Shortly after Mahindra and Mahindra used their facilities to produce low-cost ventilators to help India’s in its fight against the coronavirus outbreak, car maker Maruti Suzuki also came forward to help increase the number of the life-saving medical equipment available in India.
It tied up with AgVa Healthcare — which provided the technology — to produce more than 1,500 ventilators in less than three weeks. However, Car and Bike report stated that they are still waiting for a nod from the government to dispatch them.
A Hindustan Times report stated that the first ventilator was produced by Maruti within 10 days, and now they are producing 300 ventilators daily.
Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava informed that Gujarat and Haryana state governments have already requested supplies of these ventilators. Meanwhile, Medanta Hospital in Gurugram has already been testing a Maruti ventilator for the past two weeks and after being satisfied with its performance, they have sought for more.
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.
He added that HLL Lifecare has even inspected their equipment, but is yet to send a feedback report, before which the ventilators cannot be dispatched.
Commenting on why the government sought help from the automobile firms to increase the number of ventilators available in India (important to support COVID-19 patients suffering from respiratory issues), Bhargava said: “The Centre requested us to help manufacture ventilators because there was a critical shortage…. Which other industry has the capability of scaling up an operation like this which means developing the components, importing components, ensuring quality on a large scale, to maintain quality? The auto industry has a clear advantage in this.”