Anil Deshmukh also said that the government will take strict action against black marketeers of the drugs, which are used in treating COVID-19 patients.
Amid complaints of shortage of anti-viral drugs Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, Maharashtra minister Anil Deshmukh on Friday said the government will buy them "on a big scale" to ensure that they are available for the needy across the state "soon".
He also said that the government will take strict action against black marketeers of the drugs, which are used in treating COVID-19 patients.
The Home Minister made the remarks following his meeting with Food and Drugs Administration Minister Rajendra Shingne here.
There is no vaccine available to treat COVID-19 patients yet.
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.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Deshmukh said that there has been a big demand for the drugs in Maharashtra as well as outside the state.
"The state government is going to buy remdesivir and tocilizumab on a big scale. The state government has started the process of purchasing the drugs to ensure it is available for the needy across the state. It will be available soon," Deshmukh said.
He said the police department and the Food and Drugs Administration department will take joint action in case there are instances of black marketing.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.