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India Coronavirus Dispatch: Patent battles can choke Covid drugs pipeline

Efforts to avoid patent battles, a second wave in some cities, fresh research that sheds light on the virus, and more-news on how the country is coping with the pandemic

Coronavirus
A health worker collects a nasal sample from a woman for a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Srinagar.

‘Patent battles could choke Covid-19 drugs pipeline’

India and South Africa are leading a call at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for intellectual property (IP) exemptions on diagnostic kits, vaccines, medicines, personal protective equipment, and ventilators required to fight Covid-19. These exemptions from the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement would mean that WTO member countries would not necessarily need to grant or enforce intellectual property rights related to Covid-19 drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other technologies

In the context of Covid-19, intellectual property could be used adversely to cut off easy access to treatments and vaccines in developing countries, said Carlos Correa, executive director, South Centre, an inter-governmental organisation which works on various issues affecting developing countries such as climate change, access to medicines, food security and underlying issues of intellectual property rights. Read more here

Pune, Mumbai brace for a second wave amid rise in cases

The Pune Municipal Corporation has warned of a second coronavirus wave in the city amid a steady rise in cases. It has also claimed that it has adequate facilities to deal with a possible second wave, in terms of isolation centres, oxygen beds, intensive care unit beds and ventilators. Meanwhile the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation is preparing to control an “expected surge” in the number of cases. Read more here

There is light at the end of the tunnel, say top Covid experts

The world may be in the “last big wave” of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and the fight to halt the infectious disease could begin to wind up sometime next year, said Dr Ashish K Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. However, with the latest developments in the quest for a successful vaccine against the disease, the world must remain cautious and follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, said director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Dr. Randeep Guleria. Read more here

Ransomware attacks increase worldwide, shows CrowdStrike survey

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to many companies bringing reforms, adapting to the new online infrastructure. This has also resulted in increased ransomware attacks, cyberattacks on companies. Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike recently released its Global Security Attitude Survey produced by independent research firm Vanson Bourne that has highlighted the increase in these activities which pose a threat to various companies’ digital transformation moving forward. Read more here

Crematoriums feel the pressure as Covid death toll mounts

A day after Delhi reported its highest single-day Covid-19 death toll of 131, crematoriums in the national capital are struggling to cope with the increased fatalities. According to authorities at crematoriums, families are having to wait longer at Nigambodh Ghat and Punjabi Bagh facilities to conduct the last rites of their loved ones who succumbed to Covid-19. However, municipal authorities said they have an adequate number of covid-designated crematoriums and graveyards and sufficient facilities to conduct the last rites. Read more here

Results of Covid vaccines ‘promising’, India will play a key role in their production — ICMR

The recent results of the various Covid-19 vaccines are “promising” and a vaccine could be “well on its way”, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said. In the editorial of its internal newsletter e-Samvaad, the country’s apex medical body focused on the importance of research and development, and also discussed the race to develop effective vaccines against Covid-19. Read more here