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Coronavirus vaccine developed in China shows promise after early study in 100 people

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed in China appeared safe and able to generate an immune response after an early trial in more than 100 people, according to a new study.

The vaccine, called Ad5-nCoV, is being developed by the Chinese company CanSino Biologics, and was one of the first coronavirus vaccines to enter early human trials back in March. Now, there are more than 100 different coronavirus vaccines in development worldwide, with at least eight of those in the process of human trials.

Ad5-nCoV uses a weakened version of a common cold virus (known as an adenovirus) — which infects human cells but doesn't cause disease — to deliver a fragment of genetic material from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This genetic material provides instructions for making the "spike protein" on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. The idea is that a person's immune system will create antibodies against the spike protein, which will help fight off the coronavirus if the person is later exposed to it.

Coronavirus in India: COVID-19 recovery rate jumps up to 20.57%, says Health Ministry

Giving a major boost to the country's battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Health Ministry on Friday said that the recovery rate of the COVID-19 patients has gone up to 20.57 per cent. On Thursday, the recovery rate was 19.89 per cent.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry gave another good news in a press conference on Friday saying that there are 15 districts in the country which have had no new COVID-19 case in the last 28 days and there are 80 districts that haven't reported any new case in the last 14 days.

The Health Ministry also said the doubling rate of the COVID-19 cases now stands at 10 days. The Ministry added that they are now implementing community surveillance at district, state levels to check community spread of coronavirus.

"Apart from six Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) constituted earlier, Home Ministry today constituted four additional IMCTs, each headed by an Additional Secretary - level officer, to Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad and Chennai," said Punya Salila Srivastava, Union Home Ministry.

Dr. Sujeet Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control said that about 9.45 lakh people are the surveillance. He added, "Surveillance is our primary weapon in the fight against COVID19."

Meanwhile, in last 24 hours, 1684 COVID-19 positive cases have been reported which took the total confirmed cases to 23,077, said Lav Agarwal.

Health Ministry to States/UTs: ensure that care of TB patients goes uninterrupted during COVID-19 pandemic
The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has written to all States/UTs to ensure that the all the facilities under National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP) in the States and UTs remain fully functional in public interest and ensure that the diagnosis and treatment of TB patients goes without any interruption notwithstanding the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

The comprehensive directives include the providing one month of drugs at a time to all TB patients either newly diagnosed or currently on treatment. This includes both public and private sector TB patients, including drug-resistant TB patients. States/UTs are to ensure that patients with or without ID receive medicines at a heath facility convenient to them to prevent any form of interruption to treatment.

Further, the directives state that even if the TB patient is unable to approach the health facility, arrangements should be made by the facility to deliver drugs at the doorstep of the patient wherever possible. Considering the challenges posed due to COVID-19 pandemic and lock-down, the Ministry has issued orders to ensure sufficient quantity of drugs are procured and adequate supplies of drugs are available.

The TB diagnostic and treatment services are fully operational in the States and UTs. TB patients are being advised about the precautions to protect themselves from COVID-19 and to continue their TB treatment as prescribed. The health of the patient and healthcare workers remains a top priority during COVID-19 pandemic situation. Besides, directive has been given to provide the TB toll-free number (1800-11-6666) to all patients in case they face any difficulty in this regard.

Have cut transmission, minimised spread, increased COVID-19 doubling time during lockdown: Govt

The government said on Thursday that it has been able to "cut coronavirus transmission", minimise its spread and increase the doubling time of COVID-19 cases in the country during the 30-day period of the nationwide lockdown.

While asserting that the growth of coronavirus cases in the country has been more or less linear and not exponential, it also said testing has been ramped up consistently.

Addressing a daily press conference on the COVID-19 situation in the country, C K Mishra, the chairman of Empowered Group Two, said, "One crucial weapon we employed during the 30-day lockdown period is RT-PCR test to ascertain if one has contracted the disease or not."

As on March 23, nearly 15,000 tests were done across the country and by April 22 more than 5 lakh tests were conducted, which is about "33 times in 30 days", he said, adding, "But we are conscious of the fact that this is not enough and we have to continuously ramp up testing in the country and we will do that."

Of the empowered groups formed to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce misery of people once the lockdown is lifted, Mishra is the chairman of Empowered Group Two tasked with coordinating availability of hospitals, isolation and quarantine facilities, disease surveillance, testing and critical care training.

"The growth of COVID-19 cases has been more or less linear, not exponential; this indicates that the strategies we adopted have succeeded in containing the infection to a particular level. Post imposition of lockdown, while the number of new positive cases has increased by 16 times, testing increased by 24 times," Mishra said in his presentation.

"During the 30 days of lockdown, we have been able to cut transmission, minimize spread and increase the doubling days of COVID-19. We have been able to consistently ramp up our testing and utilise our time preparing for the future in case the virus spreads further," he said.

Mishra also said that in the last month, the number of dedicated hospitals for treating coronavirus patients has been increased 3.5 times and the number of isolation beds rose by 3.6 times.

"Despite a 24-fold increase in testing, percentage of positive cases is not rising. The percentage of positive cases as a ratio of testing is more or less the same as that a month ago," he said.

Mishra also claimed that India has done better than a majority of developed countries with respect to the percentage of test cases yielding positive results.

"We need to evolve our strategy based on the current position... We seem to be doing well so far with our strategy which is intensely focused on areas where we see a lot of positivity and action happening. Our testing strategy has been focused, targeted and continues to expand," he said.

Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal said no new COVID-19 cases of the pandemic has been reported from 78 districts in the last 14 days.

He also said, "4,257 COVID-19 patients, which is 19.89 per cent of those infected have been cured so far. In the last 24 hours, 1,409 cases were reported, taking the total number of positive cases to 21,393.

प्रधान मंत्री गरीब कल्याण योजना के तहत 33 करोड़ से अधिक गरीबों को मिली 31,235 करोड़ रुपये की वित्तीय सहायता

प्रधान मंत्री गरीब कल्याण योजना के तहत 33 करोड़ से अधिक गरीबों को सीधे 31 हजार 235 करोड़ रुपये की वित्तीय सहायता दी गई है। पैकेज की घोषणा वित्त मंत्री निर्मला सीतारमण ने 26 मार्च को COVID -19 के कारण गरीबों को तालाबंदी के प्रभाव से बचाने के लिए की थी। पैकेज के हिस्से के रूप में, सरकार ने महिलाओं और गरीब वरिष्ठ नागरिकों और किसानों को मुफ्त अनाज और नकद भुगतान की घोषणा की।

20.05 करोड़ महिला जन धन खाता धारकों को 10 हजार करोड़ रुपये से ज्यादा का संवितरित किया गया है। कुल 1,405 करोड़ रुपये लगभग 2.82 करोड़ वृद्धों, विधवाओं और विकलांग व्यक्तियों को वितरित किए गए हैं। PM-KISAN की पहली किस्त के तहत, 16,146 करोड़ रुपये की राशि आठ करोड़ किसानों को हस्तांतरित की गई है।

कर्मचारियों के भविष्य निधि योगदान के रूप में लगभग 162 करोड़ रुपये का हस्तांतरण किया गया है, जिससे 10.6 लाख कर्मचारियों को लाभ हुआ है। कुल 2.17 करोड़ भवन और निर्माण श्रमिकों को 3,497 करोड़ रुपये की वित्तीय सहायता मिली है।

प्रधानमंत्री गरीब कल्याण योजना के तहत 39.27 करोड़ लाभार्थियों को खाद्यान्न का मुफ्त राशन वितरित किया गया है। सभी में, 2.66 करोड़ मुफ्त उज्ज्वला सिलेंडर प्रधानमंत्री उज्ज्वला योजना के तहत वितरित किए गए हैं।

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