NIV scientists to focus on covid

NEW DELHI : Scientists at the National Institute of Virology have been reassigned from their current projects to corona-related work amid a bid to halt the spread of BF.7 variant.

There is also alarm on the resurgence of other respiratory and influenza viruses such as H1N1, which are in circulation in India. The symptoms of both covid and influenza are similar, and the government is focussing on testing to avoid a crisis.

The government is gearing up in all sectors due to the evolving scenario of a surge of covid-19 cases in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Brazil.

“We have again geared up for covid-19 management work in view of covid-19 cases surging in China and other countries. Those scientists who were working on other research projects have also joined the work related to research and management of covid-19. We are best prepared in terms of infrastructure, availability of bio safety laboratories, manpower and equipment,” said a scientist aware of the matter requesting anonymity.

Scientists also warned about other respiratory infections. “These non-covid respiratory infections (rhinoviruses) are another concern because they show symptoms like those of covid. People might think it is normal influenza, and might skip testing and may not isolate or take treatment. So, it is mandatory to get tested for covid to curtail the spread of the infection. However, monitoring of cases of SARI, ILI and similar diseases to identify early warning signals has started in states, and a weekly report for the same is being sent by states to the union health ministry,” said the scientist.

India in the last 24 hours has reported 265 new covid cases and three deaths. The active caseload currently stands at 2,706. The total number of cases stands at 44.6 million and deaths at 530,705 in the last three years of the pandemic.

On 31 December 2022, Dr P K Mishra, principal secretary to the PM chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials of the health ministry, and department of biotechnology experts to review the status of covid in the country.

“The status of covid vaccination and other important issues like availability of medicines, infrastructure, research, vaccines etc were reviewed. As far as vaccination is concerned, more than 2.2 billion doses have been administered, of which 1.02 billion are 1st dose and 950 million are 2nd dose,” said a government official adding that during the meeting the research of vaccines and their manufacturing in India were also discussed.

“Pharma companies have been directed to keep a close watch on the global supply chain scenario, and to ensure adequate stocks and availability of all drugs including covid drugs. The ministry of commerce has been tasked to monitor ongoing exports of medicinal products and equipment to China,” the official said.

Queries sent to the health ministry spokesperson did not elicit any response.

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