India’s covid 19 test rate low; WHO


Even as India boosts of increasing coronaviruis tests, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday, August 4, that the country had only a low testing rate when compared to many of the countries.

The testing rates in India is much low to some countries such as Germany, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, Chief Scientist of WHO, Soumya Swaminathan was quoted by t5he media as saying. She said that the United States had a higher testing rate than India.

She said that there was a need to have a benchmark and every public health department needs to have benchmarks on the rate of testing per lakh or per million and also the test positivity rate. The Chief Scientist said that without adequate number of tests, fighting the virus is like fighting fire blindfolded.

Swaminathan noted that the number of tests conducted is not adequate if the COVID-19 test positivity rate is above five per cent. She stated that the scientists’  community was still studying the body’s immune response to the virus and the coming 12 months were crucial to put in place public health and social measures.

Noting that no country was spared of the virus, Swaminathan was quoted as saying that it established community transmission. She said that lockdowns are only temporary measures for government to put in place the system needed to tackle the virus,

On the vaccine trials, she said that a vaccine is considered to be a good one if the efficacy rate of the vaccine was 70 percent. The WHO has already issued guidelines in this respect, she added.

About 28 vaccine candidates are under clinical trial, of which five are entering Phase-II and over 150 candidates are in pre-clinical trials across the globe.

With respect to COVAX facility ( a system of WHO to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide), the WHO Chief Scientist said it is aimed to deliver two billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2021. She opined that all the 194 member countries need to come together and take a decision on the way they want to proceed for the equitable and fair distribution of vaccine


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