New Delhi, Apr 17, 2020: The chief of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, on Friday (April 17) said that 3,19,400 samples have been tested so far in the country and 28,340 coronavirus COVID-19 tests were conducted on Thursday (April 16).
Addressing a routine government briefing on COVID-19, Dr Gangakhedkar said that three different strains of coronavirus have been detected in the India so far and this coronavirus has been in India for 3 months now and the mutation of this virus does not happen too quickly. He asserted that whatever vaccine for the COVID-19 comes out now, it will work in the future as well even if the virus mutates, Zee reported.
"This virus has been in India for 3 months, the mutation doesn’t happen too quickly. Whatever vaccine comes out now, it will work in the future as well (if the virus mutates)," said Dr Gangakhedkar.
On being questioned about the use of BCG vaccine to fight COVID-19, Dr Gangakhedkar said that a study in this regard will be started by ICMR next week. He noted that the ICMR does not have definitive results from the study, it will not recommend the use of BCG even for health workers
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry on Friday asserted that the lockdown in India has reduced the doubling rate of COVID-19 cases. Addressing a press conference, Ministry of Health Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal said that before lockdown the doubling rate of cases was three days and for the last 7 days the doubling rate has been 6.2 days.
He also added that in 19 states and UTs, the doubling rate is less than the national average. The average growth factor of cases has been 1.2 from April 1, while during March 15-31, the average growth factor was 2.1
Speaking on the cases and deaths so far, Agarwal stated, "A total of 13,387 COVID-19 cases have been reported so far. In the last 24 hours, 1,007 cases and 23 deaths have taken place. 1,749 people have been cured."