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Vice President Venkaiah Naidu tests positive for Covid-19

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has tested positive for Covid-19, his office said on Sunday.

Naidu, who is currently in Hyderabad, has decided to remain in self-isolation for a week.

According to a tweet from the official Twitter handle of the Vice President’s Secretariat, he has advised all those who came in contact with him to isolate themselves and get tested.

He had arrived in Hyderabad on January 21 from Visakhapatnam after a three-day visit to the port city.

Naidu had reached Visakhapatnam on January 19 from Vijayawada by a special train. He had attended 73rd annual national conference of Indian Psychiatric Society on January 20. The next day, he attended the first convocation of Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy and the same day, he reached Hyderabad.

He was staying at his residence in Hyderabad. Earlier on Sunday, he offered floral tributes to the portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 125th birth anniversary.

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Covid situation under control in Telangana: Minister

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The Covid-19 situation in Telangana is under control and the state health department is ready to deal with any situation, Health Minister T. Harish Rao said.

The state Cabinet at its meeting presided over by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao discussed the Covid-19 situation in the state.

The Health Minister briefed the Cabinet on the situation with all the facts and figures. He said that the situation is in control and that the medical and health department is fully geared to tackle any situation.

Harish Rao said the state has so far administered five crore doses of Covid vaccines.

The health department will soon administer vaccines to the remaining eligible citizens.

The minister directed the officials to complete the vaccination programme at the earliest with the help of municipal and Panchayat Raj departments.

The chief minister wanted the ministers to hold meetings in all districts with district collectors and other officials to complete vaccination programme.

The health minister urged people to be self-discipline to help curb spread of Covid. He said people should avoid gatherings so that the virus spread can be checked.

The Cabinet also took stock of the paddy procurement. It noted that the procurement has already completed but due to unseasonal rains procurement centres were continuing in some districts.

The Cabinet decided that the procurement centres will function till the entire paddy is procured.

It was also decided that the chief minister will visit undivided Warangal district where unseasonal rains have damaged crops.

Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao will visit Warangal district on Tuesday. He will be accompanied by agriculture minister Niranjan Reddy, chief secretary Somesh Kumar and other officials.

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Keerthy Suresh also tests positive for Covid-19

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Actress Keerthy Suresh, one of the top actresses in the Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam film industries, on Tuesday announced that she had tested positive for Covid-19.

Taking to social media, Keerthy said, “Hi everyone, I have tested positive for Covid 19, experiencing mild symptoms, despite taking all necessary precautions and safety measures, which is a scary reminder of the rate at which the virus is spreading.

“Please follow all the Covid safety norms and stay safe. I am currently in isolation and under safe care. Those who came in close contact with me, kindly do get tested.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please take your vaccines at the earliest to avoid severe symptoms and for the better health of you and your loved ones.

“Hoping for a speedy recovery and will be back in action soon.”

There has been a sudden spurt in the number of celebrities from the Tamil and Telugu film industries testing positive for Covid ever since the new year began and Keerthy is the latest south Indian actor to announce that she has tested positive for Covid.

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Thaman tested positive for Coronavirus

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Top music director Thaman has been in sensational form and is working without breaks. He is working for some of the top South Indian projects and he is currently focused on Mahesh Babu’s Sarkaru Vaari Paata and Pawan Kalyan’s Bheemla Nayak. The top composer is tested positive for coronavirus and he is in isolation. Ever since the pandemic started, Thaman was extra cautious and he was spotted with a mask in public events and functions. Recently Mahesh Babu got tested positive for coronavirus and he is recovering. Manchu Lakshmi is tested positive for Covid-19 and the spread is huge all over. Wishing Thaman a speedy recovery.

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70% of Covid cases in Telangana may be Omicron

More than 70 per cent of Covid-19 cases being detected in Telangana may be cases of Omicron as the new variant has already spread in the community, a top health official said on Thursday.

“Omicron is already in the community. Our estimates are that more than 70 per cent are Omicron cases. We cannot do genome sequencing for all,” said director of public health and family welfare Dr G. Srinivasa Rao.

The official warned that a bigger surge in cases in Telangana is likely after the Sankranti festival this month.

The official said the number of cases increased with New Year and maximum number of infections are being reported from Greater Hyderabad.

The state has witnessed a four-fold jump in the number of cases during the last five days. On Wednesday, the state reported 1,520 new infections.

Telangana had reported 1,052 new cases on Tuesday. This was after a gap of more than six months the state’s Covid tally had crossed 1,000. The positivity rate is more than three per cent.

The director of public health said in case of any symptoms people should approach the doctor instead of self medication. Reiterating that the department is geared up to tackle the third wave, he said two crore Covid testing kits and more than a crore home isolation kits were ready.

As part of the measures to tackle the third wave, the department has canceled leaves of all healthcare workers. The staff will not be granted leave for next four weeks.

Srinivasa Rao said despite the state logging hundreds of cases every day, the impact was not severe. No significant increase in hospital admissions was noted. Even those found infected by the new variant are recovering in five days.

The genome sequencing test is being conducted only for those samples collected from Covid positive among air passengers from at-risk countries and about two per cent random samples taken from the travelers coming from non-risk countries.

The state has so far reported 94 Omicron cases. Of them 43 have recovered while the remaining are currently under treatment.

Stating that the treatment protocol is not different for Omicron, the officials said there was no need to differentiate between Omicron and other variants.

Srinivasa Rao said the coming four weeks will be critical as a bigger surge is likely this month. He, however, hoped that the surge may subside in the middle of February.

He appealed to all to abide by the guidelines issued by the government to check the spread of Covid. Stating that protection from virus is in the hands of people, he said they should always wear masks, maintain social distance, frequently wash hands and take vaccines.

The health department has set the target of 100 per cent vaccination of the second dose by January 26. The state has already administered doses to 10 per cent of the children in the age group of 15-18. The department has now decided to reach out to children to give the vaccine.

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‘Annaatthe’ actress Meena, family members test positive for Covid

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Tamil actress Meena, who was most recently seen in the Rajinikanth-starrer ‘Annaatthe’, has announced that she has tested positive for Covid-19.

The actress took to social media to make the announcement.

She wrote, “First visitor to my home in 2022, Mr Corona. It liked my entire family. But I’m not letting it stay. Beware people. Please stay safe and healthy. Be responsible and don’t let it spread. Keep us in your prayers.”

Sources say that besides Meena, but her husband Vidyasagar, mother Rajmallika and daughter Nainika, who has acted in popular films such as Vijay’s ‘Theri’ and Arvind Swami’s ‘Bhaskar Oru Rascal’, also tested positive for the virus.

The actress and her family members have taken precautionary measures and have isolated themselves.

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Manchu Manoj tested positive for Coronavirus

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Tollywood’s young actor Manchu Manoj is tested positive for coronavirus and the actor himself took his official social media page to reveal the news. The actor posted “Tested positive for #Covid. I request everyone who met me in the last week to get tested immediately and take necessary precautions. Don’t worry about me. I’m totally fine with all your love and blessings. Thanking all the doctors and nurses for the care”. Manoj has been on a break from the past two years and he is yet to start the shoot of his next film which is a pan-Indian attempt. Manoj himself will produce this prestigious film.

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2 from non-risk countries test positive for Omicron in Hyd

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Telangana on Wednesday reported the first case of Omicron with two air passengers from Kenya and Somalia testing positive for the new variant of Covid-19.

Both the cases were detected among air passengers from non-risk countries. Both had arrived at Hyderabad International Airport on December 12 via Abu Dhabi and Qatar, a top health official said.

A 24-year-old female had arrived from Kenya while a 23-year-old had come from Somalia.

The Kenyan national has been isolated at Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) while health authorities were trying to trace the second case.

Director of public health Dr G. Srinivasa Rao said two close contacts of the Kenyan national have also been sent for Covid-19 test.

He said the cases were detected among two per cent tests being conducted randomly on passengers arriving from non-risk countries. Both had tested positive for Covid on arrival and their samples were sent for genome sequencing. The genome sequencing reports received Tuesday night showed them to be positive for Omicron.

The official said both the cases were asymptomatic and there was no need for any panic.

He also revealed that a seven-year-old boy who had landed at Hyderabad Airport along with family and later left for Kolkata also tested positive for Omicron. “We have informed the health department of West Bengal,” he said.

The director of public health said, none of the 5,396 passengers who arrived from at-risk countries have tested positive for Omicron. Eighteen of them had tested positive for Covid and their samples were sent for genome sequencing. While 15 have tested negative for the new variant, reports of three others were awaited.

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Arjun Sarja tests positive for Covid, in isolation

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Actor Arjun Sarja has tested positive for Covid-19 in Bengaluru and has isolated himself. The actor took to social media to share the news.

“Hi everyone, I have tested positive for Covid-19. I have taken all necessary protocols and isolated myself. I request everyone who has come in close contact with me to get themselves tested and take care,” he said.

He further stated, “I am doing well. Please stay safe everyone and don’t forget about your masks just yet,” he stated.

Sources said Arjun Sarja had recently returned after hosting ‘Survivor Tamil’ reality show in a South African island.

Health department sources said that Arjun Sarja’s health is stable and monitored. The fans of the actor are posting messages wishing him a speedy recovery.

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Samples of Andhra man sent for genome sequencing amid Omicron scare

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Omicron scare gripped Andhra Pradesh’s Srikakulam district as authorities have sent samples of a man who recently returned from South Africa and tested positive for Covid-19 for genome sequencing.

The man was under home isolation in Srikakulam town and his samples were sent to Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad for genome sequencing.

Srikakulam district collector Srikesh Lathkar said the genome sequencing report was awaited. He said it was only after receipt of the report that it can be confirmed if he was infected by Omicron or not. The collector said people need not panic as all necessary steps were taken to tackle the case.

The man hailing from Santabommali in Srikakulam district returned from South Africa on November 23 and had tested negative after a Covid test was done at the airport. However, he later developed fever and on December 5 got another test done at a local Primary Health Centre which turned out to be positive.

As the word spread, fear gripped the area in view of reports about few Omicron cases being reported in other parts of the country among the passengers who returned from ‘at risk’ countries, including South Africa.

Officials said the man and his family members were under home isolation. As the rumours spread on social media that the man was infected by Omicron, health officials clarified that the samples were sent to CCMB for confirmation.

No case of Omicron has been detected so far in Andhra Pradesh. Director of public health and family welfare Dr Hymavathi also denied reports that 30 foreign returnees were missing in the state.

Andhra Pradesh has no international airport but the state is receiving alerts from the central authorities about the passengers returning to the state from aat risk’ countries after landing at Hyderabad, Chennai or other international airports in the country.

About 30 passengers from the Visakhapatnam region returned last week and their health was being monitored by the state medical and health department.

The health department has also deployed medical teams at all airports in the state to monitor and screen the travellers.

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Mask rule enforcement back in Telangana

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With the threat of new Covid variant Omicron looming large, authorities in Telangana have decided to once again strictly enforce the rule for mandatory wearing of masks in public places.

Those violating the rule will face a penalty of Rs 1,000.

The state department has requested enforcement authorities to keep a watch on citizens for those not wearing mask.

“The rule for imposing Rs 1,000 fine already exists in the state. It’s not a new order,” said director of public health Dr. G. Srinivasa Rao.

He appealed to people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour by wearing masks, hand sanitisation and maintaining social distance.

The officials said only by taking such precautions and through vaccination, people can protect themselves from any variant of Covid.

He said the health department teams will also visit public places and will randomly ask people for vaccine certificates. He has requested people to carry their Covid vaccine certificates.

“This is a cautionary measure and also create awareness towards vaccination. Our agenda is to safeguard health and lives of people,” he said.

He pointed out that the government has already started taking certain precautionary measures. It has cancelled Sunday Funday programme scheduled to be held at Tank Bund and at Charminar on December 5.

The director of public health appealed to all eligible citizens to take Covid vaccine.

He said all efforts were being made to expedite the process of vaccination to ensure cent per cent coverage.

Srinivasa Rao said those who have missed second vaccine should take it immediately.

He said nearly 25 lakh people have not taken the second dose despite completing the gap between two doses. Fifteen lakh people in Greater Hyderabad alone have not taken the second dose.

Around 90 per cent of the 2.77 crore targeted people in the state have so far taken the first dose while 45 per cent have taken the second dose.

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Telangana on alert over Omicron

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The health authorities in Telangana on Sunday sounded an alert in view of Omicron, the new variant of Covid-19 reported from South Africa and some other countries.

Health Minister T. Harish Rao held a meeting with top officials of the medical and health department to review preparations and surveillance measures regarding the new variant.

Director of public health Srinivasa Rao said no case of new variant was recorded in the country. Stating that the state is geared up to tackle any situation, he advised people not to panic but continue taking all precautionary measures.

The official said every citizen should be alert by following Covid safety measures. He said the department was closely monitoring the situation.

About the new variant, he said that no one is aware of its effect, severity or complications. “We still don’t know much about it. Whenever we receive an alert during pandemic, we have to be alert,” he said, referring to the advisory of the union health ministry to all states to be on alert.

Rao pointed out that passengers at airports are being screened by conducting RT-PCR tests as part of the measures to prevent new variant from entering the country. He said the passengers testing positive are being kept in 14-day isolation and their health is being closely monitored.

The official said the state has already taken adequate measures to tackle a possible third wave. For last 4-5 months the state is recording less than 200 new cases every day and there was no discernible rise in infections during last two days.

He said with the drop in number of cases, some negligence was observed with record to vaccination and in following Covid safety measures. “Whatever may be the variant, it’s in our hands to tackle it. One should not forget wearing face mask, hand wash, maintaining social distance and taking both does of the vaccine,” he said.

Director of medical education Ramesh Reddy appealed to people to be responsible citizens by taking Covid vaccines.

He said nearly 25 lakh people did not take second dose of vaccine despite completing the gap between doses.

Around 90 per cent of the 2.77 crore of targeted people have taken first dose while 45 per cent have taken second dose.

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Telangana Assembly Speaker tests positive for Covid

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Telangana Legislative Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy has tested positive for Covid-19.

He took to Twitter on Thursday to reveal that he was tested positive after Covid test was conducted on him last night as part of regular medical tests.

Srinivas Reddy tweeted that though presently he has no health problems, he has joined the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) Hospitals at Gachibowli on the advice of doctors.

The speaker has requested those who met him during the last few days to undergo Covid tests and keep themselves under home isolation as a precautionary measure.

He had performed the wedding of his granddaughter in Hyderabad on November 21. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had attended the wedding.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan and several ministers and leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and other parties had also attended the ceremony.

Srinivas Reddy is the second key leader from Telugu states to test positive in recent days. Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan was airlifted from Vijayawada to Hyderabad on November 17 after he was found infected by Covid. After undergoing treatment at AIG Hospitals in Hyderabad, he was discharged on November 23.

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Kamal Haasan tests Covid positive

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Southern superstar and president of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) Kamal Haasan on Monday said that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

The actor-turned-politician, in a tweet, said: Please remind yourself that Covid-19 is not over yet and be careful.”

He has been admitted to a private hospital in Chennai.

Haasan said that he had a mild cough on returning back from Chicago where he had gone to launch his new Khadi line of clothes.

He had faced a drubbing in the assembly elections as well as in the recent rural body elections. Several senior leaders of the party has quit the MNM of late.

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Surendar Reddy tested positive for Coronavirus

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Talented director Surendar Reddy has been tested positive for coronavirus. He is busy with the shoot of Akhil’s Agent in Budapest. The schedule shoot got disrupted after Surendar Reddy along with his family is tested positive for coronavirus. The rest of the movie unit returned back to Hyderabad while Surendar Reddy and his family are in quarantine. Some crucial action episodes are shot on Akhil and Mammootty for two weeks.

The pending portions will be shot again once Surendar Reddy recovers completely. Surendar Reddy and his family is doing fine for now. Produced by AK Entertainments, Agent is made on a huge budget and is said to be a stylish action thriller. Akhil plays a spy and Sakshi Vaidya is the heroine.

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Andhra Governor tests positive for Covid

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Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan who was airlifted here on Wednesday from Vijayawada for treatment, has been diagnosed with Covid-19.

He had been indisposed on Tuesday following his recent visit to Delhi.

Brought to Hyderabad by special aircraft, Harichandan, 87, was admitted to a corporate hospital in the city on Wednesday. On testing, he was found positive for Covid-19.

The Governor is being closely monitored by a team of experts. He has been evaluated by a multidisciplinary team and his condition is clinically stable with normal oxygen saturation at room air.

Based on CT findings and previous history of comorbidities, he has been diagnosed with moderate Covid disease, said the medical bulletin

Harichandan was brought to Hyderabad by a special aircraft from Vijayawada after he took ill early morning.

Telangana Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan visited the hospital to inquire about Harichandan’s health condition.

The veteran BJP leader from Odisha assumed charge as the Governor of Andhra Pradesh on July 24, 2019.

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Covid may remain like common cold: Dr. Nageshwar Reddy

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Eminent physician Dr. D. Nageshwar Reddy on Friday hoped that by next year, life will come back to normal and while Covid-19 may remain, it will become like a common cold.

The chairman and Founder of AIG Hospitals said that while doctors see death every day, what they saw during the pandemic was different as in some cases, and entire families were wiped out.

The leading gastroenterologist recalled doctors themselves did not know how to deal with it. “We were frightened. It was like a soldier going to war without weapons. To add to it, WHO predictions were like our weather predictions,” he said.

Dr. Reddy, whose hospital treated 30,000 Covid patients in the last two years, said they found from the experience that mask and social distance were more important than hand hygiene. He called for making public health accessible and economical.

He was speaking at Public Health Innovations Conclave Expo 2021, an exclusive expo on public health which began on Friday.

The expo features innovation, technology and best practices in public health to deal with ‘Life after pandemic’.

Organized by Hitext in association with the Infection Control Academy of India (IFCAI), the expo has 75 stalls.

World Health Organisation (WHO) technical officer Dr. Anuj Sharma said life after the pandemic was still unpredictable.

“Initially, our recommendations went wrong. But WHO doesn’t make any recommendations on its own. We do so based on the recommendations by the experts. When something is new and evolving chances of errors are there,” he said.

Dr. Ranga Reddy Burri, President of Infection Control Academy of India said that every crisis provides significant learning and an opportunity.

He said Covid-19 also provided us with the opportunity to discover new innovative approaches for healthcare delivery to promote accessibility, availability, and affordability of quality care.

Dr. K. Shankar, Director of Preventive Medicine, Government of Telangana, said all government hospitals in Telangana are equipped with oxygen pipelines.

Vaccines will not protect from the virus but protect from death. By 2022 January, we will have a normal life, he said.

Dr. GVS Murthy, Director of the Indian Institute of Public Health revealed that when he was asked to remove mask and speak at the 1st PHIC Conclave last year he was hesitant. “Today, I can remove my mask and speak. That is the change from last year to this year. Public health needs incubation time. Smallpox and Polio took some time to disappear. Covid also needs such time,” he said.

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With Molnupiravir, India to get affordable weapon against Covid

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With six Indian pharma companies working to manufacture antiviral pill Molnupiravir, healthcare experts say the game-changing drug will give India an effective and affordable weapon against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The oral drug, which is likely to get Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) in India in the coming weeks, is expected to help the country fight future waves, if any.

Molnupiravir, developed by global pharma major Merck, inhibits replication of multiple RNA viruses including SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of Covid-19. It is reported to have potential to completely eliminate SARS CoV-2 from the body within 5 days.

Earlier this month, the drug regulator in the UK gave approval to the pill, which will be given twice a day to vulnerable patients recently diagnosed with Covid-19.

It was in June that five major pharma companies announced collaboration for the clinical trials of Molnupiravir for the treatment of mild Covid-19 in an outpatient setting in India. It was the first such collaboration in the Indian pharma industry.

Hetero Pharma also has a non-exclusive licensing agreement with Merck to manufacture and supply Molnupiravir in India and over 100 low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Hetero announced in July the interim clinical results from Phase 3 clinical trials of Molnupiravir in mild Covid-19 patients conducted across multiple Covid-dedicated hospital sites across India.

According to the company, the trials demonstrated statistically significant fewer hospital admissions, faster time to clinical improvement, and early negative SARS CoV-2 RT-PCR results with Molnupiravir treatment in mild Covid-19 patients compared to Standard of Care alone.

While the India companies remained tight-lipped about the current status of the trials, experts expect the rollout early next year.

“Six Indian companies have the license to manufacture the generic Molnupiravir. It provides a great opportunity for global supplies. India will have another affordable and convenient weapon in addition to vaccines to fight future waves if any,” distinguished cardiologist and health systems expert Dr Krishna Reddy Nallamalla told IANS.

He believes Molnupiravir may emerge as the game changer in the fight against Covid as the studies show it can reduce the risk of hospitalisation or death in newly-diagnosed patients.

Dr Reddy who is the president of InOrder, a nonprofit institute working to strengthen systems to secure health and also regional director (South Asia) of global health nonprofit, ACCESS Health International, said Molnupiravir as an effective oral drug for treatment of Covid-19 assumes significance at a time when the world continues to witness daily positive cases of half a million despite the development of vaccines, which are not as effective against the spread of the virus and which lower efficacy against certain variants.

Dr K. Shivaraju, head, internal medicine, KIMS Hospitals, Hyderabad, points out that the oral drug has the potential to change the course of treatment by replacing Remdesivir. Unlike Remdesivir, Molnupiravir will not only be more effective but will be affordable.

While Remdesivir is injectable and has to be given to patients in hospitals, Molnupiravir is an oral pill which can be given in an outpatient setting.

According to him, the most significant outcome of the development will be the drop in the cost of treatment. “The cost of each vial of Remdesivir is very high and compared to this the cost of the oral drug will be low and its efficacy is also good enough,” he said.

Shivaraju also pointed out that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) there is no evidence that Remdesivir improves survival among Covid patients.

“The results (of Molnupiravir) are encouraging. We have been discussing this for the last six months or a year. We did not have a choice then. Remdesivir had to be given. Definitely Molnupiravir should be effective and useful. The most important aspect is that the cost will come down for the patient,” he said.

Shivaraju said effectiveness of any anti-viral drug will be better when double-blind randomised clinical trials are conducted with participation of over 1,000 patients.

“From a medical point of view, double-blind randomised trials will have lot of significance. It gives a boost that this drug can be given to patients without much discomfort,” he added.

Hetero had commenced a phase 3, comparative, randomised, multi-centre clinical trial on 1,218 mild Covid-19 patients. These clinical trials were aimed at evaluating the efficacy and safety of Molnupiravir plus standard of care (test arm) versus standard of care alone (control arm), in mild Covid-19 patients with a positive SARS CoV-2 RT PCR test for Covid-19 and randomised within 5 days of onset of symptoms.

Patients in the clinical trial were randomised to receive either Hetero’s Molnupiravir capsules 800 mg (4 x 200 mg) every 12 hours (twice daily) for 5 days along with standard of care as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines or, in the control arm, to receive standard of care alone.

The company said the interim results from 741 mild Covid-19 patients revealed encouraging outcomes.

Under the licensing deal with Merc, Hetero will be allowed to expand access of Molnupiravir in India and in other low-and middle-income countries, following the approvals for emergency use authorisation by local regulatory agencies.

“We are vertically integrated to manufacture and commercially ready to supply this product to patients swiftly across the country,” Dr B. Partha Saradhi Reddy, Chairman, Hetero Group of Companies had said.

Molnupiravir will be manufactured in Hetero’s world-class formulation facility in Hyderabad, which has been approved by stringent global regulatory authorities such as USFDA and EU, among others.

Cipla Ltd, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, and Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd announced the collaboration to conduct clinical trials in June. This was the first such collaboration for a clinical trial within the Indian pharma industry.

Between March and April this year, these five pharma companies individually entered into a non-exclusive voluntary licensing agreement with Merck to manufacture and supply Molnupiravir to India and over 100 low and middle-income countries.

Under the collaboration agreement, the five pharma companies will jointly sponsor, supervise and monitor the clinical trials in India.

As per the directive of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, Dr Reddy’s will conduct the clinical trial using its product, and the other four pharma companies will be required to demonstrate equivalence of their product to the product used by Dr Reddy’s in its clinical trial.

The trials were expected between June and September across India with the recruitment of 1,200 patients.

On successful completion of the clinical trial, each company will independently approach the regulatory authorities for approval to manufacture and supply Molnupiravir.

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Covid saves TRS in Assembly!

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Covid-19 pandemic might have caused severe hardships to all since March 2020 due to lockdowns and economic crisis. It has not spared any individual, any state, any country or any government.

But for the TRS government in Telangana, Covid came as a blessing in disguise. TRS is coming under attack from all opposition parties in the ongoing session of Legislative Assembly for its failure to release funds, for failure to complete pending works of roads, buildings, infrastructure etc.

However, the TRS is countering opposition parties with Covid. For every criticism, the TRS is putting the blame on Covid saying that due to Covid it could not release funds to various welfare schemes and development programmes and due to Covid it could not complete pending works.

Strangely, for arrears of schemes and projects that are prevailing as long as since formation of Telangana in 2014, the TRS is blaming Covid conveniently ignoring the fact that outbreak of Covid was witnessed in March 2020 and not in 2014.

Opposition parties are strongly raising objections at TRS trying to escape from all its responsibilities and trying to cover up all its failures in the Covid.

They said lakhs of students in Telangana are awaiting arrears of fee reimbursement and scholarships since 2018 and question how Covid would be held responsible for arrears in 2018.

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T’gana partners with IIT-Hyd’s VoW for Covid inoculation in remote areas

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Aiming to complete vaccination of all marginalised sections in the state, the Telangana government has partnered with IIT-Hyderabad start-up VaccineOnWheels. Under the arrangement 50 mobile vaccination clinics will reach out to those who are in the periphery zone.

VaccineOnWheels creates hospital-like sterile setups near communities to provide vaccination services.

Community based Mobile Vaccination Clinic will help India in achieving higher immunization penetration by getting faster acceptance towards vaccination, giving higher convenience with reduced cost of seeking service with zero travel cost, zero travel time, lost wages, and many more, an IITH statement said.

Centre for Healthcare Entrepreneurship, IITHyderabad’s incubated startup, VaccineOnWheels had introduced India’s first Doctor-based Mobile Vaccination Clinic in 2019, in association with IITH, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and CfHE.

To reduce inequality and increase immunization penetration, VaccineOnWheels takes vaccination facility near to the community, giving higher convenience while ensuring access to all economic strata.

Prof B. Murty, Director IIT Hyderabad, said, “The innovative and first-of-its-kind approach by VaccineOnWheels to vaccinate India’s “unreached population” is need of the hour for both Covid-19 & Non-Covid-19 vaccination. VaccineOnWheels and team have already saved more than two lakh lives and will indeed save millions in the coming months.”

Under the unique PPP, vaccination is administered free of cost for beneficiaries with vaccines provided by Government and vaccination is administered by VaccinOnWheels.

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

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