Coronavirus update: Stage 2 human clinical trials for Oxford vaccine begin

India reported 60,975 new cases of COVID-19 and 848 deaths in the last 24 hours

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 25 August 2020

The Serum Institute of India will begin the phase II / III human clinical trials of the Oxford novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine candidate, Covishield, August 25, 2020. The trials — observer-blind, randomised and controlled — will begin at the Bharati Vidyapeeth Medical College and Hospital in Pune.

  • India reported 60,975 new cases of COVID-19 and 848 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to 3,167,323, according to the Union health ministry.
  • The world tally went up to 23,811,693 cases and 817,005 have died, according to About 6,631,926 cases are active, out of which 61,705 (1 per cent) are in critical condition.
  • In an interview with, Professor Zhang Yongzhen, the Chinese scientist who sequenced the first COVID-19 genome, talked about the controversies surrounding his discovery. He obtained the first genome on January 5, 2020, but it wasn’t until January 11 that the information was released publicly.
  • Critics of China’s response latched onto the January 11 date of publication as evidence of a cover-up: Zhang’s lab was probed by Chinese authorities for rectification.
  • Zhang, however, insisted he first uploaded the genome to the United States National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) on January 5 — an assertion corroborated by the submission date listed on the US government institution’s Genbank. “When we posted the genome on January  5, the United States certainly knew about this virus,” he said.
  • Zhang added that focus should now be on understanding how pathogens and the environment interact. “If we don’t learn lessons from this disease humankind will suffer another,” he told Time. 
  • Studies in mice and monkeys show that nasal vaccinations can shield the animals from the new coronavirus — and that such vaccinations might be more effective than an injected form of the same vaccine. The study, published in the journal Cell, noted that the vaccine delivered via nose targets causes more widespread immune response.
  • The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reinstated EcoHealth Alliance organisation’s multimillion-dollar grant to study how coronaviruses move from bats to people — which it cancelled in a controversial move earlier this year. EcoHealth Alliance partenered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, which has been at the centre of unfounded rumours that the COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a coronavirus released from its laboratory.The NIH had cancelled its grant in April.  
  • India has tested more than 3.5 crore people for SARS-CoV-2 virus so far, according to the Union health ministry.
  • The coronavirus positivity rate showed a slight increase in Delhi, The Indian Express reported. After remaining stagnant for about a month at six per cent, it has now gone up to 7-8 per cent.
  • Minors aged between 5 and 17 were the most exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in Delhi, according to the serological survey conducted in Delhi this month, Press Trust of India reported. The second such survey in city showed that 29 per cent of population has developed antibodies against the virus.  
  • The Delhi government health department is bracing for the third serological survey, to be conducted between September 1 and 5, The Indian Express reported. The sample size of the survey would be higher than the one held in August, with around 17,000 people expected to be surveyed, the report added.

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