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Accel's Prashanth Prakash appointed advisor to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa

Prakash, who is one of the founding partners of Accel India is also the chairman of Karnataka's Vision Group for Startups.

May 04, 2021 / 10:28 PM IST
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa at a COVID vaccination centre. The state's chief secretary has already flagged concerns over shortage of medical oxygen.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa at a COVID vaccination centre. The state's chief secretary has already flagged concerns over shortage of medical oxygen.

The Karnataka government has appointed one of India's top startup investors, Prashanth Prakash as an advisor to Chief Minister BS Yeddiyurappa on strategy and planning.

Prakash, who is one of the founding partners of Accel India is also the chairman of Karnataka's Vision Group for Startups. His appointment comes at a time when coronavirus cases in India's technology and startup hub Bengaluru is spiking, even as its healthcare infrastructure comes under strain.

Speaking exclusively to Moneycontrol, Prakash said, "I hope to contribute more to education and healthcare. We have to reimagine health readiness and the policies that will be required to make the state more resilient."

He added that the immediate focus would be ensuring there is an adequate supply of oxygen concentrators to meet not just Bengaluru's supply but that of smaller towns in the state, setting up of Oxygen PSA plants and de-bottlenecking inter-state supply chain and logistics. In the medium term, he will also advise on how the state can vaccinate at speed and scale.

"Corporate CSR and initiatives such as ACT grants will help in procuring more oxygen concentrators. We need to quickly get these to Bengaluru and the hinterland and streamline the logistics. We will also focus on better home isolation, triaging, and better availability of oxygen beds," he 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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The Karnataka chief secretary has already flagged concerns on medical oxygen, stating that there is a need for 1792 tonnes a day against the allotment of 865 tonnes a day.

Prakash joined Accel in 2008 and began investing in Indian technology start-ups in 2004.  He started his investing career as a co-founder of Erasmic, one of India’s first early-stage funds. Prior to that, he founded two enterprises in the Internet and multimedia publishing domains.

He focuses on consumer Internet services, online marketplaces, SaaS and has led investments in Agrostar, BlueStone, BookMyShow, Clevertap, FabHotels, Glowroad, HolidayMe, HomeLane, InfraMarket, PropTiger, QwikCilver (acquired by Pine Labs), Rentomojo, TeaBox, and other early-stage companies.
Chandra R Srikanth is Editor- Tech, Startups, and New Economy
first published: May 4, 2021 10:24 pm

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