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The top Covid developments you need to know: August 11

Mixing Covishield and Covaxin, the two main vaccines against Covid-19 in use in India, has been found by a new ICMR study to be safe and also to provide better immunity.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
August 11, 2021 9:18:48 pm
A beneficiary takes a shot of Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in New Delhi. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

In the works: India-made drug to cure mild Covid-19

A little-known biosciences company near Kolhapur is testing a drug that may become India’s first indigenously developed cure for Covid-19, at least for mild and moderately-infected patients. In early tests, the drug is promising to turn infected patients RT-PCR negative in 72-90 hours, company officials told The Indian Express. The candidate drug is currently undergoing phase 1 human trials that are likely to be completed by the end of this month. The cocktail comprises very specific Covid-19 neutralising antibodies, purified to remove all extraneous chemicals. The antibodies are developed in horses by injecting them with specific antigens obtained from the virus. Read More

Maharashtra’s SOP for schools: Panels to decide on reopening, all teachers to be vaccinated

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday came out with a detailed SOP for schools, which will reopen from August 17. Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had last week announced that offline classes will commence in rural areas for students of Classes 5-8, and in cities for students from Classes 8-12 following Covid-19 protocol. The state government has directed setting up of a four-member committee headed by Municipal Commissioners in Mumbai, Mumbai Suburban and Thane to take a decision on reopening schools in their respective jurisdiction. Similar committees headed by respective collectors of districts have been tasked with taking a decision keeping in view the Covid situation in the area. Read More

Explained: Why mix two different Covid-19 vaccines, or why not

Mixing Covishield and Covaxin, the two main vaccines against Covid-19 in use in India, has been found by a new ICMR study to be safe and also to provide better immunity. The two use different platforms: Covishield is an adenovirus vector platform-based vaccine, while Covaxin is an inactivated whole virus vaccine. Worldwide, studies are under way to understand if a combination of two different vaccines can outperform two doses of the same vaccine. Experts caution, however, that mixing should not be random but should be based on understanding multiple issues. Read More

New research: Booster shot can protect against coronavirus variants

Scientists have confirmed that an autumn “booster” dose of a Covid-19 vaccine will be an effective way to protect people from existing (and potentially future) variants of concern. They found that antibodies generated by a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine were less effective at neutralising key variants. However, the second dose, especially in those previously infected, dramatically increased neutralising antibody responses against variants — to a level comparable with those seen for the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. This suggests that an additional boost, even using vaccines containing the original strain of coronavirus, will increase protection against variants of concern, the scientists said. Read More

Covid cases stabilising but reproduction number in newer states a concern: Government

Raising a red flag, the Centre on Tuesday said that while Covid-19 cases are “stabilising” across the country, the reproduction number (or R value) greater than 1, specifically from newer states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, is a “significant reason to be concerned”. The warning by the head of India’s Covid-19 task force, Dr V K Paul, came after the Health Ministry on Tuesday said that eight states are reporting R value equal to 1 and above, which indicates how fast the virus is spreading in a region. Read More

‘Economic recovery picking up; 3rd wave to have lower impact’

The third Covid wave is unlikely to be as devastating as the second one as the country’s vaccination drive gathers speed, but there is a need to remain guarded against the virus, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday in its Monthly Economic Report for July. The receding of the second wave, along with rapid progress in vaccination, has set the stage to accelerate economic recovery, it said. With the second wave abating in most parts of the country and states lifting restrictions in phases, there are visible signs of economic rejuvenation since the second half of May, it said. This resonates with the economic impact of the second wave expected to be muted. Read More

Canada extends India flight ban: What are the options for travellers?

Transport Canada, the North American country’s department for transportation, has extended the ban on direct flights from India till September 21. This extension has come at a time when several jurisdictions have been relaxing restrictions for Indian travellers. The decision is expected to further aggravate the plight of those applying for student visas for higher education in Canada. In a statement, Transport Canada said that the country’s phased approach to easing border measures is informed by the continued monitoring of available data and scientific evidence, including the vaccination rate of Canadians and the improving epidemiological situation. Read More

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