Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: DCGI to hold press conference at 11 am; announcement on vaccine approval expected

10:48 (IST)

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates

Telangana logs 394 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths push toll to 1,549

Telangana recorded 394 fresh COVID-19 cases, taking the total positives to over 2.87 lakh while three fatalities pushed the toll to 1,549, the state government said on Sunday.

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) accounted for the most number of cases with 81, followed by Rangareddy and Medchal Malkajgiriwith 36 and 31 respectively, it said in a bulletin, providing details as of 8 pm on 2 January.

The total number of cases stood at 2,87,502 while recoveries were 2,80,565. As many as 5,388 patients are under treatment and 40,190 samples were tested on Saturday.

Cumulatively, over 69.91 lakh samples have been tested. The samples tested per million population was over 1.87 lakh, the bulletin said.


10:21 (IST)

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Bharat Biotech recruits 23,000 volunteers for COVID-19 vaccine trials

Bharat Biotech has successfully recruited 23,000 volunteers, and continued progress towards achieving the goal of 26,000 participants for Phase-3 clinical trial of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin across multiple sites in India, it said.

The Phase III human clinical trials of Covaxin began mid-November, targeted to be done in 26,000 volunteers and it is the country's first and only Phase III efficacy study for a COVID-19 vaccine, and the largest phase III efficacy trial ever conducted for any vaccine in India, a press release from the vaccine maker said on Saturday night.

Thanking volunteers for their participation in the trials, Suchitra Ella, Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech said, the volunteering spirit is a great morale boost for India and the world.

"We thank all the principal investigators, doctors, medical staff & the hospitals for their cooperation and support in taking the phase III trials forward in 26,000 volunteers in India. We continue our progress towards achieving the goal of 26,000 participants for Phase-3 clinical trials of Covaxin," she said.


10:15 (IST)

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates

'Can't trust a BJP vaccine,' says Akhilesh Yadav

Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday termed the anti- COVID-19 vaccine to be rolled out in the country a "vaccine of the BJP" and said he would not take the shot, prompting a sharp reaction not only from the ruling party but also from NC vice-president Omar Abdullah.

While the ruling BJP accused Yadav of "insulting" doctors and scientists, Abdullah said vaccines don't belong to any political party, but humanity.

Hours later after terming the anti-Covid vaccine as a “vaccine of the BJP”, Yadav, however, said in a tweet that he had full faith in scientists but not in the “taali and thali wali” unscientific thinking of the BJP.

Read full report here

10:03 (IST)

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates

Thane district's COVID-19 count rises by 333, toll by 7

With the addition of 333 coronavirus positive cases, the infection tally in Thane district of Maharashtra climbed to 2,43,871, an official said on Sunday. These new cases were reported on Saturday, he said.

As seven patients succumbed to the infection during the day, the death toll went up to 5,974 in the district, where the mortality rate is 2.45 percent, he added. So far, 2,34,005 patients have recuperated from the infection, which took the recovery rate to 95.95 percent.

There are 3,892 active cases in the district at present, the official said.

09:52 (IST)

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates

India reports over 18,000 new cases; tally now at 1.03 cr

India recorded 18,177 new COVID-19 cases in a day, while 99,27,310 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 96.15 percent on Sunday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 1,03,23,965 and the death toll climbed to 1,49,435 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 217 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed. The COVID-19 case fatality rate stood at 1.45 percent.

There are 2,47,220 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 2.39 percent of the total caseload, the data stated.

According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 17,48,99,783 samples have been tested up to 2 January with 9,58,125 samples being tested on Saturday.

09:48 (IST)

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates

DCGI to brief media at 11 am today

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) will brief the media at 11.00 am today on the COVID-19 vaccine. At least two vaccine candidates are awaiting final emergency use authorisation from the DCGi.

09:46 (IST)

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates

85 people test positive in Chennai's ITC Grand Chola hotel 

About 85 people, including staff members of ITC Grand Chola in Chennai's Guindy area, have tested positive for COVID-19 since 15 December last year, a senior official said on Saturday. Of the total of 609 samples collected till date, 85 were found to be positive.

Following this, the Greater Chennai Corporation has been instructed to carry out saturation testing of all the guests at the hotel, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said.

ITC Grand Chola, in a release, said all events at the property have been conducted in adherence to the norms mandated by the authorities.

Additionally, only 50 percent capacity of the hall is used to ensure maximum distancing and safety, it said.

Read full report here

09:44 (IST)

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates

India first country to successfully culture UK virus variant, says ICMR

The Indian Council of Medical Research on Saturday said that it has successfully isolated and cultured the new variant of the coronavirus identified in the United Kingdom. The top medical body claimed that no other country has so far reported success in this area.

Culture is the process by which cells are grown under controlled conditions, generally outside their natural environment.

Coronavirus News LATEST Updates: The development comes after the subject expert committee (SEC) under the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) as Covishield, for emergency use and Covaxin for restricted use.

India recorded 18,177 new COVID-19 cases in a day, while 99,27,310 people have recuperated so far pushing the national recovery rate to 96.15 percent on Sunday, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 1,03,23,965 and the toll climbed to 1,49,435 with the novel coronavirus virus claiming 217 lives in a span of 24 hours in the country, the data updated at 8 am showed. The COVID-19 case fatality rate stood at 1.45 percent

An expert panel of India's central drug authority on Saturday recommended granting permission for restricted use of Bharat Biotech-developed indigenous COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin in emergency situation, especially in the context of infection by mutant strains, officials said.

The recommendation for Bharat Biotech's vaccine came a day after the panel cleared the Serum Institute of India's emergency use athorisation application for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield.

This paves the way for the roll-out of at least two vaccines in India in the coming days, while two more are in advance stages of development.

At a press conference in New Delhi, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said India was probably the only country where four vaccines were in the pipeline.

Asked about some religious figures raising doubts over vaccines, Javadekar said "our vaccine is effective" and the rest of the world was also using it. He added that vaccines are introduced after tests and those that would be brought in would be safe.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealed to people on Saturday not to be misguided by "rumours" regarding the safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine, and said, "We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine."

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has recommended granting permission to the Serum Institute of Institute (SII) for restricted emergency use of Covishield in India, subject to multiple regulatory conditionalities.

"The SEC of CDSCO met on January 1 and 2 and made the recommendations for the consideration and final decision of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)," the ministry said.

Covaxin has been indigenously developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The SEC again deliberated on the emergency use authorisation (EUA) application of Bharat Biotech on Saturday after it presented the updated data, justification and requested for consideration of their proposal in the wake of incidence of new mutated coronavirus infection.

It recommended "grant of permission for restricted use in emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, specially in the context of infection by mutant strains, to Bharat Biotech," the health ministry stated.

According to sources, the committee, however, stated that the firm shall continue the ongoing phase 3 clinical trial and submit data emerging from the trial as and when available.

The committee noted that the vaccine is an inactivated whole virion, coronavirus vaccine, having potential to target mutated coronavirus strains, a source said. The data generated so far demonstrates a strong immune response (both antibody as well as T cell) and in-vitro viral neutralisation.

While granting the restricted emergency use approval for the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, the panel had imposed certain regulatory provisions, including that the shot is indicated for active immunisation in individuals of 18 years or more to prevent the disease and that SII should submit safety, efficacy and immunogenicity data from the ongoing clinical trials in the country and across the globe for review at the earliest.

Also, the Pune-based firm should submit the safety data including the data on adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) and adverse event of special interest (AESI) with due analysis every 15 days for the first two months and monthly thereafter till the completion of the ongoing clinical trial in the country, according to the recommendations.

Thereafter, the firm should submit the safety data as per the provisions and standard procedures.

According to sources, the recommendations stated that the vaccine should be supplied along with fact-sheet and separate leaflet for the guidance of the healthcare provider.

The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has tied up with AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield.

According to sources, the firm had presented the details of the conditions and restrictions under which AstraZeneca was granted emergency use authorisation in the UK and the revised fact sheet and prescribing information in Indian context as required by the committee.

SII had applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for EUA for Oxford COVID-19 vaccine on December 6, while the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech had sought the nod for its indigenously developed Covaxin on December 7.

Pfizer had applied for regulatory approval for its vaccine on December 4 has not yet turned for deliberation.

After detailed deliberations, the SEC has also recommended for grant of permission to Cadila Healthcare Ltd in Ahmedabad for conduct of phase-3 clinical trial protocol for its vaccine candidate.

from Firstpost India Latest News