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Coronavirus pandemic | US to donate ventilators to India: Donald Trump

"I am proud to announce that the United States will donate ventilators to our friends in India," Trump tweeted on Friday. However, the White House did not say how many breathing devices would be sent.

May 16, 2020 / 07:53 AM IST

President Donald Trump has announced that the US will donate ventilators to India, moments after he underlined the close partnership between the two countries and called Prime Minister Narendra Modi his "good friend".

India's tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases crossed 85,000 on Friday, surpassing China's count of 82,933 confirmed cases.

"I am proud to announce that the United States will donate ventilators to our friends in India," Trump tweeted on Friday. However, the White House did not say how many breathing devices would be sent.

“We are sending a lot of ventilators to India. I spoke to Prime Minister Modi. We are sending quite a few ventilators to India. We have tremendous supply of ventilators,” Trump told reporters before boarding Marine One on his way to Camp David.

The president is scheduled to spend his weekend at Camp David for a number of meetings.

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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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At Trump's request, India had last month allowed the export of 50 million hydroxychloroquine tablets to treat COVID-19 patients in America, the country worst hit by the pandemic.

Earlier in the day, Trump praised India and Prime Minister Modi. "India has been so great and as you know your prime minister has been a very good friend of mine. I just got back a short while ago from India and we are very much together," the president said, referring to his visit to New Delhi, Ahmedabad and Agra in February.

During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, "The president just extolled our great relationship with India. India has been a great partner to us for quite sometime. I am encouraged to hear ventilators to India."

She said India would be among several countries that would getting the ventilators.

Trump on Friday said the US and India are cooperating to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. "Together we will beat the invisible enemy! We stand with India and Prime Minister Modi during this pandemic," Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House.

Trump recognised Indian-Americans as “great” scientists and researchers, who are contributing in the development of coronavirus vaccine.

He said a COVID-19 vaccine would likely be available by the end of the year. He has announced appointing former head of vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline to spearhead the vaccine development effort.
PTI
first published: May 16, 2020 07:41 am

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