Three US-based companies are currently engaged with their Indian counterparts for mass production of COVID-19 vaccines in India, the commerce ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry added that COVID-19 has led to increased trade and cooperation between India and the US.
"Three USA companies are currently engaged with their Indian counterparts for mass production of COVID-19 vaccines in India," it said without giving more details.
It also said the proposed free trade agreement between India and Mauritius is near finalisation as negotiations for trade in goods and services have been completed.
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.
In a free trade agreement, two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on majority of goods traded between them.
"India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) negotiations for trade in goods and trade in services, have been completed. The agreement is near finalisation," it said while listing major highlights of the Department of Commerce during 2020.
India exports petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, cereals, cotton and electrical machinery, apparel and clothing accessories to Mauritius.
The island nation's exports to India include iron and steel, pearls, precious/semi-precious stones and optical, photographic and precision instruments.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.