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Convalescent plasma questioned as coronavirus treatment in India: report

Government officials in India are contemplating dropping plasma from coronavirus therapies after a study found it ineffective, per multiple reports.

Dr. Balram Bhargava, chief of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), said the forthcoming study in the British Medical Journal revealed plasma didn’t lower deaths or prevent progression to severe disease among 464 patients, per Times of India.

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 cases is transfused to critically ill COVID-19 patients, with the hope that the antibodies will help the patient fight or neutralize the disease. 

“We have discussed this in the national task force and are discussing further now with the joint monitoring group that this [plasma therapy] may be deleted from the national guidelines,” Bhargava said, per the outlet. “That discussion is ongoing and more or less we are reaching towards that.” 

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 cases is transfused to critically ill COVID-19 patients, with the hope that the antibodies will help the patient fight or neutralize the disease. (iStock)

Plasma from recovered COVID-19 cases is transfused to critically ill COVID-19 patients, with the hope that the antibodies will help the patient fight or neutralize the disease. (iStock)

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However, others still have hope.

Satyendar Jain, Delhi health minister, on Wednesday reportedly discussed 2,000 patients who improved from the therapy, touting plasma for saving his own life, one outlet wrote.

“Even America has acknowledged its benefit,” Jain said, per The Economic Times. “Delhi in a way is a pioneer in it and plasma therapy benefits have been seen. You should go and ask family members of those patients who were administered the plasma therapy,” he said.

President Trump announced FDA emergency approval for plasma in August, though top experts, namely Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins, voiced concerns over inadequate evidence shortly before the approval which temporarily paused the process. 

WHO’S AT RISK FOR ‘LONG COVID’? STUDY SUGGESTS MOST VULNERABLE 

“This is a powerful therapy that transfuses very, very strong antibodies from the blood of recovered patients to help treat patients battling a current infection,” Trump had said, adding that the authorization would “expand access to this treatment.”

On its webpage, the FDA notes a “statistically significant 37% reduction in mortality in those treated with high titer convalescent plasma,” or in simpler terms, plasma with higher levels of antibodies.

A study by the Mayo Clinic of over 35,000 patients found that plasma with high antibody levels “significantly reduced mortality” in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, 52% of whom were in intensive care.

When the treatment was administered early (within three days), there were fewer deaths.

Fox News Bradford Betz contributed to this article.

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India Infection Peak Seen; Green Lane Travel: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — European leaders intensified efforts to tamp down surging infections, with Ireland enacting severe restrictions. Soaring cases in U.S. battleground states pose a challenge for President Donald Trump two weeks before the election.

India has already seen a peak in the number of new infections and may be able to contain the world’s second-largest outbreak by February, according to a government panel of scientists, though it also warns the upcoming festival and winter seasons may increase the susceptibility to the virus. The Philippines shortened curfew hours in Manila and eased the stay-at-home order to further reopen its economy.

Discussions to open up travel for business purposes continue to take place in Asia, with the governments of Japan and China reportedly close to an agreement to resume business travel between the countries as soon as this week.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 40.2 million; deaths exceed 1.1 millionSee the latest on the race for a vaccine with Bloomberg’s trackerTrading floors are full and masks are off in post-Covid ShanghaiFear of job loss haunt half the world’s workers as crisis ragesCDC issues ‘strong’ call for masks on U.S. airplanes, trainsHow do people catch Covid-19? Here’s what experts say: QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.



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Japan, China Near Agreement to Resume Business Travel (7:29 a.m. HK)

The governments of Japan and China will agree to resume business travel between the countries as soon as this week, Yomiuri reports, citing an unidentified Japanese government official.

Those planning long stays will be required to undergo 14 day quarantine, but will be exempt for short stays provided certain conditions are met

Texas Hospitals Strain to Cope in Newest Hotspots (7:27 a.m. HK)

Almost one-fourth of all hospital beds in the El Paso, Texas, area are occupied by virus patients and the region with almost 1 million residents has just 16 intensive-care beds available, state health department data showed.

In the state’s newest hotspots of El Paso, Lubbock, Amarillo and Laredo, hospitals’ virus loads are approaching or already above the 15% threshhold set forth by Governor Greg Abbott for emergency status.

Meanwhile, data lags continue to dog efforts to track the trajectory of the outbreak in the second-largest US state. On Monday, the state disclosed 2,440 previously uncounted cases, a tally which outnumbered the actual figure for new daily detections by more than 7%.

CDC Urges Masks While on Transit (6:41 a.m. HK)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a “strong recommendation” for mask-wearing by both passengers and operators on planes, trains, buses and taxis to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Masks should cover a person’s nose and mouth and be worn while traveling in and out of the U.S. as well as within the country, the agency said. Operators should require them for the entire time of travel and deny entry to anyone not wearing

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Has the pandemic really peaked in India?

People wearing protective masks wait in line to board a bus amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, October, 6, 2020
India has recorded some 7.5 million Covid-19 infections so far

Has the coronavirus pandemic already peaked in India? And can the spread of the virus be controlled by early next year?

A group of India’s top scientists believe so. Their latest mathematical model suggests India passed its peak of reported infections in September and the pandemic can be controlled by February next year. All such models assume the obvious: people will wear masks, avoid large gatherings, maintain social distancing and wash hands.

India has recorded some 7.5 million Covid-19 cases and more than 114,00 deaths so far. It has a sixth of the world’s population and a sixth of reported cases. However, India accounts for only 10% of the world’s deaths from the virus. Its case fatality rate or CFR, which measures deaths among Covid-19 patients, is less than 2% – among the lowest in the world.

India hit a record peak in the middle of September when it reported more than a million active cases. Since then the caseload has been steadily declining. Last week, India reported an average of 62,000 cases and 784 deaths every day. Daily deaths have also been falling in most states. Testing has remained consistent – an average of more than a million samples were tested every day last week.

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The seven scientists involved in the latest mathematical study commissioned by the government include Dr Gagandeep Kang, a microbiologist and the first Indian woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Among other things, the model looks at the rate at which people are getting infected, the rate at which they have recovered or died, and the fraction of infected people with significant symptoms. It also maps the trajectory of the disease by accounting for patients who have shown no signs of infection.

The scientists suggest that without the lockdown in late March, the number of active cases in India would have peaked at more than 14 million and that more than 2.6 million people would have died from Covid-19, some 23 times the current death toll. Interestingly, based on studies in the two states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the scientists concluded that the impact of the unchecked return of out-of-work migrants from the cities to the villages after the lockdown had “minimal” impact on case numbers.

“The peak would have arrived by June. This would have resulted in overwhelming our hospitals and caused widespread panic. The lockdown did help in flattening the curve,” Mathukumalli Vidyasagar, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad, and also a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, who led the study, told me.

But India’s busy festival season is around the corner. This is when families get together. So a few “superspreader” events and increased mobility could still change the course of the virus in two weeks. Kerala, for instance, recorded a sharp uptick in cases in September following celebrations of Onam, a religious festival.

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The scientists have

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India has lowest daily virus deaths in 3 months

NEW DELHI — India has reported 579 fatalities from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the lowest increase in three months, driving its death toll to 114,610.

The Health Ministry on Monday also reported 55,722 new cases of coronavirus infection, raising India’s total to more than 7.5 million, second in the world behind the U.S.

A government-appointed committee of scientists said Sunday the epidemic may have peaked in India and the disease was likely to “run its course” by February 2021 if people used masks and adhered to physical distancing measures.

The number of new infections confirmed each day has declined for a month. The committee said even if active cases increased during the upcoming festive season and cold weather, they were unlikely to surpass India’s record daily high of 97,894 cases.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Congress is past the point it can deliver more coronavirus relief before the election, with Washington’s differences proving insurmountable

— China’s economy accelerates as virus recover gains strength

— US can now screen millions daily with growing supply of rapid tests, but challenge will be keeping track of the results

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea on Monday began testing tens of thousands of employees of hospitals and nursing homes to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks at live-in facilities.

Fifteen of the 76 latest cases reported by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency were from Busan, where more than 70 infections have been linked to a hospital for the elderly. The disease caused by the coronavirus can be more serious in older people.

Health workers have been scrambling to track infections in the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s 51 million people, as the virus spreads in a variety of places, including hospitals, churches, schools and workplaces.

From Monday, they will start a process to test 130,000 workers at hospitals, nursing homes and senior centers in the greater capital area. Officials will also test 30,000 patients who have visited and used these facilities, but will leave out hospitalized patients, who already receive tests when they are admitted.

Officials plan to complete the tests within October and could possibly expand the screening to other regions if needed.

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India adds 61,800 new cases, 1,033 deaths

NEW DELHI — India has added 61,871 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to about 7.5 million.

The Health Ministry on Sunday also registered 1,033 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 114,031.

The country is continuing a downward trend in new cases, but virus-related fatalities jumped after recording the lowest daily figure of 680 in nearly three months on Friday.

Some experts say India’s numbers may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.


Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to prepare cold storage chains and distribution network for vaccine delivery along the lines of conducting elections, involving all levels of government and citizen groups.

According to Indian officials, three vaccines are in advanced stages of development.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Rural Midwest hospitals struggling to handle virus surge

— Trump plays down virus as he steps up pitch for second term

— US resorts adapt to new normal of skiing amid pandemic

— Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans to come together like they did in the spring to slow the spread of the coronavirus as the country posted another daily record of new cases.

— Iran has its death toll from the coronavirus has passed the milestone of 30,000, in what has been the Mideast region’s worst outbreak.

— Europe’s economy was just catching its breath from what had been the sharpest recession in modern history. A resurgence in coronavirus cases this month is a bitter blow that will likely turn what was meant to be a period of healing for the economy into a lean winter of job losses and bankruptcies.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, has loosened lockdown restrictions as new and active COVID-19 continue to decline.

From midnight Sunday, Melbourne residents will no longer face limits on the time they can spend away from their homes for education or recreation. Previous restrictions allowing Melburnians to travel only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from home will increase at midnight to 25 kilometers (15 miles).

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people from two households will be allowed and golf and tennis can resume.

Victoria state reported only two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and no deaths. The rolling 14-day average of cases dropped to eight, the lowest in four months.

There were only 137 active cases across Victoria state on Sunday with 12 people receiving hospital treatment, none in intensive care.

Regulations will be further loosened on Nov. 2 with the partial reopening

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The Latest: India Continues Downward Trend With 62K Cases | World News

NEW DELHI — India reported 62,212 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to more than 7.4 million and continuing a downward trend.

The Health Ministry on Saturday also registered 837 additional fatalities, taking the death toll to 112,998.

The worst-hit western Maharashtra state accounted for nearly 36% of total fatalities.

According to the Health Ministry, India’s average number of daily cases dropped to 72,576 last week from 92,830 during the week of Sept. 9-15, when the virus peaked. It is recording an average of around 70,000 cases daily so far this month.

But some experts say India’s figures may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told reporters on Friday that the next two months were particularly crucial because of the winter season and festivals.

New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— Virus surges in key battleground states as election nears

— White House puts ‘politicals’ at CDC to try to control info

— UK’s Johnson threatens to impose restrictions on Manchester

— Belgium will tighten coronavirus restrictions from Monday in an effort to hold the disease in check. The new measures include a night-time curfew and the closure of cafes, bars and restaurants for a month.

— Doctors are warning that Europe is at a turning point as the coronavirus surges back across the continent, including among vulnerable people, and governments try to impose restrictions without locking whole economies down.

— Hundreds of Argentine flags dotted the sand of a beach at the Mar del Plata resort, a poignant memorial to the victims of the novel coronavirus in one of this South American country’s virus hot spots.

— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s Victoria state has reported just one new case of COVID-19 and no deaths as the city of Melbourne moves closer towards the easing of some lifestyle restrictions.

The state’s coronavirus death toll remains at 816 and the Australian total is 904.

Melbourne residents are expecting COVID-19 restrictions to be eased on Sunday but it is unclear how much freedom will be regained.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated the changes would be more “in the social space,” prompting pleas from business operators for relief from restrictions that once included an overnight curfew.

Current restrictions include a two-hour exercise limit within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of work or home and mandatory face masks covering the mouth and nose when a person leaves their home.

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Health Authority reported 418 new confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases and six

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