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Saliva-based smartphone platform built for rapid Covid-19 testing

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NEW YORK: Scientists have developed a portable saliva-based smartphone platform for rapid Covid-19 testing that they claim can provide results within 15 minutes without the resource-intensive laboratory tests.

The new technique detailed in the journal Science Advances pairs a fluorescence microscope readout device with a smartphone to determine viral load from a CRISPR/Cas12a assay.

The new test works as effectively as the well-established quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction method, the experiments in a small number of participants showed.

“We believe this smartphone platform, a similar future application, offers the potential to rapidly expand Covid-19 screening capacity, and potentially simplify the verification of contact tracing, to improve local containment and inform regional disease control efforts,” the authors wrote.

Most Covid-19 tests currently require swabbing the upper part of the throat behind the nose — an uncomfortable process that requires medical professionals in full protective gear to collect samples in airborne infection isolation rooms before running RT-PCR tests.

However, recent studies have found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, may be equally present in the nasopharynx and the saliva during early infection, suggesting saliva-based Covid-19 tests could enable comparably reliable but simpler, safer testing.

To develop a widely accessible platform for saliva-based testing, Bo Ning from Tulane University School of Medicine in the US and colleagues built a prototype assay chip that uses the CRISPR/Cas12a enzyme to enhance an amplified viral RNA target’s signal within a saliva sample.

They integrated the chip into a smartphone-based fluorescence microscope readout device, which captures and analyses images to determine whether the virus is present above a threshold concentration.

The researchers used this design to analyse saliva from 12 patients with Covid-19 and six healthy controls, finding that the approach successfully distinguished between patients with and without the virus.

Additionally, the researchers compared nasal and saliva swabs from non-human primates before and after infection.

They found higher SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels in the saliva swabs, further suggesting that saliva may provide a robust means of diagnosis after infection.

Source: IANS

5g

Vi showcases 5G

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NEW DELHI: Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), leading telecom operator, today demonstrated a range of 5G-based technology solutions as part of its ongoing 5G trials on government allocated 5G spectrum in Pune, Maharashtra and Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

According to Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO, Vodafone Idea Limited, “With our 5G trials underway, Vi is preparing to take India on the next journey of fifth generation wireless mobile communication technology. Our 5G trials showcase a whole new world of possibilities across various domains that promise a new era of technology advancement in India. I am confident that 5G will bring a better tomorrow that will deliver significant benefits to consumers, businesses and society, driving digital economy growth in India.”

With the purpose for a better tomorrow, Vi has been conducting 5G trials and developed a wide range of use cases relevant for Enterprises and Consumers in India. Vi has partnered with industry leaders like L&T Smart World & Communication, Athonet, Indian start-ups like Vizzbee & Tweek Labs, and technology leaders – Ericsson and Nokia for trialling use cases in the two locations.

Committed to helping its customers thrive and have a better tomorrow, Vi is leveraging the power of 5G technology across segments such as industry 4.0, smart cities, smart healthcare, smart workplace, smart education, smart agriculture, gaming, amongst others. Vi’s trials have proven that high data speed, low latency and reliability of 5G technology, can bring about massive developments by enhancing business performance, revolutionizing customer experience, changing consumer lifestyle and positively impacting people dwelling in remote corners of India.

Vi has been allocated 26 GHz and 3.5 GHz spectrum in the mmWave band by the DoT, for 5G network trials and use cases. Vi has achieved peak speeds in excess of 1.5 Gbps on 3.5 GHz, more than 4.2 Gbps on 26 GHz and up to 9.8 Gbps on backhaul spectrum of E-bands.

The 5G trial network set up by Vi in Pune, deploys Ericsson Radios and Ericsson Dual Mode Core based on cloud native technology comprising of 5G SA, 5G NSA & LTE packet core functions. All use cases demonstrated in Pune have been developed over Ericsson’s 5G technology solutions.

In Gandhinagar, Vi is using Nokia’s AirScale radio portfolio and Microwave E-band solution for the trial that support enterprises, both large and small and medium businesses with reliable connectivity. Vi use cases in Gandhinagar were demonstrated via a live telecast at the special media preview held in Pune.

 

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Mobile Services

Vi launches new tariff plans for Digital India

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NEW DELHI: Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL), India’s leading telecom service provider, has announced the launch of its new tariff plans for prepaid users in India. The new plans will be available starting 25th November 2021.

The new plans will start the process of ARPU improvement and help address the financial stress faced by the industry.

These tariff plans will allow VIL to continue improving India’s Fastest Mobile Network, verified by Ookla®, the global leader in fixed broadband and mobile network testing applications. Vi remains committed to play its role in accelerating the realization of the Digital India vision of the government.

In line with its commitment to providing its customers with simple and convenient products, Vi has curated an optimum range of feature rich plans for both voice and data. Customers can avail their benefits by selecting the plan best suited to their specific needs.

Users can visit www.myvi.in for more details, starting 25th November, 2021.

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Mobile Services

Airtel announces revised mobile tariffs

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NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel has always maintained that the mobile Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) needs to be at Rs 200 and ultimately at Rs 300, so as to provide a reasonable return on capital that allows for a financially healthy business model.

We also believe that this level of ARPU will enable the substantial investments required in networks and spectrum. Even more important, this will give Airtel the elbow room to roll out 5G in India.

Therefore, as a first step, we are taking the lead in rebalancing our tariffs during the month of November. Accordingly our new tariffs as indicated below will come into effect from November 26, 2021.

Airtel’s New Prepaid Tariffs

Current Price (Rs) Validity New Price (Rs) Benefits
Tariffed Voice Plans
79 28 days 99 50% more talktime of Rs 99, 200MB data

1p/sec voice tariff

Unlimited Voice Bundles
149 28 days 179 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 2 GB data
219 28 days 265 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 1 GB/day data
249 28 days 299 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 1.5 GB/day data
298 28 days 359 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 2 GB/day data
399 56 days 479 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 1.5 GB/day data
449 56 days 549 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 2 GB/day data
379 84 days 455 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 6 GB data
598 84 days 719 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 1.5 GB/day data
698 84 days 839 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 2 GB/day data
1498 365 days 1799 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 24 GB data
2498 365 days 2999 Unlimited calling, 100 SMS/day, 2 GB/day data
Data Top-ups
48 Unlimited 58 3 GB data
98 Unlimited 118 12 GB data
251 Unlimited 301 50 GB data
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