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Govt permits ICMR to conduct study on using drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccine

The ICMR will conduct this study in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, the ministry’s press release said.

April 22, 2021 / 08:19 PM IST
Representational Image

Representational Image

The Civil Aviation Ministry on Thursday permitted the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to conduct a feasibility study on using drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccine, according to an official statement.

The ICMR will conduct this study in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, the ministry’s press release said.

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The ministry said it has granted "conditional exemption” from the "Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2021” so that it can conduct a feasibility study on using drones to deliver COVID-19 vaccine.

This exemption will be valid for a period of one year or until further orders, it noted.

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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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