Centre's COVID-19 vaccination plan ambitious but also realistic: Secy Dept of Science and Technology

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Dr Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, speaking to ANI on Sunday.
Dr Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, speaking to ANI on Sunday.

By Shalini Bhardwaj

New Delhi [India], May 31 (ANI): The Centre's COVID-19 vaccination plan to innoculate all citizens of the country by December 31 is not only ambitious but also realistic, said Dr Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology.

"In terms of technology, we are totally prepared for the third wave and would get even better as we go forward this year. Our vaccination plan to innoculate all citizens of the country by December is not only ambitious but also realistic," Dr Sharma told ANI on Sunday.

"During the first wave, we built a huge infrastructure which was related to basic things like ventilator, all kinds of diagnostics, PPE kits, N-95 masks, now we even have a vaccine which is of Indian origin. In addition to setting up the infrastructure for vaccine, cold chain, the supply lines, logistics, all have been put together quickly in the first wave," Dr Sharma said.

He added, "the second wave was rather sudden and we found that certain things were missing and that was not as much available in quantity as was needed at the peak of the second wave."

Speaking about the innovation related to oxygen supply, he said many innovations have been done related to the oxygen supply like repurposing many oxygen plants where plants that were producing industrial oxygen have been repurposed for the medical oxygen.

As India battles the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic science-based start-ups and innovations are playing a crucial role.

Speaking on innovation related to RT-PCR testing, the doctor said that new RT-PCR from Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology targets two genes, one of which does not undergo many mutations. "So, we will not produce false RT-PCR readings as much as otherwise might happen."

"An antibody kit has been developed at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. lt looks at antibodies IgM and IgG. The kit measures the quantity of antibodies. It also determines if they are fading." Dr Sharma added. (ANI)

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