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Top Covid developments you need to know: August 13

The first nasal vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Bharat Biotech, has received regulator's nod for conducting phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, the Department of Biotechnology said on Friday.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
August 13, 2021 9:08:11 pm
Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman of Covishield-maker Serum Institute of India (SII), Friday said he was opposed to the idea of mixing Covid vaccines as it might lead to a blame game between the drug manufacturers (Express file photo by Prashant Nadkar)

First death due to Delta Plus variant in Mumbai, senior citizen died in July

Mumbai has recorded its first death due to the Delta Plus variant with a 63-year-old woman in Ghatkopar succumbing to it in July. This is the second death reported in Maharashtra due to the Delta Plus variant. The first was an 80-year-old woman from Ratnagiri, who succumbed on June 13. The death of the Mumbai woman was found to have been caused by Delta Plus variant only on August 11. That is when the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) – after being informed by the state health department that a genome sequencing test on some Covid-19 patients had found seven persons carrying the variant in Mumbai – started contacting these patients. Read More

Serum Institute’s Cyrus Poonawalla not in favour of mixing Covid vaccines, says it may start blame game

Dr Cyrus Poonawalla, chairman of Covishield-maker Serum Institute of India (SII), Friday said he was opposed to the idea of mixing Covid vaccines as it might lead to a blame game between the drug manufacturers, news agency PTI reported. Talking to reporters after receiving the Lokmanya Tilak National Award in Pune, he said that the efficacy of this approach has not been proven in field trials involving thousands of participants. A study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) found that mixing doses of Covishield and Covaxin showed better immunogenicity — the ability to generate an immune response — than those who received two doses of the same vaccine. Read More

Bharat Biotech’s Covid nasal vaccine gets regulator’s nod for holding phase 2, 3 clinical trials

The first nasal vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Bharat Biotech, has received regulator’s nod for conducting phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, the Department of Biotechnology said on Friday. Phase 1 clinical trial has been completed in age groups ranging from 18 to 60 years, it said. The regulatory approval has been received for conducting “a Phase 2 randomised, multi-centric, Clinical Trial of Heterologus Prime-Boost Combination of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines to evaluate the immunogenicity and safety of BBV152 (COVAXIN) with BBV154 (Adenoviral Intranasal COVID-19 vaccine) in healthy volunteers”. BBV154 is an intranasal replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus SARS-CoV-2 vectored vaccine. – PTI

West Bengal Covid-19 curbs extended till Aug 30, night restrictions relaxed

The Mamata Banerjee government on Thursday extended Covid-19 restrictions till August 30, but relaxed the night curfew timings. The night curfew, which was earlier in force from 9pm to 5 am, will now be between 11 pm and 5 am. Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Banerjee said local trains would be allowed to function only after more people from rural areas were vaccinated. The CM extended Covid curbs amid fears of an onset of a third wave of coronavirus some time in September. The CM extended Covid curbs amid fears of an onset of a third wave of coronavirus some time in September. Read More

Explained: How the change in domestic flight fares’ cap affects you

As the economy reopens following the second wave of Covid-19, people are getting back to travelling by air and the government has relaxed the capacity restriction on domestic flight schedules from 65% to 72.5%. This means that airlines will now be able to deploy a higher number of flights on domestic routes. In addition, the government has also increased the minimum and maximum fares that airlines can charge for domestic flights — something that is expected to make flying within the country more expensive. Since the reopening of domestic aviation in May 2020 after the initial two-month lockdown, the Centre has regulated the number of flights an airline company can operate on domestic routes to prevent an overburden on the local infrastructure. Initially, the cap on number of flights was 33% of the pre-Covid schedule which was gradually increased to 80% till the second wave of Covid-19 hit. After that, the government had reduced it to 50%. The first relaxation following the second wave came when the capacity was increased to 60% and now it stands at 72.5%. Read More

PMC bans Muharram processions in Pune city

Continuing with its restrictions on religious events due to the ongoing pandemic, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has banned Muharram processions in the city. Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar said Muharram falls on August 19 and members of Muslim community organise processions to mark the occasion. There is ban on social and religious functions so processions for Muharram can’t be taken out this year, said the municipal commissioner, adding that members of Muslim community should observe Muharram at home following Covid-appropriate behaviour. Read More

Haryana: Only 14% staff at govt schools fully vaccinated, 26% have had one shot

At least 60 per cent of the staff — both administrative and teaching — at state-run schools in Haryana are yet to be vaccinated for Covid-19 even as the government has started reopening the educational institutions in a phased manner. Schools in Haryana were reopened for students of Classes 9 to 12 from July 16, and for Classes 6 to 8 from July 23. A decision on reopening of schools for primary classes is expected after August 15. Haryana’s Directorate of School Education has now written to all the district education officers and other officials concerned to immediately launch a campaign for vaccination of the all the staff at all the schools. Read More

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