COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

India reaches another record of highest single day recoveries

India has touched another peak of posting the highest recoveries of COVID-19 cases in a single day. 62,282 have recovered and been discharged in the past 24 hours. With more patients recovering and being discharged from hospitals and home isolation (in case of mild and moderate cases), the total recoveries have crossed the 21.5 lakh mark today (21, 58,946). The gap between recovered patients and active COVID-19 cases has increased and reached 14, 66,918 today. As a higher number of patient recover, their percentage rate continues to steeply rise along with steady decline in percentage Active Cases. With such high level of recoveries, India's Recovery Rate has soared past 74% (74.28% today) ensuring more and more patients are recovering. This is bolstered by 33 States and UTs reporting Recovery Rate more than 50%.The current active cases (6, 92,028) compose the actual case load of the country. It is 23.82% of the total positive cases today, registering further drop in the last 24 hours. They are under active medical supervision. India’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is maintained below the global average. It is on a continuous positive slide and currently stands at 1.89%. In the last 24 hours 8, 05,985 samples were tested for identification of the disease. This has taken the cumulative tests to 3, 3,467,237. The testing lab network in the country is being continuously strengthened which as on today consists of 1504 labs in the country; 978 labs in the government sector and 526 private labs.

Government eyes 50 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine in 1st order

The Central government is contemplating an initial order of around 50 lakh doses of corona virus vaccine for frontline workers, army personnel, and certain other groups of people, according to report. As COVID-19 continues to be a challenge across the world, the urgent need to make vaccine accessible to frontline workers and the most vulnerable citizens is being examined. India currently has three COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are in the different phases of clinical testing. These include India’s first indigenous corona virus vaccine candidate COVAXIN jointly developed by Bharat Biotech and ICMR, Zydus Cadila’s ZyCoV-D and the Oxford’s ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (dubbed Covishield in India). According to a report, the prioritization of the vaccine has been under discussion in government alongside planning supply chains and distribution - should a vaccine be approved and become available. ICMR chief Balram Bhargava told a parliamentary panel on Wednesday that emergency authorization of a vaccine could be considered if the government decides so, even as the government plans to scale up distribution to ensure that a large section of the population is covered in the shortest possible time.

‘Lord Ganesha bless us all to overcome this pandemic at the earliest possible,’ President greets people on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi

President Ram Nath Kovind in his message on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi has said, “On the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, I extend my best wishes and heartiest congratulations to all fellow citizens living in India and abroad. The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesha, is an expression of people’s enthusiasm, joy and forbearance in taking every section of the society along on this occasion. At present we are facing the challenges posed by Covid-19 pandemic. I hope and pray that Lord Ganesha bless us all to overcome this pandemic at the earliest possible and we all live a happy and healthy life. On this festival, let us pledge to strengthen the mutual harmony, fraternity and unity among all citizens of the country.”

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

Gargled water may be alternative to swabs for sample collection: ICMR

A study published by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has revealed that gargle lavage may be a feasible alternative to swabs for sample collection for the detection of SARS-CoV-2. The primary objective of this study was to assess agreement between gargle lavage and swab as an appropriate respiratory sample for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, said ICMR. The secondary objective was to assess the patient acceptability of the two sampling methods. The top researchers at ICMR conducted a cross-sectional study at AIIMS hospital in Delhi from May-June on 50 Covid-19 patients. The ICMR study pointed out that whether the risk of aerosol generation was similar to swab collection (commonly leads to coughing and sneezing) or higher was not clear. "To minimize the risk of transmission due to aerosols and to maximize the benefits of this method of collection, it would be best to employ it for home collection. Furthermore, it cannot be used in patients who are critically ill as well as in young children/patients who may not be able to follow instructions/perform gargle," it said.

ICMR looks at private medical colleges to ramp up Covid-19 testing infra

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is ramping up molecular testing for the corona virus disease (Covid-19) by approving medical colleges, including private ones, with labs that have the capacity to do Reverse-Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing, the most accurate way to diagnose the viral disease. With 900,000 tests performed on Wednesday, ICMR is inching closer to achieving its target of building enough capacity for India to perform one million tests a day by the end of the month. Currently, about 25-30% of the Covid-19 tests are performed using rapid antigen tests, according to ICMR.

ITI, Berhampur files 3 Patents for COVID-19 related innovations

In an ongoing effort to use its technical expertise to help curtail the spread of COVID-19, Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Berhampur has registered three of its innovative products developed to fight against the novel Corona virus in the patent journal, attesting its inherent strength to be able to rise to any challenge. This will give priority right to the institute over invention. The three innovations by the institute include MOBILE SWAB COLLECTION KISOK, UVC SOLE SANITIZER and UVC ROBO WARRIOR. Lauding the efforts of the ITI, Dr. Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, said “I am confident that such innovations will encourage self-reliance and research spinoffs catering to the needs of the society at large and will encourage more ITIs to come forward with innovative solutions to contain the spread of the virus.”

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

WHO lays out steps to prioritize Vaccine distribution among countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday proposed allocating covid-19 vaccines in two phases. In the first case, it advised proportional distribution to all countries to reduce overall risk and in second, it suggested considering their populations’ threat and vulnerability as the basis. The WHO recently established COVAX global vaccine facility — a joint procurement programme to accelerate the development and manufacture of covid-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said frontline workers in health and social care settings will be prioritized, as well as adults over 65 years and others who are most vulnerable. “A phase 1 allocation that builds up to 20% of the population would cover most of the at-risk groups," said Tedros, adding stabilizing health systems and rebuilding the global economy would not be possible without protecting the highest risk people from the virus.

Massive pool party in China amid COVID-19 pandemic

Even though the World Health Organization continues to issue warning against mass gatherings, China, where the COVID-19 had originated, turned a blind eye against these advisories and allowed large-scale pool parties attracting huge backlash from all over the world. Recently, China broadcaster CCTV reported that over the past week as many as 2.7 million Chinese tourists visited Wuhan in Hubei province where the corona virus had first emerged. Several images and videos went viral showing thousands of largely mask-free visitors packed together at a pool party in Wuhan during a music festival. While the doubt still remains over corona virus figures reported by the Chinese government, the Hubei province of which Wuhan is the capital, claims to have had no new domestically transmitted cases since mid-May.

UK issues urgent call for more Indian, South Asian Covid-19 plasma donors

The UK's state-funded National Health Service (NHS) on Friday issued an urgent call for people of Indian and South Asian heritage who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate their plasma to help save lives of others infected with the deadly virus. According to experts, people from a South Asian background are around twice as likely to have high enough antibodies for their donations to be used in life-saving treatment trials, compared to white people. The NHS said that this antibody-rich plasma, which could save the lives of people with corona virus, is being sought urgently ahead of a feared second wave of the pandemic in the country later in the year.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

UP's Covid-19 tally rises to 1, 77,239 with 4,991 new cases

Uttar Pradesh reported 4,991 fresh COVID-19 cases on Friday taking the total number of those affected by COVID-19 to 1, 77,239, officials said. With 66 fresh fatalities since Thursday, the total deaths due to the virus have gone up to 2,797, a health department bulletin issued here said. There are 47,785 active cases in the state while the number of those being discharged from hospitals after recovery is 1, 26,657, the bulletin said.

55 fresh cases take Meghalaya's Covid-19 tally to 1,716

At least 55 more people, including five security personnel, tested positive for COVID- 19 in Meghalaya on Friday, taking the northeastern state's tally to 1,716, a Health Department official said. Of the new cases, 31 were reported from East Khasi Hills, 17 from West Khasi, three from West Garo, two from East Garo and one each from Ri-Bhoi and West Jaintia, Health Services Director Aman War said. "Three BSF personnel from West Garo Hills and two employees of the Indian Air Force from East Khasi Hills are among new patients," he said.

Bengaluru hospital to inaugurate Covid Plasma Bank on Aug 24

With the Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Karnataka, the MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital in Bengaluru is all set to inaugurate the Convalescent Covid Plasma Bank on August 24. The hospital's Ramaiah Blood Bank is equipped to obtain and store convalescent plasma from recovered Covid- 19 patients. "The Ramaiah Blood Bank is now equipped to obtain and store convalescent plasma from recovered Covid- 19 patients. The MS Ramaiah Medical College and Hospital has been in the forefront to fight against the pandemic with its exclusive 400+bedded dedicated Covid Hospital," the hospital said in a statement.

Industry Updates 

Russia to begin Covid-19 vaccine trials on 40,000 people next week

Mass testing of Russia’s first potential Covid-19 vaccine to get domestic regulatory approval will involve more than 40,000 people and will be overseen by a foreign research body when it starts next week, backers of the project said on Thursday. These were the first details on the shape and size of the upcoming late-stage trial of the vaccine given by its developers, who are aiming to allay concerns among some scientists about the lack of data provided by Russia so far. The vaccine, called “Sputnik V” in homage to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union, has been hailed as safe and effective by Russian authorities and scientists following two months of small-scale human trials, the results of which have not been made public yet.

Mexico to participate in clinical trials of Russian Covid-19 vaccine

Mexico has been offered at least 2,000 doses of a Russian Covid-19 vaccine and is to take part in its clinical trials, said Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard. This is "very good news because once again we are gaining time", Ebrard as saying on Thursday. The Minister and Russian Ambassador to Mexico Viktor Koronelli met on Wednesday to discuss the country's participation in testing the "Sputnik V" vaccine developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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