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Can’t dismiss as ‘mild’, Omicron spreading faster than other Covid-19 variants: WHO Regional Director

New Delhi [India]: Amid concerns arising out of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia Region on Thursday said that Omicron appears to be spreading faster than any other previous variant and added that one should not dismiss it as “mild”. In an exclusive interview with ANI, Dr Singh responded on how virulent Omicron is and what are the new major symptoms of this variant.“The overall threat posed by Omicron largely depends on three key questions: (1) how transmissible the variant is; (2) how well vaccines and prior SARS-CoV-2 infection protect against infection, transmission, clinical disease and death; and (3) how virulent the variant is as compared to other variants,” she said.“Based on the current limited evidence, Omicron appears to be spreading faster at a rate not seen with any other previous variant. Emerging data from South…

International UK News

Scotland confirmed 6 cases of Omicron coronavirus variant

London [UK] : Six cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Scotland, taking the total for the United Kingdom up to nine with the previous three infections detected in England, the Scottish health authorities reported on Monday.“Six cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant have been identified in Scotland. Four cases are in the Lanarkshire area and two have been identified in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area,” the Scottish semiautonomous government said in a statement, with Scotland’s Health Secretary Humaz Yousaf adding that “all will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases.” According to Yousaf, this will be a worrying time for the six people now identified as having the new variant. All will receive expert help and support and Public Health Scotland will undertake enhanced contact tracing in all cases.He…

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Delhi CM urges PM Modi to stop flights from countries affected by Covid Omicron variant

New Delhi [India], November 28 (ANI): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to stop flights from countries affected by the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.In an official letter, Kejriwal wrote, “Our country has fought a tough fight against Corona for the last one and half years. We should do everything possible to prevent the new variant of concern from entering India.” “We should do everything possible to prevent the new variant of concern, recently recognised by WHO, from entering India. A number of countries, including the European Union (EU), have suspended travel to the affected regions. I urge you to stop flights from these regions with immediate effect. Any delay in this regard may prove harmful if any affected person enters India,” he stated.The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday named the new COVID-19 variant…

Corona Updates

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin phase 3 data shows 77.8 pc efficacy against COVID-19, says Lancet

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]: Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech on Friday announced that the Lancet peer-review confirmed the efficacy analysis of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.As per phase-three clinical trials data, Covaxin demonstrates 77.8 per cent efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19. “COVAXIN is the only COVID-19 vaccine to have demonstrated efficacy data from phase III clinical trials against the delta variant at 65.2 per cent,” the official statement issued by Bharat Biotech said citing the study by the Lancet.“Efficacy analysis demonstrates Covaxin to be 77.8 per cent effective against symptomatic COVID-19, through evaluation of 130 confirmed cases, with 24 observed in the vaccine group versus 106 in the placebo group,” said the company’s statement.Further, it said that Covaxin will be 93.4 per cent effective against severe symptomatic COVID-19.“Safety analysis demonstrates adverse events reported were similar to placebo, with 12 per cent of subjects experiencing commonly known side effects and less…

Corona Updates

Massive COVID wave unlikely if large population already infected, says AIIMS Doctor

Delhi [India] : Responding to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) warning of a new COVID-19 wave, AIIMS Doctor and Epidemiologist Dr Sanjay K Rai on Friday said that it is unlikely if a large population has already been already infected by the virus.The WHO had earlier warned of a massive COVID-19 wave in Europe and Central Asia. It also said that over 5,00,000 deaths (combined) are likely in this region by February 2022. “When large populations get infected, massive waves of the virus are unlikely. Natural infections lead to natural immunity which leads to a decline in the number of cases. Vaccinations also reduce disease severity and deaths. It will happen in Russia and Central Asia. A wave of infections is going on there, but this will reduce by February. This happened everywhere, including in India. A large amount of the population was infected,…

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WHO chief warns about spike in COVID-19 as cases surge in Europe, Central Asia

Geneva [Switzerland] : Amid the latest rise in COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia, WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Thursday (local time) warned about the rising number of cases and deaths.More than 5 million deaths have now been reported, and WHO believes the real number is higher. More than 50,000 people are losing their lives every week, UN News reported. In the last seven days, 56 countries, from all regions, reported an increase in deaths of more than 10 per cent. Tedros highlighted reports about lack of intensive care unit beds, lack of supplies, overwhelmed health workers, and hospitals deferring other needed procedures.“Let me be very clear: this should not be happening”, he said. “We have all the tools to prevent COVID-19 transmission and save lives, and we continue to call on all countries to use those tools.”According to the WHO, every single…

Corona Updates

WHO EUL approval opens up Covaxin for worldwide use, says ICMR DG

New Delhi [India]: Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Balram Bhargava on Wednesday said the approval has now opened up the indigenous vaccine for worldwide use.Speaking to ANI, Bhargava said, “It is a great day for India. It is a classic example of how private-public partnership has been a success in this field. The hard work of scientists and healthcare workers has led to this approval today. This makes India very proud. We should keep up this momentum.” Asked about the significance of getting EUL from WHO, the ICMR DG said, “It means the whole world is open for us for sending this vaccine. And, in India, we have already administered a large number of doses, therefore we will be able to send this vaccine to…

Corona Updates

Covaxin ‘extremely suitable’ for low, middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements: WHO

Geneva [Switzerland]: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Covaxin — COVID-19 vaccine developed by Bharata Biotech — is extremely suitable for low and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements.The UN health body — which granted approval for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of Covaxin on Wednesday — said that the Bharat Biotech’s vaccine was found to have 78 per cent efficacy against the COVID-19 of any severity, 14 or more days after the second dose.“Covaxin was found to have 78 per cent efficacy against #COVID19 of any severity, 14 or more days after the second dose, and is extremely suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to easy storage requirements,” WHO said in a tweet on Wednesday.The UN health body’s emergency use listing procedure assess the vaccine under the procedure based on the review of data on quality, safety, efficacy, a risk…

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WHO chief scientist congratulates India after WHO approves Covaxin for emergency use listing

Geneva [Switzerland]: WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Wednesday congratulated India after the World Health Organisation (WHO) granted approval for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin.“One more vaccine gets @WHO emergency use listing. Congratulations India @BharatBiotech@ICMRDELHI @MoHFW_INDIA for successful development of indigenous vaccine #Covaxin as well as for a massive vaccination program,” the WHO Chief Scientist tweeted. The WHO has issued an emergency use listing (EUL) for India’s indigenous vaccine Covaxin, adding to a growing portfolio of vaccines validated by WHO for prevention of COVID-19.The WHO said in a tweet that the Technical Advisory Group, convened by World Health Organisation (WHO), has determined that the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine meets WHO standards for protection against COVID-19.“WHO has granted emergency use listing (EUL) to COVAXIN® (developed by Bharat Biotech), adding to a growing portfolio of vaccines validated by WHO…

Corona Updates

G20 leaders agree to strengthen WHO process for COVID-19 vaccines approval: Piyush Goyal

Rome [Italy]: The G20 leaders have agreed to strengthen the World Health Organisation’s processes for approval of COVID-19 vaccines so that the world can have a “larger bouquet of vaccines” for faster recovery from the effects of the pandemic, India’s G20 Sherpa Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.Talking to ANI after the conclusion of the G20 Summit, Goyal said that it was also agreed that once the vaccines are accepted by World Health Organisation, there should become kind of a travel document to reflect the vaccines taken. The G20 leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, noted that fighting the pandemic has been a challenge but “we all are in it together”.The leaders adopted Rome declaration at the Summit.Referring to the significance of G20 Summit, Piyush Goyal said it will give a big message of recovery and the discussion around the table by the leaders and…

Corona Updates

SC says ‘it will wait for WHO’s response over Covaxin recognition’

New Delhi [India] : The Supreme Court on Friday said that “it will wait for the response of the World Health Organisation (WHO) over Covaxin recognition.” and cannot simply direct the Centre to revaccinate people with Covishield who are fully vaccinated with Covaxin against COVID-19.A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna said it cannot play with the lives of people by directing the Centre to permit people to voluntarily get vaccinated with Covishield vaccine even if they have been fully vaccinated with Covaxin. The top court said that it does not have any data of what will be effect on people and it cannot simply direct the Centre to re-vaccinate people with Covishield.“We cannot play with the lives of people by directing Centre to revaccinate. We don’t have any data with us. We have read in newspapers that Bharat Biotech has filed…

TOP NEWS UPDATES

Oman approves Covaxin COVID-19 vaccines for travel without quarantine

The Government of the Sultanate of Oman on Wednesday added Indian-made Covaxin to the approved list of COVID-19 vaccines for travel to the country without quarantine. Muscat [Oman] : “COVAXIN has now been added to the approved list of COVID-19 vaccines for travel to Oman without quarantine. This will facilitate travellers from India vaccinated with COVAXIN,” tweeted the Embassy of India in Muscat. “All passengers from India who have received two doses of Covaxin at least 14 days before the estimated arrival date will now be able to travel to Oman without the requirement of quarantine. All other COVID-19 related requirements/conditions, such as pre-arrival RT-PCR test shall be applicable for such passengers,” read the press release of the Indian Embassy.This notification will significantly ease travel to Oman for Indian nationals who have taken Covaxin. Passengers who have taken AstraZeneca/Covishield are already permitted to travel…

Corona Updates

Approval for Covaxin on basis of WHO meeting today: Mansukh Mandaviya

New Delhi [India] : Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday said that approval for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin will be given on the basis of the meeting which will be convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) today.“WHO has a system in which there is a technical committee which has approved it (Covaxin) while the other committee is meeting today. The approval for Covaxin will be given on the basis of today’s meeting,” said Union Health Minister during a press briefing here. Earlier this month, WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan had said that WHO’s technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider emergency use listing (EUL) for Covaxin.The WHO last week had said a vaccine recommended by it for emergency use must be evaluated thoroughly.“We are aware that many people are waiting for WHO’s recommendation for Covaxin to…

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WHO’s advisory group to meet on Oct 26 to consider Covaxin’s emergency usage

Geneva [Switzerland]: Dr Soumya Swaminathan, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief scientist on Sunday informed that WHO’s technical advisory group will meet on October 26 to consider emergency use listing (EUL) for Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin.Taking to Twitter, Swaminathan said the WHO has been working closely with Bharat Biotech to complete the dossier. “The technical advisory group will meet on Oct 26th to consider EUL for #Covaxin. @WHO has been working closely with @BharatBiotech to complete the dossier. Our goal is to have a broad portfolio of vaccines approved for emergency use & to expand access to populations everywhere,” Dr Swaminathan tweeted.Covaxin has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis and submitted additional information at WHO’s request on September 27.“Covaxin manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, has been submitting data to WHO on a rolling basis & submitted additional info at WHO’s request on…

Corona Updates

WHO: Mortality from COVID-19 around the world dropped to lowest level

The number of weekly coronavirus deaths worldwide continues to decline and is now at its lowest level in nearly a year. Geneva [Switzerland], October 14 : This was announced on Wednesday at a briefing in Geneva by the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, quoted by TASS. “The number of reported deaths from COVID-19 continues to decline and is now at its lowest level in nearly a year,” he said. However, this number is still unacceptably high – almost 50 thousand cases per week, and the real number is undoubtedly even higher,” said the head of the WHO.“Mortality is declining in all regions except Europe, where several countries are facing new waves of disease and death,” Gebreyesus said, stressing that mortality is highest in countries and populations that “have the least access.” to vaccines against COVID-19 ‘.To date, the WHO…

Corona Updates

WHO to give approval to Covaxin this month, say top health experts

New Delhi [India] : The decision on Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine, Covaxin Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organisation (WHO) is expected in October, informed the top health experts in the country on Saturday.Speaking to ANI, the experts said that the approval of the vaccine shouldn’t be delayed after reviewing the data. “Globally, the world is in need of vaccines and we have to ensure that this is a global war, and many countries are still not getting vaccinated. So we have to ensure that our vaccines should get the approval timely,” said Dr Naveet Wig, Chairperson of the COVID Task Force for AIIMS, Delhi.“WHO will give the approval soon as it is a ‘killed vaccine’ which has been approved earlier also by other names from other countries,” he added.Earlier on Friday, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, Delhi said, “We are hopeful…

TOP NEWS UPDATES

WHO to decide on Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin emergency usage in October

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday informed that the final decision on Bharat Biotech’s submission on emergency use listing (EUL) for its Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine will be made in October 2021. New Delhi [India] September 30 : The status of assessment for Covaxin is “ongoing” as of now, the WHO informed in a document citing the status of COVID vaccines. On the WHO website, the decision date for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is October 2021.Bharat Biotech had submitted EOI (Expression of Interest) on April 19 for its vaccine.The duration of the emergency use listing process depends on the quality of the data which is submitted by the vaccine manufacturer.The WHO has also asked for additional data from Bharat Biotech for Covaxin, sources from the WHO informed ANI.“There is a procedure of submitting the documents for approval, WHO’s emergency use authorization to Covaxin is expected…

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WHO further delays Covaxin clearance

Bharat Biotech has already completed the Phase 2/3 trials of Covaxin for use in children under 18 years of age. New Delhi, India, September 28 : Emergency use authorization (EUA) for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin has been further delayed by the World Health Organisation. The WHO has asked for more data from Bharat Biotech for the COVID-19 vaccine. The development comes after Bharat Biotech had said it has submitted all data required for clearance of Covaxin. Without the EUA, Covaxin will not be considered an accepted vaccine by most countries around the world, making it difficult for Indians who have taken the dose to travel internationally. Bharat Biotech has already completed the Phase 2/3 trials of Covaxin for use in children under 18 years of age and is expected to submit the data to the DCGI, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Ltd,…

Corona Updates

WHO to revive probe into COVID-19 origins: Report

The World Health Organization (WHO) is looking to revive an investigation into the origins of the COVID-19, a US media report said. Geneva [Switzerland], September 27 : The world health body is assembling a team of 20 scientists to hunt for new evidence, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported. According to the WSJ report, the new probe comes following an initial WHO inquiry found that that the data provided by Chinese scientists was insufficient to answer key questions about the virus’ origin.The report stated that the new team of scientists, which includes specialists in laboratory safety and biosecurity and experts in geneticists, may be charged with examining whether the novel virus emerged from a lab, as well as broader inquiries into future virus risks and the links with human behaviour.WHO believes that the new initiative will help accelerate a probe that risks running out…

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Bharat Biotech awaits feedback from WHO for COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin’s emergency use listing

Bharat Biotech on Friday said it has submitted all the data to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) of its COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin and is awaiting feedback from the UN Public Health Agency. New Delhi [India], September 17 : In a series of tweets, Bharat Biotech said that Covaxin clinical trial was fully compiled and available in June 2021. “#COVAXIN clinical trial data was fully compiled and available in June 2021. All Data was submitted for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) Application to World Health Organization in early July. We have responded to any clarifications sought by #WHO and are awaiting further feedback,” Bharat Biotech tweeted.As a responsible manufacturer with past approvals for its other vaccines, the company said it would not find it appropriate to speculate or comment on the approval process and its timelines, it further said.“We are continuing…

Corona Updates TOP NEWS UPDATES

WHO says monitoring new Covid variant named ‘Mu’ which shows signs of vaccine resistant

The new variant ‘Mu’ has mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to vaccines and stressed that further studies were needed to better understand it, said WHO. New Delhi , India, september 1 : The World Health Organization on Wednesday said it is monitoring a new contagious coronavirus variant known as “Mu”, which was first identified in Colombia in January. According to AFP report, the World Health Organization has said it is monitoring a new coronavirus variant known as “Mu”. The variant has mutations that indicate a risk of resistance to vaccines and stressed that further studies were needed to better understand it, said WHO. “The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” said WHO. There is widespread concern of the new coronavirus over the emergence of new mutations as infection rates are ticking up globally again.…

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China rejects need for further WHO coronavirus origins probe

China has opposed next-phase COVID-19 origins-tracing, saying that it is “inappropriate” that the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with the second phase of the study that focused on a lab-leak theory. Beijing [China], August 13 : In recent months, the lab-leak theory has gained great traction after the Biden administration pushed for a fresh intelligence probe into the virus origin. “The next-phase COVID19 origins-tracing should be carried out worldwide in countries where horseshoe bat and pangolins reside, and which supply Wuhan Huanan market through cold-chain logistics,” said Liang Wannian, a Chinese expert in the WHO-convened joint team on origins tracing, as quoted by Global Times.“It’s unacceptable and inappropriate that WHO came up with 2nd-phase of COVID19 origins-tracing that focused on a lab-leak theory, classified as extremely unlikely in the 1st-phase study, which ignored evidence and did not consult member states,” said China’s Health…

International

SARS-CoV-2 variants could be named after star constellations if Greek letters run out: WHO

London, Aug 8: Future variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, could be named after star constellations when Greek letters run out, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical chief for COVID-19, told The Telegraph. In late May, the WHO said that the strains of COVID-19 would be named with Greek letters in order to avoid associating them with certain territories and countries. There are 24 letters in the Greek alphabet. “We’re actually considering star constellations … We were going to go with Greek gods or goddesses, and I said please, please don’t make me say that publicly,” Van Kerkhove said. She confirmed that there was a real threat of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 mutations that could make existing vaccines ineffective.

Corona Updates

COVID-19 cases rising in Sri Lanka, says WHO

Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 2 : The World Health Organization (WHO) in Sri Lanka said that COVID-19 cases were rising globally including in Sri Lanka as the country had noted a rise in infected patients in recent weeks, local media reported Monday.The WHO in Sri Lanka, in an official tweet, said that this increase in patients globally and in the country was driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant, increased social mixing and mobility, inconsistent Public Health and Social Measures (PHSM), and inequitable vaccination. “Hard-won gains are in jeopardy and health systems are being overwhelmed,” the WHO in Sri Lanka said.Sri Lanka has in recent weeks recorded a high rise in patients with an average of over 2,000 COVID-19 patients being detected per day.Health officials said this was due to the highly contagious Delta variant spreading rapidly in the country.Sri Lanka presently has an…

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‘Mixing and matching of Covid vaccines may be dangerous’: WHO Chief Scientist

Geneva: The World Health Organisation’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan has advised people against mixing and matching Covid-19 vaccines, saying that it may be more dangerous.In an online briefing on Monday, Dr Swaminathan said, “It’s a little bit of a dangerous trend here. We are in a data-free, evidence-free zone as far as mix and match.” ”If citizens start deciding when and who will be taking a second, a third and a fourth dose, it will be a chaotic situation in countries,” she said. ”There are studies going on, we need to wait for that,” she added.

International

Delta Variant Continues To Evolve And Mutate; WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Warned

The world is in a very “dangerous period” of the COVID-19 pandemic compounded by more transmissible variants like Delta, which is continuing to evolve and mutate, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned. He said in countries with low vaccination coverage, terrible scenes of hospitals overflowing are again becoming the norm. “Compounded by more transmissible variants, like Delta, which is quickly becoming the dominant strain in many countries, we are in a very dangerous period of this pandemic,” Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Friday. “But no country is out of the woods yet. The Delta variant is dangerous and is continuing to evolve and mutate, which requires constant evaluation and careful adjustment of the public health response,” he said. Noting that the Delta variant has been detected in at least 98 countries and is spreading quickly in countries with low…

International

Delta variant to become dominant strain of Covid-19 in coming months: WHO

In its Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, the WHO said as of June 29, 2021, “96 countries have reported cases of the Delta variant, though this is likely an underestimate as sequencing capacities needed to identify variants are limited.” The World Health Organisation has said the Delta variant of Covid-19 is now present in nearly 100 countries as per conservative estimates, and warned that in the coming months the highly transmissible strain will become the dominant variant of the coronavirus globally. In its Covid-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update, the WHO said as of June 29, 2021, “96 countries have reported cases of the Delta variant, though this is likely an underestimate as sequencing capacities needed to identify variants are limited.”   A number of these countries are attributing surges in infections and hospitalisations to this variant. “Given the increase in transmissibility, the WHO warned that the Delta…