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India's infections cross 5.0m

September 17, 2020 00:00:00

The global coronavirus death count soared to 940,804 Wednesday, according to www.worldometers.info tally, report agencies.

According to the data, the globally confirmed cases now stand at 29,813,565.

The US, which is the worst affected country, has reported 6,604,156 confirmed cases with 195,735 fatalities.

It is followed by India with 5,060,818 cases and 82,066 deaths.

Brazil is the third worst-hit country with 4,382,263 confirmed cases and 133,119 deaths.

India's coronavirus infections surged past 5.0 million on Wednesday, piling pressure on hospitals grappling with unreliable supplies of oxygen that they need to treat tens of thousands of critical patients.

In the big states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, that are also some of the worst-affected by the virus, demand for oxygen has more than tripled, doctors and government officials said, prompting urgent calls for help.

"Desperate patients have been calling me through the night but I don't know when I will get stock," Rishikhesh Patil, an oxygen supplier in the western city of Nashik, told Reuters.

The health ministry reported 90,123 new infections on Wednesday with 1,290 fatalities.

India has the world's fastest growing novel coronavirus epidemic and added its last million infections in just 12 days. It is only the second country in the world to have more than 5 million cases, after the United States.

At least 6.0 per centof India's nearly 1 million active cases need oxygen support, health ministry official Rajesh Bhushan told reporters. Supplies were adequate but state governments should monitor usage and flag shortages, he said.

Meanwhile, Pfizer has said that Phase III clinical trial participants were experiencing mild-to-moderate side effects with its investigational Covid-19 vaccine candidate.

On an investor conference call, the company executives noted that more than 12,000 study participants had received a second dose of the vaccine candidate, according to Reuters.

The company has recruited more than 29,000 volunteers so far. Pfizer added that it was continuously analysing the safety and tolerability of the candidate in its trial.

An independent data monitoring committee could recommend temporarily stopping the trial at any time, but has not done so till date.

Recently, the company submitted an amended protocol to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Phase III pivotal trial, seeking approval to expand enrolment to about 44,000 participants.

The initial target was up to 30,000 subjects, which is anticipated to be reached this week.

Pfizer added that the proposed expansion would enable increase of trial population diversity, recruit subjects aged as young as 16 years and people with chronic, stable HIV, hepatitis C or hepatitis B infection.

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