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UNICEF sends six tonnes of masks and other gear to help fight China virus

UNICEF's shipment, weighing six metric tonnes, was sent from its global supply hub in Copenhagen and landed in Shanghai, the agency said in a statement.

January 29, 2020 / 10:01 PM IST

A six-tonne shipment of respiratory masks and protective suits for health care workers landed in China on Wednesday for distribution in Wuhan, the epicentre of a spreading coronavirus outbreak, the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) said.

The United States and Japan flew citizens out of the central Chinese city as the death toll rose to 133 and the first case appeared in the Middle East. There have been 5,974 confirmed cases in China.

UNICEF's shipment, weighing six metric tonnes, was sent from its global supply hub in Copenhagen and landed in Shanghai, the agency said in a statement.

This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it, said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

"We may not know enough about the virus' impact on children or how many may be affected but we do know that close monitoring and prevention are key. Time is not on our side.

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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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UNICEF said it was working with other agencies including the World Health Organisation on a coordinated response in China and other affected countries. The WHO announced on Tuesday that China had agreed to a team of international experts visiting to help combat the virus but gave no timetable or details.
Reuters
first published: Jan 29, 2020 10:00 pm

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