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57 US Congressmen urge Joe Biden to bolster COVID-19 assistance to India

The sharp increase in cases has overwhelmed India's healthcare system. We must do our part to quell the virus everywhere it persists, the lawmakers said in a letter to Biden on Wednesday.

May 13, 2021 / 08:10 AM IST
Joe Biden (Image: AP)

Joe Biden (Image: AP)

Fifty-seven US Congressmen have written to President Joe Biden, urging him to bolster America's COVID-19 assistance to India.

The sharp increase in cases has overwhelmed India's healthcare system. We must do our part to quell the virus everywhere it persists, the lawmakers said in a letter to Biden on Wednesday.

We are extremely concerned with regards to India's deadly COVID-19 second wave. India is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today marked India's deadliest day, with 4,205 deaths reported, carrying the total number of confirmed deaths to more than 250,000, said the letter initiated by Congressman Brad Sherman, the Democratic Chair of the Congressional India Caucus.

India's latest surge of COVID-19 infections is a humanitarian crisis that requires our assistance. As long as COVID persists in India, there is the potential for additional variants that could pose a serious threat to a vaccinated America, Sherman said.

In the letter, the Congressmen relayed to the administration that India remains in need of additional medical equipment, supplies and other vital resources to emerge from this crisis.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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They requested the administration to provide oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, oxygen generator plants, cryogenic oxygen tanker/container, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab and ventilators/BiPAP to India.

It is also in the US interest that everyone in India be vaccinated, the Congressmen wrote. "To the extent it is possible, we hope that you will work to provide India with vaccines," they said.

With this in mind, we welcome recently announced plans to make available sources of raw materials to help India manufacture more vaccines. Further, we ask that you share with India surplus doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as possible," the Congressmen wrote.
PTI

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