Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has refused to give a deadline for the development and production of a vaccine for coronavirus as the worldwide pandemic rages on. However, he has maintained that community transmission of the infection is yet to begin in India.
“The rising number of cases is a matter of concern but it is not alarming. Judge it by any parameter, we have done far better than the rest of the world,” he told CNN-News18 in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.
“There is no data to prove that community transmission has started in India yet. I can say with confidence that community transmission hasn’t begun,” he said, adding that he cannot give a specific timeline or deadline for a vaccine.
“I can assure the country that our scientists, drug companies and the ICMR are working sincerely towards a vaccine, it is very difficult to give a timeline as of now,” he said. “In terms of treatment, we have looked at all possible options and we are doing the best we can. All the drugs that are available to the world are also available in our country.”
Vardhan said that if more testing is conducted, more and more patients will be picked up at an earliest possible stage and isolated, which will “drop the mortality rate and the risk of spread of the infection”.
The minister had said that early detection of Covid-19 cases through widespread testing, surveillance and clinical management has resulted in India having one of the lowest fatality rate at 2.66%.