India reported a spike of 3,525 COVID-19 cases and 122 deaths on Wednesday, taking the total number of cases to 74,281 and deaths to 2,415. The country has 47,480 active cases, the Health Ministry said.
In a release, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said nine States/Union Territories had not reported any case in the last 24 hours. “These include the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Ladakh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mizoram. Also, Daman and Diu, Sikkim, Nagaland and Lakshadweep have not reported any cases till now,” he said. The testing capacity had increased to one lakh a day, he said. “Cumulatively, 18,56,477 tests have been done so far.”
According to the State Health Departments, the number of positive cases is 77,553 and the death toll is 2,528. Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continue to have the most number of confirmed cases.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said in a release that it “has fast-tracked the rollout of the global ‘Solidarity’ trial launched by the World Health Organisation to help find an effective treatment for COVID-19”.
“Four potential anti-viral agents — Remdesivir, Chloroquine/Hydroxychloroquine, Lopinavir-Ritonavir and Lopinavir-Ritonavir with Interferon (beta-1a) — are to be evaluated in the trial,” ICMR Director-General Balram Bhargava said, adding that the trial had started recruiting patients.
Sheela Godbole, senior scientist, National AIDS Research Institute, and national co-ordinator for the ‘Solidarity’ trial in India, said the regulatory and ethical approvals had already been obtained and clinical trial sites had started recruiting patients. “Till now, a total of nine sites have been approved,” she added.
The ICMR noted that the ‘Solidarity’ trial provided for simplified procedures to help even overloaded hospitals participate. ‘Solidarity’ is an international clinical trial to compare four treatment options against the standard of care to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19.
“By enrolling patients in multiple countries, the ‘Solidarity’ trial aims to rapidly discover whether any of the drugs slows disease progression or improves survival. Importantly, this initiative provides for both speed and scale,” the ICMR said.
It added that over 100 countries requested participation in the trial to find effective therapeutics as soon as possible. The participation of multiple clinical trial units/hospitals in multiple countries would ensure enrolment of adequate participants in the shortest possible time. “This will help fast-track identification of correct treatment options for COVID-19,” the release said.