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COVID-19 vaccines and prior coronavirus infections can provide broad immunity against other, similar coronaviruses, according to a study. The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, build a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines that could prove useful in the face of future epidemics.
“Until our study, what hasn’t been clear is if you get exposed to one coronavirus, could you have cross-protection across other coronaviruses? And we showed that is the case,” said study lead author Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster, assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, US. The three main families of coronaviruses that cause human disease include Sarbecovirus, which includes the SARS-CoV-1 strain responsible for the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), as well as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
Highlighting that the nation is close to administering a billion Covid vaccine doses, the Centre has urged states and Union Territories to focus on increasing the coverage of the second dose in light of adequate availability of shots. The cumulative vaccine doses administered in the country so far under the nationwide COVID-19 inoculation drive has exceeded 99 crore. The countrywide COVID-19 vaccination programme was launched on January 16 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Union government has also sought from the states suggestions in formulating new guidelines for international travel. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the progress of vaccination with Health Secretaries and mission directors of national health missions in states and UTs, through a video conference on Monday, according to a ministry statement.
Puducherry posted 55 fresh cases of coronavirus on Tuesday raising the total caseload to 1,27,479. The new cases of infection identified at the end of examination of 4,217 samples were spread over Puducherry 24, Karaikal 18 and Mahe 13. The active cases were 490 of whom 94 patients were in hospitals under treatment while the remaining 396 cases were in home isolation.
Two more persons hailing from Puducherry succumbed to the infection raising the overall toll to 1852. Director of the Health Department G. Sriramulu said while 86 patients recovered and were discharged during the last twenty-four hours the overall recoveries stood at 1,25,137.
He said that the test positivity rate today was 1.30 per cent while fatality and recovery rates were 1.45 per cent and 98.16 per cent respectively. The health department has tested so far 18.76 lakh samples and found 15.91 lakh out of them to be negative.
It has administered so far 10,82,250 doses of which 7,13,849 were first doses and the remaining 3.68,401 were second doses.
Ladakh recorded three fresh COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the infection tally in the union territory to 20,881, even as the count of active cases fell to 34, officials said. Ladakh has registered 208 Covid-related deaths — 150 in Leh and 58 in Kargil — since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.
Five more patients have been cured and discharged from hospitals in Leh, taking the tally of recoveries to 20,639, they said. All three new cases were reported in Leh, the officials said. No daily death due to the disease was reported in Ladakh on Monday. The total number of COVID-19 active cases in Ladakh is now 34 33 in Leh and one in Kargil district.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands MP Kuldeep Rai Sharma has requested the chief secretary of the union territory administration to withdraw the seven-day quarantine rule in Great Nicobar Island for the convenience of the public. Rai also requested the administration to schedule a passenger ship with cargo or a cargo ship for Great Nicobar Island in Nicobar district as soon as possible as the people in the island are facing a shortage of potatoes, onions, tomatoes and eggs due to delay in the transfer of cargo from Port Blair to Campbell Bay.
In a letter to the Chief Secretary of Andaman and Nicobar Administration on Monday the Member of Parliament mentioned that he has been informed by residents of Great Nicobar Island that presently the Nicobar district administration is sending all incoming passengers to seven-day long quarantine, while in all other places of this union territory, this seven-day quarantine system has already been withdrawn. The Indira Point, the southernmost point of India is located in the Great Nicobar Island.
The Congress MP mentioned that at present almost 100 per cent of Islanders have got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and a large number of people have got both doses of COVID-19 vaccines. He said the seven days quarantine rule in Great Nicobar Island is not only causing unnecessary problems to people but also reducing the overall performance of various government departments and offices. The MP requested the chief secretary to withdraw this seven-day quarantine rule for the convenience of the public and also to schedule a passenger ship with cargo or a cargo ship for Great Nicobar Island.
Some northern US states are starting to witness a Covid-19 resurgence as the weather is getting colder amid the onset of the winter season, raising concerns over a “twindemic” of the flu and coronavirus. The five states that are reporting most of the new daily Covid-19 cases per capita are Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and Idaho, Xinhua news agency quoted data by The New York Times published on Monday as saying.
Alaska is logging the highest daily average of 125 cases per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, the other states with the fastest rising Covid-19 caseloads are Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan and Minnesota, the data revealed.
Madhya Pradesh has set up 163 oxygen plants, generating over 182 metric tonnes (MT) of the life saving gas per day so far, after facing scarcity during the second wave of coronavirus, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has said. In March 2020 (before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak), oxygen generation plants were not available in any of the government hospitals in the state, the CM noted. “Now, 163 oxygen plants with a generation capacity of 182 MT per day have been started in different districts of the state, Chouhan said in an official statement on Monday. About 230 MT of medical oxygen will be generated daily when all 202 plants will become operational in the state, he said.
The work on these plants was started after experiencing scarcity of the life saving gas during the second wave of coronavirus. The completion of the remaining 39 oxygen plants will be ensured by the end of this month, the CM said. At present, a collective storage facility of 360 MT liquid oxygen is available in government medical colleges of the state.
Apart from this, liquid oxygen tanks, having a capacity of 6 kilo litres each and collective capacity of 248 MT, are being set up in 34 district hospitals of the state, he said. Also, 13,956 oxygen concentrators has been made available in government hospitals and 1,350 in medical colleges of the state, Chouhan said. Besides, the Centre has also provided 3,860 oxygen concentrators, he added. On Monday, Madhya Pradesh reported six fresh cases of coronavirus, raising the infection tally in the state to 7,92,690, while the death toll remained unchanged at 10,523, health officials earlier said. The COVID-19 recovery count in MP stood at 7,82,086, leaving the state with 81 active cases, they said.
– 10 states/UTs report a rise in active cases
– 21 states/UTs report 0 new deaths
– Difference between new cases reported in the last 7 days and the preceding 7 days in India is -18% (world average is -3%)
– 87.41 lakh new vaccinations. 98.68 crore total. 36.9 lakh received their first dose yesterday, 50.51 lakh second dose
– Daily vaccinations highest in 21 days
– More second doses administered daily than the first dose for the 6th consecutive day
– 11.81 lakh new tests. Test positivity rate: 1.11% (1.37% the previous day)
– Test positivity rate below 1.5% for the 3rd day. Below 2% for the 22nd day
– Test positivity rate (weekly average): Mizoram 12.58%, Kerala 10.46%, Sikkim 4.32%
13.06k new cases, 164 new deaths, 19.5k new recoveries, 6.6k dip in active cases.
– New cases lowest in 231 days
– New cases below 15k for the 3rd day. Below 20k for the 11th day
– Deaths below 200 for the 4th consecutive day
– Active cases (1.83 lakh) lowest in 227 days
– Kerala reports 6.68k new cases, Maharashtra 1.49k, Tamil Nadu 1.19k
– Kerala reports 50 new deaths, Maharashtra 27, Tamil Nadu 13
New Zealand counted its most new coronavirus cases of the pandemic on Tuesday, as an outbreak in its largest city grew and officials urged vaccinations as a way out of Auckland’s two-month lockdown. Health officials found 94 new local infections, eclipsing the 89 that were reported twice during the early days of the pandemic 18 months ago. Most of the new cases were in Auckland, but seven were found in the nearby Waikato district.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said lockdown rule-breakers were contributing to the spread of infections and noted that many of the new cases had been detected among younger people. I know the highs and lows of cases is incredibly hard on people, particularly those in Tamaki Makaurau,” Ardern said, using the Indigenous Maori name for Auckland. I just wanted to reinforce again that we’re not powerless. We do have the ability to keep cases as low as we can. New Zealand had successfully eliminated earlier outbreaks by imposing a strict lockdown and by aggressively contact-tracing and isolating those who were infectious. But the approach failed against the more transmissible delta variant. The government has since eased some of Auckland’s lockdown rules, allowing more people to return to work.
With the addition of 175 new cases of coronavirus, the infection count in Maharashtra’s Thane district has gone up to 5,63,556, an official said on Tuesday. These new cases were reported on Monday, he said. The virus also claimed the lives of five more people, which pushed the death toll in the district to 11,464, he said, adding that the COVID-19 mortality rate in Thane stood at 2.03 per cent.
In neighbouring Palghar district, the COVID-19 case count has gone up to 1,37,547, while the death toll has reached 3,281, another official said.
The Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands did not record any new COVID-19 case in the last 24 hours, a health department official said on Tuesday. The COVID-19 tally in the archipelago remained at 7,642, he said. One more person recuperated from the disease, taking the total number of COVID-19 recoveries to 7,506. The union territory now has seven active COVID-19 cases and all the patients are in the South Andaman district of which the capital Port Blair is also a part. The other two districts – North and Middle Andaman and Nicobar – are COVID-19 free.
The COVID-19 death toll remained at 129 as no fresh fatality has been reported in the last 24 hours, he said. The administration has so far tested 5,80,274 samples for COVID-19 and the cumulative test positivity rate is 1.32 per cent.
A total of 4,67,975 beneficiaries have been inoculated so far, of which 2,92,248 have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 1,75,727 have received both doses of the vaccine, the official added.
With severe criticism on the handling of the second Covid wave, which threatened to put a dent on the government’s image in the country as well as abroad, BJP office-bearers on Monday sat down and discussed strategies to counter it, using the support of the Indian diaspora and the huge bank of Covid volunteers it created during the pandemic, sources said.
According to a report in the Indian Express, during the day-long meeting of the national office-bearers, BJP president J P Nadda expressed confidence that the party will retain power in four states where Assembly elections will be held next year. Elections in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa, and Congress-ruled Punjab, are scheduled to be held early next year.
The officer-bearers meeting was followed by a meeting of the party general secretaries.
Britain has repeatedly trumpeted its mass vaccination programme against Covid-19, hailing its early approval of jabs as a key part of the long struggle to return to normal life. But infection rates remain stubbornly high, contrasting sharply with its European neighbours and prompting fresh questions of the government.
For two weeks, the number of new cases has wavered between 35,000 and 40,000 a day, and on Monday nudged closer to 50,000 — the highest since the July peak of the “Delta” variant outbreak. The daily death count has often exceeded 100 since the summer, adding to an overall toll of more than 138,000, second only to Russia in Europe.
The global coronavirus caseload has topped 241 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 4.90 million and vaccinations soared to over 6.61 billion, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In its latest update on Tuesday morning, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload, death toll and the total number of vaccine doses administered stood at 241,098,699, 4,904,877 and 6,617,433,262, respectively.
The US continues to be the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 45,050,219 and 726,196, according to the CSSE.
Karnataka government has decided to permit Classes 1 to 5 to reopen from October 25, with strict adherence to Covid-19 appropriate behaviour and standard operating procedures, state Primary and Secondary Education Minister B.C. Nagesh announced on Monday.
He said that the decision has been taken as per the recommendation of the expert committee on Covid-19 and as per the wishes of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.
“Another decision will be taken on November 1, to review the situation and to allow full functioning of classes,” he added.
The children will be trained for a week to create awareness on Covid appropriate behaviour by teachers. A parental consent letter for physical classes is mandatory. There shall be screening for Covid-19 symptoms on entry.
Chhattisgarh’s COVID-19 tally rose to 10,05,681 on Monday with the addition of 27 new cases, while no fresh death due to the infection was reported in the state, a health department official said. The state’s COVID-19 death toll remained unchanged at 13,570, he said.
The number of recoveries rose to 9,91,922 after 9 people were discharged from hospitals, while 12 others completed their home isolation during the day, the official said.Chhattisgarh now has 189 active cases.
“Raipur district recorded 10 new cases, while Durg district recorded 4 cases. Two districts, including Bilaspur, saw 3 cases each. Korba district recorded 2 cases and five districts reported 1 infection each. No fresh cases were reported in 18 districts,” he said.With 19,708 samples tested during the day, the number of coronavirus tests conducted so far went up to 13,421,955, the official said.
With 298 more people testing positive for COVID-19 in Assam on Monday, the state’s overall infection tally has increased to 6,06,766, a health bulletin said. The death toll due to the disease rose to 5,957 with seven more fatalities being recorded in the last 24 hours. The north-eastern state had registered 205 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths on Sunday. The 298 new cases were detected out of 41,043 tests conducted during the day with the daily positivity rate at 0.73 per cent against 1.06 per cent on Sunday. Cumulative tests have surpassed two crores with the state having conducted 2,42,02,721 clinical examinations thus far for detecting COVID-19. Active cases in Assam increased by 25 in 24 hours. The number of coronavirus active cases in the state currently is 2,114, the bulletin said. Three persons died of the infection in Jorhat and one each in Golaghat, Kamrup Metro, Lakhimpur, and Sonitpur districts in the last 24 hours. The current death rate is 0.98 per cent and the number of COVID-19 patients dying due to other causes remains at 1,347.
The new cases detected during the day, include 103 from Kamrup Metro district, 34 from Jorhat, 17 from Kamrup Rural, and 14 from Lakhimpur. The number of people who have recovered from the disease is 5,97,348, including 266 in the last 24 hours. Over 1.97 crore vaccine doses were administered in the state so far. The bulletin said 66,60,199 people have received both doses.
A recent study, conducted by the researchers from the University of Copenhagen published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, shows that analysis of a particular protein on the cell surface is likely to predict who is in danger of a serious infection caused by the virus, explains Assistant Professor Rajan Gogna, lead author of the new study.
According to an ANI report, Dr Rajan Gogna said, “Cells have a so-called fitness status, and by analyzing it we could predict hospitalization or death in COVID-19 patients, potentially making such a biomarker an earlier prediction tool, especially because it can be detected from the common nasal swap covid-19-tests.”
If the cell fitness status is poor, it indicates that the cell does not develop well, either because the cell is aged, lacks reliability, has an ill-functioning metabolism or is disease prone etc.
Over 76 per cent of Haryana’s population has COVID-19 antibodies, according to the third Sero survey, conducted by the state. An Indian Express report states that “Kurukshetra (85%) reported the highest number of people with Covid-19 antibodies, while only 64.2% in Faridabad had the antibodies.”
However, 14 per cent of samples taken in Faridabad were found inconclusive, and therefore the state authorities have decided to conduct the sero survey in Faridabad again.
“The survey’s findings further revealed that 75.3% of the male population had antibodies. The corresponding figure for the female population was 77.1%. Similarly, in children (6-9 years), antibodies were found in 69.8% of the samples, while 73.2% of older children (10-17 years) surveyed reported antibodies,” said the report.
The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 30,000 for 25 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 114 consecutive days now. The active cases comprise 0.54 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.14 per cent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said.
A decrease of 6,576 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. India’s COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 2020, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16. It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19. India crossed the grim milestone of two crore on May 4 and three crore on June 23.
No new variant of the coronavirus which can be a cause of concern has emerged in the last six months. However, a constant vigil is a must, according to the member of the national task force and chairman of the Covid working group of National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), Dr NK Arora.
As the country gears up for the milestone mark of 100 crore vaccines, in an interview with the Times of India, Arora ruled out any shortage of vaccines. He further claimed that more vaccines will be added shortly to the present range available in the country and pointed out that just as the current range of vaccines have controlled the severity of Covid-19 infection, the new ones available will also do the same, thereby preventing another massive outbreak.
There is no evidence of a new variant of SARS-CoV2 and presently there is no additional or public health concern regarding the delta sub-lineages, the INSACOG, a genome sequencing consortium, had said previously. In their bulletin dated September 20, the INSACOG said Delta continues to be the main variant of concern in India.
The second wave, driven by the Delta (variant), is continuing at low levels in some states and there is no evidence of a new variant, it said. Hospitals were overwhelmed and health infrastructure was severely stressed during the second wave of coronavirus in the country between March to May.
There is a small but steady increase in AY.1 since June 2021, which is being monitored, the INSACOG noted. AY.4 is the most frequently seen Delta sub-lineage in recent sequences from India, as well as globally, it said.
The INSACOG had also said that India has so far not seen Mu and C.1.2, the two new variants of SARS’CoV2, and the Delta variant and its sub-lineages continue to be the main variants in the country.
On Monday, India logged 13,596 fresh COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily rise in the last eight months or 230 days, the Health Ministry’s data showed. 166 people have died of Covid in the last 24 hours.