India to test its Covid-19 vaccines against new virus variants

A healthcare worker receives a Bharat Biotech's COVID-19 vaccine called COVAXIN at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi. (Photo courtesy: Reuters/Adnan Abidi)

(, Feb18’21) – As the World Health organization (WHO) reported a 16% decline in weekly Covid-19 cases across the world, US health officials warned Feb 17 that new coronavirus variants could lead to a rapid rise in cases and “dangerously accelerate the trajectory of the pandemic,” reported the Feb 17.

India is to launch tests to find out whether the vaccine it already has – Covishield and Covaxin – could fight the new strains, reported the Feb 18.

India said Feb 17 that its vaccination coverage had crossed 9.06 million doses, the third highest number after the USA (55.2 million doses) and the UK (16.12 million doses).

The latest data from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare show that there were 12,881 new Covid-19 cases and 101 new deaths in the country in the past 24 hours as of Feb 18 at 8 AM, taking their cumulative totals to 10,950,201 cases and 156,014 deaths respectively. These marked increases over the previous day’s figures.

A total of 10,656,845, or 97.32%, had recovered while the number of active cases was 137,342, or 1.25% of the total. The case fatality rate remained at 1.43%.

The latest daily number of new cases, at 12,881, was more than the daily number of those who had recovered, at 11,987, leading to a marginal increase in the number of active cases by 793.

Twelve states – two more than yesterday – have reported more than 100 new cases in the last 24 hours, namely Kerala (4,892), Maharashtra (4,787), Tamil Nadu (454), Karnataka (378), Punjab (334), Chattisgarh (311), Gujarat (278), Madhya Pradesh (251), Telangana (163), Delhi (134), West Bengal (133), and Rajasthan (101).

Seven states have reported 3 or more Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, namely Maharashtra (40), Kerala (16), Punjab (10), Tamil Nadu (6), Chattisgarh (5), Karnataka (3), and Uttar Pradesh (3).

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


The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases among Tibetans in India, Nepal and Bhutan has remained unchanged for the eighth day at 1,522. Of them 1,449 had recovered, 32 were active and 41 had died, according to the tally of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) as of Feb 17.


Across the world the number of Covid-19 cases totaled 109,981,805 and the deaths 2,432,197, according to the tally of Johns Hopkins University as of 3:53 PM on Feb 18, 2021.


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