Without a vaccine,it could take years for the population to build up sufficient levels of immunity to it.(AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

Coronavirus (Covid-19) Tracker India Live Updates:

The number of fatalities reported so far is 72 including five deaths today. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at the central government over its Covid preparedness on Friday, saying the “geniuses” at the Niti Aayog had predicted that the nationwide lockdown would ensure no fresh coronavirus cases from May 16.

Meanwhile, as part of the 20-lakh crore Covid economic package, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Friday announced a number of relief measures for the agricultural sector and its allied activities which included creation of a Rs 1 lakh crore Agri-Infrastructure Fund for farmers. The World Bank approved a $1 billion loan for India towards efforts in providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Assam government on Friday urged the Centre to extend the lockdown for another 14 days after May 17 to contain the spread of coronavirus which has infected nearly 82,000 across the country so far. The state governments were scheduled to share their draft proposals on post May-17 strategies with the Centre today.

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, refused to entertain a public interest litigation seeking the top court’s intervention in the movement of migrants across states. Stating that it is not possible for it to keep an eye on labourers on the road, the court left it upon the states to take the final call.

With scientists and researchers racing against time to find a cure for the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 4.4 million people, this week has seen considerable developments from firms like Moderna and Novavax in developing a Covid-19 vaccine.

From Moderna Therapeutics getting fast-track approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its Covid-19 vaccine to Novavax moving to humans trials, the world is trying its best to lay its hands on a vaccine.

American biotechnology company Moderna Therapeutics said earlier this week it received “fast-track approval” from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its potential Covid-19 vaccine and would conduct its phase 2 trial, according to USA Today.

In the second phase, Moderna will enroll 600 healthy volunteers, half of whom are 18-55 years old and the rest over 55 years old, for the trial of its experimental mRNA vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273.

US-based Novavax, which recently received a $384-million funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, said it would start human tests of its NVX-COV2373 vaccine. The vaccine has showed promising results in animal trials and its next phase will see tests on 130 humans from Australia.

A manufacturing technician assembles kits for COVID-19 virus testing at a Mesa Biotech Inc. facility in San Diego, California, (Bing Guan/Bloomberg)

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief said it’s possible the new coronavirus may be here to stay, warning it’s impossible to predict when the pandemic might be controlled.

This virus may never go away, said Dr. Michael Ryan, in a news briefing on Wednesday. He said that the number of people infected by COVID-19 so far is relatively low.

Without a vaccine, he said it could take years for the population to build up sufficient levels of immunity to it. I think it’s important to put this on the table, he said.

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