Tripura, on April 29, became the fifth northeast state to become free of the novel coronavirus disease after the last two positive patients who were cured and discharged. No new cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in the past 14 days.
The other four COVID-19 free states in northeast India are Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur. Among the seven sisters, Assam is the worst-affected state and has reported early 40 COVID-19 positive cases.
Tripura could achieve this feat by observing rigorous contact tracing, isolation, and testing to ensure that the deadly pathogen does not spread to others. It has the highest per million testing rate in the country as of now, with 4,450 of its four million people undergoing tests to ascertain if they have contracted the virus, reported NDTV. The average per million testings in Tripura stands at 1,051 as against India’s average of 470.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state government claimed they could rid the state of the novel coronavirus primarily by testing as many people possible.
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.
Tripura’s Health Secretary Sanjay Kumar Rakesh said the authorities will now shift focus to people coming in from other states that have been worse hit by the virus. He said: “We have stressed on testing and we will continue to do that. Our focus now will be on people who would be coming in from other parts of the country. Those coming from affected areas will be tested.”
India has more than 31,000 coronavirus cases at present and has recorded over 1,000 deaths already. Maharashtra continues to be the worst-affected state and accounts for more than 350 deaths and nearly 9,000 cases. The country has been under a complete lockdown from March end to contain COVID-19 spread.