The world is currently going through the worst crises of the 21st century in the shape of Covid-19. More than 9 million cases have been reported all over the world since the start of the pandemic. The cases are still increasing every single day so are the deaths. Seemingly, everything is looking in the bad shape, the economy, the health sector, the tourism sector, and education, etc. And to make things worst, there is no cure yet against this invisible yet dangerous virus.
Two medicines got received emergency use authorization (EUA) after the first week of May from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The antimalarial drug Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine were given EUA from FDA but later it was revoked. This is now clear that these medicines are not proper medication for this deadly disease. These can only decrease the level of ailment and lessen the symptoms.
Seeing this situation where no existing drug seems effective, people are asking many questions. Are we going to have an effective vaccine this year? Who is developing the vaccine, and what is progress so far? Seeing this curiosity, we have decided to talk about it. In this article, we are going to answers many of your questions, from very basic questions about the coronavirus to who is developing the vaccine for it.
What Is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus commonly known as Covid-19 is an infectious respiratory disease. The first coronavirus patient was reported in China in December 2019 in Wuhan city. It was said that coronavirus is transmitted from bats to humans. After that, it mostly spread from man to man. There are conspiracy theories too regarding the virus as some people considered it a biological virus. Unfortunately, we have no proof of this virus being the biological weapon. Certainly, it has a natural origin. We only can prevent ourselves by following the precautions because any specific treatment for this ailment is not yet discovered.
There are certain symptoms of the virus one should look for. Some of the common symptoms of coronavirus are as follows:
Shortness of breath
The bluish shade of face or lips
How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Covid-19?
The scientists and doctors say that we have to rely on the following methods to prevent corona before we successfully discover a specific vaccine or treatment.
Stay home, stay safe:
It is advised that the people of the affected areas should stay at home. Unnecessary outgoing should be stopped. One should leave the home only for necessary purposes.
Wash the hands:
Use hand sanitizer or wash the hands with soap up to 20 seconds frequently.
Use the mask:
One should use a mask to cover his face. The mask is the most effective way to stop the spread of the virus. It is claimed by the experts that, if a person that has the virus covers his face with the mask, the chance of spread decreases by up to 70%. Then why we should not use the mask?
Do not touch the mouth:
Do not touch the mouth, eyes, nose, etc. frequently.
The Drugs and Treatments for Covid-19:
The discovery of treatment has a proper series of steps starting from early laboratory tests to animal testing and clinical testing on humans. It can take a decade or even more to discover new medical compounds for the treatment or make a vaccine. Due to which already existing medicines are being converted and tested to treat Covid-19.
The virus can be targeted at three stages by medication. We can stop the entrance of viruses in cells. The replication of the virus inside the cells can be stopped. The damage caused by viruses to organs can be minimized.
Various medicines are being used to treat coronavirus, but none of them are found to be effective yet (Picture credit: Unsplash.com)
“A vaccine trains the immune system to fight against the virus as it enters the body of a person. It strengthens the immune system against the virus”.
The vaccine is better than other treatments as it prevents the patient and community as well. The person who is vaccinated cannot become victim to the virus and do not spread the virus to others. That is why vaccines are preferred over medicines.
There are over 100 projects of coronavirus vaccine around the world which are working round the clock to achieve success as early as possible. Eight vaccine candidates were tested on humans by May 11. Russia is most forward in this regard. They broke a piece of news in September that 76 vaccine candidates produced antibodies against the virus. The vaccine is expected to be there in the market till mid-2021 according to WHO.
Covid-19 vaccine from Russia
How many Projects Are Running for Covid-19 Vaccine?
There is some really good news regarding vaccine development. Many companies and organizations are now in the advanced phase of developing the vaccine against coronavirus. Some companies are now in phase three of vaccine development after completing the first two phases. Let's have a look at a few of these projects running for developing the vaccine against Covid-19.
Phase I clinical trial was held in March in Washington. In mid-May, the company gave the good news that the vaccine has successfully produced antibodies in all 45 trial candidates. The trial candidates were 45 in number and from 18 to 55 in age. The company had a safe platform and the FDA allowed phase II testing. The company started phase III testing after the completion of phase II. The study revealed that the vaccine got a positive immune response in a total of 20 people, out of which 10 people were from ages between 56 to 70 and 10 people over 70 years.
The company was working on a DNA vaccine of MERS. Due to which they quickly started working on the Covid-19 vaccine. The company revealed a report of the conducted study at the end of April when they had completed phase I testing on 40 healthy volunteers. They decided to start further testing in the summer.
Various companies are working to discover the vaccine to treat Covid-19 (Picture credit: Unsplash.com)
The University of Oxford in England:
The University of Oxford in England started clinical trials on above 500 participants at the end of April. They claimed the 80% chance of success and availability of vaccine in early September. According to their claim, they can provide 30 million doses if trials give successful results. They will provide these doses with the help of the famous pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. The vaccines worked against Covid-19 in six rhesus macaque monkeys.
The phase I trials started in early July. They are trying to develop a vaccine by growing viral proteins in tissues. The chances of success are relatively high in this project as well.
Johnson & Johnson are working to develop their vaccine against Covid-19. By the end of July, they announced human trials after they found promising results from vaccines when tested on monkeys.
GlaxoKlineSmith said they will test the vaccine on people in the US in early September. They will get early testing results in December.
Pfizer and BioNTech are also teamed up to discover a vaccine to treat Covid-19. They got good results in phase I testing on people. Moreover, they got even better results in phase I and II clinical trials.
CanSino Biologics in China is also working in this field. So far, they are getting better results. They got a strong immune response in adults in phase II trials. The old age people showed less promising results with one dose. However, the double dose also worked for them.
There are very fewer chances of getting a vaccine by the end of 2020. Phase III clinical trials are not completed yet. The invention and the production of vaccines at a bigger level to supply round the world can take 12 to 18 months.
Many antivirals medicines are tested to treat coronavirus. A few of them are given below:
Remdesivir is being tested against Covid-19 in various parts of the world. The drug is being tested in different age groups. The medicine has shown good results in phase III clinical trials. The experts have claimed that Remdesivir decreases the chances of death in coronavirus patients up to 62% and can be used in emergency cases.
The medicine is developed in Japan for treating influenza. The medicine is being used in some 43 countries for testing against Covid-19. The drug is still in the testing period and results are yet to be published.
The coronavirus is a relatively new virus, and scientists are still not fully aware of its behavior. As a result, the preparation of vaccines or other treatment options is taking the time. This process can still take months and even years to find out the ultimate vaccine to treat Covid-19. Various projects are progressing at a satisfactory pace but final results will take due time. Hence, we have to act upon the above-mentioned precautions strongly to stop the further spread of Covid-19.