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COVID-19: Rajnath Singh asks DPSUs, DRDO and OFB to provide oxygen, beds to state govts

At a virtual meeting with the top defence brass, Singh also granted emergency financial powers to three forces and other defence agencies for procurement of medical equipment and for creation of additional capacities in view of the pandemic, officials said.

April 20, 2021 / 08:15 PM IST

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday asked defence public sector undertakings, DRDO and Ordnance Factory Board to work on a war footing to provide oxygen cylinders and extra beds to state governments at the earliest to help them in dealing with the surging cases of COVID 19.

At a virtual meeting with the top defence brass, Singh also granted emergency financial powers to three forces and other defence agencies for procurement of medical equipment and for creation of additional capacities in view of the pandemic, officials said.

The defence minister asked the armed forces to be in close contact with the civil administrations across the country and to provide any required assistance.

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The meeting was attended by Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Surg Vice Admiral Rajat Datta and DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy.

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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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Officials said Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has already shared with private industry its oxygen generation technology which was developed for use on board Light Combat Aircraft Tejas,

They also said work is going on to set up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad.

India is witnessing a massive spike in coronavirus infections and many states are reporting shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and essential drugs to deal with the pandemic.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
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