Coronavirus in India - Will a vaccine ever come?

As per the New York Times, there are 2 vaccines which have made it to the 3rd phase of the trials and once they clear the third phase trials, they will be ready and only need regulatory approval, which in the case of India is ICMR.

coronavirus in india

At the time of writing, almost 340,000 were infected and more than 180,000 were cured while around 9900 were dead out of which around 70% were comorbid. With cases rising every day, people are scared and with bated breath looking for a vaccine. The rumours adding no good but just making the situation worse for the rest of the world.

The extent of the fear is such that while walking on the road people are not only refraining from human touch but also surface touch of any sort as if their hands are always on alert mode. And the reason is but obvious, this deadly virus.

While talking to Uncommon Talks, some people also mentioned that they are more concerned about their parents than themselves and some are not even travelling back to their hometown as they fear more of infecting the elders in their home.

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With all the fear-mongering this virus has wreaked, almost every household every now and then indulges in the talks of discovery. Even in my own home, we all talk about vaccines twice or thrice a day. I am personally very much scared about my parents and do not want to leave them as I fear them being careless for themselves which they have been for the most part of their life. All their life, they have only cared for me and my siblings.

coronavirus in india social distancing

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Is a vaccine coming soon? No one knows as making a vaccine is a very complicated process and it takes decades sometimes and in the worst case, it is never found. Malaria is one such example, we have known the pathogen of this disease for more than a century and we still have no vaccine for the same.

What if a vaccine never comes? Can it happen? Yes, it surely can as various reports have suggested that the virus is constantly mutating and it has become a headache for the researchers and policymakers. This is not the only virus which is mutating. Another virus which mutates is HIV. And we do not yet have a vaccine for the virus while we have known the vaccine for more than 2 decades. The only problem that makes coronavirus so deadly is its highly contagious nature that it transmits from one person to another in some seconds while other viruses are not contagious to this extent.

As per the New York Times, there are 2 vaccines which have made it to the 3rd phase of the trials and once they clear the third phase trials, they will be ready and only need regulatory approval, which in the case of India is ICMR.

Next question that people might have in their mind is, how effective will this vaccine be? Can it fail after approval? The answer is yes. There are high chances that it will not be as effective as we are expecting it to be and also there are some or very little chances of its failure after approval. 

Failure of Dengvaxia has also warned us about the failure of vaccines and things can go as south that people might even die due to vaccines as more than 500 people including children have died in the Philippines due to failure of this Dengue vaccine.

dengvaxia

We don’t intend to scare the readers rather inform them about the various possibilities about the vaccine. One other reason that the vaccine might not be as effective in its first attempt because of the mutating nature of the virus.

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Some of the major vaccines that are in the development phase are from reputed institutes like Moderna, Pfizer, Oxford University and various others. There are 2 vaccines which have reached phase III of trial which are being developed by institutes namely Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and collaboration of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, while the former is developing a repurposed vaccine, the latter is developing a traditional vaccine.

A repurposed vaccine is one which has already been developed for some other ailment and might also be useful in coronavirus infection while in traditional one  they will inject neutralised virus in the human body and it will develop a response for the real virus when it enters the system like they do in polio vaccine.

Research institutes like Oxford and AstraZeneca has said that they can deliver a vaccine for coronavirus by October of this year.

There has been research which shows that countries where BCG vaccines have been in use might have low death rates as compared to countries with no BCG vaccination system.

Discovery of monoclonal antibodies in Israel is also a major development as it not only develops a response system in the body against the virus but also cures the patient already suffering from the COVID-19, claimed the health ministry of Israel.

Following are the phases of trials of a vaccine which is normally followed and around 135+ vaccines are already in the preclinical trial phase and 8 each in phase I and phase II.

PRECLINICAL TESTING: Scientists test the vaccine on animals such as mice or monkeys to see if it produces an immune response.

PHASE I SAFETY TRIALS: Scientists test the vaccine on a small number of people to test safety and dosage as well as to confirm that it stimulates the immune system.

PHASE II EXPANDED TRIALS: Scientists test the vaccine on hundreds of people split into groups, such as children and the elderly, to see if the vaccine acts differently in them. These trials further test the vaccine’s safety and ability to stimulate the immune system.

PHASE III EFFICACY TRIALS: Scientists give the vaccine to thousands of people and wait to see how many become infected, compared with volunteers who received a placebo. These trials can determine if the vaccine protects against the coronavirus.

APPROVAL: Regulators in each country review the trial results and decide whether to approve the vaccine or not. During a pandemic, a vaccine may receive emergency use authorization before getting formal approval. 

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