Officials say the US is trying to help India deal with its coronavirus surge, which is straining that country's health care system amid a record number of infections.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration's top medical adviser on the pandemic, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with its counterpart agency in India to provide technical support and assistance.
India set another global record of daily infections for a second straight day with 332,730 cases. Hospitals officials are using social media, pleading with the Indian government to replenish their oxygen supplies.
“It is a dire situation that we're trying to help in any way we can,” Fauci said at the White House coronavirus briefing.
“They have a situation there where there are variants that have arisen. We have not yet fully characterised the variants and the relationship between the ability of the vaccines to protect. But we're assuming, clearly, that they need vaccines.”
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.