India surpasses US in global COVID-19 recoveries as tally exceeds 53 lakh; SII to begin phase III trials from Monday

Apart from the Oxford candidate, two more vaccine candidates in India are in advanced stages of clinical trials, while four are in pre-clinical development stage

FP Staff September 20, 2020 00:21:00 IST
India surpasses US in global COVID-19 recoveries as tally exceeds 53 lakh; SII to begin phase III trials from Monday

India's single-day recovery exceeded the number of new infections as nearly 96,000 people recuperated from the novel coronavirus, even as the total caseload went past 53 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Saturday.

With this, the country also crossed United States to register the highest number of COVID-19 recoveries in the world.

The figures released at 8 am Saturday showed that while 95,880 people recovered from COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours, 93,337 new infections were recorded during the period. The death toll, meanwhile, climbed to 85,619 with the virus claiming 1,247 lives in a span of 24 hours, the updated data showed.

The 1,247 new deaths reported on Saturday include 440 from Maharashtra, 179 from Karnataka, 98 from Uttar Pradesh, 67 each from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, 62 from Punjab, 59 from West Bengal, 31 from Puducherry and 30 from Delhi.

The COVID-19 case fatality rate has further dropped at 1.61 percent.

There are 10,13,964 active cases of COVID-19 in the country, which constitute 19.10 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.

The worst-hit states are Maharashtra (11,88,015) Andhra Pradesh (6,17,776), Tamil Nadu (5,36,000), Karnataka (5,11,000), and UP (3,48,517).

Phase III clinical trial of Oxford's vaccine candidate to begin from Monday

Serum Institute of India (SII), will begin the phase III human trials of Oxford University's COVID-19 vaccine at the Sassoon General Hospital in Pune next week. Furthermore, the Central Government said that two other vaccine candidates in India were at advanced stages of testing.

"The phase III trial of Covishield vaccine will begin at Sassoon hospital from next week. It is likely to start on Monday (21 September). Some volunteers have already come forward for the trial. Around 150 to 200 volunteers will be administered the vaccine candidate dose," Muralidhar Tambe, the Dean of the state-run hospital, told news agency PTI.

Phase II trials were conducted at Bharti Vidyapeeth Medical College and also KEM Hospital in the city.

The SII has partnered with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford.

Apart from the Oxford candidate, two more vaccine candidates in India are in advanced stages of clinical trials, while four are in pre-clinical development stage, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Friday in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha. There are a total of 30 vaccine candidates in India in various stages of development and testing.

India’s first CRISPR COVID-19 test developed by Tata, CSIR-IGIB approved for use

India’s first CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) COVID19 test, developed by the Tata Group and CSIR-IGIB, was approved for use in India, the Ministry of Science and Technology said on Saturday.

According to Hindustan TimesTata CRISPR test is as accurate as the traditional RT-PCR tests but takes lesser time to process the results. The equipment are also less expensive.

"Tata CRISPR COVID-19 test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus," the report said.

Over 190% rise in active Covid-19 cases in Delhi in a month

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Delhi increased by around 190 percent in a month with 84,087 people contracting the disease during the period, according to government data.

There were 11,068 active COVID-19 cases on 18 August. The number increased to a record 32,250 on Friday, an analysis of Delhi government's health bulletins showed.

A similar trend was witnessed in June, when the number of active COVID-19 cases rose from 11,555 on 1 June to 28,329 on 27 June. It, however, tapered off to 10,705 active cases by 31 July.

On 4 August, it dropped below the 10,000-mark for the first time since 30 May and stood at 9,897, owing to a good recovery rate and less new cases.

But just when it seemed the number might drop further, it started rising again with an increase in new cases.

Parliament Monsoon Session likely to be curtailed due to COVID-19 spread

The ongoing monsoon session of Parliament is likely to be curtailed and may end by the middle of next week in view of the threat of the COVID-19 spread among parliamentarians, official sources said on Saturday.

At a meeting of the business advisory committee of Lok Sabha, which has floor leaders of all parties besides the government representatives and is chaired by the Speaker, most political parties favoured curtailment of the session, which started on 14 September and was scheduled to conclude on 1 October.

After some Members of Parliament, including Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Patel, tested positive for COVID-19 during the session, some opposition parties had conveyed to the government that conducting the full 18-day session could be a risky affair, sources told PTI.

A final decision will be taken by the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs.

Centre expresses concern over higher fatality rate in 12 states

Expressing concern over COVID-19 fatality rates in some states being higher than the national average, the Cabinet secretary on Saturday urged 12 states and UTs to analyse mortalities district and hospital-wise to identify critical areas of intervention.

At a high-level review meet, the secretary also exhorted them to ensure optimal utilisation of RT-PCR testing capacity, while underlining the need for ensuring that no symptomatic negative case tested in rapid antigen examination is missed, and all such cases mandatorily undergo RT-PCR test, the Union Health Ministry said.

During the meeting chaired by the cabinet secretary, the minister of commerce and industry addressed these states and UTs and reviewed the oxygen availability there.

The 12 states and Union Territories that participated in the virtual meet included Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Chandigarh, Telangana, Kerala, Delhi, Punjab and West Bengal, the health ministry said.

"About 80 percent of the COVID-19 caseload in the country is concentrated in these states and UTs," it said.

"The Minister of Commerce and Industry specifically requested them to focus on analysing district-level and health facility-level status and effectively plan and manage logistical issues related to oxygen availability," the health ministry said.

The country's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20 lakh on 7 August, while it exceeded 30 lakh cses on 23 August, 40 lakh on 5 September, and it went past 50 lakh on 16 September.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a cumulative 6,24,54,254 COVID-19 samples have been tested up to 18 September — 8,81,911 of them on Friday.

The total 85,619 deaths reported so far in the country include 1,791 from Maharashtra followed by 8,685 from Tamil Nadu, 7,808 from Karnataka, 5,244 from Andhra Pradesh.

With inputs from PTI

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