This Sunday a news by the union health minister, Mr Harsh Vardhan was revealed. This news bought relief to many people. Many of who could not afford the paid COVID 19 tests, or are too weak and scared to go out. He revealed that the ministry will soon roll out FEDULA paper strips. These paper strips can and will be used for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. This paper strip test has been developed by CSIR-IGIB. It has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch. The Union Health Minister also revealed that the test showed 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity.
“This compares favourably to the ICMR’s current acceptation criteria of RT-PCR Kit of at least 95% sensitivity and at least 99% specificity.” – Dr. Harsh Vardhan
He also added that he is so far not sure of the exact date regarding the availability. As for COVID 19 vaccine in his weakly social media interaction, known as Sunday Samvad, it is very much possible that in the initial stages, the supplies for the COVID test would be available in very limited quantities.
“In a huge country like India, it is critical to prioritise vaccine delivery based on various factors such as risk of exposure, co-morbidity among various population groups, the mortality rate among COVID cases” – DR. HArsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister.
Categories Of Vaccines
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The Minister also revealed that there will be several different types of vaccines. Some of these vaccines will be suitable for a particular age group, whereas some of it might not. (example: Vaccine type A is suitable for people between 0-12 years, this same vaccine might not be suitable for senior citizens, teenagers or adults.) Dr Harsh Vardhan also categorically denied that the government will be prioritizing the working class as well as young people. If done, this will be done due to economic reasons. Instead, Dr Harsh Vardhan revealed how the prioritization of the distribution of the vaccine will be done.
“The prioritisation of groups for COVID-19 vaccine shall be based on two key considerations: Occupational hazard and risk of exposure to infection, and the risk of developing severe disease and increased mortality.” – Dr Harsh Vardhan On HOw Prioritization for vaccine will be done.
On the other hand, on the topic of the issue of emergency use authorization of the vaccines, that topic is still being deliberated on. At present what matters the most is “adequate safety and efficacy data is required for approval… Further course of action will depend on the data generated.”
What Stages Are The Vaccines Currently At? What Will The Availability Be?
Currently, the vaccines are undergoing trial in India. There are 2-dose, as well as, 3-dose vaccines. Vaccine by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech require 2 doses. Whereas the Cadila Healthcare vaccine requires 3 doses. There are other vaccines which are still in pre-clinical stages. For these, the dosing is being tested. As for the availability, the Union Heal Minister said;
“Considering the large population size of India, one vaccine or vaccine manufacturer will not be able to fulfil the requirements of vaccinating the whole country. Therefore, we are open to assessing the feasibility of introducing several COVID-19 vaccines in the country as per their availability for the Indian population.” – DR HArsh Vardhan, On Availability of The Vaccine.