Rhythma Kaul

Rhythma Kaul works as an assistant editor at Hindustan Times. She covers health and related topics, including ministry of health and family welfare, government of India.

Articles by Rhythma Kaul

Covid at a point of transition, but still a global emergency: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday announced that Covid-19 continues to remain a public health emergency of international concern but added that the pandemic is currently at a “transition point”, suggesting that a change may be in the offing later this year

A person wearing a protective suit sits in Beijing Railway Station as passengers wait to board a train to travel for Spring Festival ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year festivities after China lifted its Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing. (REUTERS)
A person wearing a protective suit sits in Beijing Railway Station as passengers wait to board a train to travel for Spring Festival ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year festivities after China lifted its Covid-19 restrictions in Beijing. (REUTERS)
Updated on Jan 31, 2023 02:01 PM IST
By, New Delhi

Final hearing in tuberculosis drug patent case ends, verdict likely in a month

New Delhi: The Indian Patent Office had held its final hearing on a challenge filed by two tuberculosis survivors to prevent the Indian arm of drugmaker Johnson & Johnson from extending its patent on bedaquiline, used against drug-resistant TB, beyond the primary patent’s expiry in July

Final hearing in tuberculosis drug patent case ends, verdict likely in a month
Final hearing in tuberculosis drug patent case ends, verdict likely in a month
Published on Jan 30, 2023 12:09 AM IST

Centre rolls out first nasal Covid vaccine as booster

India on Thursday rolled out the first nasal vaccine against Covid-19, to be administered as a primary or booster dose for adults, potentially widening the pool of people who may take a third vaccine against the infection, cutting tertiary costs, and easing pressures on supply and storage networks

HT Image
HT Image
Published on Jan 27, 2023 12:03 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Bivalent vaccines more effective against Covid than monovalent ones: Study

Bivalent Covid-19 vaccines provide significantly better protection than their monovalent counterparts against severe disease and death from infections caused by Omicron sub-variants, data from two recent reports published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) show

A health care worker inoculates a beneficiary with a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), in Guwahati. (ANI)
A health care worker inoculates a beneficiary with a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), in Guwahati. (ANI)
Updated on Jan 30, 2023 08:26 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Siddhartha Mukherjee’s start-up to file trial data for cancer therapy

The move is an attempt to bring the advanced Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy for hard-to-treat cancers such as leukaemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma commercially available in India.

The study underway in India is labelled IMAGINE, which builds on phase 1 clinical data from Spain developed by Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. It is currently a phase 2B study testing the safety and efficacy of the drug varnimcabtagene autoleucel. (AP)
The study underway in India is labelled IMAGINE, which builds on phase 1 clinical data from Spain developed by Hospital Clinic in Barcelona. It is currently a phase 2B study testing the safety and efficacy of the drug varnimcabtagene autoleucel. (AP)
Updated on Jan 23, 2023 07:08 PM IST

People with hybrid immunity run 95% lower chance of infection, hospitalisations: Report

In comparison, those infected a year ago but not vaccinated had a 75% lower chance of the same.And those vaccinated, but not infected, had a 88.9% lower chance.

Protection against reinfection was also significant for those with hybrid immunity, although lower than that against severe disease. (ANI)
Protection against reinfection was also significant for those with hybrid immunity, although lower than that against severe disease. (ANI)
Updated on Jan 19, 2023 11:34 PM IST

Centre unlikely to procure more Covid vaccine jabs

Studies have shown that immunity gained from a vaccine shot typically wanes in four to six months . According to government’s Cowin dashboard, only 223 million persons have taken the booster shot dose.

A beneficiary receives a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Srinagar. (ANI)
A beneficiary receives a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Srinagar. (ANI)
Updated on Jan 17, 2023 04:21 AM IST

Marion syrup ingredients under lens over Uzbekistan deaths

According to local media reports in Uzbekistan, the chemical ethylene glycol was found in the syrup— Dok-1 Max— during lab tests

The Uttar Pradesh drugs licensing and controlling authority suspended the manufacturing license of the company— Marion Biotech— on Monday, January 9, after it did not respond for over a week after the drugs regulator’s show cause notice. (Hindustan Times)
The Uttar Pradesh drugs licensing and controlling authority suspended the manufacturing license of the company— Marion Biotech— on Monday, January 9, after it did not respond for over a week after the drugs regulator’s show cause notice. (Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jan 14, 2023 11:31 PM IST

Central food regulator notifies standards for Basmati rice

New Delhi The country’s top food regulator has notified standards to regulate basmati rice, the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday, adding that this is the first time such comprehensive standards are being put in place

HT Image
HT Image
Published on Jan 13, 2023 12:24 AM IST

Uzbekistan deaths: UP suspends licence of Noida pharma company

According to people familiar with the matter, the company was found defaulting on schedule M- good manufacturing practices (GMP) in production, even as results of samples sent for laboratory testing from the company’s manufacturing unit at Noida in Uttar Pradesh are awaited.

All manufacturing at Marion Biotech’s manufacturing unit was already stopped pending government investigation, the Union health minister announced on December 30. (Photo by AFP)
All manufacturing at Marion Biotech’s manufacturing unit was already stopped pending government investigation, the Union health minister announced on December 30. (Photo by AFP)
Updated on Jan 11, 2023 02:49 AM IST

Covovax booster request may come up next week

On December 28, 2021, the Drugs Controller General of India approved Covovax for emergency use in adults. It approved the vaccine for emergency use among those aged 12 years and above in March last year, making it the fourth Covid-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in children in this age group.

A healthcare worker administers a booster dose to a woman in Srinagar. (PTI)
A healthcare worker administers a booster dose to a woman in Srinagar. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 10, 2023 05:10 AM IST

Contagious subvariant still in circulation; no cause for panic: Experts

Experts say there was no reason to panic as there has been no unusual surge in cases reported from any part of the country.

In India, the first positive sample of the subvariant was reported in October last year. (PTI)
In India, the first positive sample of the subvariant was reported in October last year. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 09, 2023 05:07 AM IST

G20 Presidency: First health working group meet to be held on Jan 18 in Kerala

The second health working group meeting will be held on April 17-19 in Goa, third from June 4-6 in Hyderabad, and the fourth and the G20 health ministerial meeting will take place on August 17-19 in Gandhinagar

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. (PTI)
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. (PTI)
Updated on Jan 05, 2023 06:22 PM IST

Bharat Biotech working on variant-specific jabs

Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has begun work on variant specific vaccines against Covid-19 and is likely to use strains of the SARS-Cov-2 virus shared with it by the Indian Council of Medical Research’s Pune based National Institute of Virology (NIV)

India’s vaccine expert group is considering a second booster, at least for vulnerable groups, HT reported on Tuesday. (HT)
India’s vaccine expert group is considering a second booster, at least for vulnerable groups, HT reported on Tuesday. (HT)
Updated on Jan 04, 2023 11:56 PM IST
By, New Delhi

Discussions begin in govt panel on 2nd booster dose

The move comes even as the government is pushing to increase coverage of the first booster shot, currently languishing at 28% (of the eligible population).

A healthcare worker inoculates a man with a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, in Srinagar on Tuesday. (ANI)
A healthcare worker inoculates a man with a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine, in Srinagar on Tuesday. (ANI)
Updated on Jan 03, 2023 04:53 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Early detection of Covid variants remains in focus of Centre’s plan

Last month, the Union health ministry sounded an alert, tightened Covid guidelines and asked states and Union Territories to prepare for any eventuality amid a surge in infections in several nations, especially China.

Passengers undergo screening at IGI airport. (ANI)
Passengers undergo screening at IGI airport. (ANI)
Updated on Jan 02, 2023 04:47 AM IST
By, New Delhi

All production halted at firm linked to Uzbek syrup deaths

The suspension of Marion Biotech means that its exports will become ineligible for incentives under the Market Access Initiative Scheme.

A police van outside the office of pharma company Marion Biotech, in Noida. (HT Photo)
A police van outside the office of pharma company Marion Biotech, in Noida. (HT Photo)
Published on Dec 30, 2022 11:27 PM IST
ByRhythma Kaul and Soumya Pillai, New Delhi

Rhythma Kaul picks her favourite read of 2022

While the book is about Aparna Piramal Raje’s struggles with mental health, it is not a sob story but one that focuses on the possibility of leading a fruitful life despite such hardships

On thriving despite mental illness (HT Team)
On thriving despite mental illness (HT Team)
Published on Dec 30, 2022 04:43 PM IST

From Jan 1, negative Covid reports must for flyers arriving from 6 countries

People flying into India from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand will be required to provide negative Covid test report from January 1, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Thursday.

A medic takes swab sample from a passenger for Covid-19 test at Chennai airport on Saturday. (PTI)
A medic takes swab sample from a passenger for Covid-19 test at Chennai airport on Saturday. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 30, 2022 02:08 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Uzbek syrup deaths: Firm halts production

Noida-based Marion Biotech on Thursday said it has halted the production of its Dok-1 Max syrup after authorities in Uzbekistan blamed it for the deaths of at least 18 children in a new controversy surrounding India’s pharmaceutical exports.

Uzbek syrup deaths: Firm halts production
Uzbek syrup deaths: Firm halts production
Updated on Dec 30, 2022 01:54 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviews availability of essential medicines

The government has attempted to raise awareness and draw attention to the Covid-19 surge elsewhere. PM Modi held a review meeting last week when he urged people and administrations to be alert and not drop their guard

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviews the COVID-19 mock drill at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Tuesday (HT File)
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviews the COVID-19 mock drill at Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi on Tuesday (HT File)
Updated on Dec 29, 2022 08:14 PM IST

18 kids’ deaths in Uzbekistan linked to cough syrup made in Noida, probe on

India on Tuesday launched an inquiry into a Noida-based drugs manufacturer after deaths of 18 children in Uzbekistan were linked to a syrup the firm made, according to people familiar with the matter.

Indian company – Haryana-based Maiden Pharma – is under probe. Maiden’s cough syrups were linked to 70 deaths in The Gambia, but a formal conclusion has not been reached. (PTI)
Indian company – Haryana-based Maiden Pharma – is under probe. Maiden’s cough syrups were linked to 70 deaths in The Gambia, but a formal conclusion has not been reached. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 29, 2022 05:59 AM IST
By, New Delhi

CDSCO inspects drugs factory for compliance

India’s pharmaceutical standards authority has started random inspections of drug factories to check for regulatory compliance, the health ministry announced on Tuesday, a fallout of an Indian company’s cough syrups being linked to deaths in Gambia.

The inspections by the CDSCO are being conducted on the directions of health minister Mansukh Mandaviya in collaboration with state drugs regulators across the country, the ministry said in a statement.
The inspections by the CDSCO are being conducted on the directions of health minister Mansukh Mandaviya in collaboration with state drugs regulators across the country, the ministry said in a statement.
Updated on Dec 28, 2022 05:01 AM IST

Nasal vaccines to cost 800 at private centres, 325 at government

Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine, iNCOVACC, against Covid-19 will be available for ₹800 per dose at private vaccination centres and ₹325 at government centres, exclusive of taxes, the company announced on Tuesday.

A woman gets a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Srinagar on Tuesday. (PTI)
A woman gets a booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Srinagar on Tuesday. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 28, 2022 01:51 AM IST
By, New Delhi

‘Allow second booster dose’: Doctors after meet with Mandaviya on Covid

The meeting came as part of government’s attempt to step-up Covid-19 surveillance amid rising cases globally especially in China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a passenger at railway station in Patna on Monday. (ANI)
A healthcare worker collects a swab sample from a passenger at railway station in Patna on Monday. (ANI)
Updated on Dec 27, 2022 06:55 AM IST
ByRhythma Kaul and Soumya Pillai, New Delhi

Focus on surveillance, govt tells states as it steps up Covid vigil

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said focus should be given to health facility-based sentinel surveillance; pan-respiratory virus surveillance; and community-based surveillance.

A medic takes swab sample from an air passenger for Covid-19 test at the Birsa Munda International Airport in Ranchi on Sunday amid a surge in coronavirus cases in some countries. (PTI)
A medic takes swab sample from an air passenger for Covid-19 test at the Birsa Munda International Airport in Ranchi on Sunday amid a surge in coronavirus cases in some countries. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 26, 2022 04:51 AM IST

Nasal vaccines to roll out in private hospitals soon

A new coronavirus vaccine used as a nasal spray will only be available at private health facilities and the Co-WIN platform was set to be tweaked on Friday to allow people to immediately begin booking shots, people aware of the matter said on Friday.

Students in a Jammu school wear masks as a precautionary measure against Covid on Friday. (PTI)
Students in a Jammu school wear masks as a precautionary measure against Covid on Friday. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 24, 2022 12:54 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Covid: Restrictive curbs not needed yet, says govt

The Union health ministry, citing its data, said that eight states and four Union territories currently had no active case.

New Delhi: People wear face mask, at Khan Market in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting with experts to review the COVID-19 situation considering the fresh rise of cases in other countries, especially China. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)
New Delhi: People wear face mask, at Khan Market in New Delhi, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting with experts to review the COVID-19 situation considering the fresh rise of cases in other countries, especially China. (PTI Photo/Kamal Singh)
Updated on Dec 24, 2022 05:09 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Expert panel suggests nasal Covid vaccine for adults: Centre

The vaccine, branded iNCOVACC, was approved by the country’s drugs regulator and will add to India’s arsenal of tools to fight the pandemic.

In a review meeting on Covid situation on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged for officials to take steps to encourage people to get their third doses, especially if they are vulnerable due to other illnesses or are of old age. (PTI)
In a review meeting on Covid situation on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also urged for officials to take steps to encourage people to get their third doses, especially if they are vulnerable due to other illnesses or are of old age. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 23, 2022 05:25 AM IST
By, New Delhi

Airports to randomly test 2%international flyers for Covid-19

India has begun randomly testing 2% of international travellers coming to the country for Covid-19 and could consider making it mandatory for all if required, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Thursday.

Amid a surge in Covid cases in several countries,India has so far ruled out any flights restrictions. (PTI)
Amid a surge in Covid cases in several countries,India has so far ruled out any flights restrictions. (PTI)
Updated on Dec 23, 2022 02:21 AM IST
By, New Delhi
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