Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan
Photo Credit: ANI

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said that COVID-19 vaccines currently under trial in India will be administered in two or three doses.

Dr Harsh Vardhan during an interaction with his social media followers on the fifth episode 'Sunday Samvaad' platform said that COVID-19 Vaccines currently in trial in India are 2 dose and 3 dose vaccines. Vaccine by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech require 2 Doses while the Cadila Healthcare vaccine requires 3 Doses. For other vaccines in preclinical stages, the dosing is being tested, he stated.

On the need to include other novel candidates as COVID Vaccine, he 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.”

Sharing his views on Public-Private Partnership during the Pandemic, Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that the present situation demands multiple vaccine partners to ensure maximum vaccination coverage to the Indian population and the use of a single vaccine from a certain company should not be seen through a negative lens.

The minister also said that the indigenously developed Feluda paper strip test for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis could be rolled out in the next few weeks. "While I cannot put an exact date on the availability, we should expect this test within the next few weeks," he said.

On the rollout of the Feluda test, he said that based on tests in over 2,000 patients during the trials at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and testing in private labs, the test showed 96 pc sensitivity and 98 pc specificity. This compares favourably to ICMR's current acceptation criteria of RT-PCR Kit of at least 95 pc sensitivity and at least 99 pc specificity, he stated. He added that the Feluda paper strip test for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis has been developed by CSIR-IGIB and has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch.

During the Sunday Samvaad conversation, Vardhan shared that in the first phase the Government of India has released Rs 3,000 crore to states and UTs to battle COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost all, except three states and UTs, have utilized the complete grant given to them: Maharashtra has only used 42.5 pc of the grant followed by Chandigarh at 47.8 pc and Delhi at 75.4 pc, he stated. In view of the upcoming festivals, Vardhan urged the people to stay away from congregations and diligently follow COVID appropriate behaviour, saying "no religion or God says that you have to celebrate a festival in an ostentatious way".

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