Saturday, 08 August 2020 - Imphal Times

By IT Correspondent
New Delhi, Aug 8:

Drug maker Zydus Cadila has started phase 2 clinical trials to establish the efficacy of its anti-coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine candidate, the company said in a statement.
“ Its plasmid DNA vaccine “ZyCoV-D”, to prevent Covid-19, has been found to be safe and well tolerated in the Phase I clinical trial. The doses of the vaccine administered to healthy volunteers in the Phase I clinical trial, which began on 15th July 2020, has been well tolerated,” Zydus Cadila said in a statement. 
The vaccine was found to be safe, immunogenic and well tolerated in the pre-clinical toxicity studies conducted on animals. The vaccine was able to elicit a high level of neutralizing antibodies in animal studies. The company received the central drugs controller’s approval for human trials on 2 July 2020. The Phase I dosing to establish the safety of ZyCoV-D is an important milestone,” Pankaj R Patel, chairman, Zydus Cadila, said. 
“All the subjects in Phase I clinical trial were closely monitored in a clinical pharmacological unit for 24 hours post dosing for safety and for 7 days thereafter and vaccine was found to be very safe. We now begin the Phase II clinical trials and look forward to evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine in a larger population,” he added. 
The Phase II study of ZyCoV-D will be conducted in over 1,000 healthy adult volunteers. “The 7 day safety of the vaccine in all the subjects enrolled in the Phase I clinical trial has been endorsed by the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), which has been constituted to oversee the safety aspects of the clinical trial,” the company said. 
According to the company, the vaccine candidate is safer because of its DNA vaccine platform, which requires injecting genetically engineered plasmid (small DNA molecule) containing the DNA sequence encoding the antigen(s) against which an immune response is sought. 
The platform provides ease of manufacturing the vaccine with minimal biosafety requirements (BSL-1). The platform is also known to show much improved vaccine stability and lower cold chain requirements, making it easy for transportation to remotest regions of the country. Furthermore, the platform can be rapidly used to modify the vaccine in couple of weeks in case the virus mutates to ensure that the vaccine still elicits protection,” the company said. 
The plasmid DNA, when introduced into the host cells. would be translated into the viral protein and will elicit a strong immune response mediated by the cellular and humoral arms of the human immune system, which play a vital role in protection from disease as well as viral clearance. The vaccine candidate was developed indigenously at the company’s Vaccine Technology Centre in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. 
Experts in the government have maintained that India will take the lead in manufacturing the Covid-19 vaccine when it is developed. “There we will take the lead as we have the requisite manufacturing capacity,” Niti Ayog member and also chairman of one of the national task forces on Covid-19 Dr VK Paul said. 
Meanwhile “Novavax” the US company is the latest in a long line of pharmaceutical companies to have shown encouraging results in the initial stages. In one study, 56 volunteers who were administered doses of the candidate produced a high level of antibodies without any side effects. In another trial it was found that the COVID-19 vaccine candidate protected monkeys against coronavirus. The Pune-based Serum Institute of India would have exclusive rights for the supply of the “Novavax” COVID-19 vaccine in India.

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IT News
Mumbai, Aug 8:

One of India’s most decorated pilots who served in the Indian Air Force (IAF), Captain Deepak Captain V. Sathe (58),who died, along with co-pilot First Officer Akhilesh Kumar and 18 passengers, in a tragic plane (Air India Express flight IX-1344) crash at Kerala’s Kozhikode (Calicut) airport on Friday evening. 
Wing Commander Sathe was an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA),Pune (Maharashtra) and flew Air India planes after retiring from IAF. He was commissioned into the IAF in 1981 and retired in 2003. Then he joined Air India and was operating the Airbus A310. Later he shifted to Air India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, where he was operating the Boeing 737, a narrow-bodied plane, the officials said. 
Sathe had won the Sword of Honour – one of the most prestigious military awards – at the Hyderabad Air Force Academy, and was an accomplished fighter jet pilot, before shifting to the commercial airlines. 
 ”Capt Sathe was from 58th course of NDA, Pune and was from Juliet Squadron. He passed out from Air Force Academy with Sword of Honour in June 1981 and was a fighter pilot in the IAF,” noted Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale (Retd) as he reminisced on his death. 
Group Captain Christopher (IAF) (retd), tweeted “Capt Sathe was the the topper of our course. Stood first and won the prestigious Sword of Honour on 11 Jun 1981. My his soul rest in peace”. 
His father was a brigadier in Indian Army, while his brother died in Kargil war. Capt Sathe was residing at Powai in North East Mumbai. He is survived by Wife, two sons and daughters-in- laws. 
The AI Express aircraft that crashed was a part of the government’s “Vande Bharat Mission” from Dubai to Kerala. According to reports, the tabletop runway was very slippery that caused the plane to skid off and fall into a gorge, splitting into two pieces. Capt Sathe had made a first attempt to land amid heavy rain, which he had to abort. He made a second attempt, during which the plane crashed, Civil Aviation Ministry sources said. 
“The instrument landing system guides a pilot till a certain height and then it is up to the pilot to see the runway touch point and decide on landing. The pilot has to assess whether he or she can complete the aircraft landing process after the touchdown,” said an air traffic control official. “When it rains heavily, as was the case in Kozhikode, the aircraft needs more runway length to finish the landing process because of the slippery surface.” 
The AI has arranged a special relief flight from Mumbai and Delhi for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and their family members. It has also established a passenger information centre and a toll-free number has been made available for the family or friends of those who may have been on board flight IX-1344. “The toll free number is 1800 2222 71. For those calling from outside, please call international country code,” it added. 
The death toll currently stands at 18, including both pilots, and at least 123 people, of the 191 onboard have been injured in the incident.

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IT Correspondent
Mumbai: Aug. 8:

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has made 14-day home isolation compulsory for all domestic passengers arriving in Mumbai and put a stamp on their left hand for identification. 
As per the latest order issued on 3 August 2020, by Additional Municipal Commissioner P Velrasu, this is as per standard operating procedure (SOP) formulated by Maharashtra Government on 25 May for all incoming domestic passengers. 
“Some instances have come to the notice that some government officials after landing in Mumbai show their government ID card and secure exemption. For exemption, it has to be made in writing to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  at least two working days before landing stating full details of the work and also justifying their request for home quarantine exemption,” the order read. 
The Maharashtra government had issued Standard Operating Procedures for passengers of domestic flights when services resumed after a gap of two months owing to the coronavirus- -induced nationwide lockdown. 
The guidelines stated that all passengers will be stamped and will have to go to 14-day home isolation. Aarogya Setu app on passenger’s smartphone is a must and passengers should not be from containment zones. The home quarantined will self-monitor their health. Local district/municipal administration has been authorised to give exemption from quarantine for contributing to an office or for other important work after checking passengers. 
The state government appointed the additional municipal commissioners in the state as the nodal officers for the purpose of enforcing the SOP norms and said every arriving air passenger will be required to declare after arrival that he/she has not been affected by Covid-19, neither shown any symptoms of Covid-19 nor resided in any containment zone. 
Maharashtra’s total number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 1,46,268 positive cases, including 3,05,521 recoveries and 16,476 deaths.

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