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Maharashtra to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests for early detection

Talking to reporters after Prime Minister Modi held a video conference with all chief ministers to discuss ways to check the spread of coronavirus, Tope also said that around 3.25 lakh migrant labourers are in state-run shelters across Maharashtra.

April 02, 2020 / 04:27 PM IST

The Centre has allowed Maharashtra to conduct rapid COVID-19 tests to expedite the detection of coronavirus cases, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Thursday.

The state government will use blood samples instead of swabs in rapid tests for coronavirus detection, Tope said.

Talking to reporters after Prime Minister Modi held a video conference with all chief ministers to discuss ways to check the spread of coronavirus, Tope also said that around 3.25 lakh migrant labourers are in state-run shelters across Maharashtra.

Besides Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the video conference was also attended by Tope and state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh.

"The prime minister has informed us that the state can now carry out rapid tests for early detection of coronavirus cases. We will be using blood samples for the early detection of COVID-19 infection," Tope said.

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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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Modi also asked the Maharashtra government to take care of migrant workers in the state in view of the lockdown.

"There are some 3.25 lakh migrant labourers in various state-run facilities. Modiji asked us to not only take care of their food, but to also provide them television so that they can have some entertainment and do not leave the shelter homes," the health minister said.

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