Sanchita Sharma

Sanchita is the health & science editor of the Hindustan Times. She has been reporting and writing on public health policy, health and nutrition for close to two decades. She is an International Reporting Project fellow from Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and was part of the expert group that drafted the Press Council of India’s media guidelines on health reporting, including reporting on people living with HIV.

Articles by Sanchita Sharma

A decade after defeating polio, India is set to begin its battle against Covid

With two approved vaccines – Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin -- India is kickstarting the world’s biggest Covid-19 vaccination drive with an aim to inoculate 300 million people at most risk of infection and death by August.
Home health care workers and their patients start receiving Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The clinic is a partnership between the Service Employees International Union and Oregon Health & Science University, aiming to vaccinate Oregon's 32,000 home health care workers and their patients. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff/Pool Photo via AP)(AP)
Home health care workers and their patients start receiving Moderna COVID-19 vaccines at a drive-thru vaccination clinic in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. The clinic is a partnership between the Service Employees International Union and Oregon Health & Science University, aiming to vaccinate Oregon's 32,000 home health care workers and their patients. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff/Pool Photo via AP)(AP)
Updated on Jan 11, 2021 11:54 AM IST
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Experts flag concern over ‘limited data’ for Covaxin

Early-stage trials found the vaccine to be safe and able to invoke a robust immune response, but Phase 2 data is under peer review and has not been published. Phase 3 trials were announced on November 16, and around 22,500 of 25,800 volunteers have enrolled of which around half have received two doses.
A medic fills a syringe with Covxin before administering it to a health worker during its trials, at the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society in Ahmedabad, India.(Reuters/ File photo)
A medic fills a syringe with Covxin before administering it to a health worker during its trials, at the Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society in Ahmedabad, India.(Reuters/ File photo)
Updated on Jan 04, 2021 02:41 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Amplifying reach, fake science biggest challenges to vaccination

With fake science spreading within minutes on social media, the Central and state governments and public health professionals have the additional task of debunking emotionally-charged rumours.
A ground staff walks past a container kept at the Cargo Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which according to the officials will be used as a Covid-19 vaccine handling and distribution center.(Reuters)
A ground staff walks past a container kept at the Cargo Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which according to the officials will be used as a Covid-19 vaccine handling and distribution center.(Reuters)
Updated on Jan 03, 2021 08:50 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Why masks will stay even after Covid-19 vaccination

India plans to begin vaccinating 300 million health workers, frontline workers and vulnerable populations as early as January next year, but vaccines do not signal the end of public health precautions for the vaccinated.
It’s still unknown how much protection Covid-19 vaccines provide in real-life conditions and for how long this protection lasts.(REUTERS)
It’s still unknown how much protection Covid-19 vaccines provide in real-life conditions and for how long this protection lasts.(REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 29, 2020 04:30 AM IST
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Price cap on Covid tests could be affecting diagnosis, skewing data

The ORF-1a, RdRp, E, N, and S genes are most frequently targeted for Sars-CoV-2 detection by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing, which is the standard test for Covid-19 diagnosis in India. The test that can successfully identify the variant is a three-gene test, where one of the genes doesn’t show up in the result because of a mutation in the virus.
A roadside barber cuts the hair of a man in front of a wall with graffiti, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Mumbai, India.(REUTERS)
A roadside barber cuts the hair of a man in front of a wall with graffiti, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), in Mumbai, India.(REUTERS)
Updated on Dec 24, 2020 05:00 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Eight promising Covid-19 vaccines end year in hope

The year began with Wuhan health officials reporting a mysterious cluster of pneumonia cases in 27 people to WHO on 31 December 2019, which was followed by scientists in China isolating the new coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) on January 7, and sharing the its genetic sequence on January 11.
All hopes are now pinned on vaccines, which the government will use to 250 million people at most risk by the summer of 2021. Five experimental vaccines are in advanced stages of clinical trials in India.(AP Photo)
All hopes are now pinned on vaccines, which the government will use to 250 million people at most risk by the summer of 2021. Five experimental vaccines are in advanced stages of clinical trials in India.(AP Photo)
Updated on Dec 21, 2020 04:47 AM IST
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Covid-19 can have impact on heart too, say experts

A US study using MRI found cardiac abnormalities in 78 of 100 patients who had recently recovered from Covid-19, including 12 of 18 asymptomatic patients.
Medics from NMMC Hospital take swab sample for RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen for Covid-19 test of commuters at Vashi Railway Station in Navi Mumbai on Monday.(Bachchan Kumar/HT Photo)
Medics from NMMC Hospital take swab sample for RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen for Covid-19 test of commuters at Vashi Railway Station in Navi Mumbai on Monday.(Bachchan Kumar/HT Photo)
Updated on Dec 15, 2020 02:30 AM IST
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Few Covid-19 deaths in India’s old-age homes, survey finds

Globally, age is one of the strongest predictors of the risk of death from Covid-19, which hits older adults the hardest even though the majority of cases are in people younger than 65 years.
Data from states in India shows that a little over half (53%) of Covid-19 deaths are in people who are 60 years, compared to around 75% of deaths in those aged 65 years and above around the world, according to data reported to World Health Organization (WHO) till October.(HT File Photo)
Data from states in India shows that a little over half (53%) of Covid-19 deaths are in people who are 60 years, compared to around 75% of deaths in those aged 65 years and above around the world, according to data reported to World Health Organization (WHO) till October.(HT File Photo)
Updated on Dec 14, 2020 04:48 AM IST
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Central schemes help country fare better on wellness index: Survey

Women are more empowered than they were in 2015-16, with all states recording a marked increase in the number of women with a bank or savings account that they use.
Swachh Bharat and many other Centre’s schemes has helped elevate health and quality of life of the country’s population.(Subhendu Ghosh/HT file)
Swachh Bharat and many other Centre’s schemes has helped elevate health and quality of life of the country’s population.(Subhendu Ghosh/HT file)
Updated on Dec 13, 2020 05:47 AM IST
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Covid-19 may set back progress made in eradicating malaria

Covid-19 deaths crossed 1.5 million worldwide on December 3, which is close to four times the 411,000 malaria deaths, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Malaria Report 2020 released on November 30.
In 2019, total funding reached $3 billion against a global target of $5.6 billion, but the Covid-19 pandemic burden on health systems and global economy is expected to be a further set back.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
In 2019, total funding reached $3 billion against a global target of $5.6 billion, but the Covid-19 pandemic burden on health systems and global economy is expected to be a further set back.(Reuters file photo. Representative image)
Updated on Dec 07, 2020 02:51 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Scientists reset biological clock to restore vision in old mice

If affirmed through further studies, these findings could be transformative for the care of age-related vision diseases like glaucoma and to the fields of biology and medical therapeutics for disease at large
Representational Image.(File photo)
Representational Image.(File photo)
Updated on Dec 03, 2020 04:36 PM IST
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Covid has left students with uncertain future

Among migrants, 91% of households reported loss of income and 60% households reported they had no money to pay for food, which led to insecurity and domestic violence.
Economic setbacks for families led to one in 10 children saying they would not return to school or do not know whether they would return to school once the institutions reopen.(HT Photo)
Economic setbacks for families led to one in 10 children saying they would not return to school or do not know whether they would return to school once the institutions reopen.(HT Photo)
Updated on Nov 30, 2020 04:57 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

India to manufacture 100mn doses a year of Sputnik: Moscow institute

Phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine are approved and ongoing in Belarus, the UAE, Venezuela and other countries, and Phase 2/3 have been approved in India. India, along with Brazil, China, South Korea and others, will provide the vaccine to at least 50 countries that have requested over 1.2 billion doses.
Sputnik V is a human adenovirus-based vaccine candidate and the only late-stage adenovirus-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate to use two different vectors for different injections, human adenovirus types Ad5 and Ad26.(Bloomberg)
Sputnik V is a human adenovirus-based vaccine candidate and the only late-stage adenovirus-based Covid-19 vaccine candidate to use two different vectors for different injections, human adenovirus types Ad5 and Ad26.(Bloomberg)
Published on Nov 28, 2020 07:24 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

Covid-19: Beginning 2021, India to produce 100 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine

Sputnik V is based on a well-studied platform of human adenoviral vectors and has demonstrated a 91.4% efficacy rate
A nurse prepares Sputnik-V vaccine for inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia, on October 12.(File photo)
A nurse prepares Sputnik-V vaccine for inoculation at a clinic in Tver, Russia, on October 12.(File photo)
Updated on Nov 27, 2020 12:54 PM IST
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Russia says vaccine 95% effective, roll-out in Jan

Countries are hoping to begin inoculating their populations by year’s end or in early 2021 to stop a pandemic that has claimed the lives of nearly 1.4 million people.
In statement on Tuesday, the vaccine’s developers said preliminary data after trials involving thousands of volunteers showed “an efficacy of the vaccine above 95%” after a second dose.(Reuters)
In statement on Tuesday, the vaccine’s developers said preliminary data after trials involving thousands of volunteers showed “an efficacy of the vaccine above 95%” after a second dose.(Reuters)
Updated on Nov 25, 2020 06:42 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi:

Over half of 20-year-olds in urban India likely to develop diabetes in their lifetime: Study

Those who were free of diabetes at age 60 were at lower risk, with around 38% of women and 28% of men developing diabetes at a later age, found the study that used data from Delhi and Chennai
Representational photo.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Representational photo.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Nov 24, 2020 04:30 PM IST
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As vaccine trials end, where do Covid-19 treatments stand?

Most Covid-19 treatments fall under three broad categories, antivirals that prevent the virus from multiplying, immune-modulators that regulate the immune response, and combinations that use multiple mechanisms of action.
Most Covid-19 treatments fall under three broad categories, antivirals that prevent the virus from multiplying, immune-modulators that regulate the immune response, and combinations that use multiple mechanisms of action.(AP)
Most Covid-19 treatments fall under three broad categories, antivirals that prevent the virus from multiplying, immune-modulators that regulate the immune response, and combinations that use multiple mechanisms of action.(AP)
Updated on Nov 24, 2020 05:35 AM IST
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Air pollution as severe in villages as in urban India, reveals study

The new study, part-funded by NASA, combined satellite data with modelling to estimate levels of small particulate matter that damage health and lead to early death
An anti-smog gun sprays water to control air pollution, at ITO in New Delhi on November 3.(PTI)
An anti-smog gun sprays water to control air pollution, at ITO in New Delhi on November 3.(PTI)
Updated on Nov 04, 2020 08:32 AM IST
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Vaccinationalism will prolong pandemic: Andrea D. Taylor of Global Health Innovation Center

Some countries will be able to vaccinate their entire populations — and some many times over— while denying low-resource regions such as sub-Saharan Africa access to Covid-19 protection until 2024
Andrea D. Taylor, the assistant director of programs at Global Health Innovation Center, Duke University.(Sourced)
Andrea D. Taylor, the assistant director of programs at Global Health Innovation Center, Duke University.(Sourced)
Updated on Nov 02, 2020 08:23 AM IST
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Covid-19: Public participation a must to contain infection spread

India’s case fatality rate — the percentage of deaths in an infected population — has steadily declined from a high of 3.23% on March 22 to 1.49% on October 31.
A man is tested for Covid-19 at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India on Sunday, November 01, 2020.(Photo: Dheeraj Dhawan / Hindustan Times)
A man is tested for Covid-19 at Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India on Sunday, November 01, 2020.(Photo: Dheeraj Dhawan / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Nov 02, 2020 05:03 AM IST
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Global study sees India having edge in Covid-19 vaccines

It will likely take three to four years to manufacture enough vaccines to cover the world’s population, but high-income countries and a few middle-income countries with manufacturing capacity such as India, have already purchased nearly 3.8 bn doses.
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker.(REUTERS)
Updated on Nov 02, 2020 09:26 AM IST
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Recovered from Covid? Get flu shot to keep pollution impact at bay: Experts

Air pollution is known to raise susceptibility, hospitalisations and risk of death of Covid-19 patients, and clinicians warn that it may also exacerbate symptoms of “long Covid”, which is a term used to describe symptoms of Covid-19 persisting weeks and months after recovery.
Fatigue is the most common symptom, with more than half of the patents with “long Covid” in the Rome study reporting chronic fatigue, according to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.(AP)
Fatigue is the most common symptom, with more than half of the patents with “long Covid” in the Rome study reporting chronic fatigue, according to JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.(AP)
Updated on Oct 26, 2020 03:21 AM IST
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Melinda Gates: ‘Life will change forever… we will build back in a better way’

The co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spoke about innovation, livelihoods, and how coronavirus disease will change the world
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.(AFP/Getty Images)
Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.(AFP/Getty Images)
Updated on Oct 21, 2020 05:07 PM IST
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Learnings from polio on how to vaccinate 50 million

Most of the potential Covid-19 vaccines will have to be given in two doses to offer protection against infection or reduction in disease severity, which would mean that 400-500 million jabs of the vaccine will have to be given within six months. Is this possible?
A major learning from polio is to be prepared to rapidly dispel misinformation and rumours that may lead to people refusing to get vaccinated.(AP)
A major learning from polio is to be prepared to rapidly dispel misinformation and rumours that may lead to people refusing to get vaccinated.(AP)
Updated on Oct 19, 2020 01:58 AM IST
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Covid detection with CRISPR, phones in offing

This new CRISPR diagnostic method doesn’t amplify coronavirus RNA but uses multiple guide RNAs that work in tandem to increase the sensitivity of the test, said the research team in the yet to be peer-reviewed study published in the pre-print server medRxiv.
American biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California at Berkeley, who won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, poses with a CRISPR-Cas9 model taken in Berkeley, California.(via REUTERS)
American biochemist Jennifer Doudna of the University of California at Berkeley, who won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, poses with a CRISPR-Cas9 model taken in Berkeley, California.(via REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 11, 2020 05:35 AM IST
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Hepatitis C discovery earns trio Nobel Prize for Medicine

Two Americans and a Briton won the 2020 Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday for identifying the Hepatitis C virus, in work spanning decades that has helped to limit the spread of the fatal disease and develop antiviral drugs to cure it.
Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet and of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, announces Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M Rice as the winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine during a news conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.(Reuters photo)
Thomas Perlmann, secretary of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet and of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, announces Harvey J Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M Rice as the winners of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine during a news conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.(Reuters photo)
Updated on Oct 06, 2020 06:31 AM IST
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Healthwise: Study casts more doubt on HCQ’s effectiveness on Covid-19

Researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in the US, Spain’s Universidad De Malaga and the Ministry of Health, however, found HCQ did protect against Sars-CoV-2 infection.
The drug hydroxychloroquine, pushed by US President Donald Trump and others in recent months as a possible treatment to people infected with the coronavirus disease, is displayed at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah.(REUTERS)
The drug hydroxychloroquine, pushed by US President Donald Trump and others in recent months as a possible treatment to people infected with the coronavirus disease, is displayed at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah.(REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 04, 2020 04:05 AM IST
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Stopping a Covid-19 generation of stunted children essential

With 50 million children remaining stunted (low height for age), India still accounts for a third of the global burden of childhood stunting.
A child takes a pencil during a class conducted by a former diplomat Virendra Gupta and his singer wife Veena Gupta on a sidewalk in New Delhi on Sept. 3, 2020.(AP Photo)
A child takes a pencil during a class conducted by a former diplomat Virendra Gupta and his singer wife Veena Gupta on a sidewalk in New Delhi on Sept. 3, 2020.(AP Photo)
Updated on Sep 27, 2020 03:36 AM IST
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Genetic defects may affect ability to fight Covid-19

Lab studies confirmed the antibodies destroyed the interferon and cells exposed to the patients’ plasma failed to stop infection by Sars-CoV2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
A health worker in PPE coveralls prepares to collect swab samples for coronavirus testing at Rajendra Nagar in New Delhi on Wednesday.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
A health worker in PPE coveralls prepares to collect swab samples for coronavirus testing at Rajendra Nagar in New Delhi on Wednesday.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 26, 2020 01:32 AM IST
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Herd immunity unviable, Covid-19 vaccine the only solution

Herd immunity is used to describe the indirect protection conferred to a population in which the majority of people have natural or acquired immunity to an infection. This is possible either through a large proportion of the population getting infected or vaccinated.
Vaccines put the spotlight back on herd or population immunity in the 1960s and 1970s as public health specialists worked to achieve sufficient levels of vaccine coverage to stop disease transmission, and in the case of smallpox and polio, eradicate diseases.(Reuters Photo. Representative image)
Vaccines put the spotlight back on herd or population immunity in the 1960s and 1970s as public health specialists worked to achieve sufficient levels of vaccine coverage to stop disease transmission, and in the case of smallpox and polio, eradicate diseases.(Reuters Photo. Representative image)
Updated on Sep 20, 2020 04:55 AM IST
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