India’s coronavirus infections surged again yesterday, a day after falling to their lowest figure in almost a month.
In the last 24 hours, there were 83,347 new cases, with 1,085 deaths, federal health data showed.
India, with a population of about 1.4bn, has been consistently reporting the world’s highest daily tallies of infections, as it grapples with overstretched health services in the effort to control the pandemic.
Its 5.6mn coronavirus cases rank second only to the United States, and more than 90,000 people have died. Tuesday’s figure of 75,083 was the lowest since September 1, and yesterday’s total is below the record 97,894 hit on September 17.
But experts say it is still too early to tell if the first wave of the pandemic in the country has peaked.
“A drop over only a few days may not be significant,” said Giridhara R Babu, an epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India.
“We need to ensure that the increase in tests is sustained,” he said, adding that it would take at least another week to tell if cases in the country had really subsided.
Meanwhile, leading vaccine maker Bharat Biotech announced a licensing agreement with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis for a novel chimp-adenovirus, a single dose intranasal vaccine for Covid-19.
The Hyderabad-based company owns the rights to distribute the vaccine in all markets except the US, Japan and Europe.
While the Phase I trials will take place in Saint Louis University’s Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit, Bharat Biotech, upon obtaining the regulatory approval, will pursue further stages of clinical trials in India and undertake large-scale manufacture of the vaccine at its GMP facility located in Genome Valley, Hyderabad.
According to Bharat Biotech, this vaccine candidate has shown unprecedented levels of protection in mice studies; the technology and data having been recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell and in an editorial in Nature.
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