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Silent carriers can be dangerous in spread of Covid-19, reveals data from Wuhan

China may not have been adding silent carriers on its official list, but it prevented the spread of the disease by isolating and monitoring them.

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Coronavirus Isolation ward

Hong Kong, March 28 : Latest classified data released by Chinese government suggests that “silent carriers” of Covid-19 virus could be playing a dangerous role in electrifying the spread of the pandemic across the globe.

The data reveals that around 43,000 people in China have tested positive despite showing no symptoms. Such patients who looked healthy were the silent carriers and would have played a vital role in the spread of the virus.

However, asymptomatic carriers of the dreaded virus have been ignored by most of the western countries.

The latest data from China suggests that such silent carriers in large numbers could further complicate the strategies used by different countries to counter community transmission of the disease.

In a report, the South China Morning Post said that around 43,000 people in China had tested positive for coronavirus by the end of February but had no symptoms.

These asymptomatic, silent carriers were placed under quarantine and were closely monitored by the doctors. However, they were not included in the list of officially confirmed cases which then stood at 80,000.

Scientists are not yet sure what role exactly a silent carrier or asymptomatic transmission plays in the spread of this new type of coronavirus. A patient usually develops symptoms in five days though the incubation period can stretch up to 14 days or even three weeks.

During this period, the asymptomatic patient can pass on the infection to others. A section of scientists are of the view that silent carriers play a vital role in infecting others with the Covid-19 virus.

“The Chinese government changed its classification guidelines on February 7, counting only those patients with symptoms as confirmed cases. The US, Britain and Italy simply do not test people without symptoms, apart from medical workers who have prolonged exposure to the virus,” said the English daily owned by the Alibaba group.

China may not have been adding silent carriers on its official list, but it prevented the spread of the disease by isolating and monitoring them.

The approach helped the government in swiftly containing the virus from spreading to other regions in the China.

Similarly, Hong Kong also tested travellers at the airport, even if they had no symptoms. On the other hand, many European countries and the US followed a different approach and did not test those who were asymptomatic or rather were silent carriers of the virus.

Such approach reportedly led to an increase in the number of infections in Europe and the US.

As the world now is witness to a dangerous spread of the virus, some scientists are asking whether asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmissions have been underestimated.

An in-depth research by experts in China, the US, Britain and Hong Kong estimated that undocumented cases of the disease, mostly with mild or even no symptoms, were the source of infection for 79 per cent of documented ones before Wuhan was locked down on January 23, the English daily said.

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Cancel final-year exams of central varsities, Kejriwal urges PM

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Arvind Kejriwal Delhi

New Delhi, July 11 : Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel the final-year examinations of Delhi University and other central universities across the country.

“I request the central government and the University Grants Commission to change their guidelines in the larger interest of the students and cancel their final-semester examinations,” Kejriwal wrote in a letter to Modi.

This came after the Delhi government announced cancellation of all examinations, including final-semester examination, in the state universities due to the coronavirus crisis.

“For the sake of our youths, I urge the PM to personally intervene and cancel final- year exams of DU and other central government universities and save the future,” Kejriwal added.

The national capital has state universities such as Delhi Technological University, National Law University, Ambedkar University, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, among others. Delhi University is a central varsity.

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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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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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Hand over Goa Covid-19 hospital to Army: Kamat

With two more deaths in the last 24 hours, Goa’s Covid-19 death count has reached 11. The state has 895 active cases.

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Digambar Kamat

Panaji, July 11 : With two more Covid-19 deaths reported in Goa, Congress leader Digambar Kamat on Saturday demanded its only designated Covid-19 hospital be handed over to the Army and a White Paper issued on the coronavirus situation in the state.

In a statement issued here, the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly also demanded that the White Paper should also tell the efforts made by the state government to manage the health crisis.

“I want to ask the government with a heavy heart: ”How many more deaths does the government need to show sensitivity towards Covid patients to provide proper, safe and secure food and other facilities?”” Kamat, a former Chief Minister, said.

With two more deaths in the last 24 hours, Goa’s Covid-19 death count has reached 11. The state has 895 active cases.

“The government must immediately hand over the Covid hospital management to the Army, before more damage is done to the innocent people,” Kamat said.

The statement comes a day after Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik said that with the Covid-19 infections on the rise in the , Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had sought the help from area commanders of armed forces” units in the state and the Indian Coast Guard.

“At least now, when the Goa government is seeking help from the Army, it is important not to waste any more time. It is worrying to see the pictures of pathetic situation in the Covid hospital going viral,” the Congress leader said. The dedicated hospital is run from the Employees State Insurance Hospital in South Goa.

“Immediate action is needed to ensure that all coronavirus patients get hygienic and quality food, clean drinking water and other facilities. Goans need an action plan on controlling further spread of coronavirus.”

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