Coronavirus India LIVE updates: Sanitation work at malls in Mumbai.

Coronavirus India Live News Updates:

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday said that the state is facing a threat from coronavirus spread because of its highest population density, and hence, needs to remain alert. “There is definitely a threat to Bihar (from coronavirus) as our population density is highest in the country. It is three-fold of the national average and hence we need to remain alert and cautious,” Kumar said in the state assembly.

Meanwhile, West Bengal government revised the dates for the statewide lockdown, which will now be observed on August 5, 8, 20, 21, 27, 28, and 31. The state BJP took a swipe at the Bengal government for “deliberately selecting” August 5 for the lockdown, when the ‘bhoomi pujan’ (groundbreaking rituals) for the construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya is scheduled. It demanded that the TMC shift the date, as it did for the Eid festival, news agency PTI reported.

Also, on Monday, the UK government said that its new manufacturing agreement with the Mumbai-based global pharmaceutical Wockhardt will guarantee the supply of millions of more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine whenever it is ready.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed it has entered into an 18-month pact with the company to carry out the crucial “fill and finish” stage of the manufacturing process, which involves dispensing the manufactured vaccine substance into vials ready for it to be distributed.

Why the race for a Covid-19 vaccine is an unprecedented sprint

The moment China made the genetic code for the SARS-CoV-2 virus available in January, hundreds of companies and academic institutions rushed to develop a vaccine that would create an immune response against it. Today, with Covid-19 having spread across the world, even ravaging some countries, over 160 potential vaccines (that the World Health Organisation knows of) are in various stages of testing.

How many vaccines are being tested against Covid-19?

According to the World Health Organisation, at least 26 potential Covid-19 vaccine candidates are in various stages of human trials, while another 139 are still undergoing animal tests to understand whether they can be safely injected in humans.

However, experts tracking this space feel the number is conservative. This is the first time that a virus has garnered this much interest, they say. “The actual number of candidates will be as much as three times what WHO has listed,” said vaccine expert Dr Davinder Gill, also the former CEO of Hilleman Laboratories.

Surely enough, Covid-19 has attracted the largest number of vaccine candidates for a pandemic in the last few decades. Another interesting aspect to note is the speed with which the development has taken place. The effort hasn’t been limited to traditionally tried and tested technologies, but newer platforms as well that have never made it to market before.

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