New Delhi, April 21 (IANS) The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday said Covid-19 is a new disease, and in the last three and half months, they have made major scientific progress — developing PCR tests, seeing 5 vaccines go into human trial, et al. This has never happened before in case of any other disease, it said.
Detailing on the significance of the lockdown, Dr. Raman Gangakhedkar, head of infectious disease and epidemiology at ICMR, said it has created double impact in the country’s fight against Covid-19, adding that lockdown along with social distancing were never health measures, but now they have played a crucial role.
He stressed that coronavirus infection is a new disease and in past three and a half months, “we have come to a stage where we can do diagnosis, developed PCR tests, much information on the disease has been gathered and out of 70 candidate vaccines, five candidate vaccines have gone into human trial phase. It has never happened in any other disease so far.”
Gangakhedkar added that the government is working at a rapid pace to tackle this viral infection. “Lockdown had double impact – it gave time for preparedness for providing care for all patients, we can give hospital care; and through lockdown, we are also trying to buy a chance for drug development,” he added.
Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary in the Health Ministry, said that the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has initiated a randomised clinical trial to reduce mortality in critical COVID-9 patients through drug efficacy evaluation. The Drug Controller has given approval for this trial and it will soon begin in multiple hospitals, he added.