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Defence manufacturing affected by COVID-19: Rajnath

“A Rs 10,000-crore ‘Fund of Funds’ will be set up to help increase the capacity of these units and for marketing,” the minister said.

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Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, May 21 : Acknowledging the hardships faced by the defence industry, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday the manufacturing sector has been affected the most due to lockdown and disruption in existing supply chains.

While addressing through video conference of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) E-conclave in Delhi, Singh said: “The defence sector is no exception to this. Rather, it can be said that the defence sector is more aggravated than other sectors as the only buyer of defence products is the government.”

The minister said to tackle these challenges, MoD has taken several steps for industries, especially MSMEs. He said steps such as extension of response dates of RFP/RFI and early clearance of pending payments will help the industry.

“In this crisis, several financial support measures have been announced by the government and RBI to reduce the financial burden of the industries. These will provide some relief due to the availability of additional working capital and deferment in interest payments,” Singh said.

The minister said the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will provide many opportunities to Indian industry and will help in restoring millions of jobs.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for being ‘vocal for local’ in this direction. I would like to say that we have to have our indigenous products, but before that in our own life, ‘local’ has to be focal — we have to adopt ‘swadeshi’ products in our life. There is no doubt that MSMEs have a very important role in the goal of indigenous manufacturing, and in the goal of self-reliant India.”

Singh mentioned some of the measures announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ scheme.

Collateral-free loans of Rs 3 lakh crore for MSMEs will be effective in re-establishing about 45 lakh units and saving employment. Subordinate debt provision of Rs 20,000 crore has been announced for two lakh MSMEs and this will help stressed MSMEs.

Equity infusion of Rs 50,000 crore will be provided through ‘Mother-Daughter Fund’ for the purpose of benefiting the needy MSMEs.

“A Rs 10,000-crore ‘Fund of Funds’ will be set up to help increase the capacity of these units and for marketing,” the minister said.

The definition of MSME has been revised, so that MSMEs can be expanded.

At the same time there will be no distinction between manufacturing and services sector MSMEs. In government contracts (procurements) worth Rs 200 crore or less, global tenders will not be allowed.

This will help MSMEs to grow their business.

In the event of being unable to participate in trade fairs due to COVID-19, e-market linkages will be ensured. The government and PSUs will also ensure the clearance of all outstanding payments in the next 45 days.

The theme of the E-conclave was ‘Business Continuity for MSMEs in Defence and Aerospace Sector’ in which more than 800 defence MSMEs participated. The conclave was jointly organized by Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Department of Defence Production.

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Researchers design reusable silicone rubber face mask with N95 filter

“We also wanted to maximise the reusability of the system, and we wanted systems that could be sterilized in many different ways,” Traverso added.

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N-95 mask

New York, July 11 : In fight against novel coronavirus, the researchers have developed a reusable silicone rubber face mask with an N95 filter, which they believe could stop viral particles.

According to the study, published in the British Medical Journal Open, the new masks were designed to be easily sterilized and used many times.

The new mask is made of durable silicone rubber and can be manufactured using injection moulding, which is widely used in factories around the world. It requires much less N95 material than a traditional N95 mask.

“One of the key things we recognized early on was that in order to help meet the demand, we needed to really restrict ourselves to methods that could scale,” said study researcher Giovanni Traverso from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

“We also wanted to maximise the reusability of the system, and we wanted systems that could be sterilized in many different ways,” Traverso added.

The researchers decide on silicone rubber — the material that goes into silicone baking sheets, among other products — because it is so durable.

Liquid silicone rubber can be easily moulded into any shape using injection moulding, a highly automated process that generates products rapidly. The masks are based on the shape of the 3M 1860 style of N95 masks, the type normally used at Brigham and Women”s Hospital.

The researchers tested several different sterilization methods on the silicone masks, including running them through an autoclave (steam sterilizer), putting them in an oven, and soaking them in bleach and in isopropyl alcohol.

They found that after sterilization, the silicone material was undamaged.To test the comfort and fit of the masks, the researchers recruited about 20 health care workers from the emergency department and an oncology clinic at Brigham and Women”s Hospital.

All 20 participants passed the fit test, and they reported that they were able to successfully insert and remove the N95 filter. When asked their preference between the new mask, a typical N95 mask, and a standard surgical mask, most either said they had no preference or preferred the new silicone mask, the researchers said.

They also gave the new mask high ratings for fit and breathability.The researchers are now working on a second version of the mask, which they hope to make more comfortable and durable. They also plan to do additional lab tests measuring the masks” ability to filter viral particles.

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Remdesivir linked to reduced death risk in severe Covid-19 patients

The mortality rate for patients treated with remdesivir in the analysis was 7.6 per cent at Day 14 compared with 12.5 per cent among patients not taking remdesivir.

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remdesivir antiviral drug

New York, July 11 : New data revealed by Gilead Sciences has shown that its antiviral drug remdesivir reduces death risk of severe Covid-19 patients by as much as 62 per cent when compared with standard care alone.

This is an important finding that requires confirmation in prospective clinical trials, Gilead said on Friday about the results presented at the virtual COVID-19 conference as part of the 23rd International AIDS Conference.

The analysis included 312 patients treated in the Phase-3 SIMPLE-Severe study and a separate real-world retrospective cohort of 818 patients with similar baseline characteristics and disease severity who received standard of care treatment in the same time period as the SIMPLE-Severe study.

Patients were primarily located in North America (92 per cent, remdesivir cohort vs. 91 per cent, standard-of-care cohort), Europe (5 per cent vs. 7 per cent) and Asia (3 per cent vs. 2 per cent).

The analysis demonstrated that remdesivir treatment was associated with significantly improved clinical recovery and a 62 percent reduction in the risk of mortality compared to standard of care.

Findings from the comparative analysis showed that 74.4 per cent of remdesivir-treated patients recovered by Day 14 versus 59 per cent of patients receiving standard of care.

The mortality rate for patients treated with remdesivir in the analysis was 7.6 per cent at Day 14 compared with 12.5 per cent among patients not taking remdesivir.

“This comparative analysis provides valuable additional information regarding the benefit of remdesivir compared with standard of care alone,” Susan Olender of Columbia University Irving Medical Center said in a statement.

“While not as vigorous as a randomized controlled trial, this analysis importantly draws from a real-world setting and serves as an important adjunct to clinical trial data, adding to our collective understanding of this virus and reflecting the extraordinary pace of the ongoing pandemic.”

The results of this comparative analysis add to the previously presented National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in hospitalized patients with COVID-19, which showed that remdesivir shortened time to recovery by an average of four days as compared to placebo — 11 vs. 15 days.

In the NIAID study, patients taking remdesivir trended toward lower mortality compared with those in the placebo group, but this result did not reach statistical significance –7.1 percent vs. 11.9 per cent.

Due to the current public health emergency, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for remdesivir for the treatment of hospitalised patients with severe Covid-19.

“These data presented at the Virtual COVID-19 Conference shed additional light on the use of remdesivir in specific patient populations, including those that may be susceptible to higher rates of COVID-19 infection, as well as others that are particularly vulnerable, including children and pregnant and postpartum women,” said Merdad Parsey, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, Gilead Sciences.

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PM Modi directs for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 situation

The review meeting was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officials.

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PM Modi in All Party Meeting

New Delhi, July 11 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday directed for real- time monitoring of novel coronavirus pandemic at the national level, stressing on guidance to all affected states that have a high test-positivity rate.

The Prime Minister gave the direction during a COVID-19 review meeting he chaired to take stock of the coronavirus situation across the country and the preparedness of different states.

The meeting comes at a time when India recorded its highest single-day spike of 27,114 new coronavirus cases on Saturday and 519 deaths in the last 24 hours. A total of 8,20,916 corona patients have been reported so far in the country, as per the latest Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data. Of these, 5,15,385 patients have recovered while 2,83,407 active cases remain. In all, 22,123 deaths have been reported till now.

Appreciating the concerted efforts of the Centre, state and local authorities in containing the pandemic in Delhi, Modi directed that a similar approach be adopted in cooperation with other state governments in containing the pandemic in the National Capital Region (NCR) area.

The Prime Minister also reiterated the need to observe personal hygiene and social discipline in public places. He advised for widespread awareness on Covid-19 and asked authorities to lay continuous emphasis on preventing the spread of the infections.

“There is no room for any complacency in this regard,” the Prime Minister said.

The successful example of surveillance and home-based care through ”Dhanvantri Rath” in Ahmedabad was highlighted in the meeting and its emulation in other places stressed.

The review meeting was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other senior officials.

The Prime Minister specifically focussed on worst-hit states like Maharashtra, which tops the coronavirus infections” chart with 2,38,461 cases and 9,893 casualties so far. Tamil Nadu remained the second worst-hit with 1,30,261 cases, including 1,829 deaths. With 2,089 new coronavirus cases and 42 deaths in the last 24 hours, the national capital”s total reached 1,09,140 and 3,300 deaths.

States with more than 10,000 cases include Gujarat with 40,069 cases and 2,022 deaths, Uttar Pradesh (33,700), Rajasthan (23,174), Madhya Pradesh (16,657), West Bengal (27,109), Haryana (19,934), Karnataka (33,418), Andhra Pradesh (25,422), Telangana (32,224), Assam (14,600) and Bihar (14,575) cases.

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