30th October 2020

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Daily NEWS summary: 09.05.2020

COVID Times: The death toll from coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has exceeded 2,000 and the total number of infections reached more than 60,000 on Saturday, doubling in about 11 days as the country prepares to resume more of economic activity as it prepares for a peak of infections due to an increase in movements.

Several cases of Covid-19 in Bihar, Odisha, Rajasthan and Jharkhand since May 1 has been linked to migrant workers who have returned from various cities in the country, confirming the fears that rural India is no longer immune to the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far affected 62,750 people in the country.

Mylab Discovery Solutions, based in Pune, has increased its production capacity from 20,000 tests per day for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) per day in early April to 200,000 tests now, after collaborating with the Serum Institute of India ( SII) Ltd, ensuring that a single domestic manufacturer can meet India’s current testing needs, which are expected to exceed 100,000 by the end of the month.

India has taken the first step in developing the first coronavirus vaccine (Covid-19), in partnership with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) and Bharat Biotech to develop a candidate vaccine. The ICMR and Bharat Biotech International Limited (BBIL) have joined forces to develop a fully indigenous vaccine for COVID-19 using the viral strain isolated at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

The ICMR shared one of the 11 strains of virus it successfully cultivated with Bharat Biotech. The industry association is to develop the candidate vaccine and the ICMR has transferred the technology to them. The main ICMR laboratory, NIV, was able to isolate the virus in early February, using swab samples from the first positive cases of Covid-19 reported in the state of Kerala.

The coronavirus is a difficult virus to isolate; however, NIV scientists have successfully isolated and cultivated 11 strains, the basic requirement for future vaccine development or any virus-related research. One of the strains was successfully transferred from NIV to Bharat Biotech International Ltd. (BBIL) in Hyderabad as part of the association.

Vaccine development work has started between the two partners. The ICMR-NIV will provide ongoing support to BBIL for the development of vaccines. The ICMR and BBIL will seek quick approvals to accelerate vaccine development, further animal studies and clinical evaluation of the candidate vaccine. Bharat Biotech announced early last month that it was working on a single intranasal vaccine for the “CoroFlu” coronavirus in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the US vaccine companies FluGen. It will take a few months before the candidate vaccine is ready.

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