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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Daily infections highest in 23 days

N440K variant spreading faster in southern states, Covid reproduction value rises, vaccination rollout off to a slow start in first month-news relevant to India's fight against Covid-19

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Bharath Manjesh  |  New Delhi 

vaccine, pharma, coronavirus, medicine, drugs, medical research, covid, lab

IN NUMBERS: Over 14,000 fresh cases reported

India reported 14,264 fresh infections on Sunday, taking the cumulative caseload to 1,09,91,651, according to a report in the Scroll. The daily cases were the highest in 23 days. The country saw 90 deaths due to the pandemic, taking the death toll to 1,56,302, according to central health ministry data. The total recoveries have surged to 1,06,89,715. The national recovery rate has climbed to 97.25 per cent. The active caseload is at 1,45,634. About 1,10,85,173 million healthcare and frontline workers have been inoculated since the nationwide inoculation programme kicked off on January 16. Read more here

N440K variant spreading faster in southern states

According to a CSIR-CCMB study, a new variant labelled "N440K" is spreading faster in southern states, a report in The New Indian Express said. So far, mutant strains of the novel have shown a low prevalence in India. The director of CCMB, Dr Rakesh Mishra pointed out the apparent low prevalence might simply be because not enough sequencing has been done. Mishra, who is also an author of the study, called for more coronavirus genome sequencing to spot new variants and their prevalence. Read more here

National Covid-19 reproduction value rises to 0.93

India’s effective reproduction value (R) for Covid-19 rose to 0.93 this week, according to a report in ThePrint. The R-value had been hovering around 0.92 for several weeks. The R-value is a key measure of how quickly the virus is spreading. In simple terms, it is the average number of people who become infected by an infected individual. If the R-value is above 1, the virus will spread quickly. If it is below 1, the virus will slow. Three states saw their R-value rise back above 1 this week. They were Maharashtra, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh. Read more here

Three-month interval between Astra doses has higher efficacy than a six-week interval: Study

According to a study published in The Lancet, a three-month interval between doses of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University leads to a stronger efficacy than a six-week interval, a report in The Indian Express said. The study also said since the first shot of the two-dose regimen offers 76 per cent protection for up to three months, this could allow for a longer gap between doses and allow countries to vaccinate their populations faster. Read more here

India off to a slow start in the first month of vaccination programme

A month into the ambitious vaccination programme to inoculate hundreds of millions of people against Covid-19, India is struggling to get even its health workers to take the shots, a report in Time Magazine said. Only 8.4 million received a vaccine in the first month, less than a quarter of the number needed to stay on pace for the government’s goal of vaccinating 300 people by August. Public health experts are concerned that the slow start could negatively affect the next phases of the drive, including the one targeting older people and those with preexisting conditions slated to start next month. Read more here

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First Published: Sun, February 21 2021. 15:05 IST