PM Narendra Modi also said that India was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown, also praising the scientific community for its efforts in the lockdown.
India has one of the highest recovery rates of COVID-19 infections at 88 percent and the country is at the "forefront" of vaccine development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on October 19 while delivering the keynote address at the Grand Challenges Annual Meeting.
"India has one of the highest recovery rates of 88 percent. This happened because India was one of the first countries to adopt a flexible lockdown... India is now at forefront of vaccine development for COVID-19," PM Modi said.
"In India, we have a strong and vibrant scientific community. We also have good scientific institutions. They have been India’s greatest assets, specially during the last few months, while fighting COVID-19. From containment to capacity building, they have achieved wonders," the prime minister added.
Calling for well-planned investments in science and innovation, PM Modi said the future of the world will be shaped by societies that invest in these areas but collaboration and public participation will be among the key metrics.
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.
"Future will be shaped by societies that invest in science and innovation," PM Modi said. The prime minister also referred to many interventions made by India, including for improved cleanliness and greater toilet coverage, which contribute to a better healthcare system.
The annual event brings together scientists and innovators from across the world in order to deliberate on solving key global challenges.
The 2020 summit, being convened virtually from October 19-21, brings together policymakers and scientific leaders, calling for deepened scientific collaborations in solving global health problems, with great emphasis on COVID-19 with an "India for the World" framing.It is being co-hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, the Indian Council of Medical Research and NITI Aayog, along with the Grand Challenges Canada, the United States Agency for International Development and Wellcome.