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Fresh Covid -19 cases and deaths in the northern states rise; Plasma jets found effective on coronavirus surfaces; India to get 100 million AstraZeneca vaccine shots by December;

India recorded 44,684 fresh cases of the coronavirus infections on Saturday, taking the nationwide tally to 8,773,479, according to the Union health ministry.

The ministry also said that the recovery rate has climbed to 92.97 percent. It has been observed that 77.83 percent of the new cases are concentrated in 10 states and union territories.

This currently brings the total number of active cases to 480,719, while 81,635,72 patients have been discharged from the hospitals so far.

While it has been noted that the Covid cases have risen in several northern states in the country in recent days, the deaths reported due to the infections have also increased in the states.

Maharashtra recorded the highest covid related deaths (1,554) Delhi recorded 728 covid deaths in the past ten days. The states of Haryana (169), Himachal (75), Punjab (185), and Uttarakhand (64), too, recorded a spurt in deaths over the last ten days. 

Meanwhile, on Friday, The World Health Organization said it would set up a global center for traditional medicine in India.

General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director, made the announcement through a video message. He said that this new center will support and implement the WHO traditional medicine strategy 2014- 2023, which focuses on helping and supporting countries developing policies and action plans to reinforce and bolster the role of traditional medicine as part of the journey for universal health coverage and a healthier and a safer world.

The WHO chief further went to laud Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his evidence-based promotion of traditional medicines and his commitment to the universal coverage under Ayushman Bharat.

The prime minister welcomed the announcement and expressed confidence that just like the nation is emerging as the ‘pharmacy of the world,’ the WHO institution will become a center of global wellness.

Deteriorating air quality in Delhi and surrounding areas and rise in Covid-19 cases.

Environmental air pollution and the deteriorating air quality in the national capital have coincided with the rise in Covid -19 cases.

A rise of 13 percent was seen in the Covid – 19 cases. Also, it increased the severity of virus infections among patients. 

The Indian Medical Association has expressed concern over the issue and said that the situation is grim for patients with respiratory illnesses and healthy people.

In the advisory, they requested people avoid morning walks since the pollution is at a peak during the time.

It also said that both the elderly and the children are more likely to develop infections and allergies due to the smog; low air quality aggravates asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, High blood pressure, and even cardiovascular diseases.

It also noted that N- 95 masks and air purifiers might not provide full protection until the issue of environmental pollution is directly tackled.

Plasma Jets effective against novel coronavirus on surfaces kills it within seconds: Study.

Meanwhile, in a study published in the Physics of Fluids journal, the researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the US used an atmospheric pressure plasma jet built with a 3D printer to spray surfaces that were treated with cultures of SARS- CoV-2.

When sprayed on the surfaces like metal, leather, and plastic, the novel coronavirus strains were killed in as few as 30 seconds of treatment with argon – fed, cold atmospheric plasma.

The spray successfully killed all the coronavirus on the surfaces in less than three minutes, and most of the virus was destroyed after 30 seconds.

It has been noted that the coronavirus can remain infectious on surfaces for many hours. Hence, the above findings show tremendous potential in halting the virus transmission cycle.

Plasma, a relatively new technology, has also proven effective in treatments in cancer, wound healing, dentistry, and other medical applications.

The researchers a similar test with helium – fed plasma on coronavirus but found it not to be effective even with treatements up to five minitues.

The researchers with the success of plasma are building a compact device that could be used widely to treat surfaces for the coronavirus. This is a safer and healthier option than the chemicals or other such treatments, they said.

India to get 100 million Astrazeneca vaccine shots by December.

Adar Poonawalla said that the Serum Institute of India may get an emergency authorization from New Delhi by December if the final – stage trial data shows Astrazenica’s vaccine gives effective protection from Covid -19.

The world’s largest vaccine maker is ramping up production of AstraZeneca‘s Plc’s Covid -19 shot, aiming to have by December 100 million doses for an inoculation drive that could begin in India.

The Chief Executive Officer of the family-owned business based in the western city of Pune said that the initial amount will go to India, a full approval early next year will allow distribution on a 50 -50 basis with the South Asian nation and Covax, a World Health Organization – backed body which is purchasing shots for the poor nations.

Poonawalla said, “We were a bit concerned it was a big risk, but both the AstraZeneca and Novavax’s shots are looking pretty good.”

However, there still remains plenty of hurdles as the global race to find an effective shot against the pathogen reaches its final stages.

Both Astra and the co-developer, the University of Oxford, still need to see the testing results.

Therefore, even if the vaccine proves effective and gets the regulators nod, it raises questions about how quickly and easily the shots can be distributed.

It will take until 2024 to vaccinate the entire world and almost two years to see a real reduction in infections due to affordability and manufacturing hurdle, Poonawala reiterated.

After talks with the government, their initial plans are to vaccinate the vulnerable and the frontline workers. He also mentioned that the real challenge will be to deliver it to India’s 1.3 billion population as past inoculation drives have been challenging, especially in the vast countryside due to patchy health networks.

While the race for an effective Covid -19 vaccine is gearing up, it will be challenging to manufacture and distribute it globally. The most vulnerable are the low economic countries, the poor, and people who are already suffering ailments and illnesses.


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