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Nepal seeks early supply of vaccines from India

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali made the request during the sixth meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission.

January 15, 2021 / 05:42 PM IST

The government of Nepal has asked India for early provision of coronavirus vaccines even as New Delhi indicates that it may be some time before it starts meeting demands from abroad.

Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali made the request during the sixth meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission.

Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Brazil are among several countries looking to secure vaccine supplies from India, which has given clearance for the emergency use for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and U.K.-based drugmaker AstraZeneca, and another developed by the Indian company Bharat Biotech.

The spokesman for India’s External Affairs Ministry, Anurag Srivastava, said Thursday that it was too soon to comment on the country's ability to provide vaccines to other countries.

``We are still assessing production schedules and delivery, and we will take decisions in this regard in due course. This may take some time,” he said.

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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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On Saturday, India is launching an immunization program aimed at vaccinating 300 million people — healthcare workers, frontline workers including police, and those considered vulnerable due to their age or other diseases — by August 2021.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
Associated Press
first published: Jan 15, 2021 05:42 pm

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