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India's present overall case positivity rate suggests COVID-19 close to being under control

NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul urged people to come forward and get vaccinated to break the chain of transmission, while stressing that public compliance for COVID-19 appropriate behaviour cannot be diluted.

March 02, 2021 / 09:47 PM IST

India's present overall COVID-19 case positivity rate of 5.11 per cent suggests the pandemic is close to being under control, the Union Health Ministry said on Tuesday. Addressing a weekly press conference, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said though certain states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, are seeing a surge in number of COVID-19 active cases, "the fact remains that recovered cases are still more than 97 per cent and India's total active cases are less than 2 per cent (1.51 per cent)".

Bhushan said that central teams have been deputed to Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.

"We are monitoring Haryana also," he said.

Two states, Maharashtra and Kerala, account for 75 per cent of the total active COVID-19 cases in the country, he stated.

"According to WHO, if 140 tests per million are being conducted per day and case positivity rate is 5 per cent or below, it means the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. We are very close to that mark with the present overall case positivity being 5.11 per cent," he said.

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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.

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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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NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul urged people to come forward and get vaccinated to break the chain of transmission, while stressing that public compliance for COVID-19 appropriate behaviour cannot be diluted.

He said a large proportion of the population was still susceptible to disease and cautioned against any laxity.

He said one of the reasons for the surge in cases in some states are large gatherings, parties and weddings. He urged people to maintain social distance and avoid gatherings, stating these can act as super-spreading events.

Bhushan said India has recorded 113 COVID-19 deaths per million and conducted 1,57,684 tests per million population.

According to the Health Ministry figures updated at 8 am,India's total COVID-19 active caseload was recorded at1,68,358 comprising1.51 per centof India's total infections.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Mar 2, 2021 09:46 pm

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