IT Correspondent
New Delhi, August 22: 

At present, two vaccine candidates are at phase I and II clinical human trials in Indis. India’s first COVID-19 vaccine “ Covaxin”  has been developed by the Hyderabad-based vaccine maker-“Bharat BioTech”, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology (NIV), has "successfully completed" Phase-I human clinical trials of the vaccine and Phase-II will start soon.

Another vaccine developed by Zydus Cadila, dubbed as “ZyCoV-D”, vaccine commenced phase II clinical trials from August 6 onwards and was found to be safe and well tolerated in the phase I clinical trial.

The promising initial trial results of the vaccine developed by Oxford-Astrazeneca, were published by Oxford a couple of days back. The vaccine is now in the third phase of human clinical trials. It will be manufactured as “Covishield” by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India(SII). The SII plans to manufacture 20-30 lakh doses of “Covishield”.

On Wednesday, the during the presentation before the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Chief Balram Bhargava, indicated that the authorisation, at first could be granted to locally produced and manufactured vaccines. While admitting that under normal circumstances, vaccine trials could take anywhere between 6-9 months to complete, he said that if the authorities allow for it, vaccines could be used for emergency use.

The ICMR also informed the parliamentary committee that Bharat Biotech’s inactivated vaccine candidate, co-developed with the National Institute of Virology, and Zydus Cadila Ltd’s DNA plasmid vaccine are currently in phase 1 clinical trials. The ICMR is supporting both companies in parallel, pre-clinical studies on safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in non-human primates and lab assays for antibody detection and immunological response assessment.

While this will be the first time a vaccine could be issued emergency authorisation, treatment drugs and methodologies have been given fast approvals. Life-saving drug, “Remdesivir” was given fast track authorisation to be used in severe infection cases, to be administrated under hospital settings

Fast trials and administration won't really mean that it would be safe to use by all sections. Unless and until a vaccine is found to be safe for all age groups and provides protection for a longer time, it is not considered ideal for use. The same applies for “Covaxin” and “ZyCoV-D”. A lot of extensive studies and researches are needed before we pin our hopes on the indigenous vaccines.

The ICMR  is helping the SII in conducting phase II and III clinical trials for two COVID-19 vaccine candidates- developed by the University of Oxford  and US-based company Novavax and the vaccine developed by Oxford-Astrazeneca.  Besides, the ICMR is also helping “Zydus Cadila” conduct lab tests to detect antibody response.

“ZyCOV-D” (Zydus Cadila) and “Covaxin” (Bharat BioTech), which are currently, in the middle of phase II of trials have also shown promising results in early studies. A third vaccine, is also in critical stages of development, although no other details have been revealed as of yet.

By IT Correspondent
New Delh, August 12:

A healthcare start up at IIT-Madras and HELYXON, have developed the devices called OXY2 which serve as a remote patient monitoring solution and act as a force multiplier in the healthcare system.

The device is completely self-contained, portable, wireless and can be clipped on to patient’s finger and data is streamed to a mobile phone(via Bluetooth) or central monitoring system(from phone to system via the internet). The temperature is measured at the user’s armpit, whereas blood oxygen level, and other parameters are measured at the finger.

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, demands for miniaturized, affordable and clinically accurate devices for monitoring health parameters such as temperature, oxygen saturation, respiration rate and heart rate has been also been rising. The IIT-Madras has started providing such indigenously-developed devices to government and private hospitals.

The device which is powered by a coin-cell battery is meant to serve as a replacement for large patient monitors that are used in hospitals, for a fraction of the cost. “This is a medical device that replaces large patient monitors that cost about 1lakh Rupees. While there are many similar offerings in the market, our devices can provide clinically accurate results. With remote monitoring, the doctors and healthcare staff can get the results without even getting anywhere near the patients,” Prof Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC), IIT Madras said.

Priced between Rs.2500 -10,000, depending on which of the four parameters they can measure and how the device is configured, they can be used at home, hospitals, COVID care centres and other facilities, as it can be easily worn. When in close proximity to a smartphone, the Bluetooth-enabled device would show the physiological parameters on a dedicated app on iOS or Android. There is the option to fix a threshold to the parameters and in case of a breach, it can be notified to the emergency contacts. Likewise, remote monitoring is also possible, thus making it possible for a centre to measure data from hundreds or thousands of individuals.

When asked about the certification and validation process for the device, Prof. Sivaprakasam said that it is CE certified as a safe electronic device. ”This is a non-invasive device and since the safety is proven and validated it is free to be marketed. There is no special certification for no-invasive devices in India. But we have tested out results with the larger machines that are used in hospitals and found the results to be very reliable” .

The device can be used by vulnerable groups, Covid-19 patients, and those who have even recovered from the virus, just to be sure and safe of their parameters, all through the day, without needing to risk visiting a hospital, he added.

IT News

Imphal, Aug 5:

Panic strikes employees as well as visitors and non-COVID patient undergoing treatment at JNIMS after a group of asymptomatic COVID-19 positive people undergoing treatment at COVID Care Center today came out of their room and staged protest in front of the Director’s office.

According to report, at around 11 am today a group of COVID-19 positive asymptomatic patient numbered around 20 gathered in front of the JNIMS Director office and staged protest as they were not satisfied with the kind of facilities provided to them. They protest about untimely and irregular service of mess and other care facilities.

When Imphal Times contacted the officials of JNIMS, the authority said that the matter has been settled. When asked about the demand of the patients, it has been told that the patients (asymptomatic) at the COVID Care Center, JNIMS have been provided the same catering service that has been served to other non-COVID patients undergoing treatment at different wards of the hospital.

“This catering service was not satisfied by the patients at CCC wards”, the authority said and added that they have demanded a better quality food for them. The authority said that they cannot provide special treatment like providing special food for them as the hospital does not have separate provision to provide separate food for COVI-19 positive people.

The matter was however settled after the COVID-19 positive patient had a talk with the Additional Director of JNIMS. But details of the agreement reached between them could not be known.

Meanwhile, visitors and non COVID patients as well as those working in the hospital panic as those people tested with COVID-19  came out as there are possibility of spreading the virus to others. 

IT News
Imphal, August 4:

Women Action for Development has expressed its discontentment to learn the untimely demise of a pregnant woman in Manipur amidst COVID-19 pandemic.
A press release by the Women body said “Since the hospitals in the state are entirely occupied for treating the COVID patients, other non COVID patients and pregnant women in particular are facing the hardships at the most during this time, especially those in the containment zones. The state Health department must take up necessary arrangements to deal with such issues during the pandemic. “ 
“We truly are thankful to the front-liners for their devotion to help cure the COVID patients but at the same time , doctors to treat non Covid patients are to be assigned separately. If not then the probabilities of death among the non COVID patients will be higher than that of the death of non COVID patients due to the lack of such urgent medical facilities specially required by the pregnant women for delivery which cannot be stopped or postponed, “ it added.
WAD working for the course of women and children deeply show concern and sorrow about the death of women while giving birth during this pandemic, Longjam Basanti (34) and Thoudam (O) Malemnganbi, both from Thoubal district. Mention may be made, under the Indian Governmental scheme of women’s health, which are broadcasted every time at the radio ( Angang Unnaba basi di hospital khwai dagi   henna phare ), needs to be restored amidst the pandemic, if not than the numbers of maternal deaths will increase in the coming days. WAD also has information of 8 pregnant women in I / E who may be expecting the delivery in the couple of weeks and months.
The press release further said “We have been informed by the ASHAS from different districts, that most of the pregnant women belong to really poor families with no proper food and care since they are the daily wage earners and could not work during the lockdown. The state must be inclined to give the other non COVID patients and pregnant women, specifically, the assurance that they would be taken care on medical grounds.”
WAD urged the government to provide temporary maternity hospital and special gynae ward at every district which can be access to the needy women, to identify the pregnant women and nursing mothers in every district and provide them proper supplementary nutrition and other health care essentials, to announce the citizens, the medical facilities implemented by the State government to treat the non-COVID patients during this pandemic, to initiate helpline numbers to handle other such medical emergencies specially for the delivery of child, to arrange a well equipped ambulance with a team to meet the needs of medical emergencies and delivery cases as such and to assign  separate doctors and nurses  to  attend the delivery of child and non COVID patients.

According to a press report a few days back, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Range, Pravin Gurung of Sikkim Police removed barricades put up by villagers and localities to prevent people from entering their respective areas fearing the spread of the virus due to the surge in Covid 19 cases in the state, terming the act of putting up barricades by citizens in different localities as illegal while appreciating the high level of awareness of the locals and the precautions they have taken. While the above instance is not a one off incident, the police officer acted responsibly and prevented further inconvenience and possible misfortune due to restricted movements in case of emergencies in the state. In fact the practice of putting up unauthorized barricades in localities and colonies by the local residents have seen a sharp rise with the surge in Covid 19 cases throughout the country, and with the added apprehension of community spread of the contagion, the sense of uncertainty and suspicion of ‘outsiders’ has taken on a more accusatory overtone.
What exactly is the logic behind putting up such unauthorized barricades in localities? Are they really helping in slowing down or preventing the spread of Covid 19? Exactly who are the people the residents are trying to prevent from entering their respective localities? Does the ‘ban’ include persons engaging in ‘essential services’ or are there some local mechanism to monitor the movement of these persons? What about the residents going out of their barricaded localities? Or, has arrangements been made by the locals so that the needs of the less affluent residents are also looked after while imposing a blanket ban on movements in these localities? Considering the mandate and influence the local Clubs enjoy, are these barricades erected with their support or supervision? Has there been even the slightest hint of suspicion that only ‘outsiders’ are at risk of spreading the contagion? What is the view or stand of the state government in this regard? Is this just another example of relegating greater power to the people or yet another instance of failure to implement proper protocols and legal guidelines?
When a locality or residential area is declared containment zone, the local police will put up barricades, often yellow painted metallic ones on wheels, two-layers deep and overlapping if possible, completely restricting the entry and exit of all vehicles. No vendors, milk suppliers, household help, drivers or nannies will be allowed to enter, and residents will not be allowed to exit the building or locality. There will be constant police vehicles on patrol on the main roads, in addition to police personnel permanently stationed at the barricade itself. In case of an emergency, people are expected to alert the police and help will be sent. If needed, ambulances will be sent to take the patient to a nearby hospital. All essential goods vendors will have to leave the deliveries at the barricade gates and residents will be called to come and collect the packages one by one. All other unessential, civilian movement has been banned. Everyone has to wear a mask when they step out of their front doors now. This is compulsory by government order as well. Any non compliance will be dealt with strictly and according applicable laws.
Barricades are and should be the last resort of the state authorities to contain and fight the contagion. The dreaded virus does not differentiate between an ‘insider’ and an ‘outsider’. What we should understand as responsible individuals and citizens is that instead of creating more inconveniences and even potential danger in case of emergencies, we should follow the safety guidelines strictly and avoid exposing ourselves to the risks of contracting the virus. If each one of us does our bit, there will not be any necessity for barricades and bans. We are the ones who will determine the next course of action against the dreaded contagion and thereby decide its fate.

IT News
Imphal, Aug 4:

Spraying of Hypochlorite solution to kill the novel coronavirus by various club members at various places will not kill novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 to people but rather it would harm human health, said Dr. Sasheekumar Mangang , Additional Health Director of Manipur said in a facebook post.
He said that SAR-CoV 2 that causes COVID-19 is found in the human body particularly at the throat and nose. These virus come out in groups of 5 while sneezing or speaking. These virus can’t stay in the atmosphere and travel too long. However, there are opinions of some experts that these virus travel for around 25 feet inside a room. But in real life situations, they can’t survive long in the atmosphere either at roads or surroundings. Once they come out from the human body they become weaker and can’t infect to human.
The additional director health, who is also the spokesperson, said that spraying the Hypochlorite in bulk people may inhale it and that may cause cancer to the human being. Once sprayed the virus than the chemical will stay long in the environment. Animals like cows or other herbivorous animals may get infected after consuming grasses from such areas. Not only the animals but children who play at the area may get affected by the chemicals.
Dr. Sasheekumar further said that Hypochlorite has its role and it can be only sprayed at narrow lanes under the strict supervision of the medical experts as the chemical could harm human life. He appealed people not to spray the Hypochlorite in bulk at roads, fields, and grounds as it only affects the environment and human life.
The Additional health director also appealed to stop infodemic which is being associated with the pandemic. Various unconfirmed news is being circulated at social media causing inconveniences to people. This spread of false news should be stopped as it creates more problems in dealing with the virus, Dr. Sasheekumar said.

IT News
Imphal, Aug. 3: 

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh inaugurated a 300 bedded Covid Care Centre (CCC) at Manipur Trade and Expo Centre, Lamboi khongnang khong in Imphal West District today.
Briefing the media persons, Chief Minister stated that there is evidence of local transmission of COVID-19, however there is no community transmission of the disease in the State. He maintained that awareness among the people is very much needed to contain further spread of the disease. He also appealed to the people to come out openly for early treatment instead of concealing their COVID-19 status if tested positive.
The Chief Minister said that presently, a total of 300 beds have been installed in the CCC, Lamboi khongnang khong and it will be upgraded to a 1000-bedded Centre as it has enough space for extension. He appreciated the Health Department and other officials for setting up the Covid Care Centre so that infected people can get timely treatment.
Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar and Health Minister L. Jayantakumar, Chief Secretary Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Principal Secretary (Health) V. Vumlunmang, Director (Health) Dr. K. Rajo and other officials were present during the function.

IT News

Imphal, July 31:

The number of fatalities due to COVID-19 in the state of Manipur today reached 5 with one more patient who have been undergoing treatment at COVID Care Center JNIMS succumbed early today morning.

The first fatal case of COVID-19 occurred on early morning of July 29 and since then the number keeps rising, reaching 5 in three days.

According to report, the 5th COVID-19 victim died at around 4.30 am today. He has been undergoing treatment at COVID Care Center JNIMS since last Wednesday after he was tested positive in a private clinic. The deceased has been identified as MD. Sajad Ahamad from Lilong in Thoubal district.

So far all those who died of COVID-19 are all male. The first COVID-19 victim who died reportedly contracted the virus inside RIMS where he has been undergoing treatment. Health department statement said that among the 3 who died yesterday are due to co-morbid health conditions and COVID -19.

Until yesterday the total number of positive COVID-19 cases was 2505 and among these 1672 have been reported recovered leaving the number of active COVID case to 829. The number is expected to rise today.  

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