India imposed lockdown of 21 days while COVID-19 infection was still at local transmission stage to avoid reaching community transmission stage
India’s agility so far in handling the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is an exemplar, given its large population and the public healthcare challenges. As the country gears up to involve private partners for both testing and treatment of COVID-19, it is likely to aid further in containing the epidemic in the country, says GlobalData.
India imposed a lockdown of 21 days while the COVID-19 infection was still at local transmission stage to avoid reaching the community transmission stage. According to GlobalData COVID-19 dashboard, as of April 2, 2020, although India has 2,032 confirmed COVID-19 cases, incidence rate in India was 1.50 versus 120.4 worldwide and 59.16 in China.
As of April 2, 2020, GlobalData forecasts 407,825 confirmed COVID-19 cases in India in a high transmission risk scenario versus 5,305 in a low transmission risk scenario by the end of lockdown on April 14, 2020.
As part of the Fast Track COVID-19 Response Programme, India has proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project to respond to and mitigate the COVID-19 threat and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness in India and initiated sentinel surveillance to detect community transmission of COVID-19.
Sasmitha Sahu, Pharma Analyst, GlobalData, comments: “While the lockdown cannot eliminate the threat itself, it will be helpful in ‘breaking the chain of infection’ and containing further rampant spread of the virus. Although the new case count has been increasing, there has been certainly a delay in the onset of community transmission.”
Recently, the government announced the expansion of testing facilities to private diagnostic laboratories as well as directed private healthcare facilities to initiate treatment of COVID-19 cases. Moreover, India has approved three polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based kits and one antibody detection kit while also allowing any FDA approved diagnostic kit to be used by private testing labs.
Sahu adds: “India isolated the virus within a few weeks of its first COVID-19 case, which is pivotal to initiate research on diagnostic kits, vaccines and drugs. The expansion of testing will lead to quicker identification, enhanced surveillance and disease management which are further likely to prevent community transmission.”
Furthermore, the government is extending support to expedite the production of low-cost diagnostic kits and ventilators as well as established COVID-19 Research Consortium to facilitate the development of vaccines and therapies. It has notified a Rapid Response Regulatory Framework to provide expedited regulatory approvals.
The government has decided to cover COVID-19 related expenses under the national health insurance scheme for the deprived and also launched an insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 frontline. India is likely to participate in WHO’s multi-national SOLIDARITY trial to evaluate treatments for COVID-19.
Sahu concludes, “These supportive measures by the government will likely ensure the accessibility of testing to the larger masses and prove crucial in combating the epidemic as well as facilitating the development of novel therapies and vaccines.”