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coronavirus India Latest News

India surpasses US to become fastest Covid vaccinating country

New Delhi: India has surpassed the United States to become the fastest Covid-19 vaccinating country in the world with an average daily rate of 30,93,861 vaccine doses, the Union Health Ministry said.

According to the ministry, the cumulative number of coronavirus vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 8.70 crore.

As on day 81 of the vaccination drive on April 6, a total of 33,37,601 vaccine doses were given.

“Cumulatively, 8,70,77,474 vaccine doses have been administered through 13,32,130 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today (April 7). These include 89,63,724 HCWs who have taken the 1st dose and 53,94,913 HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 97,36,629 FLWs (1stdose), 43,12,826 FLWs (2nd dose), 3,53,75,953 1st dose beneficiaries and 10,00,787 2nd dose beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 2,18,60,709 (1st dose) and 4,31,933 (2nd dose) beneficiaries aged 45 to 60,” according to the statement.

From April 2, the government started vaccinating all people above 45 years.

The Union Health Ministry has stated that vaccination for all will not be opened to all ages as of now. The aim of the vaccination drive is to administer the vaccine to those who need it and not to those who want it.

“Many people ask why we shouldn’t open vaccination for all. There are two aims of such vaccination drives — to prevent deaths and protect the healthcare system. The aim is not to administer the vaccine to those who want it but to those who need it,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

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International Latest News

Sputnik V to cost lower than Pfizer, Moderna’s Covid vax

Moscow: Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 will cost governments much lower than that of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s, the official Twitter handle of the world’s first registered vaccine against the pandemic said.

“Translating pharma lingo: the announced price of Pfizer of $19.50 and Moderna of $25-$37 per dose actually means their price of $39 and $50-$74 per person. Two doses are required per person for the Pfizer, Sputnik V and Moderna vaccines. The price of Sputnik V will be much lower,” said the tweet.

According to a spokesman for the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), RDIF is Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, the price of the Russian vaccine will be made public next week, TASS news agency reported.

Russia became the first country to give regulatory approval to a Covid-19 vaccine in August when Sputnik V was officially registered ahead of large-scale clinical trials.

The third, post-registration, stage of clinical tests began on August 25. The vaccine was developed on a platform that had been used for a number of other vaccines.

According to the Russian Health Ministry, these vaccines have proved their ability to form lasting immunity for a period of up to two years.

The first batch of the vaccine was dispatched to Russian regions on September 12, said the TASS report.

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International Latest News

India, China may start producing Sputnik V vaccine: Putin

Moscow: India and China may start producing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, the RIA news agency cited President Vladimir Putin as saying.

Putin also proposed that the creation of a vaccine research centre for BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – be sped up, TASS reported.

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine is 92% effective at protecting people from COVID-19 according to interim trial results, the country’s sovereign wealth fund said on Nov. 11.

Russia licensed its Sputnik-V COVID-19 vaccine for domestic use in August before it started large-scale trials.

In September, Dr Reddy’s and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, entered into a partnership to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V vaccine and its distribution in India.

As part of the partnership, RDIF shall supply 100 million doses of the vaccine to Dr Reddy’s upon regulatory approval in India. (Mint)

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International Latest News

China Covid-19 vaccines may be ready for use by Nov

By The SATimes News Service

Beijing: China’s coronavirus vaccines that are under developing stage may be ready for civilian use by November this year, informed an official working in the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

China is working on developing 4 coronavirus vaccines that are currently under final stage critical trials.

Speaking on the availability of China-made coronavirus vaccines, CDC chief biosafety expert Guizhen Wu said phase 3 clinical trials that are being conducted went smoothly and the vaccines could be ready for the general public in November or December.

Earlier, a Chinese official had said that the Chinese government had approved emergency authorization of the coronavirus vaccine in July to frontline workers, essential workers who were fighting the virus from the front.

Global vaccine makers are racing to develop an effective vaccine against the virus which has killed more than 925,000 people.

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International Latest News

Russia registers Covid vaccine ‘Sputnik V’

Moscow: Russia declared itself the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine with President Vladimir Putin saying one of his daughters had been inoculated.

Naming the vaccine “Sputnik V” after the Soviet-era satellite that was the first launched into space, Russian officials said it provided safe, stable immunity and denounced Western attempts to undermine Moscow’s research.

“As far as I know, this morning for the first time in the world a vaccine against the novel coronavirus infection was registered,” Putin was quoted as saying as he opened a meeting with the state officials.

Putin informed that one of his daughters tested the Russian Covid-19 vaccine on herself and she is feeling well.

“I know this very well, because one of my daughters got vaccinated, so in this sense, she took part in testing,” Putin said.

“After the second shot, she had a slight fever again, and then everything was fine. She is feeling well and has a high [antibody] count,” the President informed.

Russia, however, faces international scepticism due to its fast approach in developing the vaccine.

The World Health Organization said any WHO stamp of approval on a COVID-19 vaccine candidate would require a rigorous safety data review.

The Russian vaccine is expected to enter into civilian circulation on January 1, 2021, the media reported, citing the registration certificate.

Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that teachers and medical workers will be the first to get the Covid-19 vaccine jointly developed by the Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian Defense Ministry, the Tass news agency reported.

On August 3, a “final medical examination” of participants in clinical trials of the vaccine took place at the Burdenko Main Military Clinical Hospital, the Russian Defence Ministry had earlier said in a statement.

Of the six Covid-19 vaccine candidates that have reached the Phase 3 level according to the WHO, three are from China and the other three include the ones developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, Moderna, and one jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

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coronavirus International

Human SARS antibody likely to lead towards COVID-19 cure

San Francisco: Raising fresh hope in the fight against coronavirus, an antibody first identified in a patient who recovered from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, has demonstrated ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 live virus infection of cells in laboratory, according to a new study.

The antibody S309 is on an accelerated path toward clinical trials at the San Francisco-headquartered Vir Biotechnology.

Researchers have found that S309 is particularly potent at targeting and disabling the spike protein that promotes the coronavirus entry into cells.  It was able to neutralize SARS CoV-2 by engaging with a section of the spike protein nearby the attachment site to the host cell. 

“We still need to show that this antibody is protective in living systems, which has not yet been done,” said study co-author David Veesler, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Through their cryo-electronmicroscopy studies and binding assays, the researchers learned that the S309 antibody recognizes a binding site on the coronavirus that is conserved across many sarbocoviruses, not just the SARS and COVID-19 viruses.

Combining the S309 antibody with other, though weaker, antibodies identified in the recovered SARS patient enhanced the neutralization of the COVID-19 coronavirus, said the study.

This multiple antibody cocktail approach might help limit the coronavirus’ ability to form mutants capable of escaping a single-ingredient antibody treatment, according to the researchers.

“Remarkably, we believe S309 likely covers the entire family of related coronaviruses, which suggests that, even as SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve, it may be quite challenging for it to become resistant to the neutralizing activity of S309,” Herbert “Skip” Virgin, Chief Scientific Officer, Vir, said in a statement.

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