Trump-backed drug to be tested on thousands in Mumbai slums

first_img“For use of HCQ as prophylaxis in a hotspot, there is simply not enough evidence. No preventive studies published to say that this approach really protects people,” said Leena Menghaney, a New Delhi-based activist with Médecins Sans Frontières. “Potential risk may surpass the potential benefit of providing it widely for people without the disease.”Too Many UncertaintiesThere have been reports of heart-rhythm problems in some people in France, especially if used in a larger dose or if it interacts with other drugs, according to Menghaney. “There are too many uncertainties to say if it will help or if it will be futile in the public health response” against the coronavirus outbreak, she said.The anti-malarial drug didn’t help patients clear the virus better than standard care and was much more likely to cause side effects, according to a study in China. There were more side effects in the group who took hydroxychloroquine, but they were mostly mild, the most common being diarrhea, the study found.Aware of the deeply divided stance on this drug, Mumbai’s city officials are being careful.A policeman wearing a protective mask walks inside a shelter set up for migrants during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Mumbai, India, April 6, 2020. (REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas)The original plan to dose 50,000 people between the ages of 18 years and 55 years, with no pre-existing liver and heart ailments, has now been scaled down as regular follow-up and surveillance of such a huge group would have been a challenge, said Kakani who is responsible for execution of this initiative.The medicine will be given to only those people who are willing, he insists, after recording their personal and medical history, including any medication they may be on.Spot Side EffectsAs many as 4,500 health care workers in Mumbai can be roped in this initiative. Each health care worker will be alloted 25-30 houses to track during the tenure of the medication and will be well-trained to spot any side effects for three to seven weeks over which the drug may be administered.Kakani refutes that the two locations were chosen because they are slum settlements.“In Dharavi and Worli we have created quarantine zone with high risk patients. We are anyway monitoring that group for 14 days, so we are able to observe these people and provide medical services,” he said. “We are not going ahead just because this is a slum.”Mumbai’s municipal authorities have completely sealed some areas, created quarantine zones, and are conducting door-to-door contact tracing of those found infected.As the death toll mounts despite India being in a lockdown for nearly a month, local governments have begun weighing the risks and rewards of some unprecedented policy measures.“We can try newer things if it’s permissible and advisable by relevant experts,” Kakani said. “Just because no one has tried it out yet does not mean we shouldn’t also. We can’t sit back and relax.”Topics : “This is a one-time window available to us and may give answers for the pandemic the world is struggling with,” Kakani said. “We are taking utmost care to understand the side effects before implementing this.”Mumbai, which has seen more than a tenth of India’s over 13,800 cases and a quarter of its deaths, has emerged as the biggest virus hotspot in India and is racing against time to curb the contagion in several clusters.The densely-packed slums of Dharavi are one of the two locations — Worli, the worst-hit Mumbai neighborhood is the other– where the city officials plan to start a hydroxychloroquine or HCQ-dosing drive as a prophylaxis or a preemptive medication aimed at warding off the disease.There’s no conclusive scientific evidence that the drug works on virus patients, not to mention its use as a preventive therapy. India’s financial capital Mumbai is fine-tuning a plan to administer an unproven but much touted anti-malarial drug in neighborhoods including Asia’s most crowded slum, the first-of-its-kind mass experiment to ward off the coronavirus.The city officials are identifying a target group which will receive hydroxychloroquine, according to Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner at Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. Medical experts are being consulted on the duration of dosage, he said, adding that a decision was expected in a couple of days.The move underscores the desperation and mounting pressure on health care officials for solutions against a novel pathogen which has infected over 2.1 million people globally and killed over 146,000. It also explains the frenzied excitement over a decades-old drug — US President Donald Trump called it a “game changer” in the fight against the virus –despite a patchy efficacy record in some small studies and a documented list of side effects.last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces 140 New Jobs with New Select Products Holdings Manufacturing Hub in Lackawanna County

first_imgGovernor Wolf Announces 140 New Jobs with New Select Products Holdings Manufacturing Hub in Lackawanna County Jobs That Pay,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today that Select Products Holdings, LLC, a manufacturer of paper products for household use, will establish its manufacturing hub in Vandling Borough, Lackawanna County, a move that will create 140 new jobs.“We are gaining momentum as more and more companies continue to see the value of Pennsylvania’s assets and strategic location as the best place to support their expansion goals,” Governor Wolf said. “Select Products Holdings will undoubtedly serve as an important part of the community, sparking economic growth and employment opportunities both immediately and for years to come.”Select Products Holdings will expand operations and establish its manufacturing hub in Vandling Borough, Lackawanna County. The company will invest $6.6 million in the project which will include building acquisition, expansion, and plant upgrades at the 939 Main Street location. Select Products Holdings has committed to creating 140 new jobs over the next three years.“Our new location will serve as our manufacturing hub, providing efficient service and distribution of our product lines, with brand new state of the art machinery to our network along the East Coast,” said Simon Roozrokh, CEO, Select Products Holdings. “One of the reasons we selected this location is because of the ability to expand, build additional space, and add additional equipment. This project would not have gone forward without the assistance provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, which made for a smooth transition into the community.”Select Products Holdings received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development that includes a $280,000 Pennsylvania First program grant, $280,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits, and $63,000 in WEDnetPA funding for employee training. The company has also been encouraged to apply for a $2.4 million low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce.“The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is committed to working toward the creation of family sustaining manufacturing jobs,” said Bob Durkin, president, The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce. “Select Products Holdings decision to locate here is a three-fold win for Lackawanna County. Not only are welcoming a new manufacturer to the area, but we are creating jobs in a part of our community with labor pool trained in the necessary skills sets and recruiting a company that currently does business with our existing industries regionally.”Select Products Holdings is a manufacturer and converter of paper products for personal and sanitary uses.For more information on Select Products Holdings, visit www.selectproducts-usa.comFor more information about the Governor’s Action Team or DCED visit www.newPA.com.# # #Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf March 07, 2016center_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more