India distributed nearly 112 million hydroxychloroquine pills despite scepticism
The Central Government has distributed millions of pills of an anti-malarial drug called hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as part of its Covid-19 relief programme, according to a report in the Quartz.
The Centre has distributed nearly 112 million tables of HCQ which is used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases or malaria. While there were claims in the early days of the pandemic that the drug was effective against coronavirus, by mid-2020 the WHO and several countries had quashed these claims. In June, the WHO halted HCQ trials and said the existing data showed the drug neither reduced fatalities, nor helped patients with moderate forms of the disease.
However, the Indian government continued to send HCQ pills to the states, the report said. Read more here
IN NUMBERS: Active caseload declines further
Some 12,408 fresh coronavirus infections were reported in India on Friday, taking the cumulative caseload to 10,802,591. There were 120 deaths, taking the death toll to 154,823, according to a report in the Scroll. There have been 10,496,308 recoveries so far. The active caseload has declined to 151,460. India's infection rate has slowed significantly since September. The country has inoculated 4.9 million health workers so far. Read more here
Gavi to supply 2 billion doses in 2021
Vaccine alliance Gavi is projecting to deliver two billion doses in 2021 through the COVAX facility to many countries around the world, the alliance's deputy chief executive officer Anuradha Gupta, told IndiaSpend. The doses could start to enter countries as early as later this month. Efforts will be ramped up in the second half of the year. The alliance expects 40-50 per cent of the population to be vaccinated in richer countries in 2021, and at least 20 per cent across the globe.
Gavi has helped inoculate more than 800 million children in over 70 low-income countries. The vaccinations span various diseases that have prevented 14 million fatalities. To fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Gavi is helping co-ordinate the COVAX initiative which aims to distribute two billion vaccine doses by end of 2021, the report said. Read more here
Wealthy countries block proposal to temporarily lift IP waiver on Covid vaccines, treatments
Talks at the World Trade Organization (WTO) about a proposal by India and South Africa to temporarily lift intellectual property (IP) rules related to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments have hit a hurdle owing to opposition by wealthier countries, according to a report in Deutsche Welle. The proposal says a waiver on intellectual property will allow vaccine makers in poor countries to produce effective inoculants sooner. Wealthier nations such as the US and Britain opposed the proposal as they claim a waiver would stifle innovation at pharmaceutical companies. Read more here
Covid-19 personality types: 'Harmers', 'hoarders', and more
A paper published in the journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communication says people developed various "personalities" during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report in The Indian Express. The paper highlights the consequences of the different personalities and groups that have been created. From "harmers" who actively try to spread the virus to "hoarders" who panic-buy essentials, the paper identifies over a dozen such personalities. Read more here