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Maharashtra gets 2,033 new Covid-19 cases, records 51 deaths

Though trailing a distant second after Mumbai, Pune Division fatalities touched 232, besides 4,640 patients.

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Mumbai, May 19 : Maharashtra on Monday recorded its second highest surge of 2,033 Covid-19 cases – after Monday’s 2,347 – and notched 51 deaths on the first day of lockdown 4.0, officials said here.

This comes to a staggering surge of around 85 new cases every hour and a death rate of roughly two fatalities every hour in the state.

With 51 fatalities – down from the previous high of 63 notched on May 17 — the state death toll now stands at 1,249 and the total number of coronavirus patients increased from 33,053 to 35,058 on Monday, after the previous steepest single-day jump of 2,347 recorded on Sunday.

The Health Department said of the total number of cases, 25,392 were active cases, up by 1,231 over Sunday’s figures.

Of the total deaths, 23 were recorded in Mumbai alone, besides one from Bihar, while the city’s toll increased from Sunday’s 734 to 757, and the number of Covid-19 positive patients here shot up by 1,185 cases to touch 22,335.

Mumbai’s Dharavi slum alone continued to be a major hotspot and a headache for the health authorities, notching 85 new cases, taking the total number of patients to 1,327, and 56 deaths to date.

Besides Mumbai’s 23 deaths, there were 9 in Thane (Navi Mumbai-Bhiwandi), eight in Pune, three in Jalgaon, two each in Aurangabad, Ahmednagar and Nagpur, and one in Palghar.

They comprised 35 men and 16 women, and nearly 68 per cent of them suffered from other serious ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, heart problems and asthma.

In a setback, Gadchiroli district which was in the green zone, suddenly moved into the orange zone with the detection of 5 infected persons.

According to officials, they had reportedly gone from Mumbai to Gadchiroli and were in quarantine when their test reports came as Covid-19 positive.

On the positive side, the highest number of 749 fully cured patients returned home on Monday, taking the number of those discharged to 8,437.

Sounding relief for the state police, around 10 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) reached the state, including five for Mumbai and the rest for Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik, Amravati, said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

The state had last week had sought 20 companies of CAPF to give the state police some rest and also to ensure there are no law and order problems during the upcoming Eid festival next week.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region (Thane Division) continued to cause huge concerns with 844 Covid-19 deaths and cases shooting to 26,646, with Thane district notching 57 deaths, Palghar 14 and Raigad 16 fatalities so far.

Though trailing a distant second after Mumbai, Pune Division fatalities touched 232, besides 4,640 patients.

The next major area of concern is Nashik Division with 83 deaths and 1,341 positive cases, followed by Aurangabad Division with 34 fatalities and 1,121 cases, and finally Akola Division with 29 deaths and 522 cases.

There’s also Latur Division with 6 deaths and 142 cases, Kolhapur Division with 5 deaths and 216 patients, and finally Nagpur Division with 5 deaths and 387 patients.

Meanwhile, the number of people sent to home quarantine increased from 348,508 to 366,242, and those in institutional quarantine went up from 17,638 to 18,678, while the state’s containment zones decreased from 1,688 on Sunday to 1,681 on Monday.

As many as 14,041 teams have carried out a survey of a population of around 60.4 lakhs in the state to date as the state started into Lockdown 4.0 till May 31.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at [email protected])

Cities

Delhi’s coronavirus cases cross one lakh mark

Earlier on Monday, an order was issued for all health care facilities to carry out compulsory rapid antigen detection testing of all individuals of high risk groups who visit their facility.

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Arvind Kejriwal Delhi

New Delhi, July 6 : With 1,379 fresh coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the national capital on Monday surpassed the one lakh mark of patients to reach 1,00,823. There were 48 more deaths in this period.

The silver lining, however, is the recovery rate, which has exceeded 70 per cent. According to Delhi government”s daily bulletin, as many as 749 patients recovered in the last 24 hours.

Till now, 72,088 people have recovered, 25,620 are active cases and 3,115 patients have succumbed to the deadly disease. This means that the city has a case fatality rate of 3 per cent.

Testing numbers in the city have gone up since the commencement of rapid antigen tests last month. Over 5,327 RT-PCR and 8,552 rapid antigen Covid-19 tests were conducted on Monday.

In total, 6,57,383 tests have been conducted so far in the national capital. Delhi has a total of 455 containment zones.

Currently, 5,250 beds are occupied in the hospitals out of a total capacity of 15,301 beds, 1,714 in the dedicated Covid Care Centres out of 7,869 and 136 beds in the dedicated Covid Health Centres as against the availability of 544 total beds. Over 17,141 people are under home isolation.

Earlier on Monday, an order was issued for all health care facilities to carry out compulsory rapid antigen detection testing of all individuals of high risk groups who visit their facility.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal also chaired a meeting of Delhi Disaster Management Authority to review the Covid-19 situation in the city.

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Cities

Scribe suffering from Covid jumps off 4th floor of AIIMS, condition critical

The doctors at AIIMS claimed that the journalist was having hallucinations for the past one week. They also claimed that he was in depression.

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New Delhi, July 6 : A 37-year-old journalist, who had tested positive for Covid-19 a few days ago, jumped from the fourth floor of the AIIMS trauma centre where he was receiving treatment, doctors said on Monday. His condition is stated to be critical.

The police said that the journalist has been admitted to the ICU in critical condition. The doctors said that he has received multiple fractures. The incident occurred at around 2 p.m.

“The 37-year-old man was admitted to the Covid-19 ward in the Taruma Centre on the fourth floor on June 24,” DCP (South West) Devender Arya said.

The journalist was kept in the isolation room of the Covid-19 ward on the fourth floor of the trauma centre building. The hospital staff informed that an iron grill that covered the window of the toilet was found removed. “We assume that he jumped off the window after removing its grill,” said a hospital staff.

The doctors at AIIMS claimed that the journalist was having hallucinations for the past one week. They also claimed that he was in depression.

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Disaster

Preliminary trial success, Covid vax could be out by Dec: Bangladeshi scientist

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Dhaka : Claiming success in preliminary animal modelling trial of Covid-19 vaccine, Globe Biotech Limited has claimed to be the first company from Bangladesh to have a Covid-19 vaccine under development. It says it is aiming for a December 2020 availability of the vaccine in the market.

They received the result after conducting the preliminary trial on five rabbits from June 10 to June 28, says Dr Asif Mahmud, Assistant Manager and incharge of Research and Development, Globe Biotech Limited, in an exclusive interview to IANS.

Earlier, he led the team to claim success in preliminary trial for the vaccine in national capital Dhaka on Thursday afternoon.

Excerpts from the interview of scientist Dr Asif Mahmud

Q: Globe Biotech is a research company in Bangladesh. Is it a branch of any MNC in the world?

A: No, in fact, Globe Biotech Limited is a Biological Drug Discovery Company in operation in Bangladesh since 2015. The project was started by our CEO Kankon Nag and COO Dr Nazneen Sultana. We have prepared 18 bio similar. We are also working on our own Nobel drug. After completing the animal trials of 6 bio similar, we have applied for Ethical Approval through our PRO at the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) in Dhaka. We have that ability and experience to invent a vaccine against this pandemic. Under the supervision of our CEO and COO, after a Covid-19 patient was reported in Bangladesh on March 8, we shifted our focus to SARS-Cov2 and started 3 new projects. Number one — we will do kit development; number two — we will do vaccine development for the country; and in the last — the biological molecule development.

Q: Is the research by Globe Biotech independent? Or is your research done under the supervision of any other country?

A: Globe Biotech is researching independently. Under the supervision of our CEO and COO, both of whom supervised the team from Canada. They are experienced in this matter. Dr Kankon was directly involved in the HIV vaccine project. He is using that experience here. We are conducting research under their direct supervision. A 12-member scientific group started research on March 18 under the leadership of both.

We have taken some 76 genome sequences under consideration, wherein we found that a sequence (numbered 614) has a mutation point that they have used for amino acid bonding.

Q: Which method did you follow for the research you are undertaking? And how do you make sure it will work to protect people from Covid-19?

A: We went for the SPR method for the tests. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) is a phenomenon where electrons in the metal surface layer are excited by photons of incident light with a certain angle of incidence, and then propagated parallel to the metal surface. It is an optical technique utilised for detecting molecular interactions. Actually, we have set a vaccine target. We have analysed the sequences from all the databases we have worldwide, including the sequences in Bangladesh. We set the target by our analysis. We have modified that target according to our needs. We have set multiple targets.

We have placed multiple delivery systems in consideration.

By applying the delivery system we have done an animal trial on rabbits.

By this we have got a very good antibody titer. And those antibodies have shown strong binding affinity with our antigen. We have additional candidates, some of which we have presented to the press. But the company is yet to apply for a patent or any publication; and before the patent is ensured it would not disclose the data received from the trial. We have said that we need to convert the data from the preliminary animal trial into a regulated animal trial. That we will do within the next 6 to 8 weeks. Then we will apply for Ethical Approval.

Q: This 6 to 8 weeks period, to get proof of animal trial? Or, for trial on humans?

A: No, we have already got proof of antibody generation in the preliminary animal trial. Now, it needs to be converted to a regulated animal trial. Because, for human trial, we have to submit it to the regulatory body for Ethical Approval. Regulated trials will require some further characterisation. Then, we will apply for human trials.

Q: Did you inform about your research to the drug administration of the country?

A: Not yet. There is no role of the regulatory body now. When we do a regulated animal trial, of course, we go to the regulatory body.

Q: What are your expectations? When will the vaccine be released?

A: We have already formulated the regulated animal trial guidelines and the tests would be concluded within four to six weeks. Thereafter, the company will seek Ethical Approval from the Bangladesh Medical Research Council (BMRC) in early September, when the data from the Regulated Animal Trial reaches us within 6 to 7 weeks.

And then, we will apply for market authorisation to the regulatory authority in December within three months after completing the phases 1, 2 and 3. If everything goes smoothly, we expect to be able to bring our vaccine to the market by December.

Q: If you get government support, do you think success for you can be faster or smoother?

A: Obviously! This will be the first discovery of this vaccine in Bangladesh. The first task always comes with more obstacles and hindrances. We will remove the obstacles with the support of the government and will bring the vaccine to the market in due course.

(Sumi Khan can be contacted at [email protected])

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