India Bucks Global Trend, But Must Keep Its Guard Up In Covid Fight: Officials
India has bucked the global trend and is showing sustained improvement in containing the Covid-19 outbreak, senior government officials said Tuesday, but cautioned that trends in other countries are also a strong reminder of how the situation may. quickly get out of control even if a spike is contained.
Speaking at the government’s routine briefing on the Covid-19 situation, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Niti Aayog (health) member VK Paul also listed the preliminary work being done on across the country for the logistics and training that will be required to deliver vaccines to hundreds of people. of millions of people by next summer.
“Active cases have dropped from more than 10 lakh in mid-September to less than four lakh today … India’s cumulative death rate has also dropped to 6.37%, and if you take into account the last week, it’s 3%, ”Bhushan said, before speaking about the continued increase in infections and deaths in other countries.
Paul described the contrast between India and the world as a warning and a source of satisfaction. “It is a reminder of the nature of the virus because even we could have a second wave of infections and deaths, as this is how this virus behaves. Things can take a drastic turn even after it stabilizes. The key lesson is, don’t take things for granted, ”he said.
On the other hand, he added, “it is comforting that we are saving lives. Our situation now is like July. People now say that R-nught has dropped to less than 1 and that the outbreak is shrinking. ” Paul went on to emphasize the need to be careful, saying, “Remember, we have a large population of people who are vulnerable.”
On Tuesday, 26,249 new infections were reported across the country, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 9,932,841, according to HT’s Covid-19 dashboard. Meanwhile, 385 more patients lost their lives to the disease in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 144,149.
The Niti Aayog official highlighted the case of the national capital, congratulating the Delhi government and the departments involved for controlling the outbreak. “But while many regions show improvement, some remain cause for concern, such as Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh. We are in contact with officials there, ”Paul said.
According to Bhushan, preparations are underway to prepare local officials to receive and administer vaccines, a process that is likely to cover about 300 million people by the middle of next year. “We will use 29,000 cold chain points, 240 cold rooms, 70 cold rooms, 45,000 ice-lined freezers, 41,000 freezers and 300 solar refrigerators. All of these have already reached the states and more teams are being sent, “added the Secretary of Health.
The supplies were among the three broad focus points of the detailed guidelines sent to the states. These were largely concerned with assigning responsibilities (Bhushan said 23 ministries and departments from the Center and the states have been briefed on their roles), training and equipping the people who will be involved in logistics and delivery. administration of vaccines, and on how to monitor and respond to adverse reactions that people may have.
“Instructions have been issued on minor, serious and serious AEFI (adverse effect after vaccination). The states will identify an AEFI management center in each block, which could be fixed health facilities. Each AEFI management center will map to the sites of each session (vaccination centers) to ensure that people can be taken to these instantly, ”said Bhushan.
These preparations are underway while at least three candidate vaccines are being evaluated for emergency approval. Paul said there was good progress in the vaccine pipeline and highlighted a candidate from Gennova that is based on the same mRNA platform as the doses developed by Pfizer and Moderna and was approved for clinical trials last week. “Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, this vaccine will require normal cold chain temperatures,” Paul said.
Clearly, this vaccine candidate has just been approved for Phase 1/2 trials. You will then enter, subject to approvals, Phase 3 trials.
“We now have six vaccines in human trials in India,” he said, adding that the approval and evaluation process is being conducted independently and objectively. “This process is being carried out by independent experts and people should feel confident that whatever vaccine is approved, it will be based on established scientific and global parameters,” the officials said.
The Comptroller General of Drugs of India is evaluating requests for emergency use authorization from Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. Of these, Pfizer has been approved in several countries after completing phase III trials and finding an efficacy close to 95%.
Serum Institute has applied for approval of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which has shown an efficacy of 62% -90%, according to an interim analysis. Bharat Biotech is currently conducting phase III trials. The DCGI Committee of Subject Matters (SEC) has asked these two companies to submit more data related to their trials for their applications to be evaluated.