Pakistan coronavirus infections steady, Indian cases jump by 41%

NIH data shows 64 Covid cases, no death in Pakistan: India reports 5,233 infections with seven fatalities: US experts recommend Novavax Covid-19 vaccine

By: News Desk
Published: 09:44 AM, 8 Jun, 2022
Pakistan coronavirus
Caption: Daily coronavirus infections in India cross 5,000 mark after 93 days.
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The everyday coronavirus infections in Pakistan were steady at 64 with no death while in neighbouring India the Covid-19 cases took a big jump during the last 24 hours (Tuesday).

According to the latest statistics released by the National Institute of Health Pakistan on Wednesday morning, the death toll remained the same at 30,379, whereas the number of total infections now stood at 1,530,878 after adding the fresh 64 cases.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), 13,493 tests were conducted throughout Pakistan whereas the positivity ratio stood at 0.47 percent. The number of patients in critical care was recorded at 50.

During the last 24 hours (Tuesday), another 36 people recovered from the Covid-19 and the number of total recoveries now stood at 1,497,744. As of Wednesday, the total count of active cases in the country was recorded at 2,755.

As many as 577,728 coronavirus cases have so far been confirmed in Sindh, 507,360 in Punjab, 219,706 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 135,490 in Islamabad, 35,504 in Balochistan, 43,340 in Azad Kashmir and 11,750 in Gilgit-Baltistan.

As many as 13,564 individuals have lost their lives to the pandemic in Punjab so far, 8,106 in Sindh, 6,324 in KP, 1,024 in Islamabad, 792 in Azad Kashmir, 378 in Balochistan and 191 in Gilgit Baltistan.

Nearly 41% jump in daily Covid cases in India

India reported 5,233 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, 41 percent more than a day ago, as infections soared sharply in some states.

Daily coronavirus infections in India crossed 5,000 after 93 days, taking the total tally of active cases to 28,857, according to the Indian Health Ministry.

The number of deaths climbed to 5,24,715 with seven fresh fatalities, government data stated. India has reported 4.31 crore Covid cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

The surge was led by Maharashtra, which recorded 1,881 new coronavirus cases last evening, a huge 81 percent jump and the highest since February 18.

The state also reported one case of B.A.5 variant, the state health department said. State capital Mumbai alone accounted for 1,242 new cases, almost double the Monday's count.

US experts recommend Novavax Covid-19 vaccine

A panel of experts convened by the US drug regulator on Tuesday recommended the Novavax Covid-19 shot, a late runner in the fight against the virus that could nonetheless play a role in overcoming vaccine hesitancy.

Three vaccines are currently approved in the United States: Pfizer and Moderna, which are based on messenger RNA, and Johnson and Johnson, which recently received a recommendation against broad use becase of links to a serious form of clotting.

Experts voted 21 in favor of the Novavax vaccine, with none against, and one abstention, despite some concerns it may be linked to rare cases of heart inflammation.

The Food and Drug Administration, which called the meeting, is expected to issue an emergency use authorization soon. Then another agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will weigh in with guidance on how it should best be used. 

Maryland-based Novavax was an early frontrunner in the global vaccine race, but fell behind after being hit by manufacturing and regulatory delays.

The US was one of the few major markets where it hasn't yet received authorization, while the EU, UK, Canada, Australia are among many that have already given it the green light.

Officials hope that the shot, which is based on lab-grown viral proteins, could provide an alternative for people still hesitant of the mRNA technology. It also doesn't have the same cold storage requirements as Pfizer and Moderna's shots.

"There really is a population of patients who are willing to take this and not going to take existing vaccines. I think it's pretty compelling," said Eric Rubin, an infectious disease specialist who participated in the meeting, explaining his vote in favor.

Of the various vaccine technologies, mRNA has been subject to the most misinformation efforts.

- Possible myocarditis link -

Novavax's vaccine was found to be more than 90 percent effective against symptomatic cases of the disease. But its trial was conducted long before the currently circulating sub variants of Omicron were dominant, and the company may yet have to add a booster or update its shot.

What's more, six cases of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, were detected in the group that received the vaccine, against one case in the placebo group, in a trial of around 40,000 people.

Novavax says there is insufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between the cases of myocarditis and the vaccine. 

Such a link has been established with mRNA vaccines, but it only became apparent when they were used on millions of people in the real world, rather than tens of thousands in a trial.

The FDA voiced concern over the myocarditis link on Friday, and a warning is likely to be included on the eventual label. Earlier, trading in Novavax shares on Nasdaq was halted pending the meeting.

Known as a protein subunit vaccine, Novavax is administered in two doses. 

It is based on a lab-created version of the spikes that dot the surface of the coronavirus to evoke an immune response. 

The company uses a modified spike gene inserted into another kind of virus, called a baculovirus, which is used to infect moth cells, which then produce the spikes on their surface. These spikes are harvested and assembled into nanoparticles, which are injected into patients. 

A compound of soapbark tree is added to the vaccine to heighten the response.

With inputs from AFP.