From Our Bureau

15TH JULY 2020            

India witnessed a big surge with 29,429 fresh COVID-19 positive cases reported on Wednesday, the highest for a single day, taking the country’s cumulative tally to 9,36,181. The death toll rose to 24,309, with 582 fatalities recorded in the last 24 hours.

The last 24 hours have seen a sharp rise in the recovery of COVID-19 patients.  20,572 people were cured, pushing the total number of recovered cases among COVID-19 patients to 5,92,032. The recovery rate has climbed up to 63.24 percent today.

The surge in recovered cases is driven by aggressive testing, timely diagnosis and effective management of the patients either through supervised home isolation or under active medical attention in the hospitals. The actual case load of COVID-19 is only 3,19,840 active cases. They are all under medical supervision.

The norms and standards for Home Isolation along with use of oxymeters have helped to keep a check on the asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients without putting pressure on the hospital infrastructure.

The gap between recovered and active cases has been consistently growing. It stands at 2,72,192 today. The number of recovered cases outweighs the active cases by a factor of 1.85.

Medical infrastructure in India to treat COVID-19 patients includes 1,378 Dedicated COVID Hospitals (DCH), 3,077 Dedicated COVID Health Centres (DCHC), and 10,351 COVID Care Centres (CCC). They have a total of 21,738 ventilators, 46,487 ICU beds, and 1,65,361 Oxygen beds to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Central government has distributed 230.98 lakhs N95 masks, 123.56 lakhs PPEs and 11,660 ventilators to States/UTs/Central institutions to ensure effective clinical management of COVID-19.

WHO, in its Guidance Note on “Public Health Criteria to Adjust Public Health and Social Measures in the Context of COVID-19,” has advised comprehensive surveillance for suspected cases. While explaining the concept of comprehensive surveillance and testing of suspect cases, WHO advises that a country needs 140 tests per day per million population.

With the coordinated efforts made by the Central Government and the States/Union Territories, 22 States/UTs in India are already conducting 140 and more tests per day per million. States/UTs are being regularly advised to increase the testing capacity to match the WHO advised levels of testing.

One of the factors strongly aiding the increasing numbers of COVID-19 tests in the country is the steadily growing network of labs for testing of COVID-19. With 865 labs in the government sector and 358 private labs, the total number of testing labs is 1,223, as on date. In addition to the gold standard for test, RT PCR, TrueNat and CBNAAT are also used to augment this facility. These facilities include Real-Time RT PCR based testing labs: 633 (Govt: 391 + Private: 242), TrueNat based testing labs: 491 (Govt: 439 + Private: 52) andCBNAAT based testing labs: 99 (Govt: 35 + Private: 64).

The expansion of laboratory capacity has seen exponential increase from one lab in Jan 2020 to 121 labs in March 2020 and to 1,223 labs today.

During the last 24 hours 3,20,161 samples have been tested. The cumulative number of samples tested, as of now is 1,24,12,664. The testing per million for India is consistently rising. Today, it has touched 8995. On 14th July 2020, more than 3.2 lakh tests were done on a single day.

Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to the first fully indigenously developed Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine. This vaccine has been developed by M/s. Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune.

Serum Institute first obtained the approval of DCGI to conduct Phase I, Phase II and Phase III clinical trials of Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine in India. These trials have since been concluded within the country. The Company has also conducted these clinical trials in another country i.e. Gambia. 

Thereafter, the said Company applied for approval and permission to manufacture this vaccine. The application along with the clinical trial data has been reviewed by the Office of Drug Controller General of India with the help of Special Expert Committee (SEC) for vaccines.  The Committee recommended for grant of permission of market authorization to the said vaccine.

On 14/07/2020, M/s. Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune has been granted permission to manufacture domestically developed first Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine. This is the first indigenously developed vaccine in the field of pneumonia. Earlier the demand of such vaccine was substantially met by licensed importers in the country since the manufacturers were all vaccine companies based outside India.

This vaccine is used for active immunization against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by “Streptococcus pneumonia” in infants.  The vaccine is administered in a intramuscular manner. (eom)

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