USA buys up world’s stock of key covid drug; no other country can now buy remdesivir

coastaldigest.com web desk
July 1,2020

The United States of America has bought almost the entire world's supply of remdesivir, one of just two drugs proven to treat COVID-19. 

“President Trump has struck an amazing deal to ensure Americans have access to the first authorised therapeutic for Covid-19,” said the US health and human services secretary, Alex Azar. 

“To the extent possible, we want to ensure that any American patient who needs remdesivir can get it. The Trump administration is doing everything in our power to learn more about life-saving therapeutics for Covid-19 and secure access to these options for the American people.”

The announcement implies that no other country in the world will be able to buy remdesivir for next three months at least.

The anti-viral drug patented by the US-based Gilead biotech firm is the only one approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to treat patients with the novel coronavirus.

The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmanoeuvre all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US.

“They’ve got access to most of the drug supply [of remdesivir], so there’s nothing for Europe,” said Dr Andrew Hill, senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University.

Remdesivir, the first drug approved by licensing authorities in the US to treat Covid-19, is made by Gilead and has been shown to help people recover faster from the disease. 

The first 140,000 doses, supplied to drug trials around the world, have been used up. The Trump administration has now bought more than 500,000 doses, which is all of Gilead’s production for July and 90% of August and September.

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Oven blast claims life of food products factory owner in Udupi

coastaldigest.com news network
August 10,2020

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Udupi, Aug 10: A powerful explosion at a food products factory at Mabukala near Brahmavar in Udupi district claimed the life of its owner yesterday.

According to sources, the blast occurred at Furtado food products factory when bakery products were under preparation. 

The victim has been identified as Robert Furtado (53), who owned Furtado food products factory.

The intensity of the blast was such that the door of the oven was ripped open. Unfortunately, Robert was standing near the oven. His body was torn into pieces as the oven door smashed him hard. 

Jurisdictional Kota police have registered a case. Investigations are on.

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BJP indirectly admitted covid scam; Cong only getting publicity but not filing complaint: HDK

News Network
July 27,2020

Bengaluru, Jul 27: Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said that when COVID-19 has made life and livelihoods difficult, it is unfortunate that charges have been levelled of irregularities in the procurement of COVID-19 equipment.

"The Congress which has levelled charges against the ruling BJP has not so far filed a complaint with any investigating agency. Instead, the Congress has limited itself to getting publicity. On the other hand, the ruling BJP instead of coming clean by ordering a probe into the main charges is indirectly admitting the scam," Kumaraswamy said on Sunday.

"By washing dirty linen in public, both the Congress and the BJP are playing a cruel joke on people instead of protecting their lives," he said.

Hitting out at the BJP, he asked, "Why is it that the BJP is not ordering an investigation into the Rs 2,000 crore Covid 19 corruption charges levelled against the government by the Congress? Why is the government keeping quiet on the corruption charges?"

He said, "Is this the leadership provided by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa? There could be political pressure on seeking resignation of his Ministers. But why has no action been initiated against any officers? Is there any effort to destroy the evidence by retaining officers in their existing postings?"

"Hunger for publicity is evident when we look at the press conference by five Ministers at a time," he said.

The government has countered the charges of the Congress but backtracked on ordering an investigation, he said.

"Would this not give rise to suspicion that the government is involved in the scam?" he asked.

He also asked why Congress leaders have not filed a complaint before any investigating agency despite "possessing documents to prove the charges".

"Are the Congress leaders trying to get publicity or are they concerned about the welfare of the people? The Congress Legislative Party leader is seeking an account (Lekka Kodi) while the BJP president is seeking answers (Uttara Kodi). Is it enough to give such questions and answers?"

Is there a concrete legal plan to deal with the irregularities? he asked.

"Looking at the way the Congress leaders have addressed media conferences and taken to social media campaigns, it appears that they are trying to get publicity," he said.

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Covid suspect’s family shell-shocked after hospital quotes Rs 9.09 lakh for 10 days

coastaldigest.com web desk
July 15,2020

Bengaluru, July 15: The family members of a 67-year-old man, who had developed some symptoms of Covid-19, was in for a rude shock when a “reputed” private hospital in Bengaluru’s Whitefield quoted estimated bill of Rs 9.09 lakh for 10 days.

The elderly man was rushed to Columbia Asia Hospital even before receiving his covid-19 test report. But after a look at the estimated bill, the family chose not to admit him there.

The break-up of the estimated bill included Rs 1.40 lakh for ventilator, Rs 3 lakh for medicines, medical supplies and consumables, Rs 2 lakh for laboratory investigations, Rs 75,000 for room rent, Rs 75,000 towards professional fee, Rs 58,500 for nursing charges, Rs 35,000 for radiology investigations and physiotherapy, and Rs 25,000 for equipment and surgical items.

The hospital authorities reportedly told the family members that the actual bill could be higher in the event of complications, unanticipated extension of stay and comorbidities.

“He was tested on Sunday and we were waiting for the result. On Monday, he started gasping for breath. Columbia Asia Hospital told us they had an ICU bed and we rushed him to the emergency care. When they showed us the estimate, we were shocked,” said Abdul Bashir, a nephew of the patient.

“We then contacted Dr Taha Mateen of HBS Hospital through an NGO ‘Mercy Mission’. We got him admitted there for just Rs 25,000,” he said adding that Hospitals should not take advantage when emotions are running high. 

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