Russia has offered to provide India medical-grade oxygen as well as anti-viral drug Remdesivir and imports are likely to begin in the next 15 days, as the country struggles with a shortage of these products with a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases, a report has said.
“Russia has offered to supply 300,000-400,000 Remdesivir injections per week and the numbers can go up. Also, oxygen supply will start via ship soon,” The Economic Times reported an official as saying.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
“Russia has said it can begin Remdesivir supplies in the next 15 days,” a second official said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
India has banned the export of Remdesivir and has waived customs duty on the import of the drug. It is also considering extending the expiry date of the medicine, the report said.
For oxygen supply, the government estimates peg daily capacity increase of 1,800 metric tonne (to 7,800 MT) from 6,000 MT a few weeks back—the daily use of medical oxygen has jumped to 4,000 MT.
The quick capacity jump is largely due to diversion of industrial oxygen towards medical facilities. Further, the Centre plans to import 50,000 MT of medical oxygen to meet demand.
The supply of oxygen from the UAE is likely to be hindered due to a lack of adequate number of cryogenic tankers or ISO tankers to transport oxygen in India, the second source added.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here