The White House on Thursday said India has done the second highest number of coronavirus tests after the United States. “So we’ve done more than any country in the world on testing; there’s no doubt about that – 42 million tests,” said White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. “The country with the next highest number is India at 12 million.”
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, India has tested 1.30 crore samples till July 16. Of these, 3.33 lakh samples were tested on Thursday.
According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the United States has recorded 77,300 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. This is the highest one-day total for the pandemic so far. In the US, more than 30 lakh people have tested positive and 1,38,000 have died. India’s tally, on the other hand, crossed the 10-lakh mark on Friday and over 25,000 people have died so far.
The US is the worst-hit country by the virus, while India has the third-highest number of cases. Globally, more than 1.37 crore people have tested positive and over 5.8 lakh have died.
McEnany said the record testing was in a very stark contrast to the previous administration. She added that under former President Barack Obama, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had in 2009 abruptly asked states to stop testing for the H1N1 virus, which caused swine flu. McEnany quoted Ron Klain, former Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, to say that it was only luck that the H1N1 wasn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history.
McEnany said there has been encouraging news on vaccines, adding that the country was looking at 13 vaccine candidates and one of them was going into the third phase of clinical trials. “Moderna’s vaccine candidate is showing promising signs,” the press secretary added. “They produced a positive, neutral immune response among the 45 participants in the study. This is comparable to what we see in recovered patients. The bottom line is that, so far, we are seeing exactly what you would hope to see in a vaccine. The Moderna vaccine in particular is expected to reach phase three by late July, with 30,000 participants.”
So far, no vaccine has been approved for commercial use against the coronavirus. The World Health Organization had said last month that United Kingdom-based pharma firm AstraZeneca’s experimental vaccine was probably the leading candidate. The vaccine was developed by researchers at the University of Oxford. However, even this vaccine is not likely to be ready for human use until early next year.