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Coronavirus to peak in May-June outside China: Report

The infection spreads rapidly through a population, reaching a peak and then subsiding almost equally rapidly once there are no new people to infect.

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New Delhi, March 12 : Countries outside China will likely see a peak in coronavirus infections in the May-June period before recovering towards normal by the end of third quarter and beginning of fourth quarter (October), a new report warned on Thursday.

The new coronavirus infection rate in China is decelerating.

“This is good news and should allow most factories outside the Hubei province to move back toward normal, seasonal activity levels by the beginning of the second quarter,” said Peter Richardson, Research Director, Counterpoint Research.

In other countries, however, the picture is less positive with more than 25,000 new cases reported in the last week, he added.

“Countries’ ability to contain the outbreak now looks challenging with the emphasis shifting to managing the impact as best they can,” said Richardson.

The pattern of infection and recovery is becoming clearer.

The infection spreads rapidly through a population, reaching a peak and then subsiding almost equally rapidly once there are no new people to infect.

“By locking down areas and curtailing socializing, the pool of potential virus recipients is reduced, causing the outbreak to moderate more quickly,” said the report.

“This is what happened in China. But a rapid lockdown it is not what has happened in Iran, Italy and many other parts of Europe, and the United States”.

The disease has likely been in the community in these countries for several weeks before being formally identified.

The US is most concerning and evidence from Seattle suggests the existence of coronavirus in the community as far back as early February.

“But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was not able to effectively test for the virus at that stage and even prevented some research laboratories from reporting their own positive test results,” claimed the report.

“We continue to expect a rapid increase in infections in Europe, the US and many other countries over the next eight to 12 weeks before returning towards normal during 3Q and with an expectation of largely normal levels of economic activity by the year end,” Richardson noted.

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Sanofi, GSK to supply COVAX with 200 mn doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Translate Bio has established mRNA manufacturing capacity and Sanofi expects to be able to supply annual capacity of 90 to 360 million doses.

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New Delhi, Oct 29 : Sanofi and GSK have signed a Statement of Intent with Gavi, the legal administrator of the COVAX Facility, a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of eventual COVID-19 vaccines.

Sanofi and GSK intend to make available 200 million doses of their adjuvanted recombinant protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, if approved by regulatory authorities and subject to contract, to the COVAX Facility.

Both Companies intend to contribute to COVAX’s ambition to ensure successful COVID-19 vaccines reach those in need, whoever they are and wherever they live, once they obtain appropriate approvals.

“To address a global health crisis of this magnitude, it takes unique partnerships. The commitment we are announcing today for the COVAX Facility can help us together stand a better chance of bringing the pandemic under control,” said Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur.

“This moment also reflects our long-term commitment to global health and ensures our COVID-19 vaccines are affordable and accessible to those most at risk, everywhere in the world.”

Roger Connor, President of GSK Vaccines added, “Since we started working on the development of COVID-19 vaccines, GSK has pledged to make them available to people around the world. We are proud to be working with Sanofi to make this adjuvanted recombinant protein-based vaccine available to the countries signed up to the COVAX Facility as soon as possible – this has the potential to be a significant contribution to the global fight against COVID-19.”

The COVAX Facility is part of COVAX, a global collaboration of governments, global health organisations, businesses and philanthropic organisations working to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO and forms the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. More than 180 countries and economies have signed onto the COVAX Facility to get timely and cost-effective access to vaccines to meet the global scale of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the COVAX Facility’s efforts, vaccines will be distributed in participating countries through the WHO’s recently published Allocation Framework, and the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) Values Framework which has begun to frame future guidance on vaccine use. These allocation principles aim to ensure that people in all parts of the world will get access to COVID-19 vaccines once they are available.

Sanofi and GSK initiated a Phase 1/2 study on September 3 with a total of 440 subjects enrolled, and anticipate first results in early December 2020, to support the initiation of a pivotal Phase 3 study before the end of the year. If these data are sufficient for licensure application, it is planned to request regulatory approval from the first half of 2021. In parallel, the Companies are scaling up manufacturing of the antigen and adjuvant respectively.

In addition to the recombinant protein-based vaccine in collaboration with GSK, Sanofi is developing a messenger RNA vaccine in partnership with Translate Bio. With several innovative vaccine platforms currently being investigated across the industry, mRNA is considered among the most promising.

Preclinical data showed that two immunizations of the mRNA vaccine induced high neutralizing antibody levels that are comparable to the upper range of those observed in infected humans. Sanofi expects the Phase 1/2 study to start in the fourth quarter of 2020, with earliest potential approval in the second half of 2021. Translate Bio has established mRNA manufacturing capacity and Sanofi expects to be able to supply annual capacity of 90 to 360 million doses.

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Delhi records highest new Covid cases since pandemic began

The cases on Wednesday came out of the 60,571 tests conducted the previous day. The tally of active cases today rose to 29,378 from 27,873 the previous day.

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New Delhi : Delhi reported an unprecedented rise in the number of daily infections on Wednesday. According to a health department bulletin, the national capital recorded 5,673 fresh Covid-19 cases, the highest single-day spike till date, taking the total case-load to more than 3.7 lakh with 40 new fatalities pushing the death count in the national capital to 6,396.

This is the highest single-day figure that Delhi has reported since the pandemic struck the country. The national capital, which is battling the third wave of infections, has been logging more than 4,000 cases daily for the last six days.

With the onset of the festive season, the unprecedented spike has raised concerns, especially when the national Covid tally has shown a steady decline.

The Covid-19 figures in the national capital have been increasing rapidly.

On Tuesday, Delhi reported 4,853 new infections and 44 deaths, which was also its highest daily spike. The number of fresh cases recorded on Monday stood at 2,832, and 4,136 on Sunday, while the figures were 4,116 on Saturday and 4,086 on Friday.

The cases on Wednesday came out of the 60,571 tests conducted the previous day. The tally of active cases today rose to 29,378 from 27,873 the previous day.

The Health Ministry had expressed concern over the spike in Delhi’s cases and is expected to hold a meeting with top officials of the UT government on Thursday to chalk out a strategy for prevention of the Covid spread, the officials said on Tuesday.

The unwanted record spike coincides with an extended festive season and the onset of winter.

Medical experts have suggested that the Covid-19 virus could become even more potent and fatal as the temperature drops.

The increase in Covid cases has also been linked to the worsening pollution in the national capital, which is preparing for its annual bout with “severe” and “hazardous” air quality levels.

Meanwhile, the daily national Covid tally of India is on a constant decline for over a week, which had been reporting close to one lakh cases daily till last month.

Experts say the country has passed its peak but a surge is looming over in view of festivities and laxity observed by the public.

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Long-Term Exposure To Air Pollution Can Contribute To Mortality In Covid Cases: Top Medical Body ICMR

Every winter, the air quality in north India, including in Delhi, dips to a dangerous low. Experts have warned that high levels of air pollution can aggravate the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New Delhi: Studies in Europe and the US have established that long-term exposure to air pollution can contribute to mortality in COVID-19 cases, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday.

He stressed that studies have found “virus particles remain suspended with PM 2.5 particulate matter, but they are not active viruses”.

“There have been studies in Europe and the US, where they have looked at polluted areas and compared mortality during lockdown and correlation with pollution… they found that pollution is clearly contributing to mortality in COVID-19 and that’s well established by these studies,” Mr Bhargava said at a press conference.

Every winter, the air quality in north India, including in Delhi, dips to a dangerous low. Experts have warned that high levels of air pollution can aggravate the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is well-proven that pollution is related to mortality, Mr Bhargava said and asserted that the most inexpensive prevention for COVID-19 and pollution is rapid and widespread adoption of wearing masks.

He said in some cities with high pollution levels, people wear masks even when there is no pandemic.

“Following COVID-appropriate behaviour, be it wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, do not cost us anything. Wearing a mask has a double advantage as it can protect one from COVID-19 as well as from pollution,” the ICMR chief said.

About the spread of coronavirus infection among children in India, he said the country’s overall figure show that of the total COVID-19 positive cases, only eight per cent are below the age of 17.

“For those below five years, the figure would be probably less than one per cent,” Mr Bhargava said, adding there is some evidence that children “can be spreaders, rather super-spreaders”.

Long-Term Exposure To Air Pollution Can Contribute To Mortality In Covid Cases: Top Medical Body ICMR
Every winter, the air quality in north India, including in Delhi, dips to a dangerous low. (File)

New Delhi: Studies in Europe and the US have established that long-term exposure to air pollution can contribute to mortality in COVID-19 cases, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said on Tuesday.
He stressed that studies have found “virus particles remain suspended with PM 2.5 particulate matter, but they are not active viruses”.

“There have been studies in Europe and the US, where they have looked at polluted areas and compared mortality during lockdown and correlation with pollution… they found that pollution is clearly contributing to mortality in COVID-19 and that’s well established by these studies,” Mr Bhargava said at a press conference.

Every winter, the air quality in north India, including in Delhi, dips to a dangerous low. Experts have warned that high levels of air pollution can aggravate the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is well-proven that pollution is related to mortality, Mr Bhargava said and asserted that the most inexpensive prevention for COVID-19 and pollution is rapid and widespread adoption of wearing masks.

He said in some cities with high pollution levels, people wear masks even when there is no pandemic.

“Following COVID-appropriate behaviour, be it wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, do not cost us anything. Wearing a mask has a double advantage as it can protect one from COVID-19 as well as from pollution,” the ICMR chief said.

About the spread of coronavirus infection among children in India, he said the country’s overall figure show that of the total COVID-19 positive cases, only eight per cent are below the age of 17.

“For those below five years, the figure would be probably less than one per cent,” Mr Bhargava said, adding there is some evidence that children “can be spreaders, rather super-spreaders”.

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In response to a question, Mr Bhargava said that India, so far, has not reported any cases of Kawasaki disease among COVID-19 patients.
Kawasaki is an auto-immune disease that affects children who are less than five years and presents with fever, thrombocytosis and a condition in which the arteries of the heart become dilated.

“It is less common in India. This has been described with COVID-19 in different parts of the world. I don’t think we have had any experience of Kawasaki with COVID-19 in India so far. It is a very rare condition,” Mr Bhargava said.

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