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Coronavirus pandemic | US Speaker Nancy Pelosi urges stronger US federal response to COVID-19

Pelosi told MSNBC that President Donald Trump should immediately leverage the Defense Production Act to spur production of ventilators for patients and personal protective equipment for healthcare workers coping with the outbreak

March 31, 2020 / 07:11 PM IST

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday urged the Trump administration to do more to implement widespread testing for the coronavirus and deliver critical supplies to combat the outbreak, saying there needed to be a more coordinated response.

Pelosi told MSNBC that President Donald Trump should immediately leverage the Defense Production Act to spur production of ventilators for patients and personal protective equipment for healthcare workers coping with the outbreak, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives in the United States so far.

The Defense Production Act, which was passed in 1950, grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons.

"There's an overall appeal for him to do much, much more," Pelosi, a Democrat, told the network in an interview. "This is nothing that can be handled piecemeal. It has to be across the board."

"We haven't had the proper testing," Pelosi added.

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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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The United States has ramped up testing after numerous setbacks but still lags behind other countries on a per capita basis. Trump, a Republican, said on Monday that more than 1 million Americans had been tested for coronavirus - less than 3% of the population.

Pelosi also said lawmakers needed to take up a fourth coronavirus-related bill to focus on recovery in the aftermath of the outbreak.
Reuters
first published: Mar 31, 2020 07:09 pm

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