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Researchers identify new drug to treat COVID-19 patients

In the continuing fight against the novel Coronavirus, researchers have now identified a drug with the potential to provide treatment for COVID-19 close to a year after it turned into a pandemic

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Coronavirus News

In the continuing fight against the novel Coronavirus, researchers have now identified a drug with the potential to provide treatment for COVID-19 close to a year after it turned into a pandemic.

The study, published in the journal Cells, found that the approved protease inhibitor aprotinin displayed activity against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, in concentrations that are achieved in patients.

According to the researchers, aprotinin aerosols are approved in Russia for the treatment of influenza and could be readily tested for the treatment of COVID-19.

Aprotinin inhibits the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into host cells and may compensate for the loss of host cell protease inhibitors that are downregulated upon SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“The aprotinin aerosol has been reported to be tolerated extremely well in influenza patients. Hence, it may have a particular potential to prevent severe COVID-19 disease when applied early after diagnosis,” said study author Martin Michaelis from the University of Kent in the UK.

“Aprotinin has previously been shown to inhibit TMPRSS2 gene and has been suggested as a treatment option for influenza viruses and coronaviruses. Herein, we investigated the effects of aprotinin against SARS-CoV-2,” Michaelis added.

The findings showed that aprotinin displayed anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in different cell types (Caco2, Calu-3, and primary bronchial epithelial cell air-liquid interface cultures) and against four virus isolates.

“An approved aprotinin aerosol may have the potential for the early local control of SARS-CoV-2 replication and the prevention of COVID-19 progression to a severe, systemic disease,” the study authors noted.

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We’ve resources to undertake coronavirus vaccination within 3-4 weeks: Delhi govt

Health and Family Welfare Minister Satyendar Jain made this announcement in at a press conference called to update Delhi’s daily health bulletin.

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Vaccine Covid

The Delhi government on Saturday said it has infrastructure to undertake coronavirus vaccination among all city residents within three-four weeks, adding that it was only waiting for the vaccine to be made available.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Satyendar Jain made this announcement in at a press conference called to update Delhi’s daily health bulletin. He gave the updates on Covid-19, decreasing positivity rate, availability of beds, and preparations for vaccination.

He said that the government had enough resources like Mohalla Clinics, polyclinics, dispensaries and hospitals to administer coronavirus vaccine across Delhi. Jain asserted that there will be no issues about the optimal storage of the vaccine as well.

“We are only waiting for the vaccine to be made available. Delhi has the infrastructure to roll it out and make it accessible to all city residents within 3-4 weeks. Delhi is equipped with the latest infrastructure to facilitate the rollout of the vaccine to Delhi’s population.

“For application, there are Mohalla Clinics, hospitals etc. It depends on how soon we get it from the central government. As far as storage is concerned, all amenities have been taken care of,” Jain said.

The Delhi government’s response comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Saturday visit to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune where vaccine development process is going on.

Modi had recently held discussions with states and union territories on vaccine distribution once it is formulated.

Pointing out that there were 5,482 new cases in Delhi on Friday, the Minister said that the positivity rate had however come down to 8.51 per cent from 15.26 per cent. It has become less than half since November 7, 2020.

The Minister said that more than 50 per cent beds for coronavirus patients are available in Delhi hospitals at present. “Total bed available is more than 9,500. The occupancy rate is therefore steadily decreasing. In terms of ICU beds, more than 1,200 are available.”

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SII to seek emergency use authorisation for AstraZeneca Covid vaccine in 2 weeks: Poonawalla

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Adar Poonawalla

New Delhi: The Serum Institute of India (SII) will seek emergency use authorisation for the AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine in about two weeks.

Adar Poonawalla, Founder and CEO, SII said on Saturday that SII is in the process of submitting the data for the clinical trials to the DCGI and will seek emergency use authorisation.

He said there will be no delays in the AstraZeneca vaccine rollout as the trials are more than enough for establishing efficacy and it will not affect emergency use authorization in Europe and certainly not in India. There was a recent error in dosage during trials which AstraZeneca is trying to correct, as per reports.

“What we might have to do is trials for under 18 candidates. That is way all vaccines go. You first have to establish safety for adults and then go for studies on the impact on children,” he added.

Speaking after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the SII facility in Pune, Poonawalla said PM Modi discussed in detail the vaccination scenario and reviewed the vaccine production status.

“Had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute of India. They shared details about their progress so far on how they plan to further ramp up vaccine manufacturing. Also took a look at their manufacturing facility,” PM Modi said in a tweet.

He said 50-60 per cent of the world’s vaccines are made in India and with Atmanirbhar Bharat in mind, SII today showcased the largest pandemic facility at their facility in in Pune.

He added that the implementation plan for the AstraZeneca and Oxford vaccine, Covishield will be clear only after emergency use authorisation is received. SII is in the process of submitting to DCGI. There are plans to roll out hundreds of millions of doses in the second quarter but only after all regulatory approvals are received.

He said so many different vaccines were discussed with PM Modi and their logistical and pricing issues. As of now, there is nothing in writing from the Indian government but Health Ministry has announced a target of 300-400 million doses by July 2021, which SII is scaling up for, he added.

SII is in the process of applying of emergency use licence in two weeks. It will be distributed in India initially and then the Covax countries of Africa.

On the other vaccine, Novavax, where SII has a tie up, Poonawalla said it is two months behind Astrazeneca and the same process will be followed in terms of trials and approvals.

The third one, Codagenics is way behind and will take at least a year to get into licence stage. It is only starting stage 1 trials in UK in December so that will take a year, Poonawalla said.

He said both these vaccines can be stored at temperatures of 2-8 celsius for which India has a lot of capacity. He said that for vaccines which much lower temperatures India’s capacity for storage is negligible.

SII is currently producing 50-60 million doses a month which by January-February will be scaled up to 100 million doses a month.

Issues about how to distribute and where to distribute the vaccine will become clear after the vaccine gets emergency use authorisation which will take a few weeks to happen, Poonawalla added.

He added that a delayed approval in UK does not have much impact as stock piling and manufacturing is going on and a delay of a couple of weeks will not make much impact.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has shown zero hospitalization and reduced the virus by 60 per cent. So those who got infected were not passing it on and there was no severe attack of coronavirus requiring hospitalisation.

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PM reviews vaccine progress at Serum Institute in Pune

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Modi for Vaccine

Pune, Nov 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday evening visited the Serum Institute of India (SII) here, which is currently in the process of developing the much-anticipated Covid-19 vaccine.

The Prime Minister went around the plant premises accompanied by senior officials of the company, who explained the details of the vaccine manufacturing process.

“Had a good interaction with the team at Serum Institute of India. They shared details about their progress so far on how they plan to further ramp up vaccine manufacturing. Also took a look at their manufacturing facility,” Modi tweeted after his visit, and shared pictures.

The Prime Minister went on a flying visit to three cities on Saturday to check the progress of the vaccines being developed to immunise people against coronavirus.

Earlier in the day, he had visited the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad, preceded by a trip to the Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad.

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