COVID Watch | 5th September 2020


Russian COVID-19 vaccine clears tests

A potential coronavirus vaccine developed in Russia, named “Sputnik V” passed the first phase of its clinical trial as 38 healthy participants between the age of 18 and 60 developed antibodies. Volunteers were first administered the first part of the vaccine and then a booster 21 days later, and they were monitored for a period of 42 days. Volunteers successfully developed antibodies within three weeks


Citing the small sample size in the first phase of testing, US scientists expressed their reservations over the vaccine which they observed had been rolled out with haste and without sufficient empirical evidence to measure its effectiveness. 

Russia plans to extend the test to 40,000 volunteers in Phase 3 of the clinical trial. The World Health Organization has yet to remark on this development.

Approval sought  for a low-cost ventilator developed by Pakistani students

Pakistani students at MIT and Boston University are seeking approval for the production, distribution, and use of a low-cost ventilator they have developed from the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP). The ventilator underwent trials for 30 volunteers at the Services Institute of Medical Sciences in Lahore from September 2018 to December 2019.

The ventilator had already been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Authority of America, and costs considerably less than hospital-grade machines which can cost upward of $50,000. 

Sindh mulls strategy to reopen schools in phases

The Sindh steering committee for education is mulling plans to reopen educational institutions in phases rather than simultaneously on September 15 in order to curb the possible resurgence of COVID-19. A sub-committee suggested that students in higher grades be sent to school while primary education classes are reinstated gradually. 

The sub-committee recommended that classes for 9th grade and above be allowed to resume on campus on September 15, grades 6 to 8 to open on September 21 and students from pre-primary to grade 5 to be allowed to attend school by September 28. The seven-day gaps between the individual phases are to allow windows for potential new infections to be detected and for the government to respond with a control strategy. 

7 succumb to the virus

Six patients in Sindh and one in Rawalpindi, Punjab, succumbed to the virus on Friday, September 4, raising the national death toll to 6,340. A total of 498 fresh cases were reported in the country in the same timeframe, raising total active cases to 9,132.