The United States is sending a whole series of help that India needs in its battle against COVID-19, President Joe Biden said, reiterating that New Delhi had done the same when his country was in need last year.
Biden had spoken at length with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 26 and conveyed solidarity with India in its fight against the viral disease. "We are sending immediately a whole series of help that he needs, including providing for those remdesivir and other drugs that are able to deal with this," Biden told reporters at a White House news conference on April 27.
"We are sending the actual mechanical parts that are needed for the machinery they have to build a vaccine, and that is being done as well," he said.
The president said he had discussed with PM Modi on when the US would be able to send actual vaccines to India.
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.
"The problem is right now, we have to make sure we have other vaccines like Novavax and others coming on probably, and I think we will be in a position to be able to share vaccines as well as know-how with other countries who are in real need," he said.
"I might add when we were in a bind in the very beginning, India helped us," Biden added.Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here