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US Covid-19 Death Toll Reaches Milestone of 500,000

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'Not Reviewed Any Traditional Medicine to Prevent Covid-19': WHO After Coronil Certification


The US stood Sunday at the brink of a once-unthinkable tally: 500,000 people lost to the coronavirus.

A year into the pandemic, the running total of lives lost was about 498,000  roughly the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and just shy of the size of Atlanta.

The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.

“It’s nothing like we have ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, said on CNN’s “State of the Union”.

The US virus death toll reached 400,000 on January 19 in the waning hours in office for President Donald Trump, whose handling of the crisis was judged by public health experts to be a singular failure.

The first known deaths from the virus in the US happened in early February 2020, both of them in Santa Clara County, California. It took four months to reach the first 100,000 dead. The toll hit 200,000 deaths in September and 300,000 in December. Then it took just over a month to go from 300,000 to 400,000 and about two months to climb from 400,000 to the brink of 500,000.

Joyce Willis of Las Vegas is among the countless Americans who lost family members during the pandemic. Her husband, Anthony Willis, died on December 28, followed by her mother-in-law in early January.

There were anxious calls from the ICU when her husband was hospitalised. She was unable to see him before he died because she, too, had the virus and could not visit.

“They are gone. Your loved one is gone, but you are still alive,” Willis said. “It’s like you still have to get up every morning. You have to take care of your kids and make a living. There is no way around it. You just have to move on.”

Then came a nightmare scenario of caring for her father-in-law while dealing with grief, arranging funerals, paying bills, helping her children navigate online school and figuring out how to go back to work as an occupational therapist.

Her father-in-law, a Vietnam vet, also contracted the virus. He also suffered from respiratory issues and died on February 8. The family isn’t sure if COVID-19 contributed to his death.

“Some days I feel OK and other days I feel like I’m strong and I can do this,” she said. “And then other days it just hits me. My whole world is turned upside-down.”

The global death toll was approaching 2.5 million, according to Johns Hopkins.

While the count is based on figures supplied by government agencies around the world, the real death toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of inadequate testing and cases inaccurately attributed to other causes early on.

Despite efforts to administer coronavirus vaccines, a widely cited model by the University of Washington projects the US death toll will surpass 589,000 by June 1.

“People will be talking about this decades and decades and decades from now,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Meet The Press”.

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Bharat Biotech completes phase 3 trial of Covaxin, reports 81% efficacy

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Bharat Biotech announced today that the Phase 3 trials of its COVID-19 vaccine known as Covaxin, India’s indigenous vaccine, demonstrated an almost 81% efficacy rate. The Phase 3 trials, made up of 25,800 subjects, were the largest ever clinical trials conducted in India in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research.

This comes after PM Modi kicked off Phase 2 of the COVID-19 vaccination drive by getting vaccinated himself with the Covaxin vaccine.

The data from the Phase 3 trials reveals that vaccines and placebos were given to the subjects in a 1:1 ratio and that the vaccine was well tolerated by the subjects receiving it, the company said. “Trials will continue to the final analysis of 130 confirmed cases in order to gather more data and evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine”, the company further added. 

“Today is an important milestone in vaccine discovery, for science and our fight against coronavirus. With today’s results from our Phase 3 clinical trials, we have now reported data on our COVID-19 vaccine from Phase 1, 2, and 3 trials involving around 27,000 participants,” Bharat Biotech head Krishna Ella said

The efficacy rate of the vaccine was determined through a first interim analysis of 43 cases of COVID-19. 36 of these cases belonged to the placebo group of the vaccine trial, meaning that out of the individuals given the vaccine, 7 contracted COVID-19, resulting in the estimate of 80.6% efficacy rate. Covaxin is one of the two vaccines approved by the Indian Government to be included in the Government vaccination drive, of which the first phase commenced on 16th January. However, Covaxin is India’s only indigenous COVID-19 vaccine.

A National Institute of Virology analysis claims that the Covaxin can potentially neutralize more effective and virulent strains of COVID-19 like the U.K. Strain. “Analysis from the National Institute of Virology indicates that vaccine-induced antibodies can neutralise the UK variant strains and other heterologous strains”, the company stated. 

“Bharat Biotech expects to share further details of the trial results as additional data become available. An additional interim analysis is planned for 87 cases, and the final analysis is planned for 130 cases. All data from the second interim and final analyses will be shared via pre-publication servers as well as submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication,” the company statement read.

Bharat Biotech expects to supply its Covaxin to other countries, with at least 40 countries expressing interest in it. Recently, Bharat Biotech confirmed that the company has signed an agreement with Brazil for the supply of 20 million doses of Covaxin.



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