Coronavirus News Updates: Of the eight, five are from Mumbai and one each from Pune, Thane and Mira Bhayandar. The contact tracing of these patients is going on, the state health minister said
Coronavirus News LATEST Updates: As many as eight returnees to Maharashtra from the UK have been found to be infected with
the new COVID-19 variant detected in the European country, said health minister Rajesh Tope. Of these, five are from Mumbai, he said, adding contacts of all the COVID-19 patients with the UK strain are being traced.
Six UK returnees in Kerala have tested positive for the new strain of the virus, Health Minister KK Shailaja said on Monday. "Six people who recently returned from the UK have tested positive for the new strain.We have placed them under surveillance. Their samples had been sent to NIV, Pune and the results received today," the minister told reporters.
While two persons each from Alappuzha and Kozhikode have tested positive for the new variant, Kottayam and Kannur districts have reported one case each, she said.The six are under isolation and observation, the minister added.
Bharat Biotech on Monday addressed concerns regarding DCGI's approval for restricted emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine without having completed its Phase 3 trials.
"In 2019, CDCSO formed a notification, I request you to read the guidelines... it clearly states that if yours is a proven platform technology, safe platform technology and good pre-clinical trial data is available then you can get emergency license for the product," MD Krishna Ella said.
He added, 'Covaxin is a simple two-dose, we are the only vaccine for above 12 years of age right now. We are planning to do even children trials soon, as per the protocol."
Addressing the questions raised about DCGI's approval for Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine, COVAXIN, its MD Krishna Ella said it was "just gossip" and backlash" against Indian companies.
"That is not right for us. We don't deserve that. Merck's Ebola vaccine never completed a human clinical trial at all but WHO gave emergency authorization for Liberia and Guinea."
He added, "Even US government says emergency authorization can be given if a company has good immunization data. Merck's Ebola vaccine got authorization for emergency use even before completion of phase-3 trial. Johnson and Johnson did trials on 87 people & got emergency licence."
Stating that Bharat Biotech is aiming to achieve a capacity of 700 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine across its Hyderabad and Bengaluru facilities, MD Krishna Ella said that currently, there are 20 million doses available and added that the company was encountering logistics-related problems.
About the price of the vaccine, he said, "In the beginning, the cost of vaccine may be a little higher. As the scale of production increases, the price will be controlled by market."
Asserting that Bharat Biotech is conducting clinical trials in Pakistan, Nepal, UK, and Bangladesh, along with India, Managing Director Krishna Ella said that the company is "not just Indian, but is truly global". He added that the company has conducted in trials in over 12 countries.
He also claimed that Indian companies are "targeted by everyone in the world".
"People are talking to backlash on Indian companies. That is not done for us. I don’t know why Indian companies are targeted by everyone in the world," he said.
Bharat Biotech managing director Krishna Ella addressed a press conference amid concerns around the company's COVID-19 vaccine.
He started by saying, "Now that vaccine is being politicized, I want to state very clearly that none of my family members are associated with any political party."
""Thank you to all the volunteers who participated in the trials without any commercial interests. I come from a small agricultural family in Tamil Nadu. All I know is science. Vaccine is getting political now and I want to state that my family and myself have nothing to do with politics. We are a company with vaccine experience AND have made 16 vaccines," he said.
Amid concerns over approval to Covaxin, Bharat Biotech will hold a press conference at 5 pm today, said reports. As per CNN News18, Dr Krishn and Suchitra Ella will address the presser.
A total of 38 samples have been found to be positive with the new UK variant genome, said the Union health ministry in a statement. Giving a break up of the cases, it said 10 samples have been found positive for the new strain in NIMHANS, Bengaluru, three in CCMB, Hyderabad, five in NIV, Pune, 11 in IGIB, Delhi, eight in NCDC, New Delhi and one in NCBG, Kolkata. NCBS, InSTEM, Bengaluru, CDFD Hyderabad, ILS Bhubaneswar, and NCCS Pune have so far not found the UK mutant strain in samples, it added.
"All these persons have been kept in single room isolation in designated health care facilities by respective state governments. Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on," the ministry said.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said he will take the COVID-19 vaccine shot after priority groups get vaccinated. Addressing commissioners, district collectors and superintendents of police in the state through video- conferencing, Chouhan said all districts of Madhya Pradesh are ready for the COVID-19 vaccination.
Mumbai on Sunday reported three COVID-19 deaths, which are the lowest in a single day since March last year, city civic commissioner IS Chahal said.
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) began rolling out the Oxford University vaccine developed by AstraZeneca as protection against COVID-19 , with an 82-year-old Oxford-born dialysis patient becoming the first to receive the new jab.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the achievements of the scientists in the fight against the pandemic and said India is "on the threshold of starting the largest vaccination programme in the world".
India logged 16,504 cases of COVID-19 and 214 related deaths between Sunday and Monday morning, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare, taking the country’s tally to 1,03,40,469.
There were 16,432 cases of the coronavirus disease on December 29 last year. The number of active cases of COVID-19 remained below the 250,000 mark for the second day on a row at 243,953.
According to the health ministry, 9,946,867 people have recovered so far with 19,557 patients of COVID-19 cured or discharged across the country in the last 24 hours. The national recovery rate has gone up to 96.19 percent. The daily new recoveries have been more than the daily cases registered since the last 38 days.
Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani on Sunday approved Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covishield, and Bharat Biotech International Limited’s Covaxin for restricted emergency use, clearing way for the government’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease in about 10 days. However, the emergency use approval to the Serum Institute of India (SII) vaccine against COVID-19 developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, and the “restricted use in emergency situation” consent to Bharat Biotech’s locally developed vaccine received criticism.
India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on 7 August, 30 lakh on 23 August, 40 lakh on 5 September and 50 lakh on 16 September. It went past 60 lakh on 28 September, 70 lakh on 11 October, crossed 80 lakh on 29 October, 90 lakh on 20 November and surpassed the one-crore mark on 19 December.
According to the ICMR, 17,56,35,761 samples have been tested up to 3 January with 7,35,978 samples being tested on Sunday.