Coronavirus India LIVE Updates: Favipiravir and Umifenovir approved for clinical trials to treat Covid-19; Delhi nears 50,000 cases

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As the country struggles to flatten the curve of Covid-19 cases, that has consistently followed an upward trend so far, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) Friday approved Favipiravir and Umifenovir (Arbidol) for clinical trials to treat the novel coronavirus.

Along with Favipiravir are other drugs – ACQH, Umifenovir (Arbidol) and Mycobacterium W (anti-leprosy drug), which are now in clinical trials. The focus is on repurposed drugs and with 10 in the basket so far, with the results likely to be clear in the next two or three months.

India has reported 13,586 cases and 336 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s Covid-19 tally to 3,80,532, including 1,63,248 active cases, 2,04,711 recoveries and 12,573 deaths. For more than two months now, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Gujarat have been the four states with the maximum number of cases. Together their contribution in the national caseload has remained between 64 and 68 per cent. On Friday, a high-level committee constituted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recommended reducing the cost of Covid-19 treatment in private hospitals in Delhi by two-thirds of existing rates. Delhi has so far recorded 49,979 confirmed cases.

Globally, over 85 lakh people have been infected with the virus that has killed at least 454,625. While the World Health Organisation has warned that the pandemic is “accelerating”, it expressed optimism that vaccines could be available before the end of this year.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tracker, India Lockdown News Live Updates: The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved Favipiravir and Umifenovir (Arbidol) for clinical trials to treat Covid-19; WHO chief warns virus pandemic 'accelerating'. Follow LIVE updates

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Coronavirus India News Live Updates:

While several states are now reporting large number of new novel Coronavirus cases every day, the share of the top four states in the total caseload of the country has remained almost unchanged in more than a month.

For more than two months now, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Gujarat have been the four states with the maximum number of cases. Together their contribution in the national caseload has remained between 64 and 68 per cent, even though there are significant fluctuations in the number of cases they are detecting every day.

In the last one month, there has been a significant slowdown in the growth of cases in Maharashtra and Gujarat, resulting in a decline in their share of national caseload. Maharashtra, not very long ago, accounted for almost 37 per cent of all cases in the country. That share has gone down to 31 per cent now. The share of Gujarat, which is in the midst of a much more extended slowdown, has gone down from 12 per cent to less than 7 per cent.

But this decline in share has been compensated Tamil Nadu and Delhi, which are the fastest growing among the top ten states right now. That has meant that the combined share of the top four states has remained almost constant.

Meanwhile, as countries are continuously trying to develop a vaccine to fight the pandemic, the World Health Organisation’s chief scientist, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, has said that the agency is optimistic and hopeful that the COVID-19 vaccines could be available before the end of this year. On Thursday, the WHO had said that clinical trials have now definitively shown that anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine does not have an impact on preventing deaths from COVID-19.

Chief of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Friday said the coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating” and that more than 150,000 cases were reported yesterday – the highest single-day number so far, as per news agency AP. In a media briefing, he said nearly half of the newly reported cases were from the Americas, with significant numbers from South Asia and the Middle East.

“We are in a new and dangerous phase,” he said, warning that restrictive measures are still needed to stop the pandemic. Tedros warned that the virus is still “spreading fast” and that measures like social distancing, mask wearing and hand-washing are still critical.

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