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It takes 18 months to develop good vaccine: Ex-ICMR chief

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New Delhi, July 4 : A good vaccine usually takes at least 18 months, before it could be rolled out for production after fast-tracking all the mandatory regulatory approvals, said N.K. Ganguly, former director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

It is expected that India”s first indigenous Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin may be released on August 15 under a fast-track mechanism. According to the government”s top medical research body, a dozen institutes have been selected for clinical trials of the indigenous COVID-19 vaccine (BBV152 COVID vaccine). Ganguly said the strain of the virus was given to BBIL in May end, and in July, human trials have been scheduled.

Elaborating on the lengthy process involved in vaccine development, he insisted that after spending many months and infusing a lot of funds, the uncertainty continues to linger. “It may be difficult to say whether the vaccine is successful or not”, he added.

The ICMR in a letter said, “It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15, after completion of all clinical trials. BBIL (Bharat Biotech International Limited) is working expeditiously to meet the target, however the final outcome will depend on the cooperation of all clinical trial sites involved in this project.”

Before the vaccine is tested on humans, challenge studies are done on mice and monkey, then a toxicology report is prepared, to check if the developed vaccine produces harm to cells, and it takes at least three to four months to finalize this report, said Ganguly. After this phase, the vaccine is tested on two rodents and a large animal and after successful completion of this stage the vaccine is ready for human trials.

“In Phase 1, the age group profiling is done (wherein vaccine study is done on people in different age groups). In Phase 2, nearly 600 to 700 people are vaccinated, and if the vaccine performs successfully in this phase then it progresses into Phase 3, which is called the efficacy study (in this phase, thousands of people are enrolled). Even after fast tracking regulatory approvals, it will take at least 18 months to develop a good vaccine”, said Ganguly.

He insisted that the vaccine being developed by Moderna (RNA vaccine is set to begin Phase 3 trials later this month and targets a vaccine by 2021) and BioNTech-Pfizer (Phase 3 trial is expected to begin in July). Gennova biopharmaceutical is also working on a vaccine and it looks positive, Ganguly added.

(Sumit Saxena can be contacted at [email protected])

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52000 new Covid cases, 803 deaths in India in 24 hours

India has one of the lowest Case Fatality Rate (CFR) at 2.09 per cent as compared to the global average.

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New Delhi: With 52,050 new coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and 803 deaths in the last 24 hours, India’s overall caseload stood at 18,55,745 while the total fatalities increased to 38,938, data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare revealed on Tuesday.

The country had crossed the 18-lakh mark on Monday. Currently, 5,86,298 cases are active and 12,30,509 people have recovered from the disease.

India has one of the lowest Case Fatality Rate (CFR) at 2.09 per cent as compared to the global average.

With a recovery rate of 66.3 per cent, a total of 44,306 people were discharged in the last 24 hours, the Ministry said. In the last 24 hours, 6,61,892 samples have been tested.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with 4,41,228 cases and 15,576 deaths, of which 260 occurred in the last 24 hours.

Tamil Nadu comes in second with 257,613 cases and 4,132 deaths. The state registered 98 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

Delhi, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh saw a decline in the number of active cases.

Mizoram, Tripura and Uttarakhand too witnessed active cases plummeting.

While on the global front, India remains the third worst-hit nation. As of Tuesday morning, the overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 18.1 million mark, while the deaths have increased to over 691,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

As of Tuesday morning, the total number of cases stood at 18,193,291 and the fatalities rose to 6,91,642, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

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COVID-19 pandemic “once in a century”, but still “in our hands”: WHO

“I’m not saying there is no solution now. Whatever happens in the next few months or years, I also believe that it’s in our hands,” he said.

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus WHO

Geneva, Aug 4 : The chief of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “a once-in-a-century health crisis,” but it is still “in our hands.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a virtual press conference on Monday that the world has never seen anything like this pandemic for decades, and its effects might last for decades more, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Since we started probably recording, this is the first ever coronavirus-caused pandemic which has two dangerous combinations: it moves fast, and at the same time it’s a killer,” the WHO chief explained.

However, he noted, although the crisis is very severe, there are still solutions and hopes.

“I’m not saying there is no solution now. Whatever happens in the next few months or years, I also believe that it’s in our hands,” he said.

“Since the outbreak started, many countries have shown that it can be controlled, or serious transmission can be suppressed,” Tedros said, adding that he has mentioned many such countries in the past, including Spain, Italy, China and South Korea.

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One person is dying of COVID-19 every seven minutes in Iran: state TV

The report said that Iran’s official coronavirus figures were based only on the number of deaths in hospitals and those who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Iran Covid Case

DUBAI : One person is dying from COVID-19 every seven minutes in Iran, state television said on Monday, as the Health Ministry reported 215 new deaths from the disease and state media warned of a lack of proper social distancing.

Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari was quoted by the state TV as saying the 215 deaths in the past 24 hours took the combined death toll to 17,405 in Iran, and the number of confirmed cases rose by 2,598 to 312,035.

State television showed several Iranians in a busy Tehran street without wearing face masks or social distancing.

Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran’s official coronavirus tolls. A report by the Iranian parliament’s research centre in April suggested that the coronavirus tolls might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.

The report said that Iran’s official coronavirus figures were based only on the number of deaths in hospitals and those who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.

British broadcaster BBC reported on Monday that, based on data from an anonymous source, the number of deaths in Iran might be three times higher than officially reported. Iranian health authorities denied the report and said there had been no covebakingr-up.

With COVID-19 deaths surging since restrictions were eased in mid-April, Iranian authorities have said measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be reimposed if health regulations are not observed. Since last month, wearing face masks in public places and covered spaces has been mandatory.

Iran’s National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce was expected to announce later on Monday whether nationwide university entrance examinations, with over 1 million participants, will take place in August. Many Iranians have called on social media for the examinations to be postponed.

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