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Coronavirus pandemic: China to provide India with key components of N-95 masks

While working the modalities of the deal, China reportedly requested India not to dub coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus’ because it is a stigma-ridden term that tarnishes the image of China.

March 27, 2020 / 06:06 PM IST

As the number of persons testing positive for COVID-19 continues to rise in India, the Centre has been trying to procure essential medical items needed to treat coronavirus patients, including ventilators and key components of protective gears from China.

The Chinese government has offered to help India fight coronavirus by supplying medical items and supplements by means of a government-to-government deal, Economic Times has reported.

If the essential medical items are sent to India by Beijing, it may greatly reduce the pressure to produce them locally on short notice. While the country is encouraging domestic manufacturers to start producing these essential items with components available in India, several imported components are vital.

India used to import vital components for the production of N-95 masks and other protective gear from China and South Korea. This took a massive hit after the supply chain got disrupted due to the widespread outbreak of coronavirus in these two countries.

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Currently, both India and China are working out the modalities for the procurement. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is already in touch with Wang Yi – his Chinese counterpart – and is trying to gauge the impact of the novel coronavirus in both countries.

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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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During the conversation, Wang had reportedly requested India not to dub the novel coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus’ as it is a stigma-ridden term that tarnishes the image of China. The request came as United States President Donald Trump has been insistent about referring to the deadly pathogen as the ‘Chinese virus’ since its place of origin was Wuhan in China.
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first published: Mar 27, 2020 06:05 pm
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