Coronavirus India Update: Amid claims by scientists that COVID-19 may be airborne, Indian Council of Medical Research today underscored the fact that physical distancing and use of masks remain important for people to avoid infection. Addressing media today, ICMR DG Balram Bhargava said COVID-19 is a droplet infection. There has been hypothesis and suggestions by several scientists that there may be some airborne transmission with microdroplets (less than 5 microns in size). However, “What remains important is physical distancing and use of masks.”
On the status of development of indigenous COVID vaccine, Bhargava said that there are two Indian indigenous candidate vaccines. They have undergone successful toxicity studies in rats, mice and rabbits. The data was submitted to DCGI following which both these got clearance to start early phase human trials early this month.
These candidates have got their sites ready and they are doing their clinical study on approximately 1000 human volunteers each at different sites, he said.
The ICMR DG also responded to questions on fast-tracking of the vaccine research citing similar instances in other countries.
Bhargava said the US has fast-tracked two of its vaccine candidates. The UK is also looking at how it can fast-track the Oxford vaccine candidate, how it can fast-track it for human use.
He further said that Russia has fast-tracked a vaccine which has been successful in its early phases. They have fast-tracked its development. China has fast-tracked its vaccine programme and has also fast-tracked its studies with that vaccine in China.
According to the Union Health Ministry, the total number of Coronavirus cases in India today is 9,06,752 and the death toll at 23,727. The ministry said that 571460 people have so far recovered from the infection. Maharashtra has most number of COVID-19 cases in the country. The number of cases in the state jumped to 2,67,665 on Tuesday with the addition of 6,741 new cases, the state’s health department said. There were 213 new deaths in a day. As many as 10,695 people has died due to Coronavirus in Maharashtra till now.