Taiwan has bought 150 oxygen concentrators and aims to send them to India this weekend to help it deal with a massive increase in COVID-19 infections, and is also looking at providing further aid, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said on Thursday.
Countries around the world have been rushing to help India alleviate the crisis. India's death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surged past 200,000 on Wednesday, worsened by shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen.
Wu told reporters that they had been working on an aid package for India and have already purchased 150 oxygen concentrators which should be able to be sent this weekend.
"We are in the process of buying more oxygen concentrators and buying raw materials from overseas so our companies at home can produce even more," he said.
An oxygen concentrator reduces nitrogen from an air supply to produce an oxygen-enriched air supply to a patient.
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.
Taiwan is also looking at providing other aid as requested by India, Wu added.
While India, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, the two have gotten closer in recent years thanks to their shared antipathy of Beijing.
Taiwan sees India as an important like-minded democracy and friend, and there are close cultural and economic links too.