VA-SenaMay 21, 2020


Bangladesh has so far reported 20,995 coronavirus cases. A total of 314 people have lost their lives in the country due to the disease


A Bangladeshi medical team led by a senior doctor has claimed that their research on the combination of two widely used drugs has yielded astounding results in curing the patients with acute symptoms of the coronavirus that has created havoc worldwide and claimed the lives of over 312,000 people globally. The claim by the Bangladeshi medical team, which includes prominent physicians from the country, comes amidst the desperate global attempts for a remedy to the deadly coronavirus.

We have got astounding results. Out of 60 COVID-19 patients, all recovered as the combination of the two drugs were applied, said Professor Dr Md Tarek Alam, the head of medicine department at private Bangladesh Medical College Hospital (BMCH). Alam, a reputed clinician in Bangladesh, said a frequently used antiprotozoal medicine called Ivermectin in a single dose with Doxycycline, an antibiotic, yielded virtually the near-miraculous result in curing the patients with COVID-19.

My team was prescribing the two medicines only for coronavirus patients, most of them initially reporting with respiratory problems with related complaints, later to be tested COVID-19 positive, he said. Bangladesh has so far reported 20,995 coronavirus cases. A total of 314 people have lost their lives in the country due to the disease.

Claiming that the efficacy of the drug developed by them was such that patients recovered from the virus within 4 days, he said, adding that there were no side effects of it. We first ask them to be tested for COVID-19 and when found coronavirus positive we apply the drugs... they are recovering within four days".

"The repeated or second tests, in line with the procedure, reconfirmed them COVID-19 negative in all the cases under the research which found the combination to have no side effects on patients either, he said. We are hundred per cent hopeful about the effectiveness of the combination, he said, adding they by now contacted the concerned government regulators and preparing to exhaust international procedures for acknowledgement of the drugs for the COVID-19 treatment.

Alam said his team was preparing a paper on the development of the drug for an international journal, as required for scientific review and acknowledgement. Alam's associate Dr Rabiul Morshed said despite being a non-COVID-19 facility a huge number of patients directly and indirectly end up in BMCH, the country's premier private general hospital.

But all of them have shown remarkable recovery being (COVID-19) negative in four days and 50 per cent reduction of symptoms in 3 days, he said. The coronavirus, which broke out initially in China, has claimed the lives of 312,115 people while infected over 4,650,793, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

VA-SenaMay 21, 2020


The main animal vaccines are Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) vaccines to protect against viral goat plague, Brucella vaccine to protect against Brucellosis and FMD vaccine to protect against Foot and mouth disease (FMD)





  • A National Animal Disease Control Programme to cover around 53 crore animals has been announced
  • Indian animal healthcare industry is expected to grow to Rs 7,500 crore by the end of 2020
  • Indian Immunologicals and Hester Biosciences are the only two suppliers of Brucella vaccines
  • Brucella vaccine market to increase by 12 to 15 times


Domestic animal vaccine specialists Indian Immunologicals, Hester Biosciences, Brilliant and Biovet are likely to share almost the entire pie of soon-to-be-launched Rs 13,343 crore programme for vaccine supplies. The 5-year programme aims to immunise all cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population in India. The amount includes the cost of vaccine as well as execution of the immunisation programme.

As part of the government’s third tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on last Friday announced a National Animal Disease Control Programme to cover around 53 crore animals, of which 1.5 crore cows and buffaloes have already been vaccinated. According to estimates, India has 14.6 crore female cows (total 19.3 crore male and female), 10 crore female buffaloes (total 11 crore male and female), 7.4 crore sheep, 14.9 crore goat and 90 lakh swine and they have to be vaccinated.

The main animal vaccines are Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) vaccines to protect against viral goat plague, Brucella vaccine to protect against Brucellosis and FMD vaccine to protect against Foot and mouth disease (FMD). Some countries cull the Brucella infected cattle. Highest incidence of Brucella is observed in the Mediterranean region, sub-Saharan Africa, China, India, Peru, and Mexico. Several countries in Western and Northern Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have eradicated the disease.

“So far, the average Brucella vaccine market in India was about Rs 8 crore a year and this will catapult by twelve to fifteen times annually. The central government has already tendered 4.13 crore doses valuing approximately Rs 100 crore worth Brucella vaccines for the period up to September 2021,”  says Rajiv Gandhi, CEO and Managing Director of Ahmedabad-based Hester Biosciences.

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) promoted Indian Immunologicals (IIL) and Hester Biosciences are the only two suppliers of Brucella vaccines in the country. Over 60 percent of Brucella vaccines requirement last year was supplied by Hester Biosciences, which hit headlines recently for foraying into human vaccine development with a vaccine for Covid-19, partnering with IIT Guwahati.

Similarly, in the case of PPR vaccines, the government requirement will be about 23 crore doses to vaccinate nearly 23 crore goats and sheep. The manufacturers of vaccines in the fray are only IIL, Hester and Biomed. This year, the government is expected to tender for 7 crore doses worth Rs 12 crore. In the case of FMD disease, the government has tendered for 92.5 crore doses for the period up to January 2021, covering cattle, buffalo, goat, sheep and swine valued at over Rs 1,000 crore. The main manufacturers of FMD vaccines are only domestic players like IIL, Brilliant and Biovet.

Apart from this, poultry vaccines are a major market worth Rs 350-450 crore and is growing at 6-10 percent. It is dominated by companies like Venkys India, Hester and a few multinational companies. The Indian animal healthcare industry is expected to grow to Rs 7,500 crore by the end of 2020, almost doubling from the Rs 3,920 crore in 2016.  During this period, dairy healthcare products are expected to record a 12-15% CAGR while poultry could grow at 8-10%. The companion animal and other segments are expected to record a CAGR of 18-20% and 8-10%, respectively.

Of the Rs 7,500 crore, current cumulative vaccination market is less than Rs 1,300 crore as the disease control efforts are mainly confided to some state animal healthcare and livestock welfare departments. The cost of logistics of vaccines, tagging the animals and follow up tracking and related paraphernalia, is almost equivalent to the price of the vaccines. Institutional and private sales were only 10 percent of the market. Except in dog vaccination, the health vaccine market in the country is dominated by local companies.

Multinational animal vaccine companies so far have not seen India as a significant market and their presence is negligible.

VA-SenaMay 21, 2020


According to a study by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the northern Italian city of Nembro recorded more deaths during March 2020 than between January and December 2019. However, only approximately half of all deaths recorded this spring were classified as confirmed COVID-19 deaths. The study shows that the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic may go far beyond official COVID-19 death counts. It also shows the important role of all-cause mortality in quantifying the full impact of the pandemic. The study’s findings have been published in The BMJ.



During the current pandemic, the northern Italian region of Lombardy has been one of the most severely affected areas in Europe. Despite high death counts officially attributed to COVID-19 during the worst part of the pandemic, doubts were soon raised over the accuracy of these data. Official figures did not appear to reflect actual, observable pressures on the health care system. This was also the case in Nembro, a small town in the Bergamo province of Lombardy, which has a population of 11,500. In order to quantify the true impact of the pandemic on the local health care system, a team of researchers led by Tobias Kurth, MD, ScD, Director of Charité’s Institute of Public Health (IPH), studied overall mortality figures, looking at all deaths regardless of their cause. Working alongside colleagues from the Centro Medico Santagostino in Milan, the researchers found the following: During the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the number of all-cause deaths was approximately double that of confirmed COVID-19-related deaths.

In order to accurately quantify mortality rate regardless of cause of death – known as all-cause mortality – the researchers used data for the period between January 2012 and mid-April 2020. They obtained data from several sources: the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), Nembro’s registration office, and the Lombardy region COVID-19 dashboard. “Nembro is a small town with a very stable population and very little immigration and emigration over time,” explains Prof. Kurth. He adds: “Given its size and the availability of quality data sources, this town provided the ideal conditions for a robust, descriptive epidemiological study to quantify the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic as well as its impact on the health of this local community.”

According to the researchers’ analyses, in recent years the town typically recorded all-cause death counts just over 100 per year. In 2018 and 2019, for instance, the town recorded 128 and 121 deaths, respectively. This contrasts sharply with the 194 deaths seen during the three-and-a-half-month period between 1 January 2020 and 11 April 2020; of these, 151 occurred in March 2020 alone. This corresponds to a monthly all-cause mortality of 154 deaths per 1,000 person years for March 2020, nearly eleven times the rate recorded for the same month of the previous year (14 deaths per 1,000 person years). The largest increase in mortality recorded during the pandemic was seen among people aged 65 and over, with men disproportionately affected. 14 deaths involved people younger than 65.

“In the light of Nembro’s otherwise extremely stable all-cause mortality figures, the massive increase in mortality seen during March 2020 can only be interpreted as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic”, says the study’s first author, Marco Piccininni, who is a researcher at the IPH. Out of a total of 166 deaths recorded during the pandemic (late February to early April 2020), only 85 had tested positive and were subsequently recorded as deaths from COVID-19. “This represents an enormous discrepancy and shows that the pandemic’s impact on the health of the population was significantly more pronounced than the official COVID-19 death count would suggest,” explains Piccininni. The study’s authors believe there are two main reasons for this discrepancy. Firstly, it is likely that not all infected people were identified as such. This is probably attributable to a shortage of materials needed for testing and the fact that not all suspected cases were tested. Secondly, this could be due to people with non-COVID-related conditions having impaired access to health care, either because health system capacities had been exhausted by COVID-19 cases or because of individuals’ reluctance to visit the hospital for fear of infection.

“If we are to accurately quantify the health impact of the pandemic, we must not rely on confirmed COVID-19 deaths as the sole metric,” emphasizes Prof. Kurth. “To better adapt containment measures to the local situation, consideration should also be given to current data on all-cause mortality from within the relevant region. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to access up-to-date all-cause mortality data. I am pleased that Germany has recently started to make preliminary figures available.”

Piccininni M, Rohmann JL et al.
Use of all cause mortality to quantify the consequences of covid-19 in Nembro, Lombardy: descriptive study.
BMJ 2020, doi: 10.1136/bmj.m1835