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Stronger India-US health partnership can be powerful force to fight COVID-19 globally: S Jaishankar

In a series of tweets, the Indian Embassy here said the meeting was a productive engagement on pandemic support and economic recovery.

May 28, 2021 / 08:24 AM IST
The US has pledged $100 million in aid to India to fight the devastating surge in COVID-19 cases. [Image: Reuters]

The US has pledged $100 million in aid to India to fight the devastating surge in COVID-19 cases. [Image: Reuters]

Asserting that a stronger India-US health partnership can be a powerful force to fight COVID-19 globally, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, at his meetings with top leaders of the American corporate sector on Thursday, appreciated their swift response to India''s fight against the pandemic.

Jaishankar, the first Indian cabinet minister to visit the United States under the Biden administration, at his lunch-on meeting with CEOs organised by the US India Strategic and Partnership Forum (USISPF), emphasised India''s focus on healthcare partnerships and the importance of India-US collaborations, which would strengthen the supply chains for the production of vaccines and essential medicines in India.

In a series of tweets, the Indian Embassy here said the meeting was a productive engagement on pandemic support and economic recovery.

"He appreciated the US private sector''s swift response in India''s fight against the pandemic," the embassy said in a tweet.

"Appreciate the participation of CEOs of US companies from diverse business sectors, their support for India''s efforts to fight the pandemic, and US industry''s firm commitment to advance India-US trade, investment and technology partnership," it 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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Jaishankar discussed India''s priorities, the importance of strengthening critical supply chains and a collaboration for the production of vaccines and therapeutics. During the meeting, he emphasised that a stronger India-US health partnership can be a powerful force to fight the global pandemic.

"Wide-ranging discussion on India''s fight against #COVID19, #USIndia commercial & strategic ties, economic recovery & the broader geopolitics of the region with Minister Jaishankar and (India''s) Ambassador (to the US) Taranjit Singh Sandhu," the USISPF tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar held another wide-ranging conversation with the members of the US India Business Council (USIBC) and the US Global Task Force on Pandemic Relief.

His meeting with the USIBC reinforced both countries'' commitment to fight the pandemic together, build resilient supply chains and advance vaccine access, the council said after the meeting.

Joined by the members of the USIBC board and select executives from the "Global Task Force for Pandemic Response", companies shared their ongoing initiatives to support India''s health infrastructure and further ways to continue with the relief efforts.

So far, the Global Task Force, a consortium of over 40 American companies, has supported India with 1,000 ventilators. The first set of ventilators have been installed in Uttarakhand''s Haldwani and the training of physicians is underway. The next set of 300 ventilators is on its way to hospitals in tier-2 and tier-3 cities with installation and training planned for the upcoming days. The remaining ones are scheduled for arrival in Chennai.

As many as 4,850 oxygen concentrators have reached 31 states, Union territories and government agencies in India, with an additional 1,190 concentrators en route. A total of 35,000 concentrators are scheduled for delivery by the end of June, the USIBC said.

Further, the chief human resources officer (CHRO) of the India Action Group has convened the CHROs and human resources officers of nearly 200 companies. The group has launched a secure, private collaboration site with resources and materials that the CHROs are using to help employees in India. The current content channels include telehealth, behavioural and mental health, home health kits, financial wellbeing, practical information for employees and HR policy best practices, the USIBC said.



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PTI
first published: May 28, 2021 08:25 am
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