COVID-19 | Policies, Initiatives and advisors

PM Modi chairs high-level meet with CMs and health ministers of 7 worst-affected states/UTs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the chief ministers and health ministers of seven states/union territories via video conferencing on Wednesday to review the coronavirus situation there. These seven states/UTs have the highest caseload of COVID-19 in the country. The Central government had stated that during the high-level meet, the PM will discuss with CMs and HMs of these COVID-19 high burden states/UTs the response and management of coronavirus pandemic. As per the government, these seven states/UTs include Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab. The meeting comes on a day when the coronavirus tally in India crossed the 56-lakh mark with fresh 83,347 infections reported over the last 24 hours.

India maintains trend of High Recoveries

With its focussed strategies and effective, coordinated and proactive measures, India is reporting steep increase in recoveries. New recoveries in India have exceeded the new cases for the fifth consecutive day. 89,746 recoveries have been registered in the last 24 hours in the country, whereas the number of new confirmed cases stands at 83,347. With this, the total number of recoveries are 45,87,613. The Recovery Rate is 81.25% today. India has the highest recovered cases in the world. It contributes 19.5% to the global recoveries. As India records more recoveries than the new cases, many States/UTs follow the suit. 17 States/UTs have more new recoveries than new cases.75% of the new recovered cases are being reported from ten States/UTs, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka , Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala, West Bengal and Haryana. Maharashtra continues to lead with more than 20,000 new cases of recovered patients. Andhra Pradesh contributed more than 10,000 to the single day recoveries.

14 States/UTs have higher TPM and lower Positivity Rate than India average;74% New Cases are concentrated in 10 States/UTs

India's testing capacity has surged to more than 12 lakh daily tests. More than 6.6 cr total tests have been conducted across the country. A high level of testing leads to early identification of positive cases. As evidence has revealed, eventually Positivity Rate will fall.As India rides the wave of very high testing, 14 States/UTs have demonstrated better COVID response with higher Tests Per Million (TPM) and commensurate lower Positivity Rate than the national average. The national cumulative Positivity Rate is 8.52% and the Tests Per Million stands at 48028 today.A total of 83,347 new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours in the country.74% of the new confirmed cases are concentrated in 10 States/UTs.Maharashtra has alone contributed more than 18,000 followed by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with more than more than 7,000 and 6,000 cases respectively.1,085 deaths have been registered in the past 24 hours.10 States/UTs account for 83% of the deaths in the last 24 hours due to COVID.Maharashtra reported 392 deaths followed by Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh with 83and 77 deaths, respectively.Phase 3 human clinical trial of Oxford vaccine begins in Pune

Centre Advisories / Policies / Updates

Lucknow lab records shortest average time to process Covid-19 samples 

As the COVID 19 patient numbers are recorded, a testing hub in Lucknow for the disease has recorded the shortest average time to process samples among institutions in the country.With 1000 to 1200 samples being tested per day, the story of the rise of Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences (BSIP), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, to the top institution not only in the state but throughout the country in terms of average processing time of samples is one of sheer grit and dedication.With a small team of 8 members, the lab is running 24x7 to test samples from various districts of Uttar Pradesh. The number of samples tested by BSIP has crossed 50,000, of which approximately 1600 samples were reported positive for SARS-CoV-2 with zero pendency. 

Centre allows introduction of ISO Tank Containers for Liquid Oxygen 

In the wake of the Covid19 pandemic, urgent need felt to move oxygen in sufficient quantity, at a short notice, from surplus areas to deficit areas, it was felt necessary to give permission to ISO containers to move liquid oxygen for domestic transport.Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), M/o Commerce and Industry, has given permission to the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to introduce ISO Tank Containers for movement of Liquid Oxygen for domestic transport. Amid Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic, the movement of oxygen within the country through the ISO containers shall greatly enhance the translocation of safe and fast movement of oxygen through road network. The proposal to introduce ISO Tank Containers for domestic movement was initiated by DPIIT after a consultation meeting with cryogenic oxygen manufacturers. This permission has been given for one year initially to expeditiously deal with the emergent situation.

Global Advisories/Policies/Updates

Russia to register second COVID-19 vaccine by Oct. 15 -TASS

Russia expects to register a second potential vaccine against COVID-19 by Oct. 15, the TASS news agency cited Russian consumer safety watchdog Rospotrebnadzor as saying. The vaccine has been developed by Siberia's Vector Institute, which completed early-stage human trials of the vaccine last week.

Russia registered its first vaccine candidate, developed by Moscow's Gamaleya Institute, in August. Late-stage trials, involving at least 40,000 people, are ongoing. 

'No Guarantee' Any Coronavirus Vaccine In Development Would Work, Warns WHO Chief

While nations across the globe have continued to boost their scientific research to develop a safe and reliable COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that they have “no guarantee” that any vaccine that is currently in development would work against the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus. While noting that a greater number of candidates in testing would increase their chance, Tedros informed that there are at least 200 such potential vaccines in different phases of testing. However, he noted that the history of vaccine development has revealed that “some will fail and some will succeed”.  “We have no guarantee that any vaccine in development will work. The more candidates we test, the higher the chance we will have for a safe and efficacious vaccine,” the WHO chief said during a virtual press briefing. “Almost 200 vaccine for Covid-19 are currently in clinical and preclinical testing. The history of vaccine development tells us some will fail and some will succeed,” Tedros added.

 State Advisories / Policies / Updates

Maharashtra recorded more recoveries than new Covid cases

For the fourth consecutive day, Maharashtra recorded more recoveries than new Covid cases reported. On Tuesday, a total 20,206 people were discharged after being cured of the infection, even as the state reported 18,390 new cases.  Mumbai too continued to have more discharges which numbered 1,669, than admissions, which came to 1,628.  The active cases in the state are now on a decline. The state has 2.72 lakh people under treatment, while Mumbai has 26,764 active cases.  Meanwhile, Maharashtra School Education Minister Ms.VarshaGaikwad has tested positive for Covid 19.

Health experts express concern that the community transmission of Covid-19 in Kerala

Health experts have expressed concern that the community transmission of Covid-19 in Kerala, which was experienced in only Thiruvananthapuram, is gradually expanding all over the state. The test positivity rate in the state is higher than the national average. The number of cases from unidentified sources is also on the rise. With more relaxations being allowed from today following Unlock 4, they say the case load is definitely going to hike.  State Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar has tested positive for the virus. He is the third minister in Kerala to be diagnosed with coronavirus. The government has issued an order reducing the quarantine period to seven days for those coming from other states. Kerala recorded 4125 positive cases yesterday. 40,382 patients are currently undergoing treatment and a total of 2,20,270 people are under observation. With one more fatality in Alappuzha, the Covid death toll is 573 in the State.

Gujarat deploys all MBBS students of government-run medical colleges

Amid the rising number of COVID-19 corresponding to the shortage of staff to handle the patients in hospitals, the state government has recently issued an order deploying all MBBS students of government-run medical colleges and those associated with Gujarat Medical Education Research (GMERS) for COVID duty. Besides, students from paramedical colleges have also been directed to render their services.  Gujarat has 16,402 active cases and is reporting 1,200 -1,500 new cases every day.

Rajasthan reported the biggest single-day jump of 1,912 COVID-19 cases

Rajasthan reported the biggest single-day jump of 1,912 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The total number of active patients in Rajasthan is 18,614. Out of which the maximum 6,730 active cases are in Jaipur alone. Apart from this, Jodhpur and Kota districts are also badly affected due to COVID infection. 66 per cent of the total active cases are in these three districts.

Industry Updates

Serum Institute starts manufacturing Codagenix's potential Covid-19 vaccine

Serum Institute, the world's largest vaccine maker by the number of doses produced, will develop Codagenix's CDX-005, which is delivered intranasally rather than via injection. A national expert group on vaccine administration for COVID-19 was constituted on August 7, under the NITI Aayog.  Codagenix Inc said Serum Institute of India has started manufacturing the U.S. biotech firm's potential Covid-19 vaccine and it expects to begin early-stage human trial of the vaccine by the end of 2020 in the UK. Serum Institute, the world's largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced, will develop Codagenix's CDX-005, which is delivered intranasally rather than via an injection. Serum Institute is working on several vaccine candidates for the novel coronavirus - including potentially mass-producing the one from AstraZeneca-Oxford University that has garnered global headlines - as well as developing its own.

Department of Biotechnology launches Programme for “Strengthening Clinical Trial Research Capacity in Neighbouring Countries”

The Department of Biotechnology, Government of India through the Ind-CEPI mission (India Centric Epidemic Preparedness)for Rapid Vaccine Development and Supporting Indian Vaccine Development which is aligned with the Global Initiative of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), aims to strengthen the development of vaccines and associated competencies/technologies for the diseases of epidemic potential in India. One of the key focus areas of the mission is to support capacity building and regional networking with LMICs(Lowand Middle Income Countries).In the current COVID19 Pandemic situation it is important to build capacities for clinical trials of vaccine. Keeping with the principles outlined by Science Diplomacy initiatives, DBT has initiated the First phase of the “Training program to strengthen clinical trial research capacity for neighbouring countries” in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The objective of these trainings would be to support researchers and investigator teams for enhancing and strengthening their clinical trial capabilities for conducting clinical trials in compliance with ICH-GCP (International Conference on Harmonisation - Good clinical practice). 

Prepared by Impact Health Research Team

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