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Coronavirus pandemic | No shortage of medicines to combat COVID-19 outbreak: Govt

Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) is regularly monitoring the distribution and addressing issues with the help of other departments, states and Union Territories.

March 31, 2020 / 07:14 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

The Centre on Tuesday asserted that there is no shortage of medicines to combat the coronavirus outbreak and the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) is regularly monitoring the distribution and addressing issues with the help of other departments, states and Union Territories.

The DoP is continuously monitoring the production of medicines since the outbreak of coronavirus in China and is facilitating the industry by addressing various issues arising from time to time as quickly as possible on top priority in consultation with various authorities including state and UT governments, the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers said in a statement.

Besides, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has directed manufacturers to produce and maintain sufficient stocks of essential drugs at any point of time. All efforts are being made to ensure the production of drugs and medical devices during the period of lockdown, it added.

"The Department of Pharmaceuticals is working in close coordination with line departments like Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Customs authorities, Central and State Drug Controllers, State Governments/UTs and various drugs and medical device associations," the statement said.

The ministry further said a central control room [011-23389840] has been set up in DoP, which is working from 8 am to 6 pm. Moreover, NPPA has also set up another control room [Helpline number 1800-111255], which functions round the clock.

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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 control rooms deal with issues related to queries or complaints and messages dealing with coronavirus outbreak as well as coordination of transport and other logistic services related to drugs and medical devices, it added.

In case any issue pertaining to other ministries or departments comes or is brought to the attention of DoP, the same is being flagged to authorities concerned as part of inter-departmental coordination and through empowered groups, the statement said.
PTI

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