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Man who died in Bengal hospital was COVID-19 negative

“He had uncontrolled blood sugar and that could have caused his death, ”

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Kolkata, March 9 : A 33-year-old man who died in a state-run Medical College in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district amid apprehensions that he had coronavirus infection, did not have the deadly disease, his test results confirmed on Monday.

“The swab sample of the patient had been sent to the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED) on Sunday morning soon after he was admitted. However, he died early in the evening before we could get the report.

“We have received the report today (Monday). The test result is negative. In other words, he did not have coronavirus infection,” Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital Medical Superintendent cum vice-principal Debdas Saha told IANS over phone.

Read: Saudi-returned COVID suspect dies in Bengal hospital

The youth, a resident of Nabagram, fell sick while returning home on Saturday after flying to the NSCBI Airport here earlier in the day from Saudi Arabia, where he used to work as a cleaner.

As he was running a fever, and complained of respiratory distress, his family members took him to the Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital in Baharampur on Sunday where the doctors admitted him at an isolation ward after a preliminary check-up.

“He had uncontrolled blood sugar and that could have caused his death, ” said Saha.

According to the victim’s family members, he had been staying in Saudi Arabia for the past five years. But over the past two years, his blood glucose levels had gone up. Recently, the levels increased further, following which his employers sent him home.

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Health Ministry steps in to curb black marketing of Covid drug

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

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New Delhi, July 7 : The Union Health Ministry has asked all the states to strengthen their vigil so that black marketing of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir is prevented.

The Directorate General of Health Services under the Health Ministry has written to the Drug Controllers of the states to prevent sale of Remdesivir above MRP.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

The DGHS said that it has received a letter from LocalCircles routed through the Health Ministry, raising concerns over black marketing and overpricing of Remdesivir by certain unscrupulous persons.

“In view of the above, you are requested to instruct your enforcement officials to keep strict vigil on the matter to prevent black marketing and sale of Remdesivir injection above the MRP,” the DGHS said in the letter to the states.

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NIMS begins subject registration for Covid 19 Vaccine clinical trial

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Covid 19 Vaccine

Hyderabad, July 7 : The subject enrolment for Phase-I clinical trial of India’s first indigenous vaccine for COVID-19 began at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Science (NIMS) here on Tuesday.

On the direction of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), authorities at NIMS began the process to register 30-60 subjects for the trial.

Blood and swab samples of the subjects will be collected and if found fit they will be administered the first dose of the vaccine after a week.

NIMS Director Dr K. Manohar told reporters that healthy subjects will be screened and their blood and swab samples sent to ICMR-designated lab in New Delhi. After receiving the test reports, the Department of Medicine will analyse the same and issue the fitness certificates to the subjects.

The subjects would be administered two doses of the vaccine. There will be two vaccine dosage of three micrograms and six micrograms, and a placebo.

Each subject would be given the second dose of the same vaccine after 14 days.

For two days after administering the vaccine, the subjects would be monitored for two days in the ICCU at NIMS by a team of doctors, after which they would be sent home and monitored through videoconference or phone.

The phase-I clinical trial would go on for 28 days, after which the ICMR and the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) would accord permission for Phase-II trial with more subjects.

Phase-1 would have around 375 subjects across the country and Phase-II 875.

NIMS is one of the hospitals selected by the ICMR to undertake clinical trials of Covaxin, which it is developing in partnership with Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL).

Meanwhile, the Ethics Committee at King George Hospital (KGH) in Visakhapatnam will hold a crucial meeting on Tuesday to finalise the preparations for the clinical trials. KGH is also one of the hospitals selected by ICMR for the trials.

In a letter to the heads of the selected institutions last week, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava asked them to fast-track all approvals related to initiation of the clinical trials and ensure that the subject enrollment is initiated no later than July 7.

“It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public health use latest by August 15, 2020 after completion of all clinical trials. BBIL 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,” reads the letter dated July 2.

He noted that this is the first indigenous vaccine being developed by India and is one of the top priority projects that is being monitored at the topmost level of the government.

“The vaccine is being derived from a strain of SARS-CoV-2 isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and BBIL are jointly working for the preclinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine,” he wrote.

While experts raised doubts on the August 15 target, the ICMR defended it, saying its process is in accordance with the globally accepted norms to fast-track vaccine development for diseases of pandemic potential.

The research body said the Director’s letter was intended to cut red tape, without bypassing any necessary process, and speed up recruitment of participants for human trials so that these phases can be completed at the earliest.

BBIL refused to comment on ICMR’s August 15 deadline.

The company had announced on June 29 that it had successfully developed Covaxin, India’s first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, in collaboration with the ICMR and NIV.

The SARS-CoV-2 strain was isolated in NIV, Pune and transferred to Bharat Biotech. The indigenous, inactivated vaccine has been developed and manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s BSL-3(Bio-Safety Level 3) High Containment Facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad, the company said.

The Drug Controller General of India – Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare granted permission to initiate Phase I and II human clinical trials after the company submitted results generated from preclinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response.

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UN urges international community to unite against terroism amid pandemic

The Secretary-General urged member states to keep the momentum in the fight against terrorism and be innovative in their responses, which must protect and promote human rights.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, July 7 : A week-long UN Virtual Counter-Terrorism Week has kicked off to discuss the strategic and practical challenges of countering terrorism in a global pandemic environment.

Speaking at the high-level opening session on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “Like the virus, terrorism does not respect national borders. It affects all nations and can only be defeated collectively.

“So, we must harness the power of multilateralism to find practical solutions.”

The UN chief warned that “IS, Al Qaeda, their regional affiliates – as well as neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups – seek to exploit divisions, local conflicts, governance failures and grievances to advance their objectives”, reports Xinhua news agency

The Secretary-General urged member states to keep the momentum in the fight against terrorism and be innovative in their responses, which must protect and promote human rights.

“We must commit to do more and better. As in every other area of our mission. Our work should be assessed by the difference we make in people”s lives,” he stressed.

The Virtual Counter-Terrorism Week encompasses a total of 10 webinars and interactive discussions, in which more than 1,000 representatives will address key counter-terrorism topics in light of the COVID-19 crisis across all four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

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