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WHO says AstraZeneca, Modena leading vaccine race

The WHO is in talks with multiple Chinese manufacturers, including Sinovac, on potential vaccines, as well as with Indian researchers, Swaminathan said.

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AstraZeneca’s experimental Covid-19 vaccine is probably the world’s leading candidate and most advanced in terms of development, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist said on Friday.

The British drugmaker has already begun large-scale, mid-stage human trials of the vaccine, which was developed by researchers at University of Oxford.

This week, AstraZeneca signed its tenth supply-and-manufacturing deal.

“Certainly in terms of how advanced they are, the stage at which they are, they are I think probably the leading candidate,” WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a news conference.

“So it’s possible they will have results quite early.”

Swaminathan said Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate was “not far behind” AstraZeneca’s, among more than 200 candidates, 15 of which have entered clinical trials.

“We do know that Moderna’s vaccine is also going to go into phase three clinical trials, probably from the middle of July, and so that vaccine candidate is not far behind,” she said.

“But I think AstraZeneca certainly has a more global scope at the moment in terms of where they are doing and planning their vaccine trials.”

The WHO is in talks with multiple Chinese manufacturers, including Sinovac, on potential vaccines, as well as with Indian researchers, Swaminathan said.

She called for drugmakers to consider collaborating on Covid-19 vaccine trials, similar to the WHO’s ongoing Solidarity trial for drugs. A WHO-led coalition fighting the pandemic on Friday asked government and private sector donors to help raise $31.3 billion in the next 12 months to develop and deliver tests, treatments and vaccines for the disease. The initiative is called the ACT-Accelerator.

Andrew Witty, Special Envoy for the ACT-Accelerator, said it was important to consider a “portfolio of research efforts” for vaccines.

“It’s still very early days in this journey, we may be super lucky – which would be terrific – and have an early win,” Witty said. “Even if it takes 12 to 18 months that would be without precedent, the world’s fast development of vaccine.”

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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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