcoming season. 

12. Only 40% of Americans got a flu shot last year

Last but not least, the CDC reports that just two in five Americans received a flu shot last year. The debate continues over whether it’s worth it to get a vaccine, but the vaccine effectiveness data appears to demonstrate that getting the shot can make your flu milder, should you contract it. A higher vaccine use rate is both an opportunity for giants like Sanofi, as well as for the U.S. healthcare system to reduce the costs associated with treating influenza patients.

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Amazon sees growth in phone, fashion segments in festive sale

By: PTI | New Delhi |
Published:September 24, 2017 8:40 pm

Amazon Smartphone Sale, tech news, technology news, indian express news Tiwary said Amazon received orders from locations like Leh and Lakshadweep, which are difficult terrains to service. (File/Photo)

E-commerce major Amazon on Sunday said its ongoing festive sales have been the “biggest till date”, driven by strong growth in segments like smartphones, large appliances and fashion. Amazon’s four-day festive sale, which commenced on September 21, clashed with those by rivals Flipkart and Paytm. “We have seen 2.5X growth in smartphone sales, 4X increase in large appliances and 7X in fashion sales. This is our biggest ever sale,” Amazon India vice president-category management Manish Tiwary told PTI.

He added that there was a secular growth across categories.

“More than 85 per cent of the new customers who came to our platform for the first time were from tier-II and -III towns,” he said.

Tiwary said Amazon received orders from locations like Leh and Lakshadweep, which are difficult terrains to service.

“Our focus has been on getting people to shop online. They shop online not just for better value but also better selection and convenience,” he said.

Amazon, which is locked in an intense battle for leadership in the Indian market, has made significant investments over the last few years in strengthening its logistics and infrastructure operations in the country. It has been expanding the products available on its platform as well.

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