Clinical trials of Russia's Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik V to be conducted in India

News Network
October 17, 2020

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Moscow, Oct 17:  The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Dr Reddy's Laboratories Ltd have received renewed approval to conduct late-stage clinical trials in India of the Russian Covid-19 vaccine, the sovereign wealth fund said on Saturday.

Large-scale trials of the Sputnik V vaccine in India were first announced and then knocked back by Indian regulators, who said that the scale of Phase I and II trials conducted in Russia earlier this year was too small, requesting that they be repeated.

Following a new agreement, India will now carry out an adaptive phase II and III human clinical trial involving 1,500 participants, RDIF, which is marketing the vaccine abroad, said on Saturday.

Under the deal, Dr Reddy's will conduct the clinical trials and, subject to approval, distribute the finished vaccine in India. RDIF will supply 100 million doses to Dr Reddy's.

Russia, the first country to grant regulatory approval for a novel coronavirus vaccine, is also conducting Phase III trials of Sputnik V in Belarus, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates.

RDIF has reached agreements with Indian manufacturers to produce 300 million doses of the shot.

A Phase III trial involving 40,000 participants is currently underway in Moscow, with 16,000 people having already received the first dose of the two-shot vaccine.

Interim results are expected to be published in early November.

Indian regulators have agreed to incorporate data, provided by Russia on a weekly basis, from the Moscow trial, a source close to the deal told Reuters.

Russia has also reached an agreement with the biotechnology department of India's Science and Technology Ministry to use its laboratories as a base for the Indian clinical trial, the source said.

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News Network
October 17,2020

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A panel of creditors to Jet Airways India Ltd. approved a resolution plan for the bankrupt airline, bringing a 16-month long process to recover dues to lenders closer to completion.

Jet Airways’ lenders accepted the plans submitted by Murari Lal Jalan and Florian Fritsch, the carrier said in a filing on Saturday. The airline didn’t provide any further details on the bidders or their proposal.

Once India’s largest carrier by the number of passengers, Jet Airways went into bankruptcy in 2019 after it failed to repay mounting debt, reflective of the nation’s struggling aviation sector.

The lenders approved the plan via e-voting, and the carrier’s resolution official will now seek to take the process forward in the bankruptcy court, the company said.

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Agencies
October 22,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 22: Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid, arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with north-east Delhi riots in February, told a court on Thursday that he was not allowed to step out of his cell and it was sort of a "solitary confinement".

Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat directed Tihar Jail Superintendent to be present before the court on Friday to hear the matter.

Khalid made his submissions directly to the court through video conferencing when he was produced before it on expiry of his judicial custody in the case.

The court also pulled up the Assistant Jail Superintendent of Tihar prisons for not unmuting the microphone when Khalid told him that he wanted to speak to the judge.

Khalid said the official told him the microphone will be unmuted if the judge gave the permission for it.

If an undertrial wants to say something, then unmute and let him speak or you tell us that he wants to say something, the judge told the jail official.

Khalid alleged that he was alone in his cell and not allowed to step out of his cell or talk to anyone.

I have not been allowed to step outside at all. I am alone in my cell. No one is allowed to meet me. It is practically sort of a solitary confinement. I am not well for the last three days. I am feeling discomfort. This is like a punishment. Why am I given this punishment? I reiterate that I need security but it cannot be that I have to be in my cell all day, he claimed.

He further said that on Wednesday he was shown an order passed by Additional Superintendent Pradeep Sharma of Jail number 2, in which it was stated that Khalid should not be allowed out of his cell for 24 hours a day.

I request a recall of that order. In the morning, the Jail Superintendent came and asked the jail staff to allow me to go outside. I was allowed to step out for 10 minutes and then after he left, I was not allowed to go outside since then, Khalid alleged.

When his counsel, advocate Trideep Pais, told the court that no adverse steps should be taken against him by the jail authorities for putting forward his grievances, the judge said, Khalid should not be punished for putting forward his grievances. You should take care of it.

The court had on October 17 directed the Tihar Jail Superintendent to provide adequate and security in judicial custody.

The directions came on an application filed by Khalid seeking adequate security in prison so that he was not harmed by anyone in judicial custody.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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News Network
October 15,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 15: Following the fake Television Rating Points (TRP) scam, the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) on Thursday announced a temporary suspension of weekly ratings of news channels across languages.

The council intends to review and augment the current standards of measurement to improve on "statistical robustness", and the exercise will result in a "pause" in the weekly ratings for up to 12 weeks, an official statement said.

At least five people have been arrested by the city police which busted the scam earlier this month.

Those arrested include news channel employees, while the police is also questioning executives of Arnab Goswami-led Republic Media Group with regard to the case. Republic Media Group has denied any wrongdoing.

The audience estimates given by BARC influence ad spends, and the total size of the ad placements was pegged at Rs 32,000 crore annually by the police. The police allege the ratings were being rigged by inducing the homes where the monitors were placed.

"In the light of the recent developments, BARC Board has proposed that it's technical committee review and augment the current standards of measuring and reporting the data of niche genres, to improve their statistical robustness and to significantly hamper the potential attempts of infiltrating the panel homes," an official statement said.

The exercise would cover all Hindi, Regional, English News and Business News channels with immediate effect, it added.

"BARC will cease publishing the weekly individual ratings for all news channels during the exercise," it said, adding that the exercise will last between 8 to 12 weeks and include validation and testing.

" a pause was necessitated to enable the industry and BARC to work closely to review its already stringent protocols and further augment them to enable the industry to focus on collaborating for growth and well-natured competitiveness," BARC India chairman Punit Goenka said.

The industry body's chief executive Sunil Lulla said besides augmenting current protocols and benchmarking them with global standards, BARC is also exploring several options to discourage unlawful inducement of its panel home viewers and further strengthening its codes.

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