Phase-II trials of Covaxin likely in GMCH

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Corona death rate lowest in Assam, claims Himanta

HT Bureau

GUWAHATUI, Aug 14: The Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) here might be selected as one of the centres for the Phase-II trial of ‘Covaxin’, the country’s first indigenous vaccine.

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has ‘successfully completed’ Phase-I human clinical trials of the vaccine and Phase-II will start soon.

Indicating this, health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “The Bharat Biotech has already started the process for selecting the centres for Phase-II testing of the vaccine. It is almost sure that GMCH will participate in the Phase-II trials”.

The official confirmation would be made shortly, he said at a plasma donation camp organised by the BJP here.

He added that the paper works between Bharat Biotech and GMCH has already been going on.

The Drugs Controller General of India granted permission to Bharat Biotech for Phase-I and II human clinical trials after it had submitted results generated from preclinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response.

Sarma said that unlike the prediction of the Centre, the COVID-19 death rate in Assam has not gone up. “The COVID-19 death rate has not risen in the manner that the Central had predicted. Our preparedness to combat the situation has yielded positive results,” he said.

With eight more deaths in the state due to COVID 19 on Thursday, Assam has registered at least 169 deaths so far. The total number of Assam’s COVID19 has shot up to 71795.

“There is another long list of 300-350 COVID-19 patients, who have died due to cancer, kidney failure, heart disease or other comorbidities,” Sarma said.

However, deaths caused by other ailments are not included in the list of COVID-19 fatalities as per central government guidelines, he said.

The minister said 30 per cent of all the COVID-19 patients who underwent kidney dialysis have died, as per a data analysis by the state health department.

“If a cancer patient becomes COVID-19 positive, it is very dangerous. We have asked cancer patients not to come to hospital for treatment because if they contract the virus, it will be very serious,” he said.

The COVID-19 death rate in Assam stands at 0.24 percent, which is the “lowest in India”, Sarma said.

“One major reason for the very low death rate in Assam is the success of plasma therapy. At Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, the fatality count has become almost nil,” he said.

The Health and Family Welfare Department, in a release issued on Thursday night, said 202 COVID-19 recovered people have donated their plasma at five medical colleges in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur and Silchar.

Lauding the BJP for organising plasma donation camps at five places, he said a call was given to all political parties for motivating people to donate plasma and hold such programmes, but “only the workers of the ruling party came forward”.

The minister also slammed the Congress for its criticism over handling of the pandemic, accusing the opposition party of demotivating doctors and other frontline workers instead of supporting the government’s thrust to provide treatment to people.

“Today, 292 people have volunteered to donate plasma at the five medical colleges across Assam in the camps organised by the BJP. They will be called later for the donation, as we cannot collect so many units in a single day,” he said.

Sarma said the state government will give preference to all the plasma donors in any official scheme or jobs in future.

“Today, I will not announce anything, but the government will adequately recognise and offer its love and affection to the plasma donors for their service to mankind,” he said.

Sarma added that the Assam government is spending an average of Rs 70,000 for each COVID-19 patient, who have been admitted in ICU, and most of them are poor people.

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