The United States government, through the its Agency for International Development (USAID), has announced an additional assistance of $3 million to India to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In coordination with the Government of India, USAID is providing these funds to the Partnerships for Affordable Healthcare Access and Longevity (PAHAL) project, an innovative financing platform of IPE Global.
Through the PAHAL project, USAID will support the National Health Authority to establish a financing facility that can mobilise 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, according to a statement.
“...The US government through USAID announced an additional $3 million to India to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” it said.
The release quoted US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster stating that “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.”
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 $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, as per the statement.
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