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Covid cases haven’t yet peaked or even plateaued: AIIMS Dir

The remarks come at a time when the infections are racing ahead with the country adding at least a lakh new cases every two days.

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Randeep Guleria AIIMS

New Delhi: All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Randeep Guleria, one of India’s leading medical experts, has asserted that the coronavirus cases in the country have not yet hit their peak or even plateaued.

The remarks come at a time when the infections are racing ahead with the country adding at least a lakh new cases every two days. It has logged more than 23 lakh cases and over 46,000 deaths so far since the first case on January 30.

“These are trying times. It has tested the resilience of the nation. We have not reached the peak or started plateauing as far as cases are concerned,” Guleria, who is also the part of a core team monitoring the pandemic, said.

Shedding light on the vaccine development, he said that India has an advantage because it makes almost 60 per cent of the world’s vaccines.

“We have the capacity to manufacture a large number of vaccines and that is the commitment that the government and manufacturers have given — that we will be able to upscale our manufacturing capacity not only for our own country but for the entire world,” he added.

Three vaccine candidates are in different stages of human clinical trials in India — one developed by University of Oxford by Pune’s Serum Institute of India, the other inactivated virus vaccine by Bharat biotech and the third DNA vaccine by Zydus Cadila.

The country’s top pulmonologist further said that the vaccine development has moved so rapidly because of the collaborative work between various countries. “What the pandemic has shown is the resilience that the world has and the way researchers, manufactures and industries can come together to overcome any hardship we face as a planet.”

Guleria, however, advised caution with regards to the Russian vaccine, being touted as the world’s first coronavirus vaccine. Elaborating on the safety aspect, he said that the issue would be just to make sure that the vaccine is “safe and efficacious”.

“Any vaccine that is tried in a large number of people who are elderly or have comorbidities, safety is the most important thing and should of course be efficacious in terms of what degree of protection does it give and how long the protection lasts,” the AIIMS Director said.

The comments come in the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement about the approval of the coronavirus vaccine for public use. It is, however, marred by controversies and is yet to complete the final trials.

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Moderna COVID-19 vaccine appears safe, shows signs of working in older adults – study

Moderna is already testing the higher dose in a large Phase III trial, the final stage before seeking emergency authorization or approval.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Results from an early safety study of Moderna Inc’s MRNA.O coronavirus vaccine candidate in older adults showed that it produced virus-neutralizing antibodies at levels similar to those seen in younger adults, with side effects roughly on par with high-dose flu shots, researchers said on Tuesday.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers a more complete picture of the vaccine’s safety in older adults, a group at increased risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

The findings are reassuring because immunity tends to weaken with age, Dr. Evan Anderson, one of the study’s lead researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, said in a phone interview.

The study was an extension of Moderna’s Phase I safety trial, first conducted in individuals aged 18-55. It tested two doses of Moderna’s vaccine – 25 micrograms and 100 micrograms – in 40 adults aged 56 to 70 and 71 and older.

Overall, the team found that in older adults who received two injections of the 100 microgram dose 28 days apart, the vaccine produced immune responses roughly in line with those seen in younger adults.

Moderna is already testing the higher dose in a large Phase III trial, the final stage before seeking emergency authorization or approval.

Side effects, which included headache, fatigue, body aches, chills and injection site pain, were deemed mainly mild to moderate.

In at least two cases, however, volunteers had severe reactions.

One developed a grade three fever, which is classified as 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39°C) or above, after receiving the lower vaccine dose. Another developed fatigue so severe it temporarily prevented daily activities, Anderson said.

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Venkiah Naidu tests Covid-19 positive, in home quarantine

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, 71, announced on Tuesday evening that he has been tested positive for coronavirus. He told HT that he is doing fine and the initial tests show no major complications.

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Rajya Sabha VP Naidu

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, 71, announced on Tuesday evening that he has been tested positive for coronavirus.

In fact, Naidu addressed an annual healthcare virtual conference on ‘Post-COVID Healthcare World’ on Tuesday evening. Within minutes after he finished addressing the Covid programme, Naidu was informed about his Covid test results. According to officials, the vice president promptly undertook additional tests.

“The Vice President of India who underwent a routine Covid-19 test today morning has been tested positive. He is however, asymptomatic and in good health. He has been advised home quarantine. His wife Smt. Usha Naidu has been tested negative and is in self-isolation,” the vice president secretariat tweeted.

The Vice President is the top Indian functionary to be tested positive for covid so far. He had frequently chaired the recently concluded monsoon session of Parliament that ran for ten days before getting adjourned on September 23 amid Covid concerns.

During the session, two union ministers – Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Patel – and at least 30 MPs tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the authorities to cut short the session.

Naidu’s aides maintained his initial report shows that lung has not been affected and that he has no visible complication.

Addressing the healthcare conference on Tuesday, Naidu had called upon people to adapt to the new normal amid pandemic and take maximum precautions and condemned the instances of stigma and discrimination against frontline warriors and Covid-19 patients.

Calling upon people to adapt to the culture of the new normal and take all the prescribed precautions seriously to fight Covid-19 pandemic, he said that it was highly critical for the people to act responsibly and support the multifarious efforts of the government and health professionals to break the transmission of the dreaded virus.

“We simply cannot allow complacency to set in and lower our guard,” he added.

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Delhi hospital doctors halt OPD services to protest assault

The doctors’ associations are furious that the FIR in the case was lodged in the name of an individual rather than the institution, which allegedly goes against the directions of the Delhi and central governments.

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Safdarjung Hospital Delhi

New Delhi, Sep 29 : Barring emergency cases, the Resident Doctors Association (RDA) of Delhi government’s Maharishi Valmiki Hospital on Tuesday announced all essential and non-essential services provided by its members had been withdrawn to protest against an assault on a doctor.

The RDA said it protested the hospital administration’s action not to lodge an institutional FIR against a patient and her attendant for assaulting an on-duty doctor on Saturday.

The RDA formally informed the hospital Medical Superintendent about the protest through a notice.

The notice read: “Since no confirmation has been made till date, we are left with no alternative but to withdraw resident doctors from essential services from 10 a.m. today, for which intimation was given to you on September 26 and again on September 28.”

“We are disheartened by the way this issue is being handled. The doctor concerned is under severe mental stress, and things may worsen for him if he doesn’t get institutional support on priority,” it said.

“Who will be responsible if something goes wrong with the resident doctor? We don’t want the patients to suffer and want to resume duties at the earliest, but not at the cost of threat to our lives, integrity, and respect towards the profession,” the RDA warned.

Meanwhile, RDAs of various government hospitals also expressed their solidarity with the victim doctor. The RDAs of Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Baba Sahib Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital extended support to the protest by the doctors and also the demand to lodge an institutional FIR in the case of assault.

“We condemn the assault, extend our deepest support and stand unanimously and in solidarity with the protesting Resident Doctors Association of Maharishi Valmiki Hospital and demand immediate appropriate action by the authorities against the accused,” the RDAs said.

The doctors’ associations are furious that the FIR in the case was lodged in the name of an individual rather than the institution, which allegedly goes against the directions of the Delhi and central governments.

On Saturday, Dr Rahul Jain was allegedly assaulted by a patient, identified as Priyanka, and her attendant Naresh when the doctor asked them to come by turn in the operation theatre. He had also asked them to wear masks.

Later, Dr Jain lodged an FIR against both at the Bawana police station under Sections 186, 188, 353, 332, 506 and 34 of the IPC and other relevant laws.

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