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Coronavirus pandemic Trump demands GM, Ford produce ventilators 'immediately'

General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!" Trump tweeted.

March 28, 2020 / 08:53 AM IST

US President Donald Trump demanded Friday that automakers Ford and General Motors start making ventilators to help ease the growing pressure on hospitals to care for coronavirus patients. "General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!" Trump tweeted.

"FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!" he added.

According to The New York Times, the White House had been planning this week to announce a joint venture between GM and Ventec Life Systems to jointly manufacture some 80,000 ventilators, as many areas of the country already report a dire shortage of the machines necessary to help COVID-19 victims continue breathing.

GM had been expected to retool a mothballed car plant for the production.

But the announcement of the deal was cancelled at the last minute, the Times wrote, due to the substantial, $1 billion cost involved.

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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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Trump though promised Friday that more ventilators were coming.

"We have just purchased many Ventilators from some wonderful companies," he said in a separate tweet.

"Names and numbers will be announced later today." Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, the US region most heavily impacted so far by the coronavirus, has repeatedly pleaded with the government for more ventilators to be able to contend with patient needs as infections soar.

Cuomo said he expects the epidemic won't peak in his region for another three weeks.

Seemingly contrary to his tweets Friday, Trump, speaking on Fox News on Thursday, said Cuomo's demands for ventilators were exaggerated.

"I don't believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators," Trump said.

"You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes and they'll have two ventilators and now all of a sudden they're saying, 'Can we order 30,000 ventilators.
PTI
first published: Mar 28, 2020 08:41 am

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