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What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

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Rush for vaccines and oxygen in desperate situation in India
Indians struggled to register online for a mass vaccination drive set to begin at the weekend as the country reported a record rise in coronavirus cases and deaths over the last 24 hours. The country's overall caseload rose above 18 million, with a further 3,645 deaths taking the toll to almost 205,000 amid a shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen.

Delhi state is reporting one death from Covid-19 every four minutes and ambulances have been taking the bodies of Covid-19 victims to makeshift crematorium facilities in parks and parking lots, where bodies burned on rows and rows of funeral pyres.

Moderna boosting vaccine-making capacity
Moderna Inc said on Thursday it is boosting manufacturing capacity for its Covid-19 vaccine and expects to make up to 3 billion doses in 2022, more than twice its previous forecast.

The final number of inoculations will depend on how many are lower-dose formulations for boosters and immunizations for children. Moderna shots currently deploy 100 micrograms of vaccine substance but some future shots may use only 50 micrograms.

Placental infection may be more likely in early pregnancy
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 rarely infects the placenta, but new research suggests that when such an infection does occur it is more likely to happen early in pregnancy. Analyzing 12 placentas from healthy women, ranging in gestational age from 5 weeks to 36 weeks, researchers found that the cells in the placenta that become infected with the coronavirus have the surface protein ACE2, which the virus uses as a gateway for entry.

Late in pregnancy, the ACE2 proteins are positioned on cells in a way that does not expose them to the virus circulating in the mother's blood, possibly protecting the placenta from infection, said study coauthor Dr.

Drucilla Roberts of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Uber app in U.S. to enable users to book Covid-19 vaccines
Uber Technologies Inc said on Wednesday it was launching new features in its app to allow U.S. customers to book Covid-19 vaccine appointments and reserve rental cars.

Customers would be able book an appointment at a Walgreens pharmacy to receive a vaccine and an Uber ride to travel there, the company said in a product presentation.
(Reuters)

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