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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Pandemic forces a 'different' R-Day parade

Transparency of international regulators, how mutation threat helped Covaxin's case, initiatives helping Covid-19 patients find plasma donors, and more-news relevant to India's fight against Covid-19

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Vaccine | Coronavirus Tests

Bharath Manjesh  |  New Delhi 

Tableaux on display at Rajpath on Republic Day. | PTI
A Republic Day parade from previous years | Representational image | File

Pandemic forces a ‘different’ R-Day parade

As the 72nd Republic Day comes closer, the Indian government has made some tweaks to the annual parade in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report in the ThePrint.

On Republic Day, India will have nearly completed a year since the first Covid-19 case was detected in the country last January. The first death from the virus was reported in March. Senior government officials told ThePrint the event will be a low-key affair with 25,000 spectators. That figure is small compared to 115,000 spectators at last year's event. The activities of the parade will remain the same, however, social distancing will be factored in. Only children above the age of 15 will be allowed at the parade, and there will be no standing spectators, the report said.

The usual tiered stands will be given a miss. Instead, chairs will be placed on elevated wooden platforms of three different heights — 3 inches, 5 inches and 10 inches. The distance covered by the parade will also be shorter by 5 km. The parade usually goes from Vijay Chowk to the Red Fort, but will end at National Stadium this time, according to the report. Read more here

Transparency of international regulatory bodies in contrast with India's

India approved the vaccines of both Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech for emergency or restricted use in the country. But, the expert panel of the CDSCO that was tasked with evaluating emergency use authorisation for the vaccines is shrouded in secrecy. The names and designations of the panel members have been kept secret. This report in The Quint looks at how transparent some key foreign regulatory bodies have been.

In the United States, the advisory panel of the The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that approved the Covid-19 vaccine has shared the names of the experts, detailed minutes of the meetings, and also the web recording of the meeting, the Quint report said.

In the UK, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has also shared the names of the experts and detailed minutes of the meetings. The MHRA has also shared detailed documents that carry information tailored for certain professionals, for UK recipients of Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine, the conditions of authorisation, and a public assessment report for the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine. Read more here

‘Mutation’ threat helped Covaxin secure approval, meeting records show

After the DCGI approved SII's Covishield, and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for restricted emergency use in the country, a group of experts questioned the approval process for Covaxin. According to a report in The Hindu that cites meeting records, the threat from a mutatant strain appears to have helped Covaxin's case for emergency use authorisation.

The expert panel of the Drug Controller General of India that was tasked with evaluating emergency use requests for Covid-19 vaccines held three marathon meetings from December 30 to January 2. The panel changed its stance from insisting on efficacy data to approving it for emergency use under “clinical trial mode.” Read more here

Initiatives that have helped Covid-19 patients find Plasma donors

Finding plasma donors has been a challenge for many in their fight against Covid-19 as people are concerned about contracting the virus, but good Samaritans have been helping connect plasma donors with patients, according to a report in the Hindustan Times. Plasma In Need For Transfusion (PINT), a pan-India network of plasma donors, and BloodDonorIndia, a Twitter handle, both started by Mumbaikars, have helped hundreds of Covid-19 patients find plasma donors, the report said. Read more here

Covid-19 immunity could last for months: Study

Findings from a study published in the journal Science reveal the immune response triggered by the novel could last up to at least eight months from the first appearance of symptoms, according to a report in The Indian Express.

The study, carried out by La Jolla Institute (LJI), measured antibodies, memory B cells, helper T cells and killer T cells at the same time. The study is the largest for any severe infection that has measured all four of those components of immune memory, the report said, citing LJI. The study is based on analyses of blood samples from 188 patients.

The findings indicate that those that contracted Covid-19 could have immunity from the novel for months, or even years after the infection, the report said, citing the researchers of the study. This addresses concerns around data from other labs which showed a dramatic drop in Covid-specific antibodies over time. The researchers said a decline in antibodies is normal. The drop is followed by a steady state, the report said. Read more here

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First Published: Sat, January 09 2021. 14:04 IST