ICMR Current Affairs - 2020

Beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat touches 1 crore

On May 20, 2020, the number of beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat touched 1 crore. PM Modi had a telephonic conversation with the 1 croreth beneficiary of the scheme.

COVID-19

Post COVID-19, the Government of India made the testing and treatment of the disease free under Ayushman Bharat. The testing of COVID-19 is being carried out according to the protocols fixed by ICMR.

The testing facilities that are authorized by the ICMR were tied up with Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. This was done in April 2020. Through this, the GoI is now offering free testing facilities to the beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat registrants.

Ayushman Bharat

The Ayushman Bharat Scheme was launched in 2018. It was earlier known as National Health Protection Scheme. The scheme provides an insurance cover of Ts 5 lakh per annum per family. The eligible families under the scheme are fixed based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC).

Significance

According to National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), around 82% of urban households and 86% of rural households do not have health care insurance. Almost 17% of Indian households spend one-tenth of their budget on health services.

Therefore, to address these issues the GoI launched the Ayushman Bharat Mission under National Health Policy, 2017.

COVID-19: ICMR Clinical Trials on BCG Vaccine

The Indian Council of Medical Research is conducting clinical trials to check on the efficacy of Tuberculosis vaccines against COVID-19.

Highlights

The ICMR is to focus on vaccine potential of India in reducing death of COVID-19 infected patients. The trials that will find out the efficacy of BCG Vaccine in COVID-19 patients is to be conducted in conjunction with National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis.

BCG Vaccine

The BCG vaccine is Bacillus Calmette-Guerin. It is a vaccine that uses live attenuated stain of Mycobacterium Bovis. Meaning, the potency of the pathogen is disabled artificially and the characters are retained.

National BCG Vaccination Policy

India is currently following National BCG Vaccination Policy. According to the National Family Health Survey, around 91.9% of children in the age group of 12 to 23 months are receiving the vaccine. The survey also says that India has the capacity of producing 2,800 lakh BCG Vaccine doses in a year.

Background

The researchers of Biomedical sciences of New York Institute of Technology have reported that the countries administered BCG Vaccine Programme has less incidents of COVID-19 as compared to countries that did not administer the programme.