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COVID-19: Three vaccine candidates in different stages of clinical trial, Harsh Vardhan tells Parliament

Harsh Vardhan said on the scientific front, nearly 2,000 genomes of the novel coronavirus have been sequenced so far in the country.

Published: 21st September 2020 01:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2020 01:05 AM   |  A+A-

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The government is giving all necessary support for development of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus in the country and three vaccine candidates are in different phases of clinical trial, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said in Parliament on Sunday.

Replying to a discussion in Lok Sabha on the coronavirus pandemic, the Health Minister said so far 6.37 crore tests have been conducted in the country which is "probably the highest in the world".

Vardhan said on the scientific front, nearly 2,000 genomes of the novel coronavirus have been sequenced so far in the country.

He listed out a series of steps taken to contain the spread of infection and combat the pandemic.

Over 15 lakh people have been screened at airports, he said.

When Nepal reported its first case, screening of 16 lakh people was done on the border, he said.

In the initial days, even doctors did not have enough knowledge on this disease, Vardhan said.

However, more than 2-3 million have been trained in capacity building.

On the lockdown that was announced to contain the spread of the virus, Vardhan said from March 16-23, half-a-dozen to a dozen state governments had either announced partial or total lockdown.

He said many things are said about the merits and demerits of lockdown.

Five professional independent studies have assessed about how many cases and deaths were prevented due to it and have come out with their findings.

Vardhan said before the WHO cautioned the world that coronavirus is an international health concern, the Centre started its work on January 8 and by January 17, it had issued an advisory to all states.

"We had given a detailed health advisory, had started point of entry surveillance...community surveillance was also started," Vardhan said.

On testing capacity, Vardhan said on Saturday, nearly 12 lakh tests were conducted.

He said initially, there was only one lab that had the cornavirus testing facility but the country now has 1,773 labs.

"We now have the capacity to develop 10 lakh kits everyday," he said.

On development of vaccines, he said there are 30 vaccine candidates in the country at different states.

"Three vaccine candidates are in different stages of clinical trial," Vardhan informed.

Vardhan said under the PM Cares Fund, the Health Ministry got Rs 893 crore for buying "Make in India" ventilators.

Plus, the National Disaster Relief Force under the National Disaster Relief Fund made provision of Rs 11,000 crore to all state governments wherein the State Disaster Management Funds could be used.

He said there are 17,000 COVID-19 facilities in the country which have nearly 18 lakh beds, 13,000 quarantine centres have 6 lakh beds.

He also saluted the corona warriors in the country.



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