COVID-19 has affected normal life and disrupted economic activities, but it is also a huge opportunity of hope, change and a promise of a better future which can be tackled by science and technology, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said.
He also urged people to follow appropriate COVID-19 protocols and vaccinate.
'COVID-19 has destroyed normal life and disrupted economic activities, but it is also a huge opportunity of hope, change and a promise of a better future.
'This can only be tackled by science and technology which will be the key for the future, be it remote healthcare or telemedicine or quality healthcare for remote villages or online education or any other thing,' a statement quoting Kant said on Thursday.
Kant was speaking online at the DST Golden Jubilee Discourse Series programme on the topic jointly organised by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication and Vigyan Prasar.
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.
Kant added that scientific areas like genome sequencing are very important in the age of pandemic and will provide solutions to many problems, including COVID-19.
He said 5G technology will rapidly transform the world of technology and mobile technology for faster communication. Similarly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to boost India's growth, he addded.
Speaking at the event, Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST said COVID-19 mutations will keep on happening in the future, and they will keep on analysing mutations and impact on health with speed and scale.