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Last Updated : Oct 31, 2020 11:45 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

COVID-19 pandemic: MEA to brief envoys on India's response, vaccine programme

Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla will hold a presentation for the Delhi-based diplomats next week on the COVID-19 pandemic

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Representative image

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) is set to brief all ambassadors accredited to India on India's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the vaccine development programme.

Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla will hold a presentation for the Delhi-based diplomats next week, the Economic Times reported. India's national expert group on vaccine administration will also attend the meeting.

Envoys from various continents will be present on the occasion, the report said. The centre is also planning to arrange a visit for the envoys to some vaccine production and diagnostics centres, a person familiar with the development told the newspaper.

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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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"India is the pharma capital of the world and Delhi has fought from the front assisting others while it has a huge population to cater at home. This will enhance India’s global stature as a key responder to the crisis and therefore the next week’s meet is an important endeavour,” another diplomatic source told ET.

India has collaborated with USA, Israel, Russia, Australia and EU on the fight against coronavirus pandemic and to develop vaccines.

Carving the path for India’s foray into medical diplomacy in the midst of a pandemic, India had exported hydroxychloroquine to 13 countries, including neighbouring nations and the United States.

Earlier this month, as part of India's contribution to help Myanmar in its fight against COVID-19, Army chief Gen. MM Naravane and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla handed over 3,000 vials of Remdesivir to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Globally, there have been at least 4.5 crore reported infections and over 11 lakh deaths due to COVID-19, as per a Reuters tracker. The United States, India, France and Brazil remain the most-affected countries due to the outbreak.

Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak
First Published on Oct 31, 2020 11:45 am
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