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India to get vaccine against Covid-19 for frontline healthcare workers ‘very soon’

Illustrative vial of coronavirus vaccine. (Photo courtesy: pmlive)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov24’20) – A vaccine against the coronavirus disease would be available in India “very soon”, Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, founder of the Serum Institute of India (SII), which is testing and manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca, has said Nov 23. The question is how very soon and who all will get it first and, of course, when it will finally be available to the country’s general population of more than 1.3 billion people.

“Forty million doses (of the vaccine candidate) have already been produced and definitely we should be able to produce another 60 million doses in a minimum of 45 to 60 days,” the indianexpress.com Nov 24 quoted Poonawalla as saying.

The vaccine was reported to have shown a 90% efficacy when given as a half dose followed by a full dose at least one month apart. 

Ten million frontline healthcare workers had been identified to receive the first dose of whichever vaccine is available against the novel coronavirus infection early next year, said another indianexpress.com report Nov 24. Emergency authorisation for the vaccine by the Indian regulator would be required for this plan to be carried out.

There is otherwise no timetable yet on the availability and distribution of the vaccine(s). The report said that currently five vaccine candidates were in advanced stages of development in India and one in the early stages. Enrollment for Phase 3 of the Oxford vaccine candidate tested by Serum Institute is complete. Bharat Biotech has just begun Phase 3 trials, and Zydus Cadila has completed Phase 2 trials. Russia’s Sputnik-V, being tested in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s, has begun Phase 2-3 trials. Biological E is conducting an early Phase 1-2 trial.

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Meanwhile the latest data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show that there were 37,975 new cases and 480 new deaths in the country in the past 24 hours as of Nov 24 at 8AM, taking their cumulative totals to 9,177,840 cases and 134,218 deaths.

A total of 8,604,955, or 93.76%, had recovered while the number of active cases was 438,667, or 4.78% of the total. The case fatality rate was 1.46%. These were mainly improvements over the previous day’s figures.

The latest daily number of new cases, at 37,975, was less than the daily number of those who had recovered, at 42,314, leading to a decrease in the number of active cases by 4,819. The country has seen increased number of active cases for two successive days before that.

The number of active cases remained below five lakh for the 14th successive day after remaining below six lakh for 12 days.

India is currently the country with the world’s second highest number of Covid-19 cases and the third highest number of deaths.

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Eight states, namely Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal had each accumulated more than 459,000 cases each in that order.

They were followed by seven other states with more than 211,000 cases each and which included, Odisha, Telangana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Haryana, and Assam in that order.

Five more states/ Union Territories, namely Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jharkhand, and Jammu & Kashmir had reported more than 106,000 cases each so far in that order.

Ten more states/Union Territories, namely Uttarakhand, Goa, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, Chandigarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Nagaland reported more than 10,000 cases each in that order.

Besides, there were five other states/Union Territories with a total of more than 3,000 cases each, namely, Ladakh, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mizoram, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli and in that order.

Maharashtra also had the highest cumulative number of deaths at 46,653 (↑30); followed by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu with more than 11,600 deaths each; Delhi and West Bengal with over 8,000 deaths each, Uttar Pradesh with over 7,500 deaths; Andhra Pradesh with over 6,900 deaths; Punjab with more than 4,600 death; Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh with more than 3,100 deaths each; Chattisgarh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Kerala with more than 2,000 deaths each; Odisha, Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Bihar, and Uttarakhand with more than 1,100 deaths each; Assam, Jharkhand, Goa, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Chandigarh, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Ladakh with between 975 and 101 deaths each, and so on in that order.

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The total number of Covid-19 cases among Tibetans in India, Nepal and Bhutan had increased, after remaining unchanged for two days, to 1,237 (↑7), of whom 230 were active, 978 had recovered and 29 (↑0) had died, according to the latest tally of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) as of Nov 24.

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Across the world the number of Covid-19 cases has totaled 59,219,229 and the deaths 1,397,176, according to the tally of Johns Hopkins University as of 1:55 PM on Nov 24, 2020.

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