Expert group meets vaccine makers

It gets inputs on present stage of various candidate vaccines being developed by indigenous manufacturers

August 17, 2020 11:01 pm | Updated 11:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

File photo for representational purpose.

File photo for representational purpose.

The National Expert Group on COVID Vaccine Administration met leading domestic vaccine manufactures — Serum Institute of India , Bharat Biotech, Zydus Cadila , Gennova Biopharmaceuticals and Biological E — here on Monday.

“The meeting provided the Group with inputs about the present stage of various candidate vaccines being developed by the indigenous manufacturers. Companies also presented their expectations from the Union government,” noted a statement issued by the Health Ministry.

COVID testing

Releasing figures about the coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) testing in the country, the Ministry said India’s cumulative testing had risen from 1.2 crore on July 14 to 3 crore on August 16, with the positivity rate registering a rise from 7.5% to 8.81% in the same period.

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It added that although the higher number of tests would push the positivity rate initially, but as the Delhi experience had shown, it would eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, tracking and timely clinical management.

The Ministry added that India had now conducted 3 crore tests, aided by the expanded diagnostic lab network and facilitation for easy testing across the country.

“We conducted 7,31,697 tests in the last 24 hours. We are now planning to increase our testing capacity to 10 lakh tests daily. Building on this achievement, the Tests Per Million [TPM] have seen a sharp increase to 21,769,” said the release.

Effective management

It maintained that early identification of cases has helped to ensure timely and prompt isolation of the mild and moderate cases and hospitalisation of the severe and critical cases, thereby leading to timely and effective management of cases.

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Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, presiding over the inaugural session of the two-day CII Public Health conference on Monday, said the pandemic had given us a chance to revisit and structurally re-imagine a robust public health infrastructure for our country.

“COVID has also exposed gaps in our system and showcased our under-investment in our overall public health infrastructure. We need to develop a cohesive strategy to address the issues we are facing. Our priority needs to be focused on the improvement of rural healthcare infrastructure through government facilities and nursing homes, along with improved manpower, while developing our district level capabilities,” chairman, CII Public Health Council and Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Randeep Guleria said.

‘Augment infrastructure’

Though Ayushman Bharat has served the people effectively, there are several supply side concerns that need to be addressed, said Vinod Paul, member, NITI Aayog. He added that there was a need to augment our healthcare infrastructure and try to reach 2 beds per 1,000 people by 2025.

“The private healthcare sector needs to play a more pivotal role about training specialists, doctors and high-quality nurses to ensure that we achieve a robust and cohesive healthcare infrastructure,” he added.

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