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India Top Headlines

Coronavirus newsletter – Times of India


  • The Indian Ministry of Health has confirmed 7,706,946 Covid-19 cases (715,812 active cases) and 116,616 deaths. 55,839 new cases were registered on Wednesday.
  • Deaths worldwide are 1,131,460 (more than 41.23 million infections).

The numbers are as of Thursday at 12:30 pm IST. See the latest data here

Volunteer dies, Oxford vaccine trial continues
Volunteer dies, Oxford vaccine trial continues
  • A volunteer who participated in the late-stage clinical trial of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca has died, Brazilian health authorities said Wednesday, but added that the trial would continue. Oxford confirmed the plan to proceed with the phase 3 trial, saying “there have been no concerns about the safety of the clinical trial.” An independent evaluation of the case did not raise any concerns, AstraZeneca said.
  • The Brazilian press reported that the volunteer was a 28-year-old man from Rio de Janeiro who had died of complications from Covid-19. The fact that the trial did not stop despite the death of the volunteer suggests that he was part of the control group and not the test group. In clinical trials, one group of volunteers is given the vaccine under test, while another is given a placebo. In this case, the placebo was the meningitis vaccine. “The fact that the trials were not suspended could indicate that the person took a dose of placebo,” said Carlos Fortaleza, an epidemiologist at São Paulo State University.
  • The phase 3 clinical trials in Brazil are being coordinated by the Federal University of São Paulo, which said that an independent review board made up of experts who are not from AstraZeneca or the Brazilian center for biomedical research FioCruz (which will produce the vaccine in Brazil ), you will decide whether to continue rehearsals or not.
  • 8,000 of the 10,000 planned volunteers in the trial have been recruited and given the first dose in six cities in Brazil, and many have already received the second injection as well.
  • Clinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine were briefly suspended last month in the UK and elsewhere after a British volunteer fell ill. Trials have since resumed in all countries except the US, although they are also expected to resume as The FDA just completed its review.
Masks Are Increasingly Crucial As “Close Contact” Expands
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). expanded its definition of “close contact” of an infected person. The new guide defines close contact as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period.
  • The previous definition defined close contact as someone who spent at least 15 consecutive minutes within six feet of an infected person. The change comes after a study which found multiple brief exposures to people confirmed to have Covid-19 led to the transmission of the virus. Jay Butler, deputy director of the CDC, said the new guide highlights the importance of wearing masks.
  • In fact it is so. A new study by researchers at IIT-Bombay says that a mask is the most important “social vaccine” available to us because of its ability to “control” the size of “Covid cough clouds.” Even a handkerchief will reduce the size of the cough cloud ejected from a patient’s mouth, said Professors Amit Agrawal and Rajneesh Bhardwaj.
  • The duo’s findings, published in the journal Fluid physics, estimated how the volume of the cough cloud evolves or spreads through a room and quantified how a mask reduces its volume. They found that the volume of the cloud without a mask is approximately seven times greater than with a surgical mask and 23 times greater than with an N-95 mask.
A combined ‘hypercube’ test that is 20 times cheaper
A combined 'hypercube' test that is 20 times cheaper
  • Using a new mathematical approach to filter large groups for Covid-19 could be around 20 times cheaper than individual tests, A study it suggested. The algorithm for grouping subsamples is based on the geometry of a hypercube which, with a low prevalence, accurately identifies infected people in a small number of tests and test rounds.
  • The approach will facilitate early detection of outbreaks. And early research from early field trials in Africa shows that it is very effective in identifying positive cases when the majority of the population is negative.
  • Small amounts taken from individual swabs were mixed to create pooled samples and then analyzed. The team showed that a single positive case could still be detected even when mixed with 99 negative swab results.
  • If the initial test highlighted that the mixed sample contained positive cases, the researchers used the algorithm to design an additional series of tests. This allowed them to identify individual positive swab results within the pooled sample, making it easier to identify infected individuals.
  • If there were no positive cases in the mixed sample, then no follow-up action was necessary.
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Written by: Rakesh Rai, Judhajit Basu, Sumil Sudhakaran, Tejeesh NS Behl
Investigation: Rajesh sharma

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