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Proper Handling of Samples Can Slow Covid-19 Spread in India, Say Experts

According to the experts, workers and equipment involved in the collection and transportation of Covid-19 samples could act as a source of infection.

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As the healthcare personnel — especially sample collectors — who are getting infected increasingly and putting their life at risk, experts on Sunday have stressed that along with using PPE kits, gloves and mask, the safety of these workers also depends on the quality of the virus handling materials especially the viral transport medium.

According to the experts, workers and equipment involved in the collection and transportation of Covid-19 samples could act as a source of infection.

Hence, the proper use of PPE by workers involved in sampling and transportation of Covid-19 samples are essential.

‘As sample collection centres are increasing in the country, proper disposal of waste generated at sample collection centre is also critical to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” Harshal R. Salve, Associate Professor at All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, told IANS.

“The most crucial element which comes is when you are handling the virus which starts with the sample being collected and transported in a ‘Viral Transport Medium’,” Salve added.

The viral transport medium of the right quality and especially using tubes which are completely leak-proof and contamination-free as leakage of tubes can cause a huge impact on the spread of the virus to the healthcare individuals performing the test.

Recently, the Indian Medical Association had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and informed about the situation of healthcare workers in the county.

In a letter to PM Modi, The IMA cited government data and said 87,000 healthcare workers had been infected and 573 of them had lost their lives due to Covid-19.

On Saturday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has allowed testing on-demand for Covid-19 even as it has allowed states to adapt to the recommendation as per their requirements

Anil Hota, CEO of SAR Cellulabs Pvt. Ltd., a Gurugram-based company, which deals in providing consumables for Covid testing — said that, for healthcare workers, it is essential to use ‘Viral Transport Medium’ manufactured in line with USFDA and ICMR standards and using tubes which are completely leak-proof proven with their historical records.

“Substandard quality products put healthcare workers at risk, so it becomes very important for us to protect our healthcare workers at the moment by using quality products for sample collection along with stringent parameters,” Hota added.

S.P. Byotra, Chairman, Department of International Medicine at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, told IANS: “Handling coronavirus samples should also be given equal importance in order to reduce infection among healthcare workers.”

“The safety of healthcare workers is dependent on their exposure to the virus which directly transcribes from the quality of the virus handling materials,” Byotra said.

“Especially the viral transport medium which carries the virus, as in case of any leakage in the sample post collection, it becomes dangerous because of having loads of live virus in it,” he warned.

On Sunday morning, India reported a record daily jump of 90,632 Covid-19 virus infections in 24 hours, taking its tally past the 41 lakh-mark.

According to the data revealed by the Union Health Ministry, the total case tally stands at 41,13,812 including 8,62,320 active cases, 31,80,866 cured/discharged and 70,626 deaths.

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Earthquake of magnitude 4.1 strikes Jammu and Kashmir

They said while the tremors caused panic among people, there were no reports of any loss of life or injury or damage to property.

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Earthquake Strong

Srinagar, Jan 16 : An earthquake of magnitude 4.1 hit Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, but there was no report of any damage, officials said.

At 10:01 pm, the earthquake struck at a latitude of 33.03 degrees north and a longitude of 75.93 degrees east — 93 kms east of Katra, they added.

The depth of the earthquake was 10 kms, the officials said.

They said while the tremors caused panic among people, there were no reports of any loss of life or injury or damage to property.

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Covaxin consent form says vax administered without ph-3 trial

The vaccine is first offered to the healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 50 years of age, followed by the below-50 population with comorbidities, and finally to the remaining population based on disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.

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COVAXIN Corona Covid vaccine

New Delhi, Jan 16 : Amid the vaccinaton drive against Covid-19, it has emerged that there is a separate consent form for those who are administered the ‘Covaxin‘ vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech.

The form says that “In phase-1 and phase-2 clinical trial ‘Covaxin’ has demonstrated the ability to produce antibodies against Covid-19, however the clinical efficacy of Covaxin is yet to be established and it is still being studied in phase-3 clinical trial, hence it is important to appreciate that receiving the vaccine does not mean that the other precautions related to Covid-19 should not be followed.”

The form says that in case of any adverse and serious condition, the receiver will be provided utmost care at the health centre and in case of casuality the compensation will be provided by Bharat Biotech.

“The compensation for serious adverse event will be paid by sponsor BBIL if the SAE is proven to be casually related to the vaccine,” it said.

Serious concerns were raised in certain quarters including by opposition parties and Congress leader Manish Tewari has questioned the efficacy of ‘Covaxin’ while the Prime Minister has warned people not to believe in “rumours”.

The world’s biggest vaccination drive come almost a year after the first coronavirus case was detected in India, and since then the deadly virus has claimed over 1.5 lakh lives and infected one crore people. The first case came to the fore on January 30, 2020 in Kerala.

Two vaccines — the Oxford vaccine ‘Covishield’ manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and indigenously developed ‘Covaxin’ by Bharat Biotech — will be administered to priority groups. So far, the central government has procured 1.1 crore Covishield and 55 lakh Covaxin vaccines at a cost of Rs 200 and Rs 206 per dose, respectively.

In Delhi, which has 81 vaccination sites, ‘Covaxin’ has been allotted to six Centre-run hospitals while 75 Delhi government and private hospitals will receive ‘Covishield’.

The vaccine is first offered to the healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 50 years of age, followed by the below-50 population with comorbidities, and finally to the remaining population based on disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.

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Disaster

Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake Hits Russia-Mongolia Border Region

The quake was at a depth of 10 kilometers

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AN earthquake of magnitude 6.7 struck the Russia-Mongolia Border Region on Tuesday, the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences said.

The quake was at a depth of 10 kilometers, it added.

The epicenter of the earthquake was registered 277 kilometers southwest of the city of Angarsk, in the Russian Irkutsk region, and 30 kilometers from the Mongolian city of Turt, Russian state-owned news agency Sputnik reported. https://bit.ly/2XtgrJs

There were no immediate reports of damage or victims, the report said.

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