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COVID-19: ICMR Recommends Combination Of Rapid Antigen Test And RT-PCR Test

The kits will allow faster diagnosis without laboratory examination.

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NEW DELHI: Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has recommended the use of rapid antigen test kits for diagnosis of COVID-19 in containment zones and healthcare settings in combination with the RT-PCR test.

The kits will allow faster diagnosis without laboratory examination. A rapid antigen test kit is a rapid chromatographic immunoassay for a qualitative detection of specific antigens to SARS-CoV-2. It has been developed by a South Korea based company.

ICMR said in an advisory that suspected individuals who test negative for COVID-19 by rapid antigen test should be tested sequentially by RT-PCR to rule out infection, whereas a positive test should be considered as a truly positive and does not need reconfirmation by RT-PCR test.


The Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection can be interpreted as positive or negative after 15 minutes of putting the sample into the well by the appearance of test and control lines, which can be read with a naked eye, requiring no specialized equipment.

The maximum duration for interpreting a positive or negative test is 30 minutes. After that, the test strip should be discarded.

In view of its high specificity while relatively low sensitivity, ICMR recommends the use of Standard Q COVID-19 Ag detection assay as a point of care diagnostic assay for testing under containment zones and healthcare settings in combination with the gold standard RT-PCR test.


The ICMR further said, “the Standard Q COVID-19 Ag rapid antigen detection test has a very high specificity i.e. ability to detect true negatives. Specificity ranged from 99.3 to 100% at the two sites. “Sensitivity of the test (i.e. ability to detect true positives) ranged from 50.6% to 84% in two independent evaluations, depending upon the viral load of the patient. Higher viral load correlated with higher sensitivity”.

The ICMR further said that in healthcare settings, all symptomatic ILI patients presenting in a healthcare setting and are suspected of having COVID-19 infection, asymptomatic patients who are hospitalized or seeking hospitalization, in the high-risk groups such as patients undergoing chemotherapy, immunosuppressed patients including those who are HIV positive, patients diagnosed with the malignant disease; transplant patients, elderly patients (>65 yrs of age) with co-morbidities as mentioned in the containment zones can be tested.

We can protect the susceptible population by giving a vaccine – which we do not have, or decrease infectiousness of a person by medications – which also we do not have. Since the vaccine is not yet anywhere around, the only way open to us is prevention: using masks, keeping physical distance, washing hands often. As numbers of cases increase it would be very resource-intensive to do contact tracing and quarantine. The aim should be mitigation – treatment of all which need hospitalization,” said Lalit Kant, a scientist and former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

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Covaxin, India’s First COVID-19 Vaccine Gets DCGI Approval For Human Trials

This marks the first regulatory approval for India’s domestic vaccine to enter trials.

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HYDERABAD (Telangana): India-based biotechnology company Bharat Biotech has secured regulatory approval from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) to advance its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Covaxin, into human clinical trials.

The Drug Controller General of India CDSCO (The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare granted permission to initiate Phase I & II Human clinical trials after the company submitted results generated from pre-clinical studies, demonstrating safety and immune response. Human clinical trials are scheduled to start across India in July 2020, the release said.

This marks the first regulatory approval for India’s domestic vaccine to enter trials. DCGI’s approval will enable the company to conduct Phase I and II studies, which are set to begin next month.


Covaxin has been developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology. The inactivated vaccine was manufactured in Bharat Biotech’s facility at Genome Valley in Hyderabad, India.

Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Krishna Ella said: “We are proud to announce ‘Covaxin’, India’s first indigenous vaccine against Covid-19.

“The collaboration with ICMR and NIV was instrumental in the development of this vaccine. The proactive support and guidance from CDSCO have enabled approvals to this project.”


Bharat Biotech’s track record in developing vero cell culture platform technologies has been proven in several vaccines for Polio, Rabies, Rotavirus, Japanese Encephalitis, Chikungunya and Zika. The company is proficient in conducting extensive multi-centre clinical trials, having completed more than 75 trials in over 300,000 subjects globally, the release said.

In April this year, Bharat Biotech partnered with FluGen and University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW-Madison) to develop and evaluate a Covid-19 vaccine candidate, CoroFlu.

CoroFlu will be administered intranasally with an aim to induce multiple immune responses.

Later in May, Bharat Biotech entered into an exclusive agreement to develop a Covid-19 vaccine candidate created at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, US.

Thomas Jefferson professor developed this vaccine candidate in January using an existing deactivated rabies vaccine as a vehicle for coronavirus proteins.


Besides Bharat Biotech, at least five other Indian companies are working on a vaccine for the deadly coronavirus while similar efforts are underway in different countries.

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COVID-19 Unblock 2.0: Metro Rail, Schools, Colleges, Cinemas, Gyms To Remain Shut

International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission. 

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NEW DELHI: The Centre has issued new guidelines for Unlock -2 to open up more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones. The new guidelines will come into effect from tomorrow and the process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended further. As per the new guidelines, the lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till July 31.

The Home Ministry has said that the new guidelines are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.

Under the new guidelines of Unlock -2, Metro Rail service, operation of Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will not be allowed.


Salient features of the new guidelines for Unlock 2

  • Domestic flights and passenger trains have already been allowed in a limited manner. Their operations will be further expanded in a calibrated manner.
  • Night curfew timings are being further relaxed and curfew shall be in force from 10.00 pm to 5.00 am. Further, relaxations in night curfew have been given for the seamless operation of industrial units in multiple shifts, movement of persons and goods on National and State Highways, loading and unloading of cargo and movement of persons to their destinations after disembarking from buses, trains and aeroplanes.
  • Shops, depending upon their area, can have more than 5 persons at a time. However, they have to maintain adequate physical distance.
  • Training institutions of the Central and State Governments will be allowed to function with effect from July 15, 2020.  SOP in this regard will be issued by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India.
  • After extensive consultation with States and UTs, it has been decided that schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till July 31, 2020.
  • International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission.  Further opening-up will take place in a calibrated manner.
  • All activities, except the following, shall be permitted outside containment zones:
  1. Metro Rail.
  2. Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.
  3. Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions and other large congregations.

Dates for the opening of these will be decided separately, based on the assessment of the situation.

  • Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till July 31, 2020. Containment Zones are required to be carefully demarcated by the State/ UT Governments with a view to containing the spread of COVID-19, after taking into consideration the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW).  Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.
  • These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW.
  • Activities in the Containment Zones shall be monitored strictly by the State/UT authorities, and the guidelines relating to containment measure in these zones shall be strictly implemented.
  • MOHFW will monitor the proper delineation of Containment Zones and the implementation of the containment measures.

States to decide on activities outside Containment Zones


  • States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.
  • However, there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods.  No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.

Night curfew

  • Night Curfew shall continue to remain in force, between 10.00 pm and 5 am, except for essential activities and other relaxation given in Unlock 2.

National Directives for COVID-19 management

  • National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensuring social distancing.  Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives.

Protection for vulnerable persons

  • Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Use of Aarogya Setu

  • The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.
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COVID-19: India’s Coronavirus Cases Tally Is Now 5.5 Lakh

12,010 people have recovered from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the recovery rate to 58.67%.

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NEW DELHI: India’s coronavirus count has crossed the 5.49-lakh mark as the highest-ever single-day spike of over 19,000 COVID-19 cases were reported over the past 24 hours.  At the time of writing this report, the country’s total number of COVID-19 cases stands at 5,49,197 on Sunday, with 2,10,880 COVID-19 patients cured so far.

India is now just behind the United States, Brazil, and Russia in terms of the total confirmed cases. It is, therefore, the biggest epicentre of the coronavirus disease pandemic in Asia and the fourth worst-affected nation in the world.

Providing the silver lining to the dark cloud, however, the government today said that a total of 3,21,723 people affected with coronavirus have been cured in the country so far.


In the past 24 hours, 12,010 people have recovered from Covid-19 and with this, the recovery rate has reached 58.67 per cent.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry said that a total of 19,459 new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the country within 24 hours.

In a single day, 380 deaths have been reported taking the nationwide toll to 16,475.


Presently, the total number of active corona cases in the country is 2,10,120.

Maharashtra is the most affected state, followed by Delhi and Tamil Nadu. Delhi has crossed Mumbai in terms of the number of coronavirus cases.

The global COVID-19 case total has surged past 9.8 million after a single-day record of 189,077 cases were registered worldwide over the past 24 hours, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Sunday (local time).

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR said that 1,70,560 tests of coronavirus samples were conducted by the various laboratories in the country within 24 hours. So far, 83,98,362 tests have been conducted.

ICMR is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for Covid-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories.


As of now, a total of 1,047 laboratories across India have been given the approval to conduct the test for Covid-19. This includes 760 government laboratories and 287 private laboratory chains.

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