India is expected to produce five million COVID-19 test kits per day by July, reducing significantly its dependence on imports for diagnostics of the viral infections spreading across the globe.
Addressing a press conference, top scientists K Vijayraghavan and V K Paul also sought to give a reality check on the vaccine development efforts making it clear that the earliest immunisation shots will be available only some time next year.
The global efforts at vaccine development are aimed at delivering results within a year what otherwise would have taken 10 years.
“When a vaccine is made, it is not like a switch which will be available to everyone on day one. This disease is so unusual that the youngest to the oldest would need a vaccine and the logistics of making vaccines available is also being discussed,” Vijayraghavan, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, said.
On the testing front, Paul said 20 Indian companies have been manufacturing indigenous testing kits to meet the growing domestic requirement.
“These companies will be in a position to deliver half-a-million testing kits every day by July. We may even export these kits after meeting our domestic demand,” said Paul, Member (Health), Niti Ayog.
India’s COVID-19 count increased by 6,556 on Thursday to touch 1,58,323, while the death toll witnessed a sharp spike as 194 fatalities, taking the total to 4,531. According to the Health Ministry, there are 86,110 active cases while 67,692 have been discharged from hospitals.
Besides, Vijayraghavan said that AICTE and CSIR have embarked on a drug discovery hackathon where students are trained with information on how to do computational drug discovery.
He also said five important things that need to be kept in mind for the prevention of COVID-19 before the vaccine is developed are – social distancing, hand hygiene, surface cleaning, tracking and testing.