The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified the Delta, a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in India, as a “variant of concern”
A study by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday revealed that the third wave of the pandemic is not more likely to disproportionately affect children than adults.
The SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity rate among children was just as high as compared to the adult population in an interim study that involved 4,509 participants from five locations in four states.
Seropositivity is a percentage estimate of the number of people with antibodies towards the and hence a past infection.
Out of 4,509 participants for whom data is available, 700 were less than 18 years of age, and 3,809 were aged 18 and above.
Earlier today, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified the Delta, a highly transmissible variant first identified in India, as a “variant of concern”.
“The B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.427 (Epsilon), B.1.429 (Epsilon), and B.1.617.2 (Delta) variants circulating in the United States are classified as variants of concern. To date, no variants of high consequence have been identified in the United States,” the CDC said in a statement on Tuesday.
This comes a day after Maharashtra’s state health department warned during a meeting on Wednesday warned that the “Delta plus” variant of could trigger a third wave of the pandemic in the state. Officials warned that the third wave could hit the state as early as the next two to four weeks if people do not follow -appropriate behaviour.
“The number of active patients could reach up to eight lakh, while 10 percent out of them could be children,” said the department in a presentation attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, reports Mint.
“The Delta plus variant could stoke the third wave in Maharashtra. It could spread at double the rate,” an official told the publication.
Meanwhile, on the vaccine front, Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is reportedly planning to start clinical trials of the Novavax vaccine for children in July.
SII is yet to receive raw materials from the US needed to produce the Novavax vaccine, Mint reported, citing unnamed officials.
The launch of the Novavax vaccine, to be produced by SII under the brand name Covovax, is likely to not take place before September as planned earlier, the official said.
This will be the fourth vaccine to undergo a clinical trial for children. As Firstpost had reported earlier, two vaccines developed by Bharat Biotech and one by Zydus Cadila are already conducting clinical trials involving children.
This, as India reported a single-day rise of 67,208 new infections taking the total tally of cases to 2,97,00,313, while the active cases declined to 8,26,740, the lowest after 71 days, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.
The toll due to the virus climbed to 3,81,903 with 2,330 fresh fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.
Also on Thursday, weeks after announcing the cancellation of Class 12 Boards, CBSE submitted before the Supreme Court its evaluation criteria for awarding marks for Class XII exams.
The Class XII results will be decided on the basis of performance in Class 10 (30 percent weightage), Class 11 (30 percent weightage) and Class 12 (40 percent weightage) collectively, CBSE told the apex court.
Second wave may have caused economic output loss of Rs 2 lakh crore: RBI
The devastating second wave of the pandemic in April-May is estimated to have cost the nation Rs 2 lakh crore in terms of output, revealed an assessment made by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The second wave’s toll is mainly in terms of the hit to domestic demand on account of regional and specific containment rather than a nationwide lockdown, it said.
“The impact of the second wave is hence estimated at about Rs 2 lakh crore of lost 2021-22 output,” said a recent article on the ‘State of Economy’, written by functionaries of the central bank.
Moreover, the second wave has fanned into smaller cities and villages, sapping rural demand. The support from government spending may also moderate from the extraordinary expansion undertaken last year, it said.
Debate on vaccine passports must focus on equity, says India
India on Thursday said the ongoing global debate on “vaccine passports” for international travel needs to be linked to the issue of vaccine equity as many developing countries have not been able to vaccinate a large percentage of their population against .
The assertion by India comes after the Japanese government announced that it will make “vaccine passports” available from next month for Japanese travellers.
Asked about Japan’s decision, its implications and whether India would be issuing such “passports“, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said there was no information with him about India issuing any “vaccine passport”.
There is an ongoing global debate on the issue of “so-called vaccine passports”, he said and added that India feels that this has to be linked to the larger issue of vaccine equity given that many developing countries have not yet been able to vaccinate a large percentage of their population against COVID.
Bharat Biotech denies reports of submitting Phase 3 trials data to WHO
Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, which has developed India’s indigenous vaccine COVAXIN, on Thursday denied reports it has submitted phase 3 trial data of the vaccine to the World Health Organization (WHO) for its approval.
The news reports on Bharat Biotech submitting Phase-3 data to WHO is incorrect and lacks any evidence.
— BharatBiotech (@BharatBiotech) June 17, 2021
Earlier, there were reports that Bharat Biotech submitted COVAXIN’s phase 3 trial data to WHO, with the global health body set to review its application for approval on 23 June.
Reports say ‘excess deaths’ several times more than reported COVID fatalities
Various newspaper reports from states like Assam, Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu indicated that the actual death count from may be much higher than the officially reported numbers.
Excess deaths are defined as the difference between the observed numbers of deaths in specific time periods (say a pandemic) and the average numbers of deaths in the same time periods as observed in past.
The sudden swell in the number of fatalities, if any, can provide information about the actual burden of mortality which may have escaped official counts, reports said.
A report in The Hindu newspaper said the number of “excess deaths” registered by the Civil Registration System (CRS) in Tamil Nadu ever since the pandemic hit (from April 2020 to May 2021) is 6.2 times the official reported figure of 24,232 deaths.
A similar comparison from Assam, reported in Scroll revealed that Assam reported 77,845 deaths, or 55 percent more than the usual number, in four months of 2020 that coincided with the first wave of in the state, government data shows.
The excess mortality was 30 times the official death toll in these months.
Likewise, according to a report in The News Minute, in Karnataka over 3.37 lakh deaths from all causes were reported between 1 January and 15 June this year, according to its civil registration system (CRS).
While in 2019 there were 2.35 lakh deaths in this six-month period, the state saw 2.24 lakh deaths between January and June in 2018.
While not all of these ‘excess’ deaths may be due to , a majority are likely to be, the report quoted experts as saying.
Ramdev booked for spreading false information about medicines
Police in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur have registered FIR against yoga guru Ramdev for allegedly spreading “false” information about the medicines being used by the medical fraternity for the treatment of , a police official said on Thursday.
The case was filed on Wednesday night against Ramkrishna Yadav alias Baba Ramdev based on a complaint filed by the Chhattisgarh’s unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Raipur’s Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Yadav said.
Ramdev has been booked under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and others of the IPC and provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005, he said.
Further investigation into the matter is underway, Yadav added.
With inputs from PTI
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.