Coronavirus News Updates: An official release from Health Minister E Rajender said so far 1,200 people had come to Telangana from or via the United Kingdom since 12 December and efforts were on to trace people who came in contact with those found positive.
Coronavirus News LATEST Updates: Seven people who returned to Hyderabad recently from the UK tested positive for COVID-19 and their swab samples have been sent for screening to ascertain if they carry the new variant of the coronavirus detected there, a senior Telangana Health official said on Thursday. The seven have been admitted to hospitals and are being monitored continuously, Public Health Director G Srinivas Rao said.
Drug firm Zydus Cadila on Thursday said its vaccine against COVID-19, 'ZyCoV-D', has been found to be safe and immunogenic in the Phase I/II clinical trials, and the company is seeking regulatory approval to commence Phase-III trials.
The company's "plasmid DNA vaccine to prevent COVID-19, ZyCoV-D, was found to be safe, well-tolerated and immunogenic in the Phase I/II clinical trials. The company is now planning to initiate Phase III clinical trials in around 30,000 volunteers upon receiving necessary approvals," Zydus Cadila said in a statement.
The new strains of SARS-Cov-2 found in the United Kingdom and South Africa recently are less likely to change the efficacy of the vaccines under development, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu was informed by CCMB director Dr Rakesh Mishra
Besides, there is no evidence that suggests that the strains are associated with worse outcomes for patients, although they are more infective, he was told. The same disease management strategies are expected to work for the variants too, an official statement said.
As many as 216 people who arrived in Amritsar from the UK on a 22 December flight will be institutionally quarantined as they might have come in contact with seven of their fellow passengers and a crew member who tested COVID-19 positive on arrival, said health officials.
The Air India flight from London had arrived at Amritsar's Sri Guru Ramdas Jee International Airport on Tuesday with 250 passengers and 22 crew members, and eight people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Asymptomatic passengers arriving from Europe, South Africa and West Asia will not be subjected to RT- PCR test for coronavirus immediately upon arrival, the Maharashtra government has said in a fresh circular, amending the SOPs issued on 21 December.
RT-PCR test for such persons will be conducted at the hotel where the passenger is quarantined, between 5th and 7th day, it said, adding that the cost of test will be borne by the passenger.
The Karnataka government withdrew its night curfew order, hours before it was scheduled to be implemented. "In view of the public opinion that there was no need for night curfew, the decision was reviewed and after consulting with cabinet colleagues and senior officials it has been decided to withdraw the night curfew," BS Yediyurappa said.
The chief minister appealed to the people to exercise self-restraint by wearing facemasks, hand hygiene and social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane said that 11 of the passengers who arrived in the state from the UK after 9 December have tested positive for COVID-19 so far. "As per guidelines, RT-PCR testing of 979 passengers who came after 9 December is going on. Nine passengers were initially found positive for COVID-19 after their arrival from the UK, while two more subsequently approached after being symptomatic and have tested positive," the minister said.
The result of genomic analysis of a sample from a United Kingdom returnee, who tested COVID-19 positive in Chennai, could be expected next week, according to the National Institute of Virology and Tamil Nadu has requested the research facility to expedite it, said state Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan . The returnee continues to be treated at the King's Institute for Preventive Medicine and Research and he is stable and doing well, Radhakrishnan added.
Authorities in Delhi managed to trace the passengers on Tuesday night and one was found in Punjab and another was tracked in Andhra Pradesh.
The comprehensive list, including about five lakh health workers, the elderly and those with co-morbidities is ready, said Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government was prepared to receive, store and provide vaccines to the priority category persons in the city. He stated that there were 51 lakh people including healthcare and frontline workers who would get vaccine in the first phase.
Britain’s transport minister said he had ordered flights and arrivals from South Africa to be halted after a potentially more infectious variant of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 had spread to Britain.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 96,93,173 pushing the national recovery rate to 95.75 percent, while the COVID-19 case fatality rate stands at 1.45 percent.
The COVID-19 active caseload remained below 3 lakh for the third consecutive day on Thursday. There are 2,83,849 active coronavirus infections in the country which comprise 2.80 percent of the total caseload, the health ministry data stated.
The total number of COVID-19 recoveries have gone up to 96,93,173 with 29,791 new recoveries recorded on Wednesday, the Union health ministry said.
The Delhi health minister said that the city has the 'lowest positivity rate in the entire country', plummeting to below one percent.
"The ceasing of flight services to and from the UK was a prompt move by the Centre and will help in containing the spread of the new coronavirus strain detected in that country," he said.
Two new studies give encouraging evidence that having COVID-19 may offer some protection against future infections. Researchers found that people who made antibodies to the coronavirus were much less likely to test positive again for up to six months and maybe longer.
The results bode well for vaccines, which provoke the immune system to make antibodies — substances that attach to a virus and help it be eliminated.
Researchers found that people with antibodies from natural infections were "at much lower risk ... on the order of the same kind of protection you'd get from an effective vaccine," of getting the virus again, said Dr Ned Sharpless, director of the US National Cancer Institute.
"It's very, very rare to get reinfected," he said.
The institute's study had nothing to do with cancer — many federal researchers have shifted to coronavirus work because of the pandemic.
Both studies used two types of tests. One is a blood test for antibodies, which can linger for many months after infection. The other type of test uses nasal or other samples to detect the virus itself or bits of it, suggesting current or recent infection.
One study, published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine, involved more than 12,500 health workers at Oxford University Hospitals in the United Kingdom. Among the 1,265 who had coronavirus antibodies at the outset, only two had positive results on tests to detect active infection in the following six months and neither developed symptoms.
That contrasts with the 11,364 workers who initially did not have antibodies; 223 of them tested positive for infection in the roughly six months that followed.
The National Cancer Institute study involved more than 3 million people who had antibody tests from two private labs in the United States. Only 0.3% of those who initially had antibodies later tested positive for the coronavirus, compared with 3% of those who lacked such antibodies.
"It's very gratifying to see that the Oxford researchers saw the same risk reduction — 10 times less likely to have a second infection if antibodies were present," Sharpless said.
His institute's report was posted on a website scientists use to share research and is under review at a major medical journal.
The findings are "not a surprise ... but it's really reassuring because it tells people that immunity to the virus is common," said Joshua Wolf, an infectious disease specialist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis who had no role in either study.
Antibodies themselves may not be giving the protection, they might just be a sign that other parts of the immune system, such as T cells, are able to fight off any new exposures to the virus, he said.
"We don't know how long-lasting this immunity is," Wolf added. Cases of people getting COVID-19 more than once have been confirmed, so "people still need to protect themselves and others by preventing reinfection."