The experimental monoclonal antibody drug, given to former US President Donald Trump last year, showed encouraging results when administered to 212 patients at BMC-run SevenHills Hospital in Mumbai.
According to doctors, fever reduced within 48 hours of giving the drug, no side-effects were observed and hospitalisation visits reduced to only five-six from the earlier 13-14 days.
The cocktail drug used two monoclonal antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab, which were combined and administered to the patients through saline drip. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off viruses
In good news for India, which has set an ambitious deadline of the end of the year to inoculate its adult population, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) on Tuesday said Russian vaccine Sputnik V will be produced at the manufacturing units of Pune-based Serum Institute of India from September.
“As part of the technical transfer process, SII has already received cell and vector samples from the Gamaleya Center. With their import approved by the Drug Controller General of India), the cultivation process has begun," read a statement from RDIF.
Reacting to the announcement, Serum Institute chief Adar Poonawalla said he was “delighted to partner with RDIF to manufacture the Sputnik vaccine”. “We hope to make millions of doses in the coming months with trial batches starting in the month of September,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday warned the country against new variants and said that the third wave will eventually hit the country if COVID appropriate behaviour is not observed.
"The number of Covid-19 cases is rising. We need to take strict action to curb the situation at the micro level. We need to keep an eye on Covid-19 variants, experts are studying them. We need to encourage people to follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour," said PM Modi.
India's COVID-19 death toll climbed to 4,10,784 with 2,020 new deaths recorded after Madhya Pradesh reconciled its fatality data, while 31,443 new coronavirus cases were reported, the lowest in 118 days, according to the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday. India's total tally of COVID-19 cases mounted to 3,09,05,819.
The active cases have declined to 4,31,315 and comprise 1.40 per cent of the total infections. The national COVID-19 recovery rate has increased to 97.28 per cent. Cumulative vaccine doses administered so far has reached 38.14 crore under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive.
The 2,020 new fatalities include 1,481 from Madhya Pradesh, 146 from Maharashtra and 100 from Kerala.
A total of 4,10,784 deaths have been reported so far in the country including 1,26,024 from Maharashtra, 35,896 from Karnataka, 33,454 from Tamil Nadu, 25,018 from Delhi, 22,700 from Uttar Pradesh, 17,927 from West Bengal and 16,193 from Punjab.
The Delta variant is ripping around the world at a scorching pace, driving a new spike in cases and deaths, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said, warning that the variant, now in over 104 countries, is expected to soon be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide.
Noting that as the Delta variant spreads, not everywhere is taking the same hit, the WHO chief said "we're in the midst of a growing two-track pandemic where the haves and have-nots within and between countries are increasingly divergent."
In places with high vaccination coverage, Delta, first detected in India, is spreading quickly; “especially infecting unprotected and vulnerable people and steadily putting pressure back on health systems.” In countries with low vaccine coverage, the situation is “particularly bad”, he warned, stressing that Delta and other highly transmissible variants are driving catastrophic waves of cases, which are translating into high numbers of hospitalisations and death.
Ghebreyesus underlined that while vaccines have never been the way out of this crisis “on their own”, this current wave is demonstrating again just what a powerful tool they are to battle back against this virus.