Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will release the first batch of Anti Covid drug 2DG through video conferencing this morning. The drug has been developed by DRDO’s Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) in collaboration with Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. AIR correspondent reports that clinical trial results have shown that this molecule helps in faster recovery of hospitalised patients and reduces supplemental oxygen dependence. Higher proportion of patients treated with 2-DG showed RT-PCR negative conversion in COVID patients. The drug will be of immense benefit to the people suffering from COVID-19.
Pursuing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for preparedness against the pandemic, DRDO took the initiative of developing anti-COVID therapeutic application of 2-DG. Being a generic molecule and analogue of glucose, it can be easily produced and made available in plenty in the country.
The drug comes in powder form in sachet, which is taken orally by dissolving it in water. It accumulates in the virus infected cells and prevents virus growth by stopping viral synthesis and energy production. Its selective accumulation in virally infected cells makes this drug unique. The drug is expected to save precious lives due to the mechanism of operation of the drug in infected cells. It also reduces the hospital stay of COVID-19 patients.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan along with Member (Health), NITI Aayog Dr VK Paul chaired a high-level video conference meeting yesterday with all the States and Union Territories. The focus of the meet was on COVID-19 Containment and Management in Peri-urban, Rural and Tribal areas along with the Effective Clinical Management of COVID, including the black Mucor-mycosis fungi which is being recorded in growing number of states. The meeting assumes importance in the context of the rural hinterland of the country recording a very high number of cases with increasing fatality and positivity rate, combined with low reported levels of testing.
Both urged states to ensure community-based and primary health centre services to manage the situation and stressed on sensitisation of ground workers particularly medical officers and block level nodal officers on containment, surveillance and use of Rapid Antigen Test RAT for screening, use of RT-PCR and tele-consultation.
The state health secretaries were asked to hold daily regular review meetings starting today with medical officers and block levels nodal officers to ensure that the SOPs and the advisories percolate to the grassroots level.
States were urged to organise a series of meetings or interactions for sensitization of the ASHAs, ANMs, Panchayati Raj Institutions along with the Community Health Officers. States were advised to train them to identify the early signs of SARI/ILI and COVID symptoms. States were also advised to use the services of village-level health and sanitation committee and gram sabha as first responders.
Mechanism for surveillance, screening, isolation and referral of cases from such areas, monitoring of home isolation cases and providing them with information pamphlets, ramping up of facilities in all the three subsequent levels of COVID-19 Healthcare, COVID Care Centres, Dedicated COVID Health Centres and Dedicated COVID Hospitals was discussed at length.
The states were exhorted to share their best practices and leverage their existing capacity in tele-consultation. The need to ensure continuity of non-COVID essential healthcare delivery systems, communications and behavioural change, and renewed parallel focus on mental health support were also highlighted.
Secretary urged the states to break the myth that CoWIN platform is biased to those abled by technology and requested them to make good use of facilitated cohort registration.
DG ICMR Dr. Balram Bhargava, Director, AIIMS Dr Randeep Guleria, MD of NHM Vandana Gurnani, Director of NCDC Dr Sujeet K. Singh, were present along with Principal Secretary (Health), Mission Director (NHM), and State Surveillance Officer of the states.
Very severe cyclonic storm ‘Tauktae’ is likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva during wee hours tomorrow. India Meteorological Department DG Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said, at the time of landfall, winds speed is expected to be 155-165 kmph. With the Cyclone Tauktae moving northwards towards Gujarat, state government has evacuated 1.5 lakh people from low-lying coastal areas in the state. IMD has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in coastal areas of Gujarat today and tomorrow.
Met department has also predicted heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places in Maharashtra’s north Konkan region, Mumbai, Thane, and Palghar and extremely heavy rainfall in Raigad today.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday chaired a meeting with the Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the Administrator of Daman and Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli to review their preparedness to tackle the situation.
NDRF has deployed more than 50 teams in Gujarat ahead of the landfall. Indian Air Force has stationed 16 transport aircraft and 18 helicopters on standby.
Indian Coast Guard Disaster Relief Teams with inflatable boats and lifejackets are on standby all along the western coast for undertaking disaster response operations. Coast Guard has also kept its medical teams and ambulances in stand-by for swift mobilization.
Vaccination drives against Covid-19 will remain suspended across Gujarat and parts of Maharashtra today in view of Tauktae.
In Kerala, the water level in many dams increased after heavy rainfall in some areas.
Power supply in many areas of Goa was disrupted as hundreds of electric poles were uprooted due to the high-speed winds.
AIR correspondent reports that Additional Chief Secretary of State Revenue department Pankaj Kumar said that the state administration is fully prepared to minimize the impact of Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Tauktae. He said that more than 1 lakh 50 thousand people have been shifted to the safer places with Covid protocols.
44 teams of National Disaster Relief Force have been allotted to Gujarat and deployed in coastal districts likely to be hit by the very severe cyclonic storm. 6 teams of the state disaster relief force have also been deployed for rescue and relief works. Fishermen have been asked not to venture the sea for the next five days. Marine Police and Coast Guard are helping fishermen stuck in the sea for their safe return to the coast. Special arrangements have been made for the safety of Covid patients in all government and private Covid hospitals.
In Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts of Maharashtra, people living near the coastline have been shifted to safer places. The disaster management authority said that in Ratnagiri more than 3800 people, Sindhudurg around 144 people and in Raigad 2500 people have been shifted to safer locations.
In Palghar, the impact of very severe cyclonic storm Tauktae is being felt. According to the Palghar district collector an urgent meeting of the disaster management was convened late last night. Due to the strong winds, there was no power supply in the region since early morning. In Ratnagiri too, the impact of very severe cyclonic storm Tauktae was felt in Rajapur and nearby villages along the coastline of Ratnagiri taluka. Incidences of tree felling, disruption in power supply due to snapping of electric wires are also being reported. However, there are no reports of any loss of life in any of these places.