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Coronavirus pandemic | Jack Ma Foundation to donate 500,000 testing kits, 1mn masks to the US

Ma noted that the pandemic can "no longer be resolved by any individual country."

March 14, 2020 / 12:34 PM IST

Billionaire Jack Ma said his foundation will donate 500,000 testing kits and one million masks to the United States to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The statement posted to Twitter on March 13 was accompanied by a photo post signed by Ma. It read: "Over the past few weeks, Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation collaborated to source and donate much-needed materials to combat COVID-19 to afflicted areas in Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain. Now, we have sourced and readied for shipment 500,000 testing kits and one million masks to be donated to the United States."

Drawing from China's experience in dealing with the virus, Ma said speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are most effective in preventing the spread of the virus.

Ma noted that the pandemic can "no longer be resolved by any individual country." "This crisis presents a huge challenge to all humankind in a globalised world. We need to combat the virus by working hand-in-hand. At this moment, we can't beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons. United we stand divided we fall!" he ended.

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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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Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on March 13 declared a US national emergency over the quickly spreading coronavirus, opening the doors for more government aid to combat a pathogen that has infected more than 138,000 people worldwide and left more than 5,000 dead.

"To unleash the full power of the federal government to this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency - two very big words," Trump said in remarks at the White House Rose Garden, adding that the US situation could worsen and "the next eight weeks are critical."

Trump, whose action makes available $50 billion in federal aid to states and localities, had faced criticism from some experts for being slow and ineffective in his response to the crisis and playing down the threat.

Earlier, 55-year-old Ma, who is China's richest man, pledged over $2 million to support the development of antiviral drugs to combat COVID-19.

Jack Ma Foundation and Columbia University, will use the 15 million yuan to support a research project led by Dr David Ho, a world-renowned HIV/AIDS researcher with the university, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The researcher will lead in setting project objectives, conducting research and tracking results, said a member of the foundation based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Ma is the co-founder and former executive chairman of the Chinese multinational technology conglomerate Alibaba group.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 14, 2020 11:30 am

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