India did not witness huge Covid peak, says ICMR
September 16 2020 12:46 AM
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A healthcare worker puts a pulse oximeter on a woman’s finger to check her oxygen level during a survey for the coronavirus disease at a construction site of a railway track, in Babla village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, yesterday.

IANS/New Delhi

The Indian Council of Medical Research yesterday said India distributed the Covid-19 curve in such a way that it did not have many deaths and did not witness a huge peak.
The comments by ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava came against the backdrop of All India Institute of Medical Sciences Director Dr Randeep Guleria saying India was witnessing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in some areas.
“During the peak in Europe and the US, there were huge numbers of deaths. We took learning from that and were able to distribute the curve in such a way that we did not have those deaths. This was attributed to the lockdown. We were able to distribute the curve and did not have a huge peak at all,” Bhargava said at a press conference.
India yesterday reported 83,000 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s past 4.9mn.
The country’s overall Covid tally stands at 49,30,237 and 9,90,061 of them are active cases.
The ICMR chief said Indian drug companies Cadila and Bharat Biotech have completed Phase 1 of their vaccine candidates.
The Serum Institute of India’s “wants to start the Phase-3 trial, which will commence after clearance is given by the DCGI (Drugs Controller General of India),” Bhargava said.
Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, who was also at the press conference, said no one has presently applied for emergency authorisation of any vaccine.
Emergency authorisation is not only for vaccines but for drugs, with an existing provision in the Drugs and Cosmetic Act for this.
About Russia’s Sputnik vaccine, Bhushan said: “Russia has a good history of vaccine manufacturing and hence, we assume that this vaccine is also good. There is a dialogue going on between the high-level committee of the governments of India and Russia. We are trying to work out its mechanism.”
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has urged five states, where the positivity rate is higher than the national average, to ramp up testing.
The five states are Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Four of these states account for more than half (53.5%) of the number of active cases in the country.
Bhushan said that despite testing in high numbers, these states are not able to reduce the positivity rate.
“If the positivity rate remains high despite a large number of tests, then the states need to ramp up testing further. We have conveyed this to the administration of Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu,” Bhushan said.
“The number of tests conducted has to be seen in tandem with the rate of positivity reported, because the numbers on their own do not give any significant input to us,” he added.
Besides, the ministry also advised states having a positivity rate below the national average to maintain the momentum of their testing.
The ministry said the national positivity rate is 8.4%.
In comparison, the positivity rate in Maharashtra is 2.5 times the national average.
The state also has nearly one-third of the total active cases.

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