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Fewer cases, but India becomes the fifth country to isolate the coronavirus | India News


NEW DELHI: India has become the fifth country to successfully isolate a strain of the new coronavirus. China, Japan, Thailand and the United States did it before.

Simply put, it means that scientists have been able to obtain a pure sample of the virus that has been contained outside the human body.

Scientific success is important because it will aid in the development of drugs, vaccines and rapid diagnostic test kits, said the director-general of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Dr. Balram Bhargava.

He added that isolation of the new coronavirus, the agent responsible for the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, was not easy as India had fewer positive cases when the project began.

“Twenty-one samples of throat swabs and nasal swabs were examined for this purpose. Of these, 11 tested positive and eight strains could be isolated from each other. They are 99.98% identical to the virus strain that caused outbreaks in Wuhan in China.” said Dr. RR Gangakhedkar, ICMR’s chief epidemiologist. He added that scientists can now test whether or not a drug will work against the virus to develop rapid diagnostic kits.

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Isolation of this virus will also help understand the biology and evolution of the new coronavirus, say ICMR experts. To date, there is no cure for Covid-19. Also, there is no preventive vaccination.

Anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir have been tested in some Covid-19 patients, including the Italian citizen admitted to the Sawai Man Singh hospital in Jaipur, with promising results. But the scientists said it is too early to conclude the efficacy.

Most of the patients only receive symptomatic treatment, they added.

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Recently, in a draft report released by the World Health Organization (WHO), experts claimed that Remdesivir, a drug developed for use against Ebola, which caused major outbreaks in remote villages in Central Africa in 2014, is very promising for the treatment of Covid -19.

This is because in vitro data (tests performed in a test tube) and in vivo data (tests performed on living organisms) for the drug are available for coronaviruses. “Furthermore, studies in mice using Remdesivir showed superior efficacy over Kaletra + IFNbeta,” said the draft report.

The report added that a clinical trial is being planned in China to assess the drug’s safety and efficacy in association with an optimized standard of care, as the next step. Remdesivir slows down infection of healthy cells by blocking viral replication.

The WHO expert also reviewed the drugs used in the treatment of HIV, lopinavir and ritonavir, alone or in combination with IFNbeta. He stated that among the drugs reused under consideration, this would be the second suitable option for rapid implementation in clinical trials.

The use of convalescent serum obtained from someone who has recovered from an infectious disease and is considered especially rich in antibodies against the infectious agent of the disease could also be an option, the expert group said. However, the report added: “… but it remains to be defined whether sufficient quantities of sera with high antibody titers could be collected, using concentration and purification processes.”

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