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SWR chips in with 7,295 masks, 1,200 litres of sanitiser

“At the stitching and furbishing section of the workshops, face masks are being made. These masks are being made using cotton cloth with bands for adjustments,”

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child in mask

Bengaluru, April 6 : The South Western Railway (SWR) zone has chipped in with 7,295 masks and 1,200 litres of hand sanitizer to meeting the shortage amid Covid pandemic, an official said on Monday.

“Due to the increase in demand for essential medical commodities, Railways has taken for in-house production of sanitiser and making masks in-house to deal with the crisis at hand during the lockdown,” said a SWR spokesperson.

SWR is preparing the hand sanitizer following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) formula, using surgical spirit, aloe vera gel, glycerol and scent.

“At the stitching and furbishing section of the workshops, face masks are being made. These masks are being made using cotton cloth with bands for adjustments,” said the statement.

The railway zone’s Hubballi Division produced 450 masks and 220 litres sanitizer, Hubballi Workshop, 1,225 masks and 400 litres, Bengaluru Division, 3,000 masks and 300 litres, the Mysuru Workshop, 2,100 masks and 280 litres sanitizer and Mysuru Division 520 masks.

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Glenmark announces 400 mg ‘FabiFlu’ for COVID-19 treatment

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Glenmark Fabiflu

Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, a research-led global pharmaceutical company, on Thursday announced that it is set to introduce a 400 mg version of oral antiviral – FabiFlu — for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in India.

It was the first Indian company to commercially launch an antiviral drug – Favipiravir with brand name FabiFlu – for the treatment COVID-19 patients. The company received marketing and manufacturing approval from the Drug Controller General of India and launched the product in the Indian market on June 20.

According to the company, the higher strength will improve patient compliance and experience, by effectively reducing the number of tablets that patients require per day.

Earlier, the 200 mg dosage of FabiFlu required patients to take 18 tablets on Day 1, followed by 8 tablets each day thereafter for a maximum of 14 days.

A higher pill burden has been associated with lower adherence to therapy, the latter affecting viral suppression and overall treatment outcomes. Reducing the pill burden has also been a demand from doctors and patients to enable adherence, the company said.

“With the new 400 mg version, patients will now have a more relaxed dosage regimen, with 9 tablets required on Day 1, and thereafter 2 tablets twice a day from Day 2 till end of the course,” Glenmark Pharmaceuticals added.

Explaining the significance of this development, Monika Tandon, Vice President and Head, Clinical Development of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Limited said, “The 200 mg dosage of FabiFlu was developed in line with global formulations of the drug Favipiravir, which had similar strength. The 400 mg version is a result of Glenmark’s own R&D efforts to improve treatment experience for patients in India.”

She added, “Being the first company to launch Favipiravir in India, we continue to innovate and seek new treatment options for Covid-19 patients. Introducing this higher strength of FabiFlu is in line with these efforts to ensure a smoother experience for patients, by reducing their daily pill burden.”

Glenmark has also commenced a Post Marketing Surveillance (PMS) study on FabiFlu to closely monitor the efficacy and safety of the drug in a large pool of patients prescribed with the oral antiviral Favipiravir, as part of an open label, multicentre, single arm study.

It is also conducting another Phase III clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of two antiviral drugs Favipiravir and Umifenovir as a combination therapy in moderate hospitalized adult Covid-19 patients in India.

The combination study which is called the FAITH trial is looking to enrol 158 hospitalized patients of moderate Covid-19 in India. Early treatment with combination therapy will be evaluated for safety and efficacy as it is emerging as an effective approach in shortening duration of virus shedding, facilitating early clinical cure and discharge of patients.

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As India inches towards 2 million cases, Harsh Vardhan says, coronavirus spread contained in country

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, with Health Ministers from the region, the health minister also alluded to efficacy of the govt’s containment strategy

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Harsh Vardhan

India’s Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday asserted that the spread of coronavirus has been contained in the country, citing how half the total cases are from three states only and another 30 per cent from seven others.

His remarks come as the country is inching towards the grim mark of two million cases. It has already logged over 40,000 deaths and is recording more than 50,000 daily cases since the past few days.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of WHO’s Regional Director, South East Asia, Poonam Khetrapal Singh with Health Ministers from the region on maintaining essential health services and public health programmes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Harsh Vardhan alluded to the efficacy of the government’s containment strategy.

“The strategy has been successful in that 50 per cent of the cases are from three states and 32 per cent of the rest are from seven states. The spread of the virus thus has been contained.”

The Minister said that the lockdown was effective in slowing down the rate of growth of cases and gave the government time to augment the health infrastructure and testing facilities.

“From one lab in January, India has 1,370 labs today. Indians anywhere can access a lab within three hours travel time. 33 of the 36 states and UTs (Union Territories) exceed WHO’s recommendation of testing 140 people per million per day.”

Harsh Vardhan also said that the country was “preparing for the pandemic as soon as China informed the World Health Organisation on January 7”, over three weeks before the first case emerged.

India had reported its first coronavirus case on January 30 when a student from Kerala, who was studying in China’s Wuhan University, came back to India and tested positive for the deadly virus.

Harsh Vardhan also stressed that earlier viral outbreaks like the Avian Influenza, H1N1, Zika and Nipah had provided institutional memory in designing containment and management strategies.

“India’s proactive and graded multi-level institutional response to Covid-19 made it possible to have very low cases per million and deaths per million in spite of having a high population density, and low fractional GDP spending, per capita doctor, and hospital bed availability as compared to other developed countries,” he contended.

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Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context

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World Health Organisation

Countries around the world are facing the challenge of increased demand for care of people with COVID-19, compounded by fear, misinformation and limitations on movement that disrupt the delivery of health care for all conditions.

Maintaining essential health services: operational guidance for the COVID-19 context recommends practical actions that countries can take at national, subregional and local levels to reorganize and safely maintain access to high-quality, essential health services in the pandemic context. It also outlines sample indicators for monitoring essential health services, and describes considerations on when to stop and restart services as COVID-19 transmission recedes and surges.

This document expands on the content of pillar 9 of the COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response plan, supersedes the earlier Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak, and complements the recently-released Community-based health care, including outreach and campaigns, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended for decision-makers and managers at the national and subnational levels.

This is an update to COVID-19: Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak: Interim guidance, 25 March 2020 

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