The US government, through its aid agency USAID, has announced an additional grant of USD 3 million to help India combat the coronavirus pandemic. On April 6, the USAID had announced a grant of USD 2.9 million to India to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus.
US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster said the additional funding will further support India's response to COVID-19.
“This additional funding to support India in its continuing efforts to combat COVID-19 is yet another example of the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and India,” a release issued by the US Embassy here quoted the envoy as saying.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is one of the leading aid agencies globally.
The USAID is providing these funds to the Partnerships for Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity (PAHAL) project, an innovative financing platform, the release said.
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.
To date, USAID has provided USD 5.9 million to assist India in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This assistance will help India slow the spread of COVID-19, provide care for the affected, disseminate essential public health messages to communities, and strengthen case finding and surveillance, it said."Through the PAHAL project, USAID will support the National Health Authority to establish a financing facility that can mobilize resources from the private sector to assist over 20,000 health facilities enrolled under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), India's health insurance scheme for 500 million poor and vulnerable people," the release said.