Restrictive voluntary license of COVID-19 antivirals compromises access, says Leena Menghaney

On the face of it, the agreement signed between the Medicines Patent Pool and the two pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer appear to be making it easy to access COVID-19 antiviral drugs molnupiravir and Paxlovid, respectively. Yet, the voluntary license restricts the countries and population that have easy access to the antivirals. It even restricts … Continue reading Restrictive voluntary license of COVID-19 antivirals compromises access, says Leena Menghaney

With nearly 45% vaccinated with one dose, India to finally resume exporting vaccines

India's decision to resume vaccine exports comes after the Government severely restricted exports in March and stopped them in mid-April. The renewed export drive will prioritise COVAX and neighbouring countries. In a welcome move to address the huge vaccine inequity globally, India will, from October, resume exporting much needed COVID-19 vaccines. The decision comes after the … Continue reading With nearly 45% vaccinated with one dose, India to finally resume exporting vaccines

India unlikely to witness a huge surge in cases in September

While NITI Aayog has predicted four-five lakh cases a day in September, the ground reality suggests otherwise. Daily cases in all States except Kerala have been steadily declining since the second wave peaked in early May. Unlike in other countries such as the U.S. which is witnessing a surge in cases caused by the Delta … Continue reading India unlikely to witness a huge surge in cases in September

New cases and deaths rising again globally

Ever since the new daily cases globally touched a new peak of over 0.9 million on April 28, the daily recorded cases have been steadily dropping before rising again from the fourth week of June. The highly transmissive Delta variant has been driving the cases in most countries. Brazil, India, Indonesia, the U.K and Colombia … Continue reading New cases and deaths rising again globally

India caught asleep at the wheel with Green Pass for Covishield

The definitive steps taken by the EU in issuing digital vaccination certificates since January this year was well known. Yet, it was only on June 29, two days before the Green Pass became effective in the European Union that India woke to reality. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted saying he had taken up the … Continue reading India caught asleep at the wheel with Green Pass for Covishield

India to meet WHO trans fat limit a year in advance

In mid-2016, India halved the trans fat content limit from 10% to 5%, and in December 2020, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) capped it to 3% by April 2021. Come January 1, 2022, India will join a select group of countries limiting industrial trans fat to 2% by mass of the … Continue reading India to meet WHO trans fat limit a year in advance

ACTREC’s automated tool makes SARS-CoV-2 genome mutation analysis easy

The IPD tool can automatically determine the abundance of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, carry out mutation analysis with respect to the Wuhan sequence and finally based on the mutations seen in each sample assign it to the respective phylogenetic clade. Assigning a sample to a phylogenetic clade is based on the complete profile of mutations seen … Continue reading ACTREC’s automated tool makes SARS-CoV-2 genome mutation analysis easy

Reneging on the ‘no-profit pledge’ to supply Oxford vaccine

After promising on multiple occasions that Oxford vaccine will be provided on a not-for-profit basis for the duration of the pandemic across the world, and in perpetuity to low- and middle-income countries, AstraZeneca came up with riders while signing an agreement with Brazil. And Serum Institute has been brazenly violating the spirit of the agreement … Continue reading Reneging on the ‘no-profit pledge’ to supply Oxford vaccine

With more vaccines than vaccinations, India exports Covishield before expiry date

Covishield has a shelf life of six months. Covishield has a shelf life of six months from the date of production. India is unlikely to ramp up the number of people vaccinated per day before the target date of July, and hence very unlikely to utilise all the 50 million doses manufactured by Serum before … Continue reading With more vaccines than vaccinations, India exports Covishield before expiry date

New challenges in conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials in India

Two COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for restricted use and daily fresh cases dropping since mid-September, which suggest slowing of the virus spread in India, will make recruitment for trials more challenging. Hence, many people who would have volunteered would not see the urgency now as earlier. On January 1, the Pune-based Serum Institute’s … Continue reading New challenges in conducting COVID-19 vaccine trials in India