The recruitment for the clinical trial of the country’s first indigenously-developed Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin, among children in the age group of 6-12 years will begin at the AIIMS in Delhi from Tuesday.
This will be followed by the clinical trial of children in the age-group of 2-6 years.
The enrolment of children volunteers aged 12-18 years at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has been completed and they have been given the first dose of Covaxin. “The recruitment process for the clinical trial of Covaxin among children in the age group of 6-12 years will begin from Tuesday,” Dr Sanjay Rai, Professor at the Centre for Community Medicine at the AIIMS, told PTI.
The trial is to be conducted in 3 parts — 175 volunteers each in the groups aged 12-18, 6-12 and 2-6 years. In the trial, the vaccine will be given by the intramuscular route in 2 doses on day 0 and day 28. The clinical trials will evaluate the safety, reactogenicity and immunogenicity of the vaccine in children.
Another dip in Covid tally, cases below 1 lakh
India sees another dip in the daily Covid-19 tally with 70,421 cases while the active cases fell below 1 lakh at 9.73 lakh and 3,921 deaths were reported in 24 hours. The country has so far logged in 2,95,10,410 infections, but 2.82 crore of them have recovered at 95.43% recovery rate, whereas the total deaths reached 3,79,305, which is 1.27% of the total infections and the active cases are down to 3.30%. With 14,016 cases reported in 24 hours, Tamil Nadu led the states’ list, followed by Kerala with 11,584 infections. Maharashtra reported 10,442 cases. Karnataka 7,810, and Andhra 6,770 cases. Delhi reported 131 fresh cases and 16 deaths, and West Bengal 3,984 cases. Maharashtra reported 2,771 deaths, mostly because of delayed data from the districts, while Tamil Nadu recorded 267 deaths, Kerala 206 and Delhi 23. Three union territories, including Ladak, and Sikkim reported not a single death in the past 24 hours. The national capital thus reported less than 200 positive cases in 24 hours, something last recorded with 175 cases on March 11. The five most affected states by total cases are Maharashtra (5,908,992), Karnataka (2,765,134), Kerala (2,702,823), Tamil Nadu (2,324,597), Andhra (1,809,844).
With 14.99 lakh vaccinated in 24 hours ending at 8.30 AM on Monday, the total vaccination in the country reached 25.48 crore while those tested for the virus neared 38 crore with 37.96 crore tested so far, 14.92 lakh in 24 hours.
The weekly positive rate has dropped to less than 5% as it currently stood at 4.54%. The daily positive rate at 4.72% shows less thn 10% for 21 consecutive days.
Delhi that further reduced the lockdown curbs on Monday removing the odd-even plan for the maps, allowing markets to open for all seven days of a week as also 50% capacity eating in the restaurants and opening of salons and barber shops, reported only 255 fresh cases and 23 deaths in the past 24 hours. Delhi has administered more than 60 lakh vaccine doses to the people, including 14.4 lakh jabs of two doses.
GLOBAL SCENE: Covid-19 is continuing to spread around the world, with more than 176.7 million confirmed cases and 38,18,942 deaths across nearly 200 countries recorded since China reported its first cases to the World Health Organization (WHO) in December 2019. The US remains the worst-hit country with 34,321,158, followed by India, Brazil, France and Turkey.A waiter serves the food to customers at an eatery after the reopening of restaurants with 50% capacity in New Delhi.
NCPCR seeks report over posts seeking adoption
The National Commission For Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has sought a report from WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Telegram about posts on these social networking sites offering illegal adoption of children orphaned amid ongoing Covid pandemic. The apex child rights body has directed the 4 social media entities to submit their report within 10 days, and warned them of strict action if they fail to report about such posts. In a letter to social networking sites, the NCPCR suggested if any person posts any kind of such posts, an immediate report must be sent to the commission or law enforcement authorities or state commission with detailed IP address of the user.
Now, district-level dashboards to ensure correct data
A sudden spike in Covid-19 deaths, first in Bihar and then in Maharashtra, by adding up those not documented in the past, prompted a government agency to recommend establishment of the district-level dashboards across the country to control any further surges of the infections and curb the deaths.
It wants every death counted instead of attempting to differentiate those caused by other reasons.
Noting the gaps in statistics handicapped responses and contributed to undercount counting of infections and casualties, the National Institute of Epidemiology (NIE), Chennai, has developed a Covid-19 control toolkit that asks districts to use data dashboards to monitor three key parameters — test positivity rates, changes in case counts, and hospital bed occupancy — to calibrate district-level responses.
“Data dashboards would allow district authorities to monitor the state of the epidemic and control a future surge before it gets too big,” said Manoj Murhekar, the director of the NIE, a unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The NIE has described data dashboards as among the “weakest components” of India’s Covid-19 response, echoing concerns among sections of researchers who say the handling of the epidemic could have been better and counts of deaths more reliable through better data management.
The health ministry till Monday recorded 3,74,305 Covid-19 deaths, but some researchers, citing anecdotal evidence of overcrowded crematoriums and bodies dumped into rivers or relying on theoretical estimates, suggested India has vastly undercounted Covid deaths.
The NIE has said all deaths should be counted, “irrespective of the cause” every week and the data analysed by age, gender, rural and urban, and dashboards updated. It also recommended every death be audited to identify gaps in surveillance, testing, transport, or treatment.
“We need comparisons of epidemiological and clinical data across the two waves," said Gagandeep Kang, professor of clinical microbiology at Christian Medical College, Vellore.
"We need information about how did the earlier versions of the virus behave versus the new ones. We need information on how many died and after how many days. Without access to epidemiological, clinical and molecular data, we cannot have a full picture about the differences between the two waves," Ms Kang added.
The NIE's control strategy would require districts to intensify restrictions and enhance physical distancing measures as the test positivity rate, percentage change in seven-day average of daily new infections and bed-occupancy increase.
Irrespective of the other parameters, a district would need to go into a "full lockdown" with only essential services functioning when the oxygen or intensive care unit bed occupancy there exceeds 75%.
However, it has recommended lower levels of restrictions when the test positivity rate exceeds 5%, or if percentage change in the seven-day average increases from the previous week, or if bed occupancy rises beyond 50%.
The NIE, outlining infrastructure requirements, has said districts should prepare for 15 oxygen beds and two intensive care unit or ventilator beds for every 100 active cases, and three ambulances for every 100 new infections, assuming 25% patients would require hospitalisation.
It has also recommended two doctors and four nurses for every 30 oxygen beds and two doctors and two nurses for every 10 intensive care unit or ventilator beds, each team on eight-hour shifts.
73% elderly experienced increased abuse during lockdown amid 2nd wave: report
About 73% of the elderly population experienced increased abuse during the lockdown imposed amid the second wave, a new report said. The report by the Agewell Foundation, based on responses from 5,000 elderly, released ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day said 82 per cent of the respondents claimed that their life has been affected adversely due to the current Covid-19 situation. The report found 73% of the respondents reportedly said cases of abuse against them increased during and after the lockdown period, and among them 61% claimed interpersonal relationships was the main factor responsible for fast increasing incidences of elder abuse in families. During the survey, it was found 65% elderly respondents were facing neglect in their life while nearly 58% of the respondents said they are suffering abuse in their families and society.
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