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Students' protection comes first, education later; we are trying to balance these two, says Union minister Ramesh Pokhriyal

These exams have been deferred twice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The JEE-Mains was originally scheduled to be held from April 7 to 11, but postponed to July 18 to 23, NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, then pushed to July 26. They were postponed again and are now scheduled in September.

August 29, 2020 / 06:00 PM IST

Against the backdrop of rising clamour for postponement of the medical and engineering entrance exams in view of spike in COVID-19 cases, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal told News18 that the decision to conduct JEE Main and NEET has been taken after much consideration.

“After much consideration, we decided to conduct JEE Main from September 1 to September 6, we had already delayed it twice. NEET exam was supposed to take place on May 3 but now it is on September 13,” the minister said.

“Students' protection comes first and education later. We are trying to balance these two. From April 5 to April 11, NEET examination was supposed to happen but we postponed it. We acted upon the situation now we have planned these exams from September 1. We have already postponed it (the entrance exams) twice. These are the apex court's order. There are problems but we don’t know when COVID-19 will get over,” said Pokhriyal.

These exams have been deferred twice in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The JEE-Mains was originally scheduled to be held from April 7 to 11, but postponed to July 18 to 23, NEET-UG was originally scheduled for May 3, then pushed to July 26. They were postponed again and are now scheduled in September.

“The Supreme Court has also said a whole year cannot be wasted. Students are ready for the exams and we are also preparing from our side," Pokhriyal reiterated.

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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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More than 8 lakh candidates have registered for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)–Main while over 15 lakh students have registered for NEET.

With inputs from PTI
Moneycontrol News
first published: Aug 29, 2020 06:00 pm

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