VA-SenaJanuary 4, 2021


India has formally approved the emergency use of two vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as it prepares for one of the world’s biggest drives and plans to inoculate some 300 million people on a priority list this year. Drugs Controller General of India VG Somani gave the green light for the emergency-use of two coronavirus vaccines, one developed by Astra Zeneca and Oxford University and the other by local company Bharat Biotech. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it “a decisive turning point”.

Serum Institute of India (SII) is producing the vaccine Covi shield developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. It has got permission for restricted use in an emergency situation subject to certain regulatory conditions. The ongoing clinical trial within the country by the firm will continue.

Bharat Biotech has developed a whole virion inactivated Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (Pune). “The Subject Expert Committee has reviewed the data on safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine and recommended for grant of permission for restricted use in an emergency situation in the public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, to have more options for vaccinations, especially in case of infection by mutant strains. The clinical trial ongoing within the country by the firm will continue,” Somani said on Sunday.

1. ZyCoV-D: Zydus Cadila’s vaccine is being made on the DNA platform and is named ZyCoV-D. Cadila has collaborated with the Department of Biotechnology for this. DCGI has given its approval to the Ahmedabad-based drug firm to initiate Phase III clinical trials of its Covid-19 vaccine ZyCoV-D.

2. Sputnik V: This is a vaccine developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute. Dr Reddy’s Laboratories is conducting phases 2 and 3 clinical trials of Russian vaccine Sputnik V, while Biological E is conducting phase 1 trial of its indigenously developed vaccine candidate. Russia said on November 24 last year that its Sputnik V vaccine was 91.4% effective based on interim late-stage trial results. It started vaccinations in August and has inoculated more than 100,000 people so far. India plans to make 300 million doses of Sputnik V this year.

3. NVX-Cov 2373: NVX-COV-2373 is being developed by Serum Institute of India in collaboration with American company NovaVax. Phase 3 trial under consideration.

4. Biological E Limited vaccine: Biological E Ltd plans to start large late-stage trials of its potential Covid-19 vaccine candidate in April this year. The Hyderabad-based privately held company had said in November it had started early-stage and mid-stage human trials of its vaccine candidate, being developed in collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and US-based Dynavax Technologies Corp, and expects results by February.

5. HGCO19: The novel mRNA vaccine candidate, HGCO19, has been developed by Pune-based Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, and supported with a seed grant under the Ind-CEPI mission of the department of biotechnology of the Union ministry of science and technology. Gennova has worked in collaboration with US’ HDT Biotech Corporation to develop the mRNA vaccine candidate. Gennova will start the phase 1 clinical trial of its indigenous vaccine candidate with the enrolment of 120 participants starting from early January, Mint reported in December last year.

6. Bharat Biotech’s second vaccine: Another vaccine is being developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson University, US, which is at the pre-clinical stages.

7. Aurobindo Pharma vaccine: Aurobindo Pharma Ltd has announced its own Covid-19 vaccine development programme through its US subsidiary Auro Vaccines. That vaccine, which uses recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (RVSV) vector platform, is being developed by Profectus BioSciences. This vaccine is still in the pre-clinical phase. Aurobindo Pharma has said it would also make and sell US-based COVAXX’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate for supply in India and to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under a licensing deal.


VA-SenaNovember 19, 2020


The vaccine’s efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities – a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people.


Pfizer Inc and BioNTech could secure emergency US and European authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine next month after final trial results showed it had a 95% success rate and no serious side effects, the drugmakers said on Wednesday.

The vaccine’s efficacy was found to be consistent across different ages and ethnicities – a promising sign given the disease has disproportionately hurt the elderly and certain groups including Black people.

The US Food and Drug Administration could grant emergency-use by the middle of December, BioNTech Chief Executive Ugur Sahin told Reuters TV. Conditional approval in the European Union could be secured in the second half of December, he added.

“If all goes well I could imagine that we gain approval in the second half of December and start deliveries before Christmas, but really only if all goes positively,” he said.

The success rate of the vaccine developed by the US drugmaker and German partner BioNTech was far higher than what regulators had said would have been acceptable. Experts said it was a significant achievement in the race to end the pandemic.

Of the 170 volunteers who contracted COVID-19 in Pfizer’s trial involving over 43,000 people, 162 had received a placebo and not the vaccine, meaning the vaccine was 95% effective. Of the 10 people who had severe COVID-19, one had received the vaccine.

“A first in the history of mankind: less than a year from the sequence of the virus to the large-scale clinical trial of a vaccine, moreover based on a whole new technique,” said Enrico Bucci, a biologist at Temple University in Philadelphia. “Today is a special day.”

BioNTech’s Sahin said U.S. emergency use authorization (EUA) would be applied for on Friday.

An FDA advisory committee tentatively plans to meet on Dec. 8-10 to discuss the vaccine, a source familiar with the situation said, though the dates could change. The FDA did not respond to requests for comment.


The final trial analysis comes a week after initial results showed the vaccine was more than 90% effective. Moderna Inc on Monday released preliminary data for its vaccine showing 94.5% effectiveness.

“We now have two safe and highly effective vaccines that could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and ready to distribute within weeks,” U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.

The Moderna vaccine is likely to be authorized within seven to 10 days of Pfizer receiving its EUA, U.S. officials said, with states ready to begin distribution within 24 hours.

The better-than-expected results from the two vaccines, both developed with new messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, have raised hopes for an end to a pandemic that has killed more than 1.3 million people and destroyed economies and daily life.

The news was especially welcome with the virus again running rampant around the world, setting records for new infections and hospitalizations almost daily.

The Pfizer-BioNTech shot was found to have 94% efficacy in people over age 65, a particularly high-risk group.

“This is the evidence we needed to ensure that the most vulnerable people are protected,” said Andrew Hill, senior visiting research fellow at the University of Liverpool’s department of pharmacology.

VA-SenaSeptember 21, 2020


Raipur, which is among the worst-hit districts, has been reporting a high number of infections.



Ten districts in Chhattisgarh, including state capital Raipur, have been put under lockdown from today amid spike in COVID-19 cases in these districts. The state capital — which has been reporting 900-1,000 daily cases — has been declared a containment zone.

Apart from Raipur, nine other districts including Jashpur, Baloda Bazaar, Janjgir-Champa, Durg, Bhilai, Dhamtari, Bilaspur,  Bilaspur, will remain under lockdown till September 28, according to the government order.

Raipur, which is among the worst-hit districts, has been reporting a high number of infections.

“Raipur district has so far reported over 26,000 COVID-19 cases and 900-1000 cases are being recorded daily. To break the chain of transmission, it has become necessary to declare the entire district a containment zone. Inter-district borders in Raipur will remain sealed during this duration,” the order issued by Raipur Collector S Bharathi Dasan said.

All Central, state and semi government as well as private offices will remain closed, though government staff engaged in prevention and control of COVID-19 will continue to work as earlier, it said. No public meeting or rally will be allowed during the period, it said.

“All shops and commercial establishments, including grocery shops will be closed. Medical shops will be allowed to remain open while home deliveries of medicines will be given priority. Milk shops will be open from 6am to 8am and then 5pm to 6:30pm,” an official said

Petrol pumps will provide fuel only to government vehicles, private vehicles engaged in medical emergency and ambulances. LPG cylinder distributors are allowed to take orders only via telephone and provide home delivery.

Essential services, like health, electricity and water supply, sanitation works and emergency services have been kept out of the purview of restrictions, and those needing to move out of the district will need an e-pass, an official said.

VA-SenaSeptember 9, 2020


Astrazeneca Pharma India Share: The parent company AstraZeneca “voluntarily paused” a randomized clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine asa volunteer developed an unexplained illness.


Astrazeneca Pharma-COVID-19


AstraZeneca Pharma India shares dived nearly 7 per cent on Wednesday, after its parent company, AstraZeneca, “voluntarily paused” a randomised clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine, citing unexplained illness of a volunteer. The AstraZeneca Pharma stock declined by as much as 13.40 per cent – or ₹ 64.80 – to ₹ 3,650 apiece at the weakest level recorded on the BSE during the session, having started the day weaker at ₹ 3,800 compared to its previous close of ₹ 4,214.80. (Track AstraZeneca Pharma India Shares Here)

“As part of the ongoing randomized, controlled global trials of the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, our standard review process was triggered and we voluntarily paused vaccination to allow review of safety data by an independent committee,” a company spokesperson said on Tuesday.

The nature and severity of the illness is not yet known. In large trials, illnesses occur by chance and trials do get paused for an independent review. But this is the first instance of a pause in COVID-19 vaccine trials.

AstraZeneca is one of nine companies in late-stage Phase 3 trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates. It has collaborated with the University of Oxford to develop the vaccine.

VA-SenaJuly 1, 2020


Monitoring COVID-19 from hospital to home: First wearable device continuously tracks key symptoms

From vitals-tracking rings to Bluetooth-enabled tokens, here are a few wearable devices that can detect COVID-19 early

These wearable devices use an electronic sensor to collect health information such as one’s vitals lie heart rate, pulse rate, sleeping pattern of the wearer.

Due to the huge population in some areas and the highly infectious nature of the disease, it is starting to become impossible to trace the source of COVID-19 in some cases. In order to contain the spread of the infection, governments around the world have tried various measures such as maintaining a safe distance of two metres in public and the mandatory wearing of masks. However, tracing and tracking of people with COVID-19 infection is still a challenge.

This is where technology comes in — some wearable devices can help in early detection of the disease and also help in tracing the people with coronavirus infection. These wearable devices use an electronic sensor to collect health information such as one’s vitals (heart rate, pulse rate, sleeping pattern) of the wearer. This helps in detecting any early signs of COVID-19 infection, even before the person shows any symptoms.



Devices for early detection of COVID-19

1. Watches or bands: Commercially available smartwatches and smart bands are already being used by many people. These watches help in detecting the daily vitals of the body. Some of the latest models also have SPO2 monitor in them, which measures the oxygen levels in the blood.

2. Rings: Smart rings are being used by the players of the National Basketball Association (US) to detect the infection in early stages. A study conducted by the West Virginia Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute concluded that the Oura Ring has the ability to predict COVID-19 infection up to three days in advance with 90 percent accuracy. Oura ring tracks the sleeping ability and also detects heart rate and body temperature.

3. Bracelets: Smart bracelets, such as ‘Ava’, supplied by a Swiss fertility start-up, are being examined in Germany for early detection of COVID-19 infection. These bracelets are worn at night where they record the movements, body temperature, blood flow, breath, and pulse rate of the wearer. The researchers believe that this biometric data could help in detecting the symptoms such as increased temperature and shortness of breath even before patients notice these themselves.

Some other bracelets have sensors in them which vibrate immediately when a person breaches the 3-metre distance and comes close to the wearer, thus helping maintain social distance in public.


4. Sensors: Researchers at Northwestern University and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago have developed a wearable device in the form of a sensor which is exactly the size of a postage stamp, is wireless and is placed at the base of the throat. This device helps in monitoring the coughing intensity and patterns, movements of the chest wall, irregular breathing, respiratory sounds, heart rate and body temperature.

Devices for coronavirus tracing 

Some of the devices that are being used to detect the infection are:

1. Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing devices: The government of Singapore is using TraceTogether tokens to trace the contacts of a COVID-19 patient. This is given to the vulnerable elderly people who do not own a smartphone and have little or no family support. These tokens have unique QR codes which help in tracking the people and do not need charging as they have a battery life of up to nine months.

2. btwTAG: Manufactured in Illinois, btwTAG is a workplace contact tracer and social distancing alert system. The TAG is a small ID badge which alerts the holder when social distancing protocols are being breached. The TAG records all contacts made with other TAGs and gives detailed information about the duration and location of the contact.

VA-SenaMay 22, 2020


The ‘black ribbon protest’ has been organised by the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) India to express the medical professionals’ disappointment over the revised guidelines for health workers posted in Covid areas, issued by the Union and state health departments.



New Delhi: Doctors deployed in Covid-19 duty in all the Central and state government hospitals on Friday sported black arm bands while at work as a mark of protest.

The ‘black ribbon protest’ has been organised by the Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) India to express the medical professionals’ disappointment over the revised guidelines for health workers posted in Covid areas, issued by the Union and state health departments.

Deep Chand Bandhu Government Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC), Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital and Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital in the national capital are a few hospitals where the doctors are currently holding the protest by sporting black arm bands.

The organisers said that if the government does not pay attention to their issues, they will intensify the agitation.

Speaking to IANS, FORDA President Shivaji Dev Barman said, “Today’s ‘black ribbon protest’ at work is for the justified demand for adequate quarantine and testing for all doctors and other healthcare workers who are on Covid-19 duty. Since the incubation period of the virus is 2-14 days and many asymptomatic patients are also testing positive, quarantine post duty is a necessity.

“It is necessary to stop the spread of the virus among the family members, colleagues and in the community. We urge the Union Health Minister to revisit the guidelines and make necessary amendments. We will have to intensify the agitation if the issues are not adequately addressed.”

The government on May 15 issued revised guidelines for the health workers wherein it removed with the mandatory quarantine clause for the health workers post Covid-19 duty, except for those who fit in the ‘high risk exposure’ criteria, thereby revoking the facility for all other doctors and healthcare workers on Covid-19 duty.

Padmini Singla, Delhi government’s Health Secretary, also issued similar guidelines for the hospitals run by the Delhi government.

The doctors claimed that this has put the healthcare workers in a dilemma with remarkable consequences. Parv Mittal, RDA President at Maulana Azad Medical College and Associated Hospitals, told IANS: “The healthcare fraternity is fighting a war on two fronts today. One is the obvious (against Covid-19), the other is the fight for quarantine facilities. The new guidelines have augmented the mental stress of the Covid-19 warriors.”

“The symbolic protest is to register our grievances with the policymakers and urge them to reconsider the quarantine guidelines. Quarantine is a measure to prevent the transmission of the virus to our parents, children and the community at large. Let us not jeopardise the excellent work done by the government for containing the Covid-19 outbreak,” he added.

Saksham Mittal, Joint Secretary of FORDA, and Treasurer of the RDA at RML Hospital, told IANS, “The recent guidelines do not consider the possibility of asymptotic carriers and the accidental exposure of a healthcare worker during the stressful conditions of Covid-19 duties. As the incubation period of the virus is 2-14 days, asking the healthcare workers to resume duty or go home the next day just increases the chance of transmitting the disease to our colleagues and family members.

“We need to safeguard doctors, one of the most important pillars of the frontline health workers to fight this pandemic. We demand 14-day quarantine in a quarantine facility.”

Echoing Mittal’s views, Prateek Goel, General Secretary of the RDA at LNJP Hospital, told IANS, “This is to draw the attention of the Union government and the Delhi government so that they can withdraw the ‘no quarantine’ order. We don’t want your ‘Taali’ and ‘Thaali’. We want to serve the community for which we need proper 14 days of quarantine.”