COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

India scales a new peak of 5 cr total COVID tests

India has scaled another peak- the cumulative tests have surpassed 5 crore today. India has come a long way from conducting just one test from the lab at National Institute of Virology, Pune in January 2020 to total 5, 06, 50,128 by today. 10, 98,621 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours testifying the enlarged testing capacity in the country. The average daily tests conducted (week wise) are demonstrating a consistent increase. This has registered a 3.2 times expansion from third week of July (3, 26,971) to first week of September (10, 46,470). Expanding network of diagnostic labs has given a boost to Tests per Million. The TPM have seen a sharp rise from 6396 on 1st of July to 36,703 as of today. The testing lab network in the country is continuously strengthened which as on today consists of 1668 labs in the country; 1035 labs in the government sector and 633 private labs.

India's Total Recoveries exceed 33 lakh; 77% of Total Cases have recovered

More than 77% of the total cases of COVID-19 have recovered so far in India. The total number of recoveries has crossed 33 lakh (3,323,950). The single day recoveries are also touching a new high. 73,521 COVID-19 patients have recovered and been discharged in the last 24 hours. The number of recovered patients has outpaced the active cases (8, 83,697) by more than 24 lakh, and is more than 3.7 times the active cases. India’s Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is maintained below the global average and it stands at 1.70% today.

 ‘eSanjeevani’ telemedicine service records 3 lakh tele-consultations

‘eSanjeevani’ telemedicine service, the platform of the Health Ministry providing tele-consultations, has completed 3 lakh tele-consultations. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare presided over a meet to commemorate the platform’s completion of 1.5 lakh on 9th of August. The platform has   registered double that number of consultations within a month since then. One lakh of these tele-consultations were held in the last 20 days. The platform had completed the first 1, 00,000 consultations on 23 July 2020, and the subsequent 1, 00,000 on 18 August 2020 within a span of 26 days. Ensuring physical distancing, the telemedicine service connects doctors with patients. eSanjeevani platform supports two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations. The former is an important pillar of the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre (AB-HWCs) programme. The Health Ministry rolled out the second tele-consultation service ‘eSanjeevaniOPD’ enabling patient-to-doctor telemedicine on 13th April of this year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has proved a boon in containing the spread of COVID while simultaneously enabling provisions for non-COVID essential healthcare. eSanjeevani has been implemented by 23 States so far and other States are in the process of rolling it out. Tamil Nadu alone has contributed 97,204 consultations and all are on the eSanjeevani OPD app. Uttar Pradesh is second with 65,173 total consultations.

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

Centre considering phase 3 trial of Russian Covid-19 vaccine: Niti Aayog 

The Centre is considering the request of the Russian government for holding phase-3 trial of Covid-19 vaccine 'Sputnik V' in India and its large scale manufacturing by Indian vaccine makers, a top government functionary said in a press briefing on Tuesday. “The Indian government attaches great importance to this offer of partnership from a very special friend of this nation, and on both the tracks there has been significant movement,” said Dr. V K Paul, member (health) Niti Aayog who also heads the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19. Last month, Russia had registered its first vaccine candidate, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, after completing early-stage human trials. The results of phase 1 and 2 trials published in The Lancet last week said that the vaccine was well tolerated by all volunteers it was tested on and also triggered good antibody response. The vaccine which is administered in two doses, each based on a different vector that normally causes the common cold in humans and other primates (human adenoviruses Ad5 and Ad26), has entered phase-3 trial in Russia.

India scaling up production of active Pharma ingredients: Amitabh Kant

India, a global hub for generic drugs, has launched a new scheme to boost production of active pharmaceutical ingredients that are greatly dependent on the Chinese supply chain, according to NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant. Speaking at the 14th Annual BioPharma and Healthcare Summit, he said India is now gearing up for innovation in its pharmaceutical ecosystem focusing on speedy and scaled up delivery of new vaccines and personalized medicines. He said that India has launched a new scheme to boost production of active pharmaceutical ingredients that are greatly dependent on the Chinese supply chain. "We are planning to do complete manufacturing in India," he said at the virtual summit organized by the USA-India Chamber of Commerce on Friday. The day-long virtual summit was attended by major players from the US pharmaceutical sector, whose combined annual research and development budget is more than USD 45 billion.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

ASEM calls for concerted international cooperation to combat Covid-19

Describing the Covid-19 pandemic as an unparalleled global health crisis that has caused grave disruptions to the world economy, the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on Monday called for concerted international cooperation, with transparent and timely sharing of accurate information to combat the deadly disease. Established as a dialogue forum in 1996 to bridge Asia and Europe, the ASEM has 53 partners including 51 member countries and 2 regional organizations (ASEAN Secretariat and European Commission). India is an active participant in ASEM, which represents around 62.3 per cent of the world's population and 57.2 per cent of the global GDP.

"World Must Be More Ready For Next Pandemic Than It Was This Time": WHO

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world must be better prepared for the next pandemic, as he called on countries to invest in public health. More than 27.19 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel corona virus globally and 888,326 have died, according to a tally, since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. "This will not be the last pandemic," Tedros told a news briefing in Geneva. "History teaches us that outbreaks and pandemics are a fact of life. But when the next pandemic comes, the world must be ready - more ready than it was this time."

India in talks to join global vaccine development effort, says WHO 

The World Health Organization  said that it was holding discussions with India about the country joining the Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access or COVAX Facility – a global effort to develop and distribute corona virus vaccines. The global health body added that India had “extensive experience” with vaccines. “India is certainly eligible, like all countries in the world, to be part of the COVAX facility and discussions are going on in that regard,” WHO Senior Advisor Bruce Aylward said during a press briefing. “We will welcome India’s full participation as a member of COVAX. India has extensive experience with vaccines.” India is now the second-worst corona virus-hit country in the world. The country has reported 42, 80,422 lakh cases and 72,775 deaths so far. More than 170 countries are engaged in discussions to participate in the COVAX Facility, which is focused on speeding up the development of a drug against the disease, ensuring doses for all countries and distributing the vaccines to high-risk groups. The effort is being led by WHO and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance.

State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Kerala reports 3,026 Covid-19 cases, death toll touches 372

Kerala reported 3,026 fresh Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total infection count to 92,514 as the toll mounted to 372with 13 more deaths. This is the second time that the state has reported over 3,000 cases on a single day. On September 6, 3082 had been infected by the disease, the highest single day spike so far. Thiruvananthapuram accounted for 562 cases, the highest, followed by Malappuram 358, Ernakulam 318, Kozhikode 246, Palakkad 226, Alappuzha 217 and Kollam 209 cases, Health minister K K Shailaja, said.

With increased testing, Rajkot sees rise in Covid-19 cases

Rajkot has reported the third highest number of daily Covid-19 cases in Gujarat after Surat and Ahmedabad in the last few days, an official said on Tuesday, attributing the rise to increased testing. According to the state health department, there are 2,214 active cases in Rajkot, the third highest in the state after Ahmedabad with 4,021 and Surat with 2,627 cases. While with 1,501 active cases, Vadodara is now in the fourth spot, the health data stated. Rajkot has so far recorded 5,812 Covid-19 cases, which is fourth highest after Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara. The fatalities, however, have remained in check with 102 deaths, the fourth highest in the state.

6,743 fresh Covid-19 cases take UP's tally to over 278,000, toll at 4,047

The Covid-19 death toll in Uttar Pradesh rose to 4,047 on Tuesday with 73 more fatalities, while 6,743 fresh cases pushed the state's infection tally to over over 278,000, officials said. According to the bulletin issued by the UP government here, of the 73 deaths, 19 were reported from Lucknow followed by six from Prayagraj and four from Kanpur. Three deaths each were reported from Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Moradabad, Maharajganj, Unnao and Rae Bareli among others, it said. Of the 6,743 fresh Covid-19 cases, 853 were reported from Lucknow, 290 from Kanpur and 283 from Prayagraj.

Pune first district in India to cross 200,000 Covid-19 cases

Driven by a surge in Covid-19 cases in the last few days, Pune has become the first district in the country to record more than two lakh cases. As per data of the Maharashtra government's health department, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Pune district reached 2, 03,468 on Monday after 4,165 more people tested positive for the disease. Officials here said increased testing was one of the main reasons for the surge in cases in the district. Pune crossed the one lakh-mark on August 5 and in a month's time; the cases have doubled in the district, according to official figures. Compared to Pune, Delhi reported 1, 93,526 Covid-19 cases till Monday, while Mumbai recorded 1, 57,410 cases.

Industry Updates

First batch of Russian Covid-19 Vaccine released into public

The first batch of the Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19, developed by Russia's Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has been released into civil circulation, regional deliveries are planned in the nearest future, the Russian Health Ministry informs. "The first batch of the 'Gam-Covid-Vac' [Sputnik V] vaccine for the prevention of the new corona virus infection, developed by the Gamaleya National Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Ministry of Health of Russia, has passed the necessary quality tests in the laboratories of Roszdravnadzor [medical device regulator] and has been released into civil circulation," the ministry said. The Russian health ministry registered the first vaccine against Covid-19, named Sputnik V, on August 11.

Oxford scientists take final steps to get corona virus Vaccine approved 

Of the hundreds of potential COVID-19 vaccines in development, six are in the final stages of testing, known as phase three clinical trials. One of these – ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 – is the vaccine we’re developing at the University of Oxford. To be approved, vaccines need to go through multiple rounds of testing to show that they’re safe and effective. A combined phase one and phase two trial of the Oxford vaccine has demonstrated that it is safe – with only short-term side-effects and no serious unexpected events reported – and that it elicits an immune response. The purpose of a phase three trial is to assess whether this vaccine-induced immune response is strong enough to actually protect people from COVID-19. Proving this would pave the way for the vaccine to become publicly available.

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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