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Vaccine tests on monkeys risk disease, warns PETA India

In a letter, PETA India urged the government to stop NIV to leave wild animals in nature and instead use human-relevant and animal-free research methods as required by Indian law

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has urged the Centre to stop the National Institute of Virology (NIV) from using “deadly tests” for a COVID-19 vaccine on monkeys.

In a letter, calling on the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA), PETA India urged the government to ask NIV to leave wild animals in nature and instead use human-relevant and animal-free research methods as required by Indian law.

The letter followed recent reports that the government of Maharashtra has approved the capturing of 30 wild monkeys for the NIV.

Describing that animal tests are often misleading, time-consuming barriers to introducing life-saving drugs, the organisation gave example of governing bodies in India and around the world how they are increasingly moving towards modern, non-animal methods.

The US National Institute of Health confirms that more than 95 per cent of all new drugs that are shown to be safe and effective in animal tests fail in human trials because they don’t work or are dangerous.

COVID-19 is largely thought to have first infected humans through wildlife at a Chinese wet market, it said. “In fact, according to the World Health Organization, over 60 per cent of human pathogens are zoonotic (spread from animals to humans).”

Wild monkeys during capture and handling and in a laboratory setting present a significant threat of zoonosis, including herpes B, Kyasanur Forest disease, dengue, tuberculosis, simian immuno-deficiency viruses, and rabies, it said.

“This pandemic presents an opportunity for India to set improved standards for testing and developing safe and effective new therapeutics that avoid cruel, misleading, and wasteful experiments on animals,” said PETA India Science Policy Adviser Dr Dipti Kapoor.

“PETA India is asking the CPCSEA and NIV to meet the demand for accelerated research during this pandemic using human-relevant methods instead of tests on animals, which don’t advance human health.”

The request comes amid human clinical trials for a vaccine for COVID-19 that have been initiated in the country with approximately 1,000 volunteers participating in the exercise for each of the two indigenously developed vaccine candidates — one developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and another by Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd.

There are two Indian vaccine candidates that have undergone successful toxicity studies in rats, mice and rabbits and this data was submitted to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

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60,963 new corona cases take India tally across 23L

Notably, the fatality rate, which is the proportion of people who die of the disease among individuals diagnosed, has dropped to about two per cent, the Ministry said.

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Jahangirpuri Delhi Coronavirus Test

New Delhi: India’s novel Coronavirus tally crossed the 23-lakh mark on Wednesday with detection of 60,963 new cases in the last 24 hours, while 834 more fatalities took the death toll to 46,091, the Health Ministry said.

Out of the total 2,329,638 cases, recoveries surged to 1,639,599 as a record 56,110 more patients recovered during the period. The recovery rate is nearly 70 per cent now. The active cases in the country currently total 6,43,948.

Notably, the fatality rate, which is the proportion of people who die of the disease among individuals diagnosed, has dropped to about two per cent, the Ministry said.

The country had touched the 20-lakh mark on August 7 and added more than 3,00,000 cases in less than five days. The silver lining, however, is that the gap between recoveries and active cases is growing every day. Currently, recoveries are 10 lakh more than the active cases.

As many as 7,33,449 samples were tested on Tuesday, taking the total to 2,60,15,297 samples till date, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Maharashtra remained the worst-hit state with a total of 5,24,513 cases and 18,050 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu with 302,815 cases and 5041 deaths. The southern state is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Chief Ministers and representatives of 10 states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab, Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh for a review meeting.

He mentioned that almost 80 per cent of the active cases are from the participating 10 states, and if the virus is defeated in these states, the entire country will emerge victorious in the battle against COVID-19.

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Lucknow records highest spike of 831 Covid cases in a day

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Lucknow, Aug 12 : Lucknow has recorded an all-time high of 831 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours, as it crossed the 14,000 mark. Medical experts have said that if immediate steps are not taken the state capital may soon cross the 1,000-mark in a day.

Tuesday’s figure took the caseload to 14,221 since the outbreak on March 11, of which 42 per cent (6,043 cases) have been reported till date in August.

About 7,317 patients have also recovered till date, but since the transmission rate is higher than recovery, active patients have swelled to 6,743. Though asymptomatic cases are allowed home isolation, the increase in active cases added to the pressure on Covid hospitals.

Prof T.N. Dhole, senior virologist and ex-professor at SGPGI, said moisture in the atmosphere in monsoon is abetting the spread of the virus.

“The surge will continue and we may see more than 1,000 cases daily by August end. The transmission rate would peak in October,” he explained.

Experts cited three main reasons behind the spike — rainy season, negligence of safety protocol and delay in contact tracing.

However, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Rajendra Prasad Singh denied laxity in contact tracing. “More cases are being detected because we have doubled our testing capacity to 5,000 daily which is double in comparison to July,” he said.

King George’s Medical Unit, medicine head and in charge of Covid unit, Prof Virendra Atam said, “I see people across the city crowding markets without social distancing and masks. Hand hygiene is also being neglected which explains the spread of the virus.”

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ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan sealed after 22 test COVID-19 positive

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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ISKCON Temple in Vrindavan

VRINDAVAN : After 22 persons associated with the temple were found infected with coronavirus, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has decided to seal the temple in Vrindavan and restrict movement. The announcement comes a day ahead of the Janmashtami festival which will be celebrated in the country on August 12.

“Earlier, one person had tested positive, so more testing was conducted and now 22 people tested positive. After that, contact tracing was conducted and sampling is being done; we will isolate those who test positive. Movement of people have been restricted and the temple has been sealed,” an ISKCON official said. He said the 22 people includes priests at the temple.

In the temple town of Vrindavan, authorities of Banke Bihari temple have also decided to keep the shrine closed till September 30. The decision was taken due to repair work on the temple premises, said the authority in a notice.

It also stated that the repair work will be taken up by engineers. Earlier, the temple was closed in the view of COVID-19.

The famous temple dedicated to Lord Krishna has been closed to devotees since the lockdown was imposed in March.

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