Coronavirus: India third country where death toll crossed 4 lakh
India on Friday became the third country after the United States and Brazil to record over 4 lakh COVID-19 deaths. India's deaths per million population are one of the lowest among the worst-hit nations, however, experts surmise most infections and deaths have gone unrecorded in the country. Significantly, India is looking forward to approving more COVID-19 vaccines, even as vaccinations have slowed.
India reported 46K+ new cases, 850 more deaths today
According to the Union Health Ministry, till Friday morning, India reported a total of 3,04,58,251 COVID-19 cases. The death toll has reached 4,00,312. So far, 2,95,48,302 patients have recovered, while 5,09,637 cases involve active infections. In the past 24 hours alone, India recorded 46,617 new infections, 59,384 more discharges, and 853 fresh fatalities. 34,00,76,232 vaccine doses have been administered so far.
72% new cases concentrated in 5 states; 30% in Kerala
Maharashtra reported 9,195 new COVID-19 cases along with 8,634 more recoveries. Kerala, the second worst-hit state after Maharashtra, reported 12,868 new cases and 11,564 discharges. Meanwhile, the third worst-hit Karnataka added 3,203 new cases and 10,840 recoveries. Tamil Nadu, the fourth worst-hit state, reported 4,481 new cases and 5,044 recoveries. Andhra Pradesh reported 3,841 new cases and 3,963 recoveries.
India's vaccination rate dips; only 4.5% fully vaccinated
After hitting a record number of 86 lakh single-day COVID-19 vaccinations, the rate of inoculating people has slowed significantly, dropping as low as 17.21 lakh on June 27. On Friday, the Health Ministry reported that 42 lakh doses were administered over a single day. India has only managed to fully vaccinate roughly 4.5% of its population, while 21% has received at least one dose.
9 European countries green-light Covishield
Separately, nine European nations have added Covishield to their list of approved vaccines. These include seven European Union (EU) countries—Austria, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Slovenia, and Spain—and two non-member countries, Iceland and Switzerland. Covishield is manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Those vaccinated with the shot will now be exempt from travel curbs in these nations.
Sputnik Light: Panel says Russia's Phase III trial data enough
Meanwhile, the Subject Expert Committee of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has reportedly told the makers of Russia's vaccine Sputnik Light that it need not conduct separate Phase III trials in India. Data from the Phase III trials conducted in Russia would suffice, they said. Sputnik Light—essentially the first dose of Sputnik V—could be the first single-shot COVID-19 vaccine available in India.
Zydus Cadila seeks regulatory approval for DNA vaccine
Additionally, Zydus Cadila on Thursday applied to the DCGI for emergency use authorization (EUA) for ZyCoV-D, its plasmid DNA vaccine. The vaccine involves a three-dose regimen, with the second and third doses being administered 28 and 56 days after the first, respectively.