Gearing up for long battle against virus: Sarma

Vaccines unlikely before Diwali, says Minister

GUWAHATI: Assam is gearing up for a long battle against COVID-19 as the vaccines for the virus are unlikely to be available in the market before Diwali, says state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

“This morning I was checking the vaccine development programmes in the United States and given the conventional vaccine work currently underway, human and animal trials will be conducted in phase one while the commercial launch of the COVID-19 vaccine is slated for phases two and three,” Sarma said.

“As of now, we are being informed that the vaccine might not be available before Diwali this year. So we are preparing for a long battle against COVID-19,” he said.

The minister however said that some medicines for the virus were being tested and there is a possibility of having access to medicine having an efficacy against the virus.

Arogya Nidhi

Meanwhile, the state government is on track to set up five pre-fabricated hospitals across the state to exclusively treat COVID-19 patients.

“The tender processing for the hospitals was done yesterday. We will be giving the order to Larsen & Toubro within a day to start work on the five hospitals which will be constructed in the next two months,” Sarma said.

“In this regard, we had requested people to donate to the Assam Arogya Nidhi fund, and so far a sum of Rs 15.36 crore has been collected from 7546 persons/groups,” the minister said.

The cost of at least four of these hospitals would be borne by way of public-private cooperation with political leaders, including MPs from the state, cutting across party lines, also chipping in with contributions from their funds.

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