COVID-19 global news roundup: Nasal vaccine being developed, mandatory vaccination in Austria and more…

India on Friday reports more than 100,000 new Covid cases in 24 hours, over half a million deaths  

India reported 149,394 new Covid cases in the preceding 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry updated data informed on Friday. Additionally, the country’s death toll from Covid-19 crossed 500,000 on Friday.

The country witnessed a single day rise of 1,072 Covid-29 deaths, taking the death tally up to 500,055 in the last 24 hours, the updated data stated.

Livemint.com reported the active cases comprise 3.42 per cent of the total infections, while the national Covid-19 recovery rate improved to 95.39 per cent, the ministry said. A reduction of 98,352 cases has been recorded in the active Covid-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The country, which has the fourth-highest tally of deaths globally, recorded 400,000 deaths by July last year after the devastating outbreak from the Delta variant of the coronavirus, according to official data. Some experts believe the figures were much higher, as per Reuters report.

 

Nasal vaccines may make better boosters by stopping the coronavirus in the airways

Currently available vaccines produce powerful, long-lasting immunity against severe illness, as several studies have recently shown but their protection against infection from the coronavirus is transient, and can falter as new variants of the virus emerge; a failing that has prompted talk of regular booster shots.

According to an article on New York Times.com, Nasal vaccines may be the best way to prevent infections long term, because they provide protection exactly where it is needed to fend off the virus: the mucosal linings of the airways, where the coronavirus first lands.

“Immunizing entire populations with a nasal or oral vaccine would be faster in the middle of a surge than injections, which require skill and time to administer. A nasal vaccine is likely to be more palatable to many (including children) than painful shots, and would circumvent shortages of needles, syringes and other materials,” the article stated.

It said there are at least a dozen other nasal vaccines in development worldwide, some of them now in Phase 3 trials. But Bharat Biotech’s may be the first to become available. In January, the company won approval to begin a Phase 3 trial of the nasal spray in India as a booster for people who have already received two shots of a Covid vaccine.

 

Russia has confirms close to 12.5 million cases of coronavirus and more than 300,000 deaths 

Russia has confirmed 12,452,765 cases of coronavirus and 334,039 deaths, according to the national coronavirus information center. Russia’s total excess fatality count since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is at least 995,000. Under half the population is fully vaccinated.

The country reported another record number of new coronavirus infections. A total of 168,201 new infections and 682 deaths were recorded over the last 24 hours. Russia’s Labor Ministry has recommended that all enterprises send as many of their employees to remote work as possible due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

The head of the Rospotrebnadzor consumer health watchdog, Anna Popova said on Friday that the country plans to cancel mandatory isolation requirements for people who come into contact with somebody infected with Covid-19. She said the forced quarantine rules “have lost their reasoning” with the surge in Omicron cases.

 

Austria’s mandatory COVID vaccine law comes into force amid resistance

Austria’s new law comes into force in Austria this week that makes vaccination against Covid-19 compulsory for anyone over-18. Several countries have introduced mandates for the elderly or medical staff, but this is the first nation in Europe to adopt such sweeping measures.

Austria’s government says vaccinations are effective at combating severe disease, and that the law is needed to prevent future lockdowns says BBC news. Karoline Edtstadler, minister for the EU and Constitution, said the government is “very aware that it is really a strong step and really hard measure” but stated it is necessary.

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