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COVID-19 pandemic: Mumbai’s BEST praised by UN body for ‘unique approach’

The International Labour Organization acknowledged the COVID-19 response team set up by BEST

December 03, 2020 / 09:46 AM IST

Mumbai’s BEST has become the one and only body around the world to get recognised for its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The UN agency praised BEST’s “unique approach in combating the virus” in an article titled ‘Health and Wellness at Work’ published in its annual journal. Impressed by the efforts of BEST, the UN agency will document the methods it adopted to fight the coronavirus pandemic, reported Mumbai Mirror.

ILO, which works to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for everyone, said the undertaking had integrated health testing for more than 40,000 employees since 2018 in order to reduce the stigma associated with HIV. This helped the BEST in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as well, said the report citing the article.

The UN body acknowledged the COVID-19 response team set up by BEST and said it started antigen tests for all employees very early in the pandemic.

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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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“A telemonitoring severity score system was created, under which doctors with BEST monitored COVID-19 patients through five-minute calls periodically,” ILO said in the article.

The organization also mentioned the special call centre, set-up by BEST, for calling staff who had not reported for duty and/or were unwell, said the report. Under this model, it discusses six parameters with the staff. On the basis of the discussion, it would determine the degree of illness that the patient was suffering, as per the report.

The BEST has provided data as sought by the ILO on COVID-19, said Dr Anil Singhal, chief medical officer, BEST. These will now be documented and published along with methods used to control the spread of novel coronavirus, Dr Singhal was quoted as saying.

Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Dec 3, 2020 09:46 am

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