UN chief Antonio Guterres has appreciated India's assistance to other countries to combat the COVID-19 pandemic during a virtual conversation with Ambassador T S Tirumurti, India's envoy to the world body, the Secretary General's spokesman has said.
Tirumurti, who assumed charge as India's Permanent Representative to the UN last week, presented his credentials virtually as telecommuting arrangements are in place at the UN headquarters due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Great pleasure to 'call on' HE UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (through) video conference. He recalled warmly his visits to India, underlined the importance of India for the UN & appreciated India's assistance to other countries during COVID,” Tirumurti tweeted on Thursday.
India has sent essential drugs, testing kits and other medical assistance to many countries around the world, including to the US, to help fight the coronavirus that has infected over 5.8 million globally. The death toll from the pandemic has surpassed 358,373.
Spokesman for the Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, had said that the UN chief looked forward to working very closely with Tirumurti in the years ahead.
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.
“We obviously very much welcome India's new Permanent Representative to the United Nations. And I know the Secretary-General looks forward to working very closely with the new envoy in the years ahead,” Dujarric had said at the daily press briefing last week.
Tirumurti assumed charge just weeks before the General Assembly is set to hold elections on June 17 for the five non-permanent seats of the UN Security Council for the 2021-22 term.
India's seat as a non-permanent member on the 15-nation Council for the two-year term is assured as it is the sole candidate vying for the lone seat from the Asia Pacific grouping.